Monday, December 27, 2010

Weekly Fun Facts

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Weekly Fun Facts. We are now between our last two holidays of the year, Christmas has ended and we are all looking forward (eagerly) to the beginning of the New Year. This week's fun facts will include some New Years facts along with just plain strange fun facts. Hopefully you can use some of these odd tidbits in your upcoming holiday party...

This Friday we will be saying goodbye to 2010 and at midnight welcoming in the new year 2011. For many of us, we will be very glad to see 2010 go, but then again, we said the same thing for 2009... Did you know where the tradition of welcoming the new year came from?

In Agrarian times, the new year was celebrated during the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox (the first day of spring). This was the most logical time for celebrating the "New Year" because with Spring comes rebirth and new life. Over time, as the Romans tried to manage the calendar, the dates and schedules got more and more confused. Julius Caesar in 46BC established the "Julian Calendar" which established January 1 as the new year. As you know, not even this calendar was entirely accurate, every 4 years we have to add a day to our calendar to synchronize it with the sun.

The tradition of creating New Year's Resolutions did begin during the time of the Babylonians. Usually they just resolved to return borrowed farm equipment. Now we make resolutions that can range from losing weight or being a better person.

Speaking of resolutions, did you know that 63% of the people still keep their resolutions after the first 2 months?
67% of people actually make 3 or more resolutions each year?
The top resolutions usually involve promises to exercise more (37%), increase the time devoted to study or work (23%), losing weight, stop smoking or drinking and to eat healthier.
People make more resolutions to start a new habit (84%) rather than to break an old one (16%).
65% of the people made their resolutions between December 28th and New Year's Day
Of those who actually achieved their top resolution, 40% of them did so on the first attempt. The remainder made multiple tries with 17% finally succeeding after more than 6 attempts.

Do you know when the use of a baby began to symbolize the new year? This tradition began in Greece around 600 BC. They carried around a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of Dionysus (the god of wine...go figure...) . Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth and fertility.

Traditionally it was thought that you could affect your luck for the upcoming new year by what you ate or what you did on the first day of the year. Japanese will sit up to watch the first sunrise of the new year. Others celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Certain foods are also believed to bring luck if eaten on New Year's Day (Donuts (YEAH!!!), black-eyed peas, cabbage, hog's meat and rice to name a few).

1907 is the first year that New York drops the famous ball from Times Square. At that time it was a five foot ball made out of weed and iron and weighed 700 pounds.

As of 2011 the ball is now 12 feet in diameter made out of Waterford Crystals and weighs 11,875 pounds. It is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED's (light emitting diodes). By mixing the four colors (the ball now has 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green and 12 white LED's or a total of 8,064 LEDs of each color) the ball can now create a palette of more than 16 million colors and billions of patterns. For 2011, Waterford Crystal has designed 288 new "Let There Be Love" crystal triangles featuring a romantic pattern. 288 triangles are emblazoned with last year's "Let there be Courage" design defining triumph of courage over adversity and 1,152 triangles sparkle with "Let there be Joy" design. The remaining 960 triangles are the original "Let There be Light" design of a stylized radiating sunburst.

This ball has dropped every year except in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime lighting restrictions.

For those of you planning on drinking champagne this weekend - a raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top...

There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos. Now how do the people in the casino's celebrate New Years?

And lastly, for those of you who live in the warmer desert regions - a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly go mad and sting itself to death. Now you know what to do with that liquor you didn't drink on New Year's eve...

Have a wonderful New Year's and be safe. Enjoy your weekly fun facts and enjoy amazing your friends with your new-found knowledge... If you are looking for some way to earn extra money in the new year, you may want to see what opportunities we have to offer on our website. We may have something that you would love to do. Or, if you are making a resolution to keep your vehicle cleaner, we have a variety of waterless cleaning products to help you to achieve that resolution.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Did you survive Christmas?

Well, did you all survive another Christmas? Hopefully you all were able to celebrate they way you wanted to for this holiday. For us in Arizona, we enjoyed wonderful weather for this holiday weekend. Unfortunately many other parts of the country did not fare as well, so again, hopefully, even with the weather issues, you all had a wonderful Christmas weekend.

The 24 hours of Christmas music is now off the radios, and on Sunday, those who did not receive what they really wanted could go shopping for items at great discounts. Since I am not very fond of shopping, I stayed away from all the areas shoppers would frequent today. Today was spend catching up on household chores and watching football. Overall, it was a great weekend for me too.

