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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Japanese TV: Human Tetris 6

I was so happy to find another installment online of the Japanese show, nicknamed 'Human Tetris'. I think this show is hysterical, and I love how more and more they are including things which help understand the show better, such as the illustrations of how the contestants could get through the cutouts. They are even using English words on some of the wall cutouts.

I wonder if they will add English subtitles? That would be awesome!

So, without any further ado, here is installment #6 of 'Human Tetris':

Video from aaaaaaa4000

Previous Installments:

Human Tetris #5
Human Tetris #4
Human Tetris #1-#3


This is a show I believe is called "Hyper" and features some of the 'Human Tetris' guys making shapes on a pegged wall with their bodies. I really wish there were English subtitles!

video from takaluv

Do YOU have a favorite Japanese show you would like to share?
Email me a link. If I like it I will post it here and give you credit for the lead.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Idaho Spuds a Fire Hazard

Photo by Chance Agrella
An interesting AP report coming out of Idaho, one of two states in the USA famous for potatoes: Idaho Fire Crew's Tater Tots Start Blaze.

I get the impression that Tater Tots Flambe' was not on the menu. *laugh*

As stated in the news item, I am sure firefighters and officials are embarrassed over this incident. But, a positive coming out of it is the reminder of just how easily a fire can start, and how careful we do need to be when cooking, and using the stove and oven.

Home fire safety tips given by the experts include installing, checking, and maintaining smoke detectors; having, checking, and maintaining fire extinguishers; keeping flashlights with fresh batteries handy; and having escape plans mapped out that include a meeting place away from the home.

At our house, we put in fresh smoke detector batteries twice a year: during both time changes. If I remember (which I admit I don't always), I test and clean all of our detectors monthly.

Each year, the extinguishers get checked. A local firefighter has a fire extinguisher refill business which is very affordable to use.

We also went through CERT training which taught us how to properly handle fire extinguishers and most effectively put out various types of fires. PASS is an easy-to-remember acronym for how to use a fire extinguisher. It stands for the simple instructions of: PULL the pin, AIM at the base of the fire, SQUEEZE the lever, and SWEEP from side to side.

Different extinguishers are for different types of fires. Knowing the difference is important when purchasing (and using) a fire extinguisher.

So what things do YOU do at your house in regards to fire safety?


Idaho Fire Crew's Tater Tots Start Blaze
. Associate Press. December 27th, 2007. 12:27 p.m. KSL News.

Fire Prevention. Home Fire Safety Checklist. Buffnet.

Using a Fire Extinguisher
. Fire Extinguisher 101.

Fire Extinguishing Agents. Fire Extinguisher 101.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Flowers for Christmas

About a week ago I was given a beautiful arrangement of flowers. I should have taken a photo of them. They are still holding up surprisingly well, though a few of the elements have died off, so it isn't a pretty a bouquet as when I first got it.

There are white carnations, pink and yellow (tiger?)lilies, baby's breath, an evergreen branch(?), some tall grass blades (?), some stems with multiple small white flowers along them, and some deep burgundy flowers with golden yellow centers -similar in appearance to daisies.

I am no florist, so please forgive my lame descriptions.

As I was working on other writing projects, I noticed the arrangement out of the corner of my eye, and I began reflecting upon how this is the first time I have ever been given flowers in the winter. I have received plants before, but never a bouquet of flowers.

I hate that cut flowers die so fast, but I admit there is something very uplifting and joyful about having fresh flowers around the house. In the spring when much of my yard is blooming, I have several weeks of fresh flowers in almost every room in my home.

I love the smell, and I love the sight of it!

So, if you need to take a small cheerful gift to someone, consider a bouquet of flowers. It is quite the pick-me-up, especially in the midst of a snowy winter's day.

When was the last time YOU got flowers, and what was the occasion?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How Gulible Are You?

This quick true or false quiz about gulibility is from and tests beliefs in what the media bombards the public with on a daily basis.

Please take the quiz and post your results in the comment section here. Then, please give your review of the quiz: what did you like and dislike about it? How accurate do you think it is?

Here is my result:

Your GF score is 85.

FREE THINKER Welcome to the top 5%. You're a true free thinker and a person who is well informed about the reality in which you live. Although you may have been easily manipulated earlier in life, you eventually gained lucidity and developed a healthy sense of skepticism that you now automatically apply to your observations and experiences. You are endlessly curious about human behavior and the nature of the universe, and you have one or more lifestyle habits that most people would consider odd or unusual. You are not only of very high intelligence, you are also extremely creative in one or more areas (music, art, software development, inventing, etc.)

If you were in The Matrix, you would have taken the red pill, completed the combat training, and started fighting (and beating) agents from day one.

Your architects: You have cast off reality distortions taught to you by your parents, schooling, corporate advertising and government propaganda. You create your own beliefs based on what serves you best, without much regard for what the rest of the crowd is doing. You are guided by your own internal code of ethics (which may or may not agree with politically-correct ethical codes) rather than any pre-set system of ethics (such as from any one religion).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dan Fogelberg Dead of Prostate Cancer at Age 56

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Dan Fogelberg, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, December 16, 2007 after battling with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed in May of 2004, but by that time it was already at an advanced stage.

On his website, when he was first diagnosed, news about his condition was posted, along with a personal letter from him to men about getting a Digital Rectal Exam (DRA) and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) each and every year. He noted that while the medical community advocates these tests begin at age 50, men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin screenings at age 40.

More information about prostate cancer may be found at the following links:

Prostate Cancer Foundation
National Cancer Institute
The United States National Library of Medicine
The Mayo Clinic

The importance of regular screenings cannot be stressed enough. Please, gentlemen, do yourself and your loved ones a huge favor and have these tests done every year. You mean everything to someone.

