Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Retro Review: JGDS - the Junior Geography Detective Squad


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: Yes

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: JGDS - the Junior Geography Detective Squad , published by Elysabeth Eldering.

WEB ADDRESS: http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: This is where information about the JGDS series will be posted. The books are about each of the fifty states, one state per book, and are written like a handheld game that gives the kids clues all leading up to the state. It is a cross between Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy, and if you watch Jeopardy, some of the categories of late have been about the states as well as final Jeopardy answers have been geared toward one state

MY REVIEW: Given the sorry state of kid's knowledge of geography today (well, their knowledge of any topic today), a books series like this sounds like a lot of fun and hopefully will be successful.

The blog itself doesn't talk about the writing of the books, but rather of their marketing. There are also talks with the authors of other children's books.

It's a fun blog, and I would think that the parents of young kids, and prospective authors, would enjoy it. Give it a try.

[As an aside, here's the actual website for the book series (as opposed to the blog): http://junior-geography-detective-squad.weebly.com/index.html. Should the author of these fun books visit this review, please, jazz up that website! At least put some clip art -of kids running around, perhaps - on it! That will catch people's eyes much more successfully than what's there now. [Also, this is a review of the blog, not of the books, so I won't comment on the stereotypical female characters, either! Except for a Grr.]

Here's a few sample paragraphs from a blog entry:
Wow. I just looked at my previous updates for newsletters and have not done any since the first part of August 2009. Updates are definitely needed.

I found a cool site that lists homeschool conferences for Canada, Guam, and every state in the United States. I found four more in the four states closest to me, within a five-hour driving distance of me, in addition to the Love 2 Learn one in Charlotte. I will be an exhibitor at four, maybe a fifth (still awaiting updates as to when it actually will take place, where and an exhibitor application) this summer with a presenting workshop at each one ("Writing Roads" a combination of writing and geography games for the kids). See my Blog Tour page on the sidebar for the listed events.

If anyone is interested in finding homeschool conferences in their area to either attend or exhibit at, here is the link for you to check out. Eventually, I'd like to attend conferences in every state but until I have some funding (either a sponsor or the books are supporting me), then traveling to more than a few states on the east coast is going to have to wait a while. I think these will be a good thing this year. Will definitely keep you posted how things go this summer.

JGDS SERIES NEWS: State of Reservations is slated to be released February or March 2010; since Aidana has had the flu and her son has the piggy flu, I hope by the end of March this will be released. State of Altitude is slated to be released in April or May of this year; again, hopefully by the 1st week of June so I can have four titles to carry with me to the homeschool conferences. And we have a title for #5 - State of Secession which is about halfway completed (struggling to get it done due to work situations that have taken over me but I do promise to have it done soon). It is slated to be released August (if I remember correctly), which would be nice to have that book available for the conference in August. Book #6 is titled State of Nature and my son has picked the items to be on the cover which will be pretty cool looking (I think and if Aidana and Vivian agree). Book #7 is pending approval for a title, so will wait to let you all know what the title will be with that.

In December I wrote to the Jeopardy!(R) folks asking them to sponsor my series. So far I haven't heard anything back yet, so I can only hope that the old adage "No news is good news" is true for this. As soon as I know something on this end, I will update my fans and readers.


RECENT ARTICLES:
-SC Book Festival Day 1
-Book festival bound
-JGDS Newsletter - Feb 2010
-Vote today
-Want to find out how reading can be fun and educational at the same time?
-Free book anyone? Your school could really use this book
-Book trailer video on Books in Sync contest

The Intelligent Cruiser (lifestyle and culture, cruising (in a boat!))


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Intelligent Cruiser , by TI Cruiser

WEB ADDRESS: http://theintelligentcruiser.com/
BLOG DESCRIPTION:

MY REVIEW: I love this blog. I don't have the wherewithal to go on cruises myself, but I'm an armchair traveler, and its always nice to read about what people who can afford it, do. In this case, traveling on cruise ships. Around the coasts of th e United States, across the oceans, etc.

Highly recommended. The blog is very informative, and gives out good advice that cruisers need to know.

Sample post:
10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Don’t announce your absence - Facebook and Twitter figure prominently into a lot of people’s lives these days. I know some people who update their status on nearly an hourly basis; these people are primed to be victimized. Posting on the internet that you will be away is like making an announcement to the world; this also goes for answering machine and voicemail messages. Only notify those who absolutely need to know when you will be out of town.

Don’t Cancel Newspaper or Postal Deliveries – Although many people will tell you to halt newspaper or mail delivery while on vacation, these people are wrong. First of all if a Royal Caribbean vacation planner can use inside information to burglarize a house a postal employee or newspaper delivery person can use that same knowledge against you. The other reason is because if someone has been casing your house, its better if to see mail get delivered and then picked up than seeing it not get delivered at all.

Have a house sitter move in while you are away- This is my preferred method of vacation time theft deterrent. The best way to make your house appear to be lived in is to make certain that it is being lived in. In my opinion responsible college students are the best for this type of job, since adults normally would need to leave their home in order to temporarily move into yours. College students typically live at home or with roommates so if they change residences for a week or two it normally won’t be as big a deal. Luckily, I have a couple of family members who fit the description.

Place lights on timers – If you can’t find someone to stay at your house while gone you may want to pick up some inexpensive electrical timers. If your home is cloaked in darkness at 8 pm it’s a sign that you aren’t home, not a big deal. However, if your home is cloaked in darkness at 8pm for three days in a row it’s a tell tale sign that you are on vacation. Placing your lights on a timer allows you to simulate your normal routine. Please note that while I am a huge fan of keeping a routine no human being keeps an exact schedule, you would be well served to place at least one light on a completely random cycle just to mix things up.

Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked - This may sound stupid but the truth is a significant amount of breaking and entering occurs without the breaking part ever taking place. Personally speaking during a large portion of the year my windows remain locked, however during certain times of year I am constantly opening and closing windows. What this means is there is a chance that one may be inadvertently left unlocked, double check. This also goes for sliding doors and garage entrances.

Try to keep a car in the driveway – An empty driveway is a dead giveaway that no one is home. While you may be able to get away with having no car in the driveway during working hours if this timeframe stretches into a day or two it will get noticed. If you have two cars keep one in the driveway and if you only have one, try to get someone to take you to their airport.

Electronic Security – An electronic security system is without a doubt one of the best investments one can make in order to keep your home safe. This is true whether you are in town or out of town. However, an electronic security system also represents a significant expense. Obviously, the level of expense will raise or lower depending on the level of protection as well as the type of technology used, so this may not be in everyone’s budget. If an electronic security system isn’t in your budget hang up a sign anyway, any doubt you can place in a potential perpetrators mind could be the difference.

Stash your goodies – While it may not always be possible to use a safety deposit box or get access to a safe, if you own valuables make sure to keep them safe. Whether that means you keep them at your mother’s home or hide them under a lose floorboard, hide your valuables. If someone does break into your house make sure your prized possessions are kept safe.

Be Friendly with your neighbors – A friendly smile and a kind word go a long way towards having your neighbors look out for you. While we don’t necessarily have a neighborhood watch program I am fortunate enough to live around a bunch of retirees who are the type of people that come to their doors every time they hear a car drive down the street. While at times these sorts of people can be a nuisance in the long run its good to have them on your side.

Leave discreetly – I almost always leave in the wee hours of the morning when going away on vacation. I do this because early flights allow me to maximize my time in the arrival city and because it assures me that no one (that isn’t supposed to know) knows when or if I left. There aren’t many people up at 4 am and those that are tend to stick out like sore thumbs.

