Sunday, January 22, 2017

5 Best Songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella"

Full of lovely memorable songs, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” is a wonderful show that is great for the whole family. It follows the fairy tale we all know and love and adds catchy melodies to the story. If you are unfamiliar with the musical version, this list of the five best songs from the show should get you started.

(1) “In My Own Little Corner”: This song is sweet and full of longing. Cinderella has always lived in the shadow of her step sister’s and the wrath of her stepmother. She has always dreamed of being anything but who she is. This song tackles the topic lightly with a sweet and catchy melody.

(2) “Impossible”: Of course, you can’t have Cinderella without the fairy godmother. While she doesn’t Bibbety Bobbety Boo, she does have this marvelous song about the impossible happening everyday. We root for Cinderella to have the impossible happen to her and this song is a lovely accompaniment to whatever magic the theatre can afford.

(3) “Ten Minutes Ago”: The lovely duet between Cinderella and the Prince is simple and elegant. They meet and instantly fall for one another. Well, after ten minutes at least. Cinderella knows she can’t stay with the Prince forever and has to be home at midnight. At least, she gets to enjoy a few minutes!

(4) “Stepsister’s Lament”: I wish the Disney movie had given the awful stepsister’s a song! This funny duet actually gives the sisters a little more heart. They are jealous and also longing for something more than what they’ve got. It showcases the character’s insecurities and gives them more dimension than we usually get from the fairy tale.

(5) “Do I Love You Because Your Beautiful”: The age old question, does loving someone make them the most beautiful person or were they always this beautiful. It’s a lovely duet and earns its reprise at the end of the show. Not all Rodgers and Hammerstein shows end with a pretty, neat bow at the end, but of course Cinderella and the Prince get married and live happily ever after!

Labels: 5 Best Songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella"

Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses

The collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses was conceived based on a youthful fun lifestyle in addition to creating garments that accentuate the lifestyle. Made from high quality fabrics in a variety of contemporary styles, the variety of fashion styles available from Ali Ro make shopping for dresses a dream. Every wardrobe should have a few essentials from the collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses to be complete.

An absolute top pick from the collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses is the Silk Ruffle Cascade Dress. Made from 100% silk the beautiful St. Tropez blue dress is designed in hammered silk with a racer back and stunning ruffled panels at the front. The look is stunning and the Ali Ro Silk Ruffle Cascade Dress is none less than a true showstopper. This is the dress to add to your wardrobe from the collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses found for $319.

Go into full effect drama with the Ali Ro Grecian Embroidered Silk Dress. Available in parchment white and made from 100% silk with a 100% polyester lining, the stylish silk crepe dress is adorned with an embroidered front bodice, draped arm holes and elastic seaming at the waist. There is also an optional rope belt which can be worn to accentuate the waist and full Grecian effect. Definitely a very feminine dress and a dramatic look, the Grecian Embroidered Silk Dress from the collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses was found for $308.

If it is possible to be casual and dressed up at the same time certain the collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses hits the mark with the Silk Crepe Tank Dress. Designed in papaya orange, the elegant 100% silk dress is designed with a racer back and stylish bias pleated panels at the front. Ideal for a dinner party, art show opening, or cocktail event, the Ali Ro Silk Crepe Tank Dress from the collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses is a definite home run. The elegant dress was found for $275. To view the complete collection of Ali Ro Contemporary Dresses and other fashion items visit the official web site for Ali Ro.

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Algebra 1 Lesson Plan Brainstorming: Combining Similar Terms


The Algebra lesson will actually begin a day before the actual material is presented. Students will be administered a short pre-test so that they can demonstrate what they already know. It will consist of 5 fairly short questions. The first three questions will be basic drill questions involving the combination of like algebraic terms. The last couple of questions will give the students an opportunity to demonstrate an applied knowledge of combining like terms. The skill presented in the last two questions is ultimately what we are looking for all students to achieve. Remember, part of the reason the pre-assessment is administered is to see what the students already know, so that you don’t go boring them to death by rehashing old material.


