Village: One City: Nil

Village life. Whether you’re a burnt out urban dweller desperate to trade your Jimmy Choos’s for a pair of mud splattered Hunter wellies, or, like me, a born and bred country bumpkin with the badge to prove it, here are some of the realities of the often hilarious, but more frequently, downright ludicrous goings on in a village near you! You’ve seen Hot Fuzz, you’ve seen the Vicar of Dibley but have you got what it takes to navigate the perilous bridle path that is ‘Village Life’?

Now, I’m not going to name my village here for fear of retribution but, I guarantee that being a village resident requires a strong constitution and a stiff upper lip. This is no place to show your sensitive side. Any sign of weakness and you’ll be whipped into shape by Mrs Chumley, the Post Mistress: “we’ll have none of that nonsense here”, is her favourite retort. A stoic resident is a celebrated resident. And don’t even think about scattering the village salt supply on that icy patch that you’ve slipped over on for the 4th time this week. That particular duty belongs to Brian, the only problem is, Brian’s memory isn’t what it used to be. Still, there’s only been one serious accident this year…

Every village has its ancient traditions and mine is no exception. On those long awaited days of celebration, where the gingham table cloths have been freshly laundered, the cupcakes are piled high and the bunting has been hung, I have learnt to expect the unexpected. The ‘well-rehearsed’ may-pole dancing inevitably ends in tears. There’s always one isn’t there? Last year it was little Giles Rowbottom. Starstruck and completely distracted by the presence of his Aunt Alice, was whipped in to a frenzy by the frenetic clapping. He overtook his partner at high speed, and collided head on with Evie Jones. The entire community of village children were left intertwined and sobbing around a Maypole that now possessed an uncanny resemblance to the leaning tower of Pisa.

Another not-so-normal ‘tradition’ that has come about, is the Annual Sponsored Teddy Bear Parachute Marathon. Every year, on a Saturday in June at 10am sharp, the children of the village accompanied by their favourite teddy bear and their eager parents form an orderly queue outside the church. They are greeted at the Church Door by The Reverend Bishop, sporting a manic grin and a bag of hanky parachutes. After ascending the Church tower one by one the precious teddies are flung frantically by the Reverend, destination unknown. What ensues is dependent on the weather conditions but bedlam is usually the order of the day. A mêlée of squealing children chasing after their furry friends, extricating them from tree branches, and scaling the Church wall to access the neighbouring Vicarage garden. Health and Safety never appears to be an issue, despite several trips to A&E and a couple of cold compresses. After a hot cup of tea and a generous application of Savlon, the exhausted, battle scarred children are issued with a gilded certificate to commemorate the heroic actions of their Teddy Bears.

The role of the Church within the village is primarily – the most notable, but would be nothing without the cherished Reverend Bishop. Despite this, he is often responsible for various mishaps and misdemeanors. Only last Tuesday whilst navigating the narrow, sodden pavement with my dog, Hamish Mcduff, I looked up to see the Reverend’s bright red Fiat Punto careering towards me at high speed. The reverend was wearing his usual grin and the grey wispy hair, that normally covered his bald patch, was flowing freely behind him. Seconds later, both the dog and I were soaked to the skin. We’d been ‘drive-by splashed’ by our local vicar, who, oblivious of his latest crime sped off to goodness knows where.

Hamish Mcduff has been responsible for a few village incidents himself. On one occasion, whilst making our daily trek across the village green, he spotted Helmut – the pub cat. That was it. He was gone. After fifteen minutes of frantic searching I was breathless, red faced and having horrific visions of peeling him off the road. At this point, I came across Mrs Hulme in her wheelchair. It became apparent that a military operation was under way. She’d been stationed at her post (the bridge over the brook) by Joan the cat-sitter who had issued instructions to her and numerous others to apprehend a large grey shaggy dog on site. To the huge relief of all involved, he was detained by Audrey Sharp from the wine society who had found him in the supermarket, with a branch attached to his tail, wreaking havoc as every corner he turned he cleared another shelf. He appeared to be looking for me.

This did nothing to help the dog community, who have recently came under fire from ‘The Chalk Lady’. An anonymous villager who has taken to prowling the village by night armed to the teeth with white chalk, which she uses to draw large circles around piles of doggy excrement, in the hope of shaming the owners of these furry offenders. She announced her war on dogdom with a type-written poem which appeared overnight stapled to various trees and lamposts around the village. In it, she attempted to guilt -trip the wrong-doers and their delinquent pooches into utilizing the poo bags that were positioned at key points of the village. What she hadn’t banked on, was the dog walkers response poem, which quite frankly I can’t repeat here.

It’s true, at times, it can all be just a bit overbearing. And I shall happily be the first to acknowledge this. There will be times where you just want to lock yourself away and never face the wrath of the village nutters again. When poor old and feeble Mrs Thompson rapps on your door, demanding that you move your bins instantly or – and I quote, there will be ” A row like dickens”. You smile sweetly, suppressing your rage and enquire about how her hydrangeas are coming along. As tempted as you are in allowing your rage to surface, of course – you can’t, because you’re attending a parish council meeting with her next Tuesday at 11 sharp.

In contrast to this however, is the aforementioned ‘drive by splashing’ that I received at the hands of the reverend bishop quite comparable to the same treatment from a double decker bus in the big city? I thought not. Is battling your way through the selfish crowds on the tube quite the same as that half hour at the end of the day, when the tiny village supermarket reduces the fresh produce to ridiculous prices and you are reduced to elbowing your way through your fellow wax-jacketed, manure scented neighbours, to grab an elusive bargain? It’s true, in the city, you won’t have to lean precariously out of the window to get a phone signal and your trips to the supermarket will undoubtedly be quicker. But do you have a comedy Vicar at your disposal? Would anyone recognize your dog if you were to lose him? And you’re more likely to have someone rap on your door and inform you that there’s a dead body in your wheelie bin, than threaten you with ‘a row like Dickens.’

So, would I trade my, not-so-peaceful, village life for the big city? Miss out on all the chaos and hilarity? The questionable and borderline behaviour of the locals. Would I bollocky.

5 Chinese Lacquer Products For the Lover of Oriental Arts

If you're into an oriental lifestyle then you'll absolutely love Chinese lacquer products. These products are made from a specific cinnabar pigment that gives it a gorgeous, bright red color. Modern products are made from the resin and molds. The lacquer is put onto the actual product and then each ware is individually chiseled to give it a human touch. This is what makes these products so priceless. In a world when everything is made in bulk, having a product that has been hand made is something really special.

Bracelets

Most manufacturers sell sets of Chinese lacquer bracelets. They generally come in packs of six and in a variety of colors. The colors included in each set are gray, black, red, yellow, blue and green. The bracelets are lightly decorated and the perfect gift for a girlfriend, daughter or mother.

Pen Holder

While there have been different types of pen holders created, most of them lack a certain flair. People want something original that will actually brighten up their table. A Chinese lacquer pen holder can brighten up any dreary office table. They also come with amazing designs. Some of them have dragons and others have scenes of nature.

Plates

Chinese lacquer plates are collected by thousands of people across the world. These plates have gorgeous scenes painted on them that are elaborate and convincing. The plates are often put up on the wall or placed in a display case for people to see. They are more like works of arts than dinnerware.

Jewelry Boxes

If you want a change of pace when it comes to putting your jewelry away, then a lacquer jewelry box is essential for you. These boxes are small enough for all of the special pieces in your collection. Depending on your style, you can find the perfect decoration for you.

Vases

Chinese lacquer vases are an essential for any home with oriental vibes. These vases create a stunning center piece for any table or area of ​​your home. They have a beautiful hour glass shape that accentuates any flowers placed into it.

Chinese lacquer products are slowly picking up in their popularity due to the fact that they are hand-made and are so enriched with history. If you love oriental products and have not yet purchased a cinnabar lacquer product than you need to add one to your collection. No oriental-themed home is complete without them.

Dog the Bounty Hunter – Review of Dog & Beth’s Wedding

“Here comes The Dog, no longer on a Harley Hog” is how Duane “Dog” Chapman opens up this long-awaited episode in which he makes an honest woman of Beth Smith, his long term common law wife and fellow bounty hunter. If Beth were ever to smother dog (and she certainly does have the proper natural equipment to do that), it would have occurred in this episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter. Airing on Tuesday night, August 8, 2006 was the episode many have been waiting for — To Love and to Cherish Dog and Beth’s Wedding.

We see the Chapmans in the week leading up to their nuptials, and Beth is obsessed (like most women) with buying new shoes, fitting her wedding dress, and getting her hair done. Basically, her head is in the veil and not in the Bounty. It couldn’t be more removed from the thoughts of Dog, which focus around catching a slew of fugitives, including a former Navy seaman named Brice. Brice is being hunted down for jumping bond after a criminal history that includes theft and drugs. Dog amplifies the risk of this bounty by saying that Brice is a “trained killer” since he was in the Service at one point.

Of course, Beth is ticked off that her intended is focused on grimy criminals instead of diamonds and roses, but this is Dog and we know he always pulls through in the end. If he doesn’t, rest assure Beth will make his life miserable for a long time. The woman is ruthless, and Dog is whipped. In the words of his son Leland, “Looks like Dad’s going to fold like a tent again” when Beth gives Dog a hard time. Decked out in leather, covered in prison-issue tats and always packing mace, Dog is Beth’s to kick around. This episode is no different.

Beth has picked out a classic tux for Dog, who will have no part of that, thank you very much. Dog insists he is wearing a bulletproof vest with no shirt, jeans and a can of mace. He tells Beth that he has been in prison before and there is no way he is going to trap himself in the prison of a suit.

“I’d rather just get married as the Dog,” he says. If not, he said he’s not looking forward to the funeral that is his wedding. Poor Beth, marrying the Dog in his stinky old vest and a can of pepper spray. So, how does she cope She goes to the local stripper store – to buy her wedding shoes. After trying on several pairs of plastic do-me-pumps, she settles on a pair while stating every brides golden rule “When you go shopping where the strippers and ho’s go, you’ll always score.”

