Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Top Ten Players of the 2010 World Cup

September 25, 2010

The lights have gone out in South Africa and the trophy has gone back to Spain for the next four years. So while we all relive all the excitement that the world’s largest sporting event has to offer, we reflect on the players who made the World Cup the dramatic clash of nations it always is.

10. Arjen Robben – The Netherlands

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Arjen Robben is arguably one of the greatest Dutch players of all time. Despite missing the first two games of the World Cup due to a hamstring injury, he came back and helped his team surpass teams like Brazil and Uruguay to get into the final against Spain. Robben is a reliable presence on the pitch who’s pace and dribbling has made him one of the best wingers in the world. But he is not without controversy, he is often criticized for going to ground too easily and too often. During the World Cup he scored two goals and had one assist and because he was a real difference maker for the Netherlands, Robben was nominated for the Golden Ball award.

Where else does he play?

Arjen Robben began his football career at his home club, Groningen. But it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of some of the top clubs in the world. He has played for PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and currently plays for Bayern Munich.

9. Maicon – Brazil

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After Cafu’s retirement, Brazil fans were skeptical if anyone could fill his shoes, but that is exactly what Maicon has been able to do, and today he is considered one of the best right backs in the world. Maicon encompasses speed, great touches, accurate crosses and on top of all that he scores the occasional goal. During the match against Korea DPR in the group stage he showed off his shooting ability, scoring from an almost impossible angle for what was one of the best goals of the tournament. The goal has been debated by football fans around the world as no one really knows if it was supposed to be a cross or if he actually meant to score.

Where else does he play?

Maicon made his debut to professional for Cruzeiro in 2001 and during his two seasons with the club they won the championship. In 2004 he was lured across the Atlantic to play for Monaco. Two years later he made a move to Internazionale where he and his teammates have won the last four Serie A titles as well as the 2010 UEFA Champions League.

8. Mesut Ozil – Germany

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Over the course of the World Cup, Mesut Ozil has risen from relative obscurity to someone who is being called the German Iniesta. He’s the kind of player that comes along once in a blue moon, a play maker whose vision, passing and inventiveness makes a huge impact on any game he plays in. At only 21, Ozil has become the one to watch and has even been called “a gift for German football” by Joachim Low. Usually wreaking havoc as a midfielder, he can also play as a left winger or even as a striker if the need arises. Ozil marked his first World cup with one goal, but his play making ability really stood out as he made three assists.

Where else does he play?

Ozil’s youth career was spent at several different clubs including Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen, Teutonia Shalke-Nord, Falke Gelsenkirchen and Rot-Weiss Essen before he made a move to Shalke 04. It was for Shalke that he made his senior league debut in 2006. He currently plays for Werder Bremen after moving there in 2008.

7. Andres Iniesta – Spain

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A creative player that is capable of playing anywhere in the midfield, Iniesta has been called the best player in the world by the likes of Wayne Rooney. He is most effective when he plays right in behind the strikers where his handling of the ball and his ability to race into threatening positions causes serious problems for opposing defenders. During the World Cup final, Iniesta became a Spanish hero when in the 116th minute he scored the winning goal against the Netherlands. He was named the Man of the Match for the final, as well as being included in the FIFA World Cup All Star Team.

Where else does he play?

A talented graduate of the Barcelona youth school, Iniesta made his senior level debut on October 29, 2002 and he’s been with the club ever since. He has helped Barcelona to four Spanish League trophies, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions League crowns a UEFA Supercup and a FIFA Club World Cup.

6. Xavi – Spain

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One of the greatest playmates in the world, Xavi is the center of which the rest of the Spanish team rotates. He is an incredibly hard working central midfielder who is just as comfortable defending as he is making breaks forward and setting up and scoring goals. But probably his most impressive attribute as a footballer is his creative genius.  Because of this he is one of the few players in football history who has won every major tournament open to him. During this World Cup, Xavi covered more ground and made more passes than any other player, making him an irreplaceable force in the Spanish machine.

Where else does he play?

A product of the Barcelona youth system, Xavi moved up to the senior team in 1998 and has been there ever since. During his time there Barcelona has won five La Liga titles, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions Leagues and the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup. Xavi himself has won a plethora of awards including being included in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Al Star Team.

5. Wesley Sneijder – The Netherlands

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At only 25, Wesley Sneijder has established himself as a powerful presence in the Dutch side. He is known the world over as a play maker who’s passing ability is among the best and who is comfortable playing both a fast and slow game as needed. But he can also score goals as he has shown at this year’s World Cup, tying as one of the top goal scorers with five. Even while those around him were not living up to their potential, Sneijder remained as brilliant as ever and carried the Netherlands all the way to the final. In the end the Spanish defence was just too much for the Dutchman to handle. Part of his greatness comes from his family, his father was a player and both his brothers play at a professional level, one at Stormvogels Telstar and the other at the Ajax youth academy.

Where else does he play?

A product of AFC Ajax’s famous youth academy, he moved up to the senior team when he was only seventeen, following in his older brother’s footsteps. In 2007 he caught the eye of Real Madrid who signed him to a €27 million contract making him the most expensive Dutch player in the world. From there he made a move to Internazionale in 2009 and earlier this year he helped his team win the 2010 Champions League Final.

4. David Villa – Spain

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Comfortable with either foot, David Villa has unleashed his goal scoring prowess at this World Cup, much like he usually does in Spanish colors. He has proved himself in international competition as an important member of a strong Spanish side at not only the 2006 World Cup but also at Euro 2008 (where he won the Golden Boot) and the 2009 Confederations Cup. And this World Cup was no different as he was tied as the top goal scorer of the tournament with five goals in all. Villa is type of player most coaches dream of, a hard-working forward that is capable of opening up the opposing defence and scoring goals. It is because of this that he is one of the top scorers in the history of Spanish football, second only to Raul.

Where else does he play?

David Villa began his football career at Sporting de Gijon in 2001 and then moved up to the top flight Spanish football with Real Zaragoza in 2003. From there he was transferred to Valencia, where he has played for the last five seasons. In May of this year Villa signed a four-year contract with Barcelona.

3. Iker Casillas – Spain

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One of the best goalkeepers in the world, Iker Casillas captained La Roja to their first ever World Cup title. His reflexes, speed, agility and the ability to shut down one on one threats has earned him the nickname Saint Iker by both club and national fans. But he is not without his critics, many of whom believed that after the defeat against Switzerland, he should not be Spain’s first choice. With his legendary composure he silenced them, winning the next six games (including the final), five of which were clean sheets. A crucial member of the Spanish side, he no doubt made the decision of who should get the Golden Glove very easy.

Where else does he play?

Iker Casillas has been with Real Madrid since the beginnings of his youth career, but when you play for ne of the best teams in the world there’s not much of an incentive to leave. With the club he has won four La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Supercup and an Intercontinental Cup.

2. Thomas Mueller – Germany

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At only 20 years old, Thomas Mueller has used this World Cup to make the football world stand up and take notice. His versatility to play both as an attacking midfielder as well as a winger adds to his speed, vision and technical ability to make him an all-around stand out player. During the World Cup he was a surprise addition to Joachim Low’s side but he quickly made his mark by scoring Germany’s first goal of the tournament. But he didn’t stop there, he scored another four goals and made three assists, earning him the Golden Boot ahead of superstars like Villa, Sneijder and Forlan as well as the Best young Player award/

Where else does he play?