UPDATE [12-19-07]:
One day after the passing of Dan Fogelberg, the news was released that singer/songwriter Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, and Nash has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on his 63rd birthday in January.

More about this update may be found on MSNBC: Rocker Stephen Stills Battles Prostate Cancer by Reuters

And now, last but certainly not least, a musical goodbye to a talented man who touched and inspired so many with his gift:

Farewell Sweet Music Man

Video from YouTube user lotalutz

What was YOUR favorite song by Dan Fogelberg?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Joe Namath: 42 Years to a Degree

Photo by Aleksandar Momirovic
This AP report on FOXnews, Football Great Joe Namath Earns College Degree 42 Years Later is an example of one of the types of stories I love to read. At this stage in his life, the 64-year-old retired athlete would certainly not need to finish his degree in order to obtain employment. He, and the others before him, such as 90-year-old grandmothers, who finish or obtain their degree or diploma when they really don't 'have' to, are a true inspiration to me.

Its not as easy in the later years of life to study, learn, and keep up with the demands of schooling and test-taking. To go back and tackle the challenge, out of personal drive rather than need, is a beautiful thing.

For some, the challenge includes family responsibilities, finances, health, and time which limit what they can do or have prevented them from finishing.

There are many grants and scholarships available for many different people and situations. Not all are limited to financial need. One great place to look is Fastweb. After a free registration and profile are completed, the system will regularly email you information on matching contests, grants, and scholarships. Another source to check out is a website: College Scholarships. At the site, you just look for the right category, click on a link or two, and get directed to the information for how to apply for that particular scholarship. There is no need to register with College Scholarships.

If you do not have your degree or diploma, what would it take for you to finish it?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chess Wiz for President? Not in Russia

I first became acquainted with chess master Garry Kasparov when he was interviewed by Bill Maher in 2007. Though I recognized him by name, I had no knowledge of him other than his chess wizardry prior to that interview.

Watch the short interview here:

video from YouTube user KLbrezhnev

From that interview and the others I have seen and read since, I have discovered a man who is not only obviously highly intelligent, but a man who is brimming with common sense and candor. He has an amazing sense of humor, as well. Mr Kasparov has many fine leadership qualities, and I believe would create, as president of Russia, a better alliance between the USA and Russia.

However, Mr. Kasparov has also been a very vocal critic of current Russian President Vladimir Putin which has resulted in hardships for him and his family. Though Russian official deny harassment of Mr. Kasparov and his family, there is an unmistakable trail of persecution coinciding with his outspokenness, and increasing with the announcement of his intent to run for president. Due to the harassment which has caused him, like many others, to be unable to meet the requirements of official candidacy, he has withdrawn his bid for president. More about this may be viewed online in this Washington Post article by Peter Finn.

It is a true shame that politics has become not a simple matter of opposing viewpoints and beliefs representing different groups of people, but a means of harassing anyone who would dare to go against the grain.

More about Garry Kasparov may be seen in the following video clips:

WSN TV Interview

With Charlie Rose

On 60 Minutes, Part 1

On 60 Minutes, Part 2

So, what is YOUR take on Putin, Kasparov, and Russian politics?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Have a Holly Jolly Eely Christmas?

This Reuters report is fascinating and a little on the odd side. The man who came up with this idea is definitely creative!

A Japanese inventor has created a way to utilize an electric eel to light up a Christmas tree. Since the eel is a common food in Japan, one has to wonder once Christmas is over if the eel will become New Year's dinner.

All joking aside, while there is potential to find ways to use eel power, it may not prove practical in the long run - and just be more of a 'fun' way to power various things such as Christmas lights.

A short video showing the set up is available with the article at the MSNBC website.

What do YOU think?

Laptop Lunches and Bentos

Laptop Lunch System. Photo from Laptop Lunches.Com

A sweetheart of a friend has been mentioning Laptop Lunches in her blog and it got me interested in finding out more. I am just 'getting my feet wet' in this new trend, but I admit it is fascinating to me. I love the organizational and nutritional qualities, as well as the efficient use of food/ingredients.

Once I learn more, I am sure I will post more, but in the meanwhile, first, I will share the best sites I have found so far:

Laptop Lunches Product Website

Lunch in a Box by Biggie
Laptop Lunches Discussions on Flikr

And secondly, I will ask YOU for YOUR laptop lunch and Bento tips, tricks, etc. What got YOU into them, and what do you like best and least about them? Where is the best place to buy all the stuff you need, and what are YOUR best laptop lunch meals and recipes?

Monday, December 10, 2007

How Monopoly® Saved Lives

I just finished reading this story, How Board Game Helped Free POWs by Brian McMahon, and I admit, big baby that I am, my eyes are tearing up at the undeniable patriotism, courage, and love that was involved in creating this special version of the Monopoly® game for soldiers.

I am so grateful for people such as these who get involved, at tremendous risk to themselves, and do 'the right thing'. Any one of these people, organizations, or companies could have refused to participate, thus potentially ending any chance of the plan succeeding. Any one of these people, organizations, or companies could have spilled the beans and ruined the plan. Everyone involved took incredible chances: risking their safety, their lives, and their businesses.

I love stories like this one! What amazing people - true heroes.

I can't help but wonder, in today's seemingly self-serving and lawsuit-happy society, would such a thing occur again?

What do YOU think?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Japanese Cooking

This is unlike any other 'cooking show' you have ever seen! I thought it was pretty creative, although you have to be very familiar with cooking, and especially Japanese cooking, to really 'get it'.

If anyone speaks Japanese and can offer a translation of the conversation afterwards, please do so - it looks just as funny and interesting as the sketch itself - or maybe even more so.

Video from YouTube user simplydream

Friday, December 7, 2007

How's Your Vocabulary?

Photo by Chance Agrella

Over on one of my favorite blogs ( by Deborah Ng) she took a humor break and listed a few fun sites. One was this quick vocabulary quiz. Results are given by letter grade - just like in school.

