Mediterranean Landscape by Picasso

Mediterranean Landscape is the best example of Picasso’s landscape skills as well as being one of the best known Cubist paintings from an artist who helped to create this art movement in the 20th century. This article discusses the merits of Mediterranean Landscape and comments further on the life and career of Pablo Picasso.

This landscape features an impressive selection of colours that help to lift the landscape painting to match the beautiful colours of the scene that he was depicting. Indeed, colour selection was one of the key skills to this highly impressive Spanish artist. Aside from this, Picasso also was a talented sketcher, as seen in the simple drawings of Camel, Dog, Cat and Rooster that dominated a different period in his life. That series represents his drawing talents, whilst Mediterranean Landscape concentrates more on boldness of colour and cubist imagination. Three Musicians is a similarly popular painting that also follows the Cubist ideals which mark an influential period in Picasso’s life.

Conclusively, Picasso was not a landscape painter like Turner or Constable in that he devoted all his attentions to this style or that he did not find inspiration in other methods. Quite the contrary was in fact true, and this Landscape work marks just one approach of many that the artist used and developed over time as he confidently took on new artistic directions all the time, and positively set about consciously doing so. It is the selection of colour and popularity of Cubism that helps Mediterranean Landscape to remain one of the most reproduced of all Picasso paintings, normally as framed art print, poster or stretched canvas.

15 Ways to Create Some Extra Holiday Money

Originally this was going to be a list for my two teenagers but some of these ideas are better suited to adults with a valid driver’s license and a bit of know-how. Some of these take a bit of planning and organizing, but most of them could be done on a fairly spur of the moment case by case basis. The great thing about a lot of these ideas is that you’re spreading holiday cheer by helping to make someone else’s otherwise stressful and overwhelming to-do list a little bit easier. Who wouldn’t pay to have someone come do a few of these things for you? Mostly, what’s important is that you remember to provide a quality item or service to the buyer with a smile on your face and in your heart. Have fun with these!

1. Baby-sit for people who need to do some Christmas shopping without their little ones tagging along. Anyone trustworthy who is over the age of about thirteen or fourteen can do this one. It’s hectic enough to get in and out of the malls and shopping centers without having to drag toddlers along. Contact friends, family, coworkers, and members of your spiritual community to let them know that you’re available for holiday babysitting. This can include time that the parents need to get away for office parties, charity events, and volunteering to help the elderly and less fortunate members of their community.

2. Grab a ladder and offer to clean leaves out of your neighbors’ gutters. Many people are so busy during the summer months that they completely forget to clean all of the debris from their gutters when the sun is out and it’s dry outside. It’s cold and yucky outside now and many people are too busy to get to it themselves. They’ll probably be glad that you offered and they can check it off of their to-do lists. This isn’t one for the younger kids. However, they can offer to rake up the leaves in their neighbors’ yards. Adults could offer to do both the gutters and the yard as one big project for a nice reasonable price. It could also be a father & son side business that you do together – while dad cleans the neighbors gutters, junior rakes up the leaves in the lawn.

3. Bake something amazing and offer to sell it to your friends and coworkers so they won’t have to do their own holiday baking. You probably have to be careful about selling your baked goods to professional organizations and such, but you could do some sideline baking to help out your friends, neighbors, and coworkers who are going to be entertaining guests over the holidays and simply won’t have the time to do their own baking. Have you got an awesome recipe that stands out as everyone’s absolute favorite? It’s the hit of every potluck? Make up some tiny sample sizes or bring it in to the office break room and serve up samples to your potential clients. Then while their mouths are watering, tell them that for a fee you’ll bring them one to their home the day before their guests are to arrive. You’ll have to work out the scheduling and cost of ingredients and such, but this could be a fun way to make some money and spread some serious joy. The hostess will be so pleased when she pulls your work of art out of the fridge and her guests ooh and ah over the scrumptious homemade dessert she didn’t even have to bake herself.

4. Offer to collect people’s empty soda cans and cash them in. My son raised almost $300 last spring doing this so that he could go to a training course to become a camp counselor for the little kids at our church. He went door to door offering to do yard work and most people just handed him bags and bags of pop cans they didn’t want to take the time to cash in. He collected most of them over one weekend and then cashed them all in the following weekend. We live really close to a grocery store where he could walk to cash them in, so I didn’t even have to get my car dirty with sticky soda drippings! This is a really good one for the younger kids to do.

5. Sell something on eBay. I know a number of people who make a decent second income all year round by digging around for antiques and such from the Goodwill and then fixing them, cleaning them up, and selling them for a much higher price on eBay. You have to know what to look for, but these folks will pick up an old pair of stereo speakers for $10 or $15 and then sell them on eBay for $200. The customer pays for shipping. You can also do this through garage sales, flea markets, and estate sells too. Most of the time and work goes into hunting for the cool treasures that someone will want to purchase.

6. Hang up people’s outdoor Holiday lights for them. As a single mom, I would have loved it if someone had come to my house and hung the Christmas lights on my house for me. My children always wanted us to decorate the outside of the house and I hated not being able to do that for them. I didn’t know the first thing about how to go about hanging them up. I didn’t even own a ladder! So, I would think that you could go around offering to hang up people’s outdoor holiday lights for a fee. It they are like me and don’t even have lights but want to get some, you could offer your expertise as to which kind to buy and where to get the best prices and such.

7. Grab a broom or a shovel and offer to clean the neighborhood sidewalks. This is another good one for the younger teens. There’s always sidewalks that need swept or shoveled. And there’s always someone too busy or too tired to do it themselves.

8. Work a second job as seasonal help at one of the department stores in the mall. Most of the major department stores hire extra help in October or November so they can have them fully trained by the time the really busy holiday shopping season kicks in. They are kept on until after the inventory counts are done in January. Then most are let go if they haven’t quit already. Those who have proven themselves to be quality employees will often be asked to stay on longer.

9. Sell something at holiday bazaars. I suspect that you have to get these kinds of events lined up ahead of time with a bit of preplanning and such, but plenty of folks make a decent seasonal income by selling cool arts and crafts type items at those holiday bazaars. Often a percentage of the sales goes towards a fundraiser, but you still make enough to make it worth your time and energy to create the art and to hang out at the art shows.

10. Sell your plasma. We all know how important it is to donate blood during the holidays, but many people don’t know that you can get paid for sitting through a procedure quite similar to the donation process. The difference is that they run your blood through a machine that separates the plasma from the red blood cells and puts the red blood cells back into your body. It take longer and I guess that’s why they are willing to pay you for your time. Years ago, I used to do this when my kids were really little and we needed some extra money for upcoming birthdays and such. They wouldn’t let you do it more than once a week or so and they only paid about $25 each time, so you had to plan ahead if you were going to raise $100 or $200 for something you wanted to purchase. Contact your local Red Cross or other blood donation centers for help finding the plasma centers.

11. Clean houses for others who have holiday guests coming. Typically, if someone has out of town guests coming for the holidays, they have a lot more on their to-do list then just cleaning their toilets and shampooing the carpets. You could become a real lifesaver for those in a crunch who are too busy, too old, or too tired to do a thorough deep cleaning before the guests arrive. Some might even hire you again to clean up after the guests leave too! Teens can do this just as easily as the adults can.

12. Run errands and do odd holiday jobs like wrapping gifts or delivering packages to the post office. You could start a little side business where all you do is run other people’s errands for them. Drop off and pick up the dry cleaning. Take their pet to the vet. Deliver cupcakes to the charity fundraiser. Pick up a handful of gift certificates from national department stores that will later be mailed out. Address and stamp their Christmas cards for them. Do their grocery shopping. Pick up new printer cartridge and some desk calendars for them. It’s all of those tiny little errands that make for frazzled schedules and crazy timelines. For a fee, you could do it for them.

13. Decorate the inside of people’s homes or offices for the holidays. You don’t have to be a professional interior decorator to be helpful. If you’ve got a reputation as having a good eye for attractive and festive decorating, you can help others to set up their trees, hang garland, and place some nice poinsettia here and there. You can help make people’s homes and their office space a warm inviting environment and also include coming back after the holidays to break it all down into to storage containers as part of the deal. I hate tearing down the decorations and would love to pay someone to put it all back away!

14. Cater some dinners for the extremely busy shoppers or for Holiday parties. Those who are not awesome cooks need not apply for this one! Let’s say that your boss is having the annual company Christmas party at his house and his wife is swamped with running kids back and forth to choir concerts and peewee football camp while shopping and planning for her in-laws who will be flying in to visit only three days after her husband’s company party at her house!!! You could offer to cook and cater the event for her. You’d once again be making someone else’s holiday season so much easier while earning extra money for yourself. Decide in advance on a menu and who’s purchasing the ingredients needed. Then all you have to come up with is a dollar figure for your time and grandma’s secret recipe for those little mini-cakes that everyone loves so much.

15. Chauffer someone’s children to and from school and other activities so the parents have some free time. This isn’t quite the same as babysitting. You’d be amazed at how much time a person can spend picking up and driving two or three kids to different events and hauling musical instruments and sporting gear from one event to the next. You could simply run a taxi service for children and teenagers who need rides from point A to B. You don’t have to hang out and watch them once they get there. Just make sure they arrive on time. Even just having an afternoon at home to cook and clean house while someone else gathers up all of the kids and brings them all home could make a world of difference for someone.

As you can see, some of these services could easily be turned into a year-round side job or they could be dropped as soon as the holidays are over. Perhaps you’ll find that you love catering people’s meals, you love refurbishing antiques, or you love running errands and taxiing others around from place to place. You could go into business for yourself and by next year, you could quit your ‘real job’ and be happily self-employed. Then again, your teenager could discover how much time and work it takes just to raise enough money for some generous Christmas shopping. After learning the value of a dollar earned, they might decide that college is a good idea after all!