I must say, it has been a great build-up this year for Christmas. With luck, many merchants will be able to see increased sales this year over last. If they start seeing increases, then that means we may actually be on the very long road to economic recovery. If this thought and Christmas wish does come true, many Americans will no doubt breath a sigh of relief. It has been a very long, hard several years, with the government not recognizing any economic crisis until at least a year after we all have noted the decline. No matter who sees what, the best Christmas wish I have had this year was to see the end of this economic mess we are in and to start seeing signs of improvement. I would love to see less home foreclosures and more people back at work.

So, here is to hoping that my Christmas wish comes true, a good, solid economic recovery and a significant decline in home foreclosures for the remainder of this year and on through 2011.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What happeed to the days before Christmas

Hi everyone. I have a big question tonight...what happened to the days before Christmas? This is a two-fold question. The first is...where did the time go? Last time I looked we had at least a month before the holiday...and now we are less than 3 days away... what happened?

The next question I have is, what happened to the "goodwill toward men" in the days leading up to Christmas? Have you noticed how people tend to keep their heads down when walking around? Sometimes I think they are keeping their heads down so they can better head-butt you if you accidentally wander into their path. Have you noticed that few people are smiling lately too? What happened to the good cheer? Right now the only cheer I have heard is "get outta my way..."

We won't even talk about the driving this time of year. My goodness, when did we sign up for an Indy race team? Where is everyone going in SUCH a hurry? Did anyone notice the beautiful sunsets that have been occurring? What about the beautiful sunrises? I know there are many places in the country right now that don't have the greatest weather, but that does not really give anyone the right to be mean and/or rude. Is it me, or are people ruder now than they have been in the past.

I hate to really note how much I have aged, but PLEeeaseee!!! do you have to not only cut me off on the freeway, but to flip me off too? Why did you have to squeeze into that one car space in front of me just so that you could slam on your brakes and almost crash into the back of the car I had been following? When did this time of year turn into a frantic race? By the way, what are we racing and where are we racing to?

Even the news has gotten really depressing. Many people seem to want to take advantage of so many other people. There are a record number of scams going on this time of year, people taking advantage of the few of us left who believe in the goodness of mankind. When did we forget about the real meaning behind Christmas? Even if you don't want to delve too deeply into the religious aspect of Christmas (that is for another time...), the concept of Christmas was to help your fellow man. Right now, it appears the large majority of people are out to help themselves, and forget about their fellow man.

What can we do to recapture the feeling of goodwill toward men? We have all allowed our day-to-day work lives to overflow into our home lives. I can freely admit to not very nice thoughts this time of year too. This time of year is always stressful, the desire to find the "RIGHT" gift for that certain person, the issues with not spending too much money, the extra demands on your time... all of these add up to a whole bunch of very grumpy people.

We all (myself included) to learn to stop and take stock of what we do have and to remember to be grateful for what we do have. We need to learn to stop looking at what we don't have and look at what we don't need instead. This is not an easy task, but once we get past the hard part (actually stopping for a minute or two...) the rest is not so hard to do. Tomorrow, I promise to not be as crabby, and to remember to smile (even though I may not WANT to SMILE) when I meet anyone. It is truly amazing how people light up when you smile at them for no particular reason (and no, snarling is not smiling...). I even took the opportunity tonight to wish a phone solicitor a Merry Christmas as I was completing a phone call. It was really amazing to hear their voice change when they realized I wished them well.

Take care, and let's all try not to get too stressed these last few days before Christmas. As much as we might strive to capture our child-like wonder of Christmas, we need to remember that we are now adults and need to look at Christmas as adults. We still need to be nice to others, and help when and where we can. It is amazing how much better you feel when you have helped someone, even if helping may only mean that you helped someone reach an item from the top of a grocery store shelf.

Hopefully we will finally realize what happened to the days before Christmas. We just forgot to be a little bit less stressed. With luck, we will all find the time to slow down just a tad and enjoy this special holiday time of year.

If you are stressing about finding that "right" gift for the impossible person to buy for, check out our website, we have a wide variety of items that are not run-of-the-mill. We have vehicle cleaning accessories for that mechanic in the house. We also have some really cool headwear for those who like to ride motorcycles. Take a brief wander through our site, you may find just what you needed for that special someone this holiday season...

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hello, Mother Nature

I am not overly fond of spiders, and if they are very large, will actually try to catch and then release them outside. Smaller spiders are asked to leave, and if they do not vacate the bedroom immediately are immediately squished. Yes, I have conversations with critters that do not belong in my bedroom...

big spider 2

I find spiders fascinating, but not in my bedroom. There are different responses to finding a large spider in my bedroom. If I find a large spider in my bedroom, and the spider is too close to my face, my first reaction is to yelp. That is usually not very useful in making the spider go away, so I then take a really hard look at the big spider.

