Monday, December 31, 2007
Another three people were missing following the explosion in the town of Mishada, 20 miles north of the capital, on part of the main highway linking Baghdad to northern Iraq, according to a police officer and Adil al-Mishhadani, a member of the volunteer group.
The groups, known as Awakening Councils and dubbed Concerned Local Citizens by the U.S. military, have been credited with helping reduce violence in the country. The groups are made up of mainly Sunni tribal fighters who turned against al-Qaida in Iraq earlier this year and are now paid by the U.S. military to help provide security.
But they're also increasingly becoming targets in Iraq.
All 12 people killed in Monday's attack, as well as the three people missing, were believed to be council members, al-Mishhadani said.
In a separate attack, a female suicide bomber detonated herself near a police patrol, wounding five policemen and four civilians in the town of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, said police Brigadier Khudeir al-Tamimi.
Last week, a new audiotape of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden emerged warning Iraq's Sunni Arabs against joining the Awakening Councils or participating in any unity government.
He denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of the Awakening Council in Anbar province, where the movement started. Abu Risha was killed in a bombing in September.
The Awakening Council movement now includes more than 70,000 fighters in Anbar, Baghdad and other Sunni-dominated provinces. The councils, along with a surge of extra U.S. troops into Baghdad and a cease-fire declared by radical Shiite extremist Muqtada al-Sadr for his Mahdi Army militia, are credited with a 60 percent reduction in overall violence in the country since June.
In the capital, a mortar round wounded three civilians when it landed on a house in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Amariyah Monday, a Baghdad police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information to the media. The intended target was believed to have been a nearby Awakening Council headquarters.
To the south in Wasit province, gunmen shot and wounded an Awakening Council member in the village of al-Hafriyah, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, police said.
In the town of Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad, gunmen traded fire with police and Awakening Council members, leaving one council member and one policeman dead and wounding three policemen, a police officer said.
Separately, six mortar rounds landed near an Iraqi Army checkpoint near the town, wounding two soldiers, the officer said.
In other violence Monday, a roadside bomb targeting a patrol near the Iranian border killed two Iraqi soldiers and injured another four, police said.
The attack occurred shortly after dawn in the frontier town of Mandali, about 30 miles from the Iranian border in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information to the media.
Diyala has become one of Iraq's most dangerous areas. Most of the activities of al-Qaida in Iraq have been pushed out Anbar province and Baghdad, into Diyala and the northern city of Mosul, following the surge of U.S. troops and the work of Awakening Councils in Anbar.
"Diyala has been one of the tougher fights," U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said in Baghdad Sunday. "Diyala is an area of significant interest for al-Qaida."
"We realize that security in Iraq is very fragile and tenuous," Smith said. Although much progress had been made, "there is no place in Iraq today that is safe from terrorism."
Report Courtesy : SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
After more tests cancer was discovered and it turned out to be Esophageal cancer stage 4. After receiving a few rounds of chemotherapy and fighting a very tough battle for months, Bud passed away on November 14th 2007.
You can help Buds wife Megan, and his 2 sons Colby and Cameron by contributing to the Mills Family trust and spreading the word to others to follow your lead!
Please make checks out to Megan Mills and send to The Mills Family Trust 240 Bancroft Rd. Burlingame, CA 94010 or via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
More info at : http://www.blacklungproductions.com/insanity/inews.html
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
'Simply put in a sample of your urine and the computer will diagnose your problem and tell you what you can do about it. It only costs $10." Bill figured he had nothing to lose, so he filled a jar with a urine sample and went to the drug store. Finding the computer, he poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer started making some noise and various lights started flashing. After a brief pause out popped a small slip of paper on which was printed: "You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water. Avoid heavy lifting. It will be better in two weeks."
Later that evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was and how it would change medical science forever, he began to wonder if this machine could be fooled. He mixed together some tap water, a stool sample from his dog and urine samples from his wife and daughter. To top it off, he masturbated into the concoction. He went back to the drug store, located the machine, poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer again made the usual noise and printed out the following message:
"Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. Your dog has worms. Get him vitamins. Your daughter is using cocaine. Put her in a rehabilitation clinic. Your wife is pregnant with twin girls. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer. And if you don't stop jerking off, your tennis elbow will never get better."
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
However, this is an area, I was always apprehensive about.
Not because of its money making potential but due to a personal experience.
Call it sour grapes - but the actual reason is that I am rather piqued is by the fact of chatting through a computer / webcam.
With webcams, you could literally interact with one another so well.
Well, then what's my problem ?
Unfortunately, I joined a site some time back, only have to my friend on the other side remove her clothes as she claimed that it was rather hot out there. Now this is a common situation. Eventually, I did switch the machine off, although reluctantly !
Now this is not an example to start dating online, nor deter them from doing so.
You have to come to terms with the fact its enormous potential in the market. As a result dating affiliate programs are also one of the most sought after ones.
There are numerous, dating and personals sites out there and if I guess correctly, most of them are doing quite well
The word online dating and adult dating all have very high search rating, ie., they are one of the most sought after search words. You check this with any top keyword provider, say, word tracker who provide you a weekly report on the top keywords based on search extraction, and see the number of dating online and adult terminology, you would be taken aback.
Online Dating is certainly one of the only verticals producing serious profits for both large and small online businesses. "The Personals / Dating category held its position as one of the largest paid content category above Business / Investment Content, with $400 million plus in revenues, with an average 20% increase every year.
Studies show that dating revenue shot up as much as 75% last year alone, and is targeted to grow well beyond expectations. Now what more can you say !
The Personals and dating affiliate program revenue potential has a high rate of return. In short, the opportunities available for anyone with a website are enormous. So, how can you take advantage of this?
You can either SIGN UP for any of these programs, and then by using their existing dating engine, build a dating website and watch crazy singles flock to it !
In affiliate jargon, it serves as a revenue fuel for new dating sites, or just as a value added addition to your current site. Large or small, every site or webmaster can profit from partnering with these sites
In plain language, it is exciting, new, and fun content to capture the attention of existing and new members.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The two sides are at bitter odds over an outline of a peace agreement that would be presented at next month's conference, and Rice sought to lower expectations her mission would finalize preparations for the gathering.
Underscoring her less-than-optimistic assessment, Israeli and Palestinians traded shots about the other's commitment to peace even as she arrived in the region. During her four-day visit, she will bounce between Israel and the West Bank, seeking a consensus.
Her hope is to close the gap as Israel and the Palestinian Authority try to forge an outline of an eventual peace deal and produce a joint statement for the conference. It is expected to held in Annapolis, Md., in late November.
But after Rice's first series of meetings, a senior State Department official hinted that the date could slide as the lead negotiators for the two sides will begin only this week to try to craft the document.
"This is going to take some time," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity in order to describe the private conversations. "This is going to require a lot of hands-on American diplomacy. These are really tough issues."
And on her flight from Moscow, where she held talks with Russian leaders, Rice said she did not believe her visit would clear the way for that statement or make enough progress so that conference invitations could go out.
"I don't expect out of these meetings that there will be any particular outcome in the sense of breakthroughs on the document," she told reporters on her plane. She said intends to return at least once to the Mideast before the conference.
Rice said she wanted to "help them narrow differences that they may have about what the nature of this document has to be."
"I do think it's important that they address the core issues in some fashion," she said. "I also think it's important that the document be substantive enough that it points that there is a way forward toward the establishment of a Palestinian state."
Israel is pressing for a vaguely worded document that would give it more room to maneuver. The Palestinians want a detailed preliminary agreement with a timetable for creating a Palestinian state as well was specifics on borders, sovereignty over disputed Jerusalem and a solution for Palestinian refugees — the "final status" issues.
Israel said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would lead negotiations with the Palestinian team led by Ahmed Qureia, a former prime minister.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet he did not believe the joint statement was a prerequisite for the conference. He repeated that in his two-hour plus meeting with Rice, according to his office.
The goal, Olmert said, "is to arrive at a joint statement during the international conference, even though the existence of such a statement was never a condition for holding this conference."
But the acting Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki, said his side would skip the conference without agreement on a statement.
"Without a document to resolve this conflict, we can't go to the conference next month," he said. "Olmert is looking for a public relations conference and one that will allow normalization with Arab countries. We will not help him in this."
Ahead of her meetings, Rice delivered a rare warning to Israel not to take any steps that might erode confidence in the peace process. "This is a very delicate time," she said. "It's just a time to be extremely careful."
