Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Honoring Veterans

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Beautiful Cover

Here’s a wonderful performance by the Corrs of the song REM made famous. The Corrs are a Celtic folk rock group from Dundalk, Ireland.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflections on Terror


September 11, is an exceptionally sad day for me. 
On February 26, 1996, I visited the World Trade Center for lunch on a bitter cold day.  Sadly, I ate in the PATH Center, and left the coffee shop just at 12:17 PM.  The bomb blast went off, and sent me, and others, into the air.  The man I stood 20 feet from lay in a pool of his own blood—his ashen face indicated he was no more.  It was the worst day of my life.
Seeing people die in a wanton act such as bombing a building, to kill innocent people merely going about their business, tends to linger in the recesses of one’s mind.  It took several years to overcome the experience.  But eventually I overcame the tragedy, and restored my life.  Granted, it was never the same again.
On September 11, 2001, upon entering a 7-11 for a cup of coffee, I had no idea the unprovoked attack occurred.  The first thing I noticed was the owner of the store, a Pakistani, punching his fist.  His unexplained agitation stood out.  He knew what happened, and it didn’t make him, happy.  Since I had no knowledge of the tragic event, I couldn’t appreciate the tension of the moment.
While pouring my coffee, I glanced at the television mounted on the wall.  Stunned and shaken, I placed the lid on top to stare at the events.  One plane, then another crashed into the towers.  Mind-boggling.
I left the store and walked to my car, and called someone I knew in Florida to advise them of the incident.  I began shaking and crying.  I conducted business with some of the innocent people in that building—I hoped they were okay.
Soon the noxious odors I smelled during my terror encounter returned.  I relived the 1993 event in my memory.  The state of shock and existing in another unfeeling dimension overcame me.
The situation became progressively worse as the day progressed.  My depression increased with each additional piece of news.
The aftermath left many a family devastated.  My heart aches for them on this anniversary. 

Monday, June 29, 2009

Crime of the Century

It’s difficult to admit: I was happy to see Bernard Madoff get the full 150 year sentence for the massive fraud he committed. It’s not easy to be happy due to another’s bad fortune.

His attorney appealed to the court to sentence Madoff to 12 years, hardly a fitting punishment for what might be “the crime of the century.”

The list of victims encompassed thousands, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, Footloose star Kevin Bacon and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick. The broad based fraud also involved anonymous investors, whose life savings vanished into thin air.

Two burning questions remain. Where did the money go? Who helped Mr. Madoff swindle so many out of so much?

What would make me truly happy is the return of the funds to the investors who lost their life savings and their retirement hopes. This is a modern day tragedy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is It Safe to Visit Starbucks 2

Recently in a blog, I asked if it was safe to visit Starbucks, because there are stock traders who sit in some of the stores conducting their business, and recently they are losing large sums of money. One day I witnessed two near altercations by two of these traders. Of course my intentions begged humor; nevertheless, there may be some good reasons to be cautious. Rightfully or not, this global corporation has accumulated some protestors and problems.

An investigation reveals a startling number of incidents against the international, coffee-shop-chain.

Yesterday, a bomb exploded in the Starbucks on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

On May 4, 2004, persons unknown tried to place a Molotov cocktail inside the Starbucks in Portland, Oregon.

Starbuck’s union problems resemble the Wal-Mart situation. There is a Stop-Starbucks site that urges Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz to “Quit following Wal-Mart's anti-union example and give your workers what they want, Mr. Schultz. They will not trust you until you do.”

On Saturday May 5, 2007 Sheffield, England: Food Not Bombs staged a protest in front of the Broomhill Starbucks, acting in solidarity with the IWW’s “Justice from Bean to Cup” campaign.

In Seattle during the World Trade Organization’s 1999 meeting, violent demonstrators attacked a McDonald’s, a Starbucks, and a GAP to protest these promoters of the “corporate agenda.”

There is a “Boycott Starbucks” group on Facebook that makes the claim, “The head of Starbucks, Howard Shultz is an active Zionist and has been recognized by the government of Israel… It has been reported that a percentage of Starbucks profits go directly to the Israeli government.”

An Egyptian cleric, Safwat Higa said during a sermon delivered on Al-Nas TValso asking for a Starbuck’s boycott stated, "The girl in the Starbucks logo is Queen Esther. Do you know who Queen Esther was and what the crown on her head means? This is the crown of the Persian kingdom. This queen is the queen of the Jews. She is mentioned in the Torah, in the Book of Esther. The girl you see is Esther, the queen of the Jews in Persia."
Further, "We want Starbucks to be shut down throughout the Arab and Islamic world. It is inconceivable that in Mecca and Al-Madina, there will be a picture of Queen Esther.”
In January, 2009, Protestors firebombed a Starbucks in London, in a suspected anti-Israel protest.

