Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Monday, 15 December 2008

Speeding Ticket Video

Have you seen this video about a policeman giving a speeding ticket?

Friday, 12 December 2008

The Best UK Toy Shop is Now Online

Now that Woolworths are closing down in the UK, the question is where to find a great selection of toys and games?

My children's favourite is "The Entertainer" but they only have a few stores. The answer is to buy from them online at thetoyshop.com





They currently have up to 65% off selected items. Final posting date for Christmas is 21 December.

You can also win some awesome prizes from Star Wars the Clone Wars.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Hand of Hope

Please read before viewing picture - it's worth it!

A picture began circulating in November. It should be 'The Picture of the Year,' or perhaps, 'Picture of the Decade.' It won't be. In fact,unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which published it, you probably would never have seen it.

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner.

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta . She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville , he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr.Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. DrBruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile.

The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, 'Hand of Hope.' The text explaining the picture begins, "The tiny hand of 21-week- old foetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life."

Little Samuel's mother said they 'wept for days' when they saw the picture. She said, "The photo reminds us pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person." Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful.

Now see the actual picture. It is awesome...incredible....and hey, pass it on. The world needs to see this one! Especially those who support late abortion.





Friday, 28 November 2008

The 5 Stages of Grief or Loss

In the book, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified five stages in the grief process:

Denial:
- "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me!" No crying, looking for the person in familiar places.

Anger:
"Why me? It's not fair!" "NO! NO! How can this happen!"

Bargaining:
"Just let me live to see my children graduate." "I'll do anything, can't you stretch it out? A few more years."


Depression:

"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?". "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?" Includes overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb, possibly suicidal.

Acceptance:
"It's going to be OK."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." Resignation is different to acceptance. You have to accept the loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that it takes two to make or break a relationship, that the person who died did not leave you on purpose (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals turn toward personal growth. Stay with fond memories of the person.

These stages of grief can be applied to any form of catastrophic personal loss eg job, relationship, death of a loved one, a body part.

There is no set order for experiencing these stages. Some people only experience a couple but if stuck in one stage or the other, the process of grieving is not complete and cannot be complete. For complete healing, a person MUST go through the five stages to be well again, to heal. No one can force anyone to work through the stages and each person must go at their own pace, sometimes going backwards before forwards. It is up to the individual but vital for healing.

To feel pain after loss is normal. It shows that we are alive, that we care, that we love.

When my step-father died suddenly in the UK, the bereavement counselling charity Cruse helped my mother enormously. I really do not know what we would have done without that lovely lady's help.

Book: On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss available from amazon.



Click here to find out how hypnosis can help to heal a broken heart.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, 27 November 2008

What are Threenagers?

Threenagers are 30+ ers who earn a good living but live like teenagers, spending their money on the newest trends like iPhone. They are not interested in living together and raising children. They would rather go out to parties and live life to the full.

MTV interviewed 25.000 people between 16 and 46 years in 18 Western countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, UK and USA, January - August 2008) about their lifestyle.

It is of no surprise that the majority are men.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Why Do I Forward Jokes?

This explains why I forward jokes....

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.

'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'

The man gestured and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveller asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveller gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveller asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveller said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

Soooo

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word.

Maybe this will explain.

When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward jokes.

When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.

When you have something to say, but don't know what and don't know how, you forward jokes.

Also to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get?

A forwarded joke.

So, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

You are all welcome @ my water bowl anytime

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Can You See the Ocean?

I have no idea how this works,but I have been told that if you stare at the picture long enough, you can see the ocean......?




No, I've sat here for 3 hours and still can't see it!!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

John Sergeant Withdraws from Strictly Come Dancing

John Sergeant has done the decent thing and graciously withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing 2008.



The 64 year old BBC political commentator delighted the public with his humour and week after week, they voted to keep him in the competition. Much as we have enjoyed his participation, we have to admit that it is a dance competition and much better dancers have been eliminated simply because they found themselves in the dance-off, rather than John. Finding himself in the last 8 of 16 celebrity dancers, there was a real chance that the public could vote to keep him in right up to the final which really would make a mockery of the competition. It is primarily about dancing, not personality.

Some people have already commented that people should complain in the thousands to bring him back to the show. I think we must accept John's decision graciously.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Happy Families

"Happiness is having a large closeknit family...in another city."
- George Burns

Monday, 17 November 2008

Il Divo New Album The Promise

The gorgeous, sexy, talented four international male singers of pop-opera Il Divo have just released their new album The Promise. Here is their version of The Power of Love in Spanish called La Fuerza Mayor:


The Promise is available from Amazon UK for just £8.98 or The Promise: Luxury Edition/+DVD for just £17.98. (Free delivery over £5.00)

Here is what Amazon say:
"Il Divo, the multi-million selling classical crossover malevocal group, have recorded another accomplished and assuredrecord in 'The Promise'. As is now traditional with this fledgling genre, a range of pop standards are tackled in epic close harmony and with semi-orchestral arrangements - this time around we hear the likes of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'(undoubtedly influenced by Jeff Buckley's seminal interpretation), Abba's 'The Winner Takes It All' and even Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'The Power Of Love'. At the centre of thisrecord is a bold attempt to deliver a more refined style ofmusic to its audience, but with enough accessibility to still hit the right pop notes."