Depending on how large the spider is depends on my next set of reactions. If the spider is large, but not as big as a silver dollar I would usually bounce around the room hoping I might accidentally step on the spider. Usually that doesn't work too well because the spider is more times than not on either the wall or ceiling. The next step I take is the then stop, take stock of what type of footwear I am wearing, and decide if the footwear would be appropriate for squishing the large spider to kingdom come. If I do not have the proper footwear that can be used, then I rush around the bedroom looking for an appropriate squishing device while keeping a wary eye on that blasted spider.

Once an appropriate squishing device has been located, I go into action. I will strive to squish the spider without embedding it into the wall or ceiling. This usually doesn't work well because if I don't hit it hard enough, the spider doesn't die. Then I smack it until it turns into a dark spot on the painted wall.

Again, depending on the type of spider (if it is poisonous or not), I may just be brave enough to grab a glass and a piece of cardboard so that I can catch and release the spider back into the cruel wide world outside of the house. This also the technique I would use for spiders larger than a silver dollar (unless they are larger than a breadbox).

Now if I get a multi-legged creature in my bedroom, or any other room of the house that is bigger than a bread box, what I have done in the past has been to go to bed and hope it goes away. (Yes, I really did that...I had a millipede in the house that was longer than my shoes and easily as thick around as my thumb). I ended up crawling into bed and hoping it wouldn't crawl in with me. Days later I found a dead millipede in another part of the house.

The reason I didn't kill the millipede was that I didn't have anything big enough to kill it with. I don't believe in killing half of a creature, and there really was nothing I had that would kill the whole millipede. I didn't even have a container that would have held that sucker. I am forever grateful for all the residual bug spray along the baseboards of my home, because I suspect that was the ultimate downfall of the millipede.

In a nutshell, I do not like spiders or scorpions for that matter but really don't like to squish them. Scorpions get squished all the time, but I will try to save most spiders and put them back outside. If I think I have a brown recluse in the house though, that sucker gets squished. Actually, I still have the remains of a squished brown recluse on the wall of my closet as a warning to other spiders to stay away. Since I have seen no other signs of spiders, I hope my warning worked.

Hopefully we will not see any spiders the remainder of this year (yeah, a whole 10 days).

Until tomorrow...

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Fun Facts and a Total Lunar Eclipse

As you may remember, on our blog last week, we discussed the upcoming total Lunar Eclipse for Monday night (tonight...). Well, in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is not too conducive to seeing the eclipse. Even here in Arizona, where the weather is great most of the time, we have some light cloud cover. The good news is that we can still watch the eclipse. The cloud cover only makes the moon look fuzzy, but you can still see the full moon and as I run back and forth, I can see the beginnings of the Lunar Eclipse. The total eclipse should be about 12:40 am MST and will last approximately 72 minutes.

If you have the opportunity to run outside, the Lunar Eclipse is just beginning (approximately 11 PM MST). hopefully you can get a glimpse of this year's Eclipse, especially since it falls on the Winter Solstice. The reason this particular eclipse is so unique is that it falls on the Winter Solstice. The last time a full Lunar Eclipse fell on a Winter Solstice was 372 years ago on December 21st 1638. The next full Lunar Eclipse that will occur on a Winter Solstice will be on December 21st, 2094. I am not sure, but I don't think I will be in attendance for that one...

Ancient documents from Asia, Europe and the Middle East are full of references connecting eclipses with subsequent dark events such as famines or the death of a monarch.

In many traditional cultures, a total lunar eclipse occurs not when the moon enters Earth's shadow, but when a mythological creature swallows the moon.

The Chinese believed the heavenly dog swallowed the moon, the Maya sometimes depicted the eclipse creature as a serpent, while in the Andes, it was often a puma.

In Iraq, lunar eclipses were believed to have been eaten by a whale.

For most people the majority of the time, most eclipses meant trouble. Eclipses were regarded as disruptions of the world order.

In Japan, people still cover wells in order to avoid being poisoned by the disease of the moon during the eclipse.

Native residents of Arctic regions have been known to turn over their utensils to avoid contamination.

The arrangement of boulders in England (Stonehenge) have long been associated with celestial meaning. It has been discovered that if you place stone markers strategically atop 19 columns in the array, a known 47 month cycle of lunar eclipses becomes apparent.

