Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrrggggghhhhhh To Ya Fayette County Matey!


Do you remember those romance novels which were chock full of swashbuckling pirates in their flowing white shirts and handsome, rogue looks? Do you remember how all the fair young maidens would swoon at the sight of these men? Do you remember all the pirates always won the fair maidens' hearts?

Well, far be from me to lose those memories. Just to keep all things pirate alive and well, I invite everyone to join in on September 19 for the International Talk Like A Pirate Day Celebration.

Tis true. Two young men with the pirate names of Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy have been promoting their cause since 1995. This year, they are off to Philadelphia to celebrate their self proclaimed day with a real pirate exhibit of National Geographic.

Tis incredible. There are all sorts of grassroots plans for the weekend. If you want to learn more, just go to their website.

Kudos for one of the participants of the weekend by offering her profits on pirate pins to support breast cancer awareness and early mammograms.

If you happen to be headed into Savannah for the day, be sure to stop in the Pirate House. They are even offering discounts to patrons who speak like a pirate on the 19th.

Arrrrr, matey!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

He Said, She Said, But What Did the Media Say?

RJ Note: Thought you'd enjoy the following article released by Duke University. Fire away!

News Tip: Experiments Show Media Fact-Checking Could Backfire

With the presidential candidates trading accusations on television and in the press, journalists’ attempts to correct misinformation is unlikely to sway public perceptions, according to a series of experiments by a Duke University political scientist.

“What we found is that corrections are ineffective for the group most likely to have the misperception,” said Brendan Nyhan, a Ph.D. candidate in Duke’s political science department. “Even worse, we found that those people may actually end up believing in the misperception more strongly after hearing a correction.”

“Right now there is a national debate about accuracy in political ads and what the media’s role is,” Nyhan said. “A lot of people want more aggressive fact-checking. But even if the media were putting fact-checks into every article, the public’s beliefs might not change very much. The problem is that the people most likely to have the misperception will often reject the correction.”

In the experiments, two groups of volunteers were given the same mock news articles with a potentially misleading claim by a public figure. For one group, the misleading claim was followed by a correction. Results show that people predisposed to believe the claim were just as likely to continue believing it after reading the correction. In several cases, people who were predisposed to believe the claim and received the correction believed the misinformation more than those who did not receive the correction.

Nyhan and co-author Jason Reifler of Georgia State University expect to publish the paper next year after it completes professional review. The Washington Post reported on their research Monday.

“In the paper, we suggest motivated reasoning as an explanation for these results. People often counter-argue information that contradicts their predispositions. That may be what is happening here,” Nyhan said.

Using the 2004 campaign as an example, he said people may also forget the source of discredited information.

“If you heard a Swift Boat ad, you might have initially dismissed it as coming from a group that doesn’t support John Kerry,” Nyhan said. “Eventually, you could forget where that information came from, but still remember their largely discredited claims that Kerry lied about his war record.”

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Monday, September 15, 2008

A Good Rummage Sale Brings in Extra Cash

RJ Note: With all the news today of the investment bank failures and buyouts, you may be feeling a little uncertain about the future. Hold on, it's going to be a bumpy ride for some time. In the meantime, here's something you can do which will benefit both your household and help another one too.
(ARA) - As the dog days of summer pass and cooler weather begins to settle in, you may begin to notice a lot of unwanted items around your house. Perhaps that vase you bought for a summer party is collecting dust in your pantry, or gardening tools you once used to landscape are blocking space you will soon need for winter boots.

Before you toss them, remember that those unwanted items could bring in some extra cash for new fall and winter supplies. Turn what you accumulated over the summer months into a quick profit by holding a rummage sale. They are growing in popularity for both sellers and buyers as the slow economy is causing many families to rethink their expenses.

“The Healthy Housekeeper” and cleaning author, Laura Dellutri, has some excellent rummage sale tips to successfully turn your junk into another person’s treasure.

* Pick a time for your sale.
Remember, if you advertise your sale to open at 7 a.m., the professional rummage sale people will be parked and waiting by 6:45 a.m. Before work, during the lunch hour and after work on weekdays are also good times to catch more prospective buyers.

* Enlist the aid of your friends and neighbors.
Multi-family rummage sales work the best, because they allow you to have helpers monitoring the sale, the cash table and provide extra workers for breaks. Schedule duties in advance to give everyone involved the chance to plan their lives around the sale.

