Am I Really A Stroller-Monger?

Am I Really A Stroller-Monger?

I was reading "A Modern Infant Armada", a humor column in Maclean’s Magazine written by a fellow humor columnist. Writing about it now is a bit like a painter painting another painter or a singer singing about another singer (but it not like a cook cooking another cook.).
David Russell (yes, another humor columnist named David) laughs at his neighbor for parking both cars in the driveway to make room in the garage for four strollers for just one child. I laughed with him. Four strollers for just one baby is ridiculous, right?
However, David Russell becomes a parent himself, a condition that afflicts many unsuspecting homo sapiens, and he concludes that a call to his neighbor is warranted: "I need to see if he can help me get a fleet rate."
"Traitor!" I cried out. "Stroller monger!"
"Who’s a traitor?" my wife asked as she walked in the room. "And just what is a stroller monger."
I resisted the obvious answer – that a stroller monger is somebody who mongs strollers. "David Russell. He says that one stroller is enough for any child, but then he decides to buy an entire fleet."
"Say, we could have saved a bundle if we had applied for a fleet rate," my wife mused.
"What? We don’t have four strollers."
My wife smiled. It was a sweet smile you could just fall in love with…if you did not know that it meant, "Oh yes we do!"
"We do not."
"My wife took out her counting fingers. "First there is the car seat," she said, pressing down the first finger. "We snap it into the stroller base whenever we go anywhere."
"OK, that’s one."
"Then there is the SUV," she said, pressing down on a second finger. The "SUV" is a full sized stroller. We bought it when we were still squeezing it on a downtown apartment. With no storage space, it stood in the entrance area, blocking our path to the kitchen and any hope of escaping if the place caught fire. The SUV is the Hummer of strollers.
"OK, that is a stroller, I will grant you. But that’s just two."
"We also have the fold-up stroller," my wife said, pressing down a third finger.
"But she’s not even using it yet."
"She will soon and we have it now," my wife pointed out. "Then there is the old fold-up stroller we kept as a backup. That makes four."
"You can’t count duplicates. That’s double counting."
"It takes double the space," my wife insisted. "We have four strollers.
I stared in silence. Slowly it sunk in. Yes, there were two Davids who were humor columnists, but there were also two Davids who were stroller-mongers.
Uh-oh. My wife was smiling again. She was watched for just the right moment to strike. "Our baby has more seats in this house than anybody else has."
"That’s ridiculous." No sooner had the words left my mouth than I remembered the boomerang rule. Words like ridiculous, ludicrous, silly, stupid and big mouth usually apply only to the person who speaks them.
My wife rhymed off our seats, "Three on the couch, two chairs in the living room, six in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and one at each of our desks. Plus the three red chairs Little Lady has in the living room. That makes 17."
"Ha!" I knew it couldn’t be true.
Then came that deadly sweet smile again, the smile that said, "Take my hand while I lead you around the house to see why you should think first and shout ‘Aha!’ later."
In the kitchen stood the high chair and the sit-in play saucer. In her office sat the rocking chair that never rocked and the bouncy chair that never bounced. There was the swing seat, and there were two cushion seats for sitting upright on the floor. She opened the door to the enclosed porch, and there were the four strollers and the car seat she would soon be using.
"That makes 12," my wife tallied. "We each have fewer than six."
I thought really hard. "Aha!" I said again, proudly pointing out that this time I had thought first and shouted ‘Aha!’ later.. "We have three chairs on the balcony, and six on the patio. There are also six folding chairs for the fire pit."
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and there was no reason to forget all the outdoors furniture at a time like this. Unfortunately, there was no reason to forget arithmetic, either. Our baby still had the most seats in the house – and outside the house, too.
"Uh, do toilet seats count?"
My wife smiled her sweet smile again, a smile that could only mean, "So, stroller monger, what do you have to say for yourself now?"
I knew that another humor columnist named David had just been labeled a traitor. Meekly, I mumbled. "Lawn tractor seat?"

Celebrities Tear Up The Track For Kids Charity. 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

Celebrities Tear Up The Track For Kids Charity. 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

For the past 29 years, celebrities from film, television, music and sports have taken their spots on the starting grid behind the wheel of a revved-up Toyota sports coupe while racing through the streets of Long Beach, California as part of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Over 370 fan favorites such as Cameron Diaz, George Lucas, Ashley Judd, Lil’ Kim, Sean Astin, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, Woody Harrelson, Karl Malone, Kelsey Grammer, Jay Leno, Matt LeBlanc, Queen Latifah, Joe Montana, Patrick Dempsey, John Elway and dozens of others have tested their skills racing through 10 laps of heart-pounding, action-packed turns at over 100 mph-all for the benefit of children’s hospitals.