Track list:
1. The Power Of Love (La Fuerza Mayor)
2. La Promessa
3. Adagio
4. Hallelujah (Aleluya)
5. The Winner Takes It All (Va Todo Al Ganador)
6. Enamorado
7. Angelina
8. With You I'm Born Again (Por Ti Vuelvo A Nacer)
9. La Luna
10. She
11. Amazing Grace

In case you missed any of Il Divo's earlier CDs or DVDs, they are all available at Amazon UK. Just click on any graphic:


Find details of the Il Divo 2009 tour at www.IlDivo.com

Barack Obama's Book Dreams From My Father

Amazon.co.uk are offering Barack Obama's book Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance for just £4.49.

Review
"* 'This may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.' - Joe Klein, Time * 'Whatever else people expect from a politician, it's not usually a beautifully written personal memoir steeped in honesty. Barack Obama has produced one.' - Oona King, The Times * 'Obama's writing is characterised throughout by a graceful eloquence, a generosity of perception and spirit rare in young men of many gifts and charisma...here is a testimony for the ages.' - Candace Allen, Independent * 'It is an almost illicit pleasure to be reading the unspun memories of a man who may yet become president of the US.' - Guardian"

Sunday HeraldTthe book impresses far more than the typical political memoir.

Sunday Times
'Obama has written a memoir...that evokes the anguish of miscegenation yet culminates in a cry of faith in human community.'

The Times
'Because he held to the good and transcended the bad, in Obama's genesis millions of us will find hope.'

Product Description
Barack Obama's memoir, written long before his political career began, is a remarkable story of one man's search for his identity

The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama was only two years old when his father walked out on the family. Many years later, Obama receives a phone call from Nairobi: his father is dead. This sudden news inspires an emotional odyssey for Obama, determined to learn the truth of his father's life and reconcile his divided inheritance. Written at the age of thirty-three, Dreams from my Father is an unforgettable read. it illuminates not only Obama's journey, but also our universal desire to understand our history, and what makes us the people we are.

From the Back Cover
'A man with a phenomenal life story.' Spectator Before Barack Obama became a politician he was, among other things, a writer. Dreams from My Father is his masterpeice: a refreshing, revealing portrait of a young man asking the big questions about identity and belonging. The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama recounts an emotional odyssey. He retraces the migration of his mother's family from Kansas to Hawaii, then to his childhood home in Indonesia. Finally he travels to Kenya, where he confronts the bitter truth of his father's life and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. 'Whatever else people expect from a politician, it's not usually a beautifully written personal memoir steeped in honesty. Barack Obama has produced one.' Oona King, The Times 'This may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.' Joe Klein, Time 'A best-seller because of its freshness and honesty.' Christopher Hitchens, Sunday Times 'A remarkable story, beautifully told.' Robert McCrum, Observer

About the Author
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu in 1961. In his early twenties he found his vocation working among poor communities on the south side of Chicago. Later he went to law school at Harvard University, where he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1995 he published his memoir Dreams from My Father, which became a bestseller soon after it was reissued in 2004. After returning to Chicago, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and later that year he was elected to the US Senate. His second book, The Audacity of Hope, was published in 2006 and became an immediate bestseller. In November 2008 Senator Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States of America. He is married to Michelle, with whom he has two daughters, Sasha and Malia.

Everyone Loves Amazon

Amazon sell just about everything anyone could possibly want including books, CDs, DVDs, electronics, toys, homewares - you name it. They also have a great wish list facility whereby people can add to or modify their wish list at any time. Amazon then makes further recommendations based on their choices and purchases.

As if that wasn't enough, they offer extremely competitive prices even taking postage/shipping costs into consideration. Amazon UK now offer free delivery in the UK on orders over £5.

So the ideal present for anyone is Amazon Gift Certificates, available in every value between £5 and £500 and with free delivery. They are available as
an e-mail gift certificate, paper gift certificate or you can also print them yourself

Click here to give Amazon Gift Certificates.



Antonia Harrison blog

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Tony Blair on Catherine Tate Show

Remember Tony Blair appearing on the Catherine Tate Show? "Am I bovvered?"

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Why Did My Son Have a Second Dose of MMR Vaccine?

My 10 year old son received a second dose of MMR vaccine today in Belgium, having received the first at 14 months in the UK.

I did not know children received a second dose so I looked up some information:
http://www.immunize.org/vis/mmr03.pdf - What you need to know about MMR
http://www.immunisation.nhs.uk/Vaccines/MMR/The_vaccine/mmr_two_doses Why are two doses of MMR necesary?

I know there is a huge debate about vaccinating children and the slim chances of a negative reaction. Personally, I think that I have to protect my children and others around them from even the smallest chance of contracting a serious or life-threatening illness. If the norm is to give these vaccinations to millions of children, that must be for a sound scientific reason.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Free Coffee Machine from Pabo Online Sex Shop

PABO, the online sex shop, has a great new catalogue with beautiful lingerie, extremely naughty lingerie, sex toys for him & her, DVDs and lots more.

Not only lots of lovely and fun ideas but also a FREE coffee machine when you order online. Supplies are limited so visit PABO today. Request a catalogue or browse online. If you request a catalogue there will be a code to order online and receive your free coffee machine. The offer applies to Pabo sites in 7 countries.