Copyright 2004, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow’s Edge

Religious Stew – PC Poison in the Pot

When Jesus asked a crowd of people who felt their religion justified them about what he would find at his second coming he said "Neverheadess when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18: 8) No one in the crowd answered him because the answer is understood. The answer is of course; No! So what replace faith, what could possibly pre-empt faith in the Gospel. The answer is unilaterally and odd; It is religion itself.

Religion if centered on the finished work of Christ creates a good supplement to express and renew faith but it often becomes a substitute instead of a supplement. In the apostasy this substitution is accelerated by ecumenism, syncretism and liberalism. The need to bring all religions under one roof is expressed most often in the penchant for ecumenism. The catalyst for ecumenism is syncretism which is a forced alignment of different doctrines and beliefs so that one size fits all. Syncretism can not be accomplished without liberalism. A lax attitude that says one religion or any particular belief is as good as any other. It is liberalism's key to unlock the kitchen cabinet and throw in anything and everything into the pot.

It does well to note that while the secular world view of strict evangelicals, fundamentalist and any sect that holds stringently to the Gospel is that they are intolerant and perhaps even belligerent, Christ does not see it that way. To him they are the blessed faithful of the earth, indeed the very "salt of the earth." Sadly in today's climate of PC, tolerance and diversity some of the salt is losing its savour. (Mt. 5:13)

The apostasy is not only a promise and a prophesied surety in the Bible it is one of the specific elements that help to usher in or precipitate the second coming of Christ. (2Th 2: 3) The "New World Order" is predicated on the threefold idea that there must be one world government, one world economy and one world religion. The best way to stop the bickering and infection in various religions is to throw them all into one single pot and pronounce that they are a single substance. Are they all of the same substance? Not on your life!

Did Buddha die for the sins of the world? Has Muhammad been raised from the dead? Will Oprah destroy the enemies of Israel at the battle of Armageddon? Will the city built on the God given New Earth that measures 1500 miles in height be built by the Army Corp of Engineers? No, all religions are not the same and no comparative religions course even if it is 202 or higher will explain the aforementioned with any honesty.

Liberalism in Christianity has almost all of the same ear markings as political or secular progressive liberalism. Keep a close check on the economy, our country's image in the world and do not over tax the citizens and pretty much all else is of little consequence. Hollywood can dump on us and our children, legislators can promote any agenda they like and academics can teach our children anything they choose to imagine. As long as we do not commit major crimes we can do just about anything that comes to mind with relative impunity. That's the secular world view and the liberal church's view is only a little behind that.

When liberalism hits the church it is the basic tenets of the faith that get cut first. Adherence to strict Biblical doctrines and the promulgation of the Gospel are attacked first. In the end the churches may still go on as usual but you can adopt a sort of 12 step approach to God and he can be "whatever you perceive him to be." I actually heard someone say that God could have a light bulb to you and it would not matter. Sadly it makes a liar out of God and if it were possible a fool as well. Is not it an act of foolishness for God to let his only begotten son die for the sins of the world if they could get redemption in any other of a myriad of ways? What a waste.

Not everyone in the Christian church goes gutless as the New World Order comes waltzing in. Some churches and believers will remain faithful to the simple Gospel of salvation till the very end. As with any good army someone is on the front "holding the line." They will take the fire and many will make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. Will it be necessary?

According to the Prophet Daniel and the book of Revelation the believers will most certainly come a direct onslaught from the coming world dictator known today only as the antichrist. Not as well known is the fact that he will cast off the ecumenical and liberal churches first then go after the remaining faithful. He (antichrist) will have no mercy on any religion, the Muslim, Judaic and Hindu religions will not escape either.

It will be a life and death struggle that for a while will look completely hopeless. That hope will suddenly shift back to the church at the end of antichrist's rule because Christ himself will intervene. No wonder the Apostle Paul referred to that shift as a "blessed hope" in Titus 2:13. At the end of the antichrist's rule the hope of every true Christian will become sight, they will see their Lord subdue the earth and remove the governments of the planet away from the hands of men.

The arch deceiver (Satan) is also the arch distracter. He can lead the apostate church (some of them) away with what looks like wonderful causes and missions like global warming, social causes, and a plethora of similar tripe. Those who know the scripture know full well that global warming has nothing to do with the coming judgments and will not be how the would come to its knees. Both the penchant for personal and collective sinfulness is what's warm up much faster than our temperatures are climbing. Social issues all syrupy and general will be as successful as the peace movement has been. Peace? There have been more wars in the past 100 years than all of the rest of history combined and the end is not in sight.

Churches that have not succumbed to the prosperity gospel or the emergent church doctrine, dominion-ism, oprah-ism, new age, and another half dozen or so hair brained latter day schemes are often taken in by something apparently much easier to swallow. The social gospel is full of PC attractive causes that no one would dare argue against, they come with a conscience soothing balm called "constitutional behavior." In short that means doing good stuff to offset a bad life and total rebellion to God. Being concerned can not divert being condemned; The wages of sin is still death Ro. 6:23. The death of a soul is never very social and the jingle of change in an offering plate is not a substitution for a change in the way we live.

This is not angry talk it is desperate talk. God unfortunately loves mankind and has offered ample proof of the same. He would rather we appreciate not apostate, and the message will not change until the last star falls. For God so loved the world, that he cave his only begotten Son, that whosoeever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16.

Knowing that God so loved the world is not enough at times, what is needed is the reminder that God loves you. It is a personal, one on one matter for each man or woman. In 1948 legend song writer the late Hovie Lister who began one of Southern Gospel music's most beloved groups, "The Statesmen," may have said it best in the last two verses of his famous song "How Long has it Been."

How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
And told Him your heart's hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed, how long since you stayed
On you knees till the light shone through?

How long has it been since you woke with the dawn
And felt that the days' worth the living?
Can you call Him your friend, how long has it been?
Since you know that He cared for you?

Galactic Connection: Shadow of Us!

Authentic Human Development: Connecting to the Shadow

MODE of Cosmic Therapy ©

We all know we live inside the physical body of at least two distinct personalities. One, we show to the world, the other we wrestle with in the privacy of our own fragile inconsistent minds. We do a great job convincing others and ourselves we have it all together. But, we know, more than anyone would ever suspect, how much we have not bridged the gap between our frailties and insecurities.

We strive to overcome the constituent inconsistencies with little noticeable progress. Why? Because we 'think' we're supposed to change, alter, and diminish (save ourselves from our weaknesses) instead of embracing, befriending and allowing them to teach us what we so desireately need to learn: to stop judging ourselves and measuring our progress .

With all the educational psychology courses we could take in self-improvement, development, enlightenment, none would be as gratifying as one afternoon's worth of getting to know our shadow: the neglected and shunned part of ourselves we are so vehemently ashamed of.

Psychologically, this abandoned part of us would be hiding in the unconscious, asking to be vented through and released from the slatted shafts of complicated momentous blame. Esoterically, it would be pouncing up the layers of embedded multi-dimensional selves; We are in the process of filtering and panning for nuggets of gold. Educationally, it's the only real course of interest we ever maintained through our lives in spite of all of the stages we moved through, along with the people and projects we placated and sublimated our energy for or into.

Self-edification is not a matter of making ourselves better in any stretch of the imagination. How in the world would that be possible? Better than what? Better than the preconceived Ideas we have established or better than others which we have gauged inappropriately, inaccessibly and indiscriminately? We have no idea in / to what depths other people must fight their demons. None are exempt.

WE walk in a manner of such high-mindedness, so full of the reoccurring falsity in our lives; We would not realize, accept or embrace a genuine unprocessed aspect of ourselves if we met it on the street corner. Our first item on the agenda of personal business is self-importance. We deem ourselves in such a well-preserved slot of significance and filling an elusively carved out niche of indispensable substance; We continuously set up for ourselves illegally contrived versions of despairing consequence and unnecessary constrictions.

Our discontented lives are based upon hefty fragmented doses of sketchy episodes in 'chasing to become', 'gotta get somewhere', 'need to secure something' '' I can not live without that person 'in order to be happy or fulfilled. Of these self-sabotaging scenes are filled to the bursting point of pretense. Our inherent 'desire pot' boiled over and we were not even at home when it happened. It's all a matter of showing up for our lives, with the shadow part holding The gold embroidered invitation.

The very fact we claim to want something other than what we are currently engaged in is utterly ludicrous and self-deprecating. We have no need of any other raw material to create our destinies other than that which is facing us at the moment. Not only is our shadow self apparently not impressed by our outlandish tactics to convince and impress people, but it is not the least bit interested in how supposedly enlightened we say we are. Bull shit.

We are no more enlightened than the next moment when we grow angry because someone has intervened in our plans or upset our applecart with ideas we did not approve of or expect. How many minutes can we actually let things be without comment or interference?

How dare we pretend to be further along than are? And, pray tell me, how would we know the process to begin to gauge our progress? The idiotic measuring tool would be soiled and distorted in our favor, of course, that the results would be biased beyond belief. It's so easy to resist the shadow part of our nature. And, easier still, to project it onto someone else. Neither action works. Coming to terms with the part of us that often times is so scared and rejected, we are not even conscious it rules us until we see the blatant demonstration quite unexpectedly.

Then, we immediately, set about apologizing or defending our action; Which, in fact, does nothing but add insult to injury.

Our deepest desires are programmed. WE have no idea of ​​why we are attracted to the people we attract or engage in the activities we engage. We continue to turn the pancake over washing when it will be done when we have not even turned on the stove. In other words, we lie. We lie all the time; To ourselves, others and unrelentingly to the universe in search of something to satisfy, gratify, soothe and coax us into believing we are so great and wonderful.

The truth is we are not happy, unfulfilled or discordant. "This is as good as it gets." And, we're damned glad of it. We simply will not accept the inexplicable passionate truth which resides deep within.

