Friday, April 30, 2010

Way to Grow Pediatrics (health and fitness)


MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Way to Grow Pediatrics, Trina Blythe


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Dr. Trina Blythe discusses everything from circulating viruses to a good recipe to try for the picky eater to birth control advice for your teenager.

MY REVIEW: Well, I'm not sure if I should recommend this blog or not. The post on April 29 was the first post since Feb 24. But, the author of the blog, Trina Blythe, was busy moving her practice, so that may account for the lack of posts.

I'd say, go ahead and subscribe, if you've got little kids and want to make sure you're doing your best for them.

Sample post:
Cough, Cough, Cough

It seems like coughs are more abundant than snow flakes these days. Everyone is coughing. It's all the rage. Coughs can be caused by a myriad of illnesses from allergies and asthma to Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and Pneumonia. How can anyone tell which coughs are minor and which are more serious? Here are a few tips for when to call the doctor...

(1) Coughs associated with fever
(2) Coughs that have been lingering around for more than 2 weeks.
(3) Coughs that are "tight and dry." This describes an asthma type cough where the child is having trouble moving air in and out of the lungs.
(4) Cough that is occurring every 3-4 minutes
(5) Cough that induces vomiting
(6) Cough that interferes with talking or activity
(7) Cough that cause abdominal or chest pain

Minor coughs tend to be associated with colds and usually self limited. These coughs generally resolve within 1-2 weeks. It should not interfere with sleep or daily activities.

Many of the cough preparations have been removed from the market for children under age 4.

For these children plenty of fluids, humidity and nasal suction are the most recommended remedies. For infants Pedialyte may be necessary to supplement fluid intake. For children over one year old honey can be a helpful soother for a cough caused by a dry tickle in the throat.

For older children we usually recommend over the counter preparations such as Delsym or Mucinex.

Coughs tend to be tricky business so if in doubt, get it checked out!

--The importance of vaccines
--The joy of music
--The stomach flu spotlight: norovirus
--Cough, cough, cough
--Tis the season to be wheezing

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Accidental Thong (health, Asperger's)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Accidental Thong, by Bek C.


BLOG DESCRIPTION: The adventures of an artist and mama juggling parenting and the creative life as a blindfolded volunteer from the audience throws flaming knives at her. The part of the flaming knives are played by: autism/ASD, Asperger's syndrome, ADD/ADHD (adult and pediatric),type 1 diabetes, arthritis, the economy, small business operations, apartment living, and a rather large family. Like knives and fire, the flaming knives can be useful tools, depending on the situation.

Watch me gracefully work the flaming knives into my juggling act through a series of anecdotes, photographs, and How To's so you can focus on the rest of your personal circus.

MY REVIEW: This is a must-read blog for any parent who has a child with ADHD, Asperger's or Autism, or indeed, anyone who has any of those conditions. It's well written and interesting.

It hasn't been updated in 12 days, however, which has me a bit worried...the author certainly has a lot on her plate and it may be easier for her to stop posting, but I hope she will continue it.

If you're interested, check it out. You get a two week free trial period, so there's no reason not to subscribe to see if she's back to posting. Alternatively, I'll keep checking back, and let you know if it's got any new posts.

(She's been writing it since April 2007, so if nothing else there are plenty of archives for you to take a look at, and draw something from.)

--Homework, Demons, and Metaphorical Mountain Climbing
--No Returns Without Receipt.
--The plan is…
--You may have noticed…
--I’m compiling a list….

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

The CitySpur Local Travel Blog

(Screencap from blog, with text that doesn't match Kindle blog feed....)


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The CitySpur Local Travel Blog , by

WEB ADDRESS: [Although this is the right URL, the blog at his URL is presenting only local news. Yet the material I recieve on the Kindle doesn't match this blog at all. Lots of international news. So color me confused.]

BLOG DESCRIPTION: The CitySpur blog offers daily travel content that discusses travel destinations and activities from around the US. From luxury hotels to concerts, you will get your fill of local travel each day.

MY REVIEW: The problem with this blog, regardless of what content is sent to you, is that it attempts to cover the whole US...instead of a single area. As such, the topic is just too broad! I can see subscribing to a blog for an entire states, or for a hobby - like Civil War travel, mountain travel, etc., but a blog that may cover every state in the US (although this blog also covers "news of the strange" from other countries...) I don't see the point.

From the Kindle feed, anyway!
--Kindergarten knife attack injures 29 children in China
--Man hits deer on motorcycle going 70 MPH, Suffers only minor injuries [who knew a deer could ride a motorcycle?]
--Obama gives presendential style leadership to senate immigration ...
---LAPD sees 10,000 marchers in May Day rally
--Thai Tourism resilient despite Bangkok protests reports Skyscanner

Frankly, I think they used the wrong blogfeed for this particular blog...because it certainly doesn't match what's on their website, which is, indeed, local US news, of interest to travellers!

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

DC Like A Local (local travel)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: DC Like a Local is designed to give you highly subjective, totally biased, and possibly useful tips and techniques for getting the most out of a visit here.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog for anyone who is planning to visit the DC area. The only problem is that the entries aren't as frequent as they might be. For example, the last entry to date was on Wednesday, April 21. (Prior to that, he'd posted for four straight days. Prior to that, a ten day gap.)

Nevertheless, for 99 cents a month, give it a try.

Sample post:
Kicking Off Your Visit - Where to Start
Monday, April 19, 2010 at 3:08PM

Whenever I visit a city, I always like to know where to start. A good place to get information, ideally talk to knowledgeable locals, centrally located, and part of the fabric of the city I'm visiting. Without someone to show you the ropes, it's hard to know where to start. Recently, I fielded a question from a reader on that topic that might serve to help others. Afshan would like to know that if "there is a place from where he can get the map of all the attractions. Is there a place like "Welcome Center" that offers maps and guides?"

As in so many things in DC, this is a somewhat complicated question. The DC Chamber of Commerce used to operate at Visitor Information Center at the Reagan Building, but it's now closed. To be frank, I didn't think this was the greatest location and don't miss it to much, but it still confuses visitors as signs for it still exist and its website remains up. Additionally, the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) operates a Washington Welcome Center on the corner of 10th and E NW across from Ford's Theater, which isn't bad, but I just don't find it terribly useful either. It's a great place to go if you're looking for a FBI t-shirt or a kitchy souvenir, but the place is normally overrun with 8th graders and the staff is too harried to answer questions.

So where do I think you should start your visit? Here are a few options:

1. Old Post Office: I've mentioned this before and it's where I try to start tours with out of town guests. The Old Post Office's tower is one of the best views of Washington, DC at a fraction of the hassle of the Washington Monument. While there's no place inside I'd recommend, I'd say start off at the Barnes and Nobles a few blocks north on 12th and E NW, swing by the local section on the first floor, and pick up a guidebook and map. Armed with this new info, head over to the OPO on 12th and Penn, take them up the tower, and spend as long as you like scouting out the city from the high ground. Often, there will be a National Park Service ranger up there to answer questions, and if it's not busy, he's probably grateful for the company.

2. White House Visitors Center: While this is a must see if you are that tiny proportion of DC visitors who actually expect to get in the White House, the Visitor's Center is worth going into even if you didn't get lucky with WH tickets. The reason: one of the best help desks in all of Washington. Off the 8th grade circuit (more or less), the staff at the Visitor's Center is full of information and often without people to share it. They can give you the Park Service's Washington, DC map, which is every bit as good as the the commercial available ones, and the Visitor's Center can give you the single most document in Washington, DC: a comprehensive list of the openings and closings of the majority of DC attractions (pdf). Print it up now, bookmark it, or just swing by the Visitor's Center to get a fresh copy.