Her comments referred to the renewal of a road project that Palestinians fear is intended to tighten Israeli control over strategic West Bank areas near Jerusalem. Israel says construction is not imminent and is meant to ease Palestinian movement.
But those assertions did little to ease concerns. Shortly after she landed, Israeli officials said they had decided to resume an archaeological dig near a hotly disputed Jerusalem holy site, drawing more Palestinian charges that Israel is trying to scuttle the conference.
Rice also met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who later issued a statement saying the military's freedom of movement in the West Bank was a "fundamental principle that must be demanded in the future as well."
The comments from Barak, who later headed to Washington for talks with the Bush administration, came despite long-standing Palestinian demands for a reduced Israeli presence in the West Bank.
Rice is on her third trip to the region since June, when the United States began to try to revive peace efforts after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.
That takeover has left the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in control of just the West Bank. His expulsion of Hamas from the government has, in U.S. eyes, freed him to pursue a peace deal that would create a Palestinian state.
Also on Rice's schedule was dinner with the Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, and talks Monday with Abbas in Ramallah. She will have second sessions with both sides on Wednesday.
To build Arab support for the conference, Rice plans stops in Egypt on Tuesday to see President Hosni Mubarak and in Britain on Thursday, where she will see King Abdullah of Jordan.
The participation of the those countries, the only major Arab nations to have signed peace deals with Israel, along with Saudi Arabia is considered key to the success of the conference. All three have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the meeting.
Article Courtesy : By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Great commercial from the makers of Tooheys New Beer...
The theme : Being With Mates..
The ad is great, the setting ideal, the characters perfect, with the odd sexy female giving it the necessary touch.. Although the the ad may appear misleading... it is simply fantastic.. better watched than explained .. For Tooheys, the ad further supports their 'for the love of beer' theme..
For those who are new, Tooheys is an Australian brewery in the suburb of Lidcombe, New South Wales in Sydney, New South Wales. It brews beers under both the Tooheys and Hahn brand, and it is now an affiliate of the Multinational Lion Nathan brewing conglomerate.
Full credit to the ad team
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Bush, who flew in from his home in Texas, was greeted by security forces upon landing outside the White House, and quickly escorted through the building's back entrance. Wearing a special suit-and-tie uniform intended to boost morale and show support for men and women serving in the Beltway, Bush entered the East Room at about 3:30 p.m. and addressed a bewildered but enthusiastic crowd of staff members.
"Am I late?" Bush joked to the group of approximately 200, who were led to believe they would be attending a ceremony to honor Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters. Bush's entrance received a standing ovation.
"It is incredible to see firsthand what you brave men and women do every day," Bush said to rousing applause. "You are all heroes."
Telling the group he wished he had the time to work alongside each and every one of them, Bush made general inquiries about conditions at the executive mansion, recruitment of new personnel, and where everyone was eating for lunch.
According to sources close to the president, Bush barely had time to rest during the four-hour visit. He first met face-to-face with several high-ranking U.S. officials, who briefed him on the situation in Washington. Bush then signed a number of documents, took a guided tour of the facilities, and in a symbolic show of support for the current administration, shook hands with the vice president.
Bush was also granted permission to sit in on an important Cabinet meeting concerning U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Those who were present said the president mostly observed, but noted that he did ask "a lot" of questions. Afterward, Bush sat behind the Oval Office desk and shuffled papers for 15 minutes while news photographers snapped photographs.
For most members of the White House staff, it was their first chance to meet the president. Many said they were "overcome" with excitement.
"When I was getting ready for work this morning, the last person I ever thought I'd see was the president of the United States," said Alexander Mistri, special assistant to the president for legislative affairs.
"I actually got to shake hands with the president," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said. "He seems like a very nice man in person."
While Bush made surprise trips to work in August 2004 and stopped by in July 2005 to pick up a paycheck, Monday's visit marked his first extended stay since last December.
For security reasons, the trip was shrouded in secrecy. Sources say the president was ushered out of his Crawford, TX home just before noon Monday, while his family and closest friends were under the assumption that he was sleeping in, per normal vacation protocol. Only a few officials were informed of the trip, including his chief of staff Joshua Bolten, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Bush's fishing buddy Dale.
Many claim the trip was staged as a "media ploy" intended to convince the public that the administration's occupation of Washington, D.C. is not a lost cause.
"President Bush wants us to believe that he is in touch with the Bush administration," political analyst Garry Wills said. "But this is too little, too late. Mr. Bush has staked his legacy on the success of the work being done in the White House, but if I were him, I'd be thinking more about an exit strategy than rallying the grunts on the ground."
Despite such criticisms, Bush's visit ended on a positive note. At 4:55 p.m. Monday, he gave a parting speech to staff, thanking them for their hard work, explaining that the future of the country rests in their hands, and promising that they would all be sent home to their families "very soon."
Article Courtesy : The Onion
This comes after hearing a petition filed by filmmaker Bhavna Talwar challenging the selection of Vidhu Vinod Chopra's film for the award ceremony.
The Division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud issued notices to the Film Federation of India (FFI) - the body that selects India's entry to the Academy Awards in Hollywood.
The respondents in the case have been asked to file a reply by October 10.
Talwar whose film Dharm was also in the running to be selected as India's entry for the Oscars had filed the petition alleging that some members of the FFI were close to Vidhu Vinod Chopra and so the selection of Eklavya is not a fair one.
Film editor Ranjit Bahadur, one of 11 jury members who picked our Oscar entry this year, was also the man who edited the behind-the-scenes capsule of Eklavya which appears on the film's DVD.
With the film already in the eye of a storm over allegations that its selection may have been dubious, this development certainly adds fuel to the fire.
He got the job after describing the cubes as "the best... in the world".
The 45-year-old, the youngest Briton to win three Michelin stars, will feature in a Knorr advertising campaign over the next 12 months.
White shocked foodies when he also praised ketchup, Colman's mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
He said: "I built my reputation using Knorr cubes and truly believe you can't cook properly at home without them."
Katie Lindridge, Knorr brand manager, said: "Throughout his career, Marco has talked about how essential Knorr stock cubes are to his cooking.
"We really believe his passion can inspire people to use them in different and exciting ways to help them in the kitchen."
Friday, September 28, 2007
On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."
On the trucks of a local plumbing company in NE Pennsylvania: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
Pizza shop slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one weak."
Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
Door of a plastic surgeon's office: "We can help you pick your nose!"
On an electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."
In a non-smoking area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
On a maternity room door: "Push. Push. Push."
At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
After three rainy seasons together, a black rhinoceros and a parasite-eating tickbird are beginning to suspect that their symbiotic relationship has fallen into a rut, the couple reported Sunday.
"We're really symbiotic—almost too symbiotic," the rhino said. "It's just gotten so predictable lately that I'm starting to wonder, 'Is this all there is?'"
First meeting at a local watering hole in 2004, both creatures immediately saw themselves as natural for one other and, in the words of the rhino, felt something "new, gratifying, and mutually beneficial." Within hours, the tickbird had moved into the rhino's habitat and set up house on his thick hide.
But as time went on, it slowly dawned on the couple that their partnership was perhaps merely one of convenience.
"I admit, when we first got together, I was a total mess," the rhino said. "She really helped me clean up my act. But we've been together so long now that I always know exactly what she's going to do next."
Devouring horsefly larvae embedded in her 3,000-pound partner's back, the tickbird seemed to agree that there was little fire left in their symbiotic relationship. At worst, she said, it feels like she and the rhino have been trapped in the same dead-end symbiosis for "countless millions of years."
"We just go through the motions, and there's hardly any communication," the tickbird said. "And we do it the exact same way every time. I get on top and take the parasites off while he just lays there."
"Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Where's the passion, the heat?" the tickbird continued.
The tickbird also accused the rhino of trying to make her "feel small."
"He doesn't realize everything I do for him," the tickbird said. "If it wasn't for my 'incessant squawking,' as he calls it, he would be shot by poachers before he even saw them coming."
Both creatures separately expressed envy of their neighbors, a plover and crocodile, who "never seem to have the problems we do," the rhino said.
"That crocodile appreciates having his teeth cleaned, and he makes sure she knows," the tickbird said. "Look at that big grin."
The rhino said that he often feels like a victim of her nitpicking.