It is important for students to understand actually what like terms are and not just memorize a bunch of rules that they are sure to forget in a couple of months anyways (or sooner). Demonstrate this concept using integers, which students should already have a strong grasp of (for example: show that 2(3) + 5(3) = 7(3)). After doing several examples involving integers with the students, begin to slowly switch over to problems involving variables with a power of one (example: 2x + 5x – 3y + 7y). A good parallel to combining like terms is talking about something basic that is common sense to all students. For example, 5 apples plus 2 apples = 7 apples and the same holds true with variables. Finally, it is good to show that in order for terms to be considered “like” they must have the same variable and the same exponent. Again, demonstrate this using integers before proceeding straight into combining variables with the same exponent.


Students will finish this lesson the following day with a similar assessment to the one they took as the pre-test just a couple of days ago. The reason for administering this test is to identify the areas in which each student made growths. It is definitely a good idea to keep these assessments fairly short, so that you have adequate time to identify strengths and weaknesses of the class as a whole.

Labels: Algebra 1 Lesson Plan Brainstorming: Combining Similar Terms

7 Simple Steps to Quit Smoking

The ironies in life become greater the older we get.

Take smoking for example. Do you remember your first cigarette? If you are like most people it was not a satisfying experience. Dizzy, cold sweats, and nausea are what generally come to mind. Oh and don’t forget about that gut wrenching cough either. Yet we persisted with our determination to become a smoker. We worked, well smoked and hacked, through those awkward first few packs in order to perfect our new hobby. Now for the ironic part. Years later we have decided for one reason or another to quit smoking. It might be societal or family pressure. Perhaps it is frowned upon in our career. Or believe it or not the decision to quit might be based on concern for our health. Whatever the reason, it is a wise one by the way, quitting smoking is darn hard. See the irony? Hard to start, hard to quit. But just as you successfully started,with some determination you too can successfully quit. Lets look at a few strategies to help you kick the habit.

Before you begin, you must get in the right frame of mind. Cigarette addiction is both physiological and psychological. In order to quit smoking you must be mentally prepared to. I had tried two times to quit, both attempts succeeded for about three to six months. Then BAM, I was back to a pack a day, more on the weekends. What finally led me to quit for good was my doctor sending me for a chest x-ray. Scared the you know what out of me. I went home to my wife and our young daughter and decided then and there that my last cigarette had already been smoked. Step one, PREPARE MENTALLY.

Next item is to make a strategy. For me it was using the patch. Others have had success with nicotine gum, hypnosis, or the no holds barred cold turkey approach. They all work, but you need to find the one that is right for you. I liked the patch because it was effortless. Get out of the shower in the morning, take the old one off and pop the new one on. It allowed me to overcome the craving for nicotine, which is the physiological side of the addiction. Step two, FIND A STRATEGY.

Number three is crucial, see step one. Yes the whole mental concept. This thing is hard to do. Get tough mentally and stay tough. Keep reminding yourself of why you want or need to quit smoking. Some people write down their reasons for quiting and tape it to their bathroom mirror as a reminder and reinforcement first thing in the morning. Those who smoke in their cars could also tape a copy to their dashboard. Step four, GET TOUGH AND STAY TOUGH.

Reward yourself. It is not easy to quit smoking, give yourself more than a pat on the back. I like to golf, so the money I spent on smoking went into a jar. This was my golf fund. At today’s cigarette prices it would not take long to buy that new driver or bag. Maybe your reward could be dinner at a nice restaurant, or going to a day spa. Some people put their cigarette money into a vacation fund. Step five, REWARD YOURSELF.

Find a substitute. No not a teacher! Find something to take the place of smoking. Gum, hard candy, a straw or toothpick. You need something to occupy your hands and mind, especially during those times of day when you smoked the most. For me driving in the car was smoke time. So in the car I kept a plastic bag filled with drinking straws which I had cut in half. When the urge for a cigarette started I would grab a straw. It worked. Step six, FIND A SUBSTITUTE.