To Take the quiz: How's Your Vocabulary? (Quiz)

My Results:

***Your Vocabulary Score: A***
Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Actually, it would have been terribly embarrassing if I had scored anything less as I have a Master's Certification in English Vocabulary!

Please take the quiz and leave your input about it here. How did you do? Were you surprised by the results?

Happy quizzing!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Downside of Visualization

I have a few philosophical disagreements with the popular 'visualize it and it will happen' theory.

1- Not everything works for everyone, and not everyone is visual. Some people have better results from tackling goal-achievement with other methods. To espouse 'visualization' as the be-all and end-all of success is incorrect.

2-Far too many people get stuck on the 'visualization' part and neglect the 'get off yer toochis and do something' part. They seem to get some twisted idea that if they just think about it enough it will happen. That is not reality, and it is a crock.

3- Despite all we wish for, hope for, visualize, and do, sometimes we still do not get what we want. That is life, and we need to learn how to be flexible and roll with the punches. Sometimes we need to change our goals.

If visualization helps you achieve your goals -fab! It is awesome that you have found the means to help you in all you strive for.

But you need to recognize that it is not the answer for everyone, and it does get heavily distorted into something it is not. It is not a 'miracle cure' for anyone or anything - you still have to actually DO something.

Life is not a Disney fairy tale - wishing doesn't make things come true.

Beans are not the Only Musical Food Around

I was checking out the latest additions to my subscriptions on YouTube when I saw a link to this video:

The Vegetable Orchestra
(*NOTE: around midway through the sound gets a little obnoxious. Just bear with it for a few seconds - it does get amazing again!)

Video from YouTube user vegetableorchestra

Even my teenager was captivated by this music and the means by which it was produced (no pun intended).

So, if they played in your town, would you go see them?
How much would you be willing to shell out to do so (lame pun intended that time)?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tis the Season for Giving - the Challenge

Photo by Neal McQ
I was surprised last night by a Secret Santa visit. We had a need of something, and someone found out and left it at our home.

I know of several other people in recent days who have also been shown the same kind of love and charity.

I know it should be a feeling we have all year long, but the best way to start is one step and one day at a time.

So, my challenge to you is to find someone every day you can serve or give to in some way. It doesn't have to cost money or take a lot of time. It can be anything.

A smile at a grouchy store clerk along with a friendly 'Hello' can be all it takes to change their day. Opening the door for someone behind you, or paying for the meal of the person behind you in the drive-thru (I have done that a couple of times and it rocks!)

When you make homemade goodies, share some with neighbors, the elderly, or homebound. Call a friend or loved one you haven't talked to for a while. Send a card anonymously to someone who is grieving or struggling with challenges. Rake someone's leaves or shovel their snow (anonymously).

It can be anything for anyone. Just do SOMETHING.

Then let us know what it has been like for you to undertake the challenge. Please also share any ideas and tips you have for things others can do as part of this challenge.

Good luck and thanks for participating!

If you are too shy to post it here, but would like to share, privately send me your story or tips/ideas and I will post them, minus your name.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Human Tetris Returns!

Anyone who follows this blog knows I am nuts for this Japanese show. It completely makes my day to find a new episode of it posted somewhere online. It is entertaining, clever, and funny as all get out. It is also tremendously addicting.

So, without further ado, I present the latest installment in the Human Tetris series:

Video from YouTube user Humantetris

See other episodes here:

More Human Tetris and Other Japanese TV Fun!

Japanese TV: Human Tetris

What are YOUR favorite foreign shows?

Freelance Writing - So Easy Anyone Can Do It! . . .NOT

Photo by Sarah Sturtevant

One of my favorite bloggers, Deborah Ng, posted this article on her freelance writing blog, and I must say I most heartily agree. The assumption that not only is what we do 'easy' but 'wealth-creating' is something I run into a great deal in my interactions with others who find out what I do.

Not everyone can write, and not everyone has what it takes to not only come up with new ideas to write about, but also put the right spin on it so it will capture and hold the attention of readers.

Most freelance writers cannot live on what they make from writing, alone. We have to have other sources of income unless and until we can land some long-term and good paying contract work. We are more correctly associated, income-wise, with the category of 'starving artist' than we are with J.K.Rowling.

We love what we do. If we didn't, we surely would not continue to do it. But to minimize the amount of work and skill it takes to do what we do is a grave injustice.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Tale of Two Immigration Situations

Today I present to you two stories of immigrants being deported.

Case #1
In the first, we have a couple who came here legally, filed all the appropriate paperwork, and was granted permission to stay. The husband is a doctor. The couple owns a store. They give generously to their community. They are now being deported because of a mistake in their paperwork. When both filed to stay here, they were single. When the permission came, they were married. Their marital status was not corrected.

Now the government says because of that error, they both must be deported. A simple enough mistake to correct, but instead of doing so, the government, in their infinite quest to red-tape everything to death, has decided to deport a couple who did everything right, made one tiny mistake in a huge paperwork process AFTER both were given permission to stay here, and is a huge benefit to this country and their community.

See the video for story number one HERE

Case #2
In case number two we have a man who knowingly came here illegally. He claims he came here because there was no work for him in his hometown in Guatemala. He also claims he never intended to stay here which is why he never bothered to learn the language [and what, pray tell was he going to do once he returned home if there is no work there? Could he really earn enough in a few short years to support himself and his family in style there?]

He says he only came here to get enough money to make things better for his family. He worked here (dishwasher) and saved enough money to fly home. He also tried to take a duffel bag filled with $50,000 onto the plane, and didn’t bother to fill out the declaration form stating he was taking more than $10,000 out of this country. Once caught illegally trying to leave the country with the cash, he was also busted on being here illegally. The government has seized his money and told him to get out of the country. His big concern – he wants his money. He says he earned it and it is his. He said he gave himself health problems by working here. [Yeah, the claim of many teenagers across America – doing dishes is going to kill them].