"I might look tough, but I have feelings," the rhino said. "I give her plenty to eat and a great place to perch, but it feels like she's constantly pecking an open wound. Ugh, why can't we just be friends with mutualistic benefits?"
The frustration has caused the pair to act out in passive-aggressive ways. The rhino will frequently charge without warning, jarring the tickbird from her perch. Meanwhile, the tickbird often deliberately embarrasses her partner by speculating aloud about a symbiotic relationship with a cape buffalo or zebra, often within earshot of those species.
According to a nearby elephant, this sense of stagnancy commonly occurs in symbiotic partnerships across sub-Saharan Africa.
"The rhino and tickbird may have evolved physiologically to meet each other's needs, but it's clear they haven't evolved emotionally," the elephant said. "They need to recognize that in order to go forward. The rhino's loud snorting is very alienating. And obviously the tickbird is projecting her own feelings of inadequacy when she criticizes the rhino for being a typical Diceros bicornis."
For all their friction, both creatures conceded that they weren't sure they could actually live without each other.
"I don't know why we stay together," the rhino said. "I guess we're just creatures of instinctual habit."
Monday, August 20, 2007
As of yesterday, the Bush administration still hadn't found the source of the White House leak that ousted a woman as a CIA operative. To recap, here are the things President Bush can't find: The source of the leak, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin laden, the link between Saddam and Osama bin laden, the guy who sent the anthrax through the mail, and his butt with two hands and a flashlight.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Dr Sharada said this at a three day workshop held at Lonavala on''Gender and Media'' where she spoke about 'The change over the lasthalf century in reporting on women and gender issues by Indian newspapers' and 'Gender Budgeting for Women.
She added, ''Biases are often unconscious. If not exposed andaddressed they become part of a work culture and a way of life. Theyunfairly impinge on a section of society and cloud the correctpicture. To break a bias, one needs to be first conscious of it.''Speaking on 'Reporting crime on women' an activist Lalitha Dhara said,''15 cases of rape and sexual violence were reported in 2000-01 upfrom just one case in the 1970's, when newspapers were shy of evenmentioning the word 'rape' but couched it in phrases like ''outraginga woman's modesty'' or ''assault''.'
'With the entry of women in journalism the crime phraseology has changed.
However many of the reported rape stories are still foundwanting in the manner in which they are written. Only a couple of themwere reported in a sensitive balanced way.'' Speaking on 'Gender Budgeting for Women' Lalitha Dhara said, ''
The annual budget of 2005-06 etched in a structural change that went largely and sadlyunreported.' ' For the first time as many as 18 Union Ministries wereasked to do a gender disaggregated analysis so that they are able toprovide a reliable and studied indicator of how their programmesimpact gender.
Described as welcome by some and a hasty patchwork byothers the fact remains that it marked the arrival of 'gender budgeting' in India.
As the Finance Minister himself acknowledged in his budget speech tha this step for gender budgeting was only the beginning. ''Hon. members will be happy to note I have included in the budget documents a seperate statement highlighting gender sensitivities of the budgetary allocations under 10 demands for grants.
The total amount in budget estimates 2005-06 according to the statement is just above Rs 10,000 crore.''Although this is another first in budget making in India it is only a beginning and in course of time all departments will be required to present gender budgets as well as make benefit-incidence analysis.''
Friday, July 06, 2007
In a move that could impact the Rs 8,000 crore television advertising revenue and the process of measuring popularity of television programming, the information and broadcasting ministry plans to end the monopoly environment in measuring of television rating points (TRPs).
I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said, "The current scenario of measuring TRPs does not reflect real growth of channels and is not a true representative of what audiences are watching. We want to end the monopoly of one company."
He said existing standards would have to be reviewed, including sample size and a more transparent system of functioning will be put in place. The matter is likely to be taken up in an inter-ministerial meeting next week.
Popularity of television programming is measured in TRPs that is collated through 'peoplemeters' set up in a sample number of television homes. At present, broadcasters, advertisers and media planners subscribe to TRPs generated on weekly basis by TAM Media Research. Another agency, aMap provides ratings on an overnight basis.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
It was the first day of school and a new student named Chandrasekhar Subramaniam entered the fourth grade. The teacher said, "Let's begin by reviewing some American History.
Who said "Give me Liberty, or give me Death"?
She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Chandrasekhar, who had his hand up: "Patrick Henry, 1775" he said.
Very good.....she said
Who said "Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth?"
Again, no response except from Chandrasekhar. "Abraham Lincoln, 1863" said Chandrasekhar.
The teacher snapped at the class, "Class, you should be ashamed. Chandrasekhar, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do."
She heard a loud whisper: "F*ck the Indians,"
"Who said that?" she demanded. Candrasekhar put his hand up. "General Custer, 1862."
At that point, a student in the back said, "I'm gonna puke."
The teacher glares around and asks "All right.... Now, who said that?"
Again, Chandrasekhar says, "George Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister,1991."
Now furious, another student yells, "Oh yeah? S*ck this!"
Chandrasekhar jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher,
"Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!"
Now with almost a mob hysteria someone said "You little Sh*t. If you say anything else, I'll kill you."
Chandrashekhar frantically yells at the top of his voice, "Gary Condit to Chandra Levy, 2001."
The teacher fainted...........
And as the class gathered around the teacher on the floor, someone said,
"Oh shit, we're f*cked!" and..........
Chandrasekhar said quietly, "George Bush, Iraq, 2005.......
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Most of us chalk it up to having too much to do and not enough time to do it in, especially during extra-busy periods.
But often the true culprits are our everyday habits: what we eat, how we sleep, and how we cope emotionally. Listed below are some basic recharging changes that can help you tackle most, if not all of the energy stealers.
Energize Your Diet
Have breakfast... even if you don't feel hungry. You'll be a lot perkier:
Eat every three to four hours. Having three smallish meals and two snacks throughout the day can keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable all day long. A few meal ideas: a low-fat yogurt parfait with berries and a couple of tablespoons of whole-grain granola; salmon over mixed greens with whole-grain crackers; and beef tenderloin with a baked sweet potato and asparagus. Fill up on more fiber... the daily recommended suggestions: a bowl of raisin bran (5 grams of fiber per cup); black beans and cheese wrapped in a multigrain tortilla (beans have 7.5 grams per 1/2 cup; one tortilla has 5 grams); air-popped popcorn (3.6 grams per 3 cups); an apple with the skin (3.3 grams); and whole-wheat spaghetti (6.3 grams per cup). Fuel your body with omega-3s...found in fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon), walnuts, and canola oil, these essential fatty acids play a role in keeping you mentally alert. Stay hydrated always. You should be going every two to four hours to the loo and your urine should be clear or pale yellow in color. Tip: Besides drinking more, you can also consume foods that naturally contain water, such as yogurt, broccoli, carrots, and juicy fruits, like watermelons, oranges, and grapefruits. Also watch caffeine intake after noon. Typically, consuming a moderate amount of caffeine — 200 to 300 mg, the amount found in two to three cups of coffee — can make you more energetic and alert. But when caffeine is consumed in large quantities — or anytime in the afternoon or evening — the quality of your sleep that night can take a nosedive, leaving you with heavy eyelids the next day.
- Splash some water on your face or take a shower when you're feeling burned-out.
- Suit up in a "power" outfit to beat the blahs.
- Vent your feelings.
- Turn on some tunes.
- Let go of grudges.
- Take belly breaths.
- De-clutter a corner.
- Doing some good would also make you feel good
- Cut back on TV and computer time after 8 p.m
- Hide your alarm clock.
- Give your pet his own separate sleeping space.
- Lower the thermostat
- Skip the nightcap.
- Get your exercise.
- If you can't get to sleep within 15 minutes, get out and do something relaxing
- Write down your worries.
And there are many more….but organize the above and most of your stress factors would decide to take a holiday…. Leavin you much more energized until they decide to return….
WebMD Feature from "Redbook" MagazineBy Nancy Rones
Sunday, July 01, 2007
The video, prepared in partnership with the India's Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), educates users on the stages of documentary scriptwriting. The goal is to support local communication by making the knowledge of documentary production more widely available.
The video is available in DVD format.
For more information,
contact email@example.com or visit http://www.unescobk k.org/index. php?id=5965.
