Saturday, April 30, 2005

Why I Miss Sex and The City

by Victoria Miller

When HBO's Emmy award winning hit show, Sex and the City, ended its six year run in 2004, I wasn't completely devastated. Sure, I knew of the show. I had caught a few episodes here and there-- whenever HBO ran a monthly special I would subscribe, keep it for a few months and then cancel when the rates went up. So I was familiar with Carrie and Company-- I had seen bits and pieces, sporadically. But it wasn't enough to get me hooked. I had heard of Mr. Big but really didn't know who he was, heard of Aidan but couldn't quite place him. Truthfully, I wondered what a show with the word "Sex" in the title was doing starring a bunch of 30-something women. Late 30-somethings to boot (this is not meant as a criticism--I am the same age as these women, they are my peers).

By the time the highly-touted final episode aired in the winter of 2004, I was in the midst of playing catch up. My sister had HBO and digital cable, which featured on-demand episodes of Sex and the City. We would spend Saturdays watching a couple hours worth of episodes, usually five or six of them. Lunch would be included (usually salads) and the only stress would be keeping my two toddler-aged children out of the room in case Samantha said or did an offensive thing or two (luckily my sister had an ample supply of Legos, board games and crayons).

This Saturday ritual was priceless. Catching up on episodes that I had never seen, leading up to the final climatic episode. The morning after the grand finale aired, I already knew what happened (blame Regis and Kelly for that one). It didn't matter. Seeing it a week later was believing it. I was glad Carrie didn't end up with the Russian. He was intellectual, but boring-- face it, he just wasn't fun. At the time, I never understood Carrie's attraction to Big (I was secretly hoping that the illustrious Aidan would reappear), but after a million viewings (I now have HBO and On-Demand) I now do. Big made her laugh. Big made her cry. Big made her feel. Big had the zsa zsa zsu.

The reason why I miss Sex is that I still feel there is unfinished business that needs to be attended to. The rare times I did subscribe to HBO, I would look forward to the Sunday night airings. If I didn't have HBO, I'd look forward to the Monday morning recaps.

Sunday nights are no longer the same, Okay, that's not completely true-- I enjoy Desperate Housewives immensely. It's just that the four Housewives aren't nearly as interesting as the four girls from SATC. There are too many characters on Desperate Housewives, too many quickie plotlines. Do I care that Bree's son might be gay? Do I give a hoot that Lynette's deaf friends' husband is a cad? It all seems like filler to me.

With Sex and the City, every episode was like a finely crafted jewel. There was no wasted dialogue. No meaningless plotlines. The episodes, which are available in a pricey DVD boxed set(pricey because each season is sold separately and season 6 is actually broken up into two parts), were so well done-- from the cinematography to the musical selections to the first rate writing. All of it was good.

Favorite episodes? I have a slew of them. "A Woman's Right to Shoes" which guest starred Tatum O'Neal (and did you recognizes supermodel Linda Evangelista as the salesgirl at Manolo Blahnik?); " Boy Interrupted" which featured David Duchovny (any episode that showcases Chicago's syrupy "If You Leave Me Now" is A-OK in my book); the episode where Carrie has her book launch party (I forget the title but Isaac MIzrahi has a cameo). Hey-- it's just occurred to me that SATC was so darn good the stars were clamoring to get bit parts on it (correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the legendary Valerie Harper a.k.a. Rhoda Morgenstern guest as the mother of one of Carrie's lovers in one of the earlier seasons? 'Nuff said!).

When the series ended, there was talk that the cast may reunite for a movie (a theater movie, not a made for TV one). Seeing them on the big screen would have been a hoot. It would have kept us wanting for more and it would have given us the opportunity to find the answers to a few questions:

Do Charlotte and Harry finally adopt their baby?

Does Samantha beat the cancer for good and, even more importantly, does she stay with hunky Smith?


Do Miranda and Steve make it and if so, do they have any more kids?


Do Carrie and Big ever get married and start a family? We know Carrie wanted a baby-- there was a whole episode devoted to that dilemma when she dated the Russian. So, do she and Big ( oops, I mean John) create a Little Big?

The sad truth is, we'll probably never find out. The casts' other commitments and obligations got in the way and plans for the movie were scrapped. So we're left hanging in a way. I know, I know, the final show tied up the loose ends as best as it could. Kudos to Michael Patrick Smith and the rest of the gang for giving us the best ending possible. It's just that we're still insatiable, always wanting more. That's the allure of Sex.

Televisions for Cheap!

By Melissa A. Popp

One of the easiest way to get a television for cheap is to go to your local college or university and peruse bulletin boards around campus. Not only will you find kids looking for roommates or student selling textbooks, chances are you'll find television and other electronics looking for a new home for dirt cheap. These kids aren't in it for the money; they're just trying to unload unneeded furniture and electronics.

When it comes down to it, you could get a television, DVD player and VCR for well under $100 in one lap around a university in some cases. The television that I use strictly for video games in a 20" flat screen I bought from a friend for $100, knowing that he bought it for more than $350. He even threw in an entertainment stand for it for free and delivered it to my apartment (ok, he even carried it up my stairs, he didn't want me to get hurt).

First and foremost, if you want to take the chance, the object is to circle rounds across a university. Check out bulletin boards, flyers posted in places and take down phone numbers and details. When you get home that day, call and ask about each item, find out what condition it is in and whether or not you can see it in person to test and make sure it works. Since most college kids sell their stuff to other college kids, for the most part, everything you look at should be in very good condition. After all, no college kid wants to get beat up for selling something broken to a football player or wrestler, and this has happened.

Once you get the chance to survey the goods, make an offer that's slightly less than what was advertised. Most of the time, you can talk a college student down quite a bit, depending on how badly they need money or they want the television or other electronics out of their room. If the electronics in question are in a dorm room, they'll be even more willing to negotiate the price, because dorm rooms are often small and sometimes they just need to get rid of stuff.

This is a quick and easy way to get televisions and other electronics for a cheap deal without having to go too far for the best price. Check our your local college or university today! You never know what type of treasure you'll find!

Low-fat eating at your favorite restaurant chain

By Victoria Miller

Low-fat eating has always been in vogue-- well before the low-carb craze, most doctors agreed that cutting the fat in your diet is a key way to lose weight and reduce your risk of disease. When you dine at home, it's fairly easy to control the amount of fat in your diet-- you can use low -fat dairy products, healthy oils such as olive and canola, low-fat skinless poultry and lean beef. The problem often occurs when you go out to eat-- how are you going to stick to a low fat diet with a menu that boasts fattening cream sauces and decadent desserts?

Thankfully, it's not all that hard to stick to a low fat eating plan if you know what to look for. Almost any restaurant menu can be tailored to meet your healthy dietary needs. Here are some ways to stick to low fat eating at some of the top restaurant chains:

-- Fast food restaurants like McDonald's, Wendy's or Burger King. If you are a parent, you will undoubtedly end up at the drive-through window of one of these places at one time or another. The key here is to avoid the high fat no- no's. Just say no to Big Mac's, double bacon cheeseburgers, French fries and milkshakes. Every fast food restaurant chain now offers salads-- McDonalds' are particularly good-- just watch out for the high-fat salad dressings; bring the salad home and top it with olive oil and lemon juice instead. If you're craving a burger, order a plain hamburger and ditch the top half of the bun. Never order French fries, which are usually cooked in artery-clogging vegetable oils that are loaded with trans fats, and pass on the fried chicken tenders as well. If you're at Chick Fil A, consider the grilled chicken sandwich -- it contains much less fat than their regular chicken sandwiches.

--Chili's Bar and Grill. Chili's offers a great menu with lots of low-fat options. Unfortunately, you will have to forgo one of their specialties-- baby back ribs. But that doesn't mean you can't eat well. Their "Guiltless Grill" menu options offer a wide array of delicious low-fat fare-- chicken sandwiches, tomato basil pasta, and a delicious black bean burger (just try it! ) are just a few of the choices. You can also order side items: a dinner salad sprinkled with oil and vinegar and a side of black beans and rice will prove to be a filling meal. Just avoid the high fat melted cheese dip and tortilla chips. Skip the sour cream and guacamole (okay, maybe just take a bit of guacamole since avocados, while fattening, contain the healthy type of fat that helps raise your good HDL cholesterol level). Ask for vegetables to dip in salsa.

-- Ruby Tuesdays'. You can't go wrong at Ruby Tuesday's because their main feature is their delicious salad bar. Stocked with fresh vegetables, their salad bar is a winner. As always, do not be tempted by the high-fat dressings like the blue cheese; Ruby Tuesday's always offers a non -fat dressing option. Also, skip the shredded cheese, creamy potato and pasta salads and bacon bits and instead load up on the fresh veggies and fruit. Add a yummy soup, like White Bean Chili or Onion (sans cheese) and you'll have a great meal. If salad's not your thing, check out their Smart Eating menu options, which clues you in to the fat and calories for each selection. Try a Veggie or Turkey Burger Wrap, Pasta Marinara, salmon or grilled chicken entrees. Low -fat sides include steamed broccoli, mashed cauliflower, sugar snap peas or brown rice pilaf.

-- Applebee's. Applebee's features a Weight Watchers menu and there are lots of great items to choose from. From delicious chicken or shrimp-topped salads to a Grilled Tilapia with mango salsa, you're sure to find a low-fat option for you. Their Tortilla Chicken Melt features low fat cheese (which is hard to come by in most restaurants) and non-fat ranch dressing.

-- Uno Chicago Grill (formerly Pizzeria Uno). While their deep dish pizza is tempting, there are many more low- fat menu options to choose from. Their Grilled Teriyaki Salmon comes with your choice of two sides-- don't order the French fries, ask for steamed veggies or rice instead. Watch out for the chicken entrees here as many are stuffed with cheese. Opt for a grilled chicken breast instead. The Grilled Veggie Burger comes with fresh salsa-- perfect for dipping.