Do you know why the moon turns reddish during a Lunar Eclipse? - Earth's thick, dust-filled atmosphere filters the sunlight shining through it, resulting in the rusty hue of a total lunar eclipse.

Hopefully you enjoyed tonight's fun facts about total lunar eclipses and also had an opportunity to view this years Total Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Working hard for the Holidays?

Bet you guys are super busy this time of year. Nothing like trying to balance your normal work life with the family and add to that all the additional activities that go on during this time of year. It is amazing how much more we squeeze into a day this time of year. We all thought we were busy before, but during the Holidays, we seem to double up on the things that must be completed.

The advantage to this whole mess is that there is a definite beginning and end to all of this activity. By the beginning of January, all the holiday parties will be completed and all the extra visiting will have been done. January is when we all sit down and end up taking stock of where we ended up. This is not a bad thing, but we should not just rely on once a year to take stock of where we are versus where we wanted to be.

In all the rushing around, we need to be sure we have not lost sight of our priorities. If you have trouble remembering priorites when you are slammed from all directions from everyone in your life, you may want to write a list of things that are important, and post that list on the bathroom mirror or the kitchen refrigerator. This way, at least twice a day you see that list and remind yourself of your true priorities. This list should also reinforce why you are doing all these extra activities during the holidays.

In deference to the importance of prioritizing, this blog tonight is going to be short. I continue to run out of time to get everything done, but do not want to leave you all in the dark as to what is going through my mind (sometimes not very much...). In keeping with my personal priorities, I continue to keep to a pretty strict schedule so that I do not end up running myself into the ground by the end of the year. Because there are so many additional demands on our time, we sometimes forget why we are doing what we do, and we may tend to forget why we are so busy. As more tasks get added to your plate this month, continue looking at what else you are doing and start making the decision to let some of the other priorities drop in rank for a short period of time.

It is more critical to keep your health by good time management rather than sacrificing all your health for the good of everyone else. That is actually self-serving and ultimately, you will not enjoy this time of year at all. You will have a much better quality of Holiday fun if you learn to drop some priorities for the short term so that you can complete all the additional tasks that have magically appeared on your plate. Remember, if you don't take care of yourself, no one else will either. You do yourself and your family a disservice if you allow yourself to be controlled by circumstances rather than you controlling the circumstances.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weekly Fun Facts

Welcome to this weeks installment of Fun Facts. Because this time of year can not only be fun, but extremely stressful, it is always a good idea to take a few moments out of your hectic week and laugh. Hopefully this weekly update will allow you to chuckle a little and forget all the stresses of the week for at least a few brief moments.

For those of you who have had the wonderful opportunity to place a computer tech call to India, did you know that the number of births in India each year is greater than the entire population of Australia? Now you know why all of your calls go to India and why that won't change anytime soon..

Sunday night we talked a little bit about the full lunar eclipse that will occur next Monday, December 20th. Did you know that every year, the moon moves 1/2 an inch further from the earth? That begs two questions, one - who is measuring and how do you know the earth's surface is not shrinking? and Two - how long before we can't see the moon anymore??? As if we REALLY care???

Thinking about space (or was that just being spacey???) in space you cannot cry because there is no gravity to make the tears flow. So, if you stub your toe in the Space Station, you won't cry, but probably just whimper.

Did you realize that the Roman Catholic Church did not acknowledge that the earth revolves around the sun until the mid 1990's?

Also on Sunday we discussed the meteor shower that occurred last night. As you watch the "shooting stars" you do realize that the lights are basically rocks and debris falling into our atmosphere? Two objects have actually struck the earth with enough force to destroy a whole city (no, not a movie line...). Each object, one in 1908 and again in 1947, struck regions of Siberia. Not one human being was hurt either time.

We now have a great definition of an island - In the Scottish Hebrides, an island is defined as being an island only if it is big enough to sustain 1 sheep. So, does that mean you don't need a sheep herder???

For those of us typing much of the day - a typist fingers travel over 12 and a half miles in an average day. Wow, too bad you can't lose weight that way...

Despite a population of over a billion, China has only about 200 family names...I think I know some places here in the US that have similar statistics....hehehe...

If you told someone that they were one in a million, you'd be saying there were 1,800 of them in China...

Lastly, if you are in traffic and hear people beeping their car horns, did you know that American car horns been in the tone of F?