* Make sure your unwanted items are presented shiny and clean.
For plastic, metal, glass and other hard surfaced items you plan to sell, use Mr. Clean Disinfecting Wipes with the fresh scent of Febreze to kill 99 percent of bacteria. If the plastic toys, alloy wheels and shoes are covered in grime or scum, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Febreze can give them a new look and refreshing scent, enticing shoppers to pick them up.

* Show your customers what a deal they’re getting.
Attach a current retail price for your items next to your price. It takes a little research, but it can quickly convince a shopper to buy your items as they calculate the money they’re saving by not purchasing new.

Start collecting the unused items in your house today and prepare them to bring in extra money for your pocket.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Interesting Info on Adoptions

Some of this information is kind of interesting... it's old in the scheme of things, not sure why it came out now and why there isn't any more current data, but here it is:

New Report Provides Demographic Profile of Adoptive Parents

Men aged 18-44 years are more than twice as likely as women of the same age group to have adopted a child, according to a new report released today by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). As of 2002, more than 1.2 million men and 613,000 women had adopted children.

The data come from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. The report offers a demographic profile of those who adopt - the percentage of men and women who have ever adopted a child and the number of children they adopted. Though the report does not offer conclusive data as to why more men adopt than women, it may be due in part to men getting married and adopting their spouse's child or children from a previous relationship.

Some of the findings in the report include:

* Among ever-married persons, men were more than 2.5 times as likely as women to have adopted - 3.8 percent compared with 1.4 percent. Overall, 2.3 percent of all men had ever adopted a child.

* Over one in four women aged 40-44 who had ever used infertility services had adopted a child.

* Though never-married adults aged 18-44 years were significantly less likely to have adopted a child compared with those who were currently married, approximately 100,000 never-married women and 73,000 never-married men had adopted a child.

* Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women were more likely to be currently seeking to adopt a child, compared with non-Hispanic white women.

"Adoption Experiences of Women and Men, and Demand for Children to Adopt by Women Ages 18-44 in the United States: Data from Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth" is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.
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Cool Keyboard

I was in Staples the other day looking for a few things and came across the coolest computer keyboard. I HAVE to get one, although I managed to talk myself out of it that day somehow. They roll up. They're made of flexible silicon and get this, they're under $10 (just barely, but still, it's a GREAT price). They had some bright colors and black.

At $10 a pop it doesn't matter much if they only last a year, or six months, before the pressure on the keypad causes them to stop working! By then the novelty will have worn off anyway and we'll be on to another gimmicky gadget...

I imagine you can find these things elsewhere, definitely on-line somewhere I'm sure. I may get one just for the fun of it, or to keep as a backup in case my regular "hard" keyboard goes bad. I'm surprised I've managed to keep the ones I have going this long as I'm terrible when it comes to taking care of them. I eat at the computer, spill drinks on them and never clean them other than to occasionally shake the heck out of them upside-down to get the crumbs out.

My next purchase of a real keyboard, not the flex kind, will be a more ergonomic version that might help keep my borderline carpel tunnel at bay for a bit longer. Right now I'm wearing two magnetic bracelets and surprisingly, they actually work. I was shocked on that one. I'll have to share more about the bracelets later, gotta run and actually do some real work now!

- jmd
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Giant Drums of the Tropical Islands of Vanuatu Walk in the Night.

RJ Note: The events on this small island in the South Pacific have a knack for generating news articles that catch my eyes. The first article was on pigs and the woman in politics on the island, and now disappearing drums. This is an interesting read. Kind of makes me want to leave our own paradise in Fayette County and head over to this tropical island for a visit.

In the records of the police station in the tropical islands of Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, you will find an interesting story of giant drums that walked out into the darkness of the night, never to be seen again.

Vanuatu is home to a collection of sacred art which has been traditionally kept secret from the outside world. "Art that could easily be mistaken for any piece of modern artwork," stated David Baker, curator of the Annandale Gallery, Sydney, Australia, which recently hosted a Vanuatu exhibition. Ancient artifacts that set the art world agog.

Towering over the heads of the guests was a four foot Tam Tam, or wooden carved drum, one of the largest free standing musical instruments in the world. The face of the drum stylized to symbolize an ancestor. The eyes representing the morning star, of a society which has kept its traditional secrets well away from the eyes of a curious world. The slit up the middle of the drum allowing the ancestor to speak, when the lip of the drum is beaten with a small wooden club.

These unique ancient drums played a significant role in the customs and traditions, during sacred ceremonies, such as funerals, traditional dances, and initiations. Carefully coordinated actions by a group of drummers, beating the lip of the gongs with a small wooden club, would be part of an informal village orchestra. They would perform rhythmical ensembles of huge diversity and complexity.