3. Union Station: Built to serve as a ceremonial gateway to the nation's capital, with a stunning vista of the Capitol Building, you end up looking at the ass end of Christopher Columbus as you exit Union Station. Which is a bit apropos. Union Station should be a one stop shop for people coming to see Washington, DC. It's accessible to intercity travelers via Amtrak and Bolt Bus, to regional visitors via Virginia and Maryland commuter lines (VRE and MARC), to local transit users via Metro Rail and Bus and the Circulator, to drivers with an on-site parking garage, to pedestrians, and even to bicyclists with a shiny new bike station. And it features access to various tour buses to take an intro tour of the city (more on that to come). But if you're looking to talk to people to pick up advice, be prepared: everyone at Union Station is either too busy catching their train, trying to sell you something, or simply tourists more befuddled than you (they didn't even know enough to check out this blog). So if your entry to DC is Union Station, great! Stroll through the building, swing by the Barnes and Nobles to get a guidebook, and go check out the rest of DC. Union Station is adequate as a visitors center, and has huge potential. But it's not there yet.

So, to recap, these are the top three best places to start your DC visit, in my humble opinion, and in roughly that order. If you've got places you like to send visitors as they arrive, throw them in the comments.

(Note - all you get are the posts. The comments don't feed over.)

--DC Like a Local Around Town
--Get Thee to a Nunnery!
--Kicking Off Your Visit - Where to Start
--Historic Congressional Cemetery - All the History, A Fraction of the Crowds
--White House Spring Garden and Grounds Tour

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Healthy Travel Blog (travel, health and fitness)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Healthy Travel Blog, by HTH Worldwide


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Welcome to sponsored by HTH Worldwide.

We started this blog because staying healthy while traveling the world can be challenging.

It is our hope that this forum helps you understand the interplay between travel and health and lets you share your insights with your fellow travelers. We encourage you to check in often for updates on news, trends, issues and solutions—everything you should consider before you pack your bags for a vacation, business trip, study abroad program or expat assignment.

Tell your friends and family about this site because healthy travel is the only way to go.

MY REVIEW: If you're planning on traveling abroad, this blog is a must read. It has all the information you need. It's well written, and updated on a regular basis.

Sample post:
Virtual Kidnapping: Advice on How to Handle a Widespread Scam
April 14th, 2010 by Frank Gillingham, MD

It is the phone call every parent of a child abroad is horrified to receive: “Mom, Dad, please help me!” followed by a concealed voice making monetary demands for the safe return of the kidnapped child. In years past, this usually meant that the child had indeed been abducted and was being held for ransom. In recent years, however, many of these calls are placed by “virtual kidnappers” who may be nowhere near the alleged victim.

One of the consequences of the “information age” and social media such as Facebook and My Space is the widespread availability of names, addresses and phone numbers. The resourceful virtual kidnapper is someone who collects data on prospective victims who have shared details online about upcoming adventures such as a trip down the Amazon, a hike to Machu Picchu, or an African Safari — all places where cell phone reception is spotty or nonexistent, creating the conditions for scams to go undetected.

The calls to the families of the “virtual victims” convey a sense of urgency — that the victim will be executed within the hour unless funds are transferred to a foreign bank account, for instance. Since the family has no way to determine the veracity of the kidnapping, payment is made. Sophisticated virtual kidnappers go to great lengths to “fake out” the families of their victims by pretending to be the victims themselves — speaking in short, frantic sentences that are muffled by “poor cell phone reception.”

Because cell phone coverage has grown ever wider– even the remote jungles of sub-Saharan Africa are often reachable today — many virtual kidnappers do not limit their victims to those whose cell phone reception is marginal. Instead, perpetrators contact prospective victims and tell them that their phones should be turned off for an hour or two for servicing. The virtual kidnappers take advantage of the window to make their calls back home.

The problem has become so severe in Mexico that the country’s government has set up a hot line for victims of virtual extortion. The U.S. State Department, in its section on travel precautions for Central and South American countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Peru suggests that families of victims should: 1) not reveal any personal information over the phone, 2) insist on speaking with the victim to corroborate his/her identity and 3) contact the nearest US Embassy or consulate. Although the temptation to respond immediately to demands is very high, most “virtual kidnappers” will abandon their efforts within an hour or two if payment is not received.

Here are a few imperatives to avoid becoming a victim of “virtual kidnapping”:

Register with the State Department prior to travel

Verify cell phone reception at all proposed locations on the itinerary
Do NOT turn off a cell phone at any time- claims that a phone must be disconnected for servicing are universally false
Do NOT share any information about an upcoming trip on line
Maintain regular contact with family and loved ones back home
Establish a code word to be used to verify any kidnapping claims
Never travel alone, particularly in Latin America, Africa and the mid East where both real and virtual kidnappings are epidemic

--No Approval Yet for the Jet Lag Drug
--The Gender Gap Around the World: Implications for Health and Happiness?
--Volcanic Ash Health Effects Expected to be Minimal
--Volcanic Ash Spillover: Travelers Encounter Medical Issues
--Virtual Kidnapping: Advice on How to Handle a Widespread Scam

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Retro-Review: Reflections on a Middle-Aged Fat Woman

Retro reviews are reviews from the earliest days of this blog.

Reviewed by Ms. Cairo

Reflections On A Middle-Aged Fat Woman .


Blog Description: Reflections on a Middle Aged Fat Woman are the thoughts, happenings and remembrances of a 40ish year old pleasantly plump woman that is slightly off center, sings slightly off key, and, just slightly off her rocker. The Middle-Aged (MA) Fat Woman has spent years fabricating who she thinks she is, who she desires to be, and denying who she actually is. MA Fat Woman is not glamorous, (although, she desires to be) and she is not an announcer for her local radio station (yet, that’s what she tells people). What is she? She is an underemployed, slightly psychotic, hopefully optimistic individual that appreciates that the world still rotates clockwise every day. (Or, does it?)

Reflections on a Middle Aged Fat Woman say what others are too polite to say or even want to think about. It is part Erma Bombeck (without the kids) part Jen Lancaster (without the bad words) and part Lewis Grizzard (without the heart problems) that brings remembrances, story-telling and today’s technologies and conveniences full circle.

My review: Well, I’m afraid I can’t give this a good review. This blog is amorphous. There’s no real point to it. She’s a middle-aged fat woman, so you’d think some of her posts would be humorous ones on trying to lose weight and not succeeding. Or the other side of the coin, someone who is comfortable with her weight, and the humorous battles she goes through to get other people to mind their own business regarding her appearance. But she doesn’t do any of that.

We don’t know where she lives, we don't know what her profession is, we don't knkow what her particular hobbies are, so there’s nothing unique about the blog, such as is as My Life A Bit South of Normal which takes place in the Deep South of South Carolina, and gives the blog its theme.

Last five entries:
Skunky Valentines (all she can find are valentines with skinks on them)
How You Doin…Week VI (summarizing her week)
Somebody Stole My Winter
Billion is the New Million
How You Doin…Week V
Do You Bake? (How she made off with cheap pie plates)

I've written lots of blog reviews today...

which my readers will perhaps never see.

I've subscribed to at least five "dead" blogs today. It used to be that I'd review them here, and inform you that they're inactive, as well as review them at their Amazon webpage as well.

From now on, I'm just going to review them at their Amazon webpage. I'll keep an eye on them, an dif they are ever resurrected I'll review them here at that time.

One blog I'm hoping will be ressurrected (it's not dead, but the author changed URLs and never updated it at her Kindle page) is one on collecting Alice in Wonderland items. I'm a collector...although as far as Disney movies are concerned, it's Captain Hook from Peter pan that I collect... but that's another story).

