FFI- GO COLTS!!!

a heart

And…here we go!

1. I know _I’m in desperate need of a house elf, it’s a hot mess around here!_

2. _Just ask any kid, December is_ the longest month.

3. You can’t help but _feel sorry for Saints fans… everyone knows the COLTS are gonna win!_

4. _The Big Blue has a message for the Saints_; bring it on!

5. Where have you looked _for signs of Spring?  Did you know I heard some robins singing the other morning_?

6. _My middle daughter, she’s a big Michael Jackson fan, informed me that the DVD of “This Is It”_ is now available.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _reading some more of James and the Giant Peach with Mags, sort the laundry, do the dishes and make some of my special recipe spaghetti (OMG, it’ll have meat in it, even!  It’s been so long since I had my special recipe)_, tomorrow my plans include _maybe breakfast out with Mags at White House, a visit to the library, shoe shopping with Gwen for the dance she wants to go to, and hopefully finishing James_ and Sunday, I want to _go to church, have fun at the library’s pre-Super Bowl party, then watch the COLTS WIN_!

you can find more Friday Fill-Ins here.

Also, don’t forget to check out my giveaway!  I’m giving away a copy of Push by Sapphire, and the more people sign up, the more prizes!  If 50 or more people enter to win, I’ll add $10 to spend on Amazon.com for the grand prize!

TSS -Mad Dash for the Finish Line!

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Sunday! and Merry (almost) Christmas :-)

I have been a readin’ fool this week; I’m trying to reach my goal of 75 books by December 31st. I’ve really made progress this past week, but I’ve also been busy on Second Life, as well. I could probablyget more read if I stayed off SL, but I need balance between the two loves. At any rate, the following books were read and reviewed on Mt. TBR this week:

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil GaimanI am blown away by Gaiman’s ability to weave magic throughout his writing. A master at creating art, the pages of a book are his canvas and words his medium. I will definitely be reading more Gaiman in the new year!

Robot Dreamsby Sara Varon A very cute and touching graphic novel that tells a story of Dog and Robot without words. Great for a family of all ages to share, Robot Dreams shows the fragile and organic nature of friendships and relationships.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Unionby Michael Chabon  In this murder mystery, Chabon uses an alternate timeline to mix Jewish culture with the Arctic setting of Sitka, Alaska. Landsman is a maverick detective with personality failings and quirks, i.e. an alcoholic afraid of the dark. Yiddish Policemen’s is a story of the love children have for their fathers, and how age never dims their desire for their fathers’ acceptance and love.

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis  Last of the Narnias to be written, Lewis intended The Magician’s Nephew to be read first. It gives the background of the events to take place in the most widely known Narnia book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. However, I think I enjoyed reading it better having read the latter first.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis  The most widely known and read of all the Narnia tales, this book is one of my all-time favorites. This is the fourth time I’ve read it, not to mention having watched both the BBC TV production and the Disney movie version several times. Written as a Christian allegory of the work of Salvation, this story is still enjoyable without that as a reader’s focus.

Besides reading these books, I’ve also launched a second BookBucks Giveaway. After receiving a disconcerting email from Joshua Henkin about the potential narrowing of new book selection due to the decline in publishing profits, I wondered what I could do to bring this concern to more people. And what brings more people in than free money? Don’t forget to sign up for your chance to win a $25, $15, $10, and $5 gift card to your choice of Borders, Amazon or Barnes & Nobles!

In the coming week my plans for reading are: The remaining five Narnia books, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling, Brisingr(the third book in The Inheritance cycle) by Christopher Paolini, The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak, and Visions of Sugar Plums(Stephanie Plum Christmas novel) by Janet Evanovich. I also plan on finishing the books I’ve started but not completed this year: A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeline l’Engle, Bed, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren, and How to Be a Villianby Neil Zawacki. Okay, even without the kids here, this may be an ambitious list… lol.

As to Second Life, my vampire clan has split again and this time I’ve gone with the new family. Chosen Immortal is everything Treasured Vamps was suppose to be but has lost their way and become more about numbers, titles and politics. I’ve also moved from my old apartment to a floor in a friend’s castle. I’ve gained more space at about a tenth of the cost. I’m also going to be selling pictures and other things at a friend’s store, C&C’s Designs.

AND… due to an accidental purchase of a pregnancy pack, my avatar is now expecting. A $1500L mistake, I figured I’d just go ahead and use it… hate to spend the money and then throw it away. Currently, the little one’s name is “Mommy’s li’l Oops!”. It’s a boy (I have three girls in real life, by golly I’m having a boy this time ;-) ), and I’m not sure what to name him. Since BF is a werewolf, I had a half a thought to name him “Wolf”… lol… last name “Blitzstein”… That’s funny, because, unthinking, I made a comment the name “Wolf” worked well for the newsman Wolf Blitzer. Hahaha!