The gongs were also a method of communicating with neighboring villages. Intricate messages could be sent over long distances, using a unique gong language. They could even contact neighboring islands, if the atmospherics were favorable. However, the art of the intricate language of the gong is almost lost among the younger generation. Tourists frequently carry home the smaller carved versions of the larger musical instrument, unaware of their deep cultural significance.

While Tam Tams with one and two faces are a common site in the tropical islands of Vanuatu, only one particular group of islanders, in the province of Malampa, on the remote island of Ambrym, have the intellectual property- rights to carve them. For the opening of Le Meridien, an international resort in Port Vila, on the main island of Vanuatu, it was decided that two five headed Tam Tams would be purchased to adorn the imposing entrance to the resort. A lot of money was paid and the day arrived when the massive drums were proudly put in place.

The two wooden drums that towered high overhead were instantly admired by the people. Then disaster struck. The money had been handed over to a person who had no traditional right to carve the instruments. All hell broke loose. The family who had the sole right of carving these ancient artifacts were extremely upset.

Days passing by and it looked as if it had all been a storm in a teacup. That is until one misty night. The Tams Tams mysteriously disappeared, in spite of patrolling security guards. Urgent queries went out to find out who had removed the Tam Tams and where they were located. Many people were interviewed. The police were even called but, all to no avail. No matter who was asked, there was only one answer given. "With the aid of the spirits of the night, the Tams Tams had walked away."

The disappearing Tams Tams have never been seen from that day to this. The managers of Le Meridien had to buy a new Tam Tam, but from the rightful traditional carvers this time.
Could anyone reading this story, please report if they come across any giant wooden Tam Tams walking the streets on misty nights. Please contact Paramount Chief of 'Tam Tam Five Heads Anyonymous'. Maybe the drums will be singing the 1970's song, "These feet are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do, one of these days these feet are gonna walk all over you."

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

TV Tossing- A New View

RJ Note: This is a dilemma. What does one do with those big TVs? The sets today are so large and cumbersome that it takes more than one person to move them around, that is, if they can be moved without ripping out the walls of your home. Of course, this topic can send me off on a whole new direction. How does one ever rearrange the furniture?

Lately, I noticed a repair shop in Fayetteville had an overabundance of super dee duper large TVs collecting dust. According to the owner, they can be most difficult to repair or too costly. The solution for some people? Leave them at his shop for eternity.

Glad to see someone is thinking of a way to dispose of these high tech monsters. Wonder what this company does with them?

LCD TV Installation, Plasma TV Installation and Recycling by HD Installers

BUSINESS WIRE --HD Installers, the recent winner of the 2008 LCD TV Installation Company of the Year Award and the leader in big screen TV installation, is launching a television recycling service. The television recycling service is an industry first by a nationwide provider of LCD TV Installation, Plasma TV Installation and Home Theater Installation.

The television recycling service provides both consumers and businesses with demounting and disposal of LCD TV, Plasma TV, LCoS, rear-projection, and DLP big screen televisions. Layla Alford, director of PR, says, “We have had several customers that had purchased a first or second generation big screen TV that they now would like to remove and either donate to local charity, if working, or ecologically dispose of televisions that are not salvageable. We found that most customers did not have the means to dispose of their old rear projection, LCD or Plasma TVs and know what to do with the old screen after we installed their new LCD or Plasma television. Due to customer demand we have launched the HD Installers TV Recycling Service.”

“HD Installers isn’t marking up this service to be a huge money maker but the impact of improperly disposed LCD or Plasma TVs on the environment will have a far greater cost for all of us in the long run if we don’t start addressing this need now. HD Installers is committed to continuing to provide our award winning LCD TV Installation, Plasma TV Installation services while making sure the impact on environment of replacing old technology has the least impact on the environment as possible,” said Alford.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Burning Up the Fat in Front of My TV

Ok, I'll admit it. I really didn't think too much about those video games until we got one in our home. The one we have is an interactive one which can make you sweat. Who knew that doing all that jogging in place, rotating the hips as your avatar swirls the hula hoop, or all the ski jumping I've been doing in front of the TV would work? Yep, I'm just a sweating, um, glistening, up a storm playing my video games!

Here's a story from Consumer Affairs that also provides more information on this.

Kids Burn More Calories Playing Active Video Games


A study published in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine finds that kids who play an active video game burn more than four times as many calories per minute than....

Read the story.

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