Mueller began as a youth at TSV Pahl an 1993. From there he moved into the Bayern Munich youth team in 2000 and has effectively moved up the Bayern ranks, making his senior team debut in August 2008.

1. Diego Forlan – Uruguay

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While is not the captain, Diego Forlan has led Uruguay not only to the World Cup but all the way to the semi finals. A powerful presence up front, Forlan has the ability to both score and feed the ball to his teammates, predominantly his striking partner, Luis Suarez. “Cachavacha” as he has been nicknamed (because of a striking similarity to a comic book character of the same name), marked his second World Cup tournament with five goals, one of which was a penalty in the shootout against Ghana to get Uruguay into the semifinal. In the end he was given the recognition he deserved when FIFA awarded him with the Golden Ball. However, Diego isn’t the only Forlan to represent Uruguay at the World Cup, his father, Pablo, played in both the 1966 and 1974 World Cups. Despite this Diego grew up playing tennis and it was only after a family tragedy that he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Where else does he play?

Forlan currently plays for Athletico Madrid after being transferred there in June 2007. He has also played at Independiente, Manchester United and Villarreal, and has won two European Golden Boot awards, once for Villarreal in 2004-05 and also for Athletico Madrid in 2008-09.

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Top Ten Conception Myths

September 24, 2010

Many misconceptions abound about the act of getting pregnant and most of them are quite ridiculous. You have to look no further than the most far-fetched and oldest myth of all – the stork brings the baby. Fortunately we can rule that one out easily, but there are plenty of other mis-conception myths to go around. You could say the Internet is pregnant with such erroneous information concerning the simple act of making a baby.

10. Mountain Dew

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Many people have heard that the soda drink Mountain Dew lowers a mans sperm count, therefore, if a man is drinking enough of Dew he cannot impregnate a woman. The food coloring dye in Mountain Dew, specifically Yellow 5 is rumored to reduce a man’s sperm production. This however, is totally false. A man can drink 10 bottles of Dew a day, and though he may get a gut from all that sugar, he is still very capable of getting a woman pregnant.

9. Two Condoms

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Many men believe that if one condom is good, two would be even better. In actuality, two condoms increases the friction between the condoms. This friction then can lead to the rupture of both condoms, so for all those thinking they need a back up, just stick with one.

8. Hot Tub

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Hot tubs are fun for all, but be warned, pregnancy can occur if you have intercourse in a hot tub just as easily as in a bed. Many people believe a “condom” of chlorine and heat kill the sperms, which it will, but all the sperm that stays inside is still perfectly fine and able to connect with an egg and start forming a baby!

7. Jumping Jacks

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Though this is good exercise, doing jumping jacks after having sexual intercourse is not an effective method of birth control. Sperm do not fall out, they stay inside and keep swimming. As long as they are anywhere near the vagina, sperm are capable of finding an egg.

6. Douching

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If you wash out the sperm after sex you couldn’t possible get pregnant right? Wrong. Though some of the sperm may be pushed out, many remain. In fact, many sperm become pushed up further into the vagina near the cervix making them even closer to the egg therefore increasing your chance of becoming pregnant.

5. Girl On Top

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Another popular belief is that if you have sex with the woman on top she can not become pregnant because gravity will simply make the sperm fall out or render them incapable of swimming upward. Sperm however are very capable little guys, and can just as easily swim up with the girl on top as in any other position.

4. Rhythm Method

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The rhythm method is a method of birth control that involves the careful mapping of a woman’s monthly cycle. The belief is that if you avoid intercourse during the days of ovulation, you can avoid pregnancy. However, sperm can live for 3 to 5 days in a woman’s vagina, and ovulation is not always set on the same day from month to month. The rhythm method by itself only has a 35% success rate.

3. First Time

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Some people believe that during your first time having sex you can not get pregnant. In actuality, as long as the women has monthly cycles she can get pregnant even if it is her very first time having sexual intercourse.

2. During Menstruation

Some women and men think that if a woman is on her period she can’t become pregnant because she just finished her cycle and will not be ovulating for a couple weeks. though this is rare, it is in fact possible for a woman to have a short cycle, so she can get pregnant even though she is on her period.

1. “Pull Out”

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The most common myth about conception is that is a man pulls out before ejaculation he can not get a woman pregnant because no sperm has entered her vagina. However, there is pre-ejaculatory fluid that comes out before a man has ejaculated and this fluid can contain sperm. These sperm can then proceed into the uterus and if they meet with an ova, a baby can be made.

Top Ten Sex Symbols of the 50s & 60s

September 24, 2010

Top Ten Myths About Sex

September 24, 2010

There is a lot of sex talk out there, but there are just as many fallacies finding their way between the sheets as there are truths. Now we all know that the size of a man’s appendage versus his outer extremities (hand, head, foot) has no proven correlation, and nor does the act of self-gratification stand to make one go blind. There are however several myths that have not been publicly chastised for their ridiculous nature, and often are still believed to be truth rather than fiction. Let’s look at these top ten myths about sex.

10. A Cold Shower Dashes the Libido

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A cold shower has been said to curb peak sexual appetite, simply by reducing the amount of testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women. There is simply no proven basis for this belief, and in fact, an English study for Thrombosis has shown that a cold shower actually stimulates libido by increasing hormone levels. The end result is even more sexual excitement than was first started with. Take heart all ye anxious ladies and gentlemen, as I hear a ball peen hammer and wooden plank still does wonders for destroying ones sexual appetite!

9. The Power of a Lover’s Stare

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The power of a lover’s stare has been written in romance novels ever since an ink pen was first laid to a piece of parchment. True lovers have been said to have the ability to stare into each others eyes for hours on end, falling in love again and again, without ever growing tired. However, what has actually been found in studies, is that staring at your lover has about a 50/50 chance of promoting feelings of love and passion. The other fifty percent of the time it promotes aggression and annoyance, which has been documented in couple studies as fighting and arguing. I guess it is true… all’s fair in love and war!

8. Sex During the Final Stages of Pregnancy

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A lot of expecting couples express fear of hurting their baby during intercourse. Especially during the final trimester. However, most research today not only shows that intercourse is completely safe for the child, it actually can promote a healthier, speedier labor and delivery. It is an old wives tale that sex is bad for the fetus once it is past a certain stage of growth. Many doctors say that you should be able to have a healthy sexual relationship with your partner right up until the day of delivery. Chalk much of this myth up to man’s over-exaggeration of his unit!

7. Thinking of Someone Else During Sex is a Bad Sign for a Relationship

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Did you know that upwards of 90% of all sexually active folk in the world think about someone else during sex with their partner. It is actually a completely natural part of a healthy sexual relationship. The majority of folks think about friends, neighbors, or co-workers, while a slightly smaller percentage (25% of Canadian men) prefer fantasizing about imaginary characters. Everything from Betty Boop to the Lone Ranger has run through the minds of countless lovers over the decades, and should not be considered an indicator that a relationship is heading for the rocks.

6. Women and Fast Cars (Modern Myth)

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If you were to ask a woman today if she was turned-on by the growl of a big engine, she would probably scoff at the thought. In fact, in light of the popular green movement, it is now popular for women to prefer men who drive environmentally-friendly vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius. However, a recent study says differently… a lot differently. It turns out, women show substantial increases in sexual arousal (measured by testosterone in saliva) while listening to the sound of a high performance Maserati, as compared to a low performance Volkswagen (VW) Polo. In fact, the VW actually decreased the arousal of women below that of the baseline of watching the nerdy scientists test their equipment before the study began. Talk about an anti-aphrodisiac!