Not to be outdone by Hollywood starlets, Beth flies to Hollywood for a custom made dress. If you have ever seen Beth, you’ll know what stands in the way between Beth and a standard fit dress. Here’s a hint there are two of them. It is a beautiful dress actually, and should go well with her plastic stripper shoes.

The first bounty goes pretty well, and they catch Brice with a window puncher in his pants. The fugitive tells Dog he had just found it in someone’s apartment. We all know Dog ain’t no Harvard grad, but when it comes to Criminals 101 you can’t get anything past him. Dog can’t resist pouring a bucket of salt into his wounds, telling Brice he’ll be called Bo-Peep in prison. But then Dog’s heart of gold takes over and he gives the fugitive a cigarette and lights it for him. This is a rite of passage for anyone who gets apprehended by the DOG; you’ll always get a cancer stick as a reward. Thanks Dog!

The nuptials are a day or two away and Dog apprehends another fine citizen who claims to just have some “jewelry” in his pocket. Turns out it’s an ice pipe. I guess he wears it in his mouth. Iceheads, crackheads, basketball size breasts and stripper heels, sigh. Brings back memories of my own nuptials. Honestly, who other than the Chapmans host a gala affair in the midst of such an odd assembly of characters Of course, it all makes for good TV and for the more sentimental of us, it all does the heart good.

While Dog is out hunting down these characters he misses his own wedding rehearsal. But it’s all good; he makes it for the party afterwards, which looks like a blast. Full Hawaiian garb, fragrant orchid-laden leis, tables of food and Dog in his conch-shell braids. Beth is looking forward to her wedding day and forgives Dog for missing the rehearsal. She puts it into perspective, saying “Today Big Daddy got his man, and tomorrow I get mine.”

After such a happy night, the morning of the wedding brings somber news for the Chapman family. Dog’s daughter, who lives in Alaska, was killed in a car accident; his daughter died on his wedding day. The family’s tremendous faith and love for one another enables them to go through with the wedding, though he cries throughout the day for his daughter. Dog says, “There is a time to mourn and it’s not right now. If God wanted to stop the wedding he wouldn’t have killed my baby. That’s not God.” In true Dog style, he follows this tender moment with one of his cheesy (but heartfelt) expressions, “This blood don’t run.”

The sun comes out, a legless woman arrives in a wheelchair and Dog and Beth say “I Do”. Finally – after all these years we have Mr. and Mrs. Dog Chapman, joined by handcuffs and hair bleach forever.

10 Things That Will Make You Stronger in Midlife

Entering midlife can make you feel more vulnerable than you’ve ever felt and there is mounting scientific evidence that the lifestyle decisions you make in midlife can dramatically impact your health in your senior years. Here are some things that you can do to get on the right track.

1. Educate yourself about exercise and diet.

Crack a book or two to get a glimpse of what you’re going to need to do to improve. The power of exercise and diet cannot be overstated. It is your responsibility to figure out what you need to know. When I am approached by the average, middle-aged novice in the gym, I can’t help but sense the expectation that I should be able to explain everything that person needs to know in a short 2 – 5 minute talk. That is optimistic at best. It takes years to build a strong, healthy body and it can take a long time to explain how to do it. Start educating yourself as soon as possible and use multiple sources. The fitness industry is ripe with disinformation designed to separate you from your money. Don’t believe everything you read, but read it nonetheless.

2. Build a working relationship with your doctor.

Most of us have a love / hate relationship with our doctors; we love to hate them. To make it through midlife and beyond, you will need help from people in the medical fields from time to time. One of the people you need to get to know is a competent doctor who you trust with your life. You need to have a working relationship with this doctor. That means he/she is someone with whom you can work to get to the bottom of your health issues. Liking each other is secondary to this.

3. Exercise with weights.

The effects of resistance training on older adults has been well documented. If you want to prevent major muscle atrophy and lower bone density in your senior years, it’s time to start pushing some weight. You NEED to get clearance from your doctor before starting any exercise program and you NEED to educate yourself (#1 and #2). Most people underestimate how easy it is to get hurt doing weight lifting without proper training. Unfortunately, many of the trainers in commercial gyms are barely more than salespeople with a perfunctory understanding of weight training. The fact is that learning basic, compound movements with weights and doing these movements three times per week is the equivalent of the fountain of youth. You must find a way to do this.

4. Do some cardio.

Cardio work is second in importance to resistance training for midlifers, but it is still important. Adding 15 to 20 minutes of low impact cardio at the end of your workout can do wonders for your heart and help reduce body fat. Remember to use the cardio formula to find your target heart rate. 220 – your age = max heart rate. Target heart rate = max heart rate X 0.65. You can go higher than the target but stay under your max. That’s why it’s called MAX heart rate.

5. Stretch.

Stretching and mobility work can help keep you moving like a well oiled machine. If you are training two to three times per week, you are going to be sore. Make sure to take time after workouts to stretch and do mobility work on days off to increase blood flow and range of motion. Some of my associates even do light yoga workouts on their days away from lifting weights to stay limber and pain-free.

6. Eat right.

Controlling what you put in your mouth has to be one of the most difficult things you can do in midlife. Let’s face it. You’ve probably been eating that way for decades and old habits are the hardest to break. Most of the fitness gurus recommend multiple meals every 3-4 hours with a good mix of macro-nutrients in each meal as the gold standard for a healthy diet. That simply means a little protein, carbohydrate, and fat in each meal. One of the recent changes has been the advent of organic food being better for us because of reduced exposure to chemicals. If you aren’t eating right, you must change as soon as possible. If you can keep the good habits for at least six weeks, they will become permanent.

7. Supplement your diet with protein and creatine.

These two supplements have been around long enough and studied enough to safely state that they work. They can help you in the fight to keep muscle and functional strength. I don’t recommend spending too much on supplements, but protein synthesis needs a hand as we age. Many diet texts state that at least 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is a good thing for active, healthy people in midlife.

8. Get enough sleep and rest.

Sleep is one of the three things we need to get stronger. We must train, eat, and sleep in order to grow. If any of the three are lacking, we don’t grow like we should. While it’s natural to feel like we need less sleep as we age, I assure you that while engaged in resistance training you will need every bit of eight hours sleep per night. You should treat this just like diet. You’ve been doing the same sleeping ritual for decades, but now you need to get eight hours per night while training. Find a way to make it happen for six weeks and it will become habit.

9. Quit smoking.

This is arguably the hardest habit to break. As amazing as it sounds there are still people around who don’t believe smoking cigarettes will kill you in an accelerated and painful way. While I understand addiction (I’m a former smoker), there are a lot more cessation methods around today than there were a few years back. But nothing will work until you really want to stop. In the end, it’s all up to you.

10. Drink less.

All things in moderation and a wise man knows his vices. There are some studies pointing to the health benefits of wine in moderation. Many health gurus say we shouldn’t drink at all. I think we should weigh the consequences of our actions against the quality of our lives… and then have the glass of wine anyway.

In closing, this list is not exhaustive, but it contains the “Big Bang for the Buck” items that could make your golden years a lot better. Remember that one of the things everyone wants late in life is the ability to get around on their own or at least to be able to get up on their own. Make these changes and fight to remain mobile.

Beat The Bunion

When young women notice that their big toe is turning inward they do not pay much attention to it. They presume everything will be OK where the fact is that it will not. This is usually the first sign that you are getting a bunion.

Many women suffer from bunions for years; Up to 4.5 million people can suffer from this condition annually. It all starts with the type of shoes you are wearing; Like wearing slender tight fitting shoes with no arch support and high heels excessively.

I have seen many people who have noticed their large toe moving inwards, however they have done nothing to correct it. They have continued to wear their high heels until it finally becomes unbearable, not simply to wear their heels but to wear most types of shoes. Both sexes are susceptible to bunions, however women suffer a lot more as a result of their love of heels.

Doctors say they see bunions in patients of all ages, even those as young as eight. Symptoms to watch out for are aches within the joint of the massive toe when walking or standing, red bump on the aspect of the massive toe, pain aggravated by pressure from shoes and there before the huge toe turning toward the opposite toes.

As soon as you see symptoms see your doctor because if you catch it early enough, you will stop or abate the deformity by doing strengthening exercises. Using an orthotic insert will help to carry the foot up to where it should be.

What is a bunion?

A bunion is when your big toe slowly dislocates from the joint and it moves inwards towards the other toes. The bump you see is the joint sticking out as a result of the metatarsal bone moving away from the foot. Many people think bunions are hereditary but it's the structure of the foot that makes people more prone to bunions which are hereditary.

A bunion can be caused by things like flat feet, the structure of your foot or a foot injury. It can also be bought on the shoes you wear; Wearing high heel shoes excessively will accelerate the condition, as will wearing narrow shoes with little or no support. (Ie flip flops).

To live with bunions:

Wear comfortable shoes that match the shape of your foot.

Wear wide fitting shoes.

Apply a bunion pad around the bony area to help protect it.

If your bunion is painful use ice packs a few times a day which will reduce swelling.

Avoid high-heeled, narrow shoes.

Before surgery, there are other things you can try.

The most important thing is the type of shoe you wear. The best type is a wide, smooth shoe with good arch support. Collapsing of the arch means you will get bunions quicker.

Flip-flops are the worst type of footwear for people with bunions; Also avoid shoes with a heel of more than two inches and shoes that are narrow in the front.

You can also try pads or splints which do not correct the bunion but can ease the pain, or orthotics, which are custom-molded plates for the shoe, that control the motion of the foot and prevent the metatarsal bone from moving away from the toes .

If we see a bunion starting in a young person, try orthotics straightaway to try to avoid surgery. Seek professional podiatric assistance if your bunions are uncomfortable or noticeable.

On an initial visit your doctor does a gait evaluation first to look for the mechanism that is causing the bunion and then look for ways to address it. Of the hundreds of people they treat for this common foot problem, a few do opt for surgery.