What about when you get back from vacation
One thing that I like to do whenever possible is make sure I return home during daylight or early evening hours. When you enter your house for the first time after being away on a vacation take note of everything and make sure nothing is out of place (assuming no one was house sitting for you). If something looks out of whack there is probably a reason for that; either you have a crappy memory or someone has been there.

In the unfortunate event that you are robbed while away on vacation there are certain rules you will want to follow in order to help the police out as much as possible. Even though the sight of seeing your house turned upside down will be shocking, leave the house immediately. There are two reasons why you will want to leave. First of all you will want to be out of harm’s way in case the burglar is still inside the house, not likely but you never know. Secondly, you will want to preserve the crime scene as well as you can and the only way to be sure you don’t contaminate any evidence is by not touching anything at all. So even if the ashes from a dead relative may have been knocked off the mantle, you may be letting the perpetrator escape punishment by innocently cleaning things up.

RECENT POSTS:
--10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation
--Is Park West Pushing Bogus Art?
--Former Royal Caribbean Vacation Planner Accused of Burglary and Racketeering
--Father’s Day Gifts for Cruisers
--Hurricane Season 2010 Predictions

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Tiny House Design (architecture, lifestyle)

REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Tiny House Design, by Michael Janzen

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Tiny House Design is focused on empowering others to simplify their lives, downsize, and create a better life built on sustainability and self-sufficiency. Among other things you'll find free plans, tiny house design concepts, and the latest simple living solutions.

MY REVIEW: According to the author, 50,000 people a month visit his blog on how to build tiny houses. And when this guy says tiny, he means tiny. There's enough room in his houses for a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen. Do if you don't plan on having any guests over, these are the houses for you. (I could deal with it, but I'd need an extra couple of rooms for my library...)

Anyway, it's a pretty interesting blog. Check it out.

Sample post:
(I don't reproduce the photos)
Tumbleweed House Plans – Free with Book Purchase
ShareThis- 2 Comments
Jay & Steve over at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company sent me a copy of these plans to preview a few days ago and I must say… I’m extremely impressed with the professional quality of the plans and design. They are really taking their small house plans to the next level in terms of detail and overall presentation by including step-by-step 3D illustrations as well as all the framing and finish details.

The specific design is the Popomo, a tiny modern home built on an 8′ by 20′ trailer. It differs from the traditional style of many Tumbleweed tiny houses while retaining the clever interior space design. Inside the house you’ll find a bed nook on the main level (no loft), a tiny functional kitchen, and a bathroom with toilet and shower. There’s also a main living room with big glass doors that provides a lot of light and helps connect the interior living spaces with the home’s surroundings.

For a limited time you can get a free copy of Popomo Plans when you buy the Small House Book by Jay Shafer. Visit the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company website for details about the free Popomo Plans offer.

The book is 196 pages and contains 22 designs that range in size from 64 to 840 square feet. For those wanting to design their own tiny house, Jay describes 7 organizing principles and 42 design elements for efficient tiny house design.

Small House Book and the Free Popomo Plans

The book will also explain which 14 tools you’ll need to build your house, many of which you probably already own, and how to build a house for less than $20,000.

Below are just a few sample images from the 42 pages of the Popomo Plans themselves.

RECENT POSTS:
--Michael Janzen Interview on Rowdy Kittens
--Open Thread on Tumbleweed Popomo Plans
--Tiny Space – Hidden Kitchen
--Hands Across The Sand
--Tumbleweed House Plans – Free with Book Purchase
--Turtle Tuff Shelters

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Hiatus June 30



I'm currently on travel in Cleveland, Ohio (see http://youflygirl.blogspot.com for details why) and won't be posting here tomorrow, June 30.

Expect a couple of posts the next day, and full bore, 4 posts or more a day for all of July, although I might take July 4 off since I expect all of you will, too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Retro Review: Science and Earth News


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Science and Earth News

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.physorg.com/space-news/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Space and Earth stories from PhysOrg.com. Enjoy reading 15-20 quality articles every day. Topics include: space exploration, earth sciences, astronomy, environment and more.

MY REVIEW: This is a blog similar to the Science Codex... the website, PhyOrg, has a variety of topics, and this is their science and earth news blog.

The tite may be Space and Earth stories, but from what I can see, it's mostly earth stories. Nothing wrong with that, but if you're interested in space science and technology, this isn't the blog for you.

RECENT ARTICLES:
-Greener memory from random motion
-Atmospheric nanoparticles impact health, weather professor says
-Long-distance quantum communication gets closer as physicists increase light storage efficiency by an order of magnitude
-Roman era York may have been more diverse than today
-G-speak will make the keyboard and mouse obsolete
-Glue, fly, glue" Caddisflies' underwater silk adhesive might suture wounds

Without Baggage (world travel)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Without Baggage, by Hank Leukart

WEB ADDRESS: http://withoutbaggage.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Hank Leukart covers adventure travel across the globe. His recent adventures have included trekking in Chilean Patagonia, searching for aliens near Area 51, tackling a glacier in Denali, Alaska, and watching a zebra birth in Botswana, Africa.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog, well written. The author writes of places most of us armchair travelers would love to visit.

The only problem - one post, albeit a very long post - a month. That's not really enough when you're paying 99 cents a month!

But, check it out and see for yourself.

RECENT POSTS:
--Playing adults. Hiking the Chelan Lakeshore Trail before a wedding.
--Meeting the Yosemite Oracle.A renowned rock climber gives some life advice.
--The world's smartest bear strikes again. Making friends in Yosemite.

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Breathing Space (health and fitness)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Breathing Space, by Jeff Davidson

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.breathingspaceblog.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Is the constant crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down? By the end of your workday, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

If you're continually facing too much information, too much paper, too many commitments, and too many demands, you need Breathing Space.

MY REVIEW: This blog offers some good advice on how to slow down, relax, and enjoy life. Unfortunately, it is only updated twice a month or so. At 99 cents a month, I think one should get at least one post a week!

Nevertheless, check it out for yourself. If you're feeling stressed out and need a break, this blog might be just what you're looking for.

RECENT POSTS:
--Sleeping Less, Enjoying it Less?
--Maintain a Positive Perspective
--For Bloggers Everywhere
--News Buyers Beware
--Terry Paulson on Optimistic Attitudes

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Info For Blog Publishers

Every once im a while, I come across a blog that does not send complete articles to the Kindle, but rather just a paragraph or two, with no way to see the rest of the article.

What's the problem?

Here's what Amazon says:
On your blog publishing tool, please ensure that your blog settings allows “full text” feeds. You can follow the step by step directions for your blog publishing tool (Blogger, Word press, or Type pad) at the link below.

https://kindlepublishing.amazon.com/vendor/members/kindle-blogs/static/feed_settings.html

So if you're thinking of offering your blog for subscription on the Kindle, or if you have done so and can't figure out why not much of it shows upo, and haven't read the Kindle FAQ ; ) , the above should help you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Retro Review: Nanny Goats in Panties


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Nanny Goats in Panties, published by Margaret Andrews

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.nannygoatsinpanties.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog humorously observes the planet and its occupants, complains vociferously, participates in ironic self-destruction, and displays the occasional ruminant. With or without undergarments.

MY REVIEW: Well, the unifying theme of this blog is the author's liking of goats. And the photos she shares do make them look cute. (Well, babies of any species...well, most mammalian species, anyway, look cute). Other than that, she blogs about her day, and yes, it is indeed humorous. She does have a sharp sense of humor. Indeed, her entry entitled "The Dangers of Shopping Alone" is hilarious.