In any event, I emailed the author and asked her if she would update the kindle feed so that her blog would be worth subscribing to. If she hasn't done it in two weeks, when my free subscription to her blog runs out, I'll have to give her an "Inactive" review at her Amazon page....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lip Gloss and Laptops (health and beauty)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Lip Gloss and Laptops began in March of 2006, and is a podcast and blog about beauty products, and beauty culture, and the cosmetic industry, with hosts Kerry Anne and Airdrie from Vancouver, Canada.

MY REVIEW: This is a blog based out of Canada, and not being in to beauty products, I don't know if what they review is also available in the States. I assume it is. (As it is with dieting, beauty products annoy me. Cosmetics is a gazillion dollar business, successful because they do their best to convince girls and women that they simply must cover up their flawed faces with a mask of beauty.)

But, that's my prejudice, and I know I'm a teeny tiny minority of straight women who feel that way.

As for this blog - well written and informative on the subject. If you're in to this type of stuff - and what girl or woman isn't? (many, I hope!) you will find the information presented in this blog of value and interest.

One thing to note - they average only one post a week.

--Vancouver based company AG Hair Cosmetics makes big waves for girls in Africa
--Sally Hansen Chrome Nail Colour Pens!
--CK One Summer: reviewed by Raul Pacheco for Lip Gloss and Laptops
--L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara
Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Books on the Knob (book reviews)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Books on the Knob, by Karen in TN


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Bargain and free ebooks that can be read on your Amazon Kindle, natively or with conversion, or on your PC/netbook, reviews of books I've read, bargain games for your PC or netbook, Kindle accessories and the occasional of computer or technology tidbit that catches my fancy.

MY REVIEW: The ways of Kindle blog pricing never ceases to amaze me. This blog is still priced at $1.99 per month, and has been in existence since May 2009. Which means plenty of people feel this blog is worth that price. (And after all, it's only, what, the cost of a couple oups of coffee for a single day? Big deal!)

This is an excellent blog for those folks who purchase the Kindle expecting to be able to purchase reasonably priced books. (If a book doens't have to be printed, and kept in a warehouse, it shouldn't cost the same as a book that does!) Many people are annoyed to find that they pay the same amount for an electronic book as for a paper book. This blog shows you where to find more reasonably priced copies of books.

Good books.

Check it out.

--Using Collections on Kindle
--Six Free Books from Sony
--Almost Free Book (Kindle) - Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help
--Collections coming (SOON!) to the Kindle
--Free Book Update - Star Wars: Savior

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Tracy J. Thomas Photography Blog





BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog provides a glimpse into the creative process that exists behind my photography and describes the feelings that affect my subject choices.

MY REVIEW: Usually when I review a photography blog, I say, "Great blog, but unsuitable for the Kindle." That's because the photos are in color, and the Kindle of course gives them in greyscale.

But for Tracy J. Thomas' Photography blog, I take it back. The photos reproduce excellently in black and white. They weren't originally shot that way - they are in color at her website and look pretty good there, as well, but for whatever reason, they also make great b&w portraits... more so than those from other photog blogs I've looked at. (Perhaps it's the resolution at which she produces them?)

In addition, the author also talks a bit about the photo, andabout her creative process, which makes the blog doubly interesting.

The only flaw, both on the Kindle and at her actual website, is that she shrinks the photos too much. Oh, the impact is still there, but it'd be nice if they were larger. But I suppose since she is a professional photog (which means she sells these photos as prints), she doesn't want to reproduce them lifesize.

I recommend this blog highly.

Sample post
Photo: UFO Watchtower, Hooper, Colorado.

There certainly are a lot of mysteries in this world. Things beyond human comprehension that do not seem to fall into the realm of logic. Some of us toy with the possibility of a spiritual realm, using strange tools like EVP’s, IR illuminators and thermal imaging to try to capture evidence of the ethereal. For centuries now, humans have been praying blindly by faith without any concrete evidence whatsoever, that something greater than themselves actually hears their pleadings. If Christians can believe in a Holy Spirit and the resurrection, then why not believe in the existence of ghosts? Alternately, there are those on this earth who doubt the possibility of anything beyond the concrete and the physical. They choose to place all their faith in that institution called “science” to prove or disprove reality. So if one’s faith is in science, then what of Quantum Physics with its invisible units of energy? Our own planet is but a tiny grain of sand surrounded by a universe that stretches into infinity. How is it that we as human beings became so egocentric that we believe we are the only planet with any form of intelligent life?

Whether you believe in the possibility of little green men with advanced technology traveling from afar to visit our world or you guffaw at the notion that there is any entity out there with an intelligence far greater than yours, all must pay a visit to the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, Colorado at least once in their lifetime. Peruse the alien abduction books in the bookstore. Pick up a glow-in-the-dark Alien Frisbee for the kiddies, then stroll through the Healing Garden and leave your own quirky offering at the alien shrine. Before you leave you must stand for a while on the metal platform to soak up the breathtaking view of the Sangre de Cristo’s in the distance. Take a few moments to look towards the Heavens, and maybe if you are lucky, you might spy something otherworldly in the sky.

--UFO Watchtower…Really
--For the Love of Birds
--In Search of Open Spaces
--Rusty Pier

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

30 Day Fitness Experiment (health and fitness)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: 30 Day Fitness Experiment


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Creating a new, healthy habit can take around 30 days.
Step 1: Decide on 1 or 2 small changes.
Step 2: Implement those changes for 30 days.
Step 3: Repeat

MY REVIEW: Losing weight is simultaneously very easy and very difficult. It's very easy because there is absolutely no mystery about it. Burn more calories than you consume, and you lose weight. It's very difficult because way too many people eat more calories than they consume...because they find it difficult to control their appetite.

Learn how to control your appetite... problem solved. (And I'm not talking about anorexics - they dont' control their appetites, they starve themselves to death!)

I have long been interested in helping people lose weight - and what is even more difficult.... keep that weight off once they lose it, and as a result I am infuriated more often than not when I read today's headlines about the "obesity epidemic" and how kids are fatter than ever, ya da ya da. Dangerous propaganda! may be obese.... you know which ones (if any)? The boys! Girls aren't obese, 4 out of 5 of em go on diets by the time they are 10 and never get off. It's the eatiing disorder epidemic they have to worry about, and that's going to skyrocket now that the government is mandating what schools have to do to make sure their little charges don't eat fattening foods, and get their 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Then there's the mass media. The makeup commercials which tell girls they have to hide those "flaws" in their skin, the weight loss commercials that promise great things (and in teeny tiny print at the bottom say, Results not typical), the movies that have pot-bellied, coarse young men scoring at will with beautiful, slender young things (but never plain girls with handsome guys. Never that.)

So, now we come to 30-Day Fitness Experiment. (Sorry for the rant. I just do rant a lot when the subject of weight loss comes up...) This author, Sarita Johnson, appears to be on the right track. Eat healthy foods, don't starve yourself, and exercise.

Sample post:
Six Ways to Measure Your Progress Without a Bathroom Scale

I gained .5 pounds this week. Yep, I’m half a pound heavier. Documenting this (and not feeling sad about it) got me thinking about metrics: what is the best way to measure progress?

That depends partly on what your goals are. If you’re in a body building program, you probably expect to gain weight.

In this project, I’ve stated my starting weight and measurements. I’ve also stated my basic, loose goal: Lose 100 pounds. Here’s how I got that number: I did not enter my height, sex, and age into an “ideal body weight” chart. I did not wake up one day and shriek: “Oh no, I’m fat! I’d better lose 100 pounds!” I did not research a celebrity, find out her weight, and make that my goal.