Buy Books for Christmas! (and Chanukah… Kwanza… New Year’s… Tet… Valentines… Just because…)

I recently received an email from author Josh Henkin, whose book Matrimony I will be reviewing and will be giving away in January, about the troubling future of the publishing industry. AND, with the decline of publishing, the loss of the voices of new authors and authors whose ideas may not be of the mainstream flavor. Though I very rarely do this, I want to pass along his email.

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, the book industry is in serious trouble. It was in trouble when economic times were good, and now that times are bad, things have gotten really precarious. Book sales across the industry are down as much as 40 percent, publishing houses are laying off people and cutting imprints, one big publishing house announced that it was no longer reading new manuscripts, and a major chain bookstore is on the brink of bankruptcy. Many of these problems have been a long time coming (the decline of newspapers and especially of book review sections has been a big blow, as has the closing down of many independent bookstores), but in recent months the problem has become especially acute. I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but these are alarming times. What’s at stake is the future of books, and of reading culture. Although books will continue to be published (Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling will publish their next books), for everyone except a handful of bestselling authors, the future is far more uncertain. What’s at stake is the wealth and diversity of book culture. Many classics (books we read in our English classes in high school and college, books our children read or will read), simply wouldn’t be published by today’s standards and, if they were published and didn’t sell well immediately, they would be removed from the bookstore shelves. This is why it’s so important that you buy books for the holidays. There’s a website dedicated to this enterprise, Buy Books for the Holidays,which you might want to check out, and publishing houses are running ad campaigns focused on holiday book-giving. You really can make a difference. A typical paperback novel costs less than fifteen dollars, far cheaper than a necklace or a sweater or dinner at a nice restaurant. Thanks for reading this, and have a happy and healthy holiday.

Best,

Josh

http://www.joshuahenkin.com

Of course, I use BookMooch and PaperBackSwap, both being swap-sites of sorts for books, but I do buy new books as well. Books that never pop up on my wishlist, books I want to read now and don’t want to wait, and books from the bargain bins and twofer sales. Thanks to the swap sites and LibraryThing, I actually purchase more books new than ever before. Go figure.

So, to support the publishing industry and starving authors everywhere, I will be hosting a second Book Bucks Giveaway! :-D
From now until December 31st you can throw your name into the hat for a $25, $15, $10 and $5 gift card to your choice: Borders, Amazon or Barnes & Noble bookstores. The cards can be used either at the brick-and-morters or online shopping.

The rules are as follows:

No biting, scratching, or holding… erm, wait… wrong list… :-))

1. Post a comment to this post for your official entry and specify which store you would like your gift card from. Without your comment here, you won’t qualify for the bonus entries.   If no preference is stated, then you’ll receive one for Borders… I’m lazy and we have a Waldenbooks right here in town.

2. Post a link to this contest on your blog, then post the link here in the comments for a bonus of 5 entries.

3. Comment on any blog entry between now and December 31st for an additional entry per comment. There is a limit of 5 comment-bonus entries per day, so make sure to stop by every day to get your bonus entries! There are over 100 posts on this blog and I’m very busy trying to reach my goal of 75 books by December 31st. I have 17 more to go, which means there will be a post a day, as well, so you won’t run out of chances for your daily bonuses ;-)

4. If the winner(s) is outside the US, instead of the gift card, I will mail the new book(s) of his/her/their choice. The postage will be on me and won’t come out of the gifted amount ;-)

5. If you go to the Buy Books for the Holidays site, you can pick up the code for a widget button. Include the button in your sidebar for another 5 bonus entries.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #8

Inside everybody’s nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it farther up inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way, and he
May bite the whole darn thing off.

by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends


If you stuck your finger far enough up your nose, could you reach your brain?

No, because an average-shaped human finger would not be able to pass beyond the nasal passages. If a finger (and it would have to be unfeasible small to do so) could make its way through the nasal passages, it would then reach the sinuses. Sunuses are air-filled spaces found behind the nose and cheeks and in the forhead. However, our imaginary finger would then find its route blocked by the cribriform plate, which makes up part of the ethmoid bone in the skull and forms the “ceiling” of your nose.

Clark would benefit from reading today’s factoid:

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #7

Can a human being spontaneously combust?

Human spontaneous combustion is a mysterious, controversial, and much derided phenomenon, in which a person is said to suddenly burst into flames, without the presence of any external fire or heat. Cases have been reported of burned corpses being found, their bodies charred, but the furniture around the victim seemingly untouched by the fire. This phenomenon has remained a contentious mystery for hundreds of years, with a number of possible explanations being suggested, including balls of lightning or a buildup of methane inside the intestines.