The video taped interview with the man showed absolutely no visible health problems, and there was no mention in any published report about him being arrested stating he had medical problems or that he was found in possession of any prescription medication. If you were leaving forever to go to a country with lesser medical care, and had a medical condition, wouldn’t you take some medicine home with you?

First, he came here illegally with the intent to be here illegally, work illegally, and then leave with his illegal ‘earnings’. In law, when one party breaks the law, they lose their right to any profits from whatever their illegal actions garnered them. This is why the government is allowed to confiscate the possessions of drug lords.

Someone who knowingly breaks the law is a criminal. Someone who intends to break the law and then follows through on that intent is a malicious criminal. Criminals have no right to profit from their illegal and malicious behavior. Lawfully, the money does not ‘belong’ to the criminal and he should be deported. The man is a malicious criminal and a liar and has no right and no business being here or to his ill-gotten gains. It is as simple as that.

See the video for story number two HERE

UPDATE: December 5, 2007
I ran a poll for 7 days after the publication of this blog post that went along with it. The question was regarding what should happen to the people in the aforementioned cases. The results are as follow:

60% of respondents felt everyone in both cases should be deported.
20% of respondents felt that none of those involved in either case should be deported.
20% of respondents felt that the couple in case #1 should be allowed to stay, while the man in case #2 should be deported without any of the money.

My appreciation to all those who participated in the poll.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What are YOU Thankful for?


Photo by Chance Agrella

Every year on Thanksgiving Day we have a tradition in my home to share a few of the many things we are thankful for. I would like to hear what YOU are thankful for, too. Here are a few things I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day:

I am thankful for being able to do a job that I love. I am thankful I am living my dream.
I am thankful for being blessed with this amazing son to raise, care for, love, and learn from. He is one of the greatest blessings in my life.
I am thankful for the roof over our heads, our utilities, food in our bellies, and clothes on our backs. I am thankful I have a reliable vehicle.
I am thankful that every year my health gets a little better and I get a little stronger after being so desperately ill and immobile for so very long. I am thankful I can now walk on my own two feet – and in 4” heeled boots, no less!
I am thankful for the technology which allows me to make better use of my time and work from home so I can be with my son. I am thankful for technology being in place which allows me to work, period.
I am thankful for all those who love us, care about us, and pray for us – who are so good to me and my son.
I am thankful for my friends who are always there to help me when I need it, to set me straight when I mess up, and lift me when I fall and cannot get back up. They are amongst the greatest blessings in my life.
I am grateful for the men who have blessed my life with love, laughter, and learning. There is not one of you who have not taught me something about life, relationships, or myself. God Bless You All.
And, I am thankful for you, my readers, who give me the motivation to keep writing and to keep perfecting my craft. You challenge me to be better and to work harder. You inspire me with your words and insight. You are amazing in your own right, and I am so very grateful for the glimpses into your world, life, and heart which you have allowed me.

Here is a little Happy Thanksgiving Treat for you, from me:

Thanksgiving Prayer by Johnny Cash from YouTube user cwag03

So, now that I have shared my list: What are YOU thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hit the Road, Jack, and Doncha Come Back No More!

Photo by Fito
Well, another pity-party article for illegal immigrants is in the news, and my stomach is turning with the ludicrous spin being put on it.

The family that has been spotlighted entered the United States ILLEGALLY 20 years ago and have managed to stay under the radar for awhile. YEARS later they said they wanted to seek 'political asylum' because they claimed a family member had been killed in their homeland and they had received related threats. When they were denied political asylum and ordered to return home, they stayed here, ILLEGALLY.

Now they are crying foul because Mom, Dad, and Grandma were forcibly removed from the country and sent packing back to Columbia. For whatever reason, the 18 and 20 yr old sons, who, their mother states with tears, cannot cook for themselves, cannot work, and have no one to 'take care of them' were allowed to stay here temporarily. Several lawmakers are even trying to get a law passed which would allow them to stay here until 2009.

Once the story hit the news, a local law office and a local hotel offered the boys jobs and they were even offered FREE TUITION.

The parents were interviewed in Columbia, in between trips to the mall.

One of the sons is quoted as saying about staying in the US in the family home, ""is too big for just two people. It feels so quiet and lonely not having my dad watching TV and my mom cooking dinner."

He posted on the internet, ""every drop of sweat I've spilled, every ounce of blood I've shed, every single friend I've made, every pledge of allegiance I've recited, and every pivotal point of development in my life has been in the United States. I was not fortunate enough to have been born here, but I was fortunate enough to enjoy my progression from a toddler to a man in this country."


They came here illegally 20 years ago.
They waited YEARS before claiming they needed political asylum.
When it was denied and they were told to go home to Columbia, they defied the law, AGAIN, and AGAIN stayed here ILLEGALLY.
They have raised their 18 and 20 yr olds sons to be incapable of self-sufficiency.
Mom and Dad are 'so afraid for their lives' in Columbia (remember they claimed their lives were in danger in Columbia and they needed political asylum here) that they are spending their time in Columbian shopping malls.
Mom stated they need to come back because the sons are incapable of taking care of themselves.
The son stated that the big house in the US is too quiet without mom slaving over the stove to feed them all while Dad is plopped on the couch in front of the TV.
The title of the article claims the couple is 'struggling' but the sons are still in the US in the 'big house' the family lived in before the parents were deported; and Mom and Dad are spending their time in Columbia on shopping trips.

Neither the parents nor the children made any statement about the parents or the children being in imminent danger of being killed. Hmmmm. So much for political asylum claims, eh?