Also in January, 2009, demonstrators in Beirut forced a Starbucks to close.

In addition, December 4, 2004, activists picketed Starbucks in Aberdeen Scotland. This was part of an awareness campaign, conducted by Industrial Workers of the World, citing Starbucks unethical practices.

This short list doesn’t fully cover all of the incidents that have occurred, nor does it provide adequate answers as to who is behind these events.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pandemic Strikes the Globe

The World Health Organization reports a global pandemic. The organization specifies that approximately 1.6 billion people over 15 years of age are afflicted by this pandemic, and the by 2015 the number of adults stricken by this pandemic will rise to 2.3 billion.
This pandemic causes a host of chronic diseases: high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, endometrial, colon, and breast cancers, and gallbladder disease.
What sad about this pandemic is that for the majority of cases, people inflict in upon themselves. The cause? They eat too much and exercise too little.
The deadly disease goes by the names overweight and obesity.

The best way to determine either of these conditions is to use the Body Mass Index, also know and the BMI. A healthy BMI runs between 18.5 and 25. Below 18.5 means underweight and above 25 indicates and overweight. Above 30 describes obesity.

There are some simple remedies to overcome this unhealthy condition: increase the daily intake of fruit and vegetables, limit the amount of sugar intake, and engage in moderately-intense physical activity on most days of the week. There is no need for special diets.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fantastic Machine

Will technology save the world, or will we face the dangers of smart machines that will take over the world?

video

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Addiction

In addition to the many addictions already affecting me, I have a new addiction: walking at twelve to fifteen degree elevation on a treadmill. One might argue that it’s a subset of my addiction to exercise, and that may be true.

One of the best aspects of treadmill incline: it burns calories at a rate of more than 600 calories per hour. That means three hours of incline treadmill walking/running can take off one-half of a pound weekly. This doesn’t consider the impact it has on the legs. It makes them strong without the bulky buildup that weights can bring that can make one oh…so slow.

If you’re looking for a great workout—give it a try.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World

THE ROLLING STONES

I had the pleasure of seeing this performance at an IMAX theater with the expanded system and the cameras that filmed from every available angle. Hats off to Scorsese

There’s little question the Rolling Stones perform at a level unequaled by most groups—even at their advanced years. The Stones perform with what appears to be wild abandon. Yet, closer inspection reveals they are acutely aware of everything that happens on stage while performing the various numbers: the eye contact, the subtle signals and nods of the head. Maybe because they have played together for so many years.

It’s this playing together for so long that’s intriguing. Was it Mick Jagger’s leadership, the groups love of performing, marketing ability, or just pure luck?

The video of “She Was Hot” exemplifies Rock and Roll—Enjoy. It demonstrates why the Rolling Stones are a success.




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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Old Friends

It was a most unusual experience, losing one friend—or someone to whom I tried to be a friend—and finding another. The friend I lost didn’t understand that friendship is a two way street, and the entire burden of the friendship was placed on me. Everyone understands the stress of that situation.

A short time after the non-friend, friendship was over, I noticed a phone ID on my business phone, one of those easy to remember numbers that ends in 00. The name indicated was someone I knew a long time ago who had moved. We lost contact.
So I called the number yesterday, and it was the same person. He had dialed a number incorrectly, and got mine. Bizarre, huh?

What more bizarre than that? This old friend comes to Florida for business consulting at a location that is a few miles from where I currently live. We’ll have lunch on his next trip. That’s something to look forward to.

Life is interesting.

Friday, January 9, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR

The year 2008 ended with a roar. I became so busy there was little time to take a break. So I took an extended vacation for—the first in about ten years. It felt so good I decided to take a few vacations every year, and leave my old habits behind.

Frequent vacations help people recharge their batteries—so to speak. Human beings need a break from the daily grind to reduce the stress that builds up. Stress can impose chronic and acute illness on individuals.

Stress in the body produces an increase in the hormones adrenaline, noradrenalin and corticosteroids. These hormones generate tense muscles, queasiness as well as an increase in breathing and heart rates. Long-term stress may cause the following complications: allergies, digestive problems, heart disease (including hypertension), and panic attacks.

Fortunately, none of these became an issue for me. That’s because I exercise vigorously several times a week.

So, as you might have guessed, my New Year’s resolution includes frequent vacations—at least three per year.