What I did was this: I thought back to the time in my life when I was most fit. I tried to remember what my lifestyle was. I’ve never gone on a diet or been involved in a sport, so what I came up with was this: I was physically active, I avoided fast food and junk food, and I ate lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The physical activity I participated in so regularly was using my two legs to get me places. That’s it. At that time, I weighed about 100 pounds less than I did at the beginning of this project.

That’s why I’m using 100 pounds as a basic gauge. If, however, I find myself physically fit and active but over 120 pounds, I am not going to take extreme measures to get myself to weigh less. See, the pounds in themselves are not the measure of my progress.

Six Ways to Measure Fitness and Weight Loss Without a Bathroom Scale:
Waist to Hip Ratio: This is a measurement of the distribution of your body fat. People with a lot of abdominal fat are at higher risk for heart disease and other maladies. How to do it: Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. For women, the number should be 0.8 or lower. For men, 1.0 or lower.

Vital Signs: Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels speak volumes about your health, including your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Resting Heart Rate: The fitter you are, the more efficient your heart becomes. To calculate your resting heart rate (RHR), count your pulse for one minute, before getting out of bed in the morning. Take an average over three days. The normal range is between 60-80 beats per minute, but the average rate steadily declines among people who are more physically active.

Endurance: The more you exercise, the easier it becomes. Find a way to log your mileage if you walk or bike. Compare what you can do at the beginning of the month with what you can do at the end of the month.

Body Composition: Your body composition can be measured by a doctor, or at a gym or university. There are several methods of testing. What it tells you: A body composition test tells you what percentage of your body is composed of fat. 32% is considered obese for women; 26% is considered obese for men.

Clothing Size: The good ol’ dress size test. If you can fit into clothes you couldn’t before, you’ve improved your body. You don’t need a bathroom scale to tell you that.

--Six Ways to Measure Your Progress Without a Bathroom Scale
--Beginner’s Guide to a Car-Less Commute
--Making Physical Activity a Family Affair
--Three “Eating Away From Home” Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
--Simple Living Sunday 25 April 2010
Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Diary of a Heretic: Pure Fiction (arts & entertainment)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Diary of a Heretic: Pure Fiction, by Kathleen Meyer


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Serialized stories about people like you and me, concerned with sex, death, faith, and redemption.

MY REVIEW: This is a blog of serial fiction. The author is telling a love story featuring various characters, and each day a new event happens in their lives. I'm not into love stories .... give me cliff-hanging detective serials any day of the week!.... but people who like these kinds of stories will like this blog.

What danger of subscribing to serial stories is... will the author keep writing it, or leave me hanging? This blog is well-established, so no fear there.

Sample post:
Act Ecstatic
Always before, Matthew was as breezy and easy as the characters he played. His movies were popular because of his physical grace and three facial expressions: genial wit, befuddlement, and flirtatiousness. Conceivably, his first role stood apart. But then for Children’s Minds he had been a total novice; and, a brilliant director, who died years ago, had shown him week after week how to display mythic insight into children’s vulnerability.

Until this summer—until Brooke had changed everything—Matthew might have coasted along on his superficial charm for decades. An impossibility after this exceptional teenager had triggered such rapturous passion in him that he was helpless before her.

[ click here for the first episode, or here for previous one.]

And then, surprising them both, Fletcher had more or less rescued him. The old, alcoholic, Noel Coward-wannabe had taught Matthew to mask and use his terrible and unfamiliar dread, which hinted at incomprehensible depth. Great for the stage, and even to some extent real life, but totally contrary to the James Bond ethos.

Without a clue to the problem, Jeffery admitted that Matthew certainly looked the part. But his apathy was disturbing. Why, for example, wasn’t he infinitely grateful, even ecstatic about the People magazine cover? “Think about how many times I had to get down on my knees to get that, Mr. SMA. Your last hit was five years ago.”

Matthew nodded; he knew that.

“Honey, if you’ve got a problem,” Jeffery said, “let’s fix it.”

Matthew convinced him, or thought he did, to chalk up any enthusiasm deficit to jet-lag and low blood sugar—both gone now. Besides which, had Matthew been anywhere near the spotlight, he would be the consummate James Bond, regardless.

To prove it, he phoned Barbara to confirm their date tonight, purely business; yet Matthew must behave so smitten with her as to be subtly suppressing wild fantasies.

Jeffery had arranged the date through Barbara’s assistant immediately after Matthew had phoned about the silly Hamlet scene.

How fortunate that Barbara happened to be in LA! Matthew was now talking to her assistant (a man named Kyle like his flight attendant.) Together, they marveled at Matthew’s good fortune. Amazing really, that Barbara had decided to postpone several other engagements tonight. Kyle then took Matthew’s already on speed-dial phone number for formality’s sake.

Since it was now nearing cocktail hour, Jeffery ordered a martini and Matthew requested Earl Grey and cookies. As he poured his tea, Barbara telephoned.

Eight o’clock? Perfect. She gave him the address of a private club and hoped he enjoyed ballroom dancing.

“It’s new to me, Barbara, but no doubt with you covering for me, we’ll look great.”

Actually, whenever possible, Matthew took dance lessons of some kind. And ballroom dancing was the most recent. Once again, lucky Matthew.

Jeffrey said, “Feel free to discuss the Hamlet thing with her. It’s a done deal, partly because she so adored walking through Central Park with you.”

“Great—it might save me a meeting. And please, pretty please, Jeffery, can you try to arrange the chemistry-checks for tomorrow afternoon?”

“Those girls are at your beck and call. But you need to stick around, honey, two days minimum. And really, act ecstatic about everything that’s going on.”

When they were finished, Matthew insisted upon putting the bill on his Amex, another formality. Alone in his room, he decided he was already dressed for dinner with Barbara. The day Jeffery didn’t swoon over his appearance, Matthew should count his teeth, but the minute he had entered LAX, he noticed second glances everywhere. And after his paranoid nightmare leaving Kennedy airport, he didn’t doubt his intuition. People magazine would be very happy with him.

His angel Brooke would not. He’d be getting home two days later than he’d promised, and he needed to be with her now—that’s what this was all about. Clearly, despite what he’d told Jeffery, he was in much more trouble than he imagined. He missed Brooke terribly; and it was all he could do to wait until she was likely to answer before calling home. Even though he knew that once she learned he was delayed, she’d only slam down the phone, and refuse to pick up his call-backs.

--Love, ???
--Nowhere to Run
--Act Ecstatic
--Sexiest Man Alive

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Retro Review: Daily Kos, Cato@Liberty, Freakonomics, American Thinker, Wizbang

Reviews from the earliest days of this blog

Here are five blogs in the News, Politics and Opinion Blog category:

Daily Kos. Markos Moulitsas -- a.k.a. "kos" -- created Daily Kos on May 26, 2002, in those dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous. As a veteran, Moulitsas was offended that the freedoms he pledged his life for were so carelessly being tossed aside by the reckless and destructive Republican administration. Daily Kos has grown in those five years to the premier political community in the United States, with traffic of about 600,000 daily visits. It is a forum to lend your voice to a political world once the domain of the rich, connected, and powerful.

Moulitsas is not the only person writing here – there are actual several voices, all with a Democrat preference (how bout those Kennedys, by the way. Rich, connected and powerful - no criticism of them, eh?). Some go by their full names, such as Dante Atkins, others go by a screen name, such as Angry Mouse.

It makes for interesting reading. I’m a Republican, and I listen to Rush Limbaugh (though I find his male chauvinism annoying, as well as his childish deliberate mis-pronunciation of people’s names) and people who listen to Limbaugh – or read the message boards, only get one view of what’s going on in the world. Limbaugh continues to sing Sara Palin’s praises, for example, for all that I have to agree with the authors here that she is unsuitable to lead the country (but then, so is Obama. ; ) .