Article Courtesy : [ZESTMedia]
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
"On the first page, when you see a cartoon, it puts a smile on your face. The rest of the news is about things like rape, theft and killing. The man or the child or the woman is happy to see the cartoon. You must bring back the cartoon on the first page," Kalam said during an interaction with journalists. "A man or a woman should smile in the morning. Don't make him or her unhappy," he said.
The President recalled that as a young person, the first thing he would look at when he picked up a newspaper would be the cartoon on the front page. "What I loved on the first page was the cartoon," he said. Kalam said the editors might love political news, but people hate it.
The President also said media persons need to see beyond the capital for news. Delhi is not the only place where things are happening," he said.
As an example, he cited the case of Kali Bein river in Punjab that was cleaned with the people's efforts but has not received adequate publicity. "Yamuna is not the only river that is polluted," Kalam said
Article Source.. [PTI]
Friday, June 22, 2007
Film critics, historians and experts voted "Kane" as the top U.S. film for the second time in a decade in a poll conducted by the American Film Institute. The results were revealed in a three-hour CBS special "100 Years, 100 Movies, 10th Anniversary Edition."
"The Godfather," which ranked third in the original poll of 100 great films a decade ago. moved up a notch to second place while "Casablanca" slipped to number three.
Also in the top 10 were a surprising "Raging Bull" at number four, up 20 places from a decade ago. "Singin' in the Rain" was in fifth place, "Gone With The Wind" was sixth followed by "Lawrence of Arabia," "Schindler's List," "Vertigo" and "The Wizard of Oz."
"Vertigo," the Hitchcock film starring James Stewart, rose to 9th place after placing 61st in the original poll.
"American film has always reflected and, in many respects, defined who we are," said AFI president and chief executive Jean Picker Firstenberg.
She credited the spreading popularity of the DVD with spurring interest in silent films and in often neglected masterpieces like John Ford's "The Searchers," which went from 96 on the original list to 12 this year.
For the first time, D.W. Griffith's silent masterpiece "Intolerance" was voted onto the list as was Buster Keaton's "The General" while Charlie Chaplin's poignant "City Lights" rose from 76 to 11 on the list.
But Griffith's racist 1915 film "Birth of a Nation" fell off the list entirely because of its now unpopular ideology, despite its history of technical innovations.
Of the 43 newly eligible films released from 1996 to 2006, only "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (50), "Saving Private Ryan" (71), "Titanic" (83) and "The Sixth Sense" (89) made the cut.
Other new additions to the list include "Cabaret" (63), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (67), "The Shawshank Redemption" (72), "All The President's Men" (77), "Spartacus" (81) and "A Night at the Opera" (85).
Among those films that did not make the list were: "Fantasia," "Doctor Zhivago," "Birth of a Nation," "The Jazz Singer," My Fair Lady," "From Here to Eternity" and "An American in Paris."
AFI film historian Pat Hansen said it seemed that musicals took the biggest hit. "Musicals seemed out of favor and were replaced by more popular films like 'Titanic' and 'Saving Private Ryan'," she said.
Article Courtesy :
By Arthur Spiegelman Thu Jun 21, 2:09 AM ET
Thursday, June 21, 2007
By Marc Frank in Havana
Vilma Espin Guillois, the wife of Cuba’s acting president, and one of the country’s few remaining historic revolutionary figures, died in Havana on Monday at the age of 77, reportedly from cancer. She had not been seen in public for several years.
Espin, who had four children with Raúl Castro, is the most important Cuban political figure to pass away since Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro’s confidant and advisor, died in the early 1980s and perhaps since Che Guevara perished in Bolivia in 1967.
A government statement declared Tuesday a day of mourning. Her cremated remains will be placed for public viewing at the Jose Marti monument in Havana’s Revolution square, before being taken to Santiago de Cuba where she fought.
A memorial service will take place on Tuesday night in Havana, which may be attended by Fidel Castro, not seen in public since undergoing various abdominal surgeries last year.
Espin’s death was sure to serve as a reminder to Cubans at home and abroad that the lives of the handful of remaining leaders of the Cuban revolution, including Fidel Castro, 80 and Raúl Castro, 76, are coming to an end, and with them a unique and controversial epoch in the Caribbean island’s history.
Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power to his brother on July 31 when he underwent the first of several intestinal surgeries. He has yet to return to power or be seen in public though he has become more active in recent months, writing opinion pieces for the government media and holding longer and more frequent meetings with foreign guests.
Espin often represented Cuba abroad. She attended international women’s conferences and summits attended by Fidel Castro, where the wives of participating heads of state also gathered. She had suffered from cancer for a number of years.
The daughter of a wealthy family from eastern Santiago de Cuba, Espin was a chemical engineer who spent a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before becoming a leader of the underground in 1956 during the right-wing dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
Ms Espin joined the Castro brothers in the mountains in the late 1950s, becoming Raul Castro’s fiancée and one of the first woman guerilla fighters in the final push that brought Mr Batista down in 1959. She married Raúl Castro a few months later and they had four daughters, all currently living in Cuba.
She was one of few people who have held Fidel Castro’s confidence over the years, providing him with unconditional public support through all the twists and turns of his rule. He named her head of the women’s federation in 1960. She was a member of the Communist party central committee from its founding in 1965 until her death, and served on the Politburo from 1980 -1991.
But it was as the leader of the women’s federation for decades that Espin made her mark, organising women to both support the Castro government and push for equality without breaking “revolutionary unity,” a difficult task in a machista society.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
He has written recently a piece in Wall Street Journal, that is quite a scorcher !
- The dirty secret is that private equity investors aren't all that good
- Don't mistake financial engineering for company building.
- Borrowers chasing yield tend to forget about risk.
- Ten-year bonds have been backing up, with yields approaching 5.25%.
- This surely means money supply growth is slowing.
- No one can call a top, but there sure are signs of fatigue..
- Lenders are feeling stretched and may dry up their pit of funding.
Elsewhere, Kessler says a one-day, 1,000-point drop in the Dow would not surprise him.
Is such a hiccup imminent?
Does Blackstone's IPO signal the top of the private equity boom?
Public equities, too?
By Rich Karlgurd, from Forbes.com
The Free Media Movement said Minister Keheliya Rambukwella's statement that he would love to hire hackers to use against Tamilnet, a pro-guerilla website at the centre of the controversy put at him cross purposes with the country's computer crimes bill.
Meanwhile the international media rights watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF) also condemned the blocking of the internet site and called for it to be lifted.
"The government must put a stop to this censorship and restore access to the site at once," RSF said.
RSF said the site has often been accused of supporting Tamil nationalists. Its editor, Sivaram Dharmaratnam, was murdered on April 28, 2005.
The full statement is reproduced below: The Free Media Movement (FMM) unequivocally condemns the outrageous statement by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, as reported by the BBC's Sinhala Service and by AFP today, that he would love to hire hackers to disable Tamilnet, but had not found anyone yet for the job.
Minister Rambukwella's statement is tantamount to Government sanctioned cyber-terrorism against websites that do not toe its line.
The reference to the use of hackers to shut down websites is a strategy that offensively transgresses the responsibility to protect fundamental rights of citizens, including the freedom of expression and the right to information, by a Government Minister.
The Minister's statement also puts him at cross purposes with the Computer Crimes Bill enacted in Sri Lanka earlier this year, holding him culpable under the law for attempting to hack into a website with the intent to cause disruption.
The FMM seeks urgent clarification from the Government as to whether Minister Rambukwella's comments are indicative of official Government policy to shutdown, disrupt or censor content and websites on the Internet.
If not, the FMM seeks a full retraction from the Minister and reiterates that the Government must immediately unblock access to Tamilnet in Sri Lanka.
Article Contribution : ZESTMedia
Members of the ZESTMedia list exchange news and views about the media in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
1) Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
2) Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits. Wear them one day after you boss does. This is especially effective if your boss is a different gender.
3) Make up nicknames for all your coworkers and refer to them only by these names. "That's a good point, Sparky." "No, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with you there, Cha-cha."
4) Send e-mail to the rest of the company telling them exactly what you're doing. For example: "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom."
5) Hi-Lite your shoes. Tell people you haven't lost them as much since you did this.
6) While sitting at your desk, soak your fingers in Palmolive liquid. Call everyone Madge.
7) Hang mosquito netting around your cubicle. When you emerge to get coffee or a printout or whatever, slap yourself randomly the whole way.
8) Put a chair facing a printer. Sit there all day and tell people you're waiting for your document_
9) Every time someone asks you to do something, anything, ask them if they want fries with that.