A highlight of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running corporate-sponsored event of its kind.

Stars competing for the checkered flag show up race weekend with much more than a camera-ready smile. Participants commit to eight days of charity involvement, car preparation and actual racing, including an intensive four-day training session that teaches stars how to properly handle the vehicles and how to manage the complexities of the track. After completing training, they hit the street course in Long Beach for a practice session, followed by the actual race (April 8), which rips and roars to a cheering crowd of tens of thousands, as well as on national television.

"The excitement and competition is fierce," said Les Unger, national motorsports manager at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "Celebrities sign up thinking this race will be a friendly competition for a good cause. Come race day, rivalries and friendships have developed, setting the stage for an exciting and dramatic display of adrenaline. It’s fun to watch the transformation from celebrity to race car driver."

After competing in the 2005 race, Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on ABC’s "Grey’s Anatomy," now dabbles in professional racing as a hobby and will be classified in the "pro" category for the 2006 race. "Toyota puts on a great event that’s a lot of fun, very competitive and most importantly for a great charity cause. I had such a great experience last year that I jumped at the chance to be involved again," said Dempsey.

In addition to learning the tricks and trades of competitive racing, the star-studded group raises money for "Racing for Kids," a national organization benefiting children’s hospitals. Each year, the celebrities visit Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach to spend time with sick and recovering children, evoking smiles, laughter and inspiration. Since 1991, the race has raised more than $1.3 million for charity. Donations are split equally between Miller Children’s and Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

The 2006 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will take place on Saturday, April 8 through the streets of downtown Long Beach, California and will be broadcast nationally on SPEED.

A highlight of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running corporate charity event of its kind.

How to Get Free Legal Music Downloads – Really!

How to Get Free Legal Music Downloads – Really!

A question that is often asked from online music fans is how to get <b>free legal music downloads</b>. The good news is that it is possible, if you know where to look.

Many people search the Internet looking for alternatives to pay legal sites. But when searching online for Rhapsody, iTunes and Napster sites, you’ll get millions of results which can become frustrating. Furthermore, when searching online for music download sites, it can be very hard to tell the difference between legal sites and file sharing sites.

P2P file sharing sites are confusing for many people because they make clear that they provide a legal service – which is true. But although P2P file sharing networks are still considered legal, it’s how these P2P file sharing networks work that have gotten some people in serious trouble with the RIAA and MPAA.

Basically, anyone who is caught downloading or sharing copyrighted material could be sued by the RIAA or MPAA. And in more recent news, P2P file sharing companies, and individuals that encourage illegal downloads of music and movies, are now also being sued.

Furthermore, few people fully understand the hidden dangers and security risks of getting free MP3 downloads using P2P file sharing networks. These risks includes; adware, spyware, viruses, hackers and online privacy risks.

So how do you get free legal music downloads online? There are a variety of legal music sites that give you free mp3 downloads of cutting edge music, Indie music and up and coming new music stars.

<b>Here Are 4 Popular Free Legal Music Download Sites:</b>

<b>1) Epitonic.com</b> – Epitonic works mostly with small, independent record labels. Epitonic provides high-quality music downloads and a searchable database of "Cutting Edge Music" in a variety of genres including; Rock, Folk/Acoustic, Hip Hop, Pop and Jazz.

<b>2) Garageband.com</b> – GarageBand.com is a top independent music distributor and they feature popular free indie music. The site has thousands of Independent songs in their database that you can listen to, download and review. GarageBand’s top songs are promoted by 1,000 radio partners and they featured music from Bo Bice (an American Idol finalist) before he was a big star.

<b>3) eMusic.com</b> – Although the subscription service is not free, with eMusic you can download free legal music when you sign-up for the free eMusic download trial. Emusic features over 600,000 tracks and hi quality digital music fidelity. Emusic provides the hottest legal music download trial online by giving you 25 legal MP3 downloads for free.