Hopefully this Weekly Fun Facts got you to smile for a little bit. Perhaps you can use some of this mostly useless information to entertain friends, family or irritate co-workers. Have fun and strive to not get too stressed out this week. The new year is just around the corner.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sick Bird Update

It has been a while since I have updated everyone about my bird who had a stroke the end of August. She is still hanging in there, we are just challenged because she still has not regained the use of her legs from below the knees. The one foot that had been closed did fully open, so we thought that she was regaining the use of that leg and foot.

Unfortnuately, the sum total of that improvement is that her foot is now open, but she cannot move it and grasp anything at will. Her other foot, has now become more useless. The good news is that the toenail that she almost yanked out of her foot has healed and did not completely fall off. It is starting to grow again, so I will be forced in the near future to figure out a way to file her nails down without getting her seriously stressed out. I have tried clipping her nails in the past, and she DOES NOT like that. We then went to grinding the nails (when she was healthy) which left a better shape and no rough edges. The problem is still that she HATES anyone fiddling with her feet and toes.

Now that her feet are pretty much useless, I can fiddle a little more with her feet, but she can SEE what I am doing and doesn't like me messing with her feet, even though it does not appear that she can't feel a thing.

I am also happy to report that she is continuing to gain weight. Her chest is getting fuller again, there is a lot less bone (her keel) showing, so she is recovering. Right now my major challenge is figuring out a way to keep her elevated from her feces. This is my biggest problem. Since she cannot lift her body up and is forced to drag herself around using her "knees: and wings, she gets pretty messed up quickly. I have been soaking her butt weekly, but do not want to bathe her too often, especially since the days are much shorter and cooler.

If any of you have any ideas how I can elevate her in some kind of sling, but still allow her the ability to move around her cage, I would be grateful. I have thought about creating some kind of hammock, but again, it is centered in one place, all she has to do is to let go, and she will swing back to center. Not a bad idea, but I can't imagine that she is going to enjoy that too much. I don't know that a track system would be any more effective, the cage is about 2' x 2'. Also, she does periodically like to stretch her wings out, and with the hammock/sling I was thinking about, that would trap her wings against her body.

Currently I have various phone books in her cage for two reasons. One reason is so she has something to tear when she has her temper tantrums. The other reason for some phone books is so that her cage floor is not entirely flat. This way she can kind of prop her body up and not always be lying flat on the floor. Unfortunately, she has not learned to poop over the edge of the phone book, so trying to teach that isn't working too well either. The good news is that she has not fouled her food, so she is aware somewhat of when she goes to the bathroom.

Her appetite is great, she is eating almost everything I present to her. I think she eats better than I do. She gets bits of my regular food along with her regular food. Since I have been working to have her gain weight, I have not been careful about the types of food provided, I wanted her to gain weight. Once she gains a few more grams, I will start monitoring her diet closer, but until I feel she is back to a good weight, she gets whatever her little heart desires.

So, overall, my sick "Parrotpalegic" is doing pretty darn well. Her eyes are bright, she periodically sings, and dances to the best of her ability (now it just consists of her spinning her head back and forth - she used to dance in circles when spinning her head). I will continue to keep her as clean as possible and continue searching for some way to keep her off her fecal matter. I do not want to put a grate down for fear that she will catch up her feet and do herself more damage.

Tomorrow will be our Weekly Fun facts...I am a bit off on schedule, but am at least catching up...

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Upcoming Meteor Shower and Lunar Eclipse

Hello everyone. Bet you were wondering where I wandered off to this time... Well, I managed to flirt with a cold this last week and decided to listen to my body instead of continuing to push myself. I spent the week sleeping and resting so that the cold developed into nothing more than a slightly stuffy nose and a continuous headache. When the sun went down and I got sleepy, I went to bed. It is amazing how much faster your body heals when you listen to it in the first place.

Anyway, enough about why I wasn't online very much last week. Tonight we have a really interesting event to discuss, the upcoming meteor shower and total lunar eclipse.

This week's meteor shower is expected to be the best to be seen in 2010. This will also be the only lunar eclipse for the year too. There is the returning meteor shower that comes around this time every year, the Geminid meteor shower. We should begin seeing the effects of this meteor shower tomorrow, December 13th. The "shooting stars" show should peak during the night hours between December 13th and December 14th. If you can manage to either stay awake until the wee hours of the morning, or have the desire to set your clock to get up in the pre-dawn hours, you should not be disappointed.