Very sexy Lingerie ... klik hier!


Voor sexy toys ... klik hier!


Découvrez le catalogue n° 1 du charme !


Just some of Pabo lingerie ranges:

Monday, 3 November 2008

Woman Remote Control

A chauvanistic male friend just sent me this:


I am sure there is a perfect reply but I can't think of one right now. Perhaps my lady readers will help me.

Friday, 24 October 2008

The Bird Feeder


I bought a bird feeder..
I hung it on my patio and filled
it lovingly with seed.
It was indeed a beautiful bird feeder.

Within a week we had hundreds of birds
taking advantage of the
continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started
building nests in the boards of the patio,
above the table and next to the barbecue.

Then came the bird shit. It was everywhere;
on the patio tiles, the chairs, the table ...
everywhere!

Then some of the birds turned mean.
They would dive bomb me and try to peck me
even though I had fed them out of my own pocket.


And other birds were boisterous and loud.
They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at
all hours of the day and night
and demanded that I fill it
when it got low on food.


After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch
anymore. So I took down the bird feeder
and in three days the birds were gone.
I cleaned up their mess and took down
the many nests they had built all over the patio.


Soon, the back yard was like it used to be ...
quiet, serene and no one demanding their
rights to a free meal.

Now let's see ....
Gordon Brown & our government give out free food,
subsidized housing, free medical care, free education
and allow anyone born here to be an automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the millions.
Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for the free services;
small flats are housing 5 or more families;
you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by a doctor in an emergency surgery
because it is filled with illegal non tax payers;
your child's year 12 class is behind other schools because
over half the class doesn't speak English.

Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box;
I have to 'press one' to hear my bank talk to me in English
and people waving flags other than 'The Union Jack' are
squawking and screaming in the streets,
demanding more rights and free liberties.

Its just my opinion but:
maybe, just maybe, it's time for the government
to take down the damn bird feeder.

If you agree, pass it on; if not,
continue cleaning up the sh*t!

How the Credit Crunch will Affect Britain


Will one be wanting fries with that?

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Every Woman Should...

I found this on a singles club website:

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE
… one old love she can imagine going back to
… and one who reminds her how far she has come
… a youth she's content to leave behind
… a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age…
… a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…
… one friend who always makes her laugh
… and one who lets hers cry
… a feeling of control over her destiny

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW
… how to fall in love without losing herself
… how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship
… when to try harder… and when to walk away
… that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents
… that her childhood may not have been perfect…but it's over
… what she would and wouldn't do for love or more
… whom she can trust, whom she can't and why she shouldn't take it personally
… where to go, be it to her best friend's kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods…when her soul needs soothing
… and how to change a tyre!!!!!!?

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Great Bumper Stickers to Cheer Your Day



I came across this fun sticker on a friend's site. This is what he says,

"How does that saying go, "all work and no play makes ..."? Life is all about laughing, living, learning and loving. And, I belive that the "laughter" is just as important as the other "l's". I have published a web site called Bumper with hundreds of fun vinyl stickers. It is being added to every week. Take a look and I am sure you will have a laugh."


Ian's site is Bumper at www.bumper.ws

Friday, 26 September 2008

Anthroposophy and the Steiner Schools

A friend of mine sends his son to a Steiner School and suggested I look into anthroposophy which is the philosophy behind these schools, indeed a way of life. I know nothing about it so looked to see what is available. He suggested:
"An Introduction to Anthroposophy: Rudolf Steiner's World View" by Francis Edmunds
"Anthroposophy and the Inner Life" by Rudolf Steiner, V. Compton-Burnett, and V.C-. Burnett
"Living on Purpose: Meaning, Intention and Value (Classics of Anthroposophy)" by Graham Dunstan Martin

I found this book, "An Introduction to Anthroposophy" by Rudolf Steiner:

Synopsis"Although many of the practical activities that arise from Rudolf Steiner's work are well publicized, the philosophy that stands behind them remains largely hidden. Thousands of parents send their children to Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf) schools around the world, while biodynamic farming (the Demeter brand) and anthroposophical medicine are gaining increasing recognition. Yet despite all this and much other visible work, few are aware of the richness of Rudolf Steiner's world view, anthroposophy. Steiner's original contribution to human knowledge was based on his ability to conduct 'spiritual research', the investigation of metaphysical dimensions of existence. With his scientific and philosophical training, he brought a new systematic discipline to the field, allowing for conscious methods and comprehensive results. Francis Edmunds' introduction - here revised and updated - covers the fundamental areas of Steiner's philosophy, beginning with a brief outline of his life. Edmunds describes anthroposophy as a 'way to higher knowledge', and outlines the threefold nature of the human being. He delves into the secrets of human evolution and history, the basic elements of child development, and many further aspects of Steiner's vast teaching. This is a warm and clear introduction to anthroposophy which will prove of value to anybody wishing to understand Steiner's work."

Also these books:


or search here Books on anthroposophy

Friday, 5 September 2008

A Living Will

Last night, my friend and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

She got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

She's such a bitch.....

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Disciplining Young Children

I just came across a great idea which I will try with my own children.

It is perfect for children with lots of energy who take it out on others, usually by fighting or teasing.

