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Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.
~ John Gardner

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Wrist Computer From 1984


Seiko's 1984 wristwatch computer for very early adopters

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - A Fable About Following Your Dream

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho is an absolutely beautiful story. I received the book as a gift from a dear friend many years ago. I'm sorry it took so long for me to read this enduring work of art.

The Alchemist tells the story of Santiago, a Spanish shepherd boy with dreams of finding treasure at the pyramids of Egypt. Pointing the way are gypsies, an alchemist, and mysterious omens. But it's the boy's trust and courage that propel his journey. With The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho crafted a true fable, filled with symbols and simple truths. It's a story about following your dreams, yes. But the fable's greater message is to pay attention to the "omens" of life -- the voice of spirit. Do that and your happiness is assured. Which isn't to say the journey is without suffering. But the Alchemist in the story says...

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself"

I highly recommend this beautiful book, The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream.

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Thank You for Smoking Movie - Truthful Satire?

We don't sell Tic Tacs, we sell cigarettes. And they're cool, available, and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us.
~ Budd 'BR' Rohrabacher

Just watched Thank You for Smoking, starring Aaron Eckhart as Tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor. Director and screenwriter Jason Reitman adapted the film from Christopher Buckley's novel of the same name.

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Truth About Shampoo and Conditioner

What makes your hair look bad after using shampoo without conditioner?

It's the water, not the shampoo.

To understand why, you need to know that hair has scales, like a snake. The scales lay flat in an acidic environment, making hair look shiny and healthy--which is why some recommend applying lemon juice to the hair. And the hair scales stand up in an alkali or base environment, making the hair look dry and dull.

What determines the acid/base environment is the water, not the shampoo. Public tap water has become "harder," more base, over the years. That causes your hair to be frizzy after washing your hair.

However, shampoo removes the natural oils from the hair, and this removal is what damages the hair by making it less supple and much more brittle. So you replace the natural oils with the oils in conditioners. It helps.

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Unheathly Restaurant Food - Surprise Winners

Worst Unhealthy Restaurant Food - I was shocked with some of the "winners" from Men's Health's 20 Worst Foods In America. Below are a few that surprised me.

Worst Mexican Entree

Chipotle Mexican Grill Chicken Burrito

1,179 calories
47 g fat
125 g carbs
2,656 milligrams (mg) sodium

Sadly, I really like this chicken burrito. I don't have cheese with it, which helps. I guess nixing the tortilla and cheese and going for the chicken bowl instead would be better. Chipotle tortilla is 330 calories.

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Bad Faith Economics - by Paul Krugman

Bad Faith Economics - by Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize Laureate for Economics Paul Krugman rebutts conservative Republican arguments against President Obama's economic stimulus plan. In his New York Times editorial, Krugman's declares that Republicans are arguing in "bad faith." Below is a summary with some added commentary...


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Ear of My Heart - Most Inspirational Blog

Ear of My Heart - Most Inspirational Blog - This is my wife's blog, and as her worst critic, I can honestly say it contains among the most inspirational writing I have ever read. As an avid reader, that's saying something. Just look at her comments from other (less biased?) readers. LaRonda's Ear of My Heart blog is awesome!

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Why Organic Milk Lasts Longer than Regular Milk

Why Organic Milk Lasts Longer than Regular Milk - The difference lies NOT in the source of the milk but in how it's processed.

LTLT Pasteurization - The pasteurization process commonly used with regular milk is called "low temperature, long time" (LTLT) pasteurization, which heats the milk to 145 degree F for at least 30 minutes. The temperatures used in LTLT pasteurization do NOT kill all the bacteria in the milk, but do kill enough to keep it safe for a week or so.

UHT Pasteurization - The pasteurization process commonly used with organic milk is called ultrahigh-temperature pasteurization (UHT) and heats the milk to 280 degrees F for 2-4 seconds. UHT pasteurization kills all bacteria in the milk.

Why not use UHT for Regular Milk? Besides killing all bacteria, UHT pasteurization destroys some of milk's vitamins (a small amount) and alters some proteins in the milk so that it cannot be used for making cheese.

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Closed Caption Missing on HD Channels - Solution Found!

Caption Missing on HD Channels - After installing Comcast cable box, we lost the closed captioning for HD TV channels.

The HD problem - Caption controls exist on two separate menus:

  1. one for the TV
  2. one for the cable box

To display captions for HD channels, you need to enable captioning through the cable box's caption menu. The TV's caption menu will NOT enable captions for HD TV channels.

The hard part is figuring out how to access the cable box's caption menu. Here's how we accessed the cable box's caption menu and restored the captioning for ALL channels, HD and non-HD.