We are lustful, passion seeking creatures, who earnestly desire to be broken in like a wild stallion. We want to tangle with the depths of our dark natures in order to spring the banned criminal of ecstasy from his belied cell of self-conviction. No longer do we have to prepare to care when we do not. The self-loathing misery arises from trying to force ourselves to do and be something we are not nor ever have been.

Our sublime sensual sexual artistic nature demands to be heard and expressed in ways that are shocking and liberating. What does that involve? Getting gut honest; Doing that which is so alien to our natures. Stopseeing our actions. When there's an awkward gap in the conversation, leave it alone. Do not try to explain, defend, excuse or clarify.

Most of all, stop seeking enlightenment as if it's on another paradisiacal level or in some celestial sphere of some sort. It's right where you stand, in the face of those we encounter and interact with on a daily basis. Can we get with that? In order to ascend we must descend to the depths of our being. We must discover, unravel, expose and liberate the 'supposedly' banal aspects. Bring them to the light of day.

Our soul, no matter how we perceive or define its precious ruthless qualities, resides in the darkest part of our natures. We are not to compare and compete with it as if in some boxing match, we are to introduce ourselves, find a common ground upon which we can both equally play out the parts of the divine play we so cleverly inconspicuously designed for this human earth walk .

House Cleaning – One Luxury You Can Afford

Only have time to put away dishes and open the mail when you get home? Doing laundry every other weekend? If you are finding less and less time to pick up around your home, maybe you should consider a professional cleaner. House cleaning services may be more affordable than you expect.

In some minds, house cleaning as an affordable luxury ranks right up there with having a live-in butler. You might be surprised, though, about the kind of professionals that are available to you for a fairly low price.

Perhaps you are a career-oriented parent that would prefer to spend your extra time with your kids. Depending on the schedule you are interested in having a professional cleaner attend to, you may be able to affordably find someone to complete a number of tasks around your home. One of the most common schedules is having your house cleaned once a week.

Maybe in-laws are visiting for the holidays and you don’t want to hear your mother-in-law worry over the dust on the windowsill. Most likely, for the right price, you can hire a service to do a one-time special clean, in time for the big visit.

Whether it’s a routine clean, or a particular reason, there is no job too large or small for a professional cleaner. Again, the most common form of professional cleaning for the home is the weekly visit, but there are other reasons to call in for help. Professional cleaners will lend a hand with washing windows and carpets, fumigating furniture, wall washing and even packing or unpacking after a move.

Worried about the environment? Professional cleaners are well versed in environmentally friendly products and should be very willing to talk with you about any chemicals contained within the products they use. Often, they will be able to provide an organic or less environmental and health harmful solution. Don’t hesitate to ask about which products are right for your family and your home when you book a professional cleaner.

If you have pets, you may have special cleaning needs. Don’t forget to mention this when making an appointment. You will find that there are affordable options for picking up after your pet. Cleaners can work around the biggest and smallest of pets and will be able to sterilize and purify your home in such a way that is healthy and stress-free for your beloved animals.

There are a multitude of reasons for needing your house cleaned. From kids to pets to special visits or routine cleans, professional home cleaners are prepared to step in and get their hands dirty. Even better, their elbow grease can be more affordable then you expect. Look around on the web for affordably priced services and work from recommendations when you can.

Whatever the circumstance you hire a professional house cleaner for, be assured that you are investing your money in a worthy cause. A clean home can mean less stress and more enjoyable living for you. You can’t put a price tag on that.

BRAIN FITNESS – What the Heck is NeuroPlasticity and How Can I Maximize Its Benefits?

If you are at a certain age with a few decades under your belt, one of the things that can drive you quite bonkers is trying to figure out how to master everything you need to know to maintain and protect your cognitive functions.

For example, recently Dr. Norman Doidge wrote a book, now a bestseller, called The Brain That Changes Itself. In this book Dr. Doidge popularizes the amazing concept of neuro-plasticity. "It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age." Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain's basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow The centuries-old notice that the adult brain is fixed and unchanging. "

All very interesting, but what does this mean? More importantly, how can you take advantage of it?

Well, get ready to celebrate, because I am about to reveal an explanation so simple it will answer your questions once and for all. And more than that, you will be able to take concrete action steps that will use neuroplasticity to your advantage.

Right now I'm looking at my blue Tupperware bowl. You can learn a couple of key points about plasticity from this bowl. But do not get me wrong. Tupperware and brains, on the whole, are vastly different!

Would you agree that this bowl has certain characteristics? It holds its shape and is quite durable. In its current form it does its job and holds a salad well.

One day, not so long ago, I accidently sat the bowl near the hot element on the stove for the exact amount of time to turn one side of the bowl into a clear window. I was amazed at how quickly it happened! But that is the nature of plasticity! Now I still have a salad bowl but it has a clear window on one side. The plastic nature of the material allowed it to continue to do its job, even in a different form.

The point of Dr. Doidge's investigation was to reveal that the brain is VERY changeable. If the brain is stimulated in exactly the right way, the brain is ready, willing, and able to reconcile itself to meet the challenge. If the brain is injured for some reason, the brain is ready, willing, and able to reconcile itself to meet this challenge too.

Would not it be great if the brain could change itself, for example, rerouting the wiring around a stroke to keep functions operational?

I'm interested in mending, enhancing and protecting the brain, as you are, so I surprised what the EXACT CIRCUMSTANCES are that stimulate the brain to use its plastic nature and make changes for the best.

After looking at some scientific research I collated a list of 17 actions that stimulate the brain. The NUMBER ONE BRAIN FITNESS ACTIVITY that is exactly right to stimulate the brain to use its plastic nature is NEW LEARNING. (The other 16 may you will not find so obvious.)

With this knowledge of the 17 specific actions that stimulate the brain to improve itself, IT'S NOW UP TO YOU TO TAKE ACTION. Look at the activities in your daily affairs. Analyze how much new learning you actually do each day. If new learning is rare, add more. That's what all those classes are for!

So take a deep breath. I really want you to get this: Working harder is NOT the solution to keeping your brain fit. Working smarter counts. Now that you know what neuroplasticity is, you will KNOW WHY ITS SMART TO INCLUDE as many of these17 actions in your daily life as possible. You will be on your way, easily taking the first steps to keep your brain fit.

The Stourbridge Line Rail Excursion

The smoky gray clouds, like emissions from turn-of-the-century steam locomotives, floated over the otherwise rolling, green Northern Pocono Mountains on a recent Memorial Day weekend. Could they have been hints of the area’s railroad past?

The weed-sprouting track, supporting a diesel engine, a stainless steel New York Central, and three maroon, Pennsylvania Railroad coaches next to the Wayne County Visitors Center, were poised for their 13:00, 25-mile run to Hawley and Lackawaxen as the “Lackawaxen Limited,” operated by the Stourbridge Line’s Delaware, Lackawaxen, and Stourbridge Railroad Company. From rail’s past, apparently grew rail’s present.

Having been operated by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, and inaugurating tourist train service as far back as September of 1979, the Stourbridge Line ran for more than three decades as an earlier rendition, ceasing operations on December 11, 2011, before the present Delaware, Lackawaxen, and Stourbridge Railroad Company, run by the Myles Group, re-plied the tracks as of May 9, 2015.

A 50-minute drive from Scranton to Honesdale, a peruse of Main Street, a poke in the Wayne County Historical Society Museum, and a collection of brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, guide books, and area-related literature deposited me here, on the wooden platform, surrounded by an increasing gather of the train’s passengers.

The train’s railroad history, although silently subtle, seemed to speak to me. A glance over the coaches revealed the town’s Victorian architecture, which, as a preserved pocket, seemed to have withstood the tick of time, and next to the brick, ticket window sporting Visitors Center was a track-attached replica of a wooden coal wagon displayed on an incline. Rails clearly connected the town with its past.

A plaque outside of the historical society proclaimed, “Delaware and Hudson Canal. Terminus of the waterway uniting the Hudson and Delaware rivers. Built 1825 to 1828. A gravity railroad feeder reached Carbondale. For 70 years the anthracite trade outlet for the region.”

As I heard the “All Aboard” wail of the conductor-a virtual tone- and pitch-perfect echo of the instruction given by trainmen for almost two centuries-and inched toward the coach with my fellow passengers, I realized that something about the area had drawn me to its past.

Where, for example, was the Delaware and Hudson Canal and what relation, if any, did it have to this “Gravity Railroad,” with which Honesdale seemed synonymous?

Settling into my seat in car #1993, “Clinton Leech,” which had once been operated by the New Jersey Central Railroad, I thought of the philosophy shared by Sir Arthur Pinero, an English actor, dramatist, and stage director who had lived between 1855 and 1934. “The present is the past again, entered through another gate,” he had philosophized.

As the train would ply the tracks to its destination in the present, I would try to trace the area’s history to its past.

A brief, locomotive-tugging jolt, preceded by the obligatory whistle, increased car coupling tension until the chain formed by the four coaches crept away in forward momentum cohesion, crossing Route 191, where automobiles had collected as witnesses of its departure.

A laborious lumber, amid the protesting shrieks of its wheels, propelled the Lackawaxen Limited into an arboreal tunnel of green, as it paralleled the approximately named Lackawaxen River, whose oil-hued surface, like a mirror, reflected the trees, before squeezing past coach and caboose cradled siding track.

Increasing speed manifested itself as coach sway, as the lateral rocking–excuse the rhyme-took the present away, transporting me to the area’s past. Piece it together, I commanded my mind!

Canals and railroads shared both a geographical and logical origin here. In the case of Honesdale, they seemed to be the same.

Located in Wayne County, in northeast Pennsylvania, the town was 35 miles from Scranton (I had driven it myself) and 150 miles from Philadelphia. So far, that was not very significant.