5. Inbreeding Produces Babies with Three Heads

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While considered a bit of a joke, inbreeding has been said to cause everything from a baby with three heads to mutant X-Men. In truth, while inbreeding should not necessarily be considered a good thing, it is not nearly as bad as some people think. A 30-year Western Australian study, looked at cultures who regularly practice first cousin marriages and found no abnormalities in their offspring beyond that of what would be expected from any other traditional, unrelated couple. The same myth also applies to inbreed animals, who are not always the weaker of the species.

4. Race is a Good Indicator of a Man’s Sexual Endowment

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While some races have enjoyed basking in the limelight of these rumors, there is actually no scientific basis of this myth. While your cousin’s friend, who knew a girl, who dated several professional basketball players claims this myth maybe true, a study from the Porterback Clinic, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and St. James’ Hospital, says differently. The study found that a man’s physical endowment had absolutely nothing to do with his race, creed, or color. It’s has much more to do with that haphazard toss of the genetic die that came soon after that glimmer from our parents eye.

3. Plentiful Sex and the Swinging Single

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While it is common belief that once you get married, sex gets thrown out the window, most research suggests that married couples actually have more sex than the swinging single. This is mostly because couples living together are presented with more opportunities to have sex. Anywhere from 25 to 300 percent more opportunity for sex, on average. However, over the course of marriage, sex dwindles, leaving the frequency of sex comparable to that of a lifetime of living single. One way to improve your odds of having more sex, is to marry multiple times. However, the stress of all those marriages/divorces just might toss you right into an early grave, leaving you with even less sex!

2. Sex Every Seven Seconds

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The common belief by many women, is that men think about sex at least once every seven seconds. Truth is, men today are actually too weighed down with thoughts of success and finances to devote that kind of brain power to the subject. In fact, only half of men (54 percent) think about sex once per day according to the Kinsey Institute, while the other 43 percent designate just a few fantasies spread out over the course of a week. An abysmal 4 percent think about just once over the course of an entire month. Talk about a grossly overinflated female-chauvinistic rumor.

1. Premature Ejaculation (PE) is an Abnormality

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No man has ever been proud to be deemed a “premature ejaculator” by his lover, but in truth it is more of a hardwired system for survival, than an abnormality. The average male can last 5.4 minutes before lift-off, which was biologically pertinent to the population of the planet back in the early days. When faced with man-eating chickens, men had to get the job done quick. There was no time for flowers, song, and love poems. The threat of a Tyrannosaurus charging while in the throes of passion, was enough to make him even quicker, which is why anxiety is still one of the leading causes of PE.

Top Ten Gourmet Cities

September 18, 2010

To some travelers, the food is just as important as anything else a destination has to offer. For these foodies, only the best will do, so this is a list of destinations that will satisfy the appetite of any traveler.

10. Singapore (Singapore)

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Borrowing from Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Tamil and Peranakan cuisines, the food in Singapore is as multi-cultural and unique as the island (and microstate) itself. For a truly unique dining experience, take in one of the city’s hawker centers: open-air food complexes filled with stalls serving all kinds of inexpensive delights. Some of the more popular ones are the Adam Road Food Center, Chomp Chomp Food Center, Lau Pa Sat Food Center, Newton Circus Food Center and Zion Road Riverview Food Center. Singaporeans are passionate about their cuisine. Some local specialties are: Satay, Roti Prata, Char Kway Teow (sweet and savory noodles), Chili Crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Fried Carrot Cake, Rojak and Barbequed Stingray (served on a banana leaf).

When it comes to fine dining, Singapore offers gourmet fare from across the globe. Some of the best restaurants to choose from: The Song of India, il Lido, Graze, Mango Tree Restaurant, Blue Ginger, Oso Ristorante, Hai Tien Lo, Ghorkha Grill, IndoChine Waterfront, Café Samar, Original Sinand Morton’s The Steakhouse.

What Else To Do?
Between meals why not check out the Singapore Flyer, Chinatown, the Botanic Gardens or take a shopping trip down Haji Lane, Singapore’s premier shopping district.

9. Honolulu (U.S.A.)

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When one thinks of Hawaii, images of a tropical island paradise instantly come to mind, but one of the real treats here is the food. Hawaiian cuisine is a unique mix of dishes from Asia and many different Pacific island cultures. Some local favorites are Lau Lau (pork chicken or vegetables steamed in a pouch of ti leaves), Lomi Salmon, Butterfish, Poke (a raw ahi tuna salad) and Poi (a dish made with mashed taro). But the crowned jewel of Hawaiian cuisine is Kalua Pork, cooked in an underground oven called an imu all day long, it is usually the centerpiece of any luau. One great way to take in the gastronomical delights of the city is to take in a restaurant tour by Hawaii Food Tours (created by former executive chef and food critic Matthew Gray). If you prefer dining in a single restaurant try La Mer, Alan Wong’s, Roys, Hoku’s, Chef Mavro, Hy’s Steakhouse, Orchid’s or 3660 on the Rise.

What Else To Do?
As with any island, checking out the beach is usually close to the top of any traveler’s list, especially when you are so close to one of the most famous beaches in the world, Waikiki Beach. Another must see, especially for history buffs, is the Visitor’s Center and the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

8. Fes (Morocco)

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Spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years and this tradition is still evident in Moroccan cuisine today, along with cultural influences from Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean, Arab and African cultures. Unlike other cultures, the mid day meal is the Moroccan’s main meal of the day (except during Ramadan). Some of the staples are couscous, beef, lamb, poultry, sheep, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. These are heavily featured in dishes like Pastilla (a meat pie made with squab or chicken), Tagine (slow cooked lamb or chicken with vegetables and spices), Harira (a thick soup of tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and meat served on special occasions) and of course Kebabs. The restaurants in Fes not only serve exceptional Moroccan food but also embrace cuisine from around the world. Some of the best are Al Fassia, L’Ambra, La Kasbah Restaurant, Medina Café, Palais de Fes, Le Majestic, Vesuvio and Jnan Palace. Of course the best way to taste Moroccan cuisine is to be lucky enough to be invited into someone’s home as Moroccans rarely eat Moroccan food at a restaurant.

What Else To Do?
Fes is a beautiful city with a rich history. Some of its best sights are Bou Inania Madersa, the Merenid Tombs, the Berber Pharmacy and the Tannery in the Medina, as well as the exquisitely decorated exteriors of the Moulay Idriss Il shrine, Qaraouvine Library and Mosque and the al-Tijani Mosque (only Muslims are permitted to enter because they are all working Mosques).

7. Sicily (Italy)

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As with most island cultures, fish and seafood is king and in Sicily they are prepared with fresh vegetables grown in the fertile soil in the shadow of Mount Etna. The simply prepared dishes traditionally served here are evidence of occupation by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and other European cultures, however, the Arabian influence seems to be the strongest. The Sicilians have a penchant for freshness and as such you will rarely eat anything that wasn’t produced within a few miles of where you are eating. Some traditional Sicilian dishes include Caponeta (a salad of eggplant, olives, capers and celery), Pizza, Crocche (fried potato dumplings), Arancine (fried rice balls), Grilled Swordfish, Snapper, Cuttlefish and Veal Marsala. Sicilians are also renowned for their sweets including Cannoli, Cassata, Frutta di Martorana (almond and marzipan pastries), Gelato and Granita, as well it is possible that ice cream was invented here. All of this is paired with red, white and dessert wines that have emerged on the world stage within the past few years. Some of the best restaurants here are Il Ristorantino, Osteria del Doumo, Casa Grungo, Il Barocco, Locanda don Serafino, Ristorante Il Dehor, Bye Bye Blues, La Grotta di Carmelo and Don Camillo.