In any event, a must-read for anyone interested in the political process. It’s important to read both sides of any story – the Republican and the Democrat, to see where the lies meet and where the diverge, and just how people can have totally different interpretations of an event based on their own personal philosophy.

The last several entries (with uninformative titles, admittedly):

-Brownout (We can’t all be Markos Moulitsas)
-Your abbreviated pundit roundup
-Sunday talk – it takes a village
-Open thread and diary rescue
-Love of your life? No. Random stranger? Come right up. (Gays can marry – justif they are of the opposite sex)
-Back in the Bush days, they bragged about criminal convictions of terrorists

Cato@Liberty . This is the official blog of the Cato Institute. Founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, the Cato Institute is a non-profit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute is named for Cato's Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.

I like this blog a lot – the authors make a lot of sense. They don’t like Palin (nor do I) but they don’t think much of Obama either. Or at least...of his policies. Several authors contribute to this blog – highly recommended.

A few entries from Feb 12 entries:

-The Federal Government is bribing states to create more welfare dependency (actively recruiting people to go on food stamps)
-President Palin (why it won't happen)
-The Census and the Constitution
-ObamaCare=Litigation Bonanza
-The Government can monitor your location all day every day without implicating your fourth amendment rights

Freakonomics . Freakonomics has sold 3 million copies worldwide. This blog, begun in 2005, is meant to keep the conversation going. Recurring guest bloggers include Ian Ayres, Daniel Hamermesh, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Justin Wolfers.

An excellent blog, though I don’t know that it belongs in the news and politics category. It seems to me more to belong in the science/education category.

Here are the last five entries:
--An economist’s thoughts on happiness
--Will your spare tire save your life? (men survive car crashes more often then women, because of their weight)
--Quotes uncovered: hindsight and crowds
--IRS Combat (doing one’s own taxes allows one to go mano-a-mano with the US government
--Better Biz Goes Boating (a video – can’t be seen on Kindle)
--Cats and Dogs, Monkeys and Elephants (comparing dog and cat owners – Republicans usually have dogs, Democrats, cats!)
--Buying property with a shovel – if you clear a parking spot, do you own it?

American Thinker . American Thinker is a daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism, and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda.

American Thinker is a blog for Republicans, or those who spouse Republican issues. It makes for interesting reading, as the articles are well-written and informative, but each time I review one of these blogs, I encourage people to subscribe to another on the other side of the aisle as well, so as to be able to compare opinions. As long as these types of blogs don’t use foul language, or indulge in attack politics (all Republicans are racists! All Democrats are illegal aliens!) I’ll pretty much say Yes to them all.

As you can see, the focus of the last couple of weeks has been on Islam... very much recommended reading. As a woman, I can't understand how any woman could embrace a faith which mandates she wears a burkha at all times (and I condemn any American politician, such as Hilary Clinton, who actually wore one of those things while she visited the Middle East!)

Here are the last five entries:
-ClimateGate’s Phil Jones Confesses to Climate Fraud
-A Further Inquiry Into Obama’s Origins (many people, on the Republican side of the fence, anyway, are “birthers” – they don’t think Obama was born in the US. They may have a point – he refuses to supply a birth certificate, and so on) and this article speculates further. The point is, at this point whether Obama was born in the US or somewhere else is moot. As is the fact that all of his education transcripts are blocked – we don’t know if he got As or Cs in college. What matters is that he is President, and his policies are destroying America (or saving it, depending on your political leanings!)
-A Cautionary Valentine for Lovers
-Obama and the Horizontal Axis of Faith – Obama “takes a swipe at religious belief.” (Although I think most of Obama’s policies are disastrous, I’m with him on this. The world would be a lot more peaceful if everyone was an atheist).
-The Anachronism of Apostasy – How to become a Muslim, and what happens if you try to leave the faith
-Is it possible for a practicing Muslim soldier to swear allegiance to the US Constitution?
-Common Criminals or Enemy Combatants?

Wizbang. Wizbang is a blog focused on news, politics, sports, entertainment, and video. With a variety of authors and contributors, Wizbang features commentary on a wide range of topics and events.

Well, for a blog that focuses on news and politics, I don’t think much of the name “Wizbang.” It might be suitable for one talking about sports, entertainment and video, however – the enjoyable but inconsequential opiate of the masses (and I say this as someone who loves watching sports on TV).

As you can see from the list of entries, it's all about politics, and the authors are Republicans. Apart from its unfortunate title, this is an excellent blog, written by articulate people.

Here are the last 5 entries:
--Climate scientist Phil Jones: No global warming since 1995
--How do you define anti-semitism? [A British peer requested investigations into Israeli soldiers actions in Haiti. Frankly, I don’t think the request for an investigation is in itself anti-semitic, but apparently everyone else in the peerage did, and she’s been reprimanded. If she'd asked for an investigation into Muslim's behavior, Im sure the request would have been granted. But I don't think any Muslim countries are doing anything to help Haiti.]
--Winston Churchill on Islam: he doesn’t think much of the religion
--Republicans (finally) get tough on Obamacare opposition
--Cheney to appear on ABC Sunday morning: Liberal pundits Prep the Battlefield
--Fortunate Son: an article on Patrick Kennedy

Axiom's Edge (science fiction and fantasy reviews)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Axiom's Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Paul S. White


BLOG DESCRIPTION: A site by fans for fans covering Science Fiction and Fantasy Television, Movies, Books, Comics, Games, etc.

MY REVIEW: Science fiction fans will enjoy this blog. As the description says, it covers everything from books to comics, to TV to movies. Posts are well-written and informative. The blog is updated on a daily basis, as well.


Sample post:
Cancellation Watch: Final Predictions for the Season for Sci Fi Bubble ShowsApril 28, 2010
By John J. Joex
The current season is just about over, in fact several shows have already wrapped up their runs, so it’s time for the final set of predictions as we get ready for the final lap to the season end. Chances are, none of the networks will make any cancellation announcements in the next week or two as they will hold onto all of their cards going into the upfronts where they present their schedule for next season to their sponsors and the press. This will happen in mid-May (see dates below), so those of you waiting for word on your favorite show will likely have to wait until then to know its final fate. That’s not true with Legend of the Seeker, though, as Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly has reported that one has already received the axe. But that’s a syndicated show and is not subject to the same considerations as the broadcast networks. As for the rest of the shows still with uncertain fates, I will look at them by the network.

On NBC, Chuck and Heroes both took ratings slides this year, though the latter saw a much more dramatic drop than the former. As to whether either can expect to return for one more year, I believe it all depends on how NBC responds to the Leno-pocalypse. They took a pretty serious drubbing for their Jay Leno experiment and the network’s overall numbers continue to decline. Thus, I believe that they go into next season trying to get a fresh start which means cutting all the dead weight they can. That definitely includes Heroes and could also expand to Chuck. On the other hand, both of these shows have been around for a while (Heroes – 4 seasons, Chuck 3 seasons), so they could look at padding out the episodes to improve their appeal for the syndication market, though neither would hit the magic 100 episode number with one more season. Heroes does continue to perform strong in foreign markets, so it has that in its favor. And according to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC is strongly considering giving that show a thirteen episode order for a final season. Still, that network is sinking fast and the Leno debacle caused them to take on even more water, so I say they push the panic button and jettison anything that will keep them from staying afloat. I could be wrong, but that’s what my gut tells me.