The best time to view the Geminid meteor shower is after midnight on December 13th when the earth is heading directly into the meteoroid stream. If you are unable to stay up that late or get up that early, you will still stand a good chance of seeing some pretty cool meteors earlier in the evening of December 13th. You will just have to be more patient when looking for the "shooting stars" earlier in the evening than if you watched after midnight. Since we are continuing to have some amazing weather in Arizona this week, those who live in Arizona should get a great view of the Geminids. I would also recommend getting a comfortable lounge chair so that you can sit outside and just gaze at the sky. I have stood and waited for the showers, and enjoyed the show, but ended up with a nasty crick in my neck the next day. Using a lounge chair or a reclining chair while star gazing makes for a much more comfortable viewing. The downside is that you don't want to get too comfortable, because you could then fall asleep while watching for the meteor shower.

These showers should be so bright that you will not need a telescope or binoculars to view the meteor shower. For those of you who may be new to watching a meteor shower, these "showers"' are caused by fragments of old comets entering our atmosphere as the earth passes through the trail of debris from the comet's orbit. If you are far in the desert, where there are no other sounds of civilization, there may even be the rare opportunity to hear the meteors if they come relatively close to your location.

The Geminid shower is unique because it it not really associated with a comet, but an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.

Even more exciting than the return of the Geminid meteor shower is the full lunar eclipse that will occur the nights of December 20th (next Monday night) and December 21st in North America. For the Western Hemisphere, the eclipse is "officially" expected to begin on December 21st at 12:12 am EST (right after midnight...) This is expected to be the best lunar eclipse until April 2014. The last total lunar eclipse occurred on February 20th, 2008.

The entire lunar eclipse will be visible from all of North and South America. It is estimated that 1.5 billion people will have an opportunity to enjoy viewing this total lunar eclipse.

Remember to stay warm. You know I will be out there watching both the Geminids and the Total Lunar Eclipse. Enjoy.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Today, December 7th, is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day for those of us who call the United States home. Today commemorates the day, 69 years ago, that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 69 year after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, survivors of the attack gathered at the base on Hawaii to remember those killed. About 100 survivors (the youngest in their late 80's) traveled from all over the country to attend the ceremony today.

They gathered across the harbor from the USS Arizona which sank in the attack and where the remains of nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines are still entombed.

At dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the naval aviation forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii along with other military targets. The goal of this attack was to cripple the US Fleet so that Japan could attack and capture the Philippines and secure access to the raw materials needed to maintain its position as a global military and economic power.

Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later during the war) and four other battleships were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one mine layer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded in the attack. Japanese losses were light, with only 29 aircraft and 5 midget submarines lost. They had 65 servicemen killed or wounded and one Japanese sailor was captured.

This attack came as a shock to the American people and led directly to our entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. December 8th, 1941 the United States declared war on Japan. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11th (we reciprocated the same day).

Lack of any formal warning by Japan, especially when negotiations were still ongoing with the U.S., led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy'".

The expected result of the attack was to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet, preventing aggressive action against the Imperial Forces of Japan. This goal eluded the Japanese as U.S. forces became very active in the South Pacific within 60 days and the fleet was fully effective within the year. It was sheer luck that three of the Pacific Fleet carriers that normally would have been at Pearl Harbor that morning were either on sea exercises or undergoing maintenance on the west coast of the continental U.S. Because the Japanese forces did not make their third attack, the Pacific Fleet submarine force, critical maintenance facilities and fuel supplies were not demolished. The survival of these enabled rapid repair of the fighting capability of the fleet.

So today, if you have not had a chance to do so, thank a vet for continuing to protect our freedoms. Even better, if you know a Pearl Harbor Survivor, take the time to thank them for their service and stop to listen to their story. What these heroes saw is history and we need to never forget.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fun Facts Weekly Installment

Well, ever so slowly, I am getting back into the swing of this increased workload. It is truly amazing how much work is generated this time of year, even if you didn't plan on taking on extra tasks.. Welcome to this week's installment of Fun Facts. Since it is Monday, and since we are now officially in the Holiday Season, it is critical to remember to laugh. We can all too easily forget that this holiday season is not supposed to be a grind, but we are supposed to renew our goodwill toward mankind (I know, it can be especially difficult to be NICE this time of year, with everyone rushing around being extra rude...). So, now it is time to sit back, take a deep breath (don't forget to exhale too...) , relax and be prepared to take a few minutes to read some fun facts and have some fun...

Don't know how many of you watch football, but I saw this brief editorial in a local Independent Newspaper (Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent) and got a kick out of it:

"Training at the Cardinals practice field was delayed nearly two hours this morning after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the ground. Initially the Cardinals thought it was a prank! Training was immediately suspended while police ad Homeland Security officials were called to investigate. After a complete analysis, Glendale Police forensic experts determined that the white substance, unfamiliar to most of the players was, in fact, the goal line. Practice will resume this afternoon after police and Homeland Security decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again."