Finally, now that you are doing something positive for your body by quitting smoking why not take it a step further? Exercise is a great way to kick the habit, and stay kicked. You do not need to train for a triathlon, although that would be really awesome. Start slow. Join a gym, buy some exercise DVDs or a stationary bike. Or simply take a walk after dinner. You will be amazed at how your breathing improves. By exercising you will be reinforcing your desire to quit and to lead a healthier life. One word of caution, consult your physician before starting any exercise program. Step seven, EXERCISE.

For additional help in quitting smoking try surfing the web. The Internet has loads of information available. Two very good sites are and They both can provide you with excellent resources.

The decision to quit smoking is the right one, albeit not easy. By reading this article you are on the right path. Stick with it and you will be thanking yourself for years to come. Good luck!

Labels: 7 Simple Steps to Quit Smoking

5 Uses for the Neverland Ranch

How Michael Jackson can get out of debt, without leaving his property:

1. Nerverland: The Theme park

This one practically goes without saying! Michael Jackson could make millions annually if he opened the Neverland Ranch to the public and charged a modest admission fee. With Michael’s loveable child-like zest for fun and amusement, there’s no way Neverland could fail as an amusement park. According to Wikipedia, Neverland contains, among other things, a zoo and a theme park, with a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, zipper, spider, sea dragon, wave swinger, super slide, dragon wagon kiddie roller coaster and bumper cars. Although not all of MJ’s attractions are currently up-and-running, with a moderate investment, this king of pop

2. Neverland: The Michael Jackson Museum

Whether you like his music or not, there’s no denying the frenzy that Michael Jackson ignites. He’s like a living magnet, and the fact that he shys away from the public eye makes us even more interested in his life. If MJ set aside just a piece of his large estate to run public tours and house some of his priceless pop “relics” (a few of his 13 Grammys, perhaps), he’d be able to remain in the privacy of his remaining acres while pulling in a nice-sized income from his dearest fans who would jump at the chance to get a sneak peek at Michael’s domain.

3. Neverland: Site of Janet Jackson Concert

With her new hit single “Feedback” and her increasingly frequent appearances on mTV, Janet is making yet another spectacular comeback. She appears to be back in amazing shape, and her tirleless work ethic is sure to catapult her new album to the top of the charts. Jackson fans: how awesome would it be if JJ performed an open air concert at Michael’s Neverland Ranch… complete with fireworks, potential wardrobe malfunctions, the works! I’m sure an event like that would draw in big bucks from around the globe.

4. Neverland: The Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary

As I mentioned earlier, MJ’s ranch features his own zoo… so here’s a logical progession: beautify the landscaping (I highly doubt it’s shabby to begin with), install a turnstile, and start raking in some cash! If the rides are broken down or not being maintained, scrap them and use the extra space for a Wildlife Sanctuary. MJ’s always been a very generous person when it comes to charity, and I’m sure the public support his attempts to provide habitats for wildlife, and their checkbooks would, too.

5. Neverland: The Pop King’s Laboratory

Come on, Michael, I know you have more killer albums up your sleeves, so lay one on us! Better yet, produce a single that can get the clubs rocking and shoot the music video inside Neverland! It would be a mega-earner from iTunes downloads alone.

Ok, so I know there’s 1/1000000000000000 (read: zero) chance that any of my ideas would actually happen, but hey, can’t a girl dream?
No matter what you do to resolve your money issues, MJ, we love you just the same!


Media go into MJ Overdrive.
Michael Jackson’s Biography. Fox News.
Michael Jackson: Biography. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004).
Campbell, Lisa (1993). Michael Jackson: The King of pop.
Abdelnour, Mark (2004). Buying & Selling Music, Instruments, and Music Collectibles on Ebay. Thomson Course Technology. 159200504. indicates “MJ” as a well-recognized abbreviation,

Labels: 5 Uses for the Neverland Ranch

A Husker Tradition: The Walk-On Program

Hitchhiking from Washington, D.C. for a chance to play Husker football. Turning down scholarships to other schools to walk on at Nebraska. What motivates these individuals? They have heart, a hard-work mentality and are willing to prove they are better than other players on the team. They see this opportunity as an even playing field and want a shot at a dream for playing Husker football.