Established in 1798, the county itself was named after General Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero who had gained notoriety when he ended Indian resistance and destroyed the Northwest Indian Confederation in the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Separated from the County of Northampton in 1798, Wayne County was established, today encompassing 744 square miles.

Its seat of government varied over the years-from Wilsonville to Millford, Bethany, and, as of May 4, 1841, the very Honesdale in which the train originated. I wonder where its name came from, but, more importantly, what brought people to certain places to begin with? Perhaps a way in and a way out and something to transport in either or both directions.

A word on the Wayne County Historical Society’s plaque, which I had jotted down in my notebook, struck me: “Anthracite.” I do not know if this was a household word in Pennsylvania, but it seemed important-important enough for a dig into my laptop for its meaning. And, sure enough, “dig” was, unknowingly, a pretty appropriate word with which to associate it.

Because it was mined from the earth’s oldest geological formations and was therefore subjected to the greatest amount of heat and pressure, anthracite, a variety of coal, was able to produce much more heat energy than its softer, geologically younger counterpart, placing it in significant demand in emerging America to fuel its home hearths, factory furnaces, and steam-powered machines and locomotives-not that there were any of these around-at least not yet.

Although heavy mining in the state in the late-1800s to early-1900s depleted most of its supply, except for that still in very deep, difficult to reach deposits, it ranked as one of the three most important fossil fuels, along with oil and natural gas.

So, for a developing, increasingly industrial-based country, it was equivalent to gold. What remained, I suppose, was how to get it from here to there.

The answer, again, seemed to be inscribed on the Historical Society’s plaque: “Delaware and Hudson Canal.” It was time for more digging.

William Wurts was an early explorer of what was then known as the anthracite mine fields, viewing this rich northeast Pennsylvania energy source as a potentially monetarily rich one. Purchasing large parcels of land where it was located, along with brothers Charles and Maurice, in 1812 for little money, he apparently saw value few others did.

Coal extraction was the first step in his plan. Transporting it to market, particularly to the Philadelphia one, was the second. But that method, via barge-plying canal, had hitherto proven less than efficient, since most of the precious coal commodity was lost enroute. There had to be another-and better-way. He believed there was.

Inspired by the recently built Erie Canal and spurred by the idea that a similar waterway could supply New York City, he realized that he could create his own-in this case, the plaque-noted Delaware and Hudson Canal, which became the first long-distance transportation route chartered by the states of Pennsylvania and New York in 1823.

Threading its way through a narrow valley between the Shawagunk Ridge and the Catskill Mountains, it followed-or, more accurately, became-a 108-mile waterway to the Hudson River near Kingston.

Why not hire the best to complete his plan? That is exactly what Wurts and brothers did, contracting Erie Canal engineer Benjamin Wright to survey and plan the artery, whereafter ground was broken in July of 1825. Their $1.6 million vision, requiring three years of construction and 2,500 laborers to complete, was transformed into water-flowing reality in October of 1828.

Its origin, between Kingston and Rosendale, New York, from where it connected to the New York-bound Hudson River, followed the Rondout Creek to Ellenville, passing through the villages of Sandburg Creek, Homowak Kill, and Basher Kill, through the Neversink River (what a reputation to maintain!) and on to Port Jervis. Proceeding, in a northwesterly direction on the New York side of the Delaware River, it entered Pennsylvania along the northern bank of the Lackawaxen River (currently framed by my coach’s left side window) to Honesdale.

Visions occasionally outpace technology. That phenomenon certainly played out here. Water was buoyant, supporting barges, but provided little propulsion for travel from origin to destination, leaving mules as “motors,” which ground out a 15- to 20-daily mile coverage. Supersonic they were not.

You can lead a horse to water, according to the adage, but not necessarily alongside of it, leaving humans as primitive GPS guides of them along the towpaths.

They also periodically pumped mounting water from the barges and refueled the four-legged engines, known in the 19th-century as “feeding.” The salary was all of $3.00-per month, not per day.

Necessity, to be sure, bred innovation in the project, including such civil engineering “firsts” as river-spanning aqueducts to reduce travel times and the unearthing of cement in the Rosendale area by John Roebling, who would later use it during construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The canal certainly facilitated transport to Kingston and then down the Hudson to New York, but how was the coal transferred from the mines to the awaiting barges? It was back to the plaque.

It mentioned a term I had never heard, nor particularly needed to: “Gravity Railroad.” Why emphasize the invisible force which ensured that trains remained on their tracks-or, for that matter, everything else on the ground? Internet, here I come!

Interesting. I am once again amazed at how human ingenuity substituted for technical engineering. As the locomotive, albeit of diesel power, currently pulled my train, the world out my window, despite perception to the contrary, remained stationary. This Gravity Railroad employed a concept that was almost inverse, in that the engine remained stationary, but at least the cars it pulled moved.

Canals over the Moosic Mountains to Honesdale for interchange and onward travel along the Delaware and Hudson waterway were not feasible, leaving the laying of tracks on which coal-laden sleds and wagons could run as the alternative for the first segment of the New York-bound journey.

But again Benjamin Wright, allowing the wheels of his brain to turn (this is, after all, what made him an engineer), envisioned those for a train, turning on track, and suggesting a railroad based upon the concept embodied in the Delaware and Hudson Gravity name, that would, at least partially, be powered by that natural, earth-supplied force.

What goes up, as is well known, must come down. But that first portion posed a problem, for, while gravity would do an admirable, never-tiring job on the second, some type of engine was needed for the first.

Commencing in the coal fields of Carbondale, at a 1,200-foot elevation, a 16-mile track stretched to Honesdale, first climbing to 1,907 feet at Rux’s Gap by mans of five west side inclined planes, whose cars were vertically hauled by stationary, steam-powered engines or winches, and then horizontally traveled across them. Three declining ones facilitated descent on the east side, down to a 975-foot elevation, although here, needless to say, gravity replaced all need for motive power.

Steam engine-to-car connections varied as the process was improved, beginning with two drums and a chain, progressing to hemp cables with 7.5-inch diameters, and ending with steel ones.

The cars themselves were open, but crowned with roofs and internally provisioned with bench seating. In the reverse direction, horses pulled them from Honesdale before they could be cable-secured to the Moosic Mountain in- and declined planes.

The 16 miles of otherwise relatively flat ground posed little engineering obstacle. Or did it? Here, neither the stationary steam engines nor the brigade of horses were effective, with the latter requiring their own care and maintenance. What was needed was an instrument with the engine’s mechanical, wood- or coal-burning power, but that was not restricted to its single location. The answer to that dilemma may be simple now (my train was being pulled by one), but not necessarily then. Whatever man takes for granted was, at one time, an innovation of engineering, a new-fangled advancement to be proclaimed to the world.

Great Britain, in the event-not the United States-was the birthplace of railroading. Yet, at the time, it was a painful passage down the canal on this side of the Atlantic that spurred the technology that could ameliorate it on the other side.

Nevertheless, if stationary steam engines existed, what about the practicality of refining them so that they could be transformed into moving ones?

Skeptics were rampant. However, it once again took an engineer-in this case, Delaware and Hudson Chief Engineer John B. Jervis-to turn the vision in his mind into the reality on his track.

Convinced that this potential not only existed, but that it held the key to a future, rail-based transportation mode, he sent his young protégé, Horatio Allen, across the pond in 1828 to brainstorm, along with England’s own engineers, a reliable, efficient steam locomotive that could cover a decent distance in a comparatively short time. He was equally tasked with purchasing the necessary strap iron to cover the surface of the otherwise wooden track.

The distance across the ocean did nothing to skew the common belief between Jervis and George Stephenson and son, Robert, who were considered the reigning experts in the fledgling railroad industry, that this was the future. They themselves were in the process of designing just such a locomotive for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

John Urpeth Rastrick, who had taken out a patent for the steam engine as early as 1814 and had since formed his own Foster Rastrick Company in the Town of Stourbridge, was contracted to build the Gravity Railroad’s first locomotive, the eight-ton, $2,914.90 “Stourbridge Lion,” so designated because its boiler sported a painted lion’s head.

Subjected to its own intermodal transport, it was first shipped from Stourbridge before being loaded on to a ship for the transatlantic crossing, arriving in New York on May 13, 1829, where it partook of a static demonstration at a foundry.

Placed on its designated Honesdale track three months later, on August 5, it was poised for its inaugural run, about which Jervis wrote to Delaware and Hudson president Bolton, “We shall put steam on her tomorrow or the next day,” adding that “anxiety raises as we approach the period when our contrivances must come to their touchstone of experiment.”

Opening the throttle, Horatio Allen induced the new-fangled engine to puff and chug on the three miles of wooden track, faced with wrought iron straps, which laid on a 30-foot-high, Lackawaxen River crossing trestle, in the process inaugurating steam locomotive service in the United States.

“America’s first steam locomotive, the ‘Stourbridge Lion,’ sent Honesdale and all of Wayne County into the history books when, on August 8, 1829, the amazing ‘iron horse,’ with its grasshopper legs and a lion’s face painted on its boiler head, chugged up the track in this very town,” noted the “Wayne County Historical Society’s Newsletter” (Volume 32, number 1, January-March 2017).

Because the engine’s smokestack was too tall to clear an overhead bridge, ti could only travel as far as Seelyville before it had to return, now backwards oriented. Nevertheless, history had been written on the rails that day. America had entered the railroading era.

“I started with considerable velocity, passed the curve over the creek safely, and was soon out of hearing of the cheers of the large assemblage present,” Allen later explained. “At the end of two or three miles, I reversed the valves and returned without accident to the place of starting, having thus made the first railroad trip in the Western Hemisphere.”

Its glory was brief. Although the locomotive’s success could not be discounted, that of the track on which it ran was not. It was too weak to support the continued ply of iron locomotives and coal-laden cars, and costs to strengthen it proved prohibitive.