And, what have they contributed to this county? EL ZIPPO! These 'men' are not even capable of caring for themselves, and now have people handing them jobs they are not qualified for and a free education.

This is absolutely sickening and preposterous.

If they came here with true political asylum claims which they made the moment they got here, I would have nothing but sympathy for them. I would join the cause to try to get them permission to be here.

But, like so many illegals, it is clear this is just another group of people thinking they have the right to come into our country illegally, take what they want, give back nothing, and then cry foul when they get caught and sent on their merry way.

Gimme a freakin' break!

Deported Couple Struggles in Colombia.JOSHUA GOODMAN
Associated Press Writer. November 18th, 2007 @ 5:08pm
Accessed November 20, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It's self-promotion time! I just got the honor of AC Showcase Feature Article. It is my first time receiving this honor and I am very excited.
Read the article here: New York's Ten Best Restaurants for Luxury Food: $120 - $1000 Food Items.



Monday, November 12, 2007

The Pina Colada Song in Real Life

In this news item by Ananova, a Bosnian couple is divorcing after discovering the person they fell in love with and were carrying on an online affair with - was each other! Read the article here.

What jumped out at me in this story was the fact that this couple looked outside the marriage for communication and comfort - found it in each other - then divorced over that discovery.

It illustrates that clearly that couple had what it took to communicate, understand, support, and love one another - they just needed to drop the selfishness and animosity to do so.

But instead of smacking themselves on the forehead and realizing the BLESSING they discovered in their mistakes (as in the Pina Colada song) - the blessing which could make them whole again; and instead of being grateful they did not fall (further) into the sin of adultery- they decided to let pride and shame and selfishness take a tighter hold of their hearts and divorce.

How terribly, terribly sad; and what a truly educational example this could be - to anyone who will learn the lesson.

For your enjoyment: The Pina Colada Song by Rupert Holmes
Video from YouTube user Geocon8

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fashion Sense for Women in Their 40's

Photo by Photografia Privata
A recent episode of Oprah featured fashion expert Tim Gunn giving tips for women in their 40's. From the Oprah show website, he is said to have given the following advice,
"Women in their 40s should always try to avoid horizontal stripes, jackets that hit at mid-thigh, pleated pants, double-breasted blazers, Capri-length pants and low-rise jeans."

Now, it has always been my personal understanding of fashion that the key elements are the current trends, age-appropriateness, and how it flatters your figure/camouflages your flaws. Some of the items on the list do not fit, in my understanding, the 'age-appropriateness' element, which leaves me scratching my head.

For example, what I have always been told about fashion and horizontal stipes is that you NEVER wear them unless it is on an area of your body you want to make look bigger/wider. For those with a very small bosom, wearing a shirt with horizontal stripes can make them look fuller in the chest. A woman with a very full bosom would obviously want to avoid horizontal stripes, and perhaps even opt for vertical stripes in order to make her bosom appear a little minimized.

The low-rise jeans I can understand as not being age-appropriate, but all of the other things on the list seem to be more fashion-appropriate or figure-appropriate issues.

This brings up the question of how important fashion and what fashion 'experts' say is to you.
How much credence do YOU give to their advice?
Which ones do you avidly follow?
Which ones do you think are quacks?


Project Makeover. The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Accessed November 11, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"And They Call it Otter Love . . ."

A video on Youtube featuring two otters at the Vancouver Aquarium holding hands as they float in the water has become a quick fan favorite. But are the otters really 'in love' or is there something more to the story?

The video that started it all:

Video created and posted on Youtube by CynthiaHolmes.

To quote Paul Harvey, and now, 'The Rest of the Story' from CBCtv:

To find out more about otters, which are on the endangered species list, please check out the Endangered Species Handbook

To help otters or any other endangered or threatened species, please check out the World Wildlife Fund website.

To find out how to support the Vancouver Aquarium, please check their website, which also features webcam viewing of the belugas and the otters.

To watch a short documentary about the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the repercussions of it, please watch this video by journeymanpictures.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Video Games Equal Outdoor Exercise?

Photo Copyright ® 2007 Playworld Systems®, Inc.

First, we had the Nintendo WII™ which was heavily promoted as a way to make playing video games more 'healthy' as it would require bodily movements in order to play.

Now we have NEOS coming to a playground or park near you soon. Tested to withstand inclement weather of all sorts, this new form of playground equipment contains nine game programs children (and adults) can play.

Fox News has a video segment available online which shows an interview with the president of the company, Matt Miller. During the interview children are shown playing with the NEOS system. The video may be watched by clicking HERE.

More information about the system or the company may be obtained from the company website at

If you are interested in getting a NEOS System for your school or community, you can apply for a grant HERE.

What do you think about outdoor video game play?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Recall Mania

Photo by Chance Agrella
It seems like recalls are in the news on an almost weekly basis lately. Today I read about yet another food recall: this one on frozen pizzas. It got me thinking about all the previous recalls, and wondering what the problem is, specifically, that is creating this environment of it being 'easier to get forgiveness than permission'. It seems that it is 'easier' to get lax on adhering to regulations in an effort to make more money, and then only do 'clean up' if there are problems which can be traced back.

Basically people have to die first. Multiple people. The deaths have to all be linked back to the product, too.

What alarms me is the number of E-Coli contamination recalls as of late. Do you know what is behind E-Coli contamination? People not washing their hands. Such a simple thing can prevent the spread of it, and yet it keeps happening. Are people really this disgusting?

Even more frightening is the number of recalls which are NOT making headlines. If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest recalls, you can check the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website for current and past recall notices. You can also report problems via their website. It seems as of late, E-Coli and lead paint are the most common recall issues, followed by fire hazards and fall hazards.

Also on the CPSC website is a section for kids about safety. It is really cute and educational. Click Here to explore it.

Yet another food recall. This one is for E-Coli contamination of beef. Read about it HERE.