The most inspiring story is that of the first Husker walk-on, Langston Trey Coleman and one of the nastiest players Bob Devaney said he has ever coached. His mother worked for Ted Sorenson who was a speech writer for President Kennedy. Langston saw the Husker memorabilia in Sorenson’s home and was inspired to play for the Huskers. With a lack of a scholarship offer, temporarily living at a YMCA and doing odd jobs to make ends meet while tending to studies, Langston was not discouraged. His perseverance prevailed and he became the starting defensive end, receiving a scholarship his second year. Dr. L. Trey Coleman is the Director of Grants and Sponsored Research at Florida Memorial University.

The Makovicka brothers are another legacy in the Husker football walk-on program. Jeff Makovicka was a walk-on beginning with the 1992 season and a fullback through 1995. Joel Makovicka walked-on and was a fullback from 1995-1998. Jeff and Joel were members of national championship teams. From 2006 to 2009, Justin was a fullback for the Huskers and the newest Makovicka brother to walk-on was running back Jordan, in 2008.

Curtis Tomasevicz joined the Huskers as a walk-on in 2000. From 2000 to 2003, he was a running back and a line-backer. He began his bob-sledding career in 2004 and appeared in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. In the 2010 Winter Olympics, his bobsled team won the first U.S. gold medal in 64 years. Curtis is from a small Nebraska town with a population of under 700.

Comparing Nebraska to other states, there are some disadvantages in recruitment. No year-round warm weather like that of Florida and Texas. Population of approximately two million people compared to Texas’ twenty-four million and California’s thirty-six million. Then there is the geographical location. The walk-on program allows Nebraska to have that extra edge in recruiting.

The walk-on program officially began in 1973 when the NCAA started to reduce the number of athletic scholarships schools could offer. This was the same year Coach Osborne became head coach and he saw the number of athletic scholarships decline from forty-five to about twenty-five per year. Osborne was fair and willing to give anyone a shot for their dream. Presently, eighty-five scholarships are offered in Division I schools.

Some walk-ons receive a scholarship their sophomore year, some their senior year and a few never receive a scholarship – yet continue to play. Others would not see any playing time until their third year, if at all. A few would transfer to a different school while others would continue to work hard and prove themselves to the coaches for that glimmer of hope of proving themselves in a game. Walk-ons motivate the team as a whole. Coach Pelini says, “The more people you bring into a culture that have strong beliefs about something and have a strong commitment and want-to, it’s going to make you stronger in the future.”

Labels: A Husker Tradition: The Walk-On Program

5 Best Songs from West Side Story

Leonard and Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim prove to be a formidable team on the musical classic, “West Side Story.” A Tony winning revival has proven that just like “Romeo and Juliet,” off which the story is based, this show is a timeless musical classic. This show will make you laugh and make you cry. It will also make you want to dance! The story follows star crossed lovers Maria and Tony as they struggle to be together against all odds. Let’s look at the five best songs that tell their story.

(1) “America”: Anita, who is dating Maria’s brother, leads this boisterous, comedic number about Puerto Rico. Some of the girls miss it and Anita is adamant that despite all the difficulties, their lives are better here even though they deal with racism. It’s a provocative, interesting, and hilarious number. It’s the kind of song that helps Anita steal the whole show.

(2) “Tonight”: Set up just like the balcony scene from “Romeo and Juliet,” this beautiful duet lets us know that Tony isn’t going to back down from his love for Maria. He climbs the fire escape right up to her balcony and declares in beautiful song how much his life has changed that evening. It’s an iconic duet that is reprised with the full cast later in the production.