Stored in a Honesdale shed until 1848, the Stourbridge Lion was then transferred to Carbondale, where its boiler was removed and sold for stationary purposes, leaving its track for horse usage after planks had been laid across them.

Although it was the end of the line for the “Lion,” it certainly paved the way toward more advanced engines and properly strengthened steel rails, all of which united and fostered the growth of the country.

Its boiler, cylinder, and walking beam were subsequently acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and formed the partially original steam locomotive exhibit in its Hall of Transport.

Now it made sense-that is, the second plaque outside of the Wayne County Historical Society Museum, which said, “A replica of the famous Stourbridge Lion, first steam locomotive run on rails in the US, August 8, 1829, is housed here. Beside it is Eclipse, original passenger coach on the Delaware and Hudson Gravity Railroad.”

It also now made sense why Honesdale was considered the “Birthplace of America’s commercial railroad.”

The society itself was housed in a brick structure built in 1860 as the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company’s headquarters and the town, once known as Dyberry Forks, was renamed for Philip Hone, one of the canal transportation system’s planners. My train’s departure point, I also learned, had once been its boat basin, or transfer point of coal, from the Gravity Railroad to barges for the 108-mile journey to Kingston. The wooden car viewed before boarding had symbolized it.

Employing the original blueprint, the Wayne County Historical Society Museum’s full-scale, 0-40 locomotive reproduction, constructed in 1933 in Colonie, New York, shops by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company, was displayed at the Country of Progress Exhibition in Chicago and at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, before being placed on permanent display at its current location.

Featuring a 17.4-foot wheelbase, engine, and tender length, a 4.3-foot track gauge, and a four-foot-diameter boiler, it weighed between seven and ten tons, according to the museum. Burning coal, it produced nine horsepower and had a 1,750- to 2,000-pound tractive effort.

The adjacent “Eclipse” parlor car, with its ash interior, 20 elegantly upholstered, direction-reversible seats, hand-stenciled ceiling, wooden shutters, and paymaster’s buggy, represented those typically used by the Gravity Railroad between Honesdale and Carbondale in 1920. It had a 29.3-foot overall length, a 24-inch wheel diameter, and a 6.9-foot ceiling.

A jolt of my coach took me out of the area’s past and redeposited me in the present. A glint of sun, piercing the metallic ceiling, transferred the Lackawaxen River, along whose banks the train continued to snake, into a mirror of Mica.

Screaming with protesting screech as the accordion of cars stretched their curve-rounding couplings and then settling into relatively straight-track silence, the train approached White Mills.

Located between Honesdale and Hawley, the Lackawaxen Limited’s intermediate stop on Route 6 in Wayne County, its present sleepy, back-river solitude served as a sharp contrast to the industrial bustle it once offered. And the blue stone building with its sky-extending chimney fleetingly visible through the tree clearing as the train clanged over the road’s railroad crossing, gave little more than a hint of that era. A glass factory it once was, I learned, of Dorflinger fame.

After serving an eight-year apprenticeship in glass blowing, cutting, and decorating at the Cristalleries de Saint-Louis in France, Christian Dorflinger immigrated to the US in 1865, settling in White Mills, Pennsylvania, and establishing his own glass factory. Initially constituting seven small, sloped-roof worker houses that resembled those in France, he expanded the complex to include 33 of them by 1869, enabling 182 employees and their families to be accommodated.

His renowned, exquisitely cut lead crystal, synonymous with elegance, soon graced many elite residences, including that of the White House.

Although the factory closed in 1921, its stone building, some workers houses, the company office, and the store have since reopened to the public.

Another sprint through the arboreal tunnel preceded the sparks, screeches, and wheel-to-rail grinds that arrested the train’s momentum and brought it to a stop on a curving track section next to Hawley’s wood-planked platform at 13:45 after a nine-mile easterly trek through the Northern Pocono Mountains.

Like Honesdale, it had its own railroad roots.

Originally known as Paupack Eddy, it adopted its current name from Irad Hawley, president of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, who built his own gravity railroad, after seeing the value it provided in connecting with the Delaware and Hudson Canal. One of his cars is on display at the public library.

Replaced by standard locomotives in 1885, it yielded to the Erie and Wyoming Valley Railroad, which made its inaugural run from Hawley to Dunmore that year.

Crossing Route 6 and traversing a trestle, the Lackawaxen Limited, afforded a glimpse of the houses defining Hawley, began its penetration of the forest on the longer of its two segments. Metal-to-metal, wheel-to-track interface certainly gave the senses a workout: like flint, their sparks sent tendrils of pre-combustion ignition up the nostrils and their shrieks pierced the ears like fingernails on a blackboard.

The short, white, fence post-resembling mile markers continued to flick by out the left side windows: JC 121, JC 120, JC 119-remnants of the “Jersey City” track over which the train now virtually galloped, counting down to the beginning of its line.

Also never waning from view was the Lackawaxen River, which primarily flowed through the rural Northern Pocono Mountains and had a 598-square-mile drainage area. It passed through Honesdale and Hawley, where it was joined form the southwest by the Wallenpaupack Creek and thence continued eastward for flow into the Delaware River in the town of Lackawaxen, the train’s terminus.

This, in answer to my question upon boarding, was the coal-transporting canal.

Having served as a transportation artery from the early 18th-century, it facilitated the float of bundled logs to the Delaware River, destined either for Easton, Pennsylvania, or Trenton, New Jersey, having annually carried some 50 million board of lumber. Could this have been the true origin of the coal-transporting idea?

The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, then the largest private commercial undertaking, employed a series of 28 locks, which raised the canal water level by 278 feet, but, like all early visions, once technology had eclipsed its view, it became short-sighted.

When it was realized that track-only transport of passengers, freight, lumber, and coal was feasible with a New Jersey routing in 1898, the now admired, but then slow and inefficient intermodal Gravity Railroad and canal transportation system was superfluous. The latter’s overflow dams were opened and the water was drained.

I could only imagine how many of these stepping stones to advancement must have been employed throughout history.

As the brakes screeched a final time on a wide curve in front of little more than a wooden bench marking the otherwise beyond-view town of Lackawaxen at 15:00 after another 16-mile segment from Hawley and a 25-mile collective one from Honesdale, I descended the coach’s three steps to the ground.

The track behind the train snaked toward the area’s past and, after the locomotive had been repositioned on a siding, would return me to my Honesdale origin, leaving, until then, silence amidst towering trees and a pine needle blanketed ground as testament to man’s vision and the history, through technology, he had manifested here. I thought of Sir Arthur Pinero’s prophesy-that the past was just the present, entered through another gate. Could I have done exactly that today, I wondered?


“Wayne County Historical Society Newsletter,” Volume 32, Number 1, January-March 2017.

Creating a Diversified Marketing Plan

Businesses need to have a marketing plan that will allow them to make the most use of different ways to market their ideas and products. There are a number of different ways that a business can effectively market in order to increase their exposure and their revenue. It is highly recommended that companies create a diversified marketing plan to ensure that they have different ways to reach the public concerning their items and goods. Having a marketing plan that consists of different ways to attract customers is one of the best ways to ensure that there is always an effective method to obtain interest in a product or service.

When considering a marketing plan businesses should think about the different ways that they would like to reach people. There are various ways in which a company can market itself however some are better than others. There are direct mail campaigns which involve sending flyers or other types of informative information through the mail in order to solicit a response from people. There are also email marketing plans which in many ways are similar to the direct mail campaign. The main difference is that everything is distributed by email as opposed to postal mail. Some companies that have the revenue may even obtain radio or television spots in order to market their products.

These “spots” can be commercials on the radio or paid infomercials on television. These types of marketing plans are a bit more expensive and are commonly used by those that have the funds to do so such as a larger company that is sure such a marketing investment is worthwhile. Internet marketing is one of the most popular types of marketing available today. It encompasses a variety of ways that a business or individual can promote items. Many businesses do prefer internet marketing because the internet offers the ability to reach a large amount of people in so many different ways. A business that wants to be very successful should incorporate at least two of these methods in their marketing plan.

Having a diversified marketing plan is very advantageous for a number of reasons. First, it will allow businesses to know which type of marketing plan is most effective for their products. Perhaps when comparing sales that were derived from a direct mail and an internet article marketing campaign the business owner discovers that the internet articles produced more traffic to their website and also produced more sales.

Second, a company can try different ways of reaching the public when there is more diversification. The internet is one of the few ways that allows companies to use one form of marketing in different ways. For example, there are many companies which utilize articles in order to attract people to their websites for promotion of a product or service. These articles can be placed literally anywhere through the internet. Some people use them in article directories while others may share them via social networking sites. In any regard, using articles as a marketing method is a very multi-faceted way to promote services. Finally, having more than one marketing method ensures that a business will never have to worry about totally slack returns. In many ways multiple marketing plans is a safety net for businesses that are concerned about gaining exposure and revenue.

THC Detox Naturally – Ten Tips

My Personal Top Ten Best Ways to Detox Weed

1. Drink lots of water. While being well hydrated is certainly one of the ways to detox weed from your system, it is not a magic solution. What drinking lots of water does is simple, it keeps the body well hydrated and healthy which is one of the most important things to do when you are trying to get your body to use all its extra resources to help detox for THC and is especially important when you consider the next way to cleanse for marijuana naturally.

2. Get Plenty of Exercise. Because marijuana is fat soluble and sticks to the fat cells of your body, the more body fat you have the longer it’s going to take to detox for weed. This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym and lifting weights, anything that keeps you active and burning calories is going to be good. The best way to detox weed through exercise is to use a combination of both weight lifting and cardio type training like swimming or running which will burn fat and help speed up the metabolism which in turn means detoxing from weed that much quicker.