What do you think about all the recalls? And what do you think should be done to help prevent this growing problem?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More Human Tetris and Other Japanese TV Fun!

The long-awaited day has arrived: a new episode of Human Tetris is available! WOO HOO! I am NOT a big fan of television, but I admit, I am completely addicted to this show.

Human Tetris 4 from Youtube user aaaaaaa4000

I have also discovered some other funny Japanese television shows and skits.

Matrix-style Couple Food Fight from Youtube user cariba2332

Human Pac-Man from Youtube user theproz

As far as Japanese television, and any international television shows, really, there are some shows which are really risque or even sick . . .and others are just downright creative and hysterically funny.

American television producers could learn a lot from the good, clean fun of international entertainment.

What do you think about international television versus American television?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Handy Halloween and Harvest Celebration Hints and Helps

Photo by Kerry A. Adamo
With Halloween just around the corner, it seems fitting to do a post about some great, fun, and unique Halloween and Harvest (Non-Halloween) ideas.

Fun, creative, and original recipes and ideas for a fun Halloween Party or Trunk-or-Treat event.

Recipes From Betty Crocker Online

Recipes From Better Homes and Gardens Online

Halloween Entertaining

Party Ideas

Trunk or Treat Ideas

Planning a Trunk or Treat Event

Homemade costume ideas for kids, adults, and pets which are quick, cheap, easy, and creative.

Cheap, Easy, and Quick Homemade Costume Ideas

Indexed Gallery with TONS of Homemade Costume Ideas (photos)

Fun Kids Costumes with Instructions

Fun ideas for clever indoor and outdoor decorating.

Outdoor Halloween Decorating Ideas

Decorating with Landscaping and Natural Elements

Decorating Basics

Make Realistic Looking Tombstones

Make Creepy Dummy Props

How to Make ‘Shrunken Heads’

Guides to ‘FOG’

Guides to multiple decorating props and ideas

Spook Alley Special Effects

Safety first! Or, as is commonly quoted, “It’s all fun and games ‘til someone loses an eye”. Let’s be careful out there, folks! (to paraphrase Hill Street Blues)

LA Fire Dept. Safety Tip List

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Safety Tips

American Red Cross Safety Tips

US Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tips and Warnings

An assortment of other Halloween ideas, helps, and tips.

Free Animated Halloween Ecards: Customizable. Can use pre-recorded message or record your own.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas, Tips, Helps

Free Printable Pumpkin Carving Patterns/Stencils

Pumpkin Decorating


History Channel: Origins of Halloween and More

ALTERNATIVES TO HALLOWEEN (for the Anti-Halloween Crowd)
There is much debate amongst many Christians over the propriety of celebrating what began as a Pagan ritual. With so much focus being on things dark and evil in nature, a movement is in progress to find alternatives to traditional Halloween festivities and themes.

Alternatives ideas for Halloween: Celebrate Fall

Five Fun Alternatives for Halloween

Harvest Celebrations Instead of Halloween (Ideas)

European Alternatives

Christian Celebrating Ideas (NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with this site)

Whatever you decide to do or not do, please be safe and have fun!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Texting is NOT Safer

Photo by Chance Agrella
Texting is NOT safer than talking on a cellular phone while driving.

You may ask,'Do we really need to tell people this?'

The answer is a clear and resounding 'YES' based upon an experience I recently had. For about one mile I was driving behind a young man who was, indeed, texting while (instead of, really) driving.

Clearly, he felt one hand on the steering wheel and one foot switching spontaneously between hard on the gas and hard on the brake was all he needed in order to drive.

His head was pointed downward, as he looked at his cell phone while he used his other hand to simultaneously hold the cell phone and type out text messages.

He made sure to explore every inch of the road with his car along the way. Hey, that oncoming lane must have looked really good to him, too, because it got a good portion of his wheel wear-n-tear.

Sudden stops in the middle of the road, random sharp swerving, and sudden full-gas peel-outs were only part of the entertainment the rest of us on the road got to endure. . .I mean, enjoy. . . along the way.

The fact it would not be safe to text and drive should be a matter of common sense. However, don't take my word for it. This KCTV-5 video report with a demonstration illustrates the dangers.

Want more proof? Try these reports about accidents, most of which include fatalities:

Santa Maria Crash - 63 yr old injured

Colorado Crash - Bicyclist Killed

Teen Driver and 4 Passengers Killed in New York: Was Texting to Blame?

64 year old killed - 19 year old sent to prison

Two Killed in Arizona Crash: Teens Weigh In

What can be done about it:

States Seek Ban on Texting and Driving

Consumer Reports Poll, Data, and State Bans

Teen Driving Seminars -Suggestions for Parents

Since it has not eliminated people talking on their cell phones while driving, I wonder how much good it will do to pass such a law. I think it is a good move, but I think parents taking more control over their teens, cell phones, and driving privileges is needed to work in conjunction with such laws.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Which Presidential Candidate is Compatible with Your Beliefs?

Photo by Chance Agrella
Once again an online test has been constructed which is supposed to help users quickly determine which presidential candidate is most compatible with their own views and beliefs. This is based upon the user’s answer selections and the candidates stated views, which may vary widely from their actual voting or practice behaviors/track record.

At the very least, with it narrowed down, it will be easier to focus on one or two candidates and research the real deal behind their campaign before actually voting for them.

15 questions are presented and users rate them by importance according to their own belief system.
To take the test from Minnesota Public Radio, click HERE

I took the test myself, and while many of the candidates were unknown to me, the major players ended up in the actual order in which I had already personally ranked them. That was comforting to me, in some weird way.

While I don’t think those lesser known ones have a real chance of winning, I am now interested in learning more about them, as several of them beat out all of the major players, in my results.

