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Friday, August 29, 2008

REAL Wall-E and Your Morning

Disney and Pixar's latest creation Wall-E stops by the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia!
Wall-E hits theaters June 27, 2008
Your Morning is LIVE Monday-Friday from 6-8am, only on CN8: The Comcast Network.
Or, watch us online @ www.cn8.tv

Real Life Wall-E at Franklin Institute
On May 28th, some imagineers, reps from Pixar, and an audio-animatronic WallE visited the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Polygamy is the key to a long life

Ewen Callaway - NewScientist.com news service
17:26 19 August 2008

Want to live a little longer? Get a second wife. New research suggests that men from polygamous cultures outlive those from monogamous ones.

After accounting for socioeconomic differences, men aged over 60 from 140 countries that practice polygamy to varying degrees lived on average 12% longer than men from 49 mostly monogamous nations, says Virpi Lummaa, an ecologist at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Lummaa presented her findings last week at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology's annual meeting in Ithaca, New York.

Rather than a call to polygamy, the research might solve a long-standing puzzle in human biology: Why do men live so long?

This question only makes sense after asking the same for women, who - unlike nearly all other animals - live long past the menopause.

Enforced monogamy

One answer seems to be a phenomenon called the grandmother effect. For every 10 years a woman survives past the menopause, she gains two additional grandchildren, Lummaa says. It seems that doting on and spoiling grandchildren aids their survival, as well as furthering some of their grandmother's genes.

Men, by contrast, can reproduce well into their 60s and even 70s and 80s, and most researchers assumed this explained their longevity. But Lummaa and colleague Andy Russell wondered whether other factors explained the long lifespan of men, such as a grandfather effect.

To test this possibility, the team analysed church-gathered records for 25,000 Finns from the 18th and 19th centuries. People tended to move little, no one practiced contraception and the Lutheran Church enforced monogamy.

Only widowed men could remarry, and if they had children with their new wife, they fathered more kids, on average, than men who married once.

But ultimately remarried men "don't end up with any more grandchildren," Lummaa says. "If anything the presence of a grandfather was associated with decreased survival of grandchildren."

Perhaps, Lummaa adds, the children of the first mother lose out on food and resources that go to the second mother's kids. "It's kind of the Cinderella effect."

Even fathers with only one wife provided no benefit to their grandchildren, a finding supported by previous research.

Biological selection

With the grandfather effect ruled out, Lummaa and Russell next wondered whether the constraints of human physiology explain male longevity. In the same way that men have nipples that evolved for women to nourish their young, male longevity might be a consequence of biological selection for long-lived women.

To answer this question, the researchers compared the lifespan of men from polygamous countries with those from monogamous nations.

Using data from the World Health Organization, Lummaa and Russell scored 189 countries on a monogamy scale of one to four - totally monogamous to mostly polygamous. They also took into account a country's gross domestic product and average income to minimise the effect of better nutrition and healthcare in monogamous Western nations.

Lummaa stressed that their monogamy score is a crude first stab, and they are working to find multiple ways to assess marriage patterns. The conclusions could evaporate under further analysis, she adds.

If female survival is the main explanation for male longevity, then monogamous and polygamous men would live for about the same length of time. Instead, it seems that fathering more kids with more wives leads to increased male longevity. Men, then, live long because they're fertile well into their grey years.

The explanation could be both social and genetic. Men who continue fathering kids into their 60s and 70s could take better care for their bodies because they have mouths to feed. But evolutionary forces acting over thousands of years could also select for longer-lived men in polygamous cultures.

"It's a valid hypothesis and good prediction," says Chris Wilson, an evolutionary anthropologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who attended the talk. But the care and attention of several wives who depend on the social status of their ageing husband could explain everything. "It doesn't surprise me that men in those societies live longer than men in monogamous societies, where they become widowed and have nobody to care for them."


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't You Just Hate Mondays?

by Timothy Tye

I write this article to awaken your senses. If it succeeds in doing that, it may be the most important information you have ever read.

There's a strange feeling that manifests itself on many people everywhere once a week. As Sunday draws to a close, they have a feeling of dread that the next day is approaching. Some call it Black Monday, some Blue Monday. Any color and any case, it leaves you feeling black and blue in the heart. No matter how much you hate Mondays, it will come and you can do nothing about it.

