Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 10 Leap Year and Extra Things

1. Leap year adds an additional day to the common year.  This occurs every four years.

2. A bakers' dozen is one more then the traditional standard dozen.

3. Super-size is an additional amount added to a regular serving.

4. In My Life (I love you more), one of my favorite Beatles Songs.

5. Extra! Extra! a nightly television program with additional gossip, just in case the national news missed it.  In the olden days it was Extra! Extra! Read All About It. So I have heard (smile).

6. Additional homework is something children will often balk at.  As adults we know that it is often necessary to get the complete story.

7. A little something extra in your paycheck.  When is the last time you ever heard that?  Read my lips.  We all dare to dream or at least we should.

8. Overtime is additional minutes added to many games to break a tie and come out with a winner.  Overtime at work can sometimes mean the same thing.  You finish the job.

9. Leftovers could be food, material or even words. Often these additions are tossed, unfortunately.

10. Additional people would make you think the more the merry.  This is not often the case. Especially if there is an explicit guest list.

Happy Extra Day! It doesn't always happen, make the best of it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 10 Game Changers

1. Winning the lottery! Can put you on top of the world, at least for the day. It can put you ahead of the game in points. It is your lucky day!

2. Losing a spouse, family member or close friend. A catostrophic illness can also upset the apple cart.

3. Turnover Ever have to turn in the keys during a job loss. What doors will you be able to unlock after that? New buzz word "reivent yourself".  It is a journey in itself.

4. Interception Tossing the ball up in the air with good intention and it falls in the wrong hands. The focus and the hopes were spotlighted on you and you unintentionally hand the glory to someone else. Some gotta win and some gotta lose.

5. Error We all make mistakes and sometimes that is all people remember you for.  It's not as if you don't carry the burden yourself.  You after all are the one who messe up.

6. Fumble I know what a fumble is, it means you dropped the ball.  At some point in all our lives we will drop the ball.  To stay in the game you have to forgive yourself and hope you catch the next one.

7. Short handed can cause a situation were the odds are against you nd you have to work harder to maintain your position.

8. Foul out is sometimes a disadvantge, especially if you lose a key player.  Often key players can be intentionally targeted and forced to cause a foul. 

9. A penalty is the price you have to pay for breaking the rules.  It can effect the general outcome

10. Injury and or ejection You have to do something pretty bad to be ejection from a game.  Actions to warrant ejection could be arguing with a referee, fighting or blatantly ignoring the rules.

The above actions can occur in an athletic situation or in the game of life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Top 10 Reasons We Eat

February 26th through March 3rd is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
Information and Referral Helpline 1-800-931-2237. Click to see research findings to date.

Many will give up food for lent because that can be the easy thing to do.  Not so easy for everyone.

So why do we eat anyway? My thoughts....

1. To fuel our bodies

2. Be social? Almost every social event evolves around food.

3. Boredom

4. Stress

5. Positive effect

6. Instant gratification

7. Distraction

8. Satisfaction

9. Celebration

10. It's a sin to waste. Use it up!

Interesting additional sites to check out. from the United States Department of Agriculture
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty  Why Do We Eat? Your Brain On Food by Gary Wenk Ph. D.
Aim for a Healthy Weight found at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
NIH has a detailed booklet that describes what an eating disorder is.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Top 10 Singers from Newark

This list was submitted to me via the social network from a former musician himself who reads my blog, ELD from Jersey. He was in the band, The Shadows, a local New Jersey Band. He just loves the 13th Floor Elevators and is a huge fan of Ian McGlynn.

1. Frankie Valli was born Francis Stephen Castelluccio in the First Ward of Newark, New Jersey.

2. Connie Francis, Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero was born in the Italian Down Neck, or Ironbound, neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey.

3. Queen Latifah was born in Newark, New Jersey.

4. Sarah Vaughan was born on March 27th, 1924 in Newark, New Jersey.

5. Whitney Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey.

6. Cissy Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey. She led a successful career as a backup singer for such artists as Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist.

7. Ice-T  was born in Newark, New Jersey, and moved to the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles when he was in the 7th grade.

8. The Kodaks were a Rhythm and Blues band from Newark, New Jersey.

9. The Fiestas were an American Rhythm and Blues musical group from Newark, New Jersey.

10. The Monotones all began singing with the New Hope Baptist Choir, directed by Cissy Houston.

and I found two additionals

Paul Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey but later moved to Queens in New York City, where he attended Forest Hills High School and he met Art Garfunkel. Forest Hills High School has quite an alumni.