On CBS, the days for Ghost Whisperer, once king . . . er . . . queen of Friday nights, may be numbered. That show has seen a significant drop off in its numbers this year and CBS is notorious for having little patience with shows performing poorly in the ratings as well as anything in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. True, it still usually wins its timeslot on a night where all the networks struggle, and Medium has finally given it a decent lead-out, but both shows have sunk below a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic for their season averages. Considering that Ghost Whisperer averaged a 3.6 rating last year and Medium a 2.9 (on NBC), this does not paint a good picture for their future. Also consider that CBS cancelled Eleventh Hour last year even though it ended the season in the Top 25 and averaged a 4.2 rating. Both Ghost Whisperer and Medium have already surpassed the 100 episode mark, so they are good for a syndication run, thus no reason to try and pad out episodes. The eye network may hold onto these two because they still do well for a Friday night, or they may just purge the schedule and start over and I see them leaning in that direction.

On ABC, I don’t think there is any question on the fate of the two bubble Science Fiction and Fantasy shows. FlashForward has tumbled so far in the ratings that two weeks ago Vampire Diaries, on perennial fifth place network CW, beat it in the ratings. And V has seen a steady downward trend in its numbers since it debuted last Fall. That one did stabilize last week and if it could trend up as it wraps up the season, it has a slight chance of survival. It would have to build back up to around a 3.0 rating, though, if it has any chance of seeing a second season and that looks doubtful. FlashForward, on the other hand, is done. Even if it did trend up for the rest of the season, it has already sunk too low to receive any serious consideration for a renewal. And don’t believe the claims that this one could survive because it has done well in foreign markets. That may work for a veteran show like Heroes, but ABC is not keeping around show performing well below a 2.0 in the ratings just because people overseas are watching it, especially not a freshman show. I say there is little question that both of these shows get the axe by season end.

At FOX, Human Target has a brighter future in my opinion. It has not been a ratings darling in its initial season, and it has trended downward throughout the season, but it has also typically won its timeslot on Wednesday nights. It’s also a very Prime Time friendly show in that it delivers fast-paced action, escapist entertainment, and mostly self-contained stories. I say FOX keeps this one around for another year and hopefully they decide to move it to a slot after American Idol to give it a strong lead-in to build up its audience.

The schedule for the upfronts for each of the broadcast networks is as follows: FOX and NBC – May 17th, ABC – May 18th, CBS – May 19th, The CW – May 20th. So unless a network decides to make an early announcement (more likely with renewals than cancellations), that’s when you will find out the fate of the remaining shows on the bubble. Stay tuned to this site in the mean time as we will bring you any breaking news as soon as we can. And enjoy as many of the shows mentioned above while you can because I am expecting the majority of them to be gone by season end. And check our Cancellation Watch page for the status of any of this season’s Science Fiction and Fantasy shows not mentioned here.

--Summer 2010 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie Preview
--Television Review: Merlin Season 2
--Cancellation Watch: Final Predictions for the Season for Sci Fi Bubble Shows
--Catching Up on Comics: The End of Blackest Night, Live by Dawn

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Retro Review: Hawaii Vacation Blog





BLOG DESCRIPTION: An adventure blog to guide you to all the hotspots on the islands of Hawaii. Hop onboard and follow the tracks of the Trailblazer Travel Book authors.

OUR REVIEW: Ah, how I’d love to be in Hawaii right now. It’s not in the cards however, so the Hawaii Vacation Blog is a nice substitute. It’s written by people who actually live in and have traveled throughout all the Hawaiian islands. (Just as a point of interest, the Big Island of Hawaii is not actually the one people think about when they think of Hawaii, that’d be Oahu, on which is located Honolulu. Just in case you don't know that!)

  • Staying on Oahu
  • Guide Me (uninformative title for an entry about the Big Island
  • The Once and Present Place to Be – Mauna Lani Resort
  • Lyon Arboretum – it’s grrreeat!
  • Some enchanted evening article on the Fairmont Orchid Hotel

Bipolar Makes it Twice as Fun (lifestyle and culture, health)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Bipolar Makes it Twice as Fun, by Glorious Dawn


BLOG DESCRIPTION: [No description at the blog. I take this from her announcement of the blog] I suffer from and live with Bipolar Disorder, but it's worse that just regular ol' BP, I have a form that is difficult to control and is continuously cycling (always going through episodes). My blog, which I try to update daily, is about my experiences and my thoughts/reactions to the mental health industry. It most certainly is an industry.

Through the blog I prove (well, I hope I prove) that it's possible to live a relatively normal life. I am the complete opposite of the stigma; highly functional, compliant, perfect hygiene, and happily married. I take care of the house just like any other woman would do. I have a job. I have all this normal stuff but sometimes my thinking gets a little crazy.

Another goal of my blog is to show that dealing with this illness doesn't always have to be bad, I've had a lot of fun being bipolar.

MY REVIEW: If you have bipolar, or know someone with bipolar, check this blog out. Well written and interesting, told from the point of view of someone with the condition - which is always better than being told by an outside observer! Author is in her twenties, and writes the way young people write (slang etc that I don't particularly care for) but - obvious literate and educated.

Check it out.

Sample post
Disease, condition, illness, whatever it is
I just found this in a journal, it was dated: November 27, 2006. This is 22 year old me.

I hate being me. I hate my disease, condition, illness, whatever it is. I hate that I'm insecure and am always second guessing myself; but, at the same time, I'm a perfectionist and have a constant need for approval from everyone else. I hate that I make my decisions for everyone else and not for myself. I'm scared to make my own decisions because they might be, and usually are, wrong.

I want to be a smart person. I want to be more than "the fun girl with a pretty face."

I want to achieve something, to set a goal that will give me a purpose to go on, and that will make me proud of myself. If I could make a decision about what to do, it would be easier. And my drugs hold me back, too. There are things I wanna do but can't because I've been admitted into the psych ward at the hospital. You won't see me on Big Brother, The Real World, or The Amazing Race. I don't know what to write about so I can't start my book. That is going to be a difficult decisions so I'm not gonna do it.

I hate everything about bipolar:
it holds me back from doing my best
it gets in the way of some of my dreams
it drives me into deep depressions
it flings me high in the air
it doesn't help me get down
it escalates my feelings of insecurity and my perfectionist drive.
I wish I could make a decision. A good one. For myself. That will please everyone.
I'm "the fun girl with the pretty face" because I have worked so diligently at constructing that image of myself. Having fun comes easy to me, even when I'm depressed, so when I'm around people that's who they see. Plus, I am an attention-whore and being pretty helps with that.

--Chicken or the Egg, Smoke or the Crazy
--Let's see that O-face
--Being Manic is Being Out of Control
--Disease, condition, illness, whatever it is
--It wards off the demons!
Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gardening for the Average Person



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Gardening for the Average Person


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Helpful tips, tricks and information for those that love to do all kinds of gardening.

MY REVIEW: If you grow vegetables - and in today's economy it makes sense to start as large a garden as you can! - then you will most definitely want to subscribe to this blog. And if not to the blog, you'll definitely want to bookmark the website and visit their often. The site offers podcasts (although it doesn't bother to tell you if the podcast is daily or weekly), there's a sweepstakes, and there's also a seeds of the month club.

Sample post:
Vegetable gardeners have been going green long before it was main stream to do so, and no I am talking about making the plants greener in color or your neighbors green with envy. I can remember way back in the 70s when I would help my dad with his soil as he would bury our leftovers in his garden. When I asked him why, he told me that worms eat the leftovers and turn it into nutrients that the vegetable plants love. No one in the neighborhood would argue with him as many of the neighbors literally lined up for a beefsteak tomato or two. They truly were the best. Today those �leftovers turned into nutrients� is what we call vermicompost or worm castings when it is broken down by worms.

Today our society is very self conscious about making sure we reuse and recycle everything. If it saves us money in the long run then let�s face it, you will get more people on board. Here are four things you can implement today that will help you get multiple uses from various items with a little help from being a vegetable gardener.

