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2011 » July

Musings on the Debt Crisis

July 31, 2011 by  

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Banking I live on a budget. I know how much cash I have coming in and how much has to go out. We limit credit card charges and try to pay off whatever we charge, although sometimes that’s hard. Regardless, we have paid off the majority of our debt over the last 4 years and we are primarily a cash-and-carry family, now. Watching our politicians bicker over the debt crisis, while the numbers go up and up and the American people wring their hands in helpless fury, makes me so angry I want to scream. Some people would say that might help – but, really, it will just scare the dogs. In some ways, I think we, the American Public, are at fault. We bought into the marketing that told us we could have it all – that if we couldn’t afford it, we could charge it. We bought into the American dream that said owning a home was the be-all and end-all of happiness in this country. That and sending your kids to a good school. We blithely went about our lives following those beliefs – as our debt (individually and collectively) went up and up


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Night Fever Rocks The Sounds of The Bee Gees

July 31, 2011 by  

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Some of you may remember the days immediately following Saturday Night Fever when the Bee Gees rocketed to superstardom. Bell bottoms and disco were the rage. But even if you were too young to experience it, there’s always the band Night Fever. This Bee Gees tribute band played at the Place des Festival here in Montreal on Thursday night and rocked out a great set of classic Bee Gees hits. Admittedly, disco was never my thing as a kid. But over time a blend of nostalgia and maturity has helped me appreciate music that was just about feeling the rhythm and appreciating your dance partner. All the hits came out. You Should Be Dancing, Somebody To Love and of course Saturday Night Fever were on deck and the crowd responded with cheers for each new cover song. And despite the annoying roleplaying with, “Hey, brother Maurice,” or “Now, brother Barry,” the show elicited the kind of response from the audience that is usually reserved for the real band. Kudos once more to the Festimania people, who are hosting us, for giving us such open access to so many show. We had a great time at this performance.


Wild N’Dama Cow of West Africa

July 31, 2011 by  

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As the African continent is faced with the challenge of meeting a growing demand for milk and meat, the genetic diversity of livestock breeds is being lost at an alarming rate. Governments and agribusiness continue to promote exotic commercial breeds of livestock that are bred to gain more weight and produce more milk than traditional breeds. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that around 1,710 breeds of livestock—21 percent—are at risk of extinction worldwide as farmers abandon their traditional breeds. For millennia, pastoralists have bred livestock that are well-adapted to local conditions. Understanding and preserving these breeds could be useful in helping communities adapt as their climates and environments change in the coming decades.
      N’Dama is a hardy breed of cattle indigenous to the Fouta-Djallon highlands in the West African country of Guinea. N’Dama cows were domesticated around 8,000 years ago in the region and they have evolved to be resistant to local diseases and parasites. The breed is common throughout West and Central Africa, especially in areas infested by the tsetse fly—an insect known to transmit disease to both humans and livestock. According to…

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Lake of the Ozark’s Missouri Wine Festival

July 30, 2011 by  

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A dozen wineries from around Missouri will be offering their wares during the 18th annual Missouri Wine Festival. It’ll be held from 2 to 6 p.m. August 6, 2011, at the Country Club Hotel & Spa in Lake Ozark, Missouri. The wineries will offering tastings of their various vintages and have their representatives on hand to explain the varieties and help you decide which might satisfy your taste buds. Palate cleansers between tastings will be light fare from various Lake Area restaurants and eateries. The cost of $15 per person includes tastings from all the wineries and a souvenir glass. The event is sponsored by the sponsored by the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information on visiting the region, check with Lake of the Ozarks.


4 London Underground Ghost Stations

July 30, 2011 by  

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London Underground logo There are well over 50 abandoned stations, including eight large stations in the centre of London. Here are some of them: Aldwych – Closed in 1994, it’s now used for filming and for exhibitions. Patriot Games, the All Saints film Honest, the BBC production of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and videos such as Prodigy’s FireStarter have all been filmed here. It also featured in Tombraider the game. The station can be found on the eastern end of the Strand, with entrances on the Strand and Surrey Street. Parts of the surface station can be clearly observed by looking through the metal gate at the Strand entrance that now bears its original “Strand” name. It closed in 1994 as, because it was at the end of its own branch line, the 600 people who used it didn’t justify the money it would take to upgrade the old lifts (Read in more detail at Underground History) British Museum – If you’re lucky you can see the station if you look through the window as you travel between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn on the Central Line. It closed when nearby Holborn opened in 1933 but was used as…

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Caroga Lake’s Timberlane Blueberry Farm

July 30, 2011 by  

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One of my favorite places in New England is Timberlane Blueberry Farm in upstate New York. It is located in a little nook off the Caroga Lake road in the Adirondack Mountains, a place I’m proud to call home. There isn’t much up there frankly other than lakes and mountains, but that’s precisely why you go….to get away from everything and anything that keeps you disconnected from nature. Want to do a walkabout and leave technology and a frantic lifestyle behind? Head to the incredibly unpretentious Adirondack Mountains, a part of the world I give credit to for keeping me grounded regardless of what is thrown my way. You get the idea. I love this place. What’s special about Timberlane for me of course is its history and the fact that picking my own berries there has been part of tradition with my grandparents since I was 5 years old. Picking them is part of the experience so while you can go there and purchase pints of ‘em or buy breads, syrup, or pies, you don’t really experience what is special about the place unless you go into their grounds, get eaten alive by…

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New Designs From Your Remnants

July 30, 2011 by  

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(Image: Alkesh Parmar)
It’s degree show season and the Royal College of Art show boasted its usual fantastic designs and innovative ideas. My eye was caught by Alkesh Parmar’s work, APeel. He designed a new material derived from food waste. Using the inedible leftovers from oranges, lemons and other hesperidia fruits, he dried, grated and mixed them up with a secret combination of all natural, organic binders, poured into a mold and hey presto! A orange juicer made from oranges! The whole design process has been carefully thought out with energy and water levels kept to a minimum. Even the moulds were made from recycled materials and tools were only made if necessary. The resulting biodegradable, sustainable material is firm and strong and can even be made into a flexible sheet, suitable for so many purposes. (Image: Alkesh Parmar) As if that wasn’t cool enough, he also designed a chandelier made from excess champagne corks rescued from restaurants. What a fantastic all-consuming idea!


6 Great Eats in Chicago From Institutions to Chinese Food

July 30, 2011 by  

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Top six list for Chicago eats from passportdelicious. The Billy Goat Tavern: Under Michigan Avenue. (Watch for the staircase by the Wrigley Building.) Old school red-and-white checked formica tables. A grill staff that will banter with you. Average but tasty double-cheeseburgers, but you’re not here for the food. A bit dingy with age, but still infinitely lovable, IMHO.  I especially like breakfast at The Billy Goat. Bangers & Lace, Wicker Park: Come here primarily for the interesting and comprehensive beer menu, but the brats are pretty good too. Oh, and the corn nuts are ADDICTIVE. Oasis Cafe, Loop: Grab a falafel sandwich for this mysterious Middle Eastern cafe in the back of a jewelry mart. Really, the location is the main reason to go. Quirky! Lao Sze Chuan, Chinatown: The most delicious Chinese food. Really. Make sure you get the sweet potato cakes for dessert. Lush, West Town: This is a wine shop and cafe. Truth be told, I’ve never eaten the food here. But I love the wine shop and have bought a bottle from the shop and taken it over to the bar…

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