Gloria Gaynor of "I Will Survive" fame was born in Newark, New Jersey.  What female hasn't belted out that song after a sour relationship in the late 70's eary 80's? and we did survive!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Top 10 Academy Award Predictions and Why

Sunday, February 26th is the Academy Awards Day, " Hooray for Hollywood".  Billy Crystal will host the 84th Academy Awards Live at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

1. Best Picture The Artist This is a silent film just like they had back in the day before my time but I really enjoyed watching it and discovering you don't need dialogue to tell a story or express emotion.  That was something unique and different I got from this movie.  If it doesn't win you still deserve to treat yourself and go to see it.  I have seen all the movies nominated for best picture and this would be my choice.
Kodak Theatre in black and white, Hollywood California.

2. Actor in a Leading Role It is no secret I love George Clooney and feel he would just love me. Brad Pitt just keeps on surprising me with his talents and the various roles he can play. Jean Dujardin told a story without words, that is stupendous acting. Gary Oldman, I like the guy but didn't understand the story. Demian Bichir, I am sure was good, he was nominated but I didn't see the film.  My guy would have been Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March, he was great, you felt his every emotion.  I can't believe he didn't get the nod.  He gets my vote. Of course, he was directed by George Clooney, so I think that helped. It is an intense film.

3. Actor in a Supporting role Max von Sydow is a classic. In "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", he never spoke a word, but he had a very significant role in the movie. The actor who played the young boy, Thomas Horn was also outstanding.

4. Actress in a Leading Role Please don't make me choose.  Viola Davis played the role extremely well. You want to have the strength of the character she played in the Help.  Michele Williams was Marilyn Monroe in looks, actions and talent.  She, no doubt in my mind deserves recognition for that! Can they both win?  Found at wikipedia  It did happen for the Best Actress award in 1968 when Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand both won, Hepburn for her role as Eleanor of Aquitane in The Lion in Winter and Streisand for her portrayal of Fanny Brice in Funny Lady.

5. Cinematography has to be The Tree of Life it was fascinating to see some of the things that were filmed and I am pretty sure they were all real, even the dinosaurs.

6. Writing (Adapted Screenplay) The Ides of March Screenplay by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Williams. I am not choosing it because of George Clooney.  I am choosing it because it is a good story, unexpected and intense.

7. Writing (Original Screenplay) Midnight in Paris Written by Woody Allen. Typically, I have notbeen a fan of Woody Allen but I loved this movie and the story behind it.

Paris is special.  Midnight in Paris is Magnifique! It is almost magical.

8. Art Direction (Production Design and Set Decoration) I never know what half these award titles mean so I looked this one up.  Production Designers have one of the key roles in a motion picture.  They must visually set the tone and tell the story through the setting, they put you in the mood.  We all know who the movie stars all but rarely do we know or see who is behind the curtain.  Laurence Bennett is the Production Designer in The Artist.  I found a link to an article at He talks about working with black and white, interesting stuff. Bennett was also the Production Designer on the 2004 Academy Award Winner Crash. Robert Gould was Set Decorator, he has to find all the props to make it appear authentic. Gould's father was an assistant director on the 1950's show leave it to Beaver. The Wadler ran a interview with him.

9. Short Film Animated These films typically run about 11 minutes. To find a location where you can view all these films just put in your zip code at

Dimanche/Sunday (Patrick Doyon)
****The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg)
La Luna (Enrico Casarosa)
The Morning Stroll (Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe)
Wild Life (Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby)

10. Short Film (Live Action) Again you can check the fandango website for showtimes.

Pentecost (Peter McDonald and Eimear O'Kane) A feel good movie about when you buck the rules but there are always consequences.  You just have to weigh them first.

Raju (Max Zahle and Stefan Gieren) This would be the awareness film of the year.  It addresses adoption and kidnapping in India.  I wanted to see at least 3 more minutes added to this film at the end.  What would the adopted father do when he met the parents and saw their living conditions? This movie points out the disturbing world we live in.

****The Shore (Terry George and Oorlgh George) Without a doubt a stereotypical Irish movie, the Irish are a funny people.  I have met these people in life, they weren't all Irish but a lot of the very peculiar funny ones were. I was laughing heartily through this one.