What Else To Do?
Some of the must sees on this beautiful Mediterranean island include Mt. Etna, the medieval cliff side town of Taormina, the Valley of the Temples, the Museo Archeologico, San Cataldo ( a 12th century Norman church) or taking in an opera or a concert at Teatro Massimo.

6. Bangkok (Thailand)

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Any true foodie has at least tried Thai food once, and the best Thai cuisine in the world can be found in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok. The Thai capital offers a multitude of dining options from street vendors to five star restaurants (usually found in upscale hotels) and offering not only great Thai food but also Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, German, British and Italian food however the Western restaurants are generally more expensive. Here you can have dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, Satay, Kanom Roti, Chu Chi Pla (spicy papaya salad) and Som Tam Thai (deep-fried chicken wings). Some of the best food to be found in Bangkok is sold by street vendors, but use common sense and when in doubt follow the locals. For those who are less adventurous, some of the best restaurants in town are Sala Rin Naam at The Oriental Bangkok, Lemongrass, Spice Market at The Four Seasons, Gianni Ristorante, Maha Naga, Baan Khanitha, Harmonique, D’Sens at the Dusit Thani and Sirocco.

What Else To Do?
Bangkok is Thailand’s tourist gateway and one of the world’s major tourism hot spots, and any of these visitors would tell you that no trip to the city would be complete without a visit to The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, The Klongs, Muang Boran, Wat Sutat, Bangkok National Museum, The Royal Elephant Museum and Vimanek Mansion.

5. Napa Valley (U.S.A.)

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Napa Valley, California is a perfect example of how great food follows great wine. Here simple light dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients bought in Farmer’s Markets that morning or grown at the restaurant itself. Also, here fusion cuisine takes on a persona of its own with Pan-Pacific cuisine blended with locally grown ingredients. It is due to this affinity for freshness that menus change with the seasons and sometimes even daily. Food in the Napa Valley is almost always prepared to complement the fine selection of local wines. Napa cuisine is not only influenced by Spain and Mexico but also by the Italians that established the wine industry in the region. And as a result, the Napa Valley has been transformed into a Neo-Tuscan wonderland. Probably the best restaurant in the area (and many would consider it the best in the United States) is Yountville’s French Laundry. Other great restaurants include Cucina Italiana, Neela’s, La Toque, Redd, Café La Haye, Bistro Jeanty, Bouchon and etoile at Domaine Chandon.

What Else To Do?
Wine is the center of Napa Valley tourism and a visit to a winery is a must. Other attractions in the area include Lake Hennessey, Safari West, Alla Prima Studio, one of the local Farmer’s Markets, the Napa Valley Opera House, Charles M. Shultz Museum and the Petrified Forest.

4. London (England)

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London is a multicultural metropolis with a vibrancy and a personality all its own. Because of this, you can find a multitude of different cuisines here from around the world as well as traditional British fare. Originally, British cuisine was defined by simple dishes made with local ingredients, however, it has continually evolved, first with British colonization and then with those who have settled in Britain from around the world. Some British dishes include fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, shepherds pie, bangers and mash, Sunday roast, Cheshire cheese, Yorkshire pudding, and trifle. But you will also find food from India, China, Africa, the Middle East, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, France, Italy, just to name a few. Some of the best dining experiences to be found are Gordon Ramsay at 68 Royal City Avenue, Petrus, The Gun, Pasha, BoxWood, Clos Maggiore, The Ivy, Melati, Notting Grill, Marcus Wareing at the Savoy Grill, Stef’s, Terra and Christopher’s American Grill.

What Else To Do?
London’s extensive history has left a plethora of must see buildings like the Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Hempton Court Palace, Kensington Palace or Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Also, check out newer attractions like the London Zoo, Thames River Cruise, the London Eye or taking in a play or musical in London’s famous West End.

3. New York City (U.S.A.)

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To many, New York City is the center of the universe and it’s undeniable ability to attract immigrants searching for the American dream is world renowned. Over the years, these immigrants brought their food and culture with them and the city itself has created signature dishes like Manhattan Clam Chowder, the New York Bagel, the New York Hot Dog, the New York Deli Sandwich, New York style pizza, New York Cheesecake, New York Egg Cream and the Waldorf Salad. New York offers everything from street food to five star dining and cuisines from every corner of the globe. From Little Italy to Chinatown to the Kosher Lower East Side and everything in between; the only problem you will have in New York is deciding where to eat first. Some of the lower-priced establishments have become monuments in their own right, like The Carnegie Deli, Lombardi’s (the first pizzeria in America), Katz’s Deli, Nathan’s, Ray’s Pizza, Junior’s, Gray’s Papaya and Lindy’s. For fine dining some of the best choices are: Nobu, Daniel, Le Bernardin, Per Se, Café Boulud, Gramercy Tavern, Peter Luger Steakhouse, Bouley, Jean Geroges, Masa, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, Aureole and Le Cirque.

What Else To Do?
New York is a tourist’s dream with an iconic attraction around every turn, but the best of the best are the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, the Staten Island Ferry, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Ground Zero Museum. After a day of sightseeing, take in a musical or play in one of the world renowned Broadway Theaters.

2. Paris (France)

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The French’s passion for food is well known across the globe and it’s this devotion to their gastronomy that makes French cuisine one of the best in the world. In France each region has its own traditional dishes depending on what is grown locally but as trains from these areas all converge on Paris, it is the perfect place to taste the best of what France has to offer. The best of French cuisine ranges from the over the top elegance of Haute Cuisine to the understated simplicity of Cuisine Nouvelle, with a lot of options in between. The food here has evolved from the Middle Ages and heavily features cheese, wine, bread, cream, mushrooms, goose, chicken, beef, veal, sardines, oysters, shrimp, calamari and fresh produce all seasoned with a variety of herbs. Some of the most well known French delights include crepes, baguettes, coq au vin, cassoulet, quiche Lorraine, bouillabaisse, fondue, ratatouille, croissants and other pastries, as well as delicacies like fois gras, escargot, frog’s legs and caviar. Eating establishments in Paris range from bistros and cafes to five star restaurants that are featured in the Michelin Guidebook. Some of the best restaurants Paris has to offer are La Tour d’Argent, Le Grande Cascade, Le Meurice, Taillevent, Music Hall Restaurant, Pomze, Pierre Gagnaire, Plaza Athenee, Citrus Etoile, Le Grand Vefour, L’Ambroisie, Aperge, Pavillion LeDoyen, L’Astrance, Pre Castelan and Guy Savoy.

What Else To Do?
One of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris has a plethora of must see sights including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Arc de Triomphe, a river cruise on the Seine, Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invalide, the Musee d’Orsay and the Opera Garnier.