<b>4) Amazon.com</b> – Amazon provides free legal music downloads of today’s top musicians. And it’s easy to start downloading, just go to amazon.com and click on the "Free Downloads" tab where you can browse from a wide variety of music selections and popular artists.

Because new music downloads are usually always copyrighted, the sites above will most likely not have the latest new song downloads. However these sites provide a huge variety of free legal music downloads for you to choose from.

What is movie and movie history

What is movie and movie history

Movie is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of movie as an art form, and the motion picture industry. Movies are produced by recording images from the world with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or special effects.

Movies are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Movie is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, and a powerful method for educating — or indoctrinating — citizens. The visual elements of cinema give motion pictures a universal power of communication; some movies have become popular worldwide attractions by using dubbing or subtitles that translate the dialogue.

Traditional Movies are made up of a series of individual images called frames. When these images are shown rapidly in succession, a viewer has the illusion that motion is occurring. The viewer cannot see the flickering between frames due to an effect known as persistence of vision, whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Viewers perceive motion due to a psychological effect called beta movement.

The origin of the name "film" comes from the fact that photographic film (also called film stock) had historically been the primary medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist for an individual motion picture, including picture, picture show, photo-play, flick, and most commonly, movie. Additional terms for the field in general include the big screen, the silver screen, the cinema, and the movies.

Speak With E’s Part 3

Speak With E’s Part 3

“Educate, Energize, Entertain, and provide an experience for your audience”
1. Use direct eye contact. You can focus on one person when making a point… and everyone else in the audience will think you are speaking to them, too.
2. Don’t just stand behind the lectern move around, gesture. Be animated. (Fifty-five percent of how people perceive you is by body language; 38 percent by your voice; 7 percent by your words.)
3. If you are telling a story, assume the posture of the character you are acting out. For example, if you are talking about babies then look like one and sound like one.
4. Humor helps. Humor especially if it is self-deprecating, often wins over an audience. Example: When president Kennedy was asked how he became a war hero, he responded, “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.”
5. When appropriate smile a lot. Be enthusiastic about what you are saying. Make it fun. Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun your audience is having. Laughter is like internal jogging. Aren’t adults just grown up kids?
6. Use visual aids to increase audience retention of your message. But never become a master of ceremonies to your overheads. Toys create humor and playfulness.
7. Be creative. Include music, poetry, games, songs, dance, brainstorming, and role playing.
8. Dress appropriately. Always be a step above the audience. If it’s “business casual,” be a little dressier than casual. You are your best visual aid!
9. Have strong closing remarks that include a summary that reviews the main points. (People have short attention spans.) Or, make a statement or tell an anecdote. Call for action.
10. Start and stop on time. Be flexible and able to cut the talks short if asked. Be in control. Leave time for Q&A.
11. Use an evaluation form. This will provide you with feedback and confirm your value to the participant. Ask what they liked most and what they liked least about your presentation. Ask for referrals. You might ask the attendees who else they know who would benefit from your program.
12. Send a personalized thank-you note. Ask the program chair for a testimonial in writing.
13. Create “BOR” (back of the room) products. Sell your books, e-books, and booklet(s). Create audiotapes, videotapes, and CD-ROMs. Having products will catapult your speaking career and make you more valuable to your clients. This “passive” income is frosting on the cake.

The Bigger the Carat the Better the Wedding?

The Bigger the Carat the Better the Wedding?

Ahh . . . sweet romance.
The flowers. The chocolate. The late night whispers of “I love you.”
For most people in love, the culmination of months of togetherness and special friendship comes down to one single moment: The marriage proposal – - featuring a simple, but elegant, diamond engagement ring.
Of course, if you’re a celebrity, a simple ring may not have enough wattage to suit your tastes. Thus, we see many celebrities sporting five-carat to seven-carat diamond studded engagement and wedding rings.
Well, if you can afford it, why not flaunt it, right?
Take for instance the recent marriages of Britney Spears and Star Jones. When Britney Spears got engaged to her former back up dancer, Kevin Federline, she promptly bought herself an awesome-looking five-carat diamond engagement ring. (Does anyone really believe that Kevin bought this for her on his dancer’s salary?)
Britney bought herself the ring she felt she deserved – nothing wrong with that. Then, she and Kevin quickly made the leap to matrimony in a matter of months with a surprisingly nice (no lip kissing of Madonna) wedding ceremony.
As for Star Jones, it’s not known whether her stunning seven-carat princess cut diamond ring was bought or donated, but she too happily skipped off to a wedding ceremony with all the trimmings.
So, does all this extra diamond wattage mean that celebrities have a better wedding ceremony than everyone else?
Absolutely, not.
There’s absolutely no proof that their multi-carat diamond rings and fancy wedding accommodations gave them any more satisfaction at the alter than Joe and Jane Doe’s down right sparse nuptials in a run-down back yard.
Buying the biggest and fanciest diamond engagement ring on the planet doesn’t guarantee anything but a nice piece of ice jewelry to show off to your family and friends. Other than that, celebrities have the same odds for a successful, happy union as the rest of us.
And that’s the way it should be.