Time Freak (Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey) Wouldn't we all freak out if we had control over time.  Luckily it is the other way around.

Tuba Atlantic (Hailvar Witzo) Sad but true an angel will get their wings when you pass. Hopefully we all get to blow our horn a little before we go.

 My niece works at a movie theater and it makes her crazy when people stay till the very end and read the credits.  Her crazy aunt will be watching the Academy Awards till the end with my popcorn in hand. This year I plan on having a front row seat with private viewing in my own living room. I haven't received an invitation to the awards in the mail yet, but I do keep looking.

 I do admire the work.

Quiet on the set!

Previous related blogs you may be interested in:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Top 10 Views of the MLK Memorial in Washington, D. C.

1. The official address of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D. C. is 1964 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D. C. 20024.  The 1964 is on purpose, it signifies and references the 1964 Civil Rights Act which Dr. King played such a major role in helping achieve.

2. Upon arriving at the site of the memorial, the path leads you through what you believe to be two pieces of stone without an archway.  It is an opening that must be passed through.

3. Just before you pass through, you realize it was one piece of rock pushed through as if someone or something has moved this mountain. Now, you are also walking through this mountain.

4.Once inside you see this huge piece of rock in front of you and you look around to the right and then to the left.  Along the inspirational wall you will find, the various speeches, seventeen in all that Dr. King made at integral parts of his campaign for civil rights.

5. As you read each one you can hear the powerful message that Dr. King delivered in his fight for equality and social justice.

6. Once you round to the front of the mammoth piece of rock and observe the carving you see a proud and confident man standing before you.

7. As you follow the structure up to the face of Martin Luther King, you notice his eyes are fixed on a location, a vision, a dream. It is within his eyes you believe you are in the midst of greatness. This man without a doubt moved mountains without violence, just words.

8. You are looking at the Stone of Hope.  A man who paved the way of equality for future generations.
In 1963 the Equal Pay went into effect and got the ball rolling but the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Section 703 (a) made it unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment, because of such individuals race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."  These additional rights have been implemented through the years to include the Age Discrimination Act of 1990, Civil Rights Act 1991, Rehabilitation Act 1973, Title XI of the Education Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in the 70's.

9. The monument was crafted by Master Lei Yixin from unique white granite with color inclusion found only in China.

10. The problem lies on the left side of the sculpture.  Dr. King's words were shortened and key words were left out.  It should read, Yes, if you want to say I am a drum major, say that I am a drum major for justice, King said. Say I am a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all the other shallow things will not matter. Rachel Manteuffel of the Washington Post made note in an opinion piece of the mistake in August 2010. She had viewed the monument before its was dedicated and the dedication went through without much of a mention. The misquote was viewed as an insult and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on February 10th, a correction will be made and hopefully completed by the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday celebration in January 2013.

Personally, I think it is important to make this correction. You can't always take back words but in this case you can. Even those set in stone. Hopefully this mistake will not take away from the foundation or the strength in the overall message that this entire dedication represents. It is proper to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the man that he was and the actual words that he used.  I can see the reason it was done to balance the message on both sides, that isn't always possible.  That is unfortunate.

If you do go to Washington D. C. to see the tribute, check the website. The correction will be some kind of fix and I am curious to see how it will be done.

The memorial site sits along the Tidal Basin which just so happens to be the site of the Cherry Blossom Festival and this year is the 100 year centennial celebration.  It is an absolutely beautiful time of year to see our nation's capital in full bloom another great reason to visit. The festival runs from March 20th - April 27th.

February is Black History Month.  The remembrance began in 1926, with the announcement of "Negro History Week" by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, a group of which he was co-founder.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 10 Mother Language Day Hans and Honey, Danke

Today February 21st is International Mother Language Day.  It was first proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999. I choose today to share a story not of language barriers but how important communication can be.

Every one likes getting lost on a country road right? How about in a small country town in Switzerland? So we weren't really lost but we had no idea where we were going, nor were we versed on the language.

1. Giswil, Switzerland has an area, as of 2011, of 85.9 square kilometers (33.2 sq mi). Of this area, 35.9% is used for agricultural purposes, while 53.3% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 2.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (8.7%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).

2. Most of the population speaks German, as did our driver Hans. I was lucky to be selected as his co-pilot in this adventure.