However, scientists now believe that they may have found the answer, in a theory known as the “wick effect.” The theory is that in certain rare and particular circumstances, a human body can burn in a way comparable to a candle. A source such as a lit cigarette may start the fire, and it is believed that body fat can act as fuel to keep the body burning. A group of researchers carried out an experiment to demonstrate the wick effect. It involved setting light to a dead pig wrapped in cloth which was designed to represent a person wearing clothes. The pig burned for many hours, and the charred effect was similar to that found in apparent cases of spontaneous human combustion. The scientists believe they demonstrated how a case of spontaneous human combustion could occur to a person who had already been knocked unconscious. It could also explain why only part of the body -the part that is rich in fat- burns, while the rest stays intact.

 

Okay, I believe spontaneous human combustion is a real and very rare phenomena, personally. It is, IMO, caused by an imbalance of the electrical system in the body. A friend of mine’s daughter has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, which is a rare birth defect where the bridge between the brain’s hemispheres fails to develop properly resulting in their inability to communicate with each other, and one of the medications the doctor wanted to put her on has a possible side-effect of spontaneous human combustion. My friend refused that medication… I don’t blame her.

One more video, this one’s kinda funny:

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #6

MMMmmm… the smell of new shoes is one of those things that rank right up there with glue, gas and permanent markers! And nothing in this world can make or break your day like the fit of a pair of shoes. Too tight, and you’re as cross as a bear. Too loose and you feel like a clown escapee from Ringling Bros. But a nice pair of shoes that fit just right can boost your confidence and energy level into overdrive and make you feel invincible!

But how do you get that perfect fit? My mom always smashed my big toe with her thumb and told me to wiggle it to see if I had room, but how ’bout this….

shoe-fitting fluoroscope full viewshoe-fitting fluorscope top

I sit true that X-rays were once carried out in shoes shops?

It is ironic that X-rays can both cause cancer and be used to treat it. Nowadays, with the use of very small doses of radiation to produce high-quality X-ray images, the risk of cancer after properly supervised X-ray examinations is extremely small.

Between the 1930s and 1950s, a device called the shoe-fitting fluoroscope was a common fixture in shoe shops. It was a unit that usually consisted of a vertical wooden cabinet with an opening near the bottom into which the feet were placed. When you looked through the viewing holes on the top of the cabinet you would see a fluorescent image of the bones of the feet and the outline of the shoes. When the feet were in the shoe-fitting fluoroscope, the customer was effectively standing on top of an X-ray tube. The fluoroscope helped to measure shoe size and tested the fit of a new pair of shoes. When it was realized that X-rays could be harmful, the use of the fluoroscope declined.

The fluoroscope was widely used by doctors to view inside the body. X-rays were also used to shrink infected tonsils, and thousands of children received this treatment. Decades later, it was realized that this treatment could cause thyroid cancer.

“Um, Mr. Bundy? Should I have a sixth toe suddenly start growing after my last shoe fitting?”

Yeah, I think I’ll stick to my mom’s way….

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #5

Alright… no bugs, parasites or cannibalism today… Today’s factoid is something straight out of science fiction.

Photobucket

Can a head live without a body?

In 1988, the U.S. government granted a patent for a device that would keep a severed head alive after being surgically removed from the body. The device has never been used, so it is uncertain how effective it would be. However, the creator of the device has been contacted by a number of people who want to know how soon the operation will be available and how much it will cost. Some of these people are dying or paralyzed, and many of them say that they would welcome the operation, if it meant that their minds would remain clear and they could still think, see, read, remember, talk, and listen.

The proposed procedure would involve attaching the decapitated head to a device essentially consisting of a series of plastic tubes. These tubes would be connected to the bottom of the head and neck and would provide oxygen and fluids, as well as maintaining blood circulation, to keep the head alive.

In 1973, an American brain surgeon called Dr. Robert White carried out the world’s first head transplant, using two monkeys. He decapitated both animals and successfully managed to stitch the head of one monkey onto the body of the other. The “hybrid” monkey regained consciousness, opened its eyes, and tried to bite a surgeon who put a finger in its mouth. It also ate, and it could follow people around the room with its eyes. However, the monkey was paralyzed from the neck down because its spinal cord had been severed, and it was impossible for the surgeons to reconnect the numerous nerves necessary for it to regain any bodily movement. The monkey survived for about seven days after the transplant.

White claimed that this surgery could benefit parapalegics, who may die as a result of the long-term medical complications that often accompany extensice paralysis. He believed that if these people were to receive new bodies, donated by patiens who were brain dead but otherwise physically healthy, it would give them a new chance of life, even though they would remain parapalegic.

There are some really strange video out there that demonstrate the mind-bending ability the brain has to survive. One video shows a dog’s head revived and responding to stimulus. The monkey vid’s on out there, as well, but the one I saw on YouTube had one of those “scream scenes” in it so be careful.

When I read this segment, my mind immediately went to Sarah Jessica Parker’s head on the body of her character’s pet chihauhau in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! (great movie if you haven’t seen it)

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

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