10) Send e-mail back and forth to yourself engaging yourself in an intellectual debate. Forward the mail to a co-worker and ask her to settle the disagreement.
11) Encourage your colleagues to join you in a little synchronized chair-dancing.
12) Put your trash can on your desk. Label it "IN."
13) Feign an unnatural and hysterical fear of staplers.
14) Send e-mail messages saying there's free pizza or donuts or cake in the lunch room. When people drift back to work complaining that they found none, lean back, pat your stomach and say, "Oh you've got to be faster than that."
15) Put decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks. Once everyone has withdrawn from caffeine addiction, switch to espresso
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Avaya (nyse: AV ) shares jumped $2.11, or 15.4%, to $15.78, on indications the company is in deal talks. The company first raised hopes that it could be in preliminary talks for a sale when it postponed an analyst day scheduled for May 31. The company's also drawn speculation due to its attractive fundamentals, as it has high cash flow and low debt.
As telecom equipment makers look to consolidate, other candidates for purchase include Avaya's larger competitors. In the Internet-based phone service niche, the company competes with tech giants like Cisco Systems and Microsoft.
Another larger competitor is network equipment provider Nortel Networks (nyse: NT ). The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that people familiar with the matter say that Nortel is interested in acquiring Avaya. Avaya did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The report also said that the company is in talks with private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners about a leveraged buyout plan.
In addition to its strong fundamentals, Avaya could be drawing attention because of some of its assets. Standard & Poor's analyst Ari Bensinger said the company's private branch exchange and services support businesses could be catching the attention of potential bidders.
Nortel was up 13 cents, or 0.5%, to $25.92, on Tuesday.
The Avaya speculation was just part of a batch of acquisition news that helped push the markets higher Tuesday. Investors have drawn some of their confidence that stocks are still reasonably priced from the massive appetite of public companies and private firms for U.S. equities. (See:Good Deals.)
A cool million sounds like it should afford you an impressive estate or at least a starter mansion. But in some areas of the U.S., you'd be lucky to score a second bedroom.
A million dollars was once a measure of immense wealth in the U.S. It was a sum attainable by only a few and could buy a hilltop mansion, a city penthouse or a waterfront manor.
Not anymore. Today, million-dollar bungalows or two-bedroom condos are more like it -- at least, in highly sought-after American locales. (View the Forbes.com slideshow of what $1 million will buy you across the U.S.)
Most Americans still consider $1 million a large sum of money, regardless of what their real estate agents would have them believe -- and well, they should. The problem is, in the hottest real estate markets, there seems to be an utter disconnect between property value and the buying power of a dollar.
The result? Million-dollar homes seem to be a dime a dozen these days. According to a Census Bureau survey published in 2005, the number of million-dollar, owner-occupied homes in this country has nearly doubled since 2000. In fact, this segment of the housing market has grown so large that the Census changed its top home-value category from "$500,000 or more" in 1990, to "$1 million or more" in 2000.
A one-bedroom for a million?Topping that Census list was the state of California, with 4.1% -- almost one out of every 25 -- of its homes priced at or above the $1 million mark. Both Connecticut and the District of Columbia had 3.3%, and Massachusetts and New York trailed closely behind with 2.2% and 2.1%, respectively. In New York, that figure may seen surprisingly low, but we're not even talking about apartments, because the figures exclude residences in multiunit buildings.
In downtown Manhattan, you can get a great one-bedroom for a million, says Sean Turner, a broker with high-end real estate agency Stribling and Associates. "A two-bedroom would be a little tough."
"If you’re looking in prime neighborhoods like the West Village or TriBeCa, a million dollars will buy you a very nice one-bedroom," she adds. "But if you’re looking in an off location (more of a neighborhood on the perimeter) you can get a two-bedroom for a million -- a small two-bedroom."
Vacation hotspots and popular second-home locales have hardly been immune to the rapid price growth either.
Asked what you can buy in Park City, Utah, for $1 million, Wendy Harrison, a broker with Signature Group Real Estate there, chuckles. "Not much," she says.
"You’d have to come outside of the Park City area, anywhere between seven to 10 miles to be at the million-dollar mark," she explains. "Homes right now in that particular area start at about $1.7 million."
The good life -- on less than seven figuresThe good news: Not everyone has to fork over seven-plus figures to live grandly. Indeed, you can still get a bang for your (million) buck in desirable markets like Raleigh, N.C. or Shaker Heights, Ohio.
And then, of course, if you’re willing to venture a little further afield and explore the less-hot locations, you may find you can get even more value for your dollar. Sure, this may mean smaller towns or longer commutes to a city -- but what areas like Tallahassee, Fla., or Akron, Ohio lack in cachet, they may make up for in space and amenities. Not to mention price.
View the Forbes.com slideshow of what $1 million in real estate will buy you across the country. Depending on where you live, your money may not go nearly as far as you'd hoped.
Monday, May 28, 2007
What happens when you predict snow but don't get any!
We had a female news anchor that, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?"
Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Without parental approval or support, a student is often reluctant to pursue, let alone explore diverse career possibilities.
Fortunately, when in school, we did our own jig and being a boarding school nobdody really bothered you at all, but things were different once in college.. Medical school was the norm ... once again the family influence
Once in college we had a chance to meet and interact with a lot of seniors and professors who provided that much need perceived degree of influence for future career decisions.
It is certain that those who emphasize that their fathers encouraged them to make their own decisions, would certainly have behavioral patterns similar to those of their parents, atleast in my case it was so and even now I find it difficult to shake of some off the oddities.
However, most children today are highly influenced by the television medium as it provides them easy models for a make-believe.
Basically, TV presents them a closed universe which understands their rules. It encourages kids to look forward to endings, and to accept the endings as if it were handed to them.
In short, it appears that the television was made for providing models for reality, and as result, the television seems to dictate the basic moral values.
The kids of today have to learn to differentiate between virtual reality and the percieved connections it provides.... and not to accept them as if it was decided for them.
I grew up listening to radio and stereo, and not watching television and hence have been spared from this blast... but, ofcourse, there has been lot, a lot of videos and movies to make up for that loss...
Television hit our side only in the late 80’s by which time, videos were far more popular. It didn’t actually prove to be any excitement and to make matters worse, there were only few channels.
The cable guy hit us in the late 90’s which obviously provided more excitement than the former, mainly because of the huge number of channels. In fact, there was so many and so little time to watch
Nonetheless, it did have some influence on our upbringing but it is far minimal in line with the progeny of today...
Television decides, television moves the industry, nation and the general mindset.....
This is just way above the prescribed limit or "dosage"..... not that it leaves a negative influence, as that is entirely another discussion.....
However, there seems to be a subliminal one-way and a percieved two-way communication.. Not very healthy I suppose.. as I personally would encourage them to masturbate as it is an easier form of stress release..... It would be nice to call the kids, give them a copy of Hustler or a similar magazine, and advise them to go to their rooms and do the jig, rather than watching television ! Ha!
Ofcourse the online is another release..... please play safe on the masturbation that was quite a litle out of line....
Online interaction aleast has a two-way communication, despite the trash being exchanged...Despite all this I like the media, not because of the above but the very ability it has to communicate, change and alter decisions... but to a teen that sounds way out dude..... and his participation in altering decisions should be limited..
Now what do parents have to play in this.....For instance, a parent may comment nonchalantly that it is acceptable to pursue a position with a nonprofit agency, but then counter it with such comments about low pay and long hours. In a way, these types of references imply that it’s more important to earn a high salary than to pursue a satisfying position.
Whatever said and done, ones’ background and one’s parents have a large influence in determining their levels of satisfaction in the future, and there is no questioning that.
So rock on dudes... as you may never get this chance later...
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Among the most common arguments in criticism of the market with intent to give us pause is the one that points out all the so-called business or corporate “scandals.” This argument is typically given in justification for increased governmental or bureaucratic regulation in one form or another. But ought it not first be determined which institution, government or corporate, is more steeped in scandal and corruption than the other?
Which institution is more prone to promise more and deliver less?
Which institution’s directors are less accountable to its constituency?
In which institution is it easier to get rid of dead weight, or worse, corruptive or destructive weight?
In which institution does inefficiency and mediocrity become more entrenched?
In which institution are we most likely to find cost cutting while increasing service levels?