Use up the extra extra energy by having them either run laps around the inside of the house or run up and down the stairs a given number of times. Not only do they have to do laps or run up and down stairs, they have to continually say what it is they will not do again.

So they will keep fit and repeat eg.,
“I will not hit my sister. I will not hit my sister. I will not hit my sister.”

I thought I would share this brilliant idea with you. It may help you create more peace in your home and maybe a bit more laughter. It is more constructive than sending them to their room to sulk or having them sit on a "naughty step".

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Paid in full with one glass of milk

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, then asked,
"How much do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything", she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."

He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also.. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Many years later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all.

Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words.....

"Paid in full with one glass of milk"
(Signed)
Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed:
"Thank You, God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands."

There's a saying which goes something like this:
Bread cast on the waters comes back to you.
The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place - And, after all,isn't that what life is all about?

Now you have two choices.

You can send this page on and spread a positive message. Or ignore it and pretend it never touched your heart.

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.

Friday, 15 August 2008

How to Call the Police

George Phillips of Marsh Green, Wigan was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed which she could see from the bedroom window.

George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked 'Is someone in your house?' and he said 'no'. Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available. George said, 'Okay,' hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.

'Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them.' Then he hung up.

Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response Unit and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the Policemen said to George: 'I thought you said that you'd shot them!'

George said, 'I thought you said there was nobody available!'



I LOVE IT - Don't mess with old people!!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The Parable of the Pebbles

It was a beautiful day and the young man was walking along the path admiring the wonderful scenery. He was on his way to the rich city that lay beyond the three valleys. Many people in his village had talked about this city but none of those who had ventured to it had ever returned to confirm the stories of its greatness.

The first valley was a picture to behold and the grass was so green compared to his old village, which was now a day’s walk away. The valley had a small stream running through it and there were many flowers along its banks. They were small and pretty flowers, bright pinks and reds, with a fantastic scent.

He sat and took some bread and cheese from his small knapsack and enjoyed his simple lunch in these beautiful surroundings. While he ate he let his mind wonder about the rich city. After lunch he continued his long journey.

As night fell he reached the edge of the second valley but it was too dark for him to appreciate its beauty. He opened his knapsack and took out his blanket and settled down for the night. He dreamed about the rich city and how much better his life would be for moving there; it was a long and good dream.

As the sun rose the next morning the dawn chorus of birds in nearby hedges and trees awoke him. The young man stretched and put away his bedding and let his eyes drink in the splendour of the second valley, which was far more fertile and colourful than the previous valley.

He walked to edge of the small river and saw that there were fish in it so he set about catching one for his breakfast. Having cooked and eaten the fish the young man walked across the river and continued his journey.

After a few miles he saw an old man asleep at the side of the path. He asked the man if he needed any help. The old man was very weak and his reply was short - “I am beyond help but thank you. I will give you some advice though – Collect as many stones and pebbles as you can before you cross the next river.” The young man was puzzled and asked “Why?” but could not get an answer, the old man had gone back into a deep sleep. The young man continued walking.

Why should he collect stones? As he thought of possible reasons he noticed two or three little pebbles in the path so he picked them up and put them in his pocket. This was a long road and every now and then he picked up a few more pebbles. His pocket was beginning to get heavy and he had no idea how much further he would have to walk. He decided that one pocketful of stones would be enough as he would tire himself too much if carried more.

Hours later he reached the third valley that was very lush and had a wide river running through it. The river was not very deep, perhaps waist high, but the current looked strong. The young man braced himself and crossed the river. He struggled against the current and almost slipped on two occasions when he would surely have been washed down river and perhaps drowned. He finally clambered up the other bank.

He rested and then carried on with his journey. After an hour or so he put his hand in his pocket and realised that he still had his pebbles. He pulled them from his pocket and could not believe his eyes – they had all turned into jewels!

The young man wished he had filled all of his pockets and his knapsack with stones and pebbles, imagine how rich he would be now! It was pointless to go all the way back to cross the river again, he would waste too much time and he could even drown if he tried to cross the river again.

He carried on to the rich city only to find that most people were poor, as they too had failed to heed the advice given by the old man.

Listening and learning is like collecting pebbles; it may seem worthless at
the time but who knows when they will turn into precious gems or golden
nuggets. None of us really know the future other than the two facts - 1) we
will be taxed 2) our mortal body will eventually cease to function i.e. we
die.

David Goode 2003
www.hypnotherapy- services. com
www.stressbandit. com

Monday, 16 June 2008

The Crow - A Thought for Father's Day

An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son. Suddenly a crow perched on their window.

The father asked his son, "What is this?"

The son replied , "It is a crow".

After a few minutes, the father asked his son the 2nd time,"What is this?"

The son said, "Father, I have just now told you. It's a crow".

After a little while, the old father again asked his son the 3rd time, "What is this?"

At this time some expression of irritation was felt in the son's tone when he said to his father with a rebuff, "It's a crow, a crow".

A little after, the father again asked his son the 4th time, " What is this?"

This time the son shouted at his father, "Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, although I have told you so many times "IT IS A CROW". Are you not able to understand this?"

A little later the father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his son was born. On opening a page , he asked his son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary :-

"Today my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow was sitting on the window. My son asked me 23 times what it was and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a crow.

I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times.

I did not at all feel irritated I rather felt affection for my innocent child".