(3) “Gee, Officer Krupke”: This is the jets turn to have a little fun. The great thing about this song is, like “America” it shows us the hardships in a very hilarious and active way. Every guy gets to show off their best character acting by playing multiple characters. It’s catchy, up-beat and would steal the show if “America” wasn’t one of the most amazing musical theatre numbers of all time.

(4) “Somewhere”: Soaring, gorgeous, and incredible are only a few words that describe this masterpiece. It is often covered and for good reason. It’s a beautiful piece with a large range. Every vocalist wants to sink their chops into it. The lyrics are full of longing and hope, but it still manages to be haunting as well.

(5) “Cool”: This song is the calm before the storm. The jets are ready to fight and everyone is full of angst and frustration. They are desperately trying to keep it cool and calm. This leads to a number that is different than the feel of most of the show. If only everyone really could have kept it cool and maybe it would have ended differently than the play it was based on.

Labels: 5 Best Songs from West Side Story

Against Psychoanalysis as a Basis for Determinism

The debate between free will and determinism has gone on for millennia. Advocates for each side have made compelling arguments for their respective positions. In the paper “Free Will and Psychoanalysis” John Hospers relies on Freudian psychoanalysis to argue that our actions are determined, and thus, free will is nothing more than an illusion. Here I will present Hospers’ position on this matter, and provide an analysis of his argument. Further, I will attempt to argue in support of the libertarian thesis. Ultimately, though, the most important criticism I make against Hospers’ argument is to attack the basis on which his argument is grounded. I reject Hospers’ thesis by appealing to arguments made by Karl Popper.

Hospers begins his paper by pointing out that before he attempts to demonstrate that free will is a myth, it must first be clear what is meant by freedom. Hospers rightly points out that no one is completely free. No one is completely free because everyone is limited in one way or another, either physically or mentally. For example, I am not free to fly to outer space, because I do not have the means get there. Thus, when people argue that we have free will, it must be understood as a type of freedom that is less than the ideal, or complete type of freedom. Free will does not rely on a maximal freedom to do anything one wishes.

Hospers is critical of libertarians who characterize free will as actions done voluntarily. Hospers argues that not all voluntary acts are free acts. For example, suppose that a gunman confronts you and demands that you give him your wallet, or else he will kill you. One could say that the agent voluntarily chooses between saving one’s life and giving up the wallet. However, the choice here is not a free choice because the agent is forced to act in one of two ways, neither of which are good options for her. In other words, the agent voluntarily chooses between two options, however the choice is not free because the agent has been coerced into choosing one of two very bad options. Thus, an action cannot be free if it is forced; freedom can only be said to exist in the absence of force, otherwise coercion is at work, and coercion is the antithesis of freedom.

Hospers accepts that a free act would indeed be free if it were not compelled or coerced; however, he doubts that actions can ever be uncompelled or uncoerced. Hospers is inclined to accept the belief that our actions are determined by the influence of our past experiences, environments, and social conditioning. But more than this, Hospers argues that these influences act on our subconscious, such that we have no choice as to how to act. Thus, our actions are entirely determined subconsciously and are beyond our ability to consciously choose. Hospers states his position as follows, “it is the unconscious that determines what the conscious impulse and the conscious action shall be” (p. 362, italics are Hospers’).

But I would argue that this account of action seems contrary to experience. The basis for believing that actions are free comes from the internal experience of this phenomenon that we are all familiar with. When I decide whether I want a glass of water or a glass of milk, I make a conscious choice which of the two drinks I would prefer at that point in time. If it were true that our actions were determined by our past experiences, and so on, then it would seem that I would always choose the same beverage. However, I do not always choose the same beverage. Sometimes I choose water; sometimes I choose milk. Thus, it would seem that I do have free will. Of course, the determinist would reply that the unconscious does not always determine the same action over and over; this is why it appears as though we have free will. Sometimes our unconscious chooses milk; sometimes it chooses water, thus the illusion of free will.