Which side of the bribe is worse, the side where you promise favorable legislation (or lack of unfavorable legislation) in exchange for “contributions,” or the side where you promise “contributions” in exchange for favorable legislation (or lack of unfavorable legislation)?
To some, the answers to the above questions are rather obvious. One of the main problems with those who argue for increased regulation is the implicit assumption that government is at all effective in making and enforcing regulations, and that such regulations have the desired effects. So, which institution do you trust more, government or corporate? Those who would answer that they trust government more because they believe that they have more control over government than they do over a corporation should ask themselves what the fundamental difference is between their tax bill and their other bills…
The Power of the Market
Another problem faced by pro-regulation advocates is their assumption that when the market performs in desirable ways, that success is owed to governmental regulation and not to ordinary and very complex market forces. Do drug companies refrain from marketing generally unsafe medications primarily because of the FDA, or primarily because they would go out of business if they acted otherwise? Are banks generally a safe place to put your money primarily because of the mass of government regulations, or primarily because if they weren’t, almost nobody would put money in them?
Ok, so then some would argue that the above is just simply evidence of the power of the market over our lives, that indeed, the market is even a stronger force than government, whether we recognize it or not. It’s all a shell game. We believe that government is reigning in “Big Business,” but that’s just what they all want us to think. After all, is power not best assured when those over whom you wield it don’t even recognize that you’re wielding it, or that you even have it?
In the aftermath of 9/11, it’s difficult to make the argument that government has any meaningful limit on the influence it can wreak in our lives. How easy is it to get rid of a corrupt politician, or even just an ineffective one? According to opensecrets.org, in the 2000 election, 79% of incumbents in the Senate and 98% of incumbents in the House were reelected. But, we’ve passed Campaign Finance “Reform.” In some circles, such “reform” is seen as nothing more than measures to further protect incumbency.
The market is not some mechanism that pertains only to the sphere of business. The market, fundamentally, is how a modern world operates in the business sphere, in the political sphere, and to a large extent, in the social sphere. Perhaps people don’t recognize it, but they are exchanging various things all-day and everyday, and the logic that increasingly guides those exchanges is market logic. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
In this sense, one might consider thanking God that we have a market tradition that restrains politicians too. Because, by God, that’s the only thing restraining them at all. It’s certainly not the writings of Thomas Paine, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, or the United States Constitution.
Will science involving cloning, genetic engineering and the like be opened up to inquiring minds because prudes in Washington suddenly saw the light of reason over superstition, or because the logic of the market dictates that they must, in some way, let it go forth?
Efficiency vs. Tradition
So, those who would criticize the market for de-spiritualizing our society and our culture have a point. They’re right. But why they’re right isn’t nearly as interesting a question as why this is happening. Why can politicians stay in power? Why can corporations get what they want from politicians? Why do people in America and elsewhere increasingly seem to be material and consumption oriented?
It’s the logic of markets. There are those who don’t really grasp how markets work, who wring their hands over what they perceive is happening to our culture. Then, there are those who understand the power of markets, and just don’t like the result. Then there are the rest of us who while understanding markets, don’t necessarily see any problem.
The market is a tool. Long before sufficient capital existed in which to utilize this tool effectively, life was dictated by traditions, customs, taboos, beliefs. This was the framework in which things were decided. If one wanted to know how long a woman’s dress should be, it wasn’t the market that decided (which is just the sum total of what the largest market segment want to buy), it was to consult some text, or make reference to some arbitrary dictate, or consult with an “authority.”
So, over the last hundreds of years, there has grown up a great conflict. But, wherein does this conflict lie? Have people suddenly dumped their convictions in favor of whim, or were most really just paying lip service to conviction all this time, and when given the choice between a tradition they really never found much value in, and the value of something they really want, like a bikini or miniskirt, well, it took the relentless power of the market to eventually deliver to them what they wanted.
So, the market controls people, right? The cart leads the horse. Ok, maybe it doesn’t control us, but it influences us. Well, sure it does. Grandma “influences” you too, when she temps you with that second piece of pie. But do we want to advocate “reforms” where we are preemptively not enticed, where we dare not allow ourselves to be tempted?
The market is a value delivery system that works within a logic of maximum efficiency. It is a mechanism whereby we strive to deliver what the most people want, at the lowest cost, in the shortest time. So, if it is that our traditions and culture are being radically modified as a result, does this not simply mean that people value what the market provides them above what tradition provides them?
Culture has always evolved. From the advent of human history it has never remained static. The only difference is that within the framework of the market, people experience cultural changes in terms of years and decades rather than centuries.
But What About God?
So this really gets down to the crux of the issue. There’s an interesting essay on What You Can’t Say.
The parallel is what you can’t do. For instance, at a place in time, you could not say that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
There was a time when you could not go off and do something that you uniquely find enjoyable on a Sunday.
We are now in a time when biologists must be very quiet about the research they are doing in areas of cloning and genetic engineering, for fear of being shut down.
What do all these things have in common? Well, the Earth does revolve around the Sun. Spending a leisurely Sunday doing something other than observing the Sabbath is rational enjoyment for millions of people. Scientific advancements hold the real possibility of profoundly changing the very fabric of our lives very rapidly, such as some gene therapy that turns off aging and allows an immediate lifespan increase to several hundreds of years.
So, in addition to being true, rationally desirable, or scientifically feasible, they also have a more fundamental commonality. At their respective times in history, they all threatened and threaten status quo perceptions of God and man’s relationship to God.
Enter the market. What is the market if not a means by which individuals can achieve their heart’s desires without checking with some arbitrary text, or considering some tradition, or checking with an authority, or praying about it? Of course, that’s not to say that most people don’t try to integrate their belief systems into the acquisition of some value via the market. But increasingly, it appears that people are acquiring first and asking questions later.
Indeed, the market is becoming so fast and efficient that people haven’t time to pay much tribute to their traditions, customs, and taboos. After all, the “Sale Ends Sunday!” And so we are left to consider whether that is a good thing, or a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing.
The tragedy, according to some, is that man’s spiritual side is being starved. The market feeds only the material, cold, rational side--leaving the spiritual side to whither and die. In answer, I would ask if there has ever in history been a shortage of shallow people, of gluttons, of slobs, of the uncultured? I would argue that the market simply brings what was always been, up to the surface for close examination. The market is exposing the shallow-minded. I would further argue that it is the market that will be there and best suited to cure such shallow-mindedness as people wake up to the fact that they have zero depth to their being—some of them anyway—and one must ask whether in the end, this process or traditional dogmatism will be more effective in motivating people in some generally straight and narrow appreciation of values and depth.
And if in the end, it turns out that God is forgotten, it will only be through a recognition that perhaps he never really existed at all, and is no longer needed.
A closing note.... John Stuart Mill on his father
His aversion to religion, in the sense usually attached to the term, was of the same kind with that of Lucretius: he regarded it with the feelings due not to a mere mental delusion, but to a great moral evil. He looked upon it as the greatest enemy of morality: first, by setting up factitious excellencies -- belief in creeds, devotional feelings, and ceremonies, not connected with the good of human kind -- and causing these to be accepted as substitutes for genuine virtue: but above all, by radically vitiating the standard of morals; making it consist in doing the will of a being, on whom it lavishes indeed all the phrases of adulation, but whom in sober truth it depicts as eminently hateful. ......... hoooooohhaaaaa...... talk about overhead transmission..... !
Article courtesy..... Richard Nikoley on Uncommon Sense
A very good article written sometime back..... but as they say, people rarely recognise the goodness or quality or whatever you may call it..... immediately..... it needs age to mature it, before people can either appreciate or grasp it.... If the person has exprired, the value of a written piece, a work of art or whatever.. increases manifold.... fortunately, Nikoley continues to bark out his Uncommon Nonsense......
With apologies on the ocassional one-liners....
Monday, May 14, 2007
What are dreams? Do they have a purpose, and do they have a significant meaning?
Existing theories are the Freudian theory that attributes disguised meanings to dream content, and the Hobsonian theory that reduces them to experiences of disordered brain activity. The Freudian theory gives dreams hidden meanings, and the Hobsonian theory denies that they have any significant meaning at all. Y
Yet our immediate intuition about dreams is that they are little movies that we experience and take part in. If dreams are movies, do they have producers and script-writers and directors and all the other personnel required to make one?
Dreams are normally non-lucid. Dreams are often bizarre and incoherent. And finally, most of them are completely fforgotten bt the time we awake.