Did you know what to call a group of unicorns? (other than non-existent???) A Blessing.
A group of Kangaroos is called a mob.
A group of whales is called a pod.
A group of ravens is called a murder. (that was sort of weird)
A group of owls is a called a parliament.

If you ever want to make friends with a rabbit, they love licorice...

Remember 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Did you know that the eye of a giant squid is fifteen inches in diameter - the size of a basketball?
In light of that, the giant squid has the largest eyes in the world...

The average garden variety caterpillar has 248 muscles in it's head....ewww...

For those of you who love penguins - the penguins that inhabit the tip of South America are called jackass penguins...really...

The Emperor Penguin is the largest of the penguin species and can weigh up to 90 pounds. The Fairy Penguin is the smallest and weighs only 2 pounds.

Depending on the species, a wild penguin can live 15-20 years. During that time, they spend up to 75 percent of their lives at sea.

Penguins are found only in the Southern Hemisphere. While most people associate penguins with Antarctica, they are much more widespread and penguin populations can be found in South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The northernmost penguin species is the Galapagos penguin, which lives year-round near the equator.

Lastly, I thought I would include some fun labels...just in case you thought people were getting smarter:

On a Sears hairdryer - "Do no use while sleeping" (and when would YOU use your hairdryer?)

On a bag of Fritos - "You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside." - uuhhhh...

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding - "Product will be hot after heating." Really???

On most brands of Christmas lights - "For Indoor and outdoor use only" - OK, you got me, where else would you use them???

I saw this on a peanut tin - "Warning contains nuts." - boy, you really needed to know that didn't you?

This one really made me wonder about how the warning came about - On a Swedish chain saw - "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."....ouch...

Hopefully this brought a brief smile to your already busy day. Don't forget to take a deep breath and smile, it really isn't all that bad out there. Just look around, you will find funny stuff all over. Once you start laughing, your attitude and outlook will get better. Hopefully you enjoyed this Fun Facts Weekly Installment.

Take care....

Until tomorrow...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Millionaire Focus on Larry Ellison

Welcome to tonight's Millionaire Focus. Tonight we are going to briefly look at Larry Ellison and perhaps glean some gems on how he became Forbes sixth richest person in the world. As of 2010 Larry Ellison has a personal wealth of about $27 billion.

For those of you who may not have heard of Larry Ellison, he is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation. Oracle is a major enterprise software company that specializes in developing and marketing hardware systems and enterprise software products, in particular, database management systems. Larry Ellison came from humble beginnings, he was born in New York City, to a 19-year old unwed Jewish mother. He was given (at his mother's request) to his aunt and uncle in Chicago to raise and was adopted by them when he was 9 months old. He grew up in a middle-class Jewish neighborhood. He left the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at the end of his second year, spent a summer in Northern California, then attended the University of Chicago for one term which is where he first encountered computer designing.

He became a computer programmer for Ampex Corporation where his primary project was crafting a large-scale database for the CIA. This database was code-named "Oracle". He then put up $2,000 of his own money to start Software Development Laboratories in 1977, in partnership with Robert Miner, his boss from Ampex. The new company was renamed Relational Software Inc in 1979. It was here that he prepared to release Oracle Version 2, a commercial database system. In an interesting note, he never released a Version 1 because Larry Ellison observed that people did not typically purchase Version 1 of any new software because Version 1's were typcially buggy. So, as a marketing tactic, his first release of Oracle was Version 2, which by the way, was as buggy as any Version 1 would be. This Version 2 sold well and in 1983 the company was again renamed, this time after it's flagship product, Oracle. Oracle Corporation went public in 1986, was on the verge of bankruptcy by 1990 but has since rebounded and has been profitable ever since.

Larry Ellison plays as hard as he works. He co-owns the sixth largest yacht in the world, named Rising Sun. He is also a financier of BMW Oracle Racing which in the 2007 America's Cup was the Challenger of Record. They were eliminated from the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger selection series in the semi-finals. On February 14, 2010, Ellison's yacht, (Ellison was a crew member for this race) USA 17, won the second race of the 33rd America's Cup. Ellison and his BMW Oracle team became the first challengers to win a "deed of gift" match. The Cup returned to American shores for the first time since 1995.

Larry Ellison is also a licensed pilot and has owned several aircraft, including fighter jets. He owns many exotic cars and has styled his home in Woodside, California, after feudal Japanese architecture, complete with a man-made 2.3 acre lake. In 2004 and 2005, Larry Ellison purchased more than 12 properties in Malibu, California. His entertainment system cost $1 million and includes a rock concert-sized video projector at one end of a drained swimming pool.