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Jessica Alba - "Good Luck Chuck" Poster

It's like a Got Milk? ad ... but it's not :)


Jessica Alba Poster for Good Luck Chuck

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How to Train a Killer Whale

Training Whales - I found information on training a killer whales some time ago. It's a popular topic for parenting sites--and with good reason. Some of the 'lessons' we learn from training killer whales are very helpful to consider when teaching our kids.


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Snow Falling On Cedars - Cinematography Masterpiece


Snow Falling on Cedars

Saw an absolutely beautiful film last night, Snow Falling on Cedars. The cinematography by Robert Richardson is simply exquisite -- every frame a fine photograph. And masterful editing by Hank Corwin knitted the abstract poetry of images into a compelling storyline, which included many flashbacks and dream sequences. It could have been a disaster, but the level of craftsmanship on this film was extremely high. Director Scott Hicks (Shine) orchestrated a nuanced work of art that deserved its 5 Oscar nominations and many other awards.

The acting in this movie was equally magnificent, with delicate, subtle performances by Max von Sydow, James Cromwell, Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under), Ethan Hawke, and Yauki Kudoh (Memoirs of a Geisha). I particularly like Kudoh's performance, and that of Anne Suzuki who played her Hatsue character at a younger age. Sydow was also fantastic, and I love Richard Jenkins -- would like to see more of this guy.

Adapted from the international bestselling book Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, the film is an experience in itself. Definitely worth viewing.

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Poem from a True Friend

From Dion in Idaho

Are you tired of all those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that really speaks to true friendship:

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The Belly and the Squash

I absolutely adore this photograph.

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How to Pick a Ripe Pineapple

  1. Select a plump and fresh looking pineapple
  2. Shell color is not necessarily a sign of maturity or ripeness. A pineapple can be ripe when it is practically all green outside.
  3. Smell it. It should smell fragrant but not too sweet. Smelling too sweet may indicate the pineapple has begun to ferment.
  4. Fresh, green leaves in the crown are a good sign.
  5. The body should be firm, but not too firm. Avoid soft pineapples or ones containing soft spots.
  6. Bigger does not mean better tasting.
  7. A pineapple will not ripen any further – get any sweeter – after picking. It is sugar that makes pineapple sweet after ripe. The sugar comes from the conversion of starch reserves in the stump at the time of ripening.

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Russell Crowe's Eulogy for Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter


Russell Crowe's Eulogy for Steve Irwin

Russell Crowe Eulogy Steve Irwin - When I heard that Steve Irwin, the Crododile Hunter, had been killed by a sting-ray, I was shocked and saddened. As news coverage of his death swelled, I was somehow comforted to learn that so many others felt the same....Who knew this wacky, passionate Aussie had such an impact on so many people?

Russell Crowe, a good mate of Irwin's, gave such a touching eulogy at the memorial service for Steve Irwin, a service that was televised around the world. I've transcribed Russell's words below. Truly moving. Here is the video...

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Power Nap Basics from Sara Mednick

Perfect Power Naps - Sara Mednick, a napping specialist, offers these suggestions on taking power naps:

Power Nap Hints

  1. Recognize you're not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
  2. Nap in the morning or just after lunch; human circadian rhythms make late afternoons a more likely time to fall into deep (slow-wave) sleep, which will leave you groggy.

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Feist

Feist - I'm loving what I'm hearing...and seeing from this Canadian Leslie Feist. This girl's got depth. The more I learn about her, the more I hear her music, the more I like her.

Below is the video for her 1,2,3,4 hit, which I first heard on an Apple Nano video Ipod commercial. Yuck! But it's okay. She gained another fan.


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Where Does the Money Go? - Moyers Interview with Bittle & Johnson

Where Does the Money Go? - In their book Where Does the Money Go - Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis, Scott Bittle & Jean Johnson explain in understandable terms where the U.S. government spends YOUR tax dollars.

In an interview with Bill Moyers, Bittle and Jean reveal that the U.S. Government has spent more money than it received in taxes for 31 of the last 35 years. Meaning, that in good times and bad, the U.S. Government is spending more than it brings in. No company, no household, no government can spend more than it receives without consequences. Companies and households go bankrupt (or get a government bail out). The government simply borrows and prints more money, which eventually leads to a financial crisis (inflation, currency collapse, etc.)

Some think the spending problem would be solved if we left IRAQ. Not so....

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That Inner Warmth - Self Portrait by Leanne Lim-Walker

That Inner Warmth - I absolutely love this Leanne Lim-Walker self-portrait, which was featured on a Popular photography magazine cover. Something about the composition, light, and beautiful face keeps pulling me back to this image.

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