If I were the type of person who liked to have a smile with my morning coffee, before getting on with my day, I'd love this blog. It's a lot more amusing than those silly "Joke a day" blogs.

But then most humor blogs I've reviewed, such as Midlife Musings, to name only one, are funnier than those pointless "Joke a Day" blogs.

So I'd say give this blog a chance (in particular seek out "The Dangers of Shopping Alone" in the archives, if you're reading this review much after March 1, 2010).

Here's some sample paragraphs:
California is from Mars, Arizona is from Venus
Oh sure, when we checked in to the Hilton hotel in Tucson, Arizona, it seemed innocuous. Pretty, even.

We should have known when we bore witness to grass at this so-called hotel, that something was afoot. I don't know if you non-Arizonians know this, but people in many parts of Arizona, especially the desert-like Tucson area, do not have grass. Let alone the green variety.

What, you don't believe me? Have I ever lied to you? Okay, one time! But I was protecting not only myself but the poor frog too. I mean we were both young and stupid and he had his tadpoles to think of. I'm not proud of what I did, but we both moved on and I was sort of hoping you'd have more compassion than you are displaying right now, quite frankly. Also? I can't walk into my laundry room with the swamp photo wallpaper without breaking down, but I must soldier on because it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

So, besides that one time, have I ever lied to you? If you're hesitating, let me help you. The answer is no. I haven't. In fact, I have proof of said lack of grass in Arizona. Here is my Tucsonian friend's front yard, sans grass:

RECENT ARTICLES:
-The Dangers of Shopping Alone (March 1, 2010)
-Goat Thing of the Day: Goat-Minded Sheep (Feb 25, 2010)
-California is from Mars, Arizona is from Venus (Feb 22, 2010)
-Goat Thing of the Day: A Belated Valentine. And Childhood Goat Trauma (Feb 19, 2010)
-Tucson, Arizona is a Big Bully (Feb 17, 2010)

Retro Review: Science Codex Space and Astronomy


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Science Codex Space and Astronomy

WEB ADDRESS: http://sciencecodex.com/ (Main page, from which there are link to all their disciplines)

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Science Codex posts articles on the latest science findings from all over the world.

MY REVIEW: Whereas NASA Watch concentrates on the space programs - of other countries but mostly of NASA, Science Codex Space and Astronomy deals with astronomy news and space technology in general.

The posts are well-written. They are written for the well-read layperson - if you're not well-read, this is not a problem, with the ease of the internet you can always look up any terminology you are unfamiliar with. However, because the articles are written for the layperson, much of the terminology used is defined within the article. For example, DHA = docosahexaenoic acid. This is the Omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to kill neuroblastoma cancer cells.

Here's a few sample paragraphs:
The next treatment for cancer might come from fish says a new research report published in the March 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org). In the report, scientists show that the omega-3 fatty acid, "docosahexaenoic acid" or "DHA," and its derivatives in the body kill neuroblastoma cancer cells. This discovery could lead to new treatments for a wide range of cancers, including neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, colon, breast, and prostate cancers, among others.

RECENT ARTICLES:
-Strenthening NASA's suborbital program
-Researchers fishing for cancer cure discover active DHA derivatives
-New 'alien' invaders found in the Milky Way [that'd be alien galaxies, not beings)
-CeBIT 2010: Intelligent energy management for the home
-Wild 2: First measurement of the age of cometary material

Minnesota Independent (local politics, minnesota)



REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Minnesota Independent

WEB ADDRESS: http://minnesotaindependent.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Minnesota Independent is the most popular progressive online news site in Minnesota. With a focus on local and national politics, commentary and media criticism, MNindy focuses daily on publishing news that shapes the way Minnesotans look at their state.

Established in 2006, Minnesota Independent is a Center for Independent Media online news site.

MY REVIEW: If you're a Minnesotan, or just have an interest in the way state politics work, you'll want to subscribe to this blog. Despite its name, it does seem to have a bias on the Democrat side of the aisle. Nevertheless, interesting reading for every Minnesotan.

RECENT POSTS:
--Gay pride pulls in Democratic candidates and one Republican
--Judge: Anti-gay group allowed to hand out bibles at LGBT Pride
--OutFront Minnesota Action endorses Kelliher
--Dairy antitrust workshop might be most complex, emotional yet
--Only some gubernatorial candidates pledge to release tax records
--Klobuchar to assess impact of BP disaster on Minnesota’s birds
--Bachmann stars in “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger”

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Modern Health Care Breaking News (medical science, health)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Modern Health Care Breaking News

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Modern Healthcare is the industry's leading source of healthcare business news. We report on important healthcare events and trends as they happen — not a month later. Our readers use the information to make informed business decisions and lead their organizations to success. It's for this reason that Modern Healthcare is ranked No. 1 in readership among healthcare executives and deemed a "must-read publication" by the who's who in healthcare.

The weekly print publication, combined with a robust web site and custom e-newsletters, provide a powerful and all-encompassing industry presence. We ask the tough questions and provide more than just a news report -- we deliver in-depth analysis and a look into what's happening next, so readers can understand the impact these issues will have on them, their organization and the entire industry.

The Modern Healthcare Breaking News Blog offers breaking healthcare business news from our web site.

MY REVIEW: I say "Yes, with reservations" to this blog because although it is updated on a daily basis and has lots of interesting news, all you get is the first paragraph, nothing else. Even if you go to the web, you have to pay $4.95 a month to be able to read the complete articles.

Having said that, however, I think this can be a valuable blog for people because it does keep you in the loop with the "headlines" as it were. You get enough info to know what's happening, just not enough to understand why it's happening. (IN other words you get the who and the what, but not the when, why and the where.)

Check it out and see if its of interest to you.

RECENT POSTS:
--Minnesota nurses set strike date: July 6
--Olympus to acquire pulmonary-device company
--Wylie named COO at EssentMore Newsmakers
--Medicaid reimbursement boost fails
--Siemens names Glaser CEO of health business unit
--Associations lament temporary doc fix

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup Buzz (soccer)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: World Cup Buzz

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.worldcupbuzz.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: World Cup news and analysis for the biggest sports competition in the world.

MY REVIEW: I had meant to review this blog three weeks ago, when it was first brought to my attention that the World Cup was coming up. Sorry about that. I assume that the blog will continue after this particular World Cup is over, so check it out and if you lke it, stay subscribed.

The entries seem to be informative and well-written. I am not in any way, shape of form a fan of soccer - I'd much rather watch cricket! Or even golf! But soccer fans will enjoy this blog. (Based on the ratings on their subscription page, they do.)

So join in the fun.

RECENT POSTS:
--World Cup Results: Day 14
--World Cup 2010 Day 14: World Cup Buzz Podcast
--How Do You Say Goodbye In Italian?
--Dennis Miller Comments on US World Cup Victory On Fox News
--Win World Cup Prizes at Wowies World Cup Viewing Parties in South Florida

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Retro Review: The Foodista Blog


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Foodista Blog

WEB ADDRESS: http://foodista.com. Blog at http://www.foodista.com/blog.

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Food and cooking posts from the staff and editors of Foodista.com.

MY REVIEW: I find the Foodista website a bit confusing. There seem to several parts to it, not well defined. There's a site where chefs and cooks talk about their ouvre, then there's a site that's a user-input site - people can share their own recipes. Then there seem to be two types of blogs. Well, the blog url I shared above is the one that gets fed to the Kindle.

And, if you're a foodie, you'll love this blog! Nuff said.