3. Drink Lemon Juice. Lemons contain very high levels of Vitamin C which is a very important electrolyte and also a great way to detox weed naturally. It is best if you get your own fresh lemons from the grocery store as store bought juice will not have the same potency as fresh squeezed lemons. In order to make your own healthy lemonade just add some honey to sweeten it up.

4. Eat Lots of Green Vegetables. Green vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, and chard are super high in vitamins and minerals like iron. Eating lots of vegetables helps to detox THC out of the body by boosting the metabolism and providing the body the essential nutrients it needs to quicken the natural marijuana detox.

5. Take Niacin Supplement. Niacin which is also known as vitamin B-3 and is a great way to detox weed naturally because of its many benefits which include boosting the metabolism which helps to burn fat. Niacin can also be found in many common foods such as tuna, avocados, chicken, peanuts, and potatoes. Whiles some people experience a slight itchiness called a “flush” a few minutes after taking it which is just the niacin working through your body, there are now many kinds of niacin available that are “flush” free.

6. Visit a Sauna. This may require having to join a health club but it will be well worth it when it comes to detoxing THC. Although there is no medical evidence that suggests a direct link between sweating and passing a drug test it can help to naturally eliminate toxins from your body which helps both with detoxing marijuana but general health as well. Don’t forget to replace all of the fluids lost with water and electrolytes, also as saunas can get very hot it is a good idea to start out with smaller amounts of time at first.

7. Avoid Junk Foods and Red meat. Many junk foods such as potato chips, ice cream, fast food, and so on are unhealthy in general but when it comes to detoxing weed they certainly don’t help. many such foods are high in sodium which causes water retention, in addition to being high in sugar and fat which slows the metabolism without giving the body the nutrients it needs. Instead focus on highly nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.Use Fruits and Vegetables As a Way to Detox Weed

8. Eat Lots of healthy Fiber. Many sources of healthy fiber can come in the form of grains, whole wheat that has not been enriched, as well as a food group called legumes which include peas, peanuts, soybeans, lentils, and beans. By providing your body the needed nutrients to detox marijuana you will be giving your body an extra boost as well as improving your own health at the same time.

9. Drink herbal and Green Tea. There are several kinds of tea that are said to aid the body in detoxing for marijuana naturally. One of them is Dandelion tea which is said to help the liver to eliminate toxins from the body. Green Tea is also a great way to give the body a boost not just during a detox but on a regular basis as well because of the high levels of antioxidants and electrolytes it contains such as Vitamin-C. The small amount of caffeine it contains also as the effect of helping to boost the metabolism and burn excess fat.

10. Eat Smaller Portions. By breaking your means into 5 to 6 small meals spread out evenly throughout the day you can vastly improve the rate at which your metabolism burns. This is perhaps one of the best ways to detox weed naturally because the more fat you can burn the less time you will have THC in your system. It is always important to remember to eat balanced meals that contain nutrients, carbohydrates, lean protein, unsaturated fats. Which is why it is very important to include lots of fruits and vegetables.

There you have it, ten ways to detox weed naturally. It is important to remember that people react different to different things so it is always a good idea to consult a doctor about your general health as well as sensitivity to particular foods or nutritional products before making any drastic changes in your diet or lifestyle while going through your marijuana cleanse. I hope this was helpful and please keep in mind that naturally detoxing for weed takes time and there is no fool-proof method. However when these methods are used sensibly they can greatly aid the process of getting weed out of your system.

Ride On Toy Cars – Get Your Kid Some Wheels!

Ride On Toys have been with us ever since we came up with toys for children. The first example of such a toy might have been the rocking horse. With the invention of modern forms of transport like cars, it was not long before ride on toy cars started popping up as a popular toy for kids. Kids love to act like adults and they mimic the actions and behavior of adults as a way to mature and grow up.

So it's not surprising that young children would like to pretend to drive when they see Dad driving to work every day or watch Mom driving to the shops from the comfort of their baby seat on the back seat of the car. What's more Mom and Dad find it quite cute to see their little guy or gal tootling around in a miniature Ferrari, Volkswagen or some other replica of a famous car brand.

Ride on cars have come on a long way since the early pedal variety of the toy. Pedal cars were just as the name suggests. The kid would sit in the car (which was invariably a single seat). They would have a steering wheel to control the car and pedals would drive it forward. Their leg power would be used to turn the pedals.

Since kids are usually full of energy, this need to pedal was never a problem. In fact, kids like to use their legs and develop the muscles. It was great fun and kids would race each other or crash into each other or whatever they could think up. It was all great fun and the ride on toy cars were quite simple machines.

Today's ride on toy cars are very different now. They are either electrically or battery powered, meaning that the driving power is supplied by the electrical motor. They can get some decent speeds out of some of these motors and given that there is an electrical system in the car, it starts to have more car like features that a pedal car could not generally have.

The new electric models have forward and reverse gears. They have working head lights and rear parking lights. Some even have working windscreen wipers. You might even find radios and mp3 players on the dashboards of these little model cars.

The battery or electric motor can last for a day of play and then has to be plugged into a wall socket to recharge. The next day, it ready to go again.

Many of these electric ride on toy cars are modeled on famous sports cars like Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes. There are also other popular brands like Hummers, Ford Mustangs, VW Beetles and many more. I think this replica idea of ​​the toy car is more for the parents. They can get a laugh and enjoy watching their children drive around in a Ferrari or a Hummer. They can take pictures or video and play it back and have a good laugh.

Amazing Spider-Man 2

If you knew anything about me, you would probably note that I’m a massive Spider-Man fan. I have various posters around my room, multiple ticket stubs from the Marvel movies and heck, I’m even drinking out of a Spider-Man cup right now. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to play Beenox’s latest Spider-Man game, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the Xbox One. Usually, I’m apprehensive about playing a movie tie-in game, but he’s my favorite hero. Even if it’s an average game I should be able to look past its faults, right? After playing the fairly short campaign, I have to say this Xbox One iteration of the web-slinger should have been squashed.

When you first stumble into the game world, the opening sequence is a recap of Uncle Ben’s death from the first film. Of course, it may be hard to recognize who the characters are just because of how different they look to the source material. Here, Peter Parker looks more like Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, especially with the jacket they’ve got him wearing. The opening scene is total filler and doesn’t add anything to the overall story.

Speaking of the story, it’s a complete mess. I understand that it’s a movie tie-in, and the developers might not get the full script from the accompanying film, but at the end of the day the plot here is just too hard to follow. The movie itself is already busy, but when the game adds their own villains from the comics into the movie, the main antagonists from the film get put on the back-burner.

My main beef with the primary storyline followed by the game, is that it completely omits Gwen Stacy from the entire experience. Gwen is Peter Parker’s greatest ally, and in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film she plays a massive role. I don’t understand why we needed Uncle Ben, who isn’t even in the movie, more than we needed Gwen Stacy. Just a bit of a head scratcher there, but one of the many problems with the convoluted story.

Once you get use to the scrambled plot, you’ll take notice how funny the dialogue is. This isn’t a good thing unfortunately. What I mean is that the dialogue could have been written by a four year old. My favorite exchange is when Peter Parker first meets the dangerous hunter Kraven in his swank New York apartment. Kraven explains how he wrestled a grown tiger and how much it angers him to see the endangered animals hunted and killed. All the while, directly behind Kraven there is a tiger pelt adorning his couch.

Thankfully, the gameplay itself isn’t as hopeless. Spider-Man moves with incredible agility and web-slinging is now mapped to both the left and right triggers. There are minor issues such as the need to be pin-point accurate while traveling, but the game’s ‘Web Rush’ mode helps with that. The city feels more alive than in the previous Spidey games but it’s still ultimately a poor man’s GTA. Honestly, the most fun I had with the game wasn’t the combat, it was simply just swinging from one side of the city to another.

When the fisticuffs finally start happening, you’ll notice just how clunky the entire combat system actually is. With Amazing Spider-Man 2, Beenox tries to copy the outstanding melee combat of Rocksteady’s Batman titles. What you’ll get here is sloppy, broken, glitch-filled anarchy. I was fighting the camera harder than I fought any of the bad guys. Even with the clunky viewpoints and the floaty combat, the game was never challenging. Throughout the short six hour campaign, I managed to die only once and that’s because the batteries in my controller died.

When you’re not busy fighting random gang members on the street, you’ll have some of the web-slinger’s most famous adversaries to contend with. During the boss fights, you’ll rarely have anything to worry about with their mechanics. It boils down to mostly dodge the incoming assault, then mash on the attack button until you win. Granted, like Arkham City, once you defeat a boss you’ll unlock new equipment for your hero. Ionic webbing and seismic blasts to be exact, both skills are just ways to defeat the cannon fodder later in the game and both are incredibly lame.

If the story and the combat wasn’t enough to make you turn off your console, the atrocious visuals within the game might. While playing through the game on the Xbox One, I felt that this game was more on par with a PlayStation 2 launch title. Mouths move out of sync, clothes have less pixels than Pong and the environment looks something out of Rampage on the Nintendo 64. Visuals usually won’t make a game great, but when the other aspects of this title are so bad, the muddled graphics pile onto the rest of the problems and the result is a game that is, in a word, garbage. The first Amazing Spider-Man game that came out in 2012 looks better than this game running on Xbox One!

As I previously stated before, this game is a movie tie-in and we can’t expect GOTY material from it, but with an asking price of 60 dollars, I can’t find any reason to justify the price. The only positive thing I could say about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that the game does include a bunch of unlockable costumes for Spider-Man and there is quite the diverse selection. With developer Beenox only making one actual serviceable Spider-Man game, it may be time for someone else to take the helm. Stay away from this Xbox One title.

Review of the Green Star GS Series Juicers

The GreenStar juicer, from the TriBest company, is a high-end household juicer. It comes in three models: the GS-1000, the GS-2000 and the GS-3000. (TriBest also has a Green Star GP Gold Model, which is not reviewed in this article).