1. San Sebastian (Spain)

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Nestled in the heart of Spanish Basque country, San Sebastian (or Donostia to the locals) has more Michelin stars per person that any other European city, making it practically impossible to eat badly while you’re there. Sandwiched between the sea on one side and the fertile Ebro Valley on the other, San Sebastian’s cuisine incorporates the very best of both sides. Not unlike the rest of Spain, San Sebastian is filled with pintxo bars (called tapas bars elsewhere) serving small portions of many different dishes until around 7pm, after which the Spanish dinnertime starts. Some of the typical dishes you will find here are Marmitako (tuna stew), Bacalao a la Vasca (salt cod with tomatoes), Txangurro (hot spider crab), Percebes (goose neck barnacles), Talos (tortillas), wood pigeon, pisto (similar to Ratatouille), Txipirones (baby squid in its ink) and grilled and roasted meats. Some of the best places to eat here are Arzak (the first Michelin 3 star restaurant in Spain), Alona Berri, Extebarri, Martin Berasategui, Akelarre, Mugaritz, Fagollaga, Miramon Arbelaitz, Urepel, Casa Nicholasa, Rekondo, Kursal, La Muralla, Lanziego, Kaskazuri Restaurant ans Branka, although almost every restaurant and pintxo bar in town promises an exceptional dining experience.

What Else To Do?
San Sebastian is a coastal town where the best thing to do is lay on the beach and wait for the next scrumptious meal. It’s the kind of place where the chaos of your regular life drifts away into the beauty of the city. For those who are more adventurous, go for a climb up Monte Urgull or Monte Igueldo, visit the Naval Museum or the Museo de San Telmo or take a stroll through the Parte Vieja, the historic area of the city(it is also the area to find the best pintxos).

Top Ten Self Destructive Child Actors

September 18, 2010

Can you have much too much, much too young? These ten junior celebrities are proof that yes, you can. From drug and drink addictions to car and relationship wrecks, fame can spoil even the youngest souls. Fortunately, some child stars have overcome their destructiveness, whereas others are fading away, and may more have burnt out completely.

10. Haley Joel Osment

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Hayley nearly did see dead people when he flipped his car in July 2006 driving under the influence of alcohol and in possession of marijuana. The LA born star, who made his debut in Forrest Gump aged just six, is best known for his harrowing performance in Sixth Sense and, despite his brush with the law, is still a successful actor, most recently in the heart-warming tale, Home of the Giants. Haley is at the top of the list for being, thankfully, the least self-destructive young actor of the bunch. After his misdemeanor, he paid his fines and did his time, which were $1500 and 26 AA meetings respectively.

9. The Two Coreys

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Corey Haim and Corey Feldman starred in films together, grew up together and then, took drugs together. After their paring in The Lost Boys, the duo shared success in another couple of films, License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream, until Corey fever ran dry. They went their separate ways to seek their own successes, but the booze and pills followed. Haim was hooked on a number of prescription pills, gained a load of weight, lost a load of teeth and made several flop films. Feldman, the more commercially successful of the two as a star in the Goonies, Stand by Me (with fellow child car-crash River Phoenix) and as the voice of Donatello in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, also battled drug problems. A brief reunion on their A&E Network reality show ended in tears, when Feldman declared he wanted nothing more to do with the still-drug-addled Haim.

8. Edward Furlong

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Edward, more commonly known as John Connor from Terminator 2 or Danny Vinyard from American History X, blamed celebdom’s easy access to drugs and money for his long-standing addictions. His antics under the influence, including driving drunk without a license and stealing lobsters from a grocery store, have landed him in handcuffs and addiction clinics numerous times. Now, married with a child, he hasn’t been to rehab in a while, yet with rumors of addiction still rife, it’s possible he’ll be back.

7. Tatum O’Neal

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Tatum still holds the title of the youngest actor to win an Oscar at age ten for her role in Paper Moon. Perhaps then, she’s testament to the dangers afoot for child stars when you consider her persistent problems with crack and heroin. Along her road of addiction, Tatum had a brief fling with the king of controversy, Michael Jackson, in 1979, who allegedly shied away with nerves whenever she moved in to kiss him. Now, Tatum, whose kids have been taken away, is attending drug treatment programs after an arrest in July 2008.

6. Brad Renfro

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On 15 January 2008, the world received the news it had been expecting for years. Aged 25, Brad was found dead in his LA apartment due to an overdose of heroin. Brad’s path to self-destruction began after his intense portrayal of disturbed youngster, Mark Sway, in The Client. The hold that heroin and methadone had on him lead to his arrest and widespread defamation in 2005, and just this year, his tragic death.

5. Jodie Sweetin

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Jodie was a young TV darling in the hit sitcom Full House. She didn’t stay sweet’n innocent for long though – due to her raging addiction to beauty ravaging crystal meth. Not only did she loose several teeth, but she also lost her husband, all thanks to her wild, drug addled behavior. It’s only recently, after the birth of her daughter Zoie, that she’s started to settle down and fight her demons.

4. Olsen Twins

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The curse of Full House didn’t stop there. The twig-like twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, have been rather more discreet in their self-destructive ways. They hit fame after their various Mary-Kate and Ashley films and merchandise under the Dualstar brand, but constant exposure to the limelight did funny things to them. Mary-Kate checked into rehab in 2004 suffering from anorexia and rumored drug problems and Ashley has appeared in celebrity rags bleary-eyed from wild nights out. Most recently, Mary-Kate was caught up in the curious circumstances surrounding Heath Ledger’s untimely death. Rumor had it that Mary-Kate was dating Heath at the time, and some have even said she supplied him with the drugs. That would certainly explain why the masseuse that found Heath called the troubled twin twice before dialing 911.

3. Macaulay Culkin

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After starring in numerous family films, such as Uncle Buck, Home Alone and Richie Rich, young master Culkin was desperate to grow up and shed his child actor skin. He did this by estranging his parents, marrying a girl he’d just met when he was 18, and developing quite a craving for marijuana and prescription pills. These days, he’s happy playing abstract, and some may say semi-biographical roles in cult films such as Party Monster. There’s not much else to do when you’re the highest paid child actor of all time.

2. Drew Barrymore

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The world was aghast when cutesy Gertie in E.T grew up hard and fast and turned into a crazed addict. The press hounded young Drew as she puffed on her first cigarette aged nine, was boozing aged eleven and getting stoned at twelve. She was hooked on cocaine before she barely hit her teens and had been into rehab twice before the age of 14. Once she kicked the drugs, she developed another habit – stripping off – famously baring her breasts to Dave Letterman. Now in her thirties, Drew has mellowed, and although she still admits to being keen on lady love, is happily single and sober.

1. River Phoenix

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River’s death by speedball overdose came as a huge shock – his extracurricular activities were completely unknown to the public. The celebrity circuit went into mourning for the young star and tributes came in the form of songs (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, R.E.M), film credits (Interview With a Vampire) and books (Pink – Gus Van Sant). Aged just 23, River had racked up numerous starring roles in Stand By Me, Running On Empty and My Own Private Idaho. Sadly, his troubled childhood, which was blighted by poverty, brainwashing in a cult and unusual family affairs, encouraged him to use drugs as a fatal escape.

Top Ten Foods For Brain Health

September 18, 2010

We’ve all heard “you are what you eat.” While a nutritious and well-balanced diet is of course great for our bodies, there are some foods that are more beneficial and more nutritious than others. We all know about the foods that we should eat that are deemed “healthy”, but what about foods that are good for just one very important part…say, the brain.

Here is some food for thought, literally. Below is a list of 10 foods proven to enhance the brain’s overall health as well as ensure it is functioning properly on a daily basis. So sit back, enjoy, and put those chips away!

10. Oysters

oysters

If you’re a seafood kind of person, then today just may be your lucky day. Experiments have shown that oysters are great for your brain, no matter your age. Because they are rich in zinc as well as iron, eating this under-the-sea-delight will help to keep your mind sharp and increase your ability to recall information easily. Zinc and iron have been linked to the brain’s ability to stay focused and remember information. A lack of zinc and iron can result in memory lapses, poor concentration, and of course other ailments throughout the body.