If you disdain Mondays, you are not alone. It affects millions of people worldwide. And it's nothing to do with the type of job you hold: many people holding rather "pleasant" jobs do not look forward to the approach of Monday either.

Why do people hate Mondays?

Different people have given me different answers, but generally, it boils down to one reason: Monday represents the sacrifice of personal freedom for the sake of financial survival. A day or two of rest puts us in Relax Mode, and we abhor the very thought that our Relax Mode is ending.

But why do we have to go to work on Monday anyway?

In order to keep the job. In order to earn the salary. In order to pay the bills. In order to survive in today's society.

If you don't realize how silly that is, listen to this: When a person says he is looking for a job, I tell you, he isn't looking for a job. If you give him a job without a pay, do you think he will take it? No sir, what he is looking for, is the opportunity to trade his time and energy and skill in exchange for money. Why then, does a person say he is looking for a job, when in fact he is looking for regular money? Because society has conditioned him to accept that the only acceptable way of getting regular money is to trade his time, energy and skill for it. If instead of a job, you offer him regular money, would he accept it? You bet he would! Unfortunately society doesn't work that way. In fact, society has us believing there is no such thing as regular money without a job. So much so that a jobless person is regarded with sympathy, if not contempt.

If you say everybody should accept his lot, go to work and bear with it, you are exhibiting herd mentality. If the whole village says the world is flat, do you accept that, or do you continue to believe that it is round? Just because everybody believes something or does something, doesn't mean it is the best thing to do. If it is, why do we hate Mondays, why do we look forward to public holidays, why do we wish our annual leave is longer? It's because humans are not made to work.

I believe God created us for a better purpose than simply to work for a living. I think God would be very disappointed that we waste the precious life on earth working for money, when we should be spending it edifying the human race. How do we "edify the human race"? By creating things of value, things of beauty, things that help people, including writing an article like this one that helps people realize their purpose of living. At the very least, we should be enjoying this life rather than spending it in exchange for money.

Do you love your job? If you say yes, would you be willing to hold the job without pay? If you say yes to that, then you are indeed filling your time doing something you are passionate about. You should continue doing it, whether or not it pays money. If, however, you don't love your job, or you love it but you wouldn't do it without pay, then you should seek to create a new stream of income so that one day you can either quit the job you hate, or work simply for the love of it. In either case, you should be working for the love of the work, not because you depend on it. Does that make sense?

I acknowledge that today's society is powered by money. Electricity may keep a lot of things running, but money is the ultimate fuel that keeps everything - including electricity - running.

If you're looking for an alternative income, you should have no difficulty finding one. Snap a finger and twenty will line up outside your door. There's always Multi-Level Marketing. Then there's sales, of everything from pots and pans to insurance, investment instruments, and encyclopedias. Before you sign up to an alternative form of income, ask yourself this important question: are you going to love that new job? If it's no or if you're once again trading your time/energy/skill for money, don't go any further!

Through my website HappyJoblessGuy, I teach people to earn an income by building their own website. However, a web-based income is by no means the only way to earn a living without holding a job. There may be others, but I am sharing this method with you because it works for me. I am not saying it is the easiest thing to do. Like everything else, you need to develop a skill. But if you can spend a few years in college just to acquire a skill, so that you can exchange that skill (plus your time) for money, you should be intelligent enough to acquire the skill to build a website that earns you money. Always build websites that support your passion, not just for the sake of earning money. Do not imitate me by putting up another travel website or living-skill website, rather look at yourself, discover your own passion, and create a website where your passion is celebrated.

When I started my first serious website AsiaExplorers four years ago, I wasn't able to articulate back then that I did it as a new stream of income. Instead, I did it because I was passionate about exploring Asia. Now it earns regular money, a byproduct of the passion I invested into it. Isn't that the grooviest thing, to do what you love to do, and earn money for it? I suppose it would have earned even more, had I known how to make the website more optimized to earn money. That's lesson learned as I move on to new websites.

Many people hate Mondays. If you're one of them, do something about it. Start today.


About the Author

Timothy Tye began earning an income from the web when he launched his first website four years ago. Since then, he has started several successful websites that allow him to earn an income without holding a job. He believes that anybody can do it and shares useful tips and knowledge in his website, http://www.happyjoblessguy.com.