-- Old Country Buffet. It's very easy to get into trouble at this place. It's a pay-one-price- all-you-can-eat- type of restaurant, and many people decide to get their money's worth. The good news is, you can get away with a low fat meal as long as you follow a few rules and avoid the dessert bar. Make a salad first-- OCB offers fresh spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and low-fat dressing options. They also usually have two kinds of fresh fruit. Then, skip the fried chicken and choose the baked chicken or fish instead. Pass right by the fattening mashed potatoes and stuffing-- they always offer vegetables like green beans or carrots, and rice is usually available as well. Stick to fresh fruit for dessert and you've had a healthy meal.

-- Lonestar Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse or Texas Roadhouse. Steakhouses can be tricky. If you go to one, you're probably craving a steak. It's not a crime to eat a piece of steak once in a while, but if your goal is to stick to a low-fat eating plan, then there are better options. Check out the side dishes-- you can usually order a side of vegetables, rice, beans or a plain baked potato. Don't be fooled by salad entrees that are topped with breaded chicken-- the chicken is usually cooked in fatty oils. Always look for a grilled chicken option instead. Most steakhouses offer fish entrees as well-- once again, the key word is grilled. Skip the fried appetizers like the Onion Blossom.

-- TGI Fridays. Friday's offers an Atkins Approved Menu, but keep in mind that Atkins is primarily a low-carb eating plan, not low fat. Thus, if you are looking to eat low fat, then the Sizzling New York Strip with Bleu Cheese is not for you. The Key West Grouper (served with fresh roasted vegetables) is a much better choice, as is the Chicken La Boca (just ask for a side salad and vegetables in lieu of the creamed spinach with bacon and parmesan crisp that normally comes with it). If you're careful to avoid the cheesy options on this menu, you'll do fine.

-- Bennigans. Another place known for their steaks and their baby back ribs (not to mention their impressive beer selection), you can avoid trouble by ordering the chicken fajitas (just ask them to hold the cheese and the sour cream-- you don't need it, really!). The Roasted Vegetable Primavera is served in a lemon wine sauce and the Grilled Atlantic Salmon comes with broccoli or green beans. Skip the Grilled Chicken Cesar salad-- while it does say grilled, it's doused in high-fat dressing and loaded with grated cheese and croutons. Ditto for the Kilkenny's Country Chicken Salad-- you'd be better off ordering the steak than this high fat item. Stick to a plain side salad with low fat dressing or oil and vinegar.

-- The Olive Garden. Ah the Olive Garden! Home of the free salad and unlimited garlic bread. Watch it! The salad is delicious, but the dressing is not low fat. Limit the amount that you eat and skip the bread altogether (you may be able to request bread with olive oil for dipping instead). The Olive Garden's menu has a key to guide you to low fat options (look for the olive branch). I must say it's a nice touch and very helpful. Look for vegetable-topped pastas and chicken with light lemon sauces. Skip the full-fat cream sauces and cheese laden pastas.

-- Denny's . Denny's is great because it's open 24 hours. You can order breakfast, lunch or dinner at any time of the day. The problem is, most of the menu options involve meat, cheese, or something fried. No matter! Order a veggie omelet with Egg Beaters. Sides like fruit and applesauce are always available as is Quaker oatmeal. If you hate breakfast food, try the Grilled Chicken or Grilled Tilapia with two sides. Choose the baked potato, veggie of the day or three tomato slices to accompany your entree and you can't go wrong.

-- Hooters. Okay are you going to Hooter's for the food or the "ambience"? Let's hope it's the ambience, because you'll be hard pressed to find a low fat menu option here. From Philly Cheese steaks to buckets of wings, Hooters isn't exactly known for their low-fat cuisine. That said, you can always save face by ordering the Grilled Chicken Garden Salad (skip the dressing) or the Vegetable Soup. Do not, under any circumstances, order the Grilled Cheese Platter with a side of fries; the menu touts that it's "just like your mother used to make". Trust me, mother most definitely would not approve.

Don't Forget the Shower Shoes!

By Melissa A. Popp

One of the most important things to have when you move into a college dorm is shower shoes. It's on every list you can find out there that tells you what you should bring to college with you. However, it's quite possibly the most important item on these lists, and anybody who's ever lived in a dormitory "college or elsewhere" will tell you not to forget your shower shoes. You won't want to shower without them; you don't shower without them.

Why do you need shower shoes? It's simple. When you live in a community setting like a dorm, you will be using the same shower with ten, 20, 30 or more people during your stay. The showers, in some cases, might not be cleaned every day and because of this you're advised to wear shower shoes in order to keep yourself from coming into contact with dirt, germs or something like Athlete's Foot. Shower shoes are the one sure fire way to help prevent your feet from coming into contact with something that might cause you harm.

When you live in a college dormitory many kids aren't used to thinking about others. It doesn't mean they were brought up that way; they're just not used to living with that many other people and having to take a few steps behind before they take a few steps forward. When it comes to cleaning, many colleges employ housekeepers to take care of all things related to keeping the place germfree, but this still doesn't mean everything is clean all the time. They come once a day, sometimes twice depending on how big the dorm is, and that's it. You're on your own for the rest of the day, and if that means someone soils the shower right after they clean it, well, you just have to live with it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many college students, especially those during their freshmen year, like to get in over their heads. They engage in things they shouldn't be doing, such as drinking and doing drugs, often time the side effects of such activities end up with them throwing up or defecating in the shower, toilet or other areas of the dormitory. More often then not, when trying to sober up, these unpleasant moments take place in the shower. While most will try to clean up what they can, sometimes they just leave it there, because they don't want anybody to know they did it or that they were the ones drinking alcohol or smoking pot. If this is the case, eventually it will wash away, but if you have to shower, you have to shower, and sometimes you just don't know what's still residing in the shower even though you can't see it.

These are just some of the many reasons why wearing shower shoes is a good idea when taking a shower. Sometimes, though, students end up always wearing their shower shoes to the bathroom, which is an even better idea. These shower shoes are cheap, durable and often you just throw them out as they get too old to wear around the dorm. By making sure you have these when you head off to college, you'll save yourself the hassle of ruining a good pair of shoes, which I had to do my first night at school for forgetting to buy them before I moved into my new home.

Make Your Own Photo Collage Poster

By Melissa A. Popp

Everybody has seen that Hewlett Packard photo printer commercial where the wife is hard at work while everyone else is enjoying their time in the son. At the end of the commercial, you find out that while everyone is playing, the wife has been using her new photo printer to create a growing tree collage of family photos for one of the rooms in their house. This is not only a creative way to use her photo printer but also a long-lasting memory of some of the most important and not-so-important moments in their lives together.

What better way to commemorate those precious moments than by making your own photo collage? With a little bit of hard work and time on your hands, anybody can make a photo collage poster that will last a lifetime. It's not that hard, and depending on how large it is, it won't take much time to set out and complete. You'll never know if you don't try, so, here are a few steps that you can modify as you go through to make photo collages for you and your family.

First and foremost, you need to determine what type of photo collage you'll need. Do you want to focus on one person in your family, your children, your entire family? What is the subject of your collage? If you don't have enough photos to actually make a collage, then, you might want to choose a different subject and focus; otherwise, you're going to be stuck with a half-finished project for your efforts. Once you narrow down what your subject will be, you can move on to the next step.

Next, you'll want to gather supplies to make the photo collage. Making a photo collage is quite simple once you have the right tools. You'll need glue sticks, several depending on how big you want to make the collage. You'll also want to cut a piece of thin cardboard that you can either salvage from a package or buy at an arts and crafts store, and cut it to the size you want. Make sure the cardboard is as thin as possible, that way when you use protective sheets to make sure it's safe from wear and tear, you'll be able to protect both sides. Scissors are a good tool to have by you, though you might find a box cutter will be more effective to cut down the cardboard. Photos, of course, it goes without saying are the most important ingredient.

Depending on how artistic you are or want to be, you may get other additional supplies such as colored construction paper, beads, glow in the dark stars or anything else that captures your eye. You can use these as borders for pictures, borders of the entire collage or just to decorate individual pictures as you see fit. It all depends on your individual style, flair and effect you're going for with the particular collage in question.

Walk through an arts and crafts star and go down the different aisles. This will be your best way to find things that might go well with your particular collage's theme. You don't necessary have to have a theme, but it always helps to spice up your collage and make it unique. Of course, you can always just use pictures to make a statement. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is all about showcasing your photos in whatever capacity that tickles your fancy.

Then, one of the most important steps, you need to pick out exactly what photos to use. This is where knowing what your subject is will be key. Now, you pick out the pictures you want to use and get them ready. If you don't want to use originals, you can use a photo printer or get reproductions done so that you still have a hardcopy of the picture for whatever purposes, such as albums. You'll roughly want enough pictures to cover the entire piece of cardboard, even if you are using some sort of border, because this way you might be able to cut down certain pictures to smaller sizes for use as well. Once you have all your pictures set, you can begin to figure out how to go about setting the collage up to your liking.

Eventually, you'll want to plan out just where everything will go and set it up without finalizing the layout by doing it at will. This involves laying down the pictures on the cardboard exactly where you want them to be for the final project. It also involves cutting down pictures, creating borders if that's the way you go and taking care of any other modifications of the pictures, such as adding studs, beads or stars. Once you have everything laid out, you'll want to move each picture and border with it off the cardboard completely. You'll lay out the entire collage next to the cardboard so that it's easy for you to reach when you begin to glue down the pictures. You don't want to do this in a room where pets or babies might mess up the order, so, make sure you lay these out in a place that can't be disturbed by even walking around the room.