A Comparison Of Disc Music Boxes And Cylinder Music Boxes

A Comparison Of Disc Music Boxes And Cylinder Music Boxes

Cylinder music boxes were once a means of providing live music without performers. The music produced was like an ensemble of harpists or bell choir. It was not without its limitations, however. Back in those days, a music box came with some specific sounds, and those were the sounds you had to listen. So, in order to provide some new tunes and improve the music quality of these music boxes, a shifting cylinder was invented.

There were two sets of pins on the cylinders. As one of the sets of pins on the cylinder rang the resonating "teeth" of the "comb" the other sets of pins passed quietly between the teeth. When the song was over, the cylinder would turn over, making the next set of pins to line up with the “teeth”. What was the result of these actions? Well, on some music boxes, you could even get 12 different sounds. After a few years, a new type of cylinder was invented: the interchangeable cylinder. These interchangeable cylinder music boxes had the great advantage of being replaced, with a new cylinder with new tunes. These cylinders were normally made of strong materials, like metal and powered by a spring. In some of the last models, the cylinders could be removed to change melodies, thanks to an invention in 1862, and in some exceptional models, there were four springs, to provide continuous play for up to three hours.

But, because people weren’t satisfied by the performances of these cylinder music boxes, as new devices appeared, the limitations of the cylinder led to the development of Symphonion disc music box. These types of music boxes firstly appeared around 1880 in Leipzig, Germany. They had the great advantage of producing more sound and being more affordable. How did they work? Well, a different technique was developed to punch projections into a durable steel disk and these were used, to pluck the comb. The disc music boxes were then capable of playing 24 or 27 inch discs. To understand better, you should know that a 24 inch disc could play a 2 minute song. So, the music boxes were specially designed to play separate song discs, and this way with just one music box you could listen for several plays.

Because of improving science and technology, most today don’t turn to music boxes for their regular music fix. People purchase music boxes today not to replace their mp3 players and Ipods. It is a way of enjoying music of yesterday and relish in the beauty and art of the days gone past. Yet, for those who are fans, old clocks and watches with small musical pieces are highly recommended. Old wood disc or cylinder music boxes are becoming a rarity these days, and can be considered valuable antiques. Just visit a museum and see some models. From time to time, you can even see them sold online. The music and the craftsmanship of these amazing music boxes will leave you with the yearning to buy one afterwards.

How to Legally Download Movies on the Internet

How to Legally Download Movies on the Internet

With more and more people using broadband we are seeing and increase in options for content from the internet. One of these is movies. Due to the large file size of video content, it was not practical for this type of content for dial up users. This is all changing as broadband becomes the standard method to use the internet.

Early adopters of this new approach have gone so far as to cancel their cable TV subscriptions but not all content can be downloaded on the internet at this point. Still, this trend will likely continue as more content becomes available. Let’s look at some of the top five latest sources for online movies.

CinemaNow.com offers downloadable movies that can be played for up to 24 hours after you start watching them. There are no membership fees and you pay $2.99 to $3.99 per rental. The current selection includes over 7500 films as well as a selection of free movie downloads.

Movielink.com has movie downloads starting at $1.99. They have a decent and growing selection of new releases and classics. Unlimited viewings per download for 24 hours. Nice selection of free downloads also. They offer student discounts and weekly half off specials.

Stars.real.com offers a monthly subscription plan that allows unlimited monthly downloads for $12.95. Like the cable version of Starz channel, you won’t find the latest releases, but there are over 300 movies each month to choose from. They offer a 14 day free trial, so it’s worth checking out.

Vongo.com contains over 1000 titles with new titles weekly. This service is also related to the Starz cable channel. Unlimited downloads and unlimited view times for standard titles. The monthly subscription is $9.99. They also have a pay per view fee for latest releases.