It seems as though we could go on arguing for each side of this argument; however, neither side is likely to admit defeat any time soon. Rather than pursue this line of argument further, I want to address a deeper problem with Hospers argument. I want to reject the very basis on which Hospers argument rests. Hospers uses Freudian psychoanalysis to argue that our actions are unconsciously motivated. But, we can only accept Hospers thesis to the extent that we accept the thesis of psychoanalysis. We must question whether psychoanalysis offers a solid basis for supporting the determinist position. If we can find fault with psychoanalysis, we can reject the premise of Hospers’ argument.

Psychoanalysis is not a factual thesis but a hypothetical thesis. That is, psychoanalysis is not, nor has it ever been more than a theory. Thus, psychoanalysis cannot justifiably claim to know facts; it can only claim to have evidence that supports or contradicts its hypotheses. Yet, Hospers suggests that psychoanalysis is a factual thesis. For example, on his concluding page, he says, “[t]he facts are what they are, regardless of what words we choose for labelling them” (p. 369). Here, Hospers is referring to the “fact” that actions are determined because psychoanalysis has shown this to be the case. But Hospers has given us no good reason why we ought to appeal to the authority of psychoanalysis for the belief that our actions are unconsciously motivated. I suspect the reason Hospers grounds his determinist argument in psychoanalysis is simply because psychoanalysis seems to have great explanatory power. That is, no matter what behaviour we witness, psychoanalysis has an explanation for that behaviour, and the explanation always lies in unconscious motivation.

Psychoanalysis claims to be a scientific theory. Thus, the real issue at stake here ought to be whether psychoanalysis is a credible theory, such that we should accept its doctrines concerning human action and motivation. A. J. Ayer proposed that when testing a scientific theory to see whether its claims were credible, the claims of that theory must be empirically verifiable (p. 13). That is, when a theory claims to know some proposition, that theory must be able to demonstrate that it predicts accurately; it must offer empirically verifiable proof of its claims. Regarding psychoanalytical claims, its propositions are empirically verifiable. For example, if someone has, say, a neglectful mother, and that person goes on to commit a murder, the psychoanalyst has an answer for the motivation behind this behaviour: the man’s mother was neglectful. All the theorist has to do is provide proof that the mother was indeed neglectful and the hypothesis is verified. Thus, psychoanalysis can meet Ayer’s criterion of verifiability. In fact, there does not seem to exist any human behaviour that cannot be analyzed or interpreted as having an unconscious motivation. Thus, according to the psychoanalyst, their theory is constantly confirmed ever time they set out to verify it.

However, in response to Ayer’s verification principle, Karl Popper took theory acceptance one step further. Popper argued that for a theory to be scientific, its propositions must be falsifiable, refutable, or testable (p. 48). Verification alone is not enough, Popper argued. While many propositions appear verifiable, this does not mean they are true. For example, that psychoanalysis can account for any type of behaviour at all does not mean that its explanations are true. Psychoanalysts are merely interpreting behaviour in light of their theory. Thus, when they observe the behaviour of a person, any action at all can be labelled as being unconsciously motivation. One might think that this is a strength of the theory and that it establishes its truth. However, as Popper points out, this is actually the weakness of the theory: there is no conceivable test one could perform that would refute or falsify the theory. In other words, there is no way to test the theory. That is, there is no test we could provide that would prove, once and for all, whether the theory was true. And if there is no way to test the theory we have no good reason to accept it as a credible theory. Popper himself classified psychoanalysis as a pseudo-science because it did not meet the demarcation principle between science and pseudo-science.

If the strength of Hospers’ thesis lies in the credibility and certainty of psychoanalysis, and further, if that credibility and certainty has been found wanting, we then have good reason to reject the basis for Hospers’ argument. Thus, if we are to establish that actions are determined, we must look elsewhere for a more solid grounding for this thesis.

Ayer, A.J. Language, Truth, and Logic. (London, England: Penguin Modern Classics, 2001).

Popper, Karl, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge. (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).

Labels: Against Psychoanalysis as a Basis for Determinism

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