How to earn a living without holding a Job

by Timothy Tye

My name is Tim. On 1 November, 2007, that's three weeks ago as I wrote this, I was suddenly made redundant. Although I never expected that I would be working for the same company until I retire, the speed at which the job was taken away can be described as nothing but abrupt. In one swift stroke, my whole department was told our services were no longer required. I lost my job. My boss lost his job. My colleague was transferred to another department. We were each given a Separation Package. The company even threw in a 3-month free consultation, so that a career consultant can help us brush up our resume and job-seeking skills.

I was with the company for almost ten years, and suddenly I was told that I do not need to come back to work the next day. In the interview I had with the career consultant, he said to me, "Some people, especially one who has been with the same company for ten years, can get quite emotional. How do you feel?" "I am quite emotional too," I said. "I am laughing all the way to the bank!"

Indeed, rather than looking at my sudden joblessness as having hit a brick wall, I consider the Separation Package a bonanza. An early Christmas present. My friends however are split in their views: some were saying how sorry they were to learn that I have lost my job, the other group was congratulating me for the windfall. Myself, I am not sadden by it at all. Now I can look forward to living my life exactly how I want to live it.

I know, for some people, losing their job was humiliation and utter devastation. They take it personally, and are unable to move away from the fact that their services were no longer required by the company. Throughout their working life, they have built their world around their job; they interacted only with the people in their office, that when all this suddenly evaporated into thin air, they were lost.

If you are one such person, stop it at once. There is more to life than holding a job, and in fact, it is a much better quality life, once you learn to be the master of your destiny. Why do I say that?

If you don't have a job, you don't have to worry what time you go to bed at night, and what time you wake up in the morning. You don't have to be stuck in rush hour traffic, and you have unlimited days off without needing doctor's permission. You can go on holidays for as long as you want, and never having to worry that work is piling up for you back in the office.

Okay, even as you read this, I know lurking in your mind is that perennial question: but if I don't have a job, how do I earn a living and pay the bills? That is indeed a pressing issue, and that's why I created this website, to deal with it, in the most high-tech way. And surprisingly, it is something which everybody can learn.

But before I go into that, I want to show you how stupid it is holding a job. You go to work at eight in the morning, and you're not home again till six, or more likely seven. You are trading away your time and energy - both depleting resources - for money. All the things that you can do with your life is squeezed into the few hours in between the time allocated for your job, things like playing games, exercising, cooking meals, going to the movies, etc. On the other hand, have you wondered why is it that rich people have so much free time. While everybody is busy with their jobs, rich people are out playing golf, lying on a beach somewhere, sipping Mai Tai ... don't they have jobs?

I think you can answer that quite clearly: rich people don't have jobs. And how is that possible? Because, rich people own businesses! Usually, when you own a business, you have people working for you, so you don't have to work. They have jobs, not you.

I realised that some years ago. If you want to be rich, you should be owning businesses. That's quite straightforward, right? There are plenty of books on that subject. To pick one, read "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki. It's a very famous book and is easily found in most bookstores. I read that book some time in year 2000, and it converted me to the idea that I must detach myself from the idea of holding a job, and start looking for opportunities to own businesses.

At that time, I wasn't sure how I am ever going to own a business. I also thought that to do businesses require a massive injection of capital. Looking around me, I saw many businesses with half-baked plans sprouting up and then toppling over just as quickly, and I know starting a business is not as simple as it sounds. If I cannot afford to hire people to work for me, what other avenues I have of owning a business?

And then I discovered MLM, Multi-Level Marketing. For a while, I was very passionate about it. I dug up all my present and long-lost friends and acquaintances, and tried to convince them to join me. Through MLM, I can have an entire battalion of downlines working for me, so that - assumably - I don't have to work. I know there are many people - including you perhaps - who are very successful in MLM, but it was not long before I realise MLM is not for me. I will write in more detail about this is a separate chapter. But it did teach me something called passive income.

Passive income is indirect earnings. If I cannot afford to have people to work for me to earn passive income, I learn that the two other options are to have my money working for me, and to have machines working for me. To have my money working for me, I first need to have money! But what if I don't?

That's when I realised the only option available is for machines to work for me. And it was through this search for that tireless machine that finally took me to where I am today: the Internet.