Plenty of people's bunions cause them no problems in their own life. For those people who find their bunion is interfering with day to day activates; Or if it's starting to push on the second toe (which can lead to hammer toe of the second toe) then surgery is the answer.

There are a hundred different types of bunion operations that are performed. The type of operation needed is decided after looking at what x-rays show concern the structure of a person's foot. Some surgeries will involve breaking the metatarsal bone, the bump is then removed and the soft tissue and joint are realigned. Generally a pin is inserted to keep the bone in place.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Ripping out the carpet and replacing it with hardwood floors has always been on the top of your remodeling wish list, and the day has finally arrived. Now, however, you have to battle your conscience as you contemplate all of those trees that will have to be cut down. Horror stories abound describing the consequences of deforestation. How will you ever be able to enjoy that beautiful new oak flooring if every time you walk across the floor you feel personally responsible for global warming? Is there no choice but to settle for laminate?

Do not give up yet! Reclaimed wood may be the perfect solution. You are one of a growing number of people seriously concerned about the state of the environment and how it has been affected by the loss of so much of our forests. All over the world, this has fueled a rapidly growing interest in finding old lumber and reusing it. Right now, industrial recyclers are scouring the countryside, searching for old barns, log cabins, and houses that were built around the turn of the century. Others are focusing on wooden-hulled ships and there is even salvage work being undertaken at old logging sites where timber was lost, some of it underwater for years, as it was being loaded for transport to the sawmills.

Tracking down and dismanting old buildings is just the beginning in a very labor-intensive process. Whether the boards were exposed to decades of wind, rain, sun and whatever else Mother Nature could cook up or were interior walls, each piece must be thoroughly inspected. Any evidence of rot or damage has to be cut out. All hardware is removed and every nail must be located and painstakingly pulled out without creating any more damage than absolutely necessary. To make sure there is no moisture left in the wood, it is then kiln-dried, which also kills any dormant insects that may be present. As arduous as this process is, bringing reclaimed wood to market is still more resource efficient than producing the same quantity of board feet from fresh timber.

Environmental consciousness is not the only reason for the rise in popularity for reclaimed wood. Because most of this wood came out of old growth forests, it is superior in quality and appearance. Reclaimed wood is often harder and denser than new growth wood which makes it less vulnerable to changes in temperature and humidity and decrees the likelihood of cupping or warping. All of these reasons make reclaimed wood a responsible and sound choice. However, what puts it over the top is that freshly milled lumber simply can not rival it in beauty and character.

Grading President Obama’s Job Speech – What He Said Vs. What He Should Have Said

Last week the nation tuned into President’s Obama’s much hyped job creation speech to see if there would be any worthy ideas to try and break the constant high unemployment rate int he country. Would he be bold and innovative or would it be the same basic, tired political tactics that have been tried and have usually failed to live up to expectations?

The following discussion will compare what the President should have said and what he actually said. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that from a boldness, innovation, and courage perspective, the President came up well short of the goal line.

1) Infrastructure

As expected, the President did state that he wanted money and funding for infrastructure jobs to fix roads, bridges, dams, schools, etc. that were in need of repair, something many Americans expected and were supportive of. However, the President’s proposal came up short in two areas.

First, infrastructure spending and work done via the economic stimulus bill was woefully inefficient. According to various Associated Press investigations, thousands and thousands of government contracts were granted without competitive bidding. Half of the bridges that were repaired under the stimulus program were not in need of repairs. Powerful individual politicians in Congress snatched their share of the stimulus money and directed it to their voters regardless of whether of not the spending was actually fixing a real problem.

Millions of dollars from the stimulus plan were granted to companies that owed hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes. No where in the President’s jobs speech do we get firm assurances that these atrocities have been recognized and will not happen again. He states that the money will be properly spent but we were promised that in the economic stimulus bill. The only way to insure that this potential pot of money is well spent is to give the decision on what projects are done to the states via a block grant of money, taking Congress out of the decision process altogether.

Second, the President does not show any detail on how to pay for this increment Federal spending. He says he will unveil a plan within a week or so. Thus, his performance on this topic is an incomplete. He gave no indication of specifics like reducing the Federal payroll back to 2008 levels, terminating unwanted and unneeded military projects such as the Osprey, terminating corporate welfare programs, ending agriculture subsidies, and directing high speed rail line funding to shorter term infrastructure needs.

Grade: Incomplete given the unnamed ways to fund this infrastructure spending that will be forth coming. However, worries about whether this will be another waste of money spent on things that do not need to be fixed, given the economic stimulus program, and the fact that the President has not taken Congress out of the decision making loop, continue to exist.

2) Obama Care

According to many credible opinion polls, the majority of Americans realize that Obama Care is an unfolding disaster. It will screw up existing health care insurance for tens of millions of Americans that already have coverage, it will significantly add to the deficit, it has created a large amount of tax and business uncertainty into the employment crisis in this country, and will not address the root causes of our escalating health care costs. Nowhere in his speech did he address this problem.

The President did make reference to the fact that we need to somehow reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs going forward in order to protect the long term solvency of both programs. He wisely wants to phase in any changes over time to ease the transition. However, he gave no indication of how he thinks we should do this, he gave no indication he has a plan to do this, and gave indication when this would be done.

Overall grade – D-. Obama Care is one of the biggest drags on the economy and unemployment today and he ignored it. The only reason he did not get an F here is that he may finally be realizing the need to reform Medicare and Medicaid, even if he does not have a plan on how to do that.

3) Tax Holiday For Overseas Profits

Some economists suggested that the President should announce that there should be a one time tax holiday for American companies that have stashed billions of dollars of their profits overseas because it is cheaper to leave those earning overseas than to bring them back to the country and get hit with a 35% tax hit. This tax holiday should be a one time deal that would be followed up immediately with a dedicated overhaul of the tax system.

The reasoning is that it would be better to have that corporate cash sloshing around in the United States than sitting off in some foreign banks even if it was not taxed. The short term problem is jobs, not taxing overseas profits. However, in order to not train companies to wait for the next tax holiday, this would be a one time deal followed immediately by comprehensive tax reform. The President did not address this opportunity to get dollars flowing back into the country and economy.

Overall grade – F

4) Regulation – many businesses have suggested that the President terminate all Federal regulations that do not impact the health and safety of our citizens or the environment and he agreed with this in his speech. He addressed this issue, claiming that his administration had identified over 500 regulatory reforms that will free up billions of dollars over the next few years.

However, he provided no specifics or big deals such as termination of the unneeded and cumbersome Sarbannes-Oxley legislation. The President’s case would have been stronger if he had provided some concrete examples of what his administration has already done to ease the regulation overload.

He also did not address the overtly oppressive Federal government interference into individual business operations, specifically the overbearing and likely politically motivated harassment of Boeing and Gibson Guitars. This unnecessary type of government interference diverts companies’ resources from business and job expansion.

Overall grade – B-. This could change if he does not follow through with the promises he made.

5) Energy

He made no reference at all to using the energy industry, and using oil and gas company resources, to expand our internal energy capacity and development. Since the country does not have an overall, longer term strategic energy plan and policy, fossil fuels will still be the major component of our energy mix for a long time.

Given that fact, it makes sense to not keep sending our wealth overseas to other energy providers when we could develop our own energy resources, again, using oil company money, not taxpayer money. Ending any Gulf drilling moratoriums, building the Canadian crude oil pipeline, opening up drilling in the Arctic, etc. would create good, long term, needed jobs in our domestic energy industry.

Coupling that with a major initiative to develop alternative energy sources and an overarching energy strategy would cover both our long term and short term energy needs while creating a ton of jobs. The President missed this opportunity completely.

Overall grade – F

6) Education

As a country, we need a number of short term and long term changes in the nation’s approach to education and its impact on jobs. First, given that the Federal government has dozens of independent organizations that provide severely fragmented job training services, these dozens of job training entities should be consolidated into a single, more efficient and more effective Federal job training organization, placed in the Health and Human Services Department.

This single organization would be a one stop shopping for citizens looking for training support and be a conduit between job seekers and those hiring. It would be more efficient than having the dozens of organizations that we currently have.

Long term, need an initiative that would identify the root causes of our failing public schools and put together a comprehensive plan for fixing our education processes so that we stop under educating our kids relative to the rest of the world. A similar plan was laid out under the Reagan administration in 1983 but the American political class ignored those findings. As a result, our kids are not being educated as well as kids in dozens of other countries around the world.

Unfortunately, the President completely missed the needs in this category also. He made two references to education in his speech. First, he wants money to fix up 35,000 schools across the country. Second, he wants money to hire more teachers. However, if the country does not fix our failed public education processes, if we do not adopt curriculums to the current, fast paced world, if we do not improve teacher training and evaluation, etc., all the President’s plans will do is have us continue to under educate our kids. Only now we will under educate them with more of the same kind of teachers in nicer buildings.

This is a typical solution from the political class. It is based on their inability to understand root causes of problems Having a nicer school building will not make for a better educated work force. Hiring the same types of teachers will not improve the learning process. We need fundamental changes to education to compete in the world economy.

None of the President’s plans address this more serious problem. He just wants to hire some painters and electricians to make things look nice. The basic product, bad education results, will not change and will not positively affect job creation.

Overall grade – F

7) Taxes

Many assumed the President would ask for an extension of the tax changes made last fall, i.e. the extension of the Bush tax cuts be extended for two years in order to introduce some more certainty into the tax planning of individuals and companies. From his speech it looks like he wants to extend it for another year. Not bad, but two years would have been better and provided the economy with more certainty.

In addition, the President asked for more tax changes, especially for small business. These include providing tax credits for newly hired employees and forgoing the payroll tax for a year to give businesses more cash. However, while these are positive steps, they are open for abuse (e.g. what would stop a business from firing all of its employees on Friday, hiring them back on Monday and claiming the tax credits ) and will further deplete the dwindling Social Security funding.