I already gave you the first one and that is to compost your food leftovers. Ok actually my dad gave that one to you but he�s not writing this article so for now I will take the credit, but thanks dad! Your coffee grinds to leftover lasagna are all open game for this little technique. The only thing you should avoid are burying steak bones, ham bones etc. They won�t break down at all. However you could grind them up and turn them into bone meal, but that�s a lot of work and it could be expensive which is what we are really trying to avoid. Just dig a hole eighteen or more inches deep, put the leftovers in, and cover the hole and your done.

You can easily get triple use from that plastic one gallon milk container. Obviously the first use is holding the milk. Once the milk is gone, rinse the container of leftover milk residue, fill with water and put in your freezer. It makes for a nice block of ice, especially in the summertime when you are having those outdoor barbecues and need to keep those drinks cold in the cooler. That is use number two. You can easily just keep using it for ice if you so choose, however you can also cut the bottom of the container off, and use it as a covering for your warmer plants like tomatoes or peppers. You put the milk container over them at night to protect them from cold temperatures.

If you have children like I do, and they like eating yogurt, like mine do, then save those yogurt cups because they make for great starter pots. I have accumulated a few dozen yogurt cups over the years and they make for starting my plants indoors, much easier. I fill with garden soil, taken directly from my garden, put in the seeds, place them underneath a flipped over glass aquarium (that I saved from the garbage) and create an indoor greenhouse for my plants. Works like a charm! Oh, yeah, don�t forget to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

Finally, and this makes a great project for kids, is to use empty egg cartons. Not the ones made from Styrofoam, but the cardboard variety. First drill holes in the bottom of each egg cup to make sure the water drains properly. Then fill each cup with soil. Next, put your seed of choice in each cup covering them with ample soil. Add some water and place either, as before, underneath something that creates an indoor greenhouse, or on your window sill that receives sun first thing in the morning. Once the plants have sprouted and are large enough to move outdoors (weather permitting of course), take a pair of scissors and cut each egg carton cup into its own individual cup and plant the whole thing, cup and all!

Sure, none of these ideas will save the world in one day but they will help save you a little time, some money, add nutrients to your soil and help you do a fun project with the kids. Enjoy!

--Four Tips to Make Your Garden More Green
--10 Things You May Not Have Known About Tomatoes
--Tips for Growing Celery in your Home Vegetable Garden
--How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels in My Vegetable Garden?
--Armadillo Free in your Home Vegetable Garden
--Tips to Take Care of Moles in the Home Vegetable Garden
--Add Blueberries to your Home Vegetable Garden
--What Can I Plant to Attract Bees and other Beneficial Insects to my Home Vegetable Garden?
--How do I Stop Birds from Eating My Vegetable Seeds?
--How to Keep Raccoons Out of your Home Vegetable Garden

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

KC-X Tanker News (industry, military aviation)


MY RECOMMENDATION: No, unsuitable for Kindle

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: KC-X Tanker News, Matthew Potter


BLOG DESCRIPTION: This site aggregates reports related to the U.S. Air Force's upcoming aerial tanker competition and contract. The $35 billion contract will be one of the most important defense programs of the next decade.

MY REVIEW: Aviation and military enthusiasts will find this blog of interest. Unfortunately, its kindle feed is such that all you get is a paragraph, with no hotlink to get to the complete article on the web. I can't recommend the Kindle version, therefore.

Sample post:
New Website From EADS North America Stresses A330 Availability
EADS North America has set up a new website,, that stresses the “Tomorrow’s tanker, ready today” aspect of their program. This is following up on their plan to stress the availability of their aircraft as compared to the newer Boeing (BA) “NewGen” tanker that while is is based on the 767 integrates some 787 avionics into it. This might require some development time.

The A330 is already in production for Italy and the U.K. and will, technically, only require the necessary U.S. Air Force specific equipment integrated onto it.

--New Website From EADS North America Stresses A330 Availability
--U.S. Air Force Continues To Invest In Older Tankers
--Analysis: EADS Participating In KC-X Contest
--EADS Believes Established A330 Program Will Offset Possible Cost Disadvantages
--Boeing Statement On EADS Bid
Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

221B Blog Street (Arts and entertainment)


MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: 221B Blog, Bufo Calvin (then click on archives for the appropriate month)


BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog brings you the original Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. In a return to serialized literature, you get one chapter a day. The material is in the public domain in countries where copyright is Life+70 or shorter. Arthur Conan Doyle died the Seventh of July, 1930. If the material is not in the public domain in your country, do not subscribe to this blog.

MY REVIEW: I feel that I deserve a medal for being able to provide you with the actual URL of this blog, it wasn't easy to find! The owner of this blog is also the publisher of the I Love My Kindle blog ( and do you think he has a link to this blog there? Well... he does...buried 2/3rds of the way down the page so no one will ever find it!

In any event, if you've got a disposable 99 cents a month, subscribe to the blog to get a chapter of a Holmes novel, or a part of a story, delivered to you each day. Now, all these stories are in the public domain and you can download them all for free, but it's nicer to read them on the Kindle...

At one point the author was also writing his own Holmes story in this blog, but it looks like he's given that up.

--The Sign of the Four, Chapter 2: The Statement of the Case
--The Sign of the Four, Chapter 1: The Science of Deduction
--A Study in Scarlet, Chapter 14: The Conclusion
--A Study in Scarlet, Chapter 13: A Continuation of the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D.
--A Study in Scarlet, Chapter 12: The Avenging Angels

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

The Baker Street Blog (arts and entertainment)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Baker Street Blog, by Scott Monty


BLOG DESCRIPTION: The leading blog about the goings-on in the world of Sherlock Holmes - past, present and future - as written by a member of the Baker Street Irregulars.

MY REVIEW: I love this blog. I don't know that I love it for $1.99 a month, but a serious Sherlock Holmes fan might. (KIndle's blog pricing continues to mystify me...authors can't set their own price. The price starts out automatically at $1.99...and then through some formula known only to Amazon, may or may not drop down to 99 cents, with the blog owner none the wiser. )

But if you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, and if you yearn to be privy to the secrets of the Baker Street Irregulars (an organization based in New York) subscribe to this blog and check it out.

A sample post:
"Ashes of 140 Different Varieties" [BOSC]

Lately, the news has been dominated by the ceasing of air traffic in and out of Europe, thanks to the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland. Rather than some of the lava-based eruptions we regularly see in the Hawaiian islands, this series of events has resulted in millions of tons of volcanic ash.

We know that Sherlock Holmes was an expert on identifying ash - he tells Watson in A Study in Scarlet:
"I have made a special study of cigar ashes - in fact, I have written a monograph on the subject."

And then again in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes again shares his pride in his special powers:

I found the ash of a cigar, which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enabled me to pronounce as an Indian cigar. I have, as you know, devoted some attention to this, and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe, cigar, and cigarette tobacco.
No mention of his knowledge of volcanic ash, however.

In today's fast-paced technology-laden world, it's astounding that something so basic an primordial as a volcanic eruption could disrupt travel globally. It makes one wonder if it would be easier if we lived in the era of the transatlantic liner as the primary means of getting to and from Europe.

If you happen to be one of the many who are thus waylaid this week, we hope that you'll take the time to peruse the Canon - perhaps looking for your favorite mention of ashes. Then again, there are some ASHes of an entirely different variety with whom you might enjoy spending some time...

--Ashes of 140 Different Varieties" [BOSC]
--Dated From Cleveland" [STUD]
--"Burn This Letter" [HOUN]
--"A Curious Constitution" [SIGN]

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Kendall Giles Blog (arts and entertainment)


MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations



BLOG DESCRIPTION: Kendall Giles reviews and discusses technology, fitness, travel, Virginia, books, and other items or thoughts of interest.

MY REVIEW: This blog hasn't been updated since April 8, so I'm not sure if it's still active...