Here are a few sample paragraphs:
Like many food lovers, the strangest things make me hungry. For instance, the Olympics. Ok, perhaps that’s not too much of a stretch– watching feats of endurance always works up a bit of an appetite– but that’s not what I’m talking about. The Olympics remind me of a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver, The Naam; their miso gravy is to-die for, and completely changed what I thought was possible with miso.

Miso is made from fermented grain or soybeans, salt and kojikin, a fungus also used to brew soy sauce and sake. Miso falls into three basic categories: komemiso, made with rice and soybeans; mugimiso, made from barley or rye and soybeans; and mamemiso, made from soybeans alone. Varying the fermentation time, the amount of salt and the strain of kojikin creates further variety: shiromiso (white miso), akamiso (red miso), awasemiso (mixed miso) and hatchomiso, the richest, thickest variety.

RECENT ARTICLES:
-Knocking back moonshine with Max Watman
-Q&A with Chef Tom Douglas
-Unexpectedly great food and wine pairings: champagne and...salad
-Beyond soup - 5 uses for miso
-Chef Q&A with Alexx Pitts

Seattlest (local Seattle travel, life and culture)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Seattlest, by Gothamist

WEB ADDRESS: http://seattlest.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Seattlest is a website about Seattle and everything that happens in it. That means news and events, restaurants and bars, happenings and goings-on.

MY REVIEW: If you live in Seattle, this is a blog you should subscribe to. Simple as that. If you're planning on moving to or just visiting Seattle, ditto.

It's well-written for an audience in their 20s-30s, I think, but there's not an egregious amount of swearing, just a little bit more than you'd see in a mainstream publication. Multiple authors contribute to the blog.

Sample post:
This is your last chance to see the final works from this year’s crop of MFA students at UW. Their Thesis Exhibition closes Sunday. In spite of some recent criticism of Seattle’s art schools, this collection showcases some serious new talent.
Henry Art Gallery // 4100 15th Ave. NE // 11-4 Sat.-Sun.

Humor and music take center stage at the Northwest African American Museum this weekend. First, on Saturday, Mishna Wolff - former model, humorist and author - is on hand to present her memoir: I’m Down. This funny look back at her Seattle childhood is ultimately about identity, but it is also further proof that we all have crazy parents. While you are at the museum, make sure to check out their current exhibit After Hours, which dives into the bustling Northwest Jazz Scene that thrived from 1930-60.
Book Reading: 2-3 on Saturday, June 26 // After Hours through Dec. 31 // Northwest African American Museum // 2300 S. Massachusetts St. // $6

Like your art with a little morbidity thrown in? An impressive lineup of artists and architects take turns putting their creative spin on an item inextricably linked with death in The Architect and the Urn. This show takes place at Lundgren Monuments, a company that thrives on “new models of memorialization.” So, if you are inspired by the urns, perhaps you can design your own headstone while you are there.
Lundgren Monuments // 1011 Boren Ave. // Closes July 18 // Free // Saturday

It’s the 30-year anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption. In celebration, head on over to Blow Up: the group show commemorating the event. No word on whether or not any artists used scalding liquid magma as their media of choice. G. Gibson Gallery // 300 S. Washington St. // Free // Closes July 3 // Saturday 11-5


RECENT POSTS:
--The Weekend Art Roundup
--Can't Miss It: The Weekend
--City Charity Joins the Fight against Breast Cancer with 5k Walk
--Seattlest Pix 25June10
--Extra, Extra

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cara's Weight Loss Journal (diet, health and fitness)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Cara's Weight Loss Journal, by Cara Showers

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.carasweightlossjournal.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: I am writing this blog to keep myself accountable to weight loss. This blog, and the friends I have met on here, has helped me stay on track week after week. If it were not for for this blog, I would have quit losing a long time ago and been satisfied with whatever my loss was at the time and gone on with my life. Losing weight is way to hard to do it alone. Blogging helps me through this one pound at a time.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog joined Weight Watchers 3 years ago and, up until a couple of weeks ago, had lost 104 pounds. A great success story, except for one thing. Losing the weight is only half the battle. The easy half. The other half is keeping it off, and if this poor woman's latest posts are any indication, she's not going to be able to do it. As with most people who lose weight, once they reach their goal they return to the same bad habits that caused them to gain so much weight to begin with. And as they continue to put back on the weight that they lost, they find themselves unable to stop, until they not only put back on ALL the weight, but even a few pounds more.

I hope I'm wrong and that someone at her Weight Watchers meeting takes her in hand and points out that she's sabotaging herself for no good reason...

I recommend this blog, therefore, so that you can see just how easy it is to destroy your weight loss success if you lose your focus at the end -- what any person who has lost 104 pounds needs to do is say to themselves...okay, I stay on my diet for another 3 months, and only gradually come off it. That way, my body will have 3 months to become acclimated to my new weight, and then I'll be able to eat a bit more and it won't automatically convert into fat - which is what will happen if you start eating with abandon immediately.

Sample post
I've been hiding in a corner...

Blue, when you're right you're right. Was I on vacation? Nope, I was cowering in the corner beating myself up.

Can you believe that? Just a few weeks ago, I was on top of my game. On top of my world. Three years of total dedication to my weight loss and three weeks later I feel like a total failure.

I've been eating and eating and eating. I just can't stop. I'm not even hungry most times, I just feel the urge to eat. And then I wonder...

Why can't I get these last few pounds off?

Well, I'll tell you why. I have been doing some deep soul searching lately and I've come to some conclusions.

#1. I love food.

I have a passionate love affair with food. Any kind of food. My favorite, of course, are the baked kind. The sweet, sweet baked kind. But I can't limit my love affair to the sweets. No, I'm an equal opportunity food lover. I LOVE a great cheese burger. And I'm all over the cheese fries. Yup, I'm desperately in LOVE with food.

I kept thinking that one day I'd grow strong enough to over come this love and keep the food demons at bay. But I'm coming to the realization that THAT just isn't going to happen. So what I've got to do is coexist with my obsession with all things edible. I need to embrace it and recognize it for what it is and learn to live with it.

#2. If I really wanted to lose these last few pounds, I'd get off my lazy butt and do something about it. Uh hem. Which translates into... exercise!

Walking is great exercise. Tremendous exercise. It's helped me lose the 100+ pounds that I've lost so far. And walking is awesome for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But I have to be honest with myself and say that walking--alone--isn't going to help me shed these extra few pounds. I need real exercise.

So somewhere I need to come up with the motivation to kick it in gear and commit to regular, hard exercise. I mean, I don't have to go crazy about the whole thing. Just regular calisthenics you know, would do the trick. Jumping jacks. Sit ups. Speed walking. Push ups. Lunges. Etc., etc.

I have all the resources I need. I've got ExerciseTV on demand. I've got DVDs out the wazoo. I've got several books (one of which is the Biggest Loser exercise plan). I'm equipped. I just need to do it.

So hear I go, crawling out of my corner of shame. Climbing up to my feet and taking that first step...

P.S. Thanks, BlueRaspberry for the email encouragement. You're always there when I need you. Love you!!

RECENT POSTS:
--HOT ONE!!! Weight Watchers magazine for only $2.99 a year!!!
--6 Pounds from Goal...
--One small step for Cara...
--Nobody puts Baby in the corner...
--I've been hiding in a corner...

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Retro Review: Murderati


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Murderati, published by Murderati.com

WEB ADDRESS: http://murderati.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Through the eyes of today's leading mystery and crime writers, MURDERATI examines critical themes, historical archetypes and trends in publishing, marketing and the life of the published author.

MY REVIEW: I enjoyed this blog very much, and recommend it highly. As an aspiring fiction writer, I found this blog extremely interesting, and I think you'll find it so as well. In addition, if you're just a mystery fan, rather than an author, you'll find this of interest just to know how writers think and create.