As a balance, Larry Ellison has also made considerable charitable donations to various organizations. In 2004 Forbes noted that Ellison had donated $151,092,103 in the preceeding year, or about 1% of his estimated personal wealth. In August of this year, it has been reported that Larry Ellison is one of the 40 billionaires who has signed "The Giving Pledge". Ellison wrote: "Many years ago, I put virtually all of my assets into a trust with the intent of giving away at least 95% of my wealth to charitable causes. I have already given hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and education, and I will give billions more over time. Until now, I have done this giving quietly - because I have long believed that charitable giving is a personal and private matter."

Hopefully, as we all work towards our own personal Millionaire and Billionaire status, we too will remember to be generous with our charitable contributions. We all have the ability to come from humble beginnings and work to become financially free. Hopefully there were some tidbits of information from Larry Ellison's examples that you will be able to use in your business ventures.

If you are searching for a business opportunity to get involved in, please feel free to visit our website for some second income ideas. We would be more than willing to answer your questions regarding starting a home-based business or how to begin to build a second income.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday Craziness

Well, I have been off-line for a full week now and am soooo glad to be back on the computer. No, I did not manage to get another virus, I just followed what I preach, taking care of home and family first, then business. Granted, the Thanksgiving holiday / weekend was only 4 days, and I was off-line for 7, but I do have very good reasons...Thanksgiving Holiday Craziness...

The craziness is not as bad as it sounds. First off, I was blessed, and thankful for having my father visit us for this holiday weekend. This is the first time we have had him over in a very long time, and it was a real pleasure to have him visit. Now, because it has been so long since he as come to visit, there was also quite a bit of anticipation and worry too. The house had to be cleaned, (my rules, not his), the menu for the weekend had to be prepared and appropriate food purchased (again, my rules, not his) and then there was trying to figure out what to do for the 4 days that he was going to be visiting.

This planning took it's toll on me, I am not a big one for planning meals, and usually like cooking less than that, but since it was a special occasion, I gladly threw myself into the task of preparing menus for the weekend. What I had not anticipated was the exhaustion related to all the planning, rushing around and organizing prior to the VISIT. By Wednesday, the day my father was to arrive, I was already tired and I had yet to prepare dinner for the evening. As it turned out, my father was late in arriving (no big surprise there because of the holiday traffic) so I didn't have to rush as much as I had.

So, once my dad was safely at home, then it was time to catch up on all that we could not discuss over the phone. After a light dinner, we spent many hours talking late into the night. I spent the next morning preparing food to bring to the Thanksgiving Dinner our neighbors hosted. We wandered over to their home and spent a wonderful Thanksgiving sharing time and tales with others. My dad had the time of his life, taking pictures of all the people at the meal, and making new friends. We then waddled back home and sat in a semi-comatose state watching football the rest of the evening.

The rest of the weekend was spent running around doing little errands and sight-seeing and then being home, cooking, eating, and watching football. Since the holiday traffic was so difficult, we all agreed it would be best if my father remained through Monday. This was the best idea we could have had, and we all felt much better knowing my father would not have to navigate traffic on his way home.

I was extremely surprised about how tired I was Monday night. When I returned home from work, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. I fell asleep almost instantly on the couch and didn't wake until the wee hours of the morning. I guess the Thanksgiving holiday craziness carried over into Monday...

Tuesday was almost as bad, but I did learn a very valuable lesson on Tuesday... when I got home from work, I wasn't terribly hungry, but was craving some yam casserole. I LOVE yam casserole, and had made enough to last into the week. Well, all I ate on Tuesday was Yam casserole, and boy, it tasted great. The problem was that after I had a full belly of yams, I fell asleep again...

The bigger problem??? Well, if you eat enough yams and nothing else, you will clean your internal pipes the next day... I forgot about that little detail when gorging on yams Tuesday. Waking up Wednesday morning to a belly ache, I thought I had just consumed too many yams... little did I know how that feeling would change... let's just say that even the pain passed.... I think I lost 10 pounds of ugly yuch from my guts.... The good news is that once all the yams made their way through my system, everything calmed down. I now have a very clean set of pipes and learned never, NEVER to eat just yams for dinner. Thankfully Thanksgiving comes only once a year. So next year I will be better prepared for Thanksgiving Holiday Craziness.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. We have so much to be thankful for.

Tomorrow we will have another millionaire focus.

Until tomorrow...