3.  My initial greeting to Hans was "guten tag", he smiled and returned the cordial welcome with a nod of his head. Hans spoke more English then I spoke German but we still managed to communicate.

and look who trusted an American with the reins.

4. At times, I was so overtaken by the scenery I would just burst out with a "beautiful" and Hans would repeat after me "beautiful", obviously very proud of his town. Our English speaking tour director was also traveling in our covered wagon and he would speak to Hans sometimes in German and also translate and explain things to us in English.

5.  It is tradition in Giswil to post a wooden sign outside the home or to create a tree like structure decorated with ribbons announcing the birth of a child.  I have also seen in the United States, a wooden stork outside homes proclaiming "It's A Boy" or "It's A Girl".

6. As visitors to this foreign country, we were treated with a warm welcome. Two little girls from the town came charging out of there driveway waving to us and following after the wagon.  They were very sweet and were showing us their Barbie doll. Barbie was waving too.

7. The Catholic Church was very quaint looking until you ventured inside.  It was small but absolutely beautifully detailed inside. I am not sure of the date of the church but something I read leads me to believe the 17th century.  Wiki just calls it the Roman Catholic Church of Giswil, please send me an email so I can include the proper name if anyone has it.

It was meticulously maintained.

The cemetery outside of the church seems to be relatively recent. I gather this by the dates on the headstones.  The views of the rolling hills were just spectacular.

8. I distinctly remember just after our stop at the church, we came across a farm with cows and I motioned, okay I impolitely pointed and said cows! Hans nodded acknowledging my enthusiasm and pointed to the brown cow and said "schokolade milch" (chocolate milk).  He got me. Half the time, I will admit that I don't comprehend what men are talking about but I will concede they are all funny, no matter what language they are speaking.

9.  Just to be clear, if you see the pictures listed in the blog, Hans was not chatting away on the phone while he was driving.  We were stopped to see a glacier, again if anyone knows the name of the glacier, I would love to identify it. 

My first glacier, I must admit I was expecting ice but perhaps not in May.

I may appear proud and boastful in this photograph but it certainly is not everyday you can stand in the middle of  glacier after taking a little break from driving the covered wagon.

The phone call Hans was making was to his wife, Honey, giving her the heads up, he would be stopping home with a few friends.  She had a beautiful spread of wine and homemade Alpine Swiss Cheese, pastries, coffee and tea. What a delight the Swiss are.  They are a  gracious and very embracing people.

I don't think it is all that necessary that we all speak the same language it is part of every ones heritage, culture and custom.  I think we should seek more of an understanding.

10. The Storehouse in the Ey on Hans and Honey's property dates back to1634.  It was supposedly built by the master-builer Baltzer Bieler.  There is no cellar.  The double layer of wooden oak blocks lies directly on the stone foundation.  The wooden block stairs led to the room where the cheese was traditionally kept.  Alpine cheese was still stored here until 1980.  Grain, dried fruit and air dried meat were kept on the second floor. This storehouse still displays the original type of roofing with larch shingles, which normally last 30 years.

The entire trip would not have been possible without the leaders of the day.

Es war ein Highlight unserer Reise. Danke Hans und Honig und die village von Giswil.

More information about Giswil can be found at the Giswil tourism website. 2012 Photo Contest results.
What is Mother Language Day at Wikipedia.
Communication and Information

Monday, February 20, 2012

Top 10 What Are Your Facts and Figures?

1. Now, you are assigned a social security number, when you are born in the United States.  I am not sure how the world handles it.

2. You are part of the population and the census numbers right away. We can all think we are one in a million but according to the website on Sunday early evening, February 19th, 2012 you are actually one in 313,046,978 in the United States and one in 6,995,429,402 in the world .  I still think you are special.

3. Health Insurance number? Whereas health insurance is not required yet, it soon will be and you need it. I remember when my water broke with my first child, sorry for the visual but the first question that was asked by my doctor was, what kind of insurance do you have? Not how was I feeling.  I will never forget that.

4. Have a bank account number? How much money is in there?

5. A drivers license number? Vehicle owners car number?

6. Auto insurance number? Auto insurance is required but the requirements vary by state.

7. Credit Card number? Even if you can afford it, the norm is to pay later.  Not that many people carry much cash on them anymore.  Some believe we live in a society where that is not safe anymore.  Is it?

8. Land line or cell phone number? Can we all afford to lose one of these phones?

9.Shopping? Need lunch meat, a bakery item or even just a cup of coffee?  Take a number.