Some sample paragraphs:
Yesterday, I made the time to attend my local RWA meeting where New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Day spoke about heroines. Alyssa is a talented paranormal romance writer who has a reputation for writing alpha heros AND alpha heroines. I asked her permission to talk about her workshop on this blog because I think it would benefit ALL writers, not simply romance or romantic suspense authors.

Alyssa's workshop was hugely inspirational and beneficial to me. A lot of people might think that after 13 published books why would I want to attend a craft workshop? The same reason why I bought Donald Maass' FIRE IN FICTION last summer--I am still learning. While I believe my strength in writing is centered around my heroines, I also believe that all writers, no matter what their level or how many books under their belt, published or unpublished, can learn something simply by listening to others. Sometimes it's not like we learn something particularly new, but we are given a new way of looking at something we know and it broadens our perceptions and our craft.

Yesterday was just such a day for me.

I write strong heroines. My hardest characters are the heroines who are not in a naturally kick-ass professional. For example, Julia Chandler (prosecutor in SEE NO EVIL) or Robin McKenna (night club owner in KILLING FEAR.) Why? Because when your heroine has a role like cop or FBI Agent or P.I. reader expectations are that the character knows how to take care of themselves, that they are independent and strong-willed. Female cops are not wimps, for the most part, and I don't have to convince my readers that Detective Carina Kincaid (SPEAK NO EVIL) knows how to investigate a murder. I can simply put her in the middle of the investigation and give her the label "detective" and readers get it.

RECENT ARTICLES:
-Do-it-yourselfing (general entry on people who DIY) (March 1, 2010)
-What would Princess Leia do? (The Alpha heroine) [Ed, was Princess Leia an ALpha heroine????] (Feb 28, 2010)
-The Fairy Tale structure (fairy tale memes used in modern day mystery fiction) (Feb 27, 2010)
-Ramblin on... (thinking about her new novel) (Feb 26, 2010)
-The reality of reality (notes on location and setting) (Feb 25, 2010)
-It's alive

Pharyngula (science, religion, politics)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Pharyngula, by Seed Media Group

WEB ADDRESS: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Seed Magazine presents Pharyngula, a scientific and freethinking blog named after an important period of embryonic development. Pharyngula is a mixed bag of science news with a liberal slant, as well as other topics guaranteed to make you think and make you laugh.

MY REVIEW: I enjoy this blog, for all that I'm a Republican (although an atheist one) and the author is a Liberal, but an atheist also, so he gets a pass on his politics.

The author is PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), and also cultivates an interest in cephalopods. (He also has a biography on Wikipedia!)

The blog makes for very interesting reading, and I encourage all biology and cephalopod fans, and atheists, and anyone with an interest in good writing, to read it. As for the politics - regardless of your views, it's always good to read the other side...

Sample post
How Mormons will conquer the world
There's a documentary coming out about how the Mormons influenced California's Proposition 8, and Salon has an interview with the director, Reed Cowan. He makes the point that it wasn't just that they raised buckets of money, but that they had willing volunteers.

Nobody does it better than the Mormons. Money is one thing. What outsiders don't understand is the volunteer aspect: the "means and time" trigger language that comes from the temple, and how it literally played to their obedience.

Their greatest asset is the obedience of their people. They had people signed up to go street by street and house by house. They knew who to take with them and were extremely organized.

What is it about those two words, "time and means," that triggers obedience?

You're told in the temple that what you are about to do, your eternal salvation hinges on it. God will not be mocked. Then you see a character named Satan who basically threatens to take away your eternal salvation if you don't live up to covenants you're making. When they used the trigger language of the temple, most of the Mormon faithful got it. Your salvation and the salvation of humanity depends on it. It's inferred that you will lose everything if you don't obey.

If there's one thing religion is good at, it's using fear to make people conform and obey. The question is whether uniformity and mass action at the behest of a few authoritarians is good for humanity…and I think not. At least not the kind of humanity I want to live among.


RECENT POSTS:
--How Mormons will conquer the world
--Friday Cephalopod: Eye of the cuttlefish
--Great Beards: Darwin!
--Irreligiosophical podcast
--Octopuses do not have psychic powers

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chicago Architecture Blog (architecture)


REVIEWED BY: Ms Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: Yes, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Chicago Architecture Blog, by

WEB ADDRESS: http://blog.chicagoarchitecture.info/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Since 2003, providing news, analysis, and information about architecture, development, and urban living in downtown Chicago.

MY REVIEW: Well, I'm really vacillating about whether or not I should review this blog here, or just put a thumbs down on its Amazon subscription page. The problem is it hasn't been updated since May 7. For the first three years of its existence the blog had been updated at least once or twice a week, but in this year, a steady diminishment. 38 posts in Jan, 20 in Feb, 29 in March, 8 in April, and 3 in May.

I'm thinking perhaps the architecture field in Chicago, as in so many other fields, is tanking, and he's not got anything to post about.

On the other hand, I love architecture...

So, I guess, subscribe to the blog for two weeks if you're interested in architecture and/or Chicago, and if the author hasn't updated in those two weeks, dump it.

RECENT POSTS:
--Tech Company Goes Green in Woodstock (May 7)
--Things For Your Time
--TweetEcho, April 15-May 2, 2010

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Clue Wagon (genealogy)


REVIEWED BY:

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Clue Wagon, by Kerry Scott

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.cluewagon.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: After nearly 15 years in human resources, I left to stay home with my two small children. Then I started a blog for job seekers. After a year of talking about resumes and interviews and crazy candidates, I finally worked up the courage to pursue my REAL dream: becoming a professional genealogist. Now, instead of talking about employment forms, I talk about census forms.

My blog is about my journey, my research, and occasionally about ice cream. It’s fun. You should visit.

MY REVIEW: I enjoyed this blog a great deal. The author writes well, and covers an interesting variety of topics in the genealogy field. People who are interested in setting out to find their relatives will find this blog of great interest, and people who are just interested in history in general will also enjoy it.

The one caveat - the author only updates the blog 3 or 4 times a month.

Sample post:
About That Guy In The Morgue…
by Kerry Scott on May 17, 2010
Photo not reproduced

Remember Edward Ackermann, the guy I found in the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Unclaimed Persons Database?

Here’s his story:

Edward Lee Ackermann was born in 1926 in Richmond, Virginia. He was adopted by Fred Ackermann and his second wife, Dorothy Ann Meyerhofer. Dorothy already had an adopted daughter, Mary Elizabeth, from her previous marriage.

When he was 16, Ed applied for a Social Security card so that he could work at the Sears and Roebuck store on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. When he was 18, he joined the Army, and he served for three years. I don’t know yet what he did for a living when he got out of the Army, but I know he’d been a security guard for two years prior to his death at age 68. He never married, and lived with his mother for many years (in fact, the house he died in in 1994 on Glenville Drive in Los Angeles is the same one listed as his mother’s residence when she died in 1967).

Ed died of natural causes, and was found by the wife of his roommate/friend, Robert Walton. Ed had written a letter for Robert years before saying that he was adopted, his parents were dead and he had no other family, and that he was a veteran. Robert turned the letter over to the police when they came to investigate Ed’s death, and that’s how Ed came to be buried at Riverside National Cemetery.

As it turns out, Ed did have family when he died. His parents had divorced sometime before they both died in the 1960s, and Ed’s sister Mary Elizabeth died in 1982. Ed and his sister’s family had been estranged for years, and they had no idea that he had passed away. In looking for clues about him, I found them. They gave me the picture above, and some details about his life. It’s funny how Ed’s alone-ness at the end of his life ended up bringing together some branches from his family tree years later.