9. Whole Grains

wholegrains

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know just how healthy whole grains are for your body; however, they are also great for your brain. Whole wheat, bran, and wheat germ have high contents of folate, as do brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain breads, barley, and others. All of these foods work to increase blood flow to the brain which means a higher quality and quantity of brain function. Also, these whole grain foods contain a lot of vitamin B6, which is full of thiamine. Thiamine is great for anyone trying to improve their memory. Scientific research has shown that memory loss dramatically increases by the time you reach your late 60’s or early 70’s; so whole grains are especially good for you as you get older.

8. Tea

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Forget your coffee in the morning- try a cup of tea! Freshly brewed green or black tea is extremely beneficial to your brain because it is full of catechins. Have you ever had a day where you just feel drained, tired, and “too lazy” to think? It may be because you are lacking catechins in your brain. Catechins are great for keeping your mind sharp, fresh, and functioning properly. Not only do they keep your brain working right, they also allow it to relax and help to fight against mental fatigue. While green tea is much more potent than black tea, both are extremely good for you. Tea is definitely a great thing to drink early in the morning to ensure you’re starting your brain off right.

7. Eggs

Eggs

When we get older, our brains begin to shrink due to something called brain atrophy. While some of us might want other parts of our body to shrink, I’m pretty sure no one wants a shrinking brain. However, we can fight against this natural process by eating eggs. This is because eggs are full of vitamin B12 as well as lecithin. Vitamin B12 helps to fight against brain shrinkage, which is often seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Eggs, though very unhealthy if you eat too many of them, are full of essential fatty acids. The yolk, though very high in cholesterol, is also high in choline, which is a very important building block of brain cells. Choline can help improve your memory. While eating too many eggs can be bad for your health, eating 1-2 egg products a day can be great for your brain.

6. Curry

curry

This spicy food is a great way to spice up your brain and keep it fresh. A main ingredient in curry powder, curcumin is full of antioxidants that help fight against brain aging and maintain cognitive function as you get older. These antioxidants also fight against free radical damage that can occur within the brain as well as the body.  Free radicals can cause inflammation and other ailments within the body. Not only is curry good for your brain, it also can fight against diabetes and heart disease. Too hot for you to handle? You don’t have to have curry for lunch and dinner each day; the smallest amount of curry once a month can be highly beneficial for your brain.

5. Berries

berries

If you’re not a vegetable person, you can rely on fruit, especially berries, to improve your brain health. For example, blueberries are well known for their role in improving motor skills as well as your overall learning capacity. They are often called the best berry for your brain, and today you may notice the plethora of products using blueberries. Most berries, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and others, are full of antioxidants that are great for boosting the brain. You can help reverse the effects of aging on the brain by eating these berries once a day. Berries are sometimes referred to as “super-fruits” because most of them contain fisetin and flavenoid, which are great for improving your memory and allowing you to easily recall past events.

4. Nuts and Seeds

nuts and seeds

Looking for a snack that has everything good for the brain in it? Look no further than nuts and seeds… The good thing about this is that all types of nuts are included. This means peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and any other type of nut or seed you can think of, are good for your brain. Nuts and seeds are full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients allow you to think more clearly. They also help you think more positively, because Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids work as natural antidepressants. Some seeds and nuts are also full of thiamine and magnesium, which are great for memory, cognitive function, and brain nourishment.

3. Leafy Green Vegetables

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Leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, and others, while not very well-liked by children, are excellent for the brain of children and adults alike. These vegetables help greatly when it comes time to remember old information and process it like you just learned it yesterday. This is because these foods are often full of vitamin B6, B12, and folate, which are great compounds needed within the brain to break down homocystein levels, which can lead to forgetfulness and even Alzheimer’s disease. These vegetables are often very high in iron content. If there is not enough iron in-take, cognitive activity slows down greatly. So when mom always urged you to eat your spinach, now you know why.

2. Fish

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Eating fish overall is greatly beneficial to your health, especially that of your brain. Fish is full of Omega-3, which is a fatty acid known to be highly beneficial to the body in various aspects. Eating one serving of fish a week can highly decrease one’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. These fatty acids help with brain function because they coat the neurons that at times have a fatty acid layer that becomes stiff due to a high content cholesterol and saturated fat in the body. Omega-3s will coat the neurons with good fat, allowing them to move easily throughout the brain. Omega-3s also provides more oxygen to the brain, as well as allows one to retain new information while still remembering old information. The best fish to eat for brain health are salmon, tuna, and herring.

1. Chocolate

chocolates

While eating hundreds of Hershey bars may make you sick, and drinking a lot of hot cocoa in a day just may do the same, the main ingredient in these oh-so-delicious foods, cocoa, is said to be very nutritious for the brain. Scientists have proven that the antioxidant content found in just two or three tablespoons of cocoa powder is much stronger than those antioxidants found in other foods, such as green tea or red wine. The main antioxidant found in cocoa, known as flavonols, is said to help increase blood flow to the brain. While normal milk chocolate lacks flavonols, you will find plenty of it in dark chocolate.

Top Ten Strangest How To Books

September 17, 2010

We all know about to how-to, DIY, books for dummies, whatever you want to call them, pieces of literature. Many have proven to be extremely helpful, such as those dealing with computer programming or doing something simple such as knowing how to prepare a great Italian dinner for your family.

With censorship out the window and freedom of speech blowing in, anyone can publish whatever they want. Whether you see this as a good or bad thing, there have most definitely been some pretty weird books that have been put in the reach of society’s hands. Here are the top 10 strangest how-to books that will most definitely leave you thinking “why?”

And yes, all of these books are real books and can be purchased.

10. How to Steal a Dog

Stealing dogs has never been so good! If you’re a cheapo who is looking to steal away man’s best friend, choose this how-to. Maybe you want a free dog, steal one! Though stealing a dog will probably get you put into prison. If you’re that lonely and that in need of someone, or something to talk to, just take a dog, the original owner will understand! How to Steal a Dog

9. How to Make a Dirty Movie

Oh honey don’t worry, I’m just reading about how to make a dirty movie. ..What?! Wouldn’t it be more precise to watch how to make a dirty movie? If you don’t know how to make a dirty movie, that might tell you something, or a few things. But let’s not go there. I guess some people just aren’t romantic or errr…that perverted? Whichever you think fits best. How to Make a Dirty Movie

8. How to be a Pope

I hope that this book was written by an ex-Pope, but it probably wasn’t, seeing as how writing about how to be a pope is probably a sin in one way or another. Anyone who is reading about how to be a pope, shouldn’t be a pope in the first place. Those who are destined to live in the Vatican generally know what they’re duties will be as a pope while they are archbishop or something. How to be a Pope

7. How to Break the Cycle of Life and Death

Now…maybe I’m not religious enough, or maybe I think too much, something, but who in their right mind believes that they can actually live forever? There isn’t a cycle to break. Life has a beginning, and an end. Maybe an afterlife, no one is too sure, but a book about how to be immortal? Interesting, to say the least. How to Break the Cycle of Life and Death

6. How to Raise and Keep a Dragon

I’m sure this would be a great book, if dragons really existed. Maybe they live and exist inside of your imagination, but not in mine. Besides, who’d want to keep an animal that can literally open its mouth and blowtorch you to death? I’d gladly pass on that option. If you ever cross paths with a dragon, find this book. How to Raise and Keep a Dragon