We can compare those characteristics to those of a cinematic movie. The creation of a cinematic movie is a purposeful activity. We can ascertain an overall purpose, which is something like: to give the movie-goer an exciting, emotional, disturbing or satisfying experience.
Can we ascribe a similar purpose to dreams?
The possibility that dreams are purposefully constructed by a dream-maker suggests an alternative interpretation of non-lucidity: dreams are non-lucid because this intensifies the experience.
One specific phenomenon that is given an interesting interpretation by this theory is that of realizing that you are dreaming and then dreaming that you are awake…. Dreaming that you wake up is the same thing as no longer realising that you are dreaming.
If there is a dream-maker, who or what is it ? If we are not to believe in supernatural beings accompanying us in our sleep, the dream-maker must reside in some part of our own brains. Presumably it is found in some or all of those regions specially active during dreaming.
What is the overall purpose of the dream-maker's dreams? I have given some reasons why we can believe that dream-making is a purposeful activity, and whatever the purpose is, it is one that requires dreams to be experienced as if they were real. Unfortunately I can only speculate as to what this purpose actually is. It may for example be some sort of testing or rehearsal
Careful study of dream content may shed more light on this question. Better understanding of the mechanisms that hold the dream-maker accountable for the success of its dream-making may also give some clues.
But all of us need dreams and the need to dream. They are the first stage to satisfying our innate hopes and desires. Desires, which one may be embarassed to express in front of others…
As indicated earlier….if there was a dreammaker, things would have been very convinient. But since we still have yet to identify one, what does one do.
We watch movies, cinemas, serials, and identify the themes, the stories the actors and actresses enact with our unsatisfied desires, thus being able to fill that void
Now there is an advantage for this as well….. it also fills that void for those real-life dramas, one is unable to enact with the reel-life ones, and which can be filed and enacted at any stage with a definite result. There is satisfaction for both sides, hopefully, we never know….. but at least they are being paid for it…..
We might have some disagreement here, but every cinematic or a serial plot has some link to some real-life drama who knows where…… but it’s better that neither the script writer nor the innocent role-players who enact that drama are unaware about it….. mainly because, it is the connection that the viewer makes during the movie, that make the movie more exciting, and that leaves a sense of déjà vu behind…….
Basically, it keeps the wheels of the society churning…. In other that separates a good scriipt writer from a bad one….
Fortunately, by the time a script is written, edited and made into a movie, the drama process for the role player would have changed considerably…otherwise it could have devastating efffects
He dreams about his hereoine, his perfect woman and likewise the woman, her perfect charmer and the process goes on…..
If not for them, where would we be……
The proverbial masturbators
Recently, stole this from a blog which I took a fancy to…..
The last day I was goin through the articles and news reports on violence in Bangalore at Rajkumar's death. Due to a quirk of fate, Salman Khan got released from jail on the same day too. The reactions of common people to these 2 news got me quite uncomfortable - people were willing to risk their lives and security for some person they see in a cinema hall.
But thinking a bit more in detail about the issue made me realize that its not the hero they are willing to sacrifice their lives for, its the character he plays and the dreams he helps the audience to dream.
Entertainment is all about a willing suspension of disbelief, of helping the audience to be what they could not be in real life. So when Rajni, an auto driver becomes a crorepati one day in a movie, the audience laps it up with full fervour. We do not see Mohanlal as a person, we see Dasan, we see Induchoodan and we see Mangalasery Neelakantan. This is also true with Amitabh Bachan in north India.
But how ethical is this dream weaving? I started thinking along these lines because a couple of weeks down the line, i will be doin the same thing for a living. Use a deo and patao a girl; use a cream and u can make a career; use a soap and u can be like a movie star.....
All these ads might seem like useless to the educated audience like us [hopefully]... But think about a farmer or a daily wage labourer.. who uses these products and spends that much extra money which he could have spent for his kids or family... Are these companies doing the right thing by creating these "emotional and experiential attributes" for products and selling them at a premium?
However this issue has an other side too... It is definitely true that the customer has the right to choose. More importantly the issue is that products like these and films like that of Rajkumar or Rajnikant help the poor farmer to become a crorepati or an Aiswarya Rai by spending 5 bucks or 10 bucks.
Every individual has a right to dream irrespective of the living standards he is in.. and as society moves towards a materialistic one, products and services like these help the poor to satisfy their dreams within their limitations... Something worth discussion??
No let sleeping dogs lie……
He came out of nowhere.
It's a windy day and I'm sitting on the bench, ignoring my messy hair and waiting for a friend.
He was walking by slowly, looking at me curiously.
Something about him forced me out of my shell, and I smiled at him. He accepted with a shy forwardness, and took a seat on the bench next to me.
When I asked him what he was doing, he told me that a big wind had come and he lost his friends.
We became immediate buddies
His name is Yonatan. He is a four-year-old on a mission.
Yonatan came to unleash something within me that's been concealed, put down, and woefully unexpressed.
I asked him questions, and he answered with enthusiasm. He was gentle and unafraid when he realized I don't speak his language fluently. It didn't matter to him. There could be nothing in the way of what he was sent here to do.
He told me about his family. He told me about school. He's very excited for Purim. He wishes they didn't have to learn about Pesach yet. He likes candy, and seemed unsure of my sincerity when - in normal adult behavior - I shared his enthusiasm.
But the thing is, I was being totally sincere. While talking to Yonatan, I realized that I was expressing a vulnerability that I have closed off to most people. I felt light and simple. I towered over him, but I felt soft and small. There was something about this four year old that was overpowering me.
I thought I was innocent, but Yonatan opened me up to the kind of innocence that I have forgotten to hold sacred, that I have forgotten to value.
It's the kind of innocence that let's you approach a stranger. The innocence that doesn't see boundaries. The innocence that lets you give all of your attention to the moment. An innocence that believes in its own strengths, but that takes itself lightly. An innocence that sees beauty, discovery, and adventure everywhere. The kind of innocence that doesn't believe in bad motives, that trusts the goodness in others, and won't be convinced otherwise. An innocence that allows dependence on another. An innocence that wears no sign of unnecessary seriousness.
An innocence that doesn't know how innocent it really is.
Yonatan made me miss the child I once was. I never got to say goodbye. Who dared to steal my youth and why did I not protest? Why can't I be more like Yonatan? Can I recover what's been lost? Can I invite my inner child back into this world I've created? Will it be comfortable with the new me?
I'm too serious. Serious about learning. Serious about relationships. Even my happiness with life has a seriousness it can't seem to escape. But deep beneath my intensity, my ever present feeling of adult existence, is a child. A child that went to sleep without a lullaby and has been waiting for someone to jump in and turn the light on.
Yonatan flicked the switch.
If I would have had more articulate Hebrew skills working for me at the moment, I would have told Yonatan that he changed something within me by stopping to say hi, by sitting on the bench and talking with me. I would have told him that his precious smile lit up a world within me that's been dark for way too long.
It pains me to think that, one day, Yonatan might come across someone who will send him the message - albeit subtly - that he "needs to grow up." It frustrates me that something about this world might harden the softness of Yonatan's warmth, might force him to put blocks up, get serious, get tainted, and never turn back - all without even saying goodbye.
But why can't we all be a little bit more childish? Why do we all leave a part of ourselves behind? As we grow up, our inner child wants to be tamed, but it never asked to be destroyed, to be forgotten. It still wants to be a part of our new world, our new adventures. Why do we fear our inner child? Why can't we grow up together?
I wanted to ask Yonatan if I could carry him around in my pocket. But, no. Yonatan knows my new mission. He vanished as quickly as he came, leaving me feeling old and lonely - but inspired to turn on the light switch to my inner playground.
This is an article piece by Mimi Notik.
Mimi Notik is a young published writer from Seattle who is currently living in Brooklyn.
This article is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, do distribute it further, provided that you comply with their copyright policy.
More articles by Mimi are available here
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Imagine how much easier it would be if everyone simply stated what they wanted. Rather than making grand assumptions about other people’s motives, we might actually start getting our needs met. Lies seem to be the in thing. It has no origin, and has lost its actual source and flavor.
Nowadays, a lie is so obvious, something to be made mockery of. It sucks.
Hey, I didn't say that. ...... Say what ?