10.Medical Status:What do you weigh? BMI Number? What is that Cholesterol Number of Yours? Blood Count? How much alcohol do you drink?  All these numbers seem to have significance no matter how you feel.

All of these numbers come with a fee. Do your numbers speak for you? Just to be secure you need passwords for almost all these numbers.  Make sure you mix it up so it means nothing that relates to you and put a few numbers in there to make it harder to figure out. You might not think numbers matter but lose one or misplace one and you could very easily lose your identity.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top 10 Whitney Houston Mix

Songs to remind us all no matter how great our voice, we all have weakness and vulnerability.

1. All At Once

2. One Moment In Time

3. I Just Wanna Dance With Somebody

4. You Give Good Love

5. I'm Every Woman

6. I Didn't Know My Own Strength

7. Savin All My Love For You

8. The Greatest Love

9. I Have Nothing

10. I Will Always Love You

May she now rest in peace and her family find comfort in the coming days.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Top 10 Shadow Songs

Links to most of these songs can be found on Youtube

1. Standing in the Shadows of  Love  Four Tops

2. Moonshadow Cat Stevens

3. Shadow Dancing Andy Gibb

4. Shadows of the Night Pat Benetar

5. Shadow of Your Smile Johnny Mathis

6. Moonlight Shadow Mike Olefield

7. Shadow Demi Lovato

8. Cast No Shadow Oasis

9. Shadow of a Doubt Beth Orton

10. Me and My Shadow Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top 10 Only the Shadow Knows?

1.  Well that Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania sure knew what he was talking about when he saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.  One week later, we had a covering of snow on the ground and the following Saturday enough snow to call an inch and it's cold out!  It feels like winter. If you slept in Saturday morning and missed the snow, here it is. Two weeks down only four more to go. It might be the flu.  I don't think it is spring fever yet.

Next Day,was confusing, cold but windy.  Is it March yet? This bird comes back and nests every year on top of my deck.

2. Shadows really are something that can not be denied, they do follow us around faithfully even when we take the wrong direction.

3. Sciophobia or sciaphobia is the fear of shadows. Did anyone ever say to you, "You are afraid of your own shadow?"  I wouldn't exactly document that as a phobia, just cautious.  I get it all the time. Things do lurk in shadows but oft times it is just your imagination.

4. Shadowing is also what a new trainee does on the job when they are learning a task, following you around and leaning the job.

5. A lunar eclispe is when the earth cast a shadow on the moon. Accordng to the NASA's eclispe website, the next partial lunar eclipse in 2012 will be June 4th and another penumbrial one will occur on November 28th.  For all those non-rocket scientist such as myself penumbria means the partial or imperfect shadow outside an opaque body, as a planet, where the light of illumination is only cut off, according to, in other words like a shadow.

Not an eclipse shot but it is the moon.

6. In turn when the moon cast a shadow on the earth it is a solar eclispe. The NASA site also lists the solar eclispes for 2012.  There will be an annular solar eclispe on May 20th and a total solar eclipse on November 28th.  As you should know, it is dangerous at this time to look directly into the sun.  Maybe I'll list 10 ways to observe when the time comes, check back. Some can't absorb too much information all at once.  Okay, I am referring to my own shadow.

7. Wiki says that currently the only astronomical objects able to produce visible shadows on Earth are the sun, the moon and in the right conditions, the planet Venus. There are of course many things that can cast a shadow.

8.  Have you ever observed the different shades in mountains, hills and valleys? Those are cloud shadows.

How about the shadow cast by the vapor trail of an airplane? and the rainbow just before it disappears. Wiki calls it a shadow.  I am still contemplating that one.

9. In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts.  It might be like the dark side.

10.  I can't remember the name of this process, I can only explain as I recall doing it over 30 years ago. First of all you need to be in a dark room where no light gets in. You take an object in this case it was a squirrel statue.  I laid it on photograph paper and expose it to the light and tossed the sheet of photo paper into developer using tongs.  Does anyone remember doing that in photography class?  I thought it was the coolest thing. So cool I kept it. Don't make yourself crazy this is not one of those pictures that turns into  something else if you stare at it.  It is a squirrel.  Or is it?  It could be a groundhog.  Only the shadow knows.

I am not sure I buy that a shadow can predict the weather but I will have to say that I have observed that shadows can tell a tale all their own.