Want some unbiased info about the candidates? Here are some links to check out:

Your Next President

Person Not Party

Vote Smart
(click on the candidate’s name, then their bio or voting record, etc. This site is a work in progress)

On The Issues (click on the candidate's name to get the scoop on their stand on various issues)

Open Congress (you can track issues, congressional voting records, and more)

Most importantly, please learn the issues, the real deal about the candidates, and vote. We have no right to complain when we have done nothing to improve things for ourselves. Every vote can make a difference, as previous elections have shown.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Where to Find Business Grants

Photo by Chance Agrella
People have made a living off selling supposed ‘secret’ information on where to find money from the government. The books I once bought on the subject were a joke. Much of the information was outdated and/or too vague to be of any help.

The technology available to the average consumer today allows for individuals to find their own grant money information with relatively little effort.

Small Business Grants and Information
One of the first places to look is at the US government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) website. They do not give out grants, but they do give great information and links regarding how to locate funding for business. They offer a limited number of special purpose loans to businesses for things such as disaster recovery. Their Grants page is loaded with links to extensive grant information, grant sources, and grant writing tips.

Individual States offer programs designed to help promote business growth and revenue for their state. About.Com’s USGOV Info/Resources section offers a state-by-state listing of where to find business grants and resources. I don’t know how often the links are checked or updated, but a quick email to the guide for that section should elicit further help.

Also in that same section is a page dedicated to sources of funding which is not a government grant. The statement is made that most people don’t really need a grant, but other available assistance. A link if available to a page which explains what is involved in obtaining Federal Grant money . . . and the reasoning behind their statement that most would be better served with other forms of assistance.

The Small Business Center has a lot of information and links about various loan and grant programs, along with tips for applying.

General information about small business grants is also available in a different section of in their small business section.

The Idea Café website has a link for more information about grants, and also offers some grants of their own for small businesses. A wide variety of other business information is also available from their site.

Specialty Grants: Business Grants for Women
There are multiple sources of grant monies for women. A few links regarding such are:
Home Biz Tools.Com

Web Momz.Com

Women’s Business Grants

Woman Owned.Com

Specialty Grants: Business Grants for Other Groups
Grants for Disabled, Veterans, Single Moms, Ethnic Groups

Grants and Loans for Minorities

Your local state vocational rehabilitation program or welfare program may also have limited funds available to help those in need begin or expand their business, under certain circumstances. Call them for more information.

For information about how to start your own business, click HERE.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shame on You Mutts and Moms: An Open Letter

Dear Mutts and Moms;

While I applaud your vision of placing unwanted dogs into good homes, I most seriously question not only your judgment, but also where your true commitment lies.

When Ms. DeGeneres adopted Iggy, she did indeed sign an agreement to return the animal should she at some point in time no longer be able to keep him. It is understandable in this day and age that while consumers are strongly and repeatedly urged to carefully read everything before they sign, they do not . . .or they simply forget all of the fine print which they have agreed to, especially when a plethora of forms and contracts are being thrust at them regularly.

Due to conflicts between Iggy and her current animals, Ms. DeGeneres found a loving home for Iggy. I am sure she did not realize at the time she was in violation of her agreement with you, and felt she was acting in the best interest of Iggy; which was, in the spirit and nature of the agreement she signed with you, what she had agreed to do.

When you called about Iggy, she honestly told you the responsible action she had taken to provide a good and loving home for the animal. At this point you had several options. You chose the most inhumane and bureaucratically flawed one.

You could have explained to her the situation, and reminded her of the agreement. You could have asked, if the new family agreed to it, to screen them as you do all prospective adoptive families, while Iggy remained with them. As a consequence for her failure to follow the agreement she signed with you, you could have asked her to pay for all associated costs of the additional paperwork, time, and adoption fees/screening involved with approving the new family. They were innocent in all this and took the animal at no cost to themselves: why should they be hit with the expense? Plus, facing that or the alternative, I am quite sure Ms. Degeneres would have happily paid the costs.

In addition, not only would Iggy be with the family he was happy with; not only would 'justice' have been satisfied by Ms. DeGeneres paying the costs; but the family you have now placed Iggy with would have been free to adopt another animal. The result would be TWO animals having good homes, not just one.

You would have also gathered all the necessary paperwork to satisfy your rules about screening families for the animals. This would protect you from any false claims of favoritism for celebrities, breaking your own rules, etc. It would have shown you as humane and more concerned with the welfare of the animal than technicalities.

What you have done instead is shot yourself in your own foot. So caught up in your own bureaucratic red tape have you become, that you have totally lost sight of your original vision of placing ALL these dogs in your care with good families. Isn't that the spirit of your rules and fine print: to ensure the animals good homes?

You have added to Iggy's stress which is NOT what an 'animal protection' agency is supposed to do. You have cost an animal in need of a home, a slot in a good home by filling the one Iggy is in with Iggy, instead of another animal. You have broken the hearts of a great family who were providing a great home for Iggy, and you have elicited much negative press for yourselves. The new family which has Iggy now also has stress and potential heartbreak looming as well.

It would have been so simple to act in the best interest of the animal and create a win-win situation for everyone, which is what my above suggestion was. You would have been completely following the spirit of your own guidelines. Everyone would have walked away happy and satisfied; and I am sure that approach would have elicited some great word of mouth publicity for you, at the very least.

Instead, your ignorance and bureaucracy have shamed you and all you supposedly stand for.

Now, by virtue of all of this, you have most likely cost yourselves some future support, and cost the animals in your care some future good homes. You had the chance and the choice to do right by everyone involved. You chose not to.

Shame, shame, shame on you.


Daniella Nicole: animal lover and disgusted bystander.

**NOTE: I have every intention of getting this letter delivered to Mutts and Moms by whatever means I am able to. Their website and email has been temporarily shut-down due to the overwhelming outpouring of communication this issue has generated.