Well then it may have been somebody else’s soliloquy, but I feel your anger. This is the usual form of conversation these days
It's become very difficult to function with images nowadays, i.e., on a virtual reality basis. Although it has becoming a bit stabilized, nonetheless, cries of MTV coming in now and then. Blank as it may seem, there is an enormous amount of loose data going to waste, but where seems to be the general question.
When the image game is over, who is responsible for the mess ?
The feeder or the doer ?
It appears that it is both. Now how is this possible ?
The “image feeder” does in most cases, with a malicious intention (naturally there are exceptions), but the doer being innocent, jumps upon thinking it is an opportunity not to be wasted and commits the action.
But then again, the main idea is that someone is performing, without which the system won’t function.Then there are some of us who fall in the category of knowing the situation but not functioning.
As mentioned earlier, things don't just come, ideas must flow spontaneously, for which obviously there must be a source or reservoir of information.
We all know that a vision (“nowadays media introduced images”) without a task is but a dream.
In other words, a thought without action is useless, and an action with no sense of thought is even more useless. It has no meaning. So we have little choice but to perform, whatever the action may be.
There is however, an interesting scenario here.
Despite the fact that most ideas are created from media induced sources, there are instances that this manipulated information could prove exceedingly useful.
But then again, allowing yourself to be passively manipulated and not getting involved is risky. Because once caught in that cycle, it's rather difficult to find a way out.
To put it in a different perspective, we can either make ourselves miserable or strong and the amount of work involved is almost the same.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand these imaged based junk inflows of various sources that practically nobody understands.
What we are seeing here is the ultimate of waste, the paradigm, and maximum symbol that could define human mental waste, as there is absolutely no productivity.
A fantastic exchange of ideas that destroys itself immediately and cannot be utilized anymore. It is even more sad as some of those ideas can be passed on to someone.Financially, it appears that mutual funds are making a comeback. Bankruptcies are yet to raise its head. Appears embezzlements are out of fashion. Fudging the books is slowly poking its head up, and laundering is still a baby.
Where have the good old Cambodians gone. Perhaps we ought to come up with a grant so as to support this ailing industry.
If something is not done, there would not be countries to buy depleted weapons, which as a result would be an increase in taxes again. Well, if this continues, it appears politicians eventually have to fund themselves, apart from an occasional handout.
Nonetheless, there is capital being wasted away, but if we focus, the reverse is sure to happen. Mainly because when we have a capital base of practically nothing, and a solid debt base, I cannot theoretically visualize anything but gain
The stink has also started permeating to the common man, but somebody has to answer for the enormous amount of capital invested for every nonsensical action or a “war expense”, besides providing a very justifying tax plan to substantiate the expenses. What happens should it come to be known it was investment worth wasting !
But still, there is something seriously wrong.
And killing a source or an idea is just not the solution. No it's not worth discussing it, realization is what matters.
The answer primarily lies in the media.
Unfortunately majority of the decisions are made based on television reports, something unthinkable.
After the glitter fades, beneath the leather and lace, we're just scared, trying to learn how to love, amid the gaudy after images of popping flashbulbs of the paparazzi. And when darkness falls, and we crouch naked and are alone in our slack, aging bodies, snuffling with fear, and snarling at the grinning phantasms of our toilet-flushed dreams, with a fistful of pills to keep us company.
Well anyway TV stations have boosted their ratings, young things have started prancing around enjoying their newfound status, as there is somebody to pay for it.
The biggest and scariest trend is that there is more and more stimulation in our culture.
It is lights, camera, action-everybody, all the time.
It's going to be good for the drug companies; at least, they're going to be the ones trying to calm us back down. I know people who have come up with creative ways to disguise the banners that scroll along the bottoms of their television sets. People put yellow sticky notes on the top of revolving logos on their TV screens.
There's just too much stimulation everywhere. Whatever happens, I hope that the media is not subjected to more censorship.
What is essential here, is that newcomers are explained the basic objectives of media and media communication, or else more and more live events have to be recorded.
Otherwise, we would have to learn to interpret articles such as these, so as to rectify and make sense of it.
Now is there a solution to this... perhaps......
Now let me think up some rubbish... so as to justify above trash !!]
They say it is the subconscious, or even the unconscious, which can answer these problems.
As ideas must flow spontaneously, for which obviously there must be a source or reservoir of information. In other words, we know that a vision without a task is but a dream.
So, a thought without action is useless, and an action with no sense of thought is even more useless. It has no meaning. So we have little choice but to perform, whatever the action may be.
Although the doer may not be right, the main thing here is that there is a response, be it inexperienced, and most of all he performs that action without which the system won’t function.
Then there are some of us who fall in the category of knowing the situation but not functioning, as they believe their ideas come from a manipulative source. Now, if you do not check your ideas sources, your action may not lead to anything fruitful.
On the other side, if you start questioning ideas, problems seem to arise.
What we have here is definitely a Catch 22 situation. !
You do not know whether the information received is genuine, yet you have to perform, putting your conscience in disorder. Hence the huge mental waste.
Furthermore killing a source or an idea is just not the solution.
In other words, allowing yourself to be passively manipulated and not getting involved seems the best option.
However, the risks are exceedingly high as once caught in the cycle, it's rather difficult to find a way out.
It is only our subconscious within which can have answers to most of these problems, and how essential it is to preserve that subconscious. To put it in a different perspective, we can either make ourselves miserable or strong and either way the amount of work involved is almost the same.
One must note that our greatest fear should not be of being inadequate but it is the fact that we know that we could be and we are powerful beyond measure.
If we at least try and stop now, then perhaps there is some kind of hope.
I think we are not far from it either.
All we are saying is……. let's wait and watch…
Saturday, May 12, 2007
She is an Indian housekeeper who penned down her autobiography Aalo Aandhari or A Life Less Ordinary, describing her harsh life. Abandoned by her mother at age 7, raised by a neglectful father and married off at age 12, she later left an abusive husband with her three children for a life as a housemaid in New Delhi.
She wrote after work, using plain matter-of-fact language in Bengali.
Her story powerfully illustrates the lives of domestic servants in India, who are often abused and ill-treated. Her last employer encouraged her and aided in editing the book. He translated it into Hindi and this version was published in 2002. The Bengali original was published in 2004. A Malayalam version appeared in 2005 and the English translation was published in 2006.
The book became a best-seller in India.
Translations into French and Japanese are being planned. Now she is busy writing her second book.
Not bad for a girl who started has a housemaid.......... must try and pen an autobigography [please forgive the sarcasm.... it is out of pure envy...]
Hope she goes a long way.....
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Saint Peter meet them at the Pearly Gates and said to one of them "welcome to Heaven! here is your reward." after saying that Saint Peter immediately handcuffed him to a extremely unattractive woman.
"Saint Peter! why is this my heavenly reward?" the man asked ?
Saint Peter replied, "when you were five you killed a bird with a stone."
Saint Peter then turned to the next guy and did the exact same thing for the exact same reason. He was asked the same question and answered the same. finally he turned to the third guy and said, "Welcome to Heaven!
Here is your reward." the third man was immediately handcuffed to a beautiful girl. extremely happy the man walked off. the other two men, who had stuck around to see what their friends fate was, were outraged.
How come he gets a beautiful girl and were stuck with these?
We can name a few things that he did that were worse than ours!" Saint Peter said, "When she was five she killed a bird with a stone."
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tom Poston, the tall, pasty-faced comic who found fame and fortune playing a clueless everyman on such hit television shows as "Newhart" and "Mork and Mindy," has died. He was 85.
Poston, who was married to Suzanne Pleshette of "The Bob Newhart Show," died Monday night at home after a brief illness, a family representative, Tanner Gibson, said Tuesday. The nature of his illness was not disclosed.
More details available here
Thursday, April 19, 2007
In rememberance of Brant Parker.....who has poked fun at political follies for quite some time..
Phew.... from the politicians
Brant Parker, a co-creator of "The Wizard of Id," an award-winning comic strip that is set in medieval times and has poked fun at politics and cultural follies for more than 40 years, died on Sunday at his home in Lynchburg, Va. He was 86.
The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to an announcement by the Creators Syndicate, which distributes "The Wizard of Id."
Incidentally, Mr. Parker’s death came eight days after the death of his partner, Johnny Hart, who was best known as the creator of the comic strip "B.C."
Well he musta received mail from him saying that there was a much better future over there.... than here.... plus the fact that they set your biological clock back by fifty years...
Anyway, bless them both....