5. How to Start Your Own Country

If there is anyone, that has enough time and money to invest in starting his/her own country, I’d love to meet him/her. Even better, I’d love to meet the person that sat down and had enough time to write a book surrounding the idea of creating a country. For one, a country isn’t “created” by just one person; and two, land is always readily available, the only part that is started is a name. How to Start Your Own Country

4. How to Pee Standing Up

Apparently, being a girl and being able to pee while standing up is “hip.” I didn’t know women were looking to be more like men. I thought that whole individualism thing was still alive and well today. Would feminists frown or be happy about this book? Peeing standing up gives us one more privilege a man has! How to Pee Standing Up

3. How to Speak Cat

Speaking cat isn’t hard, mainly because cats generally don’t listen. Who’d invest their time trying to understand an animal that isn’t even seen most of the time? If you wanted to understand all of the different mews and sounds that come from your cat’s mouth, this is the book for you. Maybe you can even talk back… How to Speak Cat

2. How to Survive a Robot Uprising

This seems like a useless book to me. In order for robots to rise up, they’d need to have some sort of control. However, those little things called remote controls, come very in handy to control a robot. Surviving a robot uprising would include the click or switch of a button. Tough! I guess if you’re a sci-fi kinda guy you’d enjoy this book. How to Steal a Dog

1. How to Become a Schizophrenic

I didn’t know people actually could, and would want to “become” schizophrenic. Nothing like being able to allow yourself to become one who hears voices. However, I guess, maybe, it’s something worth experiencing. Who knows. On the brighter side, this book does provide many theories as how one becomes a schizophrenic. How to Become a Schizophrenic

Top Ten Hunter S. Thompson Quotes

September 17, 2010

Hunter S. Thompson, an infamous writer and social figure who impacted generations of avid and sometimes obsessive readers, is a primary source of America’s most humorous, reckless, revelatory, and sometimes offensive quotes. In an attempt at capturing the vast essence of his genius I have assembled a list of 10 memorable quotes spanning the many eras of his seemingly endless repertoire of material.

Thompson, a sportsman, writer, athlete, and all-around exceptional human being was a wildly acclaimed journalist who enjoyed and pursued not only writing but many other fine professional and non-professional engagements including politics, rifling, pistol shooting, military service in the US Air Force, and deep sea fishing. His exploits in every field were documented, often by himself or other reputable news agencies, and have stood the test of time as iconic representations of the American Dream.

While his most infamous quotes are often linked to works such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or high-profile interviews with magazines like Playboy, there are uncountable gems lurking within the volumes and collections of his essays, news articles, and letters. These hidden treasures often escape the narrow eyes of the public, making them the rare fruits of a somewhat over-devoured island of unmatched literary talent.

We have attempted, with this compilation, to stir up a medley of better- and lesser-known quotes which will accurately depict the various styles of writing, as well as the various stages of life, of this smashingly successful American writer.

10. The Armed Forces

“Be a beachcomber, a Parisian wino, an Italian pimp, or a Danish pervert; but stay away from the Armed Forces.”

(March 10, 1957 in a letter from Eglin Air Force Base)

Hunter S Thompson in Armed Forces

Thompson’s obvious disdain for the American armed forces came from his problematic service period in the United States Air Force. While he did not receive a dishonorable discharge, Thomson did not complete his contractual tour of duty with the USAF. His unwillingness to conform to the rules and regulations of the military led to the abrupt discontinuance of his service in November of 1959. There are numerous rumors about Thompson “speeding toward the guard station in a convertible with no breaks” and “hurling a full wine bottle at the window of the checkpoint whilst ramming the gate.”

9. The Absolute Truth

“If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”

(May 14, 1967 in The Great Shark Hunt)

Hunter S Thompson's The Great Shark Hunt

The accuracy of Thompson’s work is often questioned by readers and critics. Pulling a quote directly from the text of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Thompson himself stated “Only a damn lunatic would write a thing like this and then claim it was all true.” Is journalism a craft of truth? Or perhaps creative confession of already warped information? Only you can answer that question for yourself.

8. Hitchhiking

“At age 22 I set what I insist is an all-time record for distance hitchhiking in Bermuda shorts: 3,700 miles in three weeks.”

(July 22, 1963 in an interview with The National Observer)

Hitchhiking Hunter S Thompson at side of road

One of Thompson’s issues with his career as an American writer was that, in many instances, his vibrant and excessive personality was the focus of national attention whilst his writing, at times, was missed by the figurative paparazzi flash. Despite his disdain for this, he contributed largely to the popularization of his almost mythic character by penning personal experiences as his primary bodies of published work.

7. The Writer

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says, ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”

(June 3, 1959, in a letter to Roger Richards in The Proud Highway)

writer Hunter S Thompson aims gun at typewriter

Dedication to his career (he always considered writing work, at times stating that he would “rather mine coal than write this article”) was a pillar of his success in the journalistic field. Thompson realized from an early age that he would be a writer, and he held true to his craft until death.

6. The Tenant

“I have been evicted from every place I’ve ever lived except the one where I live now. I finally had to buy that so I wouldn’t get evicted.”

(1985, in Wild Sex in Sausalito)

Hunter S Thompson at home in Woody Creek

When Thompson purchased his home in Colorado he was, for the first time, his own landlord. Some have said that a sense of unseen responsibility was the result of land ownership, while others, mostly those infatuated with his persona as a reckless badass, state that having his own land did nothing to curtail his behavior and instead turned loose a spirit which had otherwise been hampered by the conventional world of rental housing. Regardless, buying the Woody Creek residence was a pivotal point in the writer’s career, allowing him to move forward with his next round of projects.

5. Nixon

“Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.”

(1994, in a Rolling Stone interview)

smiling Richard Nixon

Thompson’s explicit infatuation with Richard Nixon was comical as well as revelatory; two men from opposite sides of the social spectrum, one belittling the other night and day and the other running the nation. It was an affair that forged some of Thompson’s most memorable insights and left America reeling in the wake of a non-politically-educated journalist with a penchant for smelling out blood.

4. The Athlete

“I never claimed to be anything more than a nice guy and an athlete.”

(1990, on Sound Bites from the Counter Culture, a spoken word CD compilation – various artists)

Hunter S Thompson pointing gun

It’s true, he did not ever claim to be anything other than these things. Thompson was a simple, honest, working man at the heart of his being, and this honesty is blaringly evident in concise quotes like this one.

3. Strange Rumblings

“I  was standing in the kitchen watching Frank put some tacos together and wondering when he was going to start waving the butcher knife in my face and yelling about the time I Maced him on my porch in Colorado (that had been six months earlier, at the end of a very long night during which we had all consumed a large quantity of cactus products; and when he started waving a hatchet around I’d figured Mace was the only answer…which turned him to jelly for 45 minutes, and when he finally came around he said, ‘If I ever see you in East Los Angeles, man, you’re gonna wish you never heard the word ‘Mace’, because I’m gonna carve it all over your f–ckin body.’ ”

(1974, in a segment of Strange Rumblings in Aztland that appeared in Rolling Stone)

Hunter S Thompson Strange Rumblings in Aztlan

A lengthy quote from a very early work shows Thompson’s ability to capture the essence of a scene by spanning the bridges between time and bringing characters to life through quotation. The sharp contrast between his dialogue and journalistic writing highlights both, and makes for a read that is addictive and full of a twisted humor only Thompson himself could truly create.