Basically, the only differences in the three Green Star models are the accessories that come with the juicer – the actual juicer itself is the same as far as I can tell. At the end of this article is a table showing all the specifications of the three models, with a list of the various accessories that come standard with each. All three models come with a 3-cup glass pitcher, two plungers (one plastic and one wooden), and a fine-holed juice screen (the coarse-holed juice screen, for making pulpier juices, is optional with the GS-1000 and is standard with the GS-2000 and GS-3000). All three models also have a 5-year warranty.

All three juicer models utilize a twin-gear design to grind up the food source. This is known as a triturating juicer (as opposed to a masticating juicer, which uses a single auger-style gear). The twin gears are made of stainless steel and a tough plastic at the ends of each gear which serve to push the pulp out of the juicer. The gears fit together with 4/1000 of an inch clearance between them. There are some small dots on the ends of the gears to help you line them up correctly when putting them back into the juicer after cleaning. The drive gear has a hexagonal hole at the base which allows it to fit over the end of the drive shaft on the body of the juicer, while the slave gear has a round extension on the end that fits into a receptor hole on the body of the juicer.

The juicer is a very heavy-duty juicer, in that it is solidly built and fairly heavy, weighing in at around 21-23 lbs. The motor is a ¼ HP motor and it turns at a very slow RPM. The low RPM allows the food source to be ground up slowly so that juicing is complete, plus it prevents the juice from becoming excessively foamy (which if too foamy causes the juice to oxidize and reduces the nutritional value). The motor, which is operated by a smooth touch switch, can turn in forward and reverse and is very quiet during operation.

Assembling the juicer is fairly easy, once you have done it one or two times. The juicer body itself is built of heavy-duty plastic and houses the motor. The power cord (which is about 3 feet long) can be coiled up in a recessed compartment at the base of the juicer during storage and is then pulled out for use. As described above, the juicer body has a hexagonal stub (the drive shaft) that sticks out of the end of the body which is where the drive gear attaches, and a hole for the slave gear (which has a round stub on the end that fits into the hole on the juicer body). There are nine different parts that need to be placed on the juicer housing in order to make it fully assembled for juicing. First, a plastic cowling piece slides onto the end of the juicer body. This first cowling piece contains the food chute as well as a compartment for the twin gears. Next come the twin gears, which are lined up together using the end dots and then inserted into the cowling piece so that the end of the drive gear fits over the drive shaft of the juicer and the slave gear fits into the adjoining hole next to the drive shaft. Once the gears are correctly sitting inside the cowling, the plastic ends of the gears are exposed beyond the cowling. At this point, the juice screen (or empty blank piece) is placed over the exposed ends of the gears. Once the juice screen is in place, a second plastic cowling piece is placed over the juice screen and pushed up against the first cowling piece. To hold all the pieces together, there are two arms that swivel out from the main juicer body. The arms swivel into place with the cowling assembly. The ends of the arms are equipped with turn screws which, when tightened, hold the entire cowling/gear assembly in place and sealed. At the end of the cowling assembly is where the pulp is expelled. There is a spring-loaded end cap, called the pulp control knob, that screws onto the end of the cowling piece, which, when tightened, controls the flow of pulp as it is expelled from the end of the juicer. The final pieces of the assembly are attached to the top of the food intake chute. The first piece fits down into the top of the food chute and has a flange at the top. The second piece is an oval tray that sits on top of the flanged food intake and snaps into place.

All the juicers come with two food plungers (one wooden and one heavy plastic) to use when pushing the food source down into the food intake chute.

When it is time to use the juicer, set it on the kitchen counter near the sink. The juicer is plugged in and the 3-cup glass pitcher is placed beneath the juice spout (which is actually underneath the cowling assembly, not at the end which is where the pulp is ejected). At first, the pulp control knob should be tightened all the way in. Place a plastic bowl or other container under the end of the juicer to catch the pulp as it is ejected. (Authors note: I collect all the pulp and put it in my compost bin).

When pushing vegetables into the food chute, I have found that it can sometimes take a good bit of force to push the vegetables (especially carrots) into the juicer. For this reason, here are a few recommendations. First, place the juicer on a low enough surface that you have good body leverage to push the vegetables. Second, you can cut the vegetables into thin strips prior to adding them to the food chute. If, for some reason, you ever need to reverse the twin gears, the motor switch can easily be switched to reverse.

When you first begin juicing, you should have the pulp control knob tightened all the way in. When you feed in the first piece of food, you’ll see a bit of juice dribble out the end of the pulp discharge chute at the end of the juicer. Once you see the juice, then you can loosen the pulp flow knob a few turns to let the pulp come out at the desired speed. The juice will actually drip from underneath the juicer and you can collect it in the 3-cup glass pitcher that comes with the juicer.

When you are finished juicing, take apart the juicer by reversing the steps above. The pieces should be individually cleaned after each use. The juicer comes with a specialized brush to clean the various components. You can let the parts soak in the sink and/or run them through the dishwasher. Make sure they are dried fully before re-assembling the juicer.

As with most juicers, the clean-up is the job that people tend to dislike the most. The GreenStar juicers are a bit of a challenge to clean simply because there are several parts to clean. However, there are a few bright spots. First, the juicer is easy to assemble and dis-assemble. Second, the juice that is produced by the GreenStar is a very high-quality juice, because it has very little foam. Also, because the GreenStar turns at such low RPM, the juice does not get heated by the gears, as can happen in other juicer designs. This is good, because when the juice is foamy, that means a lot of air has been introduced into the juice, which causes oxidation of the juice. Oxidation and heat both tend to reduce the nutritional value of the juice. Because the GreenStar produces such a high-quality juice, you can make enough juice to last for up to 2-3 days, so you won’t have to juice as often as you would with other types of juicers. However, please note that if you are making a large batch of juice, you should use glass or polycarbonate containers and immediately fill the container(s) all the way to the top so that there is no air in the top. Store the container(s) in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

In addition to juicing, the GreenStar juicers are also capable of making a variety of other treats, such as nut butters, baby food, pate and even frozen fruit sorbets or “ice cream”. To make any of these food items, you would use the plastic homogenizing “blank” in place of one of the perforated screens inside the juicer. You would also need to keep the pulp control knob completely tightened when using the blank.

Also, the GS-3000 comes with a few extra attachments to make pasta and rice cakes, which can be optionally purchased for the GS-1000 and GS-2000 models.

All in all, the GreenStar series of juicers are versatile, well-made and heavy-duty. While they are on the higher end of the price scale as far as household juicers are concerned, I find them to be a great value when considering the versatility and nutritional benefits.

A Glimpse into the Human Soul

The concept of "soul" as an eternal, indestructible, pure and imperishable entity residing within the human body is deeply ingrained in the philosophy of many religions. Hindus have always believed in Karma and reincarnation. Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says, "Just as a man discards worn out clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn out bodies and wears new ones." (Chapter 2). Soul, or "Aatma" in Hindi, has thus given rise to the concepts of "Dev-aaatma", the divine soul or demi-god and "Param-aatma", the supreme soul, considered to be the God almighty. Fascinatingly, Hindus also believe that since all the aatmas are manifestation of one Supreme Being, worshiping to any of the forms is the same thing. As a result, the Hindu society is inundated with various Gods and demi-gods under different names and forms. However, the underlining principle of oneness is intact – at least in principle. That is because the God, or the Param-aatma, is seen as a manifestation of three entities, Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver or the protector) and Shiva (the destructor or the esoteric). Mythological figures, Parashurama, Ram, Krishna and even Gautam Buddha are considered to be the "reincarnations" of Vishnu. So, in their belief even by worsipping to different reincarnations, they are effectively worshiping the same entity. In the same sense, worshiping any of the three manifestations, and their reincarnations, is essentially worshiping to just one Supreme Being. It is a broad and blunt philosophy but with a minority connotation.

The Hindu concept of trinity is not far from the Christian belief of Divine Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Catholics believe in resurrection of Christ, in the similar way as Hindu reincarnation but with a difference that in case of Christ, it was through the same body. However, most of the Christian institutions do not believe in reincarnation of ordinary human souls. Some people, however, believe that the notification and the references to reincarnation were expunged from the Bible by the Church with an objective to keep focus on one single entity – Christ – as the only divine figure capable of such miracle. However, as stated by Wikipedia encyclopedia (, John (3: 3) says, "… ..Except a man be born again, he can not see the Kingdom of God". The different interpretation of this passage has prompted various evangelistic movements. However, the Catholic Church interpretations "born again" as a mean of "conversion" or "baptism". Islam rejects the idea of ​​reincarnation all together but believes that all the dead will be risen to face the day of the judiciary in front of God. As noted by Wikipedia (, some of the versa from Quran are interpreted differently by some branches of Islam such as Sufism. "From the (earth) Did We Create you, and into it Shall We return you, And from it shall We Bring you out once again." (The Quran, 20:55), is interpreted by Sufis as a reference to reincarnation. The Jewish mystic section of Kabbalah points to various references of reincarnation in the Hebrew Bible although the traditional Jewish belief does not directly endorse the notion of reincarnation. [2] , Invariably associating it with some sort of "entity" that reincarnates life after life, many like to call as "soul".

In the spiritual (non-religious) domain – and the word "spiritual" can also be interpreted in various ways by various individuals – the notion of soul is often associated with words such as consciousness, energy and higher self. There is, however, an underlying problem in attempting to "understand" the minority concept of soul logically when spirituality in general is concerned with "knowing" the things through self-realization – the wordless, sensitive, knowledge (Prajna) that dawns in the Enlightened state of brain (note, not Mind). Zen masters referred to the mind as made up of thought-based perceptions, a logic-based sense of personality that tends to "define" a person, which is illusory in nature as it does not have a physical existence. Some people confuse the physical brain with mind. While some Zen literatures refer to the brain as pure mind, they actually mean brain devoid of the perception of ego or "I".