I’m both relieved and a little sad that Ed’s story turned out to be so ordinary. I had pictured some dramatic end…homelessness, or a crime scene, or some other scenario that probably comes from having watched too much Law and Order. In truth, his story didn’t have any “ripped from the headlines” twist. It could be the story of any of us. I find that a little unsettling.

But I’m glad I “met” him.

RECENT POSTS:
--A Tornado Hit My Favorite Place Last Night
--What’s in a Name?
--Ugly People Don’t Need Jobs.
--Got Doctors in Your Family Tree? Then You Need This

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Retro Review: Boing, Boing


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with Reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Boing Boing, published by Boing Boing

WEB ADDRESS: http://boingboing.net/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Touted as "A Directory of Wonderful Things," Boing Boing informs readers about everything from new technological gadgets to privacy advocacy and civil liberty issues. With its five contributing columnists--Cory, David, Xeni, John, and Mark--Boing Boing offers information to enlighten, entertain, and change world views. Boing Boing has won the Bloggie award twice for "Weblog of the Year."

MY REVIEW: A very popular blog via the Kindle, if its sales ranking is to be believed. It also cost $1.99 a month instead of the more usual 99 cents, to subscribe, and I'm not sure if it's that valuable!

Although the blog does cover interesting material in a wide variety of subjects, it is link heavy. 90% of its posts are the kind where you have to click on a link to read the complete article. Well, since you get a free two-week tryout when you subscribe via the Kindle, check it out for yourself and see if that irritates you beyond all reason. (It would me.)

Some sample paragraphs (from a review of a book I suggest everybody read!)
Over the weekend, I finally picked up and read Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, an accessible intro to the subject of behavioral economics -- that is, the study of how people behave in the real world and why that varies from the predictions made by classical economic theory (which predicts that people behave rationally and in their own interests). This is a subject I've been very interested in for some years and I'd read and blogged a lot of material about Ariely's work, but somehow never got 'round to reading it for myself.

I'm very glad I did! Ariely's a very engaging writer and a smart social scientist with a knack for illustrating his hypotheses about human behavior through elegant and simple experiments. There's no better time than now to read Predictably Irrational, as Ariely's theories about cheating, incentives, self-fulfilling prophecy, self control, and how we value the things we own versus the things we desire go a long way to explaining the econopocalypse, and also provide an excellent framework for analyzing proposals to get the economy moving again.

For example, Ariely describes a series of experiments that measure work performance among randomly selected groups of people where one group is paid nothing, one group is paid a little, and a third is paid a lot. The group that was paid a little did a little. The group that was paid a lot did a lot. The group that was paid nothing did even more. Ariely and colleagues go on to refine this experiment by changing the reward to gifts (chocolates) instead of money, then to gifts whose value is enumerated ("you will receive a $5 box of Godiva chocolates") and examines how this effects performance. He also examines what happens to performance in situations in which one is at first paid to work, then asked to do the same work again for free.

The results are fascinating, and point to the idea that we work hard for money, and we work hard for social reasons, but that one can short-circuit the other, and lastingly so. He then goes on to explain how companies that ask their employees to work harder for social reasons ("you're part of the team") but dismiss the employees for economic reasons ("we need to cut costs") end up in an impossible place. So do companies that ask customers to come make a purchase as a social transaction ("join the family!") but then treat the transaction after the fact as a purely economic matter ("you should have read the fine-print").

Every chapter works in this vein, and taken as a whole, Predictably Irrational presents a fatal blow to the idea that we can run a system on the assumption that people will take courses of action based on rational calculus, unclouded by cognitive blind-spots that make it practically impossible to find the best course of action.

Of course, this is already an accepted reality of the business-world -- it's why, for example, companies worry that an overly discounted price will reset consumer sentiment about the value of their product. It's why advertisers run "lifestyle" ads that don't feature the product or enumerate its benefits. It's why there are introductory offers that increase in price thereafter. All of these are designed to appeal to emotion, not rational calculus.

But in economics, this irrationality is treated like quantum physics: sure, it's true that this happens on the subatomic scale, but the whole system behaves in a rational, Newtonian fashion and can be treated as such. As Ariely persuasively argues, the economic world is full of a lot more weird, irrational quantum effects than we assume.


RECENT ARTICLES:
-Predictably irrational: subjecting the "rational consumer" hypothesis to scientific scrutiny [this is an excellent review of an excellent book, by the way, and I encourage everyone to read it, regardless of whether or not you subscribe to this blog.)
-Worst fries in America
-The Long Goodbye (guest blogger says au revoir)
-Tim And Eric's New season premieres tonight
-North Korea's woman traffic cops and the robotic mime they do
-Kid's gimbal-mounted cereal bowl

Watchful Eyes, Thoughtful Mind (philosophy, eco awareness)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Watchful Eyes, Thoughtful Mind, by Radiance

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.watchful-eyes-thoughtful-mind.info/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: A blog trying to make a difference in the world of science and eco awareness. Caring about planet Earth and the Earthlings, trying to get them to learn from the past and care about the future, right here in the present.

MY REVIEW: This is an interesting blog, but it is updated only a couple of times a month. Neverthless, if you're into eco-awareness, you'll find this blog of interest.

Sample post:
L'Arche: Spreading compassion

Guest post generously contributed by Rebecca Happy, a long time dedicated and active member of L'Arche, Canada.

Founding Story
L'Arche is an international community of people with and without developmental disabilities who share life together in a family-like setting of a home. We were founded inadvertently, so to speak, by a philosopher and thought leader from Canada, who was the son of Canada’s first francophone Governor General (the Queen’s representative in Canada) George Vanier.

In 1964, Jean Vanier was in France visiting a Dominican priest who was the chaplain of an institution that used to warehouse people with developmental disabilities. The institution was shutting its doors and the keys were “handed over” to them. Jean invited 3 men to live with him in a small house he called L’Arche in reference to Noah’s Arc. He knew it was a long term commitment but had no idea how big it would grow. Today, there are over 130 L'Arche communities in 34 countries and on six continents. These communities are all part of the International Federation of L'Arche Communities.

Vision
L’Arche is committed to helping create an open, inclusive and compassionate society where every person is valued and can make a contribution. L’Arche has a unique vision of care-giving in that it fosters inclusion, understanding and belonging. L’Arche believes that people with developmental disabilities have gifts of the heart that are unique and powerful in their ability to change society. When we let go of our stereotypes of people and ourselves, we can be surprised by what people with developmental disabilities can offer us. At the core of the human experience we are all spiritual beings with the same basic needs and desires. To belong, and to love and be loved are certainly amongst the crucial factors that make up our hearts. In spite of the pretence and fictitious rules and regulations we create for ourselves, when pared all away we can receive our common humanity.

Life Transformation
L’Arche members, with and without disabilities, share in decision making in all aspects of their lives. L’Arche believes that meaningful activities whether for work, play or spirit are important for the dignity of all members of society. Every year L’Arche attracts hundreds of young people from around the world to come and share life with people with developmental disabilities. Entering into intimate life-sharing with people with developmental disabilities is transformative and life changing.

I have been in L’Arche since the late 80’s. Initially I went to a community in France to learn about community and belonging, about faith, to learn to speak French, and to learn about people with developmental disabilities. I never imagined staying for so long.