Use glue sticks, never water glue, to put the pictures on the cardboard. Glue will run, causing clumping and otherwise be messy. You don't want to ruin the cardboard, the pictures or any other art-related material you'll be using for the collage, so, glue sticks are the best bet to go. Make sure you apply a semi-thick layer to the back of each picture on all four sides and diagonally through the middle, this way it will be very secure on the cardboard.

Lay down the picture softly, use a piece of lined paper and place it on top of the picture, then press down in all four directions and diagonally to make sure all the glue takes to both picture and cardboard. Then, take off the lined paper and marvel at your first picture being properly placed. Repeat this until you are finished with all the pictures. Make sure you work from top to bottom, left to right if at all possible, to avoid having to smudge and otherwise scuff other pictures as you work with getting them all onto the cardboard.

When all the pictures are properly placed on the cardboard and glued down, if you want to make any other types of artistic changes, such as adding cardboard or stickers, then, by all means do so. If you are using some sort of theme, this would be the perfect time to add to it before the finished product is protected and unable to be worked on any more.

Once the photo collage is laid out, secured and generally finished, you'll want to work on protecting it from wear and tear. There are many made-for-home laminating kits out thee, and lamination is the best way to go, especially with a very thin lamination. If this is a big project, however, you might find taking it to a professional might be more worth your time. If this is the case, make sure to cover the entire collage during travel with a trash bag or other covering that will keep it safe completely for the trip.

For smaller collages, though, laminating at home will be the best bet. The goal is to laminate the entire collage, front and back, to ensure that wear and tear doesn't degrade the pictures of the hard work you've put into it. Thin layers are always best, as thicker layers of lamination might make the collage look unsavory and otherwise clouded from view when looked upon at close ranges. Make sure you follow the directions of the particular lamination system you use, and just take your time, being gentle for the whole time you're laminating.

Finally, you'll proudly display your photo collage in the room or place of your choice. Depending on how thick the collage is and how big it is, you can use run of the mill thumb-tacks to keep it in place. In some cases, you might want to use nails, or if you're fancy, you can attach a picture frame holder to it so as not to damage the collage itself, especially if you're planning to move it more than once or twice a year.

After making photo collages the first few times, you'll get the hang of creating a beautiful way to showcase your family and their photos to friends and your loved ones. You can play with sizes, styles and other factors, as well as get the rest of your family involved. You can make collages for gifts and for special occasions as well to commemorate certain events, such as a new baby, a marriage or a graduation. Collages can be used for any purpose and as long as the maker is having fun making them, it will show when you hang your work proudly for all to see.

Eating Like a Local: Washington DC

By Kathy A. Schaeffer

The nation's capital of Washington, DC, is not only the background for a marvelous vacation or enjoyable business trip, but also is a bit of paradise for the taste buds. From the very upscale restaurants to the smaller establishments and home style diners, Washington DC offers all cuisines and caters to all budgets.

When traveling, the last thing that most of us want to do is take the time to research places to eat in the area, which parts of town the restaurants might be found in, prices, and whether or not they serve good food or have dress codes. That should all be done ahead of time, so hopefully this article will help some travelers with those choices. This is a potpourri of various cuisines and ambiance, and should be used only as a starting point. Ten different reviewers doing a "best restaurants guide" to the city would most likely come up with ten completely different lists because the choices are so vast.

BISTRO BIS is found in the Capitol Hill area and is a good place to watch for celebrities of the political kind. Senators are often known to dine here. The upscale French restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. The menu is wide-ranging with an expansive array of food choices and an impressive wine list.

Lunch Samplings: (Appetizers) Calamari and Rock Shrimp Basquaise, Smoked Salmon, Mussels Poulette

(Entrees) Trout Salad Lyonnaise, Sea Scallops Provencale, Classic Eggs Benedict

Dinner Samplings: (Appetizers) Escargots Vol-Au-Vent, Lobster Bisque, Steak Tartare Atilla, Endive Salad Chardanoux

(Entrees) Noisettes of Lamb, Duck Confit Facon Tarbais, Monkfish Aux Moules Saffronne, Sweetbreads Nantua

Finish off a Bistro Bis meal in style with something from their dessert menu. Finding a fabulous dessert will not be difficult, everything on the menu qualifies. Some samplings of the dessert menu include Bistro Apple Tart, Chocolate Espresso Terrine, Gateau Au Chocolat, and Glace Ou Sorbet.

Unique at Bistro Bis: Cheese course is offered. Although this course is served between the entree and dessert in Europe, feel free to order it during any part of your Bistro Bis meal.

Also situated on Capitol Hill is the moderately priced CAFE DELUXE. This is not the only Cafe Deluxe in or near the city, so check which one is closest to your location if you wish to dine here. The restaurant offers lunch, dinner, and a Sunday brunch. A kids menu is available.

Lunch Samplings: (Starters) Crispy Chicken Spring Rolls, Chicken Quesadilla with Roasted Peppers, Seared Rare Ahi Tuna with Frisee and Wonton Crisps, Salads and Sandwiches of many kinds

(Entrees) Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tart with Mixed Greens, Steamed Mussels in White Wine Broth, Grilled Meatloaf with Spicy Creole Sauce

Dinner Samplings: (Starters) Creamed Spinach Dip and Chips, Crispy Onion Strings, Goat Cheese/ Baby Greens/ Pine Nuts/ Tomato Salad

(Entrees) Pan Roasted Shrimp and Sea Scallops with Creamed Corn, Chicken Pot Pie, Filet Mignon with Potato Au Gratin

The dessert menu at Cafe Deluxe includes Apple Crumble served with vanilla ice cream, Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce and Raisins, and Brownie Sunday, in addition to other offerings.

If you want to have a great Portuguese meal, try CARAVELA RESTAURANT on Wisconsin Avenue. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner and offers a kids menu.

Lunch Samplings: (Starters) Ameijoas a Bulhao Pato (clams in garlic, cilantro, and chorizo in white wine sauce), Pasteis de Bacalhau (cod fritters), Mexilhao Marinara (mussels in marina sauce with peppers and onions)

(Entrees) Bife a Portuguesa (Angus steak with garlic and white wine), Carne de Porco a Alentejana (pork loin with garlic, white wine and clams) Soups, salads, and sandwiches are also available.

Dinner Samplings: (Starters) Frango Passarinho (sauteed chicken with garlic and white wine), Croquettes de Carne (meat croquettes)

(Entrees) Peito de Pato (grilled breast of duck served with turnips and a cabernet sauce), Tamboril Guisado com Ervilhas (stewed monkfish with chorizo and peas, served with rice), Costeletas de Carneiro (grilled Australian rack of lamb)

Caravela's dessert menu includes Mousse de Chocolate (chocolate mousse), Peras a Casa (Pears Caravela), and Leite Creme.

Also found on Wisconsin Avenue is GUAPO's. If you want some great Tex-Mex cuisine, this is one of many fine Mexican restaurants in the city. The prices are moderate and the menu offers the foods found in many Mexican eating establishments. On the appetizer menu at Guapo's is Taquitos Sonora (corn tortilla stuffed with beef or chicken and served with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo), Camarones Tijuana (sauteed shrimp with Spanish herbs and sherry.

Guapo's offers quite a number of house specialties. A few of them are: Pollo Vallarta (chicken breast in saffron sauce with shrimp), Masitas De Puerco Al Horno (pork with Spanish sauce and Spanish onions), Marisco Saltado (shrimp and scallops with tomatoes, potatoes, onion, etc.). Of course burritos, tacos, chimichangas, enchiladas, and other Mexican cuisine is always available as well.

If you are in the Georgetown section of the city, or want to have a meal with some excellent American cuisine, try MARTIN'S TAVERN, serving lunch, brunch, and dinner. The menu offers sandwiches, soups, salads, and sides as well as full meals.

Lunch Samplings: (Appetizers) Crab Cakes, Smoked Norwegian Salmon, Cornmeal Fried Oysters, Clams Casino

(Entrees/Specialties) Pasta Primavera, Welsh Rarebit, Steak Sandwich, Tavern Treat (crabmeat and mushrooms with hollandaise served over English muffin), Salisbury Steak

Dinner Samplings: (Appetizers) Crabmeat Cocktail, Spiced Shrimp, Chicken Tenders served with Ranch Dressing

(Entrees) Prime Rib, Pork Chop Dinner, Classic Hamburger, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Chicken, Pasta, and Seafood choices are abundant on the menu as well.

Desserts at Martins Tavern include: Peek-A-Boo Chocolate Truffle (the chocolate comes from the inside, served with whipped cream), Pies, Carrot Cake, Creme Brulee, Cheesecake, and Bread Pudding. Try the tavern special of Irish Coffee.

In a city of this size and renown, restaurants are plentiful. A visitor will be hard pressed to not be able to find most cuisines of choice; and each section of town has its own dining establishment choices. From the fast food prices to the exceptionally chic and expensive, this is one American city in which fabulous food for any taste preferences can be easily found.

Trendy Toddler Clothes on a Budget

Dressing your little ones can be lots of fun, but high end stores and boutiques can get to be quite expensive. If you're looking to find trendy clothes for your kids on a budget, try these tips:

-- Don't miss out on the end of season sales. End of season sales are great; the only problem is, the always occur at the end of the season, meaning you won't get much use out of new summer clothes if fall is approaching. Not to worry-- try buying clothes for next year at this year's end of season sales. End of season clearance items are often marked down several times over, so don't miss out. If your child is a wearing a 2T this summer, it's a fairly safe bet that he or she will be in a 3T by next summer. Stock up on cheap clothes in the next size up and you'll have tons of new stuff for your kids next year at this time! Some of the best end of season sales occur after Christmas (in January and February) and at the end of the summer.