There are a number of other sites that offer legal movie downloads of non-mainstream theater movies, and of course TV programs. For more sources see www.new-free-movie-downloads.info .

Exercises and Other Tips for Group Presentations

Exercises and Other Tips for Group Presentations

The success of any group presentation relies not on individual performance but teamwork. Although each member of the group must work hard for his part, he must also be willing and capable of working together with his teammates to allow the group presentation to proceed smoothly.

Suggested Communication Exercises and Other Tips for Group Presentations

Delegate and assign.
In most cases, a group presentation requires every member to take part in the presentation itself. A leader should be unanimously chosen and he must consequently delegate the appropriate roles and duties for each member.

Create a timetable.
A deadline must set for every small goal for individual members and the entire team. The presentation must be complete at least one week before the group’s set to present. This will give them enough time to rehearse their presentation, focus on resolving technical flaws and perfect its execution.

Build harmony and rapport among members.
There are a lot of icebreaker games and communication exercises that will help members to get to know, be comfortable, and understand each other. Fostering and strengthening bonds among members is important because it will allow them to work together more effectively, making them able to identify and understand nonverbal cues coming from other members.

Eliminate stage fright.
Group members should be made comfortable early on with presenting in front of a crowd. You should start with a crowd filled with people your group members are all acquainted with and comfortable with. Gradually work your way to a crowd that’s set to challenge your group’s equilibrium on stage. In this case, make sure to coach them on what and what not to do.

Make them crack a joke.
It’s easier to anger a crowd and make them cry than elicit laughter from them. Humor however is one of the critical success factors for almost all presentations. Unless you’re very sure that humor would be frowned upon, it wouldn’t hurt to develop the team’s ability to incorporate humor with their presentation either deliberately or incidentally. Ask your members to crack a joke individually then as a group. Go over the script for your presentation and hold a brainstorm meeting to identify which parts would best benefit from a little humor.

Get rid of the script.
There will be times that things would veer away from the script. Your group should be ready for this. You can help by making them memorize first what they have to say then asking them later on to paraphrase everything with their own words. What’s important is ensuring that they understand what they’re talking about.

Get them ready to interact with the crowd.
Interaction with the crowd is required even if it’s not planned and there’s no formal Q&A portion scheduled for the group. That’s why it’s important to prepare them for this early on. Start by questioning them about the presentation one by one then as a group. Make sure you ask them a healthy mix of objective and subjective questions.

Practice the sequence of events.
Teach your members how to engage in small talk with the crowd to introduce or conclude their respective presentations. Teach them how to properly introduce the next speaker as well to ensure a smooth transition from one part of the presentation to another. Sequencing might have nothing to do with the actual content of the presentation but it’s often what distinguishes good presentations from the best!

The Little Church of the West: A Historical Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

The Little Church of the West: A Historical Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

The Little Church of the West is probably one of the most historical wedding chapels in Las Vegas. Around since 1942 this chapel, which is located on the South end of Las Vegas Strip, has married thousands of couples over the years including many celebrities. It is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places and is the oldest existing structure on the Las Vegas Strip.

The charming chapel seats up to fifty and is made of California redwood on the exterior and cedar on it’s interior. It offers four wedding packages which range from about $200 to around $500. The beginning package, which goes for $200, includes a chapel wedding, photos, music, and flowers for the bride and groom. The most expensive package, the luxury package, comes with a larger photography package, a video of the ceremony, and flowers for not only the bride and groom, but for the maid of honor and best man as well. This package also comes with an organist instead of recorded music.

Other services offered by the chapel include Spanish and German speaking ministers, vow renewals, and transportation including a limousine that seats six. The chapel also offers web cam broadcasting of your wedding ceremony.

As I mentioned earlier, many notable celebrities have chosen this wedding chapel to say their vows at. Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford were married there in the early 1990s and Mickey Rooney said I do there eight times to eight different women. Other celebrities who have said nuptials there include Red Foxx, Judy Garland, David Cassidy, Robert Goulet, and Dudley Moore.

The Little Church of the West is a beautiful chapel and it’s rich history makes it even more appealing to couples wanting to get married in Las Vegas. In a city that is quick to implode anything and everything, the Little Church of the West has survived and is sure to be around to marry many more couples in the years to come.