I was welcomed unabashedly with open arms into people’s hearts. Most people with developmental disabilities have lived with so much rejection, abandonment and abuse, it is surprising they are not closed and cold hearted. The stats on abuse for people with developmental disabilities is 85% if not more. When people go to L’Arche, they think they are going to help the “poor” and look after “those people”. After you have been there a while you realize that it is the people with developmental disabilities that are actually training you to be more human. They see so many people come and go they have to adapt continually and they do it with amazing grace.

They have to adapt to people who do not speak their language, who are young or old, who can or cannot cook, who impose their beliefs and culture via food, music, clothing and expected behaviours and it goes on and on. People with developmental disabilities have a huge capacity to overlook and forgive. They accept who they are and thus can accept who you are. There is no attempt to be anything other than themselves. This is very powerful for people when they allow themselves to enter this kind of relationship. This video called “I AM” illustrates will this capacity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYA6OjG_E4k

Transferable Skills
When I first came online a couple of years ago on the social platforms, I was surprised to hear all the discussions around community building and how the world is changing through the use of technology. A lot of the concepts and verbiage being used, like: “transparency, authenticity, adding value, sharing your gifts, everyone has a place, being grateful, story telling, creating relationships and building community” were things we have been living and discovering and exploring at l’Arche for 40 years. I was excited.

In learning about social media marketing, I found that creating relationships of mutuality and trust seemed to be a key factor to online success. The very, very first blog I put out on social media was about people-skills learned from a person with a developmental disability. You can read it here: http://www.rebeccahappy.com/getting-connected-in-the-new-mediascape-with-social-media/

I presently co-ordinate a very small seniors club of retired members of the L’Arche community I belong to. Here is an interview we did with a local news site http://www.ottawatonite.com/2009/11/larche-artists-art-and-smiles-in-a-thriving-community/ that gives you an excellent sneak peak into the heart of l’Arche.
For more info on the teachings of the founder Jean Vanier go here http://www.jean-vanier.org/home.en-gb.116.0.index.htm
For more information about communities near you http://www.larche.org/home.en-gb.1.0.index.htm
To hear about communities in Haiti read here http://www.larchenetwork.org/en/

RECENT POSTS:
--TED Tuesday: We need educational revolution!
--L'Arche: Spreading compassion
--Making 'Abundant Water' a reality
--Green Cleaning Products


_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

60 magazines can be subscribed to via kindle

That's not very many, compared with thousands of blogs.

Here's the list as of today:

Time by Time Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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2. The New Yorker by The New Yorker (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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3. The Economist by The Economist (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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Reader's Digest by Reader's Digest USA (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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5. Shape by American Media, Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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6. Newsweek by The Washington Post Company (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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7. The Atlantic by Atlantic Monthly (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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8. Technology Review by MIT Technology Review (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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9. Foreign Affairs by Foreign Affairs (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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10. PC Magazine by Ziff Davis Media Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription


11. Science News by Society for Science & the Public (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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12. Bloomberg Businessweek by Bloomberg Businessweek

Forbes by Forbes (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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14. The Nation by The Nation (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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15. Asimov's Science Fiction by Dell Magazines (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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16. Supplement by Times Newspapers Limited. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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17. One Story by One Story LLC (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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18. Slate by Slate (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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19. Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine by Dell Magazines (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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20. Cash: Personal Finance for Real People by Tribune Media Services (Kindle Edition - Sept. 1, 2006) - Magazine Subscription
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21. Fortune by Time Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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22. Barron's by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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23. U.S.News & World Report by U.S. News & World Report, L.P. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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24. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine by Dell Magazines

The New England Journal of Medicine by Massachusetts Medical Society (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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26. Reason by Reason (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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27. The Spectator by The Spectator (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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28. Analog Science Fiction & Fact by Dell Magazines (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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29. The New Republic by The New Republic (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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30. The Informed Traveler by Questex Media LLC (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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31. Opinionated: Voices and Viewpoints on America and the World by Tribune Media Services (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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32. Women's Adventure by Big Earth Publishing Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.25


33. Dell Horoscope by Dell Magazines (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.99


34. India Today by India Today (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.25


35. Salon by Salon (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $3.49


36. Home Business Magazine by Home Business Magazine

Modern Healthcare by Modern Healthcare (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $5.99


38. U.S.News Weekly by U.S. News & World Report, L.P. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.99


39. The Fountain by The Light Inc (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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40. Electric Literature (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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41. PopMatters by PopMatters Media, Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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42. InformationWeek by United Business Media (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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43. China International Business by China International Business (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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44. Narrative by Narrative Magazine Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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45. ForbesLife by Forbes (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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46. Winding Road Weekly by NextScreen (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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47. New Statesman by New Statesman (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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48. The Big Money by Washington Post (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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49. Prick of the Spindle by Prick of the Spindle (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.75

50. San Francisco by Modern Luxury Media (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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51. Business Today by India Today (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.25


52. WirtschaftsWoche by Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $7.99

53. The Escapist by Themis Group (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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54. Front Desk Chicago by Modern Luxury Media (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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55. The Objective Standard by Glen Allen Press (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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56. Journal of the American College of Cardiology by American College of Cardiology Foundation (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $12.99


57. Front Desk New York by Modern Luxury Media (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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58. Industry Today by Positive Publications LLC (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
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59. Poets & Writers Magazine by Poets & Writers, Inc. (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $0.99


60. Angeleno by Angeleno (Kindle Edition) - Magazine Subscription
Buy: $1.99

Gedanken eines Fliegenden (German, travel)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Gedanken eines Fliegenden, by nff (Translated - thanks for flying)

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.flugschreiber.ch/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Was man als Copilot auf Reisen so erlebt (Translated: Which one as a copilot on journeys experiences in such a way)

MY REVIEW: Highly recommended, if you're a native German speaker, or know German, or are learning German, and have a passion for travel.

Sample post:
ein Sonntag in Hong-Kong
Es viele Arten, wie man in Hong-Kong einen Tag beginnen kann. Nicht zu empfehlen ist es, mit leerem Magen ein Tram zu besteigen. Wie ein Grashüpfer springt das schmale Ding von einer Seite zur anderen. Die Geleise stammen noch aus der Zeit des Tai-Pan und sind so ausgeleiert, dass die aufgestellte Spielkarte jederzeit zu kippen droht.

Ich war gerädert und ausgelaugt, als ich der Jasskarte auf Schienen entstieg. Dass es mit dem Hüpfen noch nicht vorbei war, merkte ich Sekunden später. Die Strassen waren gesperrt und voller Philipininnen. Richtig, es war ja Sonntag! Am Sonntag haben die Hausmädchen frei, dürfen ihre Paläste verlassen und können nirgendwo anders hin, als auf die Strasse. So springe ich also zwischen den ausgelegten Reismatten hin und her und erreiche schwitzend Pier 3.

Vielleicht nicht die schlauste Idee, an einem Sonntag mit blauem Himmel auf die Inseln zu fahren, doch siehe da, im Lieblingskaffee hat es einen Tisch frei.
Ein grosser Milchkaffee und ein Tisch unter Palmen – ach was soll ich noch schreiben, lassen wir die Bilder sprechen!

RECENT POSTS:
--all quiet on the standby front
--von Katzen ...
--2G
--Unbeständigkeit
--ein Sonntag in Hong-Kong

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Magazine on Kindle Review: Women's Adventure


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Women's Adventure, by Big Earth Publishing Inc.

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.womensadventuremagazine.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Women's Adventure is the only sports, travel, fitness, and lifestyle magazine published specifically for active women. Published bi-monthly, Women's Adventure is for women who choose to thrive in the wild. Every edition inspires, informs and invigorates. Experience the thrill and excitement of adventure and personal challenge in today's modern world.

The Kindle Edition of Women's Adventure Magazine contains most articles found in the print edition, but will not include all images. For your convenience, issues are auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle at the same time the print edition hits the newsstand.