Their effectiveness is also worthy of doubting. Many economists have looked at similar tax programs in the past and found that unless there is a clear path to an improving economy and improving sales, a business will not likely take on new employees and assume that risk if there are still all types of uncertainty in the mix (e.g. next year’s elections, Obama Care, over regulation, etc.)

The other tax area the President touched on his is unhealthy fixation with taxing the rich. The numbers prove that while taxing the rich more might be a healthy political move for some voters, the financial impact on the economy, government tax levels, and the national debt is extremely small. The President made some embarrassingly incorrect statements regarding taxing the rich in his speech that are worth reviewing:

“Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.” Likely a true statement since Buffet probably draws a smaller salary than his secretary. However, the President never brings up that fact that Buffet does not pay himself millions of dollars every year in salary, getting his money via legally approved other ways that minimize his tax burden. To not mention this fact is deceptive at best, a lie at worst.

“I (Obama) believe that the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that (pay more in taxes) if it helps grow the economy.” A number of problems with this tired, cliched statement. First, the President never cites a source or research that supports this statement. He states it as fact but no data supporting its truth is ever presented.

Second, if these people are so anxious to pay more in taxes, why don’t they? The U.S. Treasury Department has had a program for many years that easily allows Americans to pay more than they owe in taxes to pay down the national debt. If these people were willing to pay more, there is nothing stopping them from doing so. The fact that this program gets very little money donated to it every year reinforces the doubt that the President’s statement is right.

Third, if they do want to pay more in taxes, why didn’t the President challenge them to contribute to the infrastructure program he is proposing? We could name bridges and streets and dams after them as as a side benefit.

Finally, the President implies that if only these people paid more in taxes, the economy would grow significantly. Certainly not a true statement if you examine the numbers. Another Obama statement bordering on deception.

The bottom line is we need a much simplified and much fairer tax code. A tax code where the rich pay their fair share and those Americans that use the income tax process as a money maker, i.e. 45% of Americans pay no Federal income taxes, also pay their fair share. However, beyond general statements about reforming the tax code, the President’s provided no details, plans, or timetable on how to do that.

Which is a shame since such a plan would remove a large amount of uncertainty and wasted economic time complying with our complex tax code. This would have freed up money, time, resources, and energies to expand our economy and hire new workers.

Overall grade – D-

8) National Debt – many organizations, including the President’s own debt reduction commission, have identified many ways to take trillions and trillions of wasted dollars out of our national debt. The President at least gave lip service to this need and claims to have an aggressive plan ready within the week. We shall see.

Grade – Incomplete

9) Unemployment Benefits

Many economists suggested that the President start finding a way to get out of the unemployment benefit business since every major study conducted in this area, including one done by the new head of his economic advisor team, says that providing long term unemployment benefits contributes to chronic long term unemployment The President stated in his speech that he wants to extend long term unemployment benefits, the exact opposite of what all economic studies say is wise.

Overall grade – F, based on the results of the studies cited above, the fact that as we keep extending benefits, unemployment gets stronger, and the fact that there are jobs out there. Just go to Craigslist, Snag A Job’s website or other employment websites and search for all jobs in a zip code and see the hundreds or thousands of vacant jobs that come back.

Jobs are out there, they may not be great jobs, they may not be in someone’s field but here has to be a creative way of melding unemployment benefits with the existing vacant job piles around the country so that everyone wins. In the President’s speech, status quo wins and that is a failure.

10) Trade treaties.

The President was expected to press for the passage of trade treaties that have already been negotiated and he did.

Overall grade – A

Overall, across all components, this speech gets no better than a D minus in boldness, originality, in-depth understanding of our root causes to our problems, and needed specifics on how to move forward. His tax ideas are standard and very tactical, with histories of varying degrees of success. His call for tax reform was hollow. His ignoring of the devastating effects of Obama Care on hiring and uncertainty is unforgivable.

His strategy for paying for this increased spending is vague and yet to be unveiled or to be determined. His removal of unnecessary regulations was tepid at best. He missed big strategic opportunities to free up uncertainty in the private sector by ignoring the wastefulness of Sarbannes-Oxley, failing to address the opportunities in the domestic energy field, and fixing our short term and long term education process. He missed a big time opportunity to declare a one time tax holiday to get off shore corporate earnings back into our economy and linking that to overall tax reform.

If these are such great ideas, which they are not, why haven’t we moved on them previously? Could it be that we have and the results has been a steady dose of 9% unemployment? There was not a creative, ingenious, or bold idea in the lot.

His speech reinforces the belief that the President is like most other politicians, they do not know how to think strategically. All of their thought processes and plans are usually very short term and tactical, rarely addressing the underlying problems. Cash For Clunkers. Cash For Caulkers. One time rebate for first time home buyers. A scattering of small business tax credits but no overall tax reform that encourages business growth. Fix up the schools and make them look pretty without long term education reform. All failed concepts, all short term, doomed tactics.

Besides not being strategic. the plans set out by the President do not remove the major road blocks of uncertainty in the economy and marketplace:

– Short term, gimmicky tax adjustments with unknown future implications and changes.

– A complex and unwieldy tax code.

– High national debt.

– High taxes at every level of government.

– Over regulation.

– Obama Care.

Until the political class fixes these problems, unemployment will still stay high and businesses will continue with their conservative “deer in the headlights” planning.

We're Movin 'On Up – Packing Supplies Must-Have

It's amazing to think all of your household goods, prized possessions, and furniture can be literally packed and moved to somewhere new. To ensure your household arrives in good condition (including yourself and your family), make sure you have purchased the right packing supplies. Your time and money are valuable – so purchase supplies that will help cut down on work and expense on the other end.

After considering what items will be moved (think of moving as an opportunity to streamline your life and possessions of clutter with a garage sale or trip to Goodwill), identify those items that require specialized packing. These items might be fragile, possess awkward shapes, or be larger pieces that will be harder to move. Take measurements of these items, make a list, and then go shopping.

You may purchase your packing supplies at a local retailer, but for the best prices and variety, consider the Internet. Some online packing suppliers deal with larger companies, so make sure you will be able to purchase smaller quantities. One place you might be able to save money is with moving boxes. Many grocery or liquor / wine stores have boxes available for free. Give the store manager a few weeks notice so he or she can put aside what you need. Keep in mind though that retail boxes do tend to be larger and can be more difficult too pack your items in strictly.

Moving kits or packing kits can be purchase which include everything you need for a particular room or the entire household. They would include small, medium, and large moving boxes, heavy duty boxes, an electronics box, unprinted newswrap, bubblewrap, and sealing tape.

For specialty items such as large mirrors, framed artwork, and computers and printers, specialty boxes are also available and come with the option to purchase frame protectors. Lamp boxes, guitar boxes, mattress and crib boxes are some of the other specialty packing supplies available online. File boxes are another smart choice to keep documents sorted and sealed during the move. Hanging wardrobe boxes come in various sizes, each with a metal bar and shaped like a wardrobe. Some movers use these boxes to move chandeliers or other items that are better to move hanging than flat.

It's a good idea to invest in a few other moving accessories. Prevent the frustration of lost scissors and marks by creating a package materials box so all of your supplies are within easy reach. To prevent having to wash items after you've moved, use plain newsprint or brown paper to wrap items. Items such as foam, stretch wrap, inflatable bags, and peanuts provide extra protection, protect surfaces, and fill empty spaces inside your moving boxes. Custom-printed labels can be created to suit your needs, such as "Fragile," "Kitchen," or "This End Up." You will also find various sizes of blank labels prepared on a single sheet that can be printed right from your own computer. The blank version is cheaper and versatile. Make sure your moving toolkit has a good set of box cutters, as they are an essential resource for good, durable, safe moving supplies.

Once you're set with your packing supplies, pack ahead anything that you do not need. For instance, if it's summer, pack all of your winter clothes. Or box up your extra televisions and / or radios. Pare down cooking utensils and food supplies to the bare essentials. Use wastebaskets to pack items in while replacing them with plastic grocery bags to collect trash. For more personal items, use brightly colored storage tote boxes, one for each person. Allow family members to fill them with items they will want to access right away in the new house. Items may include a set of sheets, towel, nightlights, travel cosmetics, etc.

While moving may not be the most fun you've ever had (how can anything compare to that beach vacation?), Planning ahead goes a long way towards your peace of mind and making the process more bearable. It's important to stay focused and take time to be excited about the upcoming change.

Humphrey Bogart in Film 1899-1942

It’s very rare in the cinema when an actor comes along with the charisma, style, and talent that captures the audience’s imagination and admiration enough to propel him/her to the status of a theatrical icon. Humphrey Bogart was one of these actors. Voted at the top of a long list of the ‘greatest male actors’ by the American Film Institute, Bogart’s body of work is regarded as some of the best in film history.

Born on Christmas day in New York City, Humphrey DeForest Bogart was the eldest son of Belmont DeForest Bogart and Maud Humphrey. There was, at one time controversy over Bogart’s actual birth date. For a long time many believed the Christmas day birth was a work of fiction perpetrated by movie studio Warner Bros. as a way to give the actor a more interesting background. However, due to newspaper birth notices and a 1900 census, it was proven that the 25th of December was indeed Bogart’s actual birth date.

Growing up, Bogart lived a somewhat luxurious lifestyle. His father was a cardiopulmonary surgeon who made a decent income of $20,000 a year. His mother, who worked as a commercial illustrator brought home a whopping $50,000/year, an astounding salary for the time. Besides an apartment on the upper west side, the Bogart’s owned a cottage which sat on 55 acres of land. As parents, the Bogarts were not openly sentimental or loving towards their children. In an interview, Bogart was quoted as saying that, “…a kiss was an event.” Young Humphrey also had to endure teasing from other children because of his tidiness, his formal clothing and his name.

Bogart attended some of the best private schools New York had to offer in his early academic career. But as he grew older, there were disciplinary problems and academic failures that eventually led to his permanent expulsion from school, much to disappointment of his parents. In 1918, when he was old enough, Bogart joined the Navy.