However, I was able to refer this letter to Ms DeGeneres via her show website contact form.


"Ellen's Plea for Iggy"
The Baltimore Sun

Statement from Petfinder.Com regarding Mutts and Moms contact website/email.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show (updates)

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Video Clip with Her Tearful Plea:
Video from Youtube user Kristinaxo

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

“The Right to Food” World Food Day 2007

Photo by Kerry A. Adamo
Each year, October 16th is celebrated as World Food Day. The history of this day is revealed in the United Nations (UN) website:
“World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945.”
The 2007 World Food Day theme is ‘The Right to Food’. The Food and Agriculture Organization website explains this choice as follows:
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 first recognized the right to food as a human right. It was then incorporated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11) adopted in 1966 and ratified by 156 states, which are today legally bound by its provisions.”
In honor of World Food Day, a teleconference will be conducted from noon to three pm, eastern time (USA), in which the environment and its role in world hunger will be discussed, along with ideas for change. More information may be obtained at the USA version of the world food day website.

For more information and background, please check the following links:

World Food Day official organization website

World Food Day official USA website

Glabalicious World Food Day Video

UNICEF world food day (2006) Video

video from Youtube user environmentalist21

What do YOU think can be done to end world hunger?

Like what I wrote and want to buy me a cherry coke? Today, please donate to the cause of ending world hunger.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Want to Start Your Own Business?

Photo by Heather Shelley
As an entrepreneur, I can say with some authority that there is a LOT to know before jumping into the world of self-employment/business ownership. However, this is a good thing.

Being prepared, and doing this advance planning and research helps prevent costly mistakes, and increases your chances for success. Most businesses fail within the first year of startup. If you want to avoid being another of those statistics, take some time to get all your facts and figures in order.

A few basic things to do before starting a business:

1-Write a business plan. It doesn't have to be extensive or lengthy, but going through the process of completing one will help you to think of things you had not, and will set you up to be largely prepared should you need to apply for financial aid (loans or grants). The things you need to know to complete a business plan are also the things you need to know in order to obtain financing.

2-Licensing and Laws. It cannot be stressed enough that you must check all local, state, and federal licensing and tax laws which apply to you and your particular business venture. Be sure to strictly adhere to them all or be prepared to face hefty fines and penalties. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse they will look mercifully upon or will accept.

3-Know your market. Knowing who your particular market is will help you determine how to advertise, and what your odds for success are. The market may already be flooded with a similar product or service. What will you do to make your business stand out from the rest and be more desirable to your customers or client-base? Be prepared to refine your plan or come up with a new one should this be the case.

4-Resume, Cover Letter, Credentials. Update your resume and credentials. Learn how to write a killer resume and cover letter. You will need these as part of your business plan, and for any application for financing. Also, if you are providing a service, you may need these in order to obtain clients.

5-'It takes money to make money'. Yup, it does. It may not need to take a lot of money, but there will most definitely have to be some capital invested in order to start a business. Advertising and licensing are just two of the costs involved.

6-Blood, Sweat, and Tears. It takes a lot of long hours and a great deal of work to make a success of a business. Starting your own business commonly requires a much larger commitment than a typical 9-to-5 or 40-hour work week would. Learning to find balance with work and your personal life will be crucial so you don't burn yourself out. Also, learning how to say 'no' in business and in your personal life will be a skill you will want to master quickly, so others do not burn you out.

The following links are just a few of the sources available that may offer some great information to start with in your quest to be a business owner:

This page on The Denver Channel 7 News website offers many links to articles, resources, and videos all related to starting your own business.

The Small Business Administration is a governmental agency set up specifically to help small businesses. A plethora of information may be found at this website and through this free governmental service. One section is all about business plans.

The business section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website can offer a great deal of needed info regarding starting and running your business. A toll-free number is available if you need more help and information. has a lot of great information, articles, forums, and resources for starting a running a business. Great place to get info about the latest trends in business and business technology.

MyOwnBusiness.Org is a non-profit entity which offers many free services and information. Some, such as certification and their textbook is available for a small fee. However, it is free to take the course, which is helpful in guiding you through the business start-up process. Writing business plans is covered in the free coursework. The costs involved with utilizing the paid features of this site may be tax-deductible. Consult your tax professional for more information.

This site is mostly about selling the software which has many features and information you can find for free online and from other sources. It does have free information and interactive features on the site you may need to write your business plan and start your business. One is a cost calculator for determining your start up costs. is renowned for offering great legal information, and has a section devoted to starting a business. Also on their site is information about patent law and other laws business owners may need.

An article about the home office deduction may be found here. Claiming the home office deduction may not be the best idea for everyone or in every situation.

One Final Thought:

Be sure to do online searches for forums and websites specifically for your particular business or product. For example, someone offering virtual assisting services would search for virtual assistant job boards to get clients and projects; and also search out other sites offering information for that particular business.

Want some leads for where to find business grants? Click HERE.

Good luck! And please let me know how this information worked for you. Please add any additional information or resource links which you have found helpful.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Whose Line is Richard Simmons Upstaging, Anyway?


I was directed to this clip, and I must say that I laughed so hard I teared up. What really struck me was that it was ok to laugh and joke the way they all were, about the things they were.

No PC-Mongers there to mess it all up. Just fun in the spirit of true comedy.

Funny Videos
video from

I know Mr Simmons can come across as very odd, but the man is a blessing to millions, in his own right. He has dedicated much of his time, talents, and resources to truly helping others. Many know of his weight-loss guru status. What many do not know is how generous and loving he is behind the scenes.

This man routinely allows himself to be the butt of jokes on talk show appearances, in order to help get the word out about obesity and weight loss. It takes a great deal of chutzpah to be so courageous!

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Copyright © 2008 - 2011 Daniella Nicole. All rights reserved.