Although I have been building websites for fun since 1997, it was only in 2003 that I started my first serious website, AsiaExplorers, www.asiaexplorers.com. At that time, I created it simply to support my passion for travelling, and to find an outlet to escape the drudgery of my routine job. But as AsiaExplorers continued to grow and become successful, I realised what a powerful tool I have in my hands. Today I have other travel websites including EarthDocumentary, www.earthdocumentary.com and WorldGreatestSites, www.worldgreatestsites.com. But it was through AsiaExplorers that I started earning passive income in any substantial amount from the Internet.

One limiting factor between 2003 and now that has hindered the growth of my web-based passive income was my job, which consumed much of my free time. Also, I have to honestly say that I was pretty new to the idea of earning from the web, and had to learn things the hard way - through trial and error. I wasted a lot of time in the process. Nevertheless, since I discovered the Internet, I am sold: if you want to remain happily jobless, the best way to do it is through passive income from the Internet.

What I am about to teach you in my website, HappyJoblessGuy.com, is a very important and valuable lesson, applicable to you whether you are presently jobless, holding a job, or sick and tired of your present job. If you have been searching for a way to earn an income from the Internet, stay with me. In subsequent chapters, I will discuss what is available for you to tap. I hope you will read every chapter that I write, and will be eager but not impatient to earn money from the web. If you want to do it well, you need to do it right, so take it step by step.

There are many things I will share with you, but I will not be holding your hand. Many times I will provide recommendations for you to go, read and discover something on your own. It's a mean world out there, so if you ever contemplate surviving it, you better learn some independence. However I will provide you the necessary leads, so that it doesn't become an impossible task, and that eventually terms such as Search Engine Optimization, AdWords, AdSense, etc will become commonplace to you.

Nowhere on this website will you find a request for password - this whole website is free. Along the way, however, some of my recommendations may require you to pay money to a third party, whether to set up your website account, or to gain a specific web-related knowledge. It is entirely affordable and essential in your quest towards owning your own web-based business. And let me tell you this: don't believe people who tell you that it's going to be easy, and that money will start falling from the sky. If you think there is a shortcut, you're in the wrong boat, friend.

In the next chapter, I will talk about the right way to earn from the web. To read it, and other chapters in the Guide to Earning a Living without Holding a Job, go to my website, at http://www.happyjoblessguy.com.


About the Author

I was attached to a computer company for 10 years before being made redundant on November 1, 2007. Since then, I have decided to support myself solely from income off the Internet.

PARACHUTE JUMP

Press JUMP and CHUTE
Don't forget to watch the wind sock to check wind direction! ENJOY

Be careful you may spend all day on this.

Click here: PARACHUTE JUMP

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Italian Police Motobike Formation Display

NPR.org - Inner Strength from Desperate Times : NPR

Inner Strength from Desperate Times : NPR
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10117268&sc=emaf

Stories from the Heart - Instructions for Life

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. You'll die, but may achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. Approach love and compassion with reckless abandon.
This advice did not come from His Holiness the Dalai Lama as is often misquoted.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guess What They Are?

Stories from the Heart - A Miracle of $1.10

A MIRACLE OF $1.10 (claimed to be a true story)

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now."
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.
Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!
"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."
"I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.
"His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"
"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little. "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."
The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?"
"I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."
"How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago. "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.
"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents - the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
"That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents ...... plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law......

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who's Counting? (victim of ageism?)

Mike Priestley: Who's Counting

From the Telegraph & Argus, first published Tuesday 23rd Feb 1999.

It's been quite a week for your more mature person. I'd better rattle through it quickly in the limited space left for me by Mildew and his correspondents (I must watch that man - he seems to be trying to take over this page).

First came news of a very encouraging survey (from America unfortunately - why can't we do our own?) which exploded the myth that middle age is a time of crisis and melancholy. Apparently it isn't. It's a time of contentment, a time of growing ease with yourself, a time when you don't have to worry about where you should be going because if you haven't got there yet you're not likely to - so why break your neck keeping on trying?

It's a time, in fact, for relaxing and deciding that you don't really give a damn what the world thinks of you as long as you and those near and dear to you think you're all right. That'll do for me!

Second development of the week was a less happy one. Come the next century, people could be living to be 130 (this is also according to an American). Unless attitudes to the elderly change dramatically and they stop being considered a nuisance by a society obsessed with youth, living to 130 isn't going to be much fun.

In fact, unless older people start to be valued for mainstream roles they can play rather than being pensioned off and sidelined, a life that spans 130 years just doesn't bear thinking about.

Rather jollier was the news of a nationwide survey from NOP conducted on behalf of Senior Railcard (£18 a year and it cuts a third off the cost of most fares for the over-60s - end of commercial).

This survey was in conjunction with a Senior Railcard joint offer with First Choice holidays, so its findings relate to the way seniors carry on when abroad.

Apparently you can forget about your bingo and French bowls as far as over-60s blokes are concerned. They'd much rather be in clubs and bars drinking and eating.

And a fifth of the men interviewed cited sex and romance as the holiday activities they enjoyed most (fantasising is probably a favourite activity as well, but it wasn't on the list).

I can vouch for the drinking, though, after a holiday we spent in Yugoslavia (before it became "the former") some years ago, staying in an hotel across the road from several coach loads of British pensioners.

Twice during the week, a group of about a dozen of them were ejected from their own hotel's bar for rowdy behaviour and roamed the streets giggling and shouting at each other. And the men were almost as bad!

Young Brits don't have a monopoly on behaving badly abroad, obviously.

This survey revealed something very odd about over-60s women, though. Asked who they would like to go on holiday with, a disturbingly large number named Tony Blair (the sponsors of the survey suggest it might be to give them a chance to dunk him in the sea following a chat about falling pension values).

Rather more, though, named Sean Connery, who topped the poll as the man whose pulling power never seems to fade. In fact, even if he lived to 130 he'd probably still be scoring highly in popularity surveys like these!

I Don't Believe It!

It goes rather against the spirit of this column to publicise a non-complaint.

But in the interests of balance, I really ought to tell you the reassuring story of Who's Counting? reader Barry Bentley. It shows that all isn't necessarily gloom and doom for workers in their middle years.

Barry left school at 15 in 1952 and over the next quarter of a century had quite a few jobs, ranging from sewing-machine mechanic to telephone engineer and warehouseman.

In 1979, when he was 41, he found a job at the Bradford Industrial Museum as a technician.

"Oh, how I moaned about the six per cent they took from my wages for superannuation. What a liberty! I wish, now, it had been 16 per cent," he says.

At 55, with his wife working part-time, Barry cut his weekly hours from 37 to 32 - four eight-hour days instead of four of 71/2 hours and one of seven. It cost him a small drop in wages in exchange for a three-day weekend.

A couple of years later he succumbed to the Council's offer of an early-retirement package after first finding himself another, part-time, job as a handyman at Lampways at Dudley Hill.

"Because of my age, I took in my application form and explained that I had done so they could see I was not a doddery old man," he says. "At the interview I was told that they preferred older employees as they had more and varied experience and were far more reliable. In most cases they were better timekeepers and took less time off ill."

With part of his lump sum from the Council, Barry paid off his mortgage and invested the rest. He now enjoys a four-day weekend.

"My hourly rate is much less now than when I was at the museum, but with my small pension, we manage," he says. "At my last annual review I was asked if I intend to retire at 65. My first impulse was to say 'Yes'. But then on reflection I said 'Ask me again when I'm 65.' Who knows? Maybe a two-day week...."

Nice story, eh? Barry's a lucky chap, and he knows it. He was fortunate enough to apply for a job with a company that appreciates the value of older workers.

"It's only the pension that enabled me to do this, though," he says. "Youngsters should take out a pension as early as they can."

Actually, Barry's also lucky in that he's been able to reduce the hours and days he works. With too many firms, it's all or nothing. One day you're working flat out, the next day - full stop! If more firms would agree to employees reducing their hours as they grow older, they might be able to take advantage of their skills and experience well into their 70s on a part-time basis.

A more typical story, though, is that of John Whitlam who is a victim of ageism like Chris Whitley, whose story I reported a couple of weeks ago.

"I also am a skilled tradesman," he writes. "I saw the death of my industry approaching so did the sensible thing and went to university, graduating with a decent honours degree. More fool me for taking the time. Now, as well as being too old, I am over-qualified.

"Today more than 30 per cent of men over 50 are unemployed, and most are unable even to secure an interview.

"All we want is to be able to compete for jobs on equal terms, confident that prospective employers have no isms affecting their judgement."

l David Bryan was angered by news of Tony Blair's proposed crackdown on welfare claimants. In fact he was so annoyed that he's sent me an open letter to the Prime Minister.

"So now I know," he says. "It's official. I am a scrounging, lazy layabout living a life of luxury on state handouts.

"At 62 years of age, my wife and I have a joint total of nearly 90 years contributing tax, insurance and other state dues and demands. I served Queen and country for five years in the RAF. My wife served 20 years in the caring professions and then 25 years as a poorly-paid lower-grade civil servant.

"We raised two foster children with little financial help from the state. We helped care for two elderly relatives over some 15 years in total, representing a considerable saving of state funds.

"At 50, I found myself unemployed and unemployable due to age discrimination. Not deterred, we invested our capital and a large part of the value of our house in a business. Twelve months later I was hit by an incurable and disabling illness and we lost £40,000 at least. I have not worked since and my GP says I am unemployable.

"My income? £75 per week! On this I live the life of Riley. Thank you Tone, for showing me where I have gone wrong. My contempt for you and for your friends who join you with your noses in the trough is unfathomable."

If you have a gripe about anything, drop a line to me, Hector Mildew, c/o Newsroom, T&A, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1JR, email me or leave any messages for me with Mike Priestley on (44) 0 1274 729511.

Yours Expectantly,

Hector Mildew

Stories from the Heart - Rain

RAIN

It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.
She had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle-faced image of innocence.

Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in: "Mom, let's run through the rain." she said.
"What?" mom asked.
"Let 's run through the rain!" she repeated.
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit.," mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "mom, let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," mom said.
"No, we won't, mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rainand not get wet?"
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent.
I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain.
We all stood silently.
No one came or left in the next few minutes.
Mom paused and thought for amoment about what she would say.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case.
They got soaked.
But they were followed by some who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

Author unknown - from http://www.dewegvanhethart.com/treasures/rain/rain.htm

Monday, August 18, 2008

Animal Hand Art

Stories from the Heart - More Precious Than A Gem

MORE PRECIOUS THAN A GEM

"A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.
But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."
Author Unknown

Stop Complaining and Make a Difference

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stories from the Heart - Choice

CHOICE

Jerry is the manager of a restaurant in America. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would always reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" Many of the waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs; they would follow him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was always there, telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! No one can be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, I have two choices today. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood. I always choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I always choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I always choose the positive side of life."
"But it's not always that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Jerry said, "Life is all about choices When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. It's your choice how you live your life."

Several years later, I heard that Jerry accidentally did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business: he left the back door of his restaurant open one morning and was robbed by three armed men. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found quickly and rushed to the hospital. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Want to see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared?" I asked.
Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the Emergency Room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'He's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything." 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Please operate on me as if I am alive, not dead'.
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.
I learned from him that everyday you have the choice to either enjoy your life or to hate it. The only thing that is truly yours - that no one can control or take from you -- is your attitude, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Miss LadyBoys

ECGMA says: Guys! Gals! Whatever! Geez! They are sure beautiful!
Sure beats this ugly one!

The Legend of Transgender Thailand

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Christian the Lion - Reunion

Schwarzenegger pay plans thwarted by COBOL

Schwarzenegger pay plans thwarted by COBOL
By Iain Thomson
7 August 2008 07:39AM

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plans to reduce all state employees pay to the minimum wage are being blocked because the payroll system is run on COBOL.
Schwarzenegger signed an executive order last week to cut the salary of the state’s 200,000 employees to the minimum wage until the state budget, currently 36 days behind schedule, is passed.

But State Controller John Chiang told the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization that this was impossible as the payroll system was written 30 years ago in COBOL and there weren’t enough programmers to do the job.

Chiang estimated that with current resources it would take six months to make the change, and then nine to ten months to reverse them.

"Pragmatically, we just can't get the system to work in a timely manner for us to implement payment of minimum wage," Chiang said, according to the Sacramento Bee.

He has said he will ignore the order and issue checks as normal because of the issue.

"It's an example of a number of computer systems in which the state made a large investment decades ago and has been keeping it going the last few years with duct tape," said Michael Cohen, director of state administration with the Legislative Analyst's Office.

COBOL, or Common Business Oriented Language, was developed in 1959 and was hugely popular for use in legacy systems, particularly in military and government systems.

But concerns over the Year 2000 problem led to many such systems being replaced with more modern code and the supply of trained COBOL programmers has shrunk rapidly ever since.

"COBOL programmers are hard to come by these days," said Fred Forrer, the Sacramento-based chief executive of MGT of America, a public-sector consulting firm.

"It's certainly not a language that is taught. Oftentimes, you have to rely on retired annuitants to come back and help maintain the system until you're able to find a replacement."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Penis Restaurant Beijing – The Long & Short of the Guolizhuang Restaurant

Penis Restaurant Beijing – A restaurant for Penis Lover? Hey, it is not everywhere you find a restaurant selling animal penises as part of their menu. And now in Beijing, we have a restaurant with thereputation for doing so.

For your sake, I went to spend a small fortune at the Guolizhuang Restaurant in Beijing's Westlake to have a sample of penises … the things I do for my readers!

Penis Restaurant Beijing Report!

Guolizhuang is a restaurant where nearly every dish has a dick in it. You can have your choices of dog, yak, donkey, seal, and more.

Guo Li Zhuang Restaurant

Have a question in your head? Why eat dicks?

Well, according to some Chinese medicinal tradition, you are what you eat. If you're a coward, it's advisable to eat tiger's testicles or somethinglike that to boost your bravery.

I know it sounds like a load of bull shit! (may be I have eaten too much of that)

Basically, people (usually men) eat animal's penis and testicles to boost their sex drive and virility. You can call the penises the Natural Viagra. Apparently, you can go for hours after eating a sizeable portion of penis.

Take a look at what penises can do for you:

  • Donkey – Good for the skin
  • Snake – Makes you hot and potent…SSsuck it all up!
  • Sheep, Horse and Ox – Helps the circulation of the blood
  • Dog – Boosting sex drive and treating all sorts of ailments.
  • Note: Females should avoid touching any of this. I don't know why!

    Does it work?

    After my meal, my body was "hotter" than ever. I am not sure whether it is psychological but all I can say is that my wife was very tired the next morning.

    Let's get back to the penis restaurant Beijing review.

    I took the waitress's recommendation and sample the penis hotpot, which contains six different penises and four testicles simmered in chicken stock.

    Pity those animals!

    Most of these penises/testicles start at about 300 RMB. So, it's an expensive meal. But after much thought, I wouldn't want to sell mine for the same price. So, it's still worth the price.

    It's a sick joke but I know you're laughing!

    What do the penises taste like?

    Guo Li Zhuang Restaurant

    Firstly, the penises are cooked in different ways- boiled, steamed, sauteed and even fried. And to add to the excitement, the waitress (or nutritionist as they like to be called that way) provides me with three dipping sauces - lemon and soy, chili and soy, and a sesame-seed paste.

    To me, the plain penises tasted like beef and chicken depending on which animal. I know it doesn't say much but it's hard for me to chew them slowly to get all the taste right in. I tend to swallow as quickly as I can. I don't want to get a penis stuck in my throat, do you?

    This is why I asked for extra sauce, especially the chili and soy sauce. I can't really stomach the taste. And again, I guess it's all psychological, like eating dog meat for the first time in Beijing. (Read the story here)

    Penis Restaurant Beijng - Conclusion

    In my opinion, everyone should try this restaurant at least once. Even if it is for novelty sake. Honestly, did I enjoy the meal? Well, it's OK but it is more the experience rather than the food itself. It is also a good conversation piece when I go back to Singapore for my holidays.

    One last thing – my wife seems to be very encouraging whenever I tell her I will be bringing my clients to Guolizhuang Restaurant.

    I wonder why.

    Where's the Moby Dick?

    Check the dicks out at:

    (Xi Hai Branch)

    Address: 1A Dongyan, Xihai (South of Deshengmen Qiao), Xicheng District.

    Tel: 6405 5966


    Beijing's penis emporium

    Saturday, 23 September 2006, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
    By Andrew Harding
    BBC News, Beijing

    There are many thousands of Chinese restaurants around in the UK and everyone has their favourite dish, but only in China itself do chefs specialise in a range of slightly more unusual delicacies.

    A glass of deer penis juice amongst food on a table at the restaurant (Photo credit: Stefan Gates)
    Many of the restaurant's guests are wealthy businessmen

    The dish in front of me is grey and shiny.

    "Russian dog," says my waitress Nancy.

    "Big dog," I reply.

    "Yes," she says. "Big dog's penis..."

    We are in a cosy restaurant in a dark street in Beijing but my appetite seems to have gone for a stroll outside.

    Nancy has brought out a whole selection of delicacies.

    They are draped awkwardly across a huge platter, with a crocodile carved out of a carrot as the centrepiece.

    Nestling beside the dog's penis are its clammy testicles, and beside that a giant salami-shaped object.

    "Donkey," says Nancy. "Good for the skin..."

    She guides me round the penis platter.

    "Snake. Very potent. They have two penises each."

    I did not know that.

    Deer-blood cocktail

    "Sheep... horse... ox... seal - excellent for the circulation."

    She points to three dark, shrivelled lumps which look like liquorice allsorts - a special treat apparently - reindeer, from Manchuria.

    Government officials... two of them... they're having the penis hotpot
    Nancy

    The Guolizhuang restaurant claims to be China's only speciality penis emporium, and no, it is not a joke.

    The atmosphere is more exotic spa than boozy night-out.

    Nancy describes herself as a nutritionist.

    "We don't call them waiters here. And we don't serve much alcohol," she says. "Only common people come here to get drunk and laugh."

    But she does offer me a deer-blood and vodka cocktail, which I decide to skip.

    Medicinal purposes

    The restaurant's gristly menu was dreamt up by a man called Mr Guo.

    Boiled ox penis
    The Chinese believe that eating penis can enhance your virility

    He is 81 now and retired.

    After fleeing China's civil war back in 1949, he moved to Taiwan, and then to Atlanta, Georgia, where he began to look deeper into traditional Chinese medicine, and experiment on the appendages of man's best friend.

    Apparently, they are low in cholesterol and good, not just for boosting the male sex drive, but for treating all sorts of ailments.

    Laughter trickles through the walls of our dining room.

    "Government officials," says Nancy. "Two of them upstairs. They're having the penis hotpot."

    Most of the restaurant's guests are either wealthy businessmen or government bureaucrats who, as Nancy puts it, have been brought here by people who want their help.

    What better way to secure a contract than over a steaming penis fondue.

    Discretion is assured as all the tables are in private rooms.

    The glitziest one has gold dishes.

    "Some like their food served raw," says Nancy, "like sushi. But we can cook it anyway you like."

    Rare order

    "Not long ago, a particularly rich real estate mogul came in with four friends. All men. Women don't come here so often, and they shouldn't eat testicles," says Nancy solemnly.

    The men spent $5,700 (£3,000) on a particularly rare dish, something that needed to be ordered months in advance.

    "Tiger penis," says Nancy.

    Bull's perineum (Photo credit: Stefan Gates)
    Bull's perineum is also a delicacy

    The illegal trade in tiger parts is a big problem in China.

    Campaigners say the species is being driven towards extinction because of its popularity as a source of traditional medicine.

    I mention this, delicately, to Nancy, but she insists that all her tiger supplies come from animals that have died of old age.

    "Anyway, we only have one or two orders a year," she says.

    "So what does it taste like?" I ask.

    "Oh, the same as all the others," she says blithely.

    And does it have any particular potency? "No. People just like to order tiger to show off how much money they have."

    Welcome to the People's Republic of China - tigers beware.

    Sliced and pickled

    "Oh yes," she adds, "the same group also ate an aborted reindeer foetus.

    "That is very good for your skin. And here it is..."

    Another "nutritionist" walks in bearing something small and red wrapped in cling film.

    My appetite is heading for the airport.

    Still, I think, it would be rude not to try something.

    I am normally OK about this sort of thing. I have had fried cockroaches and sheep's eyes, so...

    There is a small bowl of sliced and pickled ox penis on the table.

    I pick up a piece with my chopsticks and start to chew. It is cold and bland and rubbery.

    Nancy gives me a matronly smile.

    "This one," she says, "should be eaten every day."



    Guolizhuang Restaurant (the Penis Restaurant) - Menu

    ECGMA says: (Updated) - read the links:
    On the menu today: horse penis and testicles with a chilli dip

    A Visit to Beijing's Exclusive Penis Restaurant

    How about a dish of seal penis?

    Wanfujing food market - would you eat a scorpion?


    Thanks to Jackie for the pictures below hmmm.....yummy....do you think the Chinese are feeding their Olympians these 'sausages'?!?!
    Click on the images to enlarge (oops! how appropriate...enlarge!!)
    Guolizhang Restaurant, Peking

    Henry Chow Chinese Rap

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Who says Aliens don't exist?

    ECGMA says: Thanks to Jerry for making me feel 'normal - unalien'