He looked back on his days in the Navy with fondness, saying later that, “At eighteen, war was great stuff. Paris! French girls! Hot damn!” Whatever problems Bogart may have had with authority while in school, didn’t seem to follow him into the service. He was a model sailor according to reports. He served aboard the U.S.S. Leviathan, transporting troops back and forth between the states and Europe.

It was during his service in the Navy that Bogart may have gotten his trademark scar and developed his characteristic lisp. It seems that while his ship was being shelled, his lip was badly cut by a piece of shrapnel. However another story contends Bogart was injured by a prisoner while escorting him to Portsmouth Naval Prison. By the time Bogart was seen by a doctor, the scar had already formed. Still again another story surfaced, coming from fellow actor David Niven. He said that Bogart had told him it was from a childhood accident and that the Navy story was introduced by movie studios who thought it would add a glamorous touch to Bogart’s persona.

After the Navy, Bogart returned home to find his father in poor health, addicted to morphine, and nearly broke after many bad investments. The time he had spent in the Navy and away from his family had made Bogart a more down to earth individual. He had grown to resent traits such as pretense and snobbery. This new Bogart began to draw further away from his families influence.

Later, Bogart would meet up with boyhood friend, Bill Brady Jr., who’s father had connections to the show business world. Bogart began working for Mr. William Brady Sr. Bogart would try his hand at screenwriting, production, and directing, but none of these suited him. He then became stage manager for Alice Brady,(William Brady’s daughter), who was putting on a Broadway show. A few months later, in 1921 Bogart would make his first stage appearance in ‘Drifting’, another Alice Brady play. This would lead to more small parts in some more of Brady’s plays. Bogart enjoyed the hours and attention even these small roles afforded him. He would say that, “I was born to be indolent and this was the softest of rackets”.

The late hours he was keeping led to Bogart hanging out nightly at speakeasies and drinking heavily. In fact, a barroom brawl may well have been the actual cause for his lip scar.

Although he had no formal training, Bogart worked long and hard at acting. He appeared in at least seventeen Broadway productions between 1922 and 1935. With no actual proof, it is said that Bogart was the first to use the famous line, “Tennis anyone?”

After the 1929 stock market crash, Broadway ticket sales dropped sharply. The more pleasant looking actors were inclined to travel to Hollywood to continue their craft in front of the cameras. Bogart’s earliest film role was with Helen Hayes in a 1928 two-reeler called ‘Dancing Town’. He also appeared in a Vitaphone film short, ‘Broadway’s Like That’ (1930). Then Bogart had a minor part in ‘The Bad Sister'(1930), starring Bette Davis.

Shortly after these small parts, Bogart signed a contract with Fox Film Corporation for a salary of $750 a week. It was during this time he met and became good friends with Spencer Tracey. The two became drinking buddies and it was Spencer who first called Bogart “Bogey”. The two friends appeared in only one film together. A John Ford early sound production, ‘Up the River’ (1930). The two played prison inmates.

The next few years of Bogart’s life were troubled ones. Constantly looking for acting work, he spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between Hollywood and New York. Despite his efforts though, he suffered long periods without work. His personal life was on very shaky grounds as well. Bogart’s second marriage was in trouble, and his parent’s own marriage had ended. In 1934 Bogart’s father, Belmont, died in debt. In a very rare display of affection, at his father’s deathbed, Bogart finally told his father how much he loved him. He inherited his father’s gold ring, which he always wore. In fact, Bogart can be seen wearing it in many of his films. Eventually, Bogart slipped into depression and was drinking heavily.

In ’34, Bogart would reach a turning point in his career. He was performing in a play called, ‘Invitation to a Murder’, when producer Arthur Hopkins took a shine to him, (especially his voice), and offered him the role of Duke Mantee, an escaped murderer in Robert E. Sherwood’s play ‘The Petrified Forest”. Hopkins would explain his interest in Bogart later saying, “…for he was one I never much admired. He was an antiquated juvenile who spent most of his stage life in white pants swinging a tennis racquet. He seemed as far from a cold-blooded killer as one could get, but the voice (dry and tired) persisted, and the voice was Mantee’s.”

After 197 performances at the Broadhurst Theater in New York city in 1935, many critics were unanimous in their praise of Bogart’s performance. This would be the break Bogart needed.

Warner Bros. studios bought the film rights to ‘The Petrified Forest’. Warner Bros were known for making many gritty, tough, and low-budget films of this caliber, and since the public was infatuated with real-life criminals like John Dillinger and Charles ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, the movie was set to be a hit. The stars of the film were Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. Howard who owned production rights made it clear he wanted Bogart to reprise his role as Duke Mantee. Warner’s instead tested many other actors and then settled on Edward G. Robinson. The studio believed Robinson’s star power would draw large audiences. When Bogart heard the news he was out, he contacted Howard and told him. Howard shot back, sending Warner’s a cable stating, “Att: Jack Warner Insist Bogart Play Mantee No Bogart No Deal L.H.”. Realizing Howard was in no mood to negotiate, Warner Bros. gave in. Robinson was out, Bogart was in!

Bogart never forgot Howard’s favor. In 1952, Bogart named his only daughter Leslie after the actor. Sadly, Howard would die during WWII under suspicious circumstances.

Now, Bogart could not only see the light at the end of a troubled tunnel, he started heading for it.

In 1936 ‘The Petrified Forest” was released in theaters. Bogart’s film performance was hailed by critics as “…brilliant”, “superb”, and “compelling”. He signed a 26 week contract with Warners for $550 a week. It seemed Bogart had made it, however, his outstanding performance as a criminal in an ‘A’ movie followed him like a shadow. He was now being ‘typecast’ and relegated to playing gangsters and thugs in a series of ‘B’ movies. Bogart was glad for the work but it bothered him that he was seemingly trapped in one-dimensional roles. He spoke later about this saying, I can’t get in a mild discussion without turning it into an argument. There must be something in my tone of voice, or this arrogant face-something that antagonizes everybody. Nobody likes me on sight. I suppose that’s why I’m cast as the heavy.

Then there was the physical toll that acting in these movies took on Bogart. Studios were not yet air-conditioned and the heavy work schedule was wearing on the actor. But Bogart took it in stride as best he could. He was always the constant professional and he was developing the screen persona that made him the star he is remembered for being today, the wounded, stoical, cynical, charming, vulnerable, self-mocking loner with a core of honor. Very few other actors ever portrayed characters with 2 or more of those traits like ‘Bogey’ could.

The ‘studio system’ as it was known in those days was almost tyrannical. Actors who were under contract were forbidden to go to another studio. Filming would begin on a new movie just days and sometimes only hours after filming on a previous movie was wrapped up. Bogart would, at times actually play in two movies being filmed at once. Also, if an actor turned down a role they could be suspended indefinitely. Bogart worked steadily from 1936 to 1940, but hated the roles and conditions in which he worked.

Well-known actors at Warners like James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and George Raft always got first pick or selection for the best roles. Bogart was dealt the leftovers. The one and only substantial leading role he got during his time with Warners was at the hands of another studio. In Dead End (1937), while loaned to Samuel Goldwyn studios, he portrayed a gangster modeled after Baby Face Nelson. In the film, Black Legion(1937), Bogart finally got to portray a good guy, who became involved and eventually destroyed by a racist organization.

In 1939 Bogart was cast by Warners as a mad scientist, (I can’t even imagine), in The Return of Dr. X. Bogart had finally had it saying, “If it’d been Jack Warner’s blood…I wouldn’t have minded so much. The trouble was they were drinking mine and I was making this stinking movie.”

In 1937 Bogart and wife, actress Mary Phillips divorced. They parted amicably enough, however, in August of ’38 Bogart entered a destructive third marriage with actress Mayo Methot. A sweet and friendly woman when sober, she became extremely jealous and ill-tempered when she drank, and she drank a lot. Convinced Bogart was cheating on her, she would often fly into violent tirades that included, throwing any object that was available at Bogart, setting their home on fire, stabbing him with a knife on one occasion, and cutting her own wrists on several. On the other hand, Bogart seemed to revel in these confrontations. He would antagonize her to stir her up even further. The couple was dubbed by the press as “The Battling Bogarts.”

In 1945 Bogart bought a sailing yacht from fellow actor Dick Powell. The yacht was named Santana, and sailing her became Bogart’s sanctuary from all the insanity at home. Bogart loved to sail and was damn good at it. 30 out the 52 weekends of the year, Bogart could be found sailing Santana around the waters of Catalina Island. He once said of the hobby he loved so much, “An actor needs something to stabilize his personality, something to nail down what he really is, not what he is currently pretending to be.”

With troubles at home and still stuck in the grip of the studio system, playing less than desirable roles in second rate films, Bogart’s famous persona was growing and developing still. Sensitive, yet very selective about who he let see that side of him, he was fast becoming a soured idealist. An outcast and loner among the finer people and things in New York and Hollywood, a heavy drinking man who made his own good fortune, but helpless against the system he so hated. Resigned to the fact that he was destined to live out the rest of his days surrounded by untalented and unimaginable hacks and stuck in a rut of inferior films and roles. He rarely saw his own films and never attended premieres. Bogart was also becoming more and more outspoken about this as well. He was fast becoming a Pariah among other actors who began shunning him privately. But the press loved his candor. All the while, Bogart couldn’t understand what the big deal was. He once said in an interview: All over Hollywood, they are continually advising me “Oh, you mustn’t say that. That will get you in a lot of trouble” when I remark that some picture or writer or director or producer is no good. I don’t get it. If he isn’t any good, why can’t you say so? If more people would mention it, pretty soon it might start having some effect.

But that attitude and swagger that was getting Bogart in trouble, was about to make him a star.

In 1941 the film High Sierra was released. The screenplay was written by Bogart’s friend and drinking companion, John Huston. When Paul Muni and George Raft turned down the lead role, Bogart was offered the part and he took it. He would be playing a gangster again, but this role would give Bogart a chance to play a well written and deeper character who would be taken seriously by audiences. Ida Lupino starred in the film as well and she and Bogart got along very good together on and off the screen which caused Bogart’s wife, Mayo great jealousy.

High Sierra would be a landmark in Bogart’s career as well as solidify even more his close friendship with John Huston. The two men were almost mirror images of each other. Huston too was a drinker and he and Bogart would drink whiskey and talk for hours about a myriad of subjects. Both were easily bored and restless during production and would play pranks on one another and others to elevate this. And finally, the two deeply respected each other, both professionally and personally.

The film that would mark John Huston’s directorial debut was the classic The Maltese Falcon (1941). The movie would also be a bullseye for Bogart as well. His portrayal of the quick witted and fast talking private detective Sam Spade was dead on. Co-starring Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Mary Astor as the evil femme fatale, The Maltese Falcon was an instant classic. Dubbed a masterpiece by audiences and critics alike. Bogart who had hardly made any films worth being proud of was extremely happy about this one, saying, “…it is practically a masterpiece. I don’t have many things I’m proud of… but that’s one”.

Casablanca was released in 1942. For the first time Bogart was playing a romantic lead. He played American Rick Blaine, who owned a night club and was now living in Morocco. Trying his best to skirt a fine line to keep the Nazis off his back while hiding a shadowy past. His night club is the most well known, making it a center point of all kinds of goings on. Some legal, but mostly not under the rule of the Nazi regime. Rick has an uneasy but stable friendship with the local head of the French police. Then, of all the joints in the world, she walks in. A lost love that broke his heart and now is on the arm of another. Directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Hal Wallis, Casablanca’s cast was a powerful one, including, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Paul Henreid Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson.

In Review: A Walk Across America

At the ripe old age of 22, and already married at just 19 years of age, Peter Jenkins was lost. Metaphorically, at least.

Having grown up in a nice middle class family, in a nice middle class neighborhood, and having been groomed and prepared for entry into a nice middle class college, his life seemed to be going in exactly the same direction as that of thousands of other young Americans.

As 1969's 'summer of love' slowly but surely turned into the long winter of disillusionment that was the early 1970s, Peter did what many others had done before – he went looking for America.

There is a history of searching in America. Searching for new lands. Searching for wealth. Searching for minerals and resources – in particular, gold and oil. And then there is the search for Self. The search for meaning.

These themes have been at the heart of many great songs, novels and films, and no doubt will continue to be. Paul Simon's song America, is one example. John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley, and Jack Kerouac's classic novel of the beat generation, On The Road are two novels that examine this thesis. Numerous movies have also explored this subject matter, in particular, Easy Rider, the 1969 classic starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, for which the tag line read: A man went looking for America – and could not find it anywhere. ..

Ten years later, Peter Jenkins was able to write: "I started looking out for myself and my country, and found both." While Peter's 1979 book, A Walk Across America describes that quest, his personal 'search for meaning' had in fact begun over five years earlier, when, on the morning of October 15, 1973, he began his walk from the small upper New York State college town of Alfred, to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he arrived 18 months later in April, 1975.

In some ways this is a frustrating book. I suspect that if it was being written today, we would learn a lot more about the background to Peter's disillusionment with America, and the reasons for his anger and sense of alienation. Unfortunately, we learn little of the great social upheavals taking place in America during the 1960s and early 1970s: the race riots, the 1968 assassinations of Senator Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the growing protests against the war in Vietnam which resulted in the deaths of four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, and so much more.

So when Jenkins heads out on a cool autumn day toward New Orleans, his only goal appears to be to walk across the United States with the aim of deciding if he should stay and live in America, or whether he should move elsewhere.

Along the way he finds his answer.

Towards the end of the book Jenkins writes: "I had started out with a sense of bitterness about what my country appeared to be. But with every step I had learned otherwise. I had been turned on by America and its people in a thousand fantastic Ways. "

His only companion for most of the journey was a huge Alaskan Malamute dog called, Cooper. Together they encounter a hermit mountain man; They run out of town in Robinsville, North Carolina, but a little further down the road they are 'adopted' by African American family in Smokey Hollow, North Carolina. Due to lack of finances Jenkins had to stop and work during his long walk, and here too he encounters the 'real' America he is looking for. He shovels horse manure on an Alabama ranch, works for two months in a North Carolina sawmill, and spends a month or so on a hippy commune in Tennessee.

As you would expect, Peter Jenkins meets and greets (and sometimes has to run and hide from) a huge array of characters that make up 1970s America. Police officers, poor southern black families, rich southern white families, rednecks and moonshiners, Friday night boozers, and Saturday night losers, and countless strains along the way who either threaten him, offer him food or invite him in their homes for a night Or two before continuing on his way. He even gets to meet the then Governor of Alabama, George Wallace.

But of all the experiences Peter Jenkins encounters, none are as meaningful as his encounters with God and religion. By his own admission, either he or his family family where regular churchgoers, but when he moves in with a poor African American family in Smokey Hollow, headed by matriarch Mary Elizabeth, his attendance at the small Mount Zion Baptist church every Sunday is non-negotiable . Here he is moved in ways he never expected. And later again, in New Orleans, his attendance at a revivalist gathering becomes life changing.

You have to admire Jenkins' desire and determination to not just embark on a journey of this magnitude, but the fortitude and strength of character he shows – often despite great challenges – to complete it.

A Walk Across America ends with Jenkins meeting Barbara, his future wife in New Orleans.

Occasionally, they would head west together, and continue the walk from Louisiana, through Texas and New Mexico, across Colorado before finally completing this monumental journey in California. Jenkins would go on to write about this part of the walk in his next book, The Walk West.

A Walk Across America is not a travelogue in the sense that a Bill Bryson book is. This is a journey into the self. The journey of one young man trying to find himself, and his desire to rediscover his country. During this journey, Jenkins' faith and pride in his country – and himself – were tested to the limit, and extremely restored.

Brother PC-420 PRW Project Runway Sewing Machine Review

If you're sewing projects need a very personalized touch, the Brother PC-420 PRW Limited Edition Project Runway Sewing Machine is a machine consistently worth considering. With a grand total of 294 stitches built-in and the option to create your own custom stitches, both beginner sewers and professional designers are well catered for.

Brother PC-420 PRW Sewing Machine Features

  • Computerized stitch selection
  • 294 stitches built-in
  • LCD Display with back light
  • Central controls for convenient operation
  • Twin needle function
  • Advanced needle threading system
  • Knee lifter built-in
  • Includes hard cover

Stitch Selection

The Brother PC-420 leaves you spoiled for choice by offering a selection of 294 stitches which are built into the machine, including 10 one-step buttonholes plus 3 styles of lettering which each have 55 alphanumeric characters. The array of utility and decorative stitches contain all the standard ones you'd expect, plus some more unique offers for working on those really fancy projects that need an artistic touch.

One of the most exciting features of this machine is the creation program which is aptly named My Custom Stitch. This program allows you to design your own custom stitches and store them onto the machine for future use. This feature takes customization to another level as you can create unique sewing patterns and get really creative.

LCD Panel

The LCD screen on the Brother PC-420 is a little small, but still has a nice clear image. The control panel allows you to set stitch selections and various settings via the 4 arrow buttons on the panel.

Functions

Brother sewing machines tend to be highly functional, making them beginner friendly. The PC-420 is no exception, with features such as an automatic needle threader and thread trimmer, beginners will not be left frustrated. The 6-point feed dog system ensures that your threads will move through with ease and will not result in problems of thread jamming. The speed slider allows you to adjust the sewing speed to your preference, which is ideal if you're new to sewing or you're working on a delicate project.

The knee lifter is a very handy feature which allows you to lift up the press foot while keeping your hands on your fabric. The knee lifter is a metal rod which can be attached to the machine optionally. It can be a bit awkward to use if you've never used one before, but you soon get used to it.

Accessories

Brother is always generous when it comes to bundling accessories. The accessories for the Brother PC-420 are stored on board the machine to give you convenient access to them.

The wide range of accessories include a 13 press feet, Needle set, Twin needle, 4 bobbins, Extra spool pin, Spool net, Seem ripper, Cleaning brush, Eyelet punch, 2 Screwdrivers, Knee lifter, Foot pedal and a hard cover.

Summary

If you're a hardworking stream stress, you'll love the Brother PC-420 as it takes the hard work out of sewing and according to many consumers "sews like a dream". Not only is this machine highly efficient, it is also quiet in operation so you will not be given a headache when sewing after a long hard day.

The flexibility of this machine allows you to sew through thick materials from quilts to leather bags, so it's a great choice if you're looking for true versatility in a sewing machine. For its price range, Brother have delivered a real gem.

Time to Change

Fat is unhealthy!

This article is directed at both mens 'and womens' health.

You're reading this article because you've come to the realization that you are overweight and that your lifestyle must change. You do not feel well, you are not physically fit, sex is an activity of the past, you can not buy clothes and your doctor has put you on a drug cocktail to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, possibly diabetes, and A variety of other obesity induced problems. And that drug cocktail only makes you feel worse! It is time to remake yourself!

You can lose all of that weight, keep it off, get healthy and not buy into any expensive Fad Diets! Common sense is what it takes! Common sense and dedication to your weight loss goals. Over the past year I've lost 60 pounds. A little over a year ago I topped the scale at 260 pounds and 300 pounds was "just around the corner". Today, I am typically fit, look great and I feel like a man half my age. My sex drive and sexual performance have returned. My doctor has taken me off the medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol I was taking (the high cholesterol medication made me feel terrible !!!). My trousers have gone from a tight 40 inch waist to a loose 34 inch waist! My goal is 175 pounds. I will do it. I will get there! I will never be fat again! And you can do the same!

Permanent weight loss and the resultant change of lifestyle is work but it is not difficult. Weight loss does require a long term physical and emotional commitment. Be sure of your reasons for wanting to lose the weight. Dedicate yourself to your goal and you will need no special diets, no magic pills. Create a weight loss plan for yourself and stick to it. If it does not work to your satisfaction change it. You will eventually find a plan that works. Do not become addicted to the scale, but do measure your progress. Find a support system for yourself. Be sure that your family and friends want you to lose the weight and will support you in your makeover. Some of those closest to you may feel threatened when you lose weight and your health and fitness return. After all – your weight loss may point out their own problems with obesity; Problems they may not want to face. Of course, you can not leave your family and friends; But there are many weight loss support groups available that can help you.

We all have to eat. So feel good about food – do not starve yourself – starvation does not work; You'll only get fatter. Use common sense, change what you eat and how much you eat (Portion Control).

Your new diet should consist, primarily of fruit, vegetables, fresh poultry, fish and the occasional red meat. The nutrients you need are not all to be found in dairy products, red meat and processed bread. One cause of overeating is that the body is not getting enough vitamins and minerals from the food consumed – so we eat more to make up for the deficiency. A broad and diverse diet of high fiber fruit and vegetables is more filling and soon they will begin to replace much of the meat and other high fat food that made you fat and you'll notice how quickly the weight falls off you.

When I go to the supermarket now, I shop only in the fresh produce, meat, fish and poultry sections. I eat only fresh, whole foods; Whole grain bread – no processed food. No "manufactured" bread. The corporations have taken over our minds and our health. Just look at the wide array of chemicals on sale! Is it any wonder we all weigh 300 pounds. Throw that yoke off! The markets are selling obesity and disease. And the amount of it that Americans eat is insane! Every time we consume this chemical and fat filled "food" we may as well swallow arsenic because, like arsenic, it will eventually kill us.

Learn to eat right, avoid restaurants (especially the fast food joints and chain restaurants). The average restaurant meal is two to three times the portion of food you need. And where does excess food go – right to your waist! My change to eating fresh, whole food only, together with portion control and exercise is the only thing that has allowed me to lose the weight I have – 60 pounds in 12 months – 5 pounds per month! It has not been easy, but I did it and so can you!

You have to burn off what calories you consume and then some, otherwise you will continue to gain weight. Diet alone is not enough. Exercise is as important to your weight loss goal as the type and quantity of food you eat. Increased metabolism and muscle mass burn calories.

Exercise! Breathe! Pump oxygen through your body!

Move! Once you do, you'll love the way you feel. Exercise during as many daily activities as you can – take the stairs rather than the elevator, walk to the store rather than drive. And work out to your favorite exercise TV show for 30 minutes or more every day. Create a modest / low impact exercise schedule at first. A brisk walk while carrying 5 pound dumb bells is great, for example. Believe me; In the beginning you will not be able to do much. But get moving! I give myself a good workout of 1 to 1-1 / 2 hours every day (how I lose 5 pounds per month). Most men 20 years younger than I Do not look as good as I look. My workouts are a combination of aerobics and weight resistance training. I could never get into the gyms. I could rarely fit a visit into my busy schedule and when I did the gyms were always mobbed. So … I exercise at home. And you can do the same. Find your own level of exercise to fit your schedule and ability. Do not get discouraged, just get moving and keep moving.

Guideline for Running a Car on Water Kits

Are you considering running a car on water kits? Then the first thing you should know that it is a system created first in America. It was the brainchild of Steve Myers. Mr. Myers devised a number of sophisticated car locomotive tools. The main characteristic of these devices were their simultaneous function with both gas and a combination of gas and water. You may be surprised to hear that from the entire quantity only a nominal twenty percent of gas is used to run a car. The remaining part pollutes the environment, making a sheer waste of your precious investment. So certainly this invention of Myers helped a lot.

It does regardless require rocket science to create such a device nor your long labored brainstorming to understand its basic processing. Oxyhydrogen is an even gas that can be obtained from water with quite a simple chemical processing. The breaking procedure is also secure and trouble-free. The end product of the procedure is a highly secured gas that helps to activate the car engines with a definite aim of high gas usage. This leads to a high increase of mileage-power of your car and extremely preparing the system for your profit.

There are many people who believe this notice a sheer lie. But it is definitely not so. There are many out there who regularly and with high satisfaction rate opt for this system to heighten their car's mileage-power at least fifty percent. You can find many proves all over the net showing the successful application of this new procedure with abundant positive testimonials from people around the globe which assures the mileage-power soar.

Now consider the flexibility of operating the whole procedure by yourself. It is clearly possible as the procedure is quite simple and the tools required to operate are easily obtainable from many local stores and even from home. The cost of the method is also as cheap as only hundred dollars. It will not require any special dexterity or knowledge on your part. There are also many useful guidelines available to help you through the process. As these manuals at times come with money-back offers, if failed, they are very trustworthy and reliable.

Apply The Ancient Art Of Feng Shui For Good Wealth, Prosperity And Health

In feng shui study, the main entrance is considered the mouth where external qi enters and flows to the rest of the house. The facing, design, shape and size of the front door is believed to have a significant impact on the luck, wealth and the general well being of the family.

In the selection of the iron gate for the main door, one should avoid using arrow or spear designs. Sharp structures will create destructive energy that brings health problems to the family.

Based on the principle of a good feng shui design, the size and design of the front door must match the outlook and floor area of your home. Ideally, the main door should also have an auspicious measurement as dictated by the feng shui ruler. For example, a big house with a small entrance will restrict the inflow of qi into the house, thus, affecting the luck and wealth of the occupants.

Main door should open into a bright open area to invite yang qi (life force) into the house. Main door that opens into a wall will restrict sunlight and will not provide a smooth passage for qi to enter the house.

Main door should not form a straight path with the back door. Qi that enters the house will be funneled out through the back door without having enough time to circulate around the house. A quick exit of qi will hurt the finances of the occupants. They tend to experience difficulty in accumulating wealth or saving their income.

Avoid cluttering the entrance of the house with obstructive objects (like old newspapers, toys or large cabinets). Unnecessary objects or furniture will block the flow of qi into the house, thus, affecting the luck of the occupants.

It is inauspicious to see the toilet door upon entering the house. Bad vibes from the toilet will rush towards the main door causing poor health and bad luck.

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Living Hall

The living room is both a leisure area and a place for the family to entertain their guests. Living room should give a warm relaxing and welcoming feeling for one to tone down after a day’s work to read papers or to watch television. Good furniture arrangements, proper lighting and colour scheme will enhance the flow of qi and create an inviting atmosphere in the house. This in turn will bring forth a flow of good fortunes and opportunities from friends, colleagues, bosses or business associates.

It is inauspicious to seat under the downward pressure of the roof columns and to place the sofa without the support of a wall.

Cluttering the living room with unnecessary furniture or possessions (like toys, cabinets, old newspaper and documents) will restrict the circulation of qi.

Ideally, the sitting arrangement of the sofa should have the support of a solid wall and that one should have a clear view of the main door.

Decorating the house with antique figurines will increase the Yin qi of your home. Antique figurines unearthed from ancient sites tend to carry the energy of its previous owners and may attract spirits.

Avoid placing too many empty vases around the house. Empty vase is known as kong ping in Chinese, which sounds like poverty.

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Bedroom

On an average, a person spends about one third of their time resting in bed. As the bedroom is a sanctuary where one rejuvenate and nurtures the energy of the body, the location and facing of the bed will affect the quality of sleep, which in turn affects the health and luck of those who sleep there.

Allowing a little morning sun on the bed will energise its qi which in turn promote good health and relationship.

Avoid bedrooms that have an irregular shape. Missing corners or pillars with sharp edges that tend to create destructive energy.

Bed should always be placed against a solid wall or use a headboard as a support.

Avoid having too many open shelves in the bedroom. Open shelves resemble the edge of a knife and should be covered up with doors

Sleeping under a rotating ceiling fan or a pointed ceiling light tends to radiate negative vibes that will affect one’s health.

Position your bed carefully as it is inauspicious to overlook the toilet bowl. Foul odour and water vapour that is rushing towards the direction of the bed would bring forth ill health and bad luck.

One should avoid sleeping under an exposed beam or overhanging cabinets. The exertion of a downward pressure on the head will cause nightmares and headaches.

Placing sharp objects (like swords or scissors) underneath the bed is a feng shui taboo, which will bring forth a series of misfortunes.

Avoid sleeping with the head in line with the bedroom door. The rushing qi from the door will disrupt your sleep causing restlessness.

The human body is most vulnerable when one is asleep. Sleeping next to a full-length mirror will deflect the human qi. In the night, one may also be frightened by their own reflection.

Avoid placing a television set or computer in the bedroom. Long-term exposure to electromagnetic field emitted by electrical appliances is detrimental to one’s health.

Avoid placing the bed directly behind toilet, stove and air conditioning compressor, which will generate negative energy that would disrupt one’s sleep and health.

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Kitchen

In feng shui, the cooking stove is an important area that governs the health, finances and the bearing of offspring. As food is normally prepared in the kitchen, the placement and facing of the cooking stove will directly impact the health of the family. “Health is wealth”.

It is a Chinese custom for the family to pray to the Stove God during the Chinese Lunar New Year season. Chinese believed by making offerings of sweet sticky desserts to the Stove God, he would be unable to speak about the wrongdoings of the family in heaven.

Placing the cooking stove without the support of the wall will cause its qi to disperse and facing the stove directly opposite the tap will result in a clash between the elements of water and fire.

The cooking stove should not be visible from the main door or directly facing the toilet signifying financial losses.

For safety reason, one should avoid locating the washing basin in close proximity to the cooking stove. The conflicting elements of both fire and water tend to cause frequent quarrels and bring about financial woes.

The kitchen stove should not be erected under an overhead beam, which tends to affect the health of the female occupants.

It is inauspicious to chop foodstuff or drop cooking utensils on the cooking stove. Always keep the burners of the cooking stove clean and in working order.

Adobe Flash Player: A Risk To Privacy and Security

Adobe Flash Player: a greater risk to privacy and security than you may realize

Do you know that if you have Adobe's Flash Players plugin installed on your web browser that your internet activity and history is potentially being tracked and used without your knowledge or permission? Just managing your web browser's tracking cookie through your web browser does not prevent your internet browsing activity, and its history, from being tracked. Additionally, just keeping your computer current and fully patched with all of Microsoft's critical updates keeps your computer safe from hackers, think again. Even using an antivirus program, with the current current virus definitions current does not always prevent your computer and privacy from being at risk.

Recently I came across a news article that made my eye. It was a New York Times technology piece with the title " Code that tracks users' browsing prompts laws" (Vega, 2010). This article reports about the increasing number of consumers taking legal action against companies that track their web activity without the consumer's knowledge or permission. Adobe's Flash Player is the main conduit for capturing this tracking data. This is not the first time that Adobe's Flash player has created legal privacy issues. In 2008, Windows Secrets Newsletter published an article on Adobe's Flash cookie privacy issues. Recently they published another article called " Eliminate Flash-spawned" zombie "cookies" following up on the same issue (Leonhard, 2010). Adobe has done little to resolve this issue. These law suits are directed at Adobe and other companies that collect and sell information about your web browsing activity without your knowledge or permission. Another ominous contention is that some companies are surreptitiously using Flash cookies to glean information from your browser, even though you have your web browser set to reject tracking cookies.

How does this happen

Adobe's Flash Player browser plugin uses and stores Flash cookies on your computer, separate from your better known browser HTML cookies . Both types of cookies are used to store browsing and site preferences, along with your browsing history and tracking information. Flash cookies , like your web browser cookies, are small bits of data saved by the websites you visit. These websites use these cookies to store website settings and info (like your name, preferences, Flash game scores, etc.), to track website behavior, and to target you for specific advertisements. They can also create what is known as persistent identification element to uniquely identify you and track what websites you have visited.

Flash cookies are not managed through your web browser's cookie settings. This same Flash cookies storage area can also be used to store a copy of your browser's cookies, allowing Adobe's Flash to recreate cookies that have been previously deleted from your browser, ie spawned 'zombie' cookies.

What to do to protect yourself

Adobe does not make it easy for users to manage Flash cookies. By default, when Flash Player is installed, it automatically allows third parties to store and access your computer. To change these settings you need to access Flash's Global Setting Manager. The easiest, most straight forward way to get started is to open your web browser and copy the Adobe URL listed in my references (Ezinearticles does not allow me to place the link here). Or do a Google search on: "adobe flash player setting manager." The macromedia.com link should be the first and second items found.

This will take you to the Global Setting panel for Adobe's Flash Player (see Adobe Flash Player Global Setting Manager below). The image embedded on the web page is the actual management console, not a picture. The current version of this panel has eight panels or tabs. Each tab covers a different aspect of privacy and security. You may want to add this to your browser's Favorites for future reference.

Adobe Flash Player Global Settings Manager Global Privacy Settings

The first tab on the Global Setting Manager is for your computer's camera and microphone settings. You have the option of setting this as "Always deny …" or "Always ask …" The "Always ask …" option forces the Flash Player to ask for your permission before allowing a third-party to access your Computer's camera and microphone. "Always deny …" does just that, it always denies permission to access your camera and microphone. You will not receive any notification that a third-party tried to access either your camera of microphone with this option.

Your current settings are not displayed. Clicking on "Always deny …" or "Always ask …" overrides any previous global setting made for this. This setting is for sites you have not already visited. I recommend that you select the "Always ask" option. This will allow you the option of using an interactive flash site, requiring the use of your camera and microphone. You will be prompted to confirm your selection.

You will always be prompted for your permission at any website requesting access to your camera and microphone.

Global Flash Cookie Storage Settings

The second tab of the Global Setting Manager controls how much disk space you will allow for new web sites (third-parties) to store information, Flash cookies, on your computer. By condemning all, you may prevent some websites from functioning correctly.

This panel determines the amount of disk space you will automatically allow third-parties to use for websites you have not already visited. Some websites may not function correctly if you do not allow some disk space storage. This is the total amount for each website. If a website needs or wants more you will receive a prompt to allow or disallow this additional space (see below). Your installed Flash Player must be version 8, or newer, to have the option of allowing or disallowing third-party flash content. If your flash version is older than version 9, you will not have the option to allow / disallow storage and sharing of common Flash components.

The suggested settings that work for me are shown above. The Allow third-party Flash, and Store common Flash, are needed by a lot of sites to allow them to function correctly.

Global Security Settings

The third tab is the Global Security Settings panel. This panel controls how Shockwave Flash (SWF) and Flash Video (FLV) are handled. The problem with these types of files is that they can contain applets or computer scripts that can be used to collect and share information about you without your knowledge or permission. Both SWF and FLV files can be embedded on web pages. These files can and do exchange audio, video, and data using Macromedia's Real Time Messaging Protocol. It is possible for SWF or FLV content stored locally on your computer to communicate with the Internet without your knowledge of permission.

I recommend setting this to "Always ask." If a website needs to store Flash cookies on your computer, you will be prompted for permission. By being prompted, you will be aware of the website's tracking activity.

Global Flash Update Notification Setting

The fourth tab is the Global Notification Settings panel. This is where you set how often flash checks for updates. I recommend enabling this feature and having Flash check for updates at least every seven days. I strongly recommended that Flash updates be installed as soon as possible for security reasons. By keeping your Flash Player updated, you make the malicious code writers' job just a little harder. The security vulnerabilities for Flash Player plugins are very well-known.

After installing any Flash updates you should validate that your privacy and security settings have not changed. With previous Flash updates, the settings within the Flash manager have reverted back to default, ie wide-open, settings.

Protected Content / License Settings

The fifth tab is the Protected Content Playback Settings panel. When you purchase or rent Flash "protected" content, license files are downloaded to your computer. Sometimes these files become corrupt. By resetting these files, new licenses can be downloaded. This option should only be used when protected Flash content is not playing correctly, and a technician has advised you to reset the licenses files. This will reset ALL license files stored on your computer; You are not able to select individual files.

If you click on the "Reset License Files" button you will be prompted to confirm or cancel your selection.

Website Privacy Settings

The sixth tab is the Website Privacy Settings panel. This is the list of websites you have granted permission to store data on your computer. This panel is where you can "Always ask," "Always allow," or "Always deny" access you your computer's camera and microphone.

The recommended setting is "Always ask" or "Always deny." You can edit these by highlighting the website and change the permission or delete the website. You can also remove all the websites from this list by selecting "Delete all sites." The settings on this panel override the default setting from the Global Privacy Settings panel for these particular websites.

If you choose to delete a website from this list you are prompted for confirmation.

Note: The list of websites displayed in this and the following panels are stored on your computer and displayed to allow you to view and change your local settings. Adobe claims that it has no access to this list, or to any of the information that the websites may have stored on your computer.

Website Storage Settings

The seventh tab is the Website Storage Settings panel. This lists all the websites that you have visited that use Flash content, and how much storage they are using on your computer. You can change the amount of storage you allow, delete individual websites, or all the websites. This panel overrides the Global Storage panel settings.

On a Windows 7 computer, the storage location for these files is: C: Usersuser_nameApplication DataMacromedia Flash Player in a folder called #SharedObjects or a subfolder of: macromedia.comsupportflashplayersys.

Note: Deleting the website using the Flash Global Settings Manager only removes the website's storage content; It does not remove the folder created for the website. An empty folder will remain on your computer.

By selecting a website and using the "Delete website" button, you can delete that website from the list of visited websites. This also removes all data that the website has stored from this storage area.

Peer-Assisted Networking Settings

The last tab is the Peer-Assisted Networking Settings panel. This is where you allow or disallow users who are playing the same content to share your bandwidth. If you are not on a broadband internet connection, you never want to use this option. When in use, this option increases network traffic on your internet connection and to your computer.

It is recommended that you disable this option. This will not prevent Flash from working.

Other Notes and Considerations

The current versions of Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox version 3.6 share the same Flash settings. Changing or updating Flash through this console makes the changes for both. To verify this, validate the Flash Management console from within each web browser you use.

After installing any Flash updates you should validate that your privacy and security settings have not changed. With previous Flash updates, the settings within the Flash manager have reverted back to default, ie wide-open, settings.

On a Windows 7 computer, you can manually manage Flash cookies by navigating to: C: Usersuser_nameApplication DataMacromedia Flash Player in a subfolder located at # SharedObjectsnonsensical-filename and macromedia.comsupportflashplayersys. Deleting the website using the Flash Global Settings Manager only removes the website's storage content; It does not remove the folder created for the website. An empty folder will remain on your computer in the C: Usersuser_nameApplication DataMacromedia Flash Playermacromedia.comsupportflashplayersys folder. The Application Data folder is a hidden systems folder. You will have to have hidden directories visible using the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option under the Fold Folder View option. You may also need systems permission to actually view and navigate these directories on a Windows 7 computer.

Instead of doing this manually, you can also use a free utility like Flash Cookie Cleaner 1.0, produced by ConsumerSoft (www.customer.com). This product will clean up and eliminate unwanted and unneeded Flash cookies in both the #SharedObjects and macromedia.com subfolders. This is a much simpler and more efficient way to clean up Flash cookies. You can download this free program from: http://www.flashcookiecleaner.com/ . This utility is free of spyware, adware, viruses, and other malicious programs. Download and save this file to your desktop and run it from there. This is a stand-along program that does not install itself on your computer.

References

Adobe – Flash Player: Help. (Nd). Adobe. Http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager02.html

ConsumerSoft – Freeware Products. (Nd). ConsumerSoft.

Leonhard, W. (2010, August 5.). Eliminate Flash-spawned "zombie" cookies. Windows Secrets.

Vega, T. (2010, September 20.) Code that tracks users' browsing prompts lawsuits. The New York Times.

To request a pdf of the article with screenshot shot please visit the Friend Consulting web site and send an email from there with the Title: Adobe Insecurity.