[Bolding mine].

MY REVIEW: When I first looked at my first issue, I was kind of disappointed. I couldn't see how to navigate it. There are four sections in this Summer 2007 issue, The Front (1), The Dirt (20), Women's Adventures (7), and Features (3). So I clicked on Women's Adventures and instead of seeing a title list, I was brought straight to the first article This was annoying. Then I figured out how to do it. You take you five-way controller and scooch it over to the numberal (7), click on that, and then you see the titles of the five articles.

So once I figured out that one little thing, I really enjoyed this. OF course the photos are greyscale, but they still have an impact, and the info is good.

I'm only puzzled about what I'm paying. According to the page, it's a $1.25 monthly price, for a magazine that's published quarterly. So I'll be paying, in total, $15 for 4 issues over the course of the year, or $3.75 per issue.

Not bad. But, the print version is published bi-monthly - that should be six issues. So am I going to get 4 or 6 issues? Well - I'll find out, and as soon as I know, I'll share that info here.

As an aside, this is the first time I've ordered a magazine available on Kindle. Like the blogs, you get to read the issue for 14 days, and if you cancel you owe nothing. So there's no reason why you shouldn't give various magazines a try. I'll start reviewing at least one or two of them a week from now on.

SOME ARTICLE TITLES:
--Idiosycnrasies of Arousal (getting fired up for competition)
--Ancient lessons of nature
--Get up, stand up (stand up paddling)
--The skinny on cleanses

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Kindlerama (Kindle free books, techncial stuff, etc.)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Kindlerama, by Chris Walters

WEB ADDRESS: http://kindlerama.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: KINDLERAMA keeps you up-to-date on Kindle related news, the latest software and hardware developments from Amazon, and great ebook bargains from the Kindle Store.

IF YOU OWN A KINDLE, you'll appreciate the tips and guides that will help you get the most out of your device.

* case and accessory reviews
* shortcuts and easter eggs
* how to guides and instructions
* how to convert unfriendly file formats
* tips for creating a killer ebook library

IF YOU USE THE KINDLE APP on another device, you'll find out the latest about the Kindle platform with up-to-the-minute posts about new developments.

* new operating systems
* updates
* what the competition is doing

And if you're just a general ebook enthusiast, you'll enjoy the random posts about industry topics such as DRM, publisher/retailer battles, pricing, and alternative devices.

MY REVIEW: There are a few Kindle related blogs that alert you to free books, and there are others that tell you about hacks and such like stuff. This is one of the second kind, and believe it or not there's a lot of technical information about your kindle that can help you get greater enjoyment out of it, so frankly I'd suggest giving this blog a try.

Sample post:
Have you read an indie or self-published book from the Kindle store recently? You should review it! Other Kindle readers will thank you, you’ll be famous (at least to that author), and you’ll be doing the entire Kindle community a huge public service.

In my daily trawling through Amazon’s Kindle store, I’m constantly coming across indie and self-published titles. Sometimes they look abysmal and I wish their authors well and click over to another page. But sometimes they catch my eye, either because of a well-designed cover (which is rare, sadly), or a compelling title, or a tightly written product description.

Now usually this is the point where I jump to the reviews and start skimming to get an idea of the book’s tone, sophistication, entertainment value, and so on.

Not so with indie and self-pubbed titles; more often than not I hit a blank review section, or a couple of reviews that are so effusive and exlamatory that they seem written by relatives and writing group friends.

Big publishers and the people who love them frequently argue that the indie/self-publishing world doesn’t work because there are no gatekeepers. Any old dreck can be pushed out to the Kindle store and sold for 99 cents. And they’re right, sadly, which you can see for yourself by drilling down to any random category on the Kindle store and sorting by price, low to high.

But that description is unfair because it paints with too broad a stroke. There are some terrific works out there waiting to be discovered by readers. They’d be easier to find if readers left good reviews–and not so good ones, if that’s called for–on the pages for these smaller titles.

If you’ve been following the daily deals I post in the sidebar, you might have noticed that I tend to focus a lot on indie and self-published works. That’s because they’re more likely to be bargain-priced, but also because I want to help readers discover new writers who aren’t going through the old fashioned big-business channels.

So please write reviews. Your honest opinions will help all of us make smarter decisions about what to read next.

RECENT POSTS:
--Just how cheap will the Kindle get?
--Amazon drops price of Kindle 2 to $189
--How to re-install the screensaver hack on a Kindle running 2.5.2
--Why your book reviews are important
--
_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space SciencesTopical Murder and Dated Death

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Retro Review: Go With the Flowski


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Go With The Flowski

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.gowiththeflowski.com/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Technomads blogging the U.S.A. like never before photographing spectacular, compelling, offbeat, utterly unforgettable cool places. We're the new breed of geeky gypsies livin' the dream on the road by summer and skiing Tahoe in winter! New photos/videos are uploaded to our photo blog frequently, follow it today!

MY REVIEW: I hate to give this blog a bad review, as the photos are pretty nice -- on their website. But with the greyscale of the Kindle, the photos really do suffer in translation.

Each post has several photos of each particular site.

Bookmark this blog if you like photos of American scenery. Try a Kindle subscription if you're satisfied with greyscale photos.

RECENT ARTICLES:
-Snow at Sierra in Tahoe
-Alice in Chains Concert
-Lake Tahoe, California
-Welcome to CAlifornia
-Mono Basin Scenic Area
-Crab Cooker Hot Spring, CA

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Phoenix Real Estate Guy (industry specific, real estate)


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Phoenix Real Estate Guy

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Local, state and national real estate news and developments.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog for anyone thinking of buying a house - regardless of where you want to buy it, although it will be of extra help to those wanting to buy a home in Phoenix.

The posts are well written and informative. The website also provides many features for the prospective home buyer - a "Quick Home Buyer" search engine for Phoenix and surrounding cities homes for sale.

RECENT POSTS:
--I Am Your Customer: Why you need to listen to me
--Short Selling Your House: Getting a Mortgage After Foreclosure
--Can I Withdraw an Offer on a Short Sale Before the Bank Approves it?
--To My Friends in Saskatoon — Buy a House in Phoenix!
--A&E’s Flip This House: Looking for a Phoenix Phlipper
--Ask a Question!

_______________________
Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

Monday, June 21, 2010

Retro Review: Classic Mysteries


REVIEWED BY: Ms. Cairo

MY RECOMMENDATION: YES

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Classic Mysteries

WEB ADDRESS: http://www.classicmysteries.net/

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Podcasts, reviews and conversations about fine mysteries worth reading and re-reading.

MY REVIEW: I love this blog. A definite must subscribe, if you are any kind of a mystery fan.

Truth to tell, I was raised on the classic mysteries Les Blatt talks about here, so much so that I return to them again and again, instead of the modern stuff written these days that is too gruesome for my taste, or just so much pap. (How many middle-aged women with cranky mothers or otherwise disfunctional families can operate a catering service or a bed and breakfast or a dog walking business and on and on).

Okay, inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. I normally discourage subscribing to blogs that make you click on a link to be taken to the complete article... but with this blog, it's worth it. Also, a few of the reviews are podcasts, which you can't hear on the Kindle. But, when you come across a book and Blatt's prose makes you curious to know more, then you can bop on over to his website and take a listen.

RECENT ARTICLES:
-Book Printing: the way it was
-Looking back: Vintage Ngaio Marsh
-"Death of a Peer"
-Looking back: "Trent" and the Imperfect Detective
-Agatha Nominees
-"The Poisoned Chocolates Case"