Hui-Neng (We-lang), Zen's sixth patriarch, commented on the Self-Nature or "hsing" also described as Self-Knowledge, "In the Original Nature itself there is Prajna knowledge and it is because of the Self-Knowledge. Nature reflects itself in itself, which is self-illumination not to be expressed in words. "(Suzuki, 1972). Our modern world is today dominated by logic-based theories, concepts and ideologies that keep influencing the way people think and perceive the world. The problem arises when a "thinking mind" tries to interpret meaning of a spiritual phenomenon in a logical sense. Similarly, the perception of so-called "soul" as something divine, halo, pure and of higher self, creates a distinct division in the psyche that gives a mental impression of a separate, holistic entity not touched by the worldly indulgences. There seems to be a general tendency in people – especially in those who have gotten themselves engaged in something "spiritual" in their own way – to objectively different between the "body" and the "soul" as two separate entities. They start "believing" that there is a higher self of oneself and a targeted spiritual practice can "connect" one to this higher self. That creates a lot more problems than solutions. In an attempt to clinch to the higher higher self or soul, they inadvertently create an erroneous view of their existence in several divisions of a) body b) "I" or "me" c) soul d) consciousness and alike. Interestingly, the same people, when asked, would most likely answer that they believe in "oneness" of the nature. Oneness, it sees, sans the body because the body is supposedly perishable.

Once again, the concept of an eternal soul changing the bodies in various lives appears more to the thinking mind then the concept of thought-based ego dominating the thinking process. It is not to say that there is not a part of us that moves on to the next stage of evolution and transformation but the problem is in pre-conceiving the notion of soul as a separate entity. At best, we can eliminate the erroneous views of duality and multiplicity by saying "I do not know". If there is something, such as the supposedly soul, exists, such knowledge should be coming, or dawning, through self-realization and not pre-supposition. By assuming the existence of soul beforehand, we pre-empt ourselves with the process that could lead to Self-Knowledge. In academic terms, it will be referred to as "soul paradigm" which will exclude oneself from any research into the existence of soul. If we have already assumed the existence of something beforehand, we have inadvertently negated the possibility of knowing it from the scratch.

That is why the spiritual masters always warned the pupils about mental baggage. My guru Rao Maharaj from Mumbai once narrated the story of a devotee who was in service of a sage known as Dadaji. He spent many years with Dadaji watching his routines and daily tasks. Sensing that Dadaji was up to something divine, he always used to ask Dadaji to "give" him something (eg bestow some divine knowledge) that will put him on the path to enlightenment. Dadaji always replied that he was not yet ready. That man came from a Hindu Jain background – staunch followers of non-violence and vegetarianism. The Jain monks wear a mask on their mouths because they want to minimize the inhalation of bacteria in the air. Most of the Jains do not eat anything that grows under ground because they are produce of bacterial process. After a many years the man was starting to get impatient and insisting that he was quite "ready" to receive Dadaji's blessings. On one idle afternoon when Dadaji was resting, he suddenly pointed to a train of ants close to his kitchen and said to the man, "I am getting irritated by these ants. There are getting into my cloths and coming into my way all the times. Can you get some ant-killer and get rid of them once and for all? "The man was astonished to hear that and coolly told Dadaji that killing the ants would amount to be a sin. Dadaji smiled and replied, "that is why I have been telling you that you are not yet ready for the spiritual journey. If your mind is caught up in your religious teachings, how can you be ready for a journey to the unknown? "The man understood that it was only a test.

Similarly, each one of us has gone through so much conditioning of the mind that it would be hard to determine what we like and dislike, or believe and not believe, are actually our own thoughts. The need is to first recognize the dual nature of the mind and the futility of thoughts. In order to achieve that, one must first develop an awareness to observe the thought process as independent, detached observer. There is an inbuilt contradiction in the process. By separating "ourselves" from the "thoughts", we will be starting by creating a divided or fragmented view. However, the knowledge arising from "seeing" the incessant thought process will help eliminate the thought-induced sensations and reliance on mental conjunctions to interpret things and events around us. I once asked my guru a question about dreams. Instead of answering he said, "first find out who wants to know the answer?" The real spiritual masters will refuse from giving any word-based "information" that might create an imagination about something in a pupil's mind. The emphasis is on "knowing" by oneself – Self-realization. As Zen master Sosan said, "When thought objects vanish, the thinking subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are objects because of the subject: The mind is such because of things. "Soul is a very distant prospect. One must first engage in the process of self-awareness and observation without any pre-conceived ideas, objectives or goals in mind. The thinking mind always has the tendency to compare and divide the things. As long as there is a perception of higher and lower levels, higher or lower selves, distinctions such as body and soul, the true spiritual awareness will remain elusive.

It can be best seen by observing the children. For at least eighteen months after birth, they do not use the word "I" or "mine". There is an unexplained purity in all their actions – when they are hungry they eat, when they are sleepy they sleep, when they are hurt they cry. They are natural in every sense. When nature calls, they do it right there and there, no matter what. They know their mother instinctively, even immediately after the birth. They are very much the part of the nature that is but but dynamically transforming around them. They are a part of it, moving with the flow of the nature. However, once we start teaching them the words and the moment they start thinking, "I" starts entering. The moment the thought process develops, a thought-based personality start emerging and we the adults keep strengthening it by emphasizing words, describing the actions and encouraging the habits. The body is in tandem with the nature. Yet the thoughts start creating a personality that begins to see itself separate from the whole process. Suddenly, mother, father, brother, sister, visitors, tress, cars all start becoming separate things. The same child grows up carrying zillions of induced thoughts and a personality that is standing on the information fed and consolidated over the years. How can someone, then, claim to "know" anything? One has to first go through the process of identifying the elements that have been cemented in the thoughts and habits and then de-condition the mind to its pure state – the way it began. If someone asks me what is meditation, I would describe this process as a meditation. When engaged in the process of self-knowledge, the process becomes spiritual.


Bhagawad Gita

Rao, M. 1998, Gray Matter Revolution: A Journey Within, Self-publication, Mumbai

Suzuki DT, 1972, The Zen Doctrine of No-mind, Samuel Weiser Inc, New York

The Spiritual: Journal of Natural Spirituality – Online at []

Wikipedia Encyclopaedia – Online at

Enjoy Outside Spaces During Winter

In Houston, it remains comfortable until well into the December and January months, even the burst s of cold last for only a few days. Yet Texans tend to be the first to complain when the first frost hits- "It is too cold!" And, with this one declaration, the children no longer scramble to ride their bicycles and the adults run from the car into the house. All the while, the garden still breams with unnoticed beauty. With the push of organic gardening and the time commitment that any garden (organic or traditional) takes, it is a shame that when winter comes, the garden's beauty is seen only through the fogged-over windows.

Therefore, the question remains: how can we enjoy our garden year round? The answer is simple: plan spaces in your garden that lend themselves to the various seasons. For example, the fire pit can easily be used as a decorative piece. Placed centrally in your garden, the fire pit becomes a focal point perfect for any gathering during the year. Yet, strategically placing this fire pit in a cozier location would allow the heat to permeate creating a comfortable sitting area during the cooler months. Plus, upgrading the fire pit to a more substantial outdoor fireplace actually provides a heat source for these cold months. The fireplace can be both decorative and practical, even on the coldest nights.

Beautiful arbors, covered porches, or plants planed to form a windbreak, all work towards creating a cozy environment to block the wind allowing you to enjoy the outdoor space. In planning these spaces, you want to account for the number of people that you may want to entertain, yet you also want to keep in mind the number of people that you would regularly have in the space. If the goal of the space is to create coziness and warmth in the cold months, then you do not want to create too large a space for those bi-annual parties. Rather, you want to focus on the weekend, and more regular, gatherings. Many people's "eyes are larger than their stomachs," so to speak. They envision a large and beautiful gathering space covered in gorgeous vines or fabric curtains. They forget that the space, when too large, lends itself to feeling and being cold and empty. When planning for the seasons, you must find the middle ground.

Lighting can also create an ambiance that will cut through the colder months. One can practically tell the temperature simply by looking at the lighting outside. Using light to warm a space is frequently done inside. It can also be done outside in your garden. Simply think of how the light plays off of the plants during the summer months, and mimic this pattern with lights for the winter months. While lighting will do nothing to increase the temperature, as the outdoor fireplace will do, it will help to create a warmer feel. Think also of the various forms of lighting that you can incorporated in your garden. From the solar lights to candles, each light source will create a different feel to your garden.

The winter garden is just as beautiful as the spring garden. Enjoy the space!

Mountain Bike Ratings – Why Do You Really Need to Know About it to Help You in the Buying Process?

A mountain bike rating can help you to effectively choose the best bike that you want to purchase. The basis on which the ratings are given is determined by a panel of experts.

They give a score to a mountain bike on each parameter of the many that they have considered and then add up the individual score with different weights to get the overall rating of the bike. If you do not want to rely on the ratings, then you should create your own list of criteria that a bike must satisfy before you purchase one.

The most important feature of these ratings is the parameter that captures the user's views of the bike. The task of choosing becomes easier when you have the score that reflects the popular opinion about a mountain bike.

There are different websites on the internet that display these rating. If you log on to or, then you can find these biking websites that display these ratings.

Most of these websites provide the expert's opinion as well as the user opinion and this makes it easier for you to choose a bike that matches your criteria and budget. Your ability to understand the user 'opinion can be enhanced by visiting many different biking websites.

The place of manufacture and the price are some of the most common criteria that are set by consumers. A branded bike gives you that extra sense of security that the bike will not break down in some deserted mountain.

The brakes, suspension and the frame are some of the other specification you must look at. The ratings on these specifications are important and it will help you choose the best bike. The most stringent criteria in this phase will allow you to enjoy your mountain bike for a long time to come.