While the little child asked him 23 times "What is this?", the father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the father asked his son the same question just 4 times, the son felt irritated and annoyed.

So....

If your parents attain old age, do not repulse them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them a gracious word, be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them. Be considerate to your parents. From today say this aloud, "I want to see my parents happy forever. They have cared for me ever since I was a little child. They have always showered their selfless love on me. They crossed all mountains and valleys without seeing the storm and heat to make a person presentable in the society
today".

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Cut Your Fuel Costs - It's Good for the Planet

Like most people, I am feeling the pinch when it comes to car fuel prices, especially living in Europe where the pump price is about double that of the US.

Many people are looking for alternative fuel sources and especially anything which reduces fuel emissions and prevents Global Warming.

I just came across Water4Gas which can apparently double fuel economy and as it is environmentally friendly, it has to be worth looking it. The Water4Gas website tells you everything you could possibly want to know.

SAFETY FIRST: First thing you have to understand is there are NO safety hazards - this system is SAFE. Yes, pure Hydrogen that is dangerous. And it is dangerous to store it in high-pressure tanks. But this does NOT generate Hydrogen, you see, it generates HHO. The presence of Oxygen and water vapor in the system makes HHO very safe! Yes, HHO is a powerful combustible gas. But it's NOT explosive like pure Hydrogen. It does NOT need cooling and will be ignited only by the strong spark inside your engine. This has been proven by many thousands of miles of road tests in harsh weather and road conditions.

Again, this system does not generate Hydrogen; it generates HHO - and it is NOT STORED. All HHO produced gets consumed by the engine right away. Bottom line: unlike "Hydrogen Cars" this system is VERY SAFE.

Also, in stark difference than most "Hydrogen Generators" out there, this system does NOT require the use of harsh chemicals (KOH, Red Devil, Lye, Drano, etc) - use ONLY Pure Baking Soda (like Arm & Hammer) for maximum safety for the beginner and experienced mechanic alike.

THE FIRST NO-SECRETS GUIDE FOR DO-IT-YOURSELF WATER FUEL SYSTEM!!!
The information is available in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and German.

Not only can you discover for yourself how to drastically cut your fuel costs, you can also learn how to do that for others and charge them. So if you are looking for a second income, want something which is environmentally-friendly and which lots of people want, I recommend you visit Water4Gas to find out more.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Beckham Scores From 70 Yards

David Beckham scored this goal for LA Galaxy against the Kansas City Wizards:

Sunday, 23 March 2008

24

I am disappointed to hear that the next season of 24 will only be aired in January 2009. Every week I had been clicking the Sky planner to see whether it was due to start. I understand the reason is they want to show the whole season without any breaks so would have to show the season finale in the middle of summer. Now we shall have to wait another 10 months to see Jack Bauer save the world.

In the meantime we can satisfy our 24 appetite with 24 DVDs, books, Tshirts on Amazon They also have cool Tshirts with the CTU logo.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Support Homeopathy in the UK - Online Petition

I am asking you to support homeopathy in the UK by signing an online petition.

DEFEND YOUR CHOICE IN MEDICINE
To counter the vitriolic attacks in the media and the government decision to close the homeopathic hospitals, HMC21 (Homeopathy:Medicine for the 21st Century), has published a website www.hmc21.org and a declaration that states HOMEOPATHY WORKED FOR ME (just follow the links).

Our aim is to get 250,000 signatures by next June and march them to number 10, Downing Street with the demand that the NHS honours its commitment to homeopathy as enshrined in its charter. If you have ever benefited by a homeopathic remedy, whether self-prescribed or otherwise, then you are eligible to sign. It will take you very little time and will be a great contribution to the success of this project. One form per family member please.

Please sign the online homeopathy support petition

Irish Jokes for St Patrick's Day


Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like he'd just been run over by a train. His arm is in a sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut and bruised and he's walking with a limp.
"What happened to you?" asks Sean, the bartender.
"Jamie O'Conner and me had a fight," says Paddy.
"That little shit, O'Conner," says Sean, "He couldn't do that to you, he must have had something in his hand."
"That he did," says Paddy, "a shovel is what he had, and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it."
"Well," says Sean, "you should have defended yourself. Didn't you have something in your hand?"
"That I did," said Paddy.
"Mrs. O'Conner's breast, and a thing of beauty it was, but useless in a fight."


**********************************************************************************
An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road.

A cop pulls him over.
"So," says the cop to the driver, where have ya been?"
"Why, I've been to the pub of course," slurs the drunk.
"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening."
"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.
"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest,"that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"
"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk.
"For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."


**********************************************************************************

Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door.
"Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya".
"Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's my husband?"
"That's what I'm here to be telling ya, Brenda. There was an accident down at the Guinness brewery..."
"Oh, God no!" cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me."
"I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry.
Finally, she looked up at Tim.
"How did it happen, Tim?"

"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."

"Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me truth, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?"
"Well, Brenda... no. In fact,
he got out three times to pee."

*********************************************************************************
Paddy was shaving when he knocked the mirror off the shelf and it fell to the floor and it cracked across the middle. Paddy gazed in horror. 'Bejabbers, I've cut my throat,' he gasped.