Whatever it started to be (discussions of technology, fitness, travel, etc.) it now seem sto be just reviews of books. Still, he reviews good books, and gives you enough information for you to decide whether or not you want to read them as well.

If it weren't that it's been 12 days since his last post, I'd recommend this blog without reservations. As it is... I have reservations. Neverthleless, the first two weeks of a blog subscription are free, so if you're interested, check it out. If he hasn't resumed posting in another 14 days, just cancel.

A sample post:
Review: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

I started reading The Road soon after I picked it up at Fountain Bookstore while waiting for some cousins to arrive for dinner at a local restaurant, and I really had a hard time putting it down.

Cormac McCarthy has a real skill at describing nature, especially desolate nature. And so this book, which is set in the US after some horrible armageddon, an apocalypse, is full of rich, but bleak, details on what life and nature might be like if some horrible catastrophe wipes out the entire country.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the main of the book is about a father and son who struggle to survive and travel along the roads towards some possible salvation or sanctuary after some horrible attack or accident occurs. Man has turned cannibal after the accident since almost all life has been killed, and so every single step is a struggle, every single step is one step closer to possible death, through violence or starvation.

This is not a chirpy, happy-go-lucky book. But if you want a serious look at the human will to survive, then this is exactly what you need.

--Review: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
--My story: “A Healing Place,” The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature
--Review: In the Land of Believers, by Gina Welch
--Review: Grendel, by John Gardner
--Review: Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Saturday, April 24, 2010

F'Burg News (regional, Frederciksburg, VA)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Get the latest news, events, opinions and random posts from around the Fredericksburg VA area.

MY REVIEW: This is another blog where the feed doesnt' seem to work properly. If you live in Fredericksburg or are thinking of visiting, check it out on the web. The author posts links to weather blogs - storm chasing is a hobby of his, and other things.

RECENT ARTICLES: – WeatherMatrix | Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning All Down in 2010
--Wetness on the way
--Redskins Minicamp
--Michael J Fox: Unschooled by Hollywood?
--Casting aspersions on next weekend’s convection

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Women's Fiction Blog (Arts & Entertainment)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: An essayland -- myths, old wives tales, lies we have been told about success and weight control, marriage and mountain living... among other topics. Then there are the dense observations of myself or others.

This is an essay on life as a woman. Written for women who appreciate the rather trying factors of living, however tongue-in-cheek we may endeavor.

MY REVIEW: This is a popular blog - ranked #50,000 or so at Amazon for all that it still costs $1.99 to subscribe to it.

I have to admit I'm puzzled by that, as when I look at the blog entries on my Kindle, they are missing half or more of each post! Perhaps it's because I'm running a step down on the Kindle operating software (yes, I know I must bite the bullet and upgrade, but it annoys me that I haven't received this upgrade automatically from Kindle yet, as is supposed to happen!)

So if you subscribe to this blog, be sure to check the Kindle feed against the actual blog entries to see what you're missing - it could be a lot!

I'd like to attach a sample post here, but the author has her blog set up so that it's impossible to copy anything from it, not photos (here's a tip, 'Print Screen', paste into Paint program, easy peasy!), not text. Now I can understand some websites doing this....but a blog of this kind? I'm sorry, I don't think anyone will be ripping off you're ouvre.

I'm tempted to give this a harsh review, just for that reason! So, for sample posts, you'll have to go to the website, or subscribe and check it out.

--Aliens running around
--How to tame your dragon - too intense for young children
--Steelworker abducted, sold as Japanese sex toy
--Poison ivy is stored in fat cells
--Divorce fiction for women readers

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Fenway West (Baseball)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Fenway West, by Matt O'Donnell


BLOG DESCRIPTION: A Boston Red Sox blog written by authors across the United States. The blog is updated multiple times each day with team news and analysis.

MY REVIEW: Multiple posts a day, but not much substance. One post is always the day's we really need to know that? [Just tell me when Ellsbury is back on the field!] Although I suppose people will want to know who the pitcher is.

There's also not a lot of game analysis. Here's what was said about last night's game:
Hits were hard to come by against Orioles starter Brian Matusz and the Red Sox were getting shut out until Varitek hit his fourth homer of the season in the fifth. Lackey gave up ten hits but kept the O's from any big innings, he went seven innings with three earned runs. Scutaro and Youk both had three-run homers in the seventh to give the Sox a big lead which would almost disappear when the bullpen let Baltimore back in it. Ramon Ramirez gave up a homer and Papelbon gave up a run on three hits before closing the door and holding on for the save.

Not a lot of info there!

That might not be such a big deal,except this blog is still priced at $1.99 a month. That's a bit too high for the amount of info provided. Nevertheless, check it out for yourself.

--Red Sox Hold On to Beat the O's
--Jonathan Van Every is Back with the Red Sox
--Red Sox Lineup 4/24 vs Baltimore
--Papi and Lester Get the Monkey off of Their Backs
--Red Sox Lineup 4/23 vs Baltimore
--Dunkin' Donuts and Dustin Pedroia Wish Tito a Happy Bday!

Ms. Cairo writes two blogs of her own:
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters

Retro Review: Information Arbitrage (business and investing)


Information Arbitrage A 17-year Wall Street veteran's perspectives on investment, hedge funds, and ways to harness the power of the internet for Institutional Investors.. Publisher: Information Arbitrage. Costs 99 cents a month.

Some text from his latest blog entry:
IA Venture Strategies - Working to Build a Better Venture Mouse-trap
As was ably covered by Dan Primack in PEHub, I am starting a new venture fund. However, as my friends and venture colleagues know, I am extremely down on what the venture industry has become. To be clear, it is less an issue of structure (management + incentive fees in a GP/LP structure) and more an issue of size. It is clear to understand how motivations get skewed when venture firms effectively become asset managers, where the management fees alone are sufficient to make the partners rich and investments must become increasingly large and non-venture like. Growth capital is not venture capital in my parlance. Venture capital means funding "ventures" - taking on early-stage risk - and actively helping companies execute their plans and achieve their potential. I have a theory that the largest a true venture fund can be, which means, having a seed-stage investment charter together with a "life cycle" approach to investing (leaning into winners, deploying larger amounts of capital in Series A and B rounds, if necessary) is around $300 million. But I digress...

I decided to start my fund after determining that many of the deals I was seeing were both strategic and thematic, strategic to my trading company and thematic in that they all had a common thread - helping to manage and extract value from massive, often real-time data sets - "big data" in jargon. Rather than prosecute them as an angel, I felt a fund structure would better enable me to "size up" in particular deals and to cast a wider net across the big data domain. I wanted the fund to be small ($25 million stated goal, but with the ability to go a little higher) and I wanted it to be different than most venture funds I know, who have raised money largely from pension funds and endowments. I really wanted the fund to be an extension of my activities as an angel, where I frequently build syndicates of value-added angels and select venture firms to help de-risk the portfolio companies and create a network effect across a particular domain.

Talking about the blogs of investors who can start $25 million funds is just a leetle bit outside my area of expertise. All I can say is he certainly sounds like he knows what he’s talking about!

The author, Roger Ehrenberg, updates this blog on an irregular basis. When he’s “on” he does it every four days or so, but sometimes there’s a month in between. It is with this kind of blog that subscribing via the Kindle is most necessary. It only costs 99 cents a month – the cost of a cup of coffee, and when he does make a post you get it immediately without having to constantly check his website. And should he never update it (which I doubt will happen, but of course, anything’s possible) you’re only out $12 for the year. I’d say that’s a better investment risk than many out there!

Reading such a blog gives the average investor an insight into the rarified air of these fund managers, shows how their minds think, and so on. It’s a fascinating read.