-- Ebay all the way. If you haven't shopped for kids clothes on EBay, you don't know what you're missing. Ebay is a popular online auction site-- learn the ropes and you can get some phenomenal deals. Smart Ebay sellers snatch up lots of inexpensive, name brand clothes and list them for sale. You can find new and used clothes on Ebay-- if you're squeamish about purchasing used or gently worn clothing for your kids, just log onto Ebay and type in "NWT" in the search bar. "NWT" means "new with tags"-- this way only brand new, unworn items will come up in your search. You can also type in specific brand names in the search bar-- popular searches for toddler clothes include "Gymboree", "Baby Gap" or "TCP" (The Children's Place). Don't like the idea of waiting for an auction to end? Search for "BIN" or "Buy It Now" items-- these items will have a set price for which you can purchase the item instantly. Fancy little girl's holiday and party dresses are a good item to look for on Ebay-- they have usually only been worn once and are generally in good condition. If you've never used Ebay, it's easy to sign up. Some tips: Always be sure to check the seller's feedback rating before you place a bid-- if a seller has negative feedback listed, reconsider making an offer. Also, be certain to check the seller's shipping policies and prices-- some sellers list the selling price of their items low, but then try to make up for it with whopping shipping prices. Always read the fine print in any Ebay auction you bid on-- honest sellers will list flaws in clothing items; also check to see if they offer a return policy.

-- Check consignment shops. Consignment shops deal primarily with clothing that has been previously worn, but the clothing items are usually in extremely good condition. Most consignment shops check over the clothing with a fine tooth comb before accepting them from sellers-- even placing them under a bright light to check for spots and stains. You can find some good deals on trendy toddler clothing by checking consignment shops regularly-- most have new clothes coming in on any given day.

-- Swap with a neighbor. Consider swapping your kid's clothes with a neighbor. Most people would rather give clothes away to someone they know then to a stranger.

-- Keep your eye out for price adjustments. Go ahead and shop at those trendy stores at the mall, but keep your receipts and check back in 2 weeks to see if the items have gone on sale. Baby Gap, for example, offers one time price adjustments on any items that go on sale within 2 weeks of your purchase. So if that $30 windbreaker gets marked down to $14.99, you'll pocket the difference!

-- Check discount stores and outlets for deals. Discount stores like Target have really cute kid's clothes and the prices are reasonable. Check out Walmart's "Mary Kate and Ashley" line for trendy outfits designed by those famous Olsen twins. Kohl's department store often marks down popular kids brands like OshKosh B'Gosh and Carter's. If you live near outlet stores, check them out for great prices on discontinued clothing items.

Split Screen Technology Commercialized

By Melissa A. Popp

Nowadays, split screen televisions are the norm. Most new television, flat screen and otherwise will come with split screen technology that enables the viewer to watch two programs simultaneous, choosing which one will produce sound and which one you watch in silence. This way if the big game is on, and your significant other wants to watch Extreme Home Makeover, you can still catch all the action, just silently, which is all you need to catch the score and see the action.

However, with the advent of split screen technology being built into the television itself, many sports channels are taking advantage of this and shooting film based on this principle. This first came to my attention as I watched a soccer match on ESPN2 a few weeks ago, and lo and behold, instead of cutting to a commercial as I expected when the match slowed down in the middle of it, the screen was split while the game's sound was reduced so that they could show a full audible commercial on the right hand side of my television screen.

I didn't know what to do. I was shocked and awed, to be honest, to see that ESPN would dilute a perfectly good game by clearly shifting focus. I would've rather sat through five to seven minutes, the average interval of commercials, gladly instead of be subjected to this type of quick shift focus of action. I mean, seriously, how do you expect fans to concentrate on a game when a very loud Snickers commercial is being broadcast right next to it?

The first thing I did was see if other people noticed it, and some of my soccer friends online, noted they did with distaste and how it took away from the game. They, too, agreed that if this was used more effectively it wouldn't be such a big deal, but this technique to air commercials split screen and loudly just destroys any respect for the game, because it's hard to continue to pay attention. What's worse is that most of my friends had seen it before and only during soccer games. So far, that's my experience, I've only seen it during soccer games but that doesn't mean it's not happening with other less-than-popular sports.

Now, I've yet to see any other sports on ESPN subjected to this type of commercialization, but it wouldn't surprise me if other less than high profile sports "like curling and bicycling" were also victims of this gross inability to highlight sports, not commercials, that ESPN has obviously taken to using to garner commercial support for their services and livelihood. It truly is a shame that ESPN is taking advantage of a developed technology.

Trust me, I totally understand the point of commercials, without commercials in some instances, many channels might fall off the face of existence. Not to mention that commercials are one of the most lucrative marketing techniques for many business, products and services. Commercials work, too, because every time I see that Coke with lime commercial, that catchy tune makes me want to try a Coke with lime, even though I'm allergic to lime. Go figure! I won't complain about this game, but I'm just curious if no commercials means no commercial breaks. If so, they could still use the split screen technique, and it'll be interesting to see if that's the case today or in the future.

When split screen technology embedded into televisions came out, it was a very good day for televisions, as many times you might be attracted to a sporting event while something else is going on. You might want to watch a movie with the family, watch the news or catch up on the latest stocks for the day while taking part in sports. Many people like to do things while they watch sports, too, whether it be cooking on the barbeque or doing homework, so, the idea that you could also watch something else while watching sports is appealing to these folks at well who may not want to sit down and watch the entirety of a 15 inning baseball game that has been tied for the last 12 innings. Split screen television was made and designed for these people, and those that use it, find it's very effective for their time and their sanity.

Most split screen technology puts the "other" screen in one of the corners of the television so that you don't miss where most of the action has been shot during a show, game or what strikes your fancy. This screen, while at first might seem obstructive, grows on the eye so that eventually it's second nature following what's going on with both "shows." It's sort of like wearing bifocal glasses, where eventually, you're used to using both lenses to see during different situations.

Once the person who uses split screen gets use to it being on their television, they are more apt to using it more frequently, especially when it comes to sporting events. This might make it easier to take the strain of such split screen commercials programmed into programs, but overall, even the most diehard split screen fan will bulk at such a deceptive tactic, because it's not what they are used to watching at all.

In fact, it goes against the spirit of true split screen technology and cheapens it with commercialism. Such is the way with television nowadays, though; channels are more concerned with making money than showing the programs that keep them alive. Unfortunately, this is the toll commercials have taken on television, and now even the blessed split screen television technology has fallen victim to such cheap marketing tactics that take away from games and most likely will take away from primetime television when it gets the chance.

One of the things that makes built-in split screen technology effective is that sound is cut off completely on the lesser program. This means you can devote your entire attention to listening to the other program when you turn away to view the latest news headlines or get the game's score. With the ESPN split screen technique, your attention is diverted to both, often the commercial winning out sound wise, which makes it hard to focus on both, which is the whole goal of split screen television technology.

What's the point of using split screen if you can't adequately focus on both events at the same time? After all, that's what it was designed, implemented and marketed for when created for televisions.

Let me tell you, right now, my favorite Major League Soccer (MLS) team D.C. United is playing against Kansas City. I'm listening to the game, my back to the television, and as I write this, I wonder how many split screen commercials ESPN will subject me to during the game. It's about to start, and I'm already cringing. (On further listening, it's an uninterrupted game today, thanks Radio Shack!)

This brings up an interesting point: While many sponsors can prevent commercials from interrupting a game, this typically happens with either big name teams or big sports. Soccer isn't a big sport in America; it's more of a cult sport, even though it's gaining in popularity. I see very few games, like today, that actually get to run commercially interrupted. Typically, many games get shown after they are played, because ESPN or ESPN2 is pre-empted with more popular live sports, sometimes, even poker.

Now, this type of split screen isn't always negative, as I've painted that picture. It can also be used positively to highlight aspects of a game, either through interviews with players or coaches. I've seen Fox and ABC use this very effectively, especially during very high profile games, such as the Super Bowl. Fox is very good at using it during NASCAR events, during the race, when they listen in on split screen while watching the race to drivers and their pit crews to see what's going on if they notice something is happening during the race. These techniques are very effective for giving the fans a better insight into that particular game, event or race.

I happen to like this type of split screen and is gives you insights into things you wouldn't have known otherwise during sports, and sometimes, I just like hearing what players and coaches have to say about a particular moment during a big game as it plays out and they aren't taking part in it. If ESPN utilized this more, instead of commercials, it might be much better for the quality of their broadcasts.

Split screen television technology was a breakthrough for the television industry. It took years to develop and a lot of hard work to make effective. It took quite a lot of convincing to get television watchers to take a chance and purchase a television with the feature, and now that television viewers use it, they see what a great asset it is to the evolution of television. It's a sham such outlets as ESPN are beginning to use that technology against the sports viewer, and it's a shame that other channels will eventually follow in their destructive wake.

The "Wife Beater"

By Melissa A. Popp

Ask someone what a "wife beater" is and chances are they will flinch. After all, who names an article of clothing a wife beater? Well, after years of being called a wife beater, the term has evolved to the politically correct form of "undershirt." Yes, a wife beater is a type of undershirt that men typically wear under their t-shirts or dress shirts in order to collect sweat and perspiration.