*********************************************************************************
Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.
He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"
She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."
The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?"
She says, "That he did, Father."
The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary? "
She says, He said,
'Please Mary, put down that damn gun...'

**********************************************************************************
AND THE BEST FOR LAST

A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing. The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the drunk continues to sit there. Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.
The drunk mumbles,
"ain't no use knockin, there's no paper on this side either!"

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY (belatedly)
I celebrated St Patrick's Day 2008 in the Irish Times pub in Hasselt, Belgium. Donny O'Connell provided the live music whilst the Guinness and Kilkenny flowed.

Some quotes from famous Irish:
"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch
which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
- George Bernard Shaw

"I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer." - Brendan Behan

"When I die I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Ireland." - J. P. Dunleavy

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

More websites to visit:
St Patrick's Day site
Guinness blog
St Patrick's Day on Wikipedia
St Patrick's Day games, crafts, clipart, recipes, souvenirs
Another St Patrick's Day site

For travel to Ireland visit EuroTravel the one-stop site for travel to and within Europe

Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap Year Day Proposals of Marriage

Today is Leap Year Day which as we all know, only occurs every four years.

The tradition in England is that a woman may propose marriage to the man of her choice on this day. This tradition originates from hundreds of years ago to the time when leap year day was not recognised in English law - the day was ‘leapt over' and ignored which lead to the term 'leap year'.

As the day had no legal status, it was considered reasonable to assume that traditions had no status. It was also reasoned that since the leap year day existed to fix a problem in the calendar, it could also be used to fix an old and unjust custom that only let men propose marriage.

Back in the 5th century, Irish St. Bridget convinced St. Patrick that women should be allowed to propose marriage at least once day a year. St. Patrick relented, but with a catch—he ordained that women would have the opportunity only every four years—on leap day. Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves, in order to soften the blow. Because men felt that put them at too great a risk, the tradition was in some places tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, 29 February, or to the medieval leap day, 24 February.

A 16 year old Cypriot girl proposed to her fellow student and they are still happily married after 50 years.

Greek Superstition
There is a Greek superstition that claims couples have bad luck if they marry during a leap year. Apparently one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.

How to propose on Leap Year Day

What happens if he says "no"?A "no" is not necessarily the end of your relationship. King George VI was turned down four times by the Queen Mum before he got a "yes". But then, he was a king. Many proposal rejections do spell the end of the relationship, so be prepared for that.

By the way, a person born on February 29 may be called a "leapling". There is a one in 1506 chance of being born on Leap day and there are over 4 million leap year babies worldwide. This, and other interesting facts are to be found at the @February 29th page, which lives at http://www.mystro.com/leap.htm. In addition to interesting facts, the page hosts a leap year calculator, a leap year cocktail recipe, and leap year stories.

Leap Year cocktail - never order a Leap Year cocktail by name. Instead, call out the ingredients: 1.5 oz gin, 0.5 oz Grand Marnier, 0.5 oz sweet vermouth, and a squeeze of lemon. Shake with crushed ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Photos from Hasselt, Belgium

I took these photos walking around Hasselt, capital of Limburg province in Belgium.
a chocolate flower for Valentine's Day from Chocoladehuis Boon in Paardsdemerstraat 13

a piano shop doorway

These seesaws hang on the side of an optician to "catch your eye" (sorry for the pun); the close-up says "God Ziet U" (God sees you).

©Antonia Stuart-James 2008 from Antonia Stuart-James’ blog

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Sunrise Videos

If you would like to see lovely sunrises all over the world but also like snuggling under your duvet at home, just click this link to watch a selection:
http://www.discovery.com/googleearth/?playerId=219243115&categoryId=350721045&lineupId=348523849&titleId=364937946

Politically Incorrect Conversation between Nelson and Hardy

I like this because it is politically correct. History re-written.

Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir?"

Nelson (reading aloud): "'England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability.' - What gobbledegook is this?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments. "

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it ........... full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What?"

Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness, and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny!"

Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

Nelson: "We're not?"

Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation. "

Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life"

Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

Hardy: "I believe that is now legal, sir."

Nelson: "In that case........ ......... ......... ..... kiss me, Hardy."

Sometimes People Come Into Your Life

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there...to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help figure out who you are or who you want to become. You never know who these people may be but you lock eyes with them, you know that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way.

Sometimes things happen to you at the time that may seem horrible, painful and unfair, but on reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would never realize your potential, strength, willpower or heart.

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of luck. Illness, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test limits of your soul.

Without these small tests, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere safe and comfortable but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet affect your life. The successes and downfalls that you experience can create whom you are and you can learn from the bad experiences. In fact they are probably the most poignant and important ones. If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forvie them because they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart.

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but also because they are teaching you to love and open your heart and eyes to little things. Make every day count. Appreciate everything that you possibly can, for you may never experience it again.

Talk to people whom you have never talked to before and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to.

Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, not one else will believe in you. Create your own life and then go out and live it.

Share this with anyone whom you believe has made a difference in your life!

"If you take your eyes off your goals, all you see is obstacles.!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

The Wooden Bowl
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in- law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about father," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

* I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
* I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.
* I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life..."
* I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
* I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
* I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
* I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
* I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
* I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
* People love that human touch - holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
* I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
* I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about.

NOTICE THE DATE THE CANDLE WAS STARTED. IT'S GOING TO GIVE YOU GOOSE BUMPS. I am not going to be the one who lets it die. I found it believable - angels have walked beside me all my life And they still do.

The Candle Of Love, Hope & Friendship
This candle was lit on September, 15, 1998. Someone who loves you has
helped keep it alive by sending it to you.

Don't let The Candle of Love, Hope and Friendship die! Pass it on to all of your friends and everyone you love! Please keep this candle alive.

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend."

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

John West Salmon and Bear Commercial

This is so funny.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

World Memory Championships and Mind Mapping

I saw an amazing TV programme called "The Mentalists" about the World Memory Championships 2007 held in Bahrain with two main competitors - Ben Pridmore from the UK and Dr Gunther Karsten from Germany, the latter winning.

Ben won the World Memory Champion in 2004 in a ten-discipline competition. He also holds the official world record for memorizing the order of a randomly shuffled 52-card deck in 26.28 seconds. He beat the previous record by 5 seconds.

Ben's world records to date:
- 795 binary digits in 5 minutes
- 3915 binary digits in 30 minutes
- 99 historical dates in 5 minutes
- 312 playing cards in 10 minutes
- 1404 playing cards in an hour
Ben Pridmore on Wikipedia
Ben Pridmore's blog "Zoomy"

The World Memory Championships have been running since 1991, the brainchild (sorry for the pun) of Tony Buzan. Apparently memory training is a skill open to anyone of average intelligence although such extreme levels are achieved only by blinkered determination and daily practice. For us ordinary mortals, plenty of books have been written and there is even software.

Tony Buzan is the inventor of Mind Maps®, the most powerful 'thinking tool' of our times. The Chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates recognised its importance in his article entitled 'The Road Ahead – How Mind-Mappers are taking our information democracy to the next stage': ..."a new generation of 'mind-mapping' software can also be used as a digital 'blank slate' to help connect and synthesize ideas and data – and ultimately create new knowledge"... (Newsweek Issues, 2006).

Tony Buzan suggests using the following foundation structures for Mind Mapping:

1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
2. Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
4. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
5. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
7. Use colors – your own code – throughout the Mind Map.
8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches. [1]

I find this a fascinating subject. Tony Buzan has written lots of books including Mind Map, Speed Reading, Brilliant Memory and Brain Child so there are books to help children develop their mind. Find Tony Buzan Mind Mappinghere.

Read more:
Tony Buzan
[1]Mind Mapping on Wikipedia
The Speed Reading Secret
World Memory Championship official site
How to win the World Memory Championship

©Antonia Stuart-James 2008 at http://antoniastuart-james.blogspot.com/

Friday, 25 January 2008

Beautiful EyCatchers® Wind Spinners

Isn't this pretty? I do not know how I came across this website but these pretty EyeCatchers certainly caught my eye.

The EyCatchers® Wind Spinners are available from Spinners in the Wind

Blonde joke

A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her boyfriend asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blonde says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says,
"First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then " he said with a deep sigh, . .. . .. . .. .


...."Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Child Benefit Office Cost of Writing to People

I am one of the 25 million people whose personal records were mislaid by the Child Benefit office.

That is bad enough. But they have written to me, not once but twice to apologize.

A second-class stamp costs 24p so multiply that by 25 million, twice = £12 million.

Even worse, the true cost of sending a business letter including stationery, ink and time is, say, £2.50. That makes the cost £125 million. Banks charge £35 per letter = £1,750 million

Anyone find that a scandulous waste of UK Government resources?

BBC story about Government emailing rather than sending letters

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

9 Words Women Use

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.
(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)
(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says "Thanks a lot" - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say "you're welcome" ... that will bring on a "whatever").
(8) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying F*cK YOU!
(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to # 3.

* Send this to the men you know, to warn them about arguments they can avoid if they remember the terminology.
* Send this to all the women you know to give them a good laugh, cause they know it's true.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

The Free-Range Chickens Debate

I am delighted to see so many TV programmes on British TV at the moment discussing nutrition and the quality of our food. What used to be a minority interest subject is being screened at peak viewing times and there are several programmes on offer at the moment.

TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall kicked off with a three-part series, "Hugh's Chicken Run" in which he built a temporary chicken barn and raised 4,000 chicks from 3 days old to slaughter time, of which just over a half were raised by current intensive standards and the rest given a life and some freedom.

The intensive group were kept indoors, saw no natural light, had nothing to do other than feed 23.5 hours per day and walked around in each other's urine and faeces. The shed stank of ammonia from the urine. Their life ended at 39 days.

The lucky chicks started off the same but after some days were given straw bales, perches, footballs and dangling CDs - all playthings to amuse chickens. Then, the gates were opened and they spent much of their day outside on grass. They lived to 56 days.

A group of council residents were given an allotment area and some chickens to raise themselves until it was time to slaughter them and eat them!

Jamie Oliver went further in "Jamie's Fowl Dinners". His audience sat at tables waiting for his gala dinner but first learned about chicken rearing the hard way. He reeled off the facts relating to the UK market:

- 855 million chickens are raised per year.
- 27 newborn chicks are culled every second in a gassing chamber.
- Dead chicks are given to zoos for animal feeding or put into pet food.
- Pound per pound, intensively farmed chickens are now cheaper than dog food.
- He made Mechanically Recovered Meat(MRM) from chicken carcasses and waste.
- Brits consume 29 million eggs every day, ie 10 billion eggs per year.
- Laid out top to tail, the eggs would circumnavigate the globe 15 times.
- A busy hen lays 300+ eggs per year and spends its whole life - about one year - in a cage with a few others.
- 20 million battery hens are kept in cages.
- 60% of eggs in Britain are laid by battery hens.
- 5 billion eggs are produced by battery hens every year.

One woman set up a charity taking the worn out battery hens after their busy year, saving them from slaughter and passing them on as domestic hens where they can live 8+ years continuing to lay eggs.

Hellman's mayonnaise is a brand we all love but it is made from battery eggs. Their spokesman said they had to ensure a huge volume of eggs for the production but are committed to only use free range eggs by June 2008. Good on them.

The cheapest eggs cost 12p to the consumer, barn eggs about 19p and free range eggs, 21p. The difference in taste is incredible, never mind the welfare of the chickens.

An EU ban on battery hens will be enforced in 2012.

So back to the chickens. They hatch after 21 days and any potentially lame ones or underweight ones are immediately culled. This culling occurs daily as they cannot move about so risk being trampled. 17 chickens share a space of just 1m2.

A farmer makes a 3p profit per chicken. Typical Tesco price of an intensively raised chicken is £2.99 or two for a fiver. I dread to think how much of that goes into plastic packaging.

By 2010, the RSPCA Freedom Fird birds will have access to natural light, straw, perches, footballs and hanging toys. They want the birds to have 25% more space and a 49 days growing period. The price of such a chicken is £3.99, just £1 more, and it has a better flavour. That seems fair enough to me.

Free-range chickens are allowed 75-100 days growth and sell for about £7. Hugh found some for £2 more than a cheapie so suggested £2 for a family of 4 means 50p extra each - a price that might be worth paying.

I might point out that here in my local Carrefour supermarket in Belgium, a cheap chicken costs about 5€, a corn-fed chicken costs 9€ and a free-range chicken, 12€ so the price differential is greater. Cheap eggs cost 0,10€(30 for 3.15€), barn eggs 0,26€ and free range eggs 0,39€. Divide by 1.4 to convert to £.

Time and again, the programmes referred to the price and "what the consumer wants". Actually, it is what the supermarkets want in their price war. Chickens used to be a luxury and not a cheap food option. Supermarkets forced the farmers to produce cheaper chickens and eggs and to find ways to continually cut the price. We are used to paying a certain price for a food then a supermarket offers us an own brand option for less so we eat that instead. Tesco go further with their white brands - the 9p tin of baked beans, for example. We did not demand such cheap beans but it was offered to us by Tesco who want us to buy from them and not a competitor. Many cheap foods are sourced from third world countries produced by cheap labour. The product is canned nearer home so labelled produce of eg Italy and we are none the wiser.

I did not eat chickens or any meat from 1984 to 2007 because of the way chickens are farmed in the UK, not because I am an animal lover which I am not but because of the forced feeding, the unnatural lives, the inevitable disease and knock-on effect on our health. I suffered one week with salmonella poisoning in 1980 caused by a chicken sandwich. I started eating chicken again just to be sociable but eat no other meat. Well the odd slice of Serrano ham. I am not evangelistic about vegetarianism. It is simply my quiet preference and a much cheaper food option.

The point about chickens is not so much which type of whole chicken you choose to buy but about the poor quality of meat used in chicken products, especially the nuggets given to children because they are tasty. LISTEN PEOPLE - THEY ARE RUBBISH.

I wonder whether KFC and McDonalds will now be forced by consumer pressure to consider their chicken sources.

I know millions of people are on a low budget. (I once heard the frightening statistic that 38 million of the 60 million Brits in the UK had less than £112 to their name!) Yet many of these people still find money for alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets. Don't get me started on the latter. Then there are new clothes every season, piles of them cheaply bought at Primark, a car and the must-have holidays. Very few people in the UK are so poor that they cannot make healthier food choices - like eating cheaper beans and pulses instead of meat. It is all a question of priorities.

Will someone please investigate why smoked salmon is now so cheap? It used to be a luxury, Christmas day food but 200g of cheapo Atlantic product made(?) in France now costs 1,50 € in Carrefour, down from 2,99 €. Of course it is thin and the odd bit is too chewy to eat but it is edible enough for sandwiches. Even my 10 year old's school sandwiches.

Read about Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's TV campaigns:
News on SmartPlanet about chicken sales since the programmes.
Response from the Supermarkets in The Times
Guardian article with readers' comments
Christians urged to buy free-range chickens

©Antonia Stuart-James 2008 on http://antoniastuart-james.blogspot.com/

Grateful for Penicillin Discovery

Like so many people in Belgium at the moment, my young son has a lung infection. He said he felt "in hell" with the painful throat, high temperature, difficulty in breathing and sickness.

A hundred years ago he would probably have died as did so many people from simple colds and similar infections but thanks to the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, a professor of bacteriology at St. Mary's Hospital in London, my son is sure to survive. One bottle of Amoxycillin anti-biotics is making him better quickly.

Therefore, today I am very grateful that Fleming discovered penicillin and that so many scientists labour everyday to find new medical advancements.