2. The Sheriff

“[When elected as Sheriff I plan to] change the name Aspen, Colorado to Fat City. This would prevent greed heads, land rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name ‘Aspen’. These swine should be f–ked, broken, and driven across the land.”

(1970, while running for Sheriff of Aspen County on the Freak Power ticket)

Hunter S Thompson runs for Sheriff in Colorado

When Hunter Thompson ran for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado on the fabled “Freak Power Ticket” his aim was to secure the vote of society’s degenerates, low-lifes, and drug users. He hoped to instigate a brash wave of underground insurgency so large as to overthrow the conventional voting population. Unfortunately for Aspen, his plan backfired. The traditional community was enraged by the Freak Power Ticket, and a wave of angry conservative and liberal citizens united to quell the potential candidate’s rush for office.

1. A World of Thieves

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

(1971, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in Rolling Stone/published as a book in 1972)

Hunter S Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas artwork

Top Ten Barbie Dolls Creations

September 17, 2010

It’s amazing how much controversy a little doll, less than 12 inches in height, can generate. These days, the blonde beauty named Barbara Millicent Roberts, aka Barbie, is in the middle of a lawsuit. The controversy? Mattel claims Bratz, a line of dolls that has been stomping Barbie sales, was made by an employee at Mattel who had an exclusivity contract, and therefore, Mattel is entitled to some of the estimated $500 million to $2 billion in sales their rival is generating annually. Oh, well, Barbie has been to the moon, worked at McDonald’s been a fashion model and had countless babies. Bratz may come and go, but Barbie’s been around nearly 50 years and she can handle anything. So here is the list of the Barbies that have been the most fun to play with

10. The original Barbie – 1959

Original Barbie Doll

Let’s be real – you can’t even TALK about Barbie without discussing the O.G. (original) version. Teeny-tiny waist, a great swimsuit, and those eyes. What are those eyes telling us? Look out world, because I’m a skinny, bad-ass model and you can’t tell me nuthin’! Why she’s fun to play with: Quite simply, as a little girl, you can play with this doll and imagine the day that your mom and dad won’t go bezerk at the idea of you wearing read nail polish. 

9. Day to Night Barbie

day to night barbie 225x300

She can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever let Ken forget he’s a man. The cool thing about this Barbie is she showed little girls and women that the transition from job to “partay” time is easy. You wear the suit coat and the hair up in a bun during the day, and for the evening, whip off that coat to reveal a sleeveless, sequined shirt that helps you bring out your inner-sexy. And of course, the hair comes down in the evening too. Why she’s fun to play with: This Barbie planted a very important seed in the minds of little girls – the career seed. This doll showed us that being a Supermodel wasn’t the only cool job to have – working in an office could be cool too.

8. Western Barbie

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Personally, I was a Dolly Parton fan for years before this Barbie came on the scene, and Dolly had introduced me to country-western culture. So when this Barbie came on the scene, I was really into it. Western Barbie, and her companion, Dallas, gave us a glimpse into life on a ranch. Cowgirl boots and cowgirl hat – totally awesome. Why she’s fun to play with: She winks! Seriously – she has a button on her back, and when you press it, she winks. Oh, and, she had pretty big 1980’s hair. What’s not to love? 

7. Christie – Barbie’s first Black friend – 1968

Christie - Black Barbie

Okay, this Barbie is a clear example of Barbie expanding her horizons. In 1968 Mattel introduced Christie, Barbie’s black friend. While her features are very similar (if not identical) to the white Barbie being manufactured at the time (she’s the white Barbie with tinted skin), this is clearly a very important step in the Barbie line. And, this doll was an example of how little black girls could aspire to the same dreams as their white counterparts. Why she’s fun to play with: This doll is fun because she leveled the beauty playing field with her white counterpart, showing the world that black is beautiful too. 

6. Super Star Barbie

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Now working 9-5 is cool and all, but Superstar Barbie was the bomb because when you played with her, you imagined you were one of the Supremes or Christie Brinkley or Brooke Shields. She represented glamour, glamour, glamour – and what little girl DOESN’T want to grow up and be glamorous? She was Kimora Lee Simmons before Kimora existed, and the boa-esque thing she wrapped around her shoulders was the icing on the cake. Why she’s fun to play with: The pink satin dress, and the bling on the finger, around the neck and in the ears just gave little girls room to fantasize about the day when they’d be able to be the same – all glam. 

5. Black Ken (Black – 1981)

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Not to be confused with Brad, Christie’s boyfriend who debuted in 1969, this black Ken doll is awesome because between 1969 and 1981, Christie had to just kinda chill by herself while Barbie went through a variety of Ken companions. Because it was 1981, and fashion was in transition from the 70’s, this Ken had a really awesome curly afro that was impossible to comb. Of course, his only clothing was a pair of unattractive, yellow gym shorts with a red stripe (or maybe it was orange), he was so fly it didn’t matter. Why he’s fun to play with: You could match this Ken with Superstar Barbie and act out several scenes from “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” and REALLY raise some eyebrows in BarbieLand.

4. Golden Dreams Barbie

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Okay – this Barbie was so much fun to play with, I remember the day I got her. Kinda similar to Superstar Barbie, this one was awesome because everything was golden – her hair, her clothes – even her jewelry. And as you can tell from the picture, the white doll had blue eyes that just jumped out at you. While Superstar Barbie was of the Diva variety, Golden Dreams was more the Barbie that you could imagine on a motorcycle, telling Ken to hop on the back (because, of course, Barbie would never let Ken drive Her bike!) Why she’s fun to play with: Superstar Christie had beautiful brown hair and a copper-colored streak in her hair just to let you know – she was pretty, and she had an incredible smile, but if you crossed her the wrong way, it was game on – she’d whip your butt! 

3. Ballerina Barbie – Cara

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Barbie the ballerina – seems to be a logical fit. Barbies and ballerinas, that is. This Barbie was another tangent of beauty. The ballerina is one of the strongest symbols of femininity and romance, and before Cara, black ballerinas were just a rarity. The pink tutu with gold accents, complemented with the pink ballerina slippers and the gold crown symbolize near royalty. Why she’s fun to play with: This Barbie represents the grace (and beauty) that many little girls lacked, and never even thought about, until we started playing with, and imagining ourselves as, Ballerina Barbie.

2. India Barbie

Indian Barbie

Introduced in 1982, India Barbie was one of the first “brown” Barbies of the International Collection (now known as “Dolls of the World.”) In 1982, few of us knew anything about India, and Mattel “went there” with the introduction of this collection. While Mattel definitely could have focused only on Europe for the International series, the company grew a pair and decided to branch out to cultures not well-known in America. Why she’s fun to play with: You could read the box to learn about India, then imagine what India Barbie’s life was like, and attempt to recreate it while assimilating Barbie and her friends to Indian culture.

1. Midge Hadley (the pregnant Barbie)

Midge Hadley, pregnant Barbie

Midge is Barbie’s best friend. This Midge was part of “The Happy Family,” which of course included Midge, a daddy and two kids. This Barbie was cool because you could take off her pregnant belly, and inside of the pregnant belly, there was a baby. However, in the conservative town where I grew up, that didn’t go over very well with the parents who didn’t want to discuss where babies come. : -) Why she’s fun to play with: As a kid, you could bring Midge to slumber parties and show off the pregnant belly and the baby inside. Then, the next morning at breakfast, you could watch the slumber party host’s mom squirm when that one sheltered kid in the group said, “But I thought babies came from storks and cabbage patches – why is the baby in her tummy?”