Wife beater is such a common term, it's even being considered for lexicon status in the Oxford dictionary. So, tell me, how can a word in the Oxford dictionary – the epitome of the English language – be bad? Well, the "f" word is in the Oxford dictionary, too…

Officially, wife beater is slang. It refers to a ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt that is typically white, though they can be found in a variety of colors now. Sometimes this style of shirt is also called an "A-shirt" in the clothing industry. They are lightweight, easily torn and stain beyond cleaning. While mostly attributed to men, more notably "thugs" and other gangster-related persons, the wife beater has grown in popularity to include women who either wear the men's version or purchase specifically fit undershirts for themselves. The term itself developed in the 1960s in New York areas such as Queens and Brooklyn for a very specific set of people as not everyone was "fit" for wearing a "wife beater." The term was very literal in both what it represents and who wears it around this time and in this place.

Eventually, the term resurfaced around 1996, the year of its first written use. This was around the same time that Hanes' A-shirt (also a type of undershirt) began circulating and gaining popularity. During this time, it developed into an almost joke of a term, with male teens wearing it, looking in the mirror and laughing at themselves while thinking they looked like a Redneck wife beater. Thus the term emerges as a way to make fun of what a person looks like in the undershirt style.

There's a lot of fuss over the term wife beater. After all, when you hear the term, the first thing one thinks of is a man beating their wife, which in all honesty, is where the conventional dislike for the word stems from the media. What started out as an innocent fad has turned into a very heated topic amongst feminists and other philosophers. The one place it hasn't been much of a debate has been the fashion industry, which tends to avoid the controversy, by simply selling the undershirt as just that: An undershirt.

How did the wife beater get such a notorious image? It's simple. Men who beat their wives wore them during several highly intense cases that were related to Americans through all forms of television, newspaper and magazine stories. This type of negativity was enough to have the term "wife beater" is completely politically incorrect when referring to an undershirt.

Many domestic abuse support groups have even gone so far as to suggest that the undershirt is the shirt of choice for wife beaters, furthering the image that the shirt is for the bad guy who is willing to hurt others for whatever reason. Many groups have vocally come out and showered their distaste for the wife beater in various media outlets going so far as to call out companies who purposefully market these shirts to demographics that are more prone to domestic abuse.

Sickeningly, many companies who make a mockery of issues such as domestic abuse have created wife beaters and other types of shirts supporting such abuse. These shirts are adorned with criminals in jail for beating their wives or loved ones, as well as sexual predators and celebrities associated with such abuse. Some companies even produce an undershirt with the term "wife beater" emblazoned on it just for men to show off that they aren't "afraid" to wear such a shirt.

Just try calling an undershirt a wife beater around someone, whether you know it or not, that has been beaten. They will speak up. Trust me, I know from experience. In fact, let me tell you a story about my experience with the term wife beater and why I will never use it in public ever again and why I encourage others to do the same.

My senior year of high school, I began wearing wife beaters as a way to either stop anyone from being able to see through a light t-shirt or as a compliment to my overalls. (Yes, I wear overalls, at twenty years of age. You can stop laughing now.) I was on my way to my journalism class, which was right after lunch, and it was really hot that day in the building. So, I stripped down to just my jeans and my wife beater, knowing that my journalism teacher would have no problem with it, so long as no administrators or principals walked in, to which I could quickly put on a sweater or my other shirt, which I still had with me in my backpack.

On the way to the class, I ran into some friends and talked to them, taking my time to get to class. My journalism teacher always stood outside the door and greeted students as they came into her class; she was very friendly, very intelligent and a very good teacher. However, when I made it to the door, she asked me why I was wearing my undershirt and I replied, "You mean my wife beater?"

I was so used to calling it a wife beater, whether it is with my friends or asking my parents to buy them for me, that it just came out. I didn't realize at the time the demeaning aspect of calling my undershirt that, it's just what I called it, and I didn't think twice saying it out loud in public around people who quite possible could've been beaten by husbands.

Luck would have it that my journalism teacher was one of those wives, now divorced. She immediately corrected me, very haughtily, which I kind of shrugged off and just went on through my day. It wasn't until I began to get to know who better that I learned her ex-husband had physically and emotionally abused her. I then understand the value of ditching the offensive terminology for the less offensive undershirt, which in all honesty, is far more accurate when it comes to what to call it. After all, it is an undershirt, a shirt can't beat a wife; so, why on earth call it a wife beater, right?

While a big proponent of free speech, there are some words I just won't use, and this is one of them. It's much different looking at the word, knowing what it means, but still using it than it is when you say the word and know somebody who lives or has lived it. Thus, I choose to exercise my free speech not to use this word at all anymore, unless doing something of this nature, such as writing about it. That is my choice, and I stick by it, as I like to think it's the right thing to do after that confrontation with my journalism teacher who also happened to evolve into my mentor and inspiration.

I encourage others not to use the terminology as it is associated with domestic abuse, and for anybody who knows anyone who has suffered those difficult times, they know that even brief mentions of potential abuse are enough to send these people over the wall into places they thought they climbed over. I learned from first hand experience that you can't just go with something, because it is popular, instead, you have to weigh what the greater good is in response to what is the current trend for the moment. Relationships you built will last lifetimes, but trends always die, no matter how popular they may seem and the term wife beater is one such trend.

While most linguists would argue that the term "wife beater" is going to be around for awhile, others disagree, especially if the negative connotation of the world is stigmatized further by those who can't stand the two words together for what it stands for when said. Sometimes even the most inappropriate words become part of the lexicon for years, decades and even centuries all because so many disassociate themselves with the true nature of these words and the true nature of the hurt behind them.

One such word, for example, is the "f" word, which isn't even acceptable in print anymore much less in public. Words such as the "f" word gather popularity, change in meaning rapidly, and become so commonplace that many people forget the derogatory nature of the word; such is the way with wife beater.

Unfortunately, this is just the way languages works, and sometimes not even the most popular slang words stay around for the long run. Other slang words have also seen this type of popularity shift. Wife beater is no different, as both the word and the meaning, should have been long since dead.

Those Notorious Pink Jerseys

By Melissa A. Popp

Let's face it. We've all seen those pink jerseys. Whether they've been for the Eagles, the Chargers or the Patriots, we've all seen some of the most feminine football fans wearing those pink jerseys emblazoned with their favorite player's name and number. This is a very light pink color which means it captures the eyes immediately. This alone is enough to spark interest and debate over the subject: Are these notorious pink jerseys really necessary?

Those pink jerseys have a dual meaning: One is to appeal to female fans and the other is punishing male athletes. We'll deal with each equally as both have brought up strong reactions from both sides of those who are involved directly, those who wear them and those who just don't see what the big deal is about them. This is a fashion trend in full swing and as such it has brought out much attention from fans, media and dissenters alike.

Let's start with pink jerseys in relation to female fans. This is the primary reason why pink jerseys were created by professional sports leagues, marketed and sold like hot cakes.

It's no surprise that sports jerseys are geared towards men. Dark colors, masculine images and names, as well as the way they are cut and fit, make jerseys something undesirable to most women. They don't want to wear a man's jersey, they want to wear a women's jersey that fits her curves and shape. Most men's jerseys are big, bulky and don't sit right on a woman, which discourages them from showing their support for their favorite team by buying and wearing a jersey.

Thus, such big name sporting leagues like the National Football League and Major League Baseball came up with the idea of designing a women's jersey for women to increase their support for their favorite teams. These jerseys are designed to fit a woman's figure, come in much smaller sizes than a man's jersey and are pink with specific lettering color depending on the colors of their favorite team. For the most part, at least recently, some stores have been offering custom pink jerseys but overall, you can generally just buy very specific – high profile – players from team-related stores.

Once the pink phenomenon hit stores, many girls, especially around the college age began to sport the jerseys around campuses and elsewhere. Most notably, Philadelphia Eagles fans this past Super Bowl, found many female fans attending the game with their pink jersey as well as parties all around the country sporting Terrell Owens or Donovan McNabb pink jerseys. The Eagles went so far as even to produce a pink hat for their team so women could also accessorize their jersey further while wearing it.

Other teams jumped on board and also began offering the pink jerseys for women's fans, and they have been snatched up by diehard football, baseball and basketball fans all across America. It's yet to be seen how far reaching these jerseys are in the international community, as it's highly improbable that soccer fans across the globe will ditch their team colors for pink, even the most feminine among them.

Most girls who wear these jerseys are fanatics on a particular player, which is why sporting leagues cater to certain players, providing fans with the jerseys they want as opposed to opening up the field for all to buy a jersey of their choice. When it comes to marketing, it's genius, because this has brought many girl fans out of the woodwork who you wouldn't normally think supported a professional sports team, especially when it comes to football, and the players that play on those teams. This has given girls, of all ages, the chance to show their support while wearing a color more suited to what they would rather wear.

Keep in mind, though, that not all girls will wear the pink jerseys. Even though they are marketed to girls of all ages, this does not mean that all women are snatching up the jerseys as we speak, instead, it's just opened the door up to women who are less inclined to put up with the "manliness" of regular sporting jerseys. One sport you will see this prevalent in is soccer where women supporters will gladly put on a man's jersey to show their support for a team, nation or player, because of the culture and tradition surrounding the sport. Instead of besmirching their team with a pink jersey, they would rather proudly wear their team's colors of choice to chant and celebrate when they play on the pitch.

Now, let's move on to pink jerseys being used to punish male athletes. This has drawn mass media attention in the United States as teams use them as negative reinforcement for poor performance on the field.

One of the most talked about sports stories of the season revolves around the University of Arkansas' choice to use pink jerseys to punish football players who either weren't up to conditioning, weren't practicing hard enough on the field or who were just goofing off during training. This has sparked a national debate as many breast cancer activists complained that it was demeaning to force someone to wear pink when many associate the color with breast cancer support.

While the Arkansas head coach, Houston Nutt, told the media that he came to the conclusion to stop using the pink jerseys on his own, many are skeptical of his claim. The weeks leading up to him putting a stop the practice, many cancer-related charities, support groups and survivors complained to both the university and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to step in and do something about the hideous display of a color that brings hope to many breast cancer patients and survivors.

However, the NCAA dodged the bullet and refused to both comment and act, as it was a matter of public relations for the Arkansas team as well as a stamp of approval over political correctness. After all, pink is just a color, a color associated with girls, which is why it was used as a "punishment" in the first place for these men of men on their football team. So, the NCAA stepped aside to let Arkansas, and any other team, develop their own policy, which they are well within their right do so. The NCAA regularly avoids conflict if it's one or two teams, so this is common practice, and shouldn't reflect on the inability of the NCAA to do its job of regulating college athletics across the country.

On the flip side of the coin, many Razorback fans complained to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation about their objection to the use of pink jerseys on the football field. They withdrew support for the charity and threatened not to participate in their local Race for the Cure event that was coming up. The local Komen chapter refused to budge, as did the national chapter, and eventually the team gave up the practice of using pink jerseys as a detriment to poor behavior. Other reports say that the Komen chapter didn’t complain one bit, that it was disgruntle fans that didn't support the Razorback and other feminist-related groups. Either way, Coach Nutt decided to put an end to a practice his Defense Coach put into practice and ending the controversy over a simple way to get players in line.

No offense was meant by the jerseys, he related to the media when making the announcement. Since many Arkansas students take place in the annual Race for the Cure event, nobody thought that controversy would develop from such a hazing procedure that many teams put into place during training and games. It just so happens that not all teams use pink jerseys to show their distaste with playing or failing on the field. This type of negative reinforcement is what upset many cancer patients and supporters of those patients, because by using it in a negative light, it's associated with the negativity of cancer, specifically breast cancer among women.

Now, keep in mind, pink jerseys are most likely used elsewhere for positive and negative reinforcement on the sporting field in many different sports. It just so happens when a big name team gets "caught" using them does a media backlash occur. It all comes down to the current climate of women's thoughts on the matter as well as just how the jerseys are being used in positive and negative reinforcement scenarios.

These pink jerseys have caused a lot of controversy as well as been helpful for sporting leagues. When it comes to fashion trends, there are always positive and negative aspects, and when it comes to something as high profile as sports, even the diehard fan will admit that the pink jerseys aren't all that bad. It all comes down to individual taste, desire and willingness to indulge in pop culture's acceptance that women do watch professional sports with as much fervor as men do when they support their favorite team from the local bar, their local dorm room or even from the stands.

My struggle with sugar

We mostly have to pay the price or live with the consequences of what we do in this life. This is the truth of the matter, pretty much most of the time.

And what really makes it worse is that most of us like to fool ourselves that we are the exception to the rule only for things to catch up with us later on in life.

For many years I lived in denial even as my intake of sugar was way too high. I took plenty of sugar in my tea and loved my cakes and pastries with plenty of the deadly-stuff-when-consumed-in-high-quantities. Not to mention my constant intake of soft drinks. I love to take a cold soft drink even in extremely cold temperatures.

There is a joke that I overused in my younger days. Whenever somebody asked me how many sugars I wanted with my tea or coffee I would say "10 spoons please", with a straight face. Strange doesn't sound anywhere near as funny as it was in those days now. Actually it isn't funny at all, anymore.

Although I did not actually take my tea with 10 spoonfuls of sugar, I took too much sugar, maybe half that number in a small cup of tea. Anybody could tell that it was too much sugar because despite my usually vigorous stirring with the tea spoon, you could still find plenty of sugar left at the bottom of my cup when I was through, drinking the tea.

And for years I read dozens of articles warning of the dangers of too much sugar intake into the body. I took in the information but basically ignored all the good advice. Mainly because nothing happened to me, I just kept on with the habit. I refused to accept the fact that these things generally catch up with you later on in life.

Recently however I have started seeing some of the tell-tale signs beginning to show in my life. For example I would suddenly get so pressed to pass urine that I would literally dance on the spot as I waited for the lift to arrive at the floor where I was going. Some time I would not quite make it and I would pass a little urine on myself.

Then I read this story about a certain woman who was diabetic, in Readers Digest. It was a horror story if ever there was one and although one can not always link too much intake of sugar to diabetes, the message for me finally sunk in. Many people are not aware of some of the effects of diabetes when it is at an advanced stage. In one particularly horrifying passage the woman tells how she was teaching a class and then she started to repeat a single sentence over and over again. Even as her class noted that that there was definitely something wrong, she started to undress, removing her top and bra before one of the students rushed out to get another teacher. I would hate to imagine what would have happened had this particular incident happened in some US high schools I know.

Oh yeah the message sunk in pretty well, reading that article.

As I write this, I no longer take my tea with sugar and I'm slowly adjusting to it.

I have made a very firm decision that this will be a permanent state of affairs. Although the self discipline and resolve has been forced on me by circumstances this late in life, I am grateful that it has happened. Better late than never, they say.

I am also in the process of reviewing my diet in general although I can already see some areas where I am bound to face yet another struggle. Basically I take in too much red meat. I love the stuff and although I occasionally manage to bring it under control, I know that I still take in quantities that are too high to be good to my health.

But the sugar issue is done. Of that I am certain.

The “high” my movie posters gave me

Movie posters played a major part in my life in the years when I had just finished high school and was looking to lock myself into some career.

Unlike many youngsters at the time, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. A writer and nothing else.

I started off writing fiction for this magazine and getting paid for it, a big thrill it was. Then this opportunity came out of the blue to do something glamorously different.

Actually the big writing break that got me into newspapers came through my love and knowledge of movies from when I was very young. Or in other words, my love for movies helped me secure the writing career that I had always wanted. You can imagine the impact I made with my friends and those who knew me when I landed that film review gig.

Actually this small newspaper was unable to find somebody to do their weekly popular film review columns for them. I do not remember whether they advertised for the position or how exactly I heard about it (it was such a long time ago). But I went to meet the editor and the interview mostly tested my knowledge of movies. Writing ability was also important.

Fortunately I measured up on both accounts and suddenly, I was a movie critic. I was living outside the States in those days and I’m not sure something like this can happen here.

Anyway my main reason for writing this was to focus on one of the by products of this wonderful new job I suddenly had – movie posters.

Suddenly my run down untidy little shack at my parent’s house, where I used to stay then was turned into the most glamorous shack in the neighborhood.

Of course this had its’ down side, because some of the people I attracted were thieves and I was the victim of a burglary, not once but twice. Yes, I got robbed twice in the safest neighborhood for miles around. And interestingly enough not a single poster was stolen during both incidences. Just goes to show you that the thief must have been somebody that I knew so well that they had no use for the posters because I would have probably ended up seeing them when I visited them next.

But that is really not the subject of this article.

Those movie posters were really something. In their full size and in full color, they really changed the appearance of my shack. I especially enjoyed them when my girlfriends visited. If my charms (which were immense in those days) had not worked up to that point, the posters were sure to finish off the job.

Incase you do not get my drift here, let me explain further. Writers are already glamorous in the eyes of most girls (I guess this hasn’t changed over the decades, or has it?) but a film critic was just out-of-this-world-glamorous.

I would change my posters almost every week as I attended the previews on a virtually weekly basis. Still there were some posters that remained permanently on the walls. Arnold Schwarzenegger was just breaking into limelight then and his Commando movie poster never left the walls of my glamorous room.

Then there was Purple Rain featuring the musician who was then known as Prince. Phew that poster as really something, I can still see it clearly on my mind. The man himself standing besides a motorbike in some chic purple background.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Hanes

By Melissa A. Popp

Just saying the word "Hanes" brings various visions to mind. T-shirts, undershirts, underwear and a plethora of other clothing; Hanes is one of the most recognizable clothing lines in the world, and they don't even do fancy, like Armani or Gucci, which are equally recognizable. Instead, Hanes focuses on the basics, that every man, woman and child needs in their everyday lives, and they've made a fortune off of the common t-shirt.

When it comes down to it just what makes Hanes so popular? In all honesty, it's the simplicity. Think about it: Hanes t-shirts are comfortable, solid colors and come with or without pockets. How much simpler can it get? There's no frills, no perks and no price gouging. A Hanes t-shirt is worth exactly how much you pay for it, and you won't be paying an arm and a leg for a t-shirt.

As said before, Hanes doesn't just deal with t-shirts; they also make socks, undershirts, underwear and bras. Only in recent years have they begun to make pajama sets of the same lightweight material they make their other products. Also, in the last five years, they've become to shy away from solid colors, such as red and blue, but also include pastels and simple patterns like flowers or stripes. This evolution comes from where the clothing market has shifted from solid colors being in to where pastels are the new hot fashion trend that people of all ages want to wear. Of course, for the most part, pastels are primarily women's clothing while men stick with the solid, darker, colors to adorn their bodies.

With ad campaigns fueled by the likes of Michael Jordan, who currently is their primary endorsee of the tagless undershirt, to Matthew Perry, Hanes attracts all sorts of customers to wear their products. Marisa Tomei and Damon Wayons have also signed on as sponsors for Hanes.

Even Mira Sorvino has jumped on board to help model Hanes' "Go Red" campaign. Hanes has teamed up with Macys and the American Heart Association to get the word out about women and heart disease. Since heart disease is statistically the number one killer for women over the age of 25, it's no wonder such a large corporation would use its power to educate women of the risks before it's too late. What better way to support women and the fight against heart disease than to buy a Hanes t-shirt?

Hanes is so comfortable, so affordable and so stylish, that most Americans will likely have worn at least one Hanes product in their lifetime. That fact alone can't be said for many other clothing companies that are either out of the price range of more than half of America or specialty clothing stores that don't appeal to the majority of citizens in the country. Hanes is worn by everybody, because it's made for everybody.

Hanes is so popular it was even featured on the April 28, 2005 episode of the NBC hit The Apprentice. Both teams, Magna and Net Worth, designed a commemorative logo for the fiftieth anniversary of Hanes. They enlisted the help of two artists to help them design the shirts: Romero Britto and Burton Morris. In the end, Magna won the task with their t-shirt designed by Britto and now both shirts can be purchased for well below the price they sold at on the show at WalMart (www.walmart.com).

Hanes products can be bought in almost any store that sells clothes as well as on their web site (www.hanes.com).

Organized All Day .... Everyday

Keeping our homes clean and organized is probably one of the most challenging tasks. We all lead busy lives which makes finding time to clean difficult. The weekends may afford us time – but who wants to spend their only two days of relaxation cleaning the house. Depending on the size of your pad, it could take several hours to do a thorough cleaning. A thorough cleaning usually involves making up for all the disarray caused during the week. Organizing the home does not have to be an all day job. The key to keeping a clean house is doing little by little each day. Some people have homes that always look immaculate. What’s their secret? The truth is there is no secret. The fa├žade of a perfect home can be achieved in a few short minutes.

The key to a seemingly perfect home involves simple techniques. Putting cleaning off until later is a problem that most of us have. Our intentions of cleaning the kitchen later are often pushed off until tomorrow, and so forth. Meanwhile the kitchen is becoming more and more messier until we have a large mess which takes an hour out of our day to clean. We can avoid this by simply clearing dishes and wiping cabinets after we finish preparing a meal or snack. This whole process takes less than 5 minutes. Keeping the sink free of dishes gives the illusion of a clean kitchen. It is ideal to always have a canister of Clorox wipes in the kitchen. This way you can quickly clean any stains. Sweeping the floor once or twice daily also contributes to a clean kitchen. Sweeping only takes a few seconds. Kitchens appear messy when dishes pile up, stains are not removed, and small particles cover the floor. Eliminating the three will result in a cleaner, more organized kitchen.

This rule also works wonderfully for bathrooms. Bathrooms are small, thus they should be easy to clean. Putting personal hygiene items back in their proper place is difficult – especially when we are running late. However, cleaning the bathroom in the morning before leaving the house only takes 2 minutes. Place make-up, toothbrushes, hair creams, etc back into the cabinet. Two minutes will not make a difference. Repeating this process every morning will leave your bathroom more organized. Keep disinfected wipes in the bathroom. Wipe the sink basin and toilet throughout the day for a fresh smell. Bedrooms are also a problem area. Many do not make their beds in the morning. An unmade bed makes a room look messy. Making the bed as soon as we rise in the morning is the best way to keep the bedroom organized. Those who do not make the bed in the morning will likely not make it later. Thus when we come home in the evenings, it’s easier to simply toss our clothes on the bed or in chairs. If the bed is made, we are more likely to hang clothes and put other items in their proper place.

Another great tip for keeping the home organized is doing a spot check every night before bed. We have a tendency to go to bed leaving our living space in disarray. Prior to bed, lightly clean the living room or den. Fold throw covers, straighten pillows, take plates and glasses to the kitchen, etc. The living room should be clean at all times because this is the room that guests view. It does not take long to get, and keep, our homes organized. The problem lies when we wait too long to clean clutter. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to clean and disinfect will eliminate spending a whole day trying to make-up for a weeks worth of messiness.

Is Your TV's Remote Lost?

Written by James Fohl

Have you ever been looking around your house for the television remote control? Has your search gone on for several days, and you have not the slightest idea where that remote has gone? Because of the lack of the remote, have your television viewing habits really been affected?

Lots Of People Loose Their Remotes

Don't feel too bad about your situation. After all, the same problem affects thousands of Americans everyday. Whether the remote accidentally fell in the trash can, and is on its way to the city dump or its scattered in thousands if pieces in your front yard due to a tragic lawnmower accident you have the ability to easily replace it.

Twenty years ago if you lost your remote, then you would really had a problem. You would either have to call up the manufacturer and pay some big money for a replacement television remote, or you would just have to do without a remote and use your fingers while you sit a few feet away from the radiating television tube.

Replacement Remotes Are Available At Cheap Prices

Fortunately today several companies exist whose primary products are replacement remotes for your electronics. While such remotes have existed for about ten years now, today you can go into any major discount retailer, such as Wal-Mart or Target, and pick up a replacement remote for under ten dollars.

Whether or not these remotes are better than the original remote can be pushed open for debate. The replacement remotes usually give the user the ability to control a wide array of different electronic devices. From DVD players, to VCRs, to television sets, even the cheapest replacement remote can usually control four devices.

Still, while this can be very convenient for users, the fact that universal replacement remotes do not have every button of your old remote can be very frustrating. What is worse is the fact that some labeled buttons do not do their labeled function. This seems to really be a problem with remotes containing "Menu" or "Options" buttons. Without this functionality, users will experience problems down the road whenever they try to adjust their electronics' options.

Other buttons for specific TV features, such as commercial skip are no where to be found. While this can be a problem for most users, remember that these replacement remotes are made so that you have a remote that provides you with the basic abilities of your old lost remote.

Prepare To Spend Some Time With Your Replacement Remote

Another downfall of the replacement remotes is the fact that the user must program a specific code into the remote before you are able to actually use it. While this may sound fairly easy, just go ahead and think about how many different brands and styles of television sets have been released. While some brands of television sets will work after trying only one code, some other TVs (especially older ones) will drive you crazy as you continuously enter in non-working codes.

Still, you usually only have to ever enter code into the remote one time, but if you ever find yourself needing to enter the code back in, at least you will already know the specific code you need.

Replacement remotes will never be better than the original remotes that they were produced to replace, but still the cheap replacement remotes will save people who have lost their original remotes from a lot of headaches.

Eating on a Budget . . . Tuna Three Ways

By Kathy A. Schaeffer

Often when a food budget needs to be cut or becomes a concern, the family food preparer will turn to things such as canned tuna for meals. One good thing to remember is that any recipe that uses canned tuna will taste great with canned chicken or turkey as well, so the recipes are versatile.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many casseroles that use ground beef, turkey, pork, etc. may use ingredients that will go well with tuna instead of the meat. Here are three recipes that use tuna and have been proven to often turn into family favorites. An added bonus is that they are so easy on the wallet.

(1) BASIC AND SIMPLE TUNA CASSEROLE

2 cans tuna
1 bag of egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 soup can filled with milk

Cook and drain noodles. Drain and flake the cans of tuna. Mix both cans of tuna after it has been flaked, the cooked noodles, both cans of soup, onion, milk, and cheese and place the mixture into a casserole dish that has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray. In the meantime, melt some butter to mix with fresh bread crumbs and sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the tuna mixture. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

(2) TUNA NOODLES WITH SOUR CREAM

1 bag of egg noodles
2 cans of tuna, drained and flaked
12 ounces sour cream
3/4 cup milk
Small can mushrooms, drained
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
Paprika

Combine cooked noodles, drained and flaked tuna, sour cream, mushrooms, milk, salt, and pepper in a casserole. Add parmesan cheese to the melted butter and put the butter and cheese mixture over tuna and noodles. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and paprika on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

Alternative options for this casserole is to use 16 ounces of sour cream if it is a flavor you want more of, use a larger can of mushrooms, or use shredded cheddar cheese instead of the parmesan. Mix it with the butter or allow it to melt with the butter.

(3) TUNA MELT SURPRISE PACKAGE

2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 loaf of fresh bread, Italian works well
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese (or Jack, etc. whatever you prefer)

Make the tuna salad by mixing the drained and flaked tuna, onion, celery, chopped eggs, and mayonnaise or salad dressing. Cut the top off of the loaf of bread and dig the center out but keep an inch all around. Keep the bread you dig out aside for another meal, i.e. bread crumbs for meatloaf or casserole topping, etc. Fill the bread shell with the tuna salad and put the shredded cheese on top of the tuna salad. (As another option, just stir it right into the tuna salad while you are making it.) But the top of the bread back on and wrap the entire loaf in aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes, and 45 minutes if you want the crust a bit more crunchy and crispy.

If you do not want to hollow out a loaf of fresh bread, this recipe also works well by putting the tuna salad into a regular hamburger, hot dog, or other kind of roll. Put a slice of your favorite cheese on top (a slice of Swiss is great) and wrap in foil. For these smaller rolls, do not keep it baking for longer than 30 minutes. Often 20 minutes is enough to melt the cheese, so how long to bake them is personal choice for how crispy you wish the bread to be toasted.

Kids In The Kitchen

Looking for something fun to do with your kids? Let them help you prepare a meal. People tend to lighten up around good food and enjoy talking and laughing together. Children are no exception, so pull out the aprons, leave your need for perfection in the other room, and cook some good food with your kids.

Want some ideas on good things to make? Try homemade pizza. Pizza gets a bad rap as being junk food. You can make pizza as healthy as you like by making whole grain crust and loading it up with vegetable toppings. Or you can forget about adding all that and simply enjoy it, while remembering that even without making health conscious additions, pizza is naturally packed with protein, vitamins, and carbohydrates. For variation you can use English muffins, Italian bread or pita bread as the pizza base.

Lasagna is another meal that is yummy and fun to make. Kids enjoy laying out the noodles and making layers of sauce, cheese, and noodles. You can add in meat and vegetables to suit your family's tastes.

Have breakfast for dinner. Nothing seems to delight kids more than doing things backwards. So let them. Make pancakes, eggs, bacon, or your favorite breakfast treat. Be sure to include milk and orange juice to add extra nutritional benefit.

Make macaroni and cheese. No, not the boxed kind. Make your own. Boil the noodles, slice the cheese, and add your own spices and cream. Bake and enjoy.

Make finger sandwiches. Choose your favorite deli meats and cheese. Add in lettuce and tomatoes. Toast the bread and cut the sandwiches into small finger sized portions.

Make meals on skewers. Let your children build their own kebabs by supplying chunks of chicken, sausage, or seafood, vegetables, and fruit. Let them enjoy coming up with their own combinations. Teach your children in advance, however, how to safely handle the skewers to avoid getting hurt.

No matter what food you choose to prepare with your children you will be making lasting memories. Relax. Try not to be too worried about how much mess you and your kids make. Let them make mistakes. Let them try out their own ideas and recipes. Remember, perfection is very often no fun at all.

Keep in mind that letting kids make meals is an important step in helping them to make healthy food choices. Children love eating things they help to prepare, so a good way to get them to try out and enjoy a variety of healthful foods is to keep these things in constant supply and allow them to experiment with them at will

Television Commercials

One of my pet peeves is television commercials for horror movies. I find it extremely unfair to be unable to avoid seeing images of devils, ghosts, and homicidal maniacs hacking people to death while watching my favorite sitcom.

I do not enjoy horror movies. As a teenager my friends and I would sit around on a Friday night with a huge bowl of popcorn, viewing the latest dead people eating innocent truck drivers or school teacher turned rock star, slasher film. My friends, I believe enjoyed the sensations of shock and fear they experienced when watching scary movies. I, however, could be found shielding my face from the really gory parts and wishing it was all over. I continued to watch the scary films I hated because my friends enjoyed them and I enjoyed being with my friends.

I left my teenage years behind many years ago and am no longer so influenced by what my friends want to do. I will tell anyone whether it’s a friend, my husband, or even my mother, that I do not enjoy and will not watch any horror movies. I tell them they are free to watch and enjoy the movies as long as I am not in the room and as long as they do not share any of the gory details with me later.

I do not enjoy having scary images in my mental rolodex. I do not enjoy having nightmares about some half decaying man eating my toes. I get scared if I hear strange noises after watching a horror movie. Yes, I am an adult, but I still get scared! I can’t seem to rid my mind of disturbing images until it has been at least a few days after viewing the scary movie. To avoid being a full grown adult sleeping in her room with the closet door firmly shut and all the lights in the house turned on, I simply do not watch horror movies.

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to totally avoid these horrific images. I sit down on my couch to watch my favorite television shows only to have my television shows interrupted by commercials about a little girl possessed by a ghost with a very bad attitude. I reach, as quickly as possible, for the remote to change the channel, but to no avail. I am always too slow and manage to see at least part of the ghastly commercial. If I fall asleep on the couch, which I very often do, I am done for. I am almost guaranteed to wake up to the sight of some demon floating over some poor unsuspecting guy’s bed with evil deeds in its nonexistent heart.

Why do television networks fail to take into account my personal feelings regarding these types of commercials? Well, unfortunately, I am just one person in a society that seems to really enjoy horror flicks. My feelings just do not matter to the networks. I will just have to continue closing my eyes and plugging my ears when a scary commercial comes on, all the while hoping for the day when technology will allow me to block all scary commercials from my television set.

Horror TV

We all have our TV moments. By this I mean moments in our lives when TV makes a huge impact in our lives, usually something unforgettable that affects us for the rest of our lives. And if we are to be honest with ourselves, these moments are not always positive. In fact most unforgettable things in our lives tend to be of the negative sort.

The distinct TV moment for me came when I as about 10 years old. In those days there was not much choice on TV on a Saturday night, where I used to live then. On this particular Saturdays as most, I settled in with anticipation to watch the Weekend movie for the day, "Dracula," they had announced, it would be, without giving too much details. They talked about some murders though and I suspected that it might be a good detective story. The sort that I had already started developing a taste for.

Dracula. As a 10 year old then, I had never heard of the man and I had no idea what it was going to be all about. What I was worried most about was that it would end up being some old boring classic movie. This particular TV station had developed a reputation for some pretty boring classics in previous months prior to that fateful night. I was not yet at the age of starting to appreciate "Singing in the rain."

Mostly I would watch TV with my two brothers and sister, all younger than I was. But for some strange reason I do not quite remember, they were all very tired that night and went off to bed one by one, leaving me all alone in the imposing living room to watch the movie, that I hoped would be exciting with plenty of action.

After the endless ads, finally, the movie started. The music score sounded okay for the sort of TV movie that I was expecting and it gave me some hope that it would be a good movie. I sat up expectantly waiting for my dose of Saturday night TV excitement. It was never to be.

Four scenes into the TV movie, and my heart had started pounding very violently and hard against my chest.

It is all still so vivid and my mind, like it happened just the other day and not several decades ago. The first scene started with some girl walking towards some dark alley, she disappears into the dark and what follows is a blood curdling scream. The next scene shifts to some hospital somewhere where the team of doctors wonder why the body has been sucked clean of any blood and decide to keep the hole thing secret until they can get more details.

It just got worse and worse.

In retrospect this was excellent movie-making. Keep the audience in suspense, do not show them too much. Instead show them just enough and leave the rest to their imaginations which are bound to conjure up something much more real and frightening. They just showed you little bits of the Dracula. Bits that mattered like the fangs sinking into the juicy white neck and so on.

About 10 minutes into this TV movie, I did what I had never done before on a Saturday night. I switched off the Television and fled to my bedroom where I remained shaking like a leaf in fear and with my heart still pounding violently against my chest.

It did not matter that there were several other people in the house at that time. The TV movie had made it clear that Dracula got you when he wanted to and nothing could stop him. I was convinced that nobody in the house would save me from Dracula if he was after me and somehow I was convinced that he was shortly after watching just a small part of that TV movie.

That nightmare remained with me for a long time and nightmares with Dracula continued for many years after that. On countless nights I would wake, dreaming that I had been running and with my heart pounding. My parents never thought to ask me hat was causing me the nightmares and I did not dare volunteer the information. I did not want to even talk about it. It was too scary.

Just goes to show you the sort of impact that one little TV movie can have on a young life.
It seems that many other people have had a similar experience in their lives, especially with horror movies on the tube when they were young. The other day my son described a very similar experience he had when he was about 9 years old. He had never talked about it until now, hen he was 15 years old.

Oh yeah, TV moments can be quite something.

A Mother's Day Movie Basket

by Eliza Ferree

With Mother's Day just around the corner you may be trying to figure out what type of items would go into a Mother's Day Movie Basket. Here are a few examples:

Is your mother a movie nut? Can she tell which actresses or actors played in which movies? Is she the one that would win at trivia?

If you answered yes to any of the three questions then these will be just right for you.

Movie Mania
Items to include:
Go to a local movie rental and buy a GC
Popcorn
1 liter soda
favorite box of movie candy
basket

The Tear Basket, is for the mom that loves to watch those tear jerker movies.
Items to include:
Steel Magnolias
Fried Green Tomatoes
any movie that would make mom cry
box of tissues
flavored tea or coffee
chocolate
basket

The Horror Basket, is for the mom that loved watching Freddy.

Items to include:
basket
maybe fake blood to put a smile on her face
scary movies, maybe Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Urban Legends, The Grudge, etc
a mask might work
popcorn, for those times that it'll fly into the air.
Teddy bear so she can cuddle when it gets too scary

The Mommy Basket, this is for the mom that loves to watch movies about kids.
Items to include:
basket
candles
bath stuff, trust me any mom that spends her day with her kids would love to relax in a hot tub.
Cheaper by the Dozen, Pacifier, Beethoven, Big Daddy, etc anything with kids in it that'll be funny.
Maybe even a box of crayons and a coloring book to bring back the days.

These baskets don't have to be full of all types of movies, just one or two that she might like and if you really aren't sure just add a gift certificate to a movie rental that she would frequent. You know your mom best so if you think chocolate would work better than popcorn get it. If your mom already has a movie on this list go into the section and find one she might not have. It's the thought that counts after all and your mom will know that you went looking for something that is just right for her.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Should movies be sanitized?

By Mylea

How many times as parents have you set down with the family to watch a movie, everything is going fine then boom, a sex scene. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get your remote control to work when you are trying to fast forward through something potentially not suitable for your children to watch. Wouldn’t it be nice if we did not have to view a movie first in order to know in advance to fast-forward through parts of the movie.

One family man starting what he calls movie sanitizing, he would purchase DVD’s for his family’s viewing edit, and clean the movie up that way his children can enjoy watching the movie without parental supervision. One example given was the movie Titanic, which to me is an absolute classic. What he did was take out the sex scene in the car and that way anytime the children wanted to re-watch the movie they could. Evidently, friends and family wanted him to do the same for their movies and it developed into a little business for him. Well, Hollywood does not like this idea at all.
In defense of the scriptwriters I can understand how they may have concerns about a piece they have written altered by some unknown entity. As with anything done for the purpose of good, someone can always find a way to turn it into something bad, and who would get the blame? He whose name is on the work, this I truly understand.

The idea of movie sanitizing definitely appeals to me personally, because sometimes I can be sitting and enjoying a very good movie and then an unnecessary scene will pop up out of no where. Of course, it is the writer’s choice if he deems it necessary, and then again, maybe he doesn’t, but he knows this is what the majority wants to see, these are the scenes that add a little umph, do they really? Well that is not for me to say, but I will say that I hope Hollywood would come to some kind of agreement with this business owner that will allow him to continue. Maybe they could have an agreement that specifies exactly what can and cannot be done to their movies in the sanitizing process and anything beyond that would have to have additional written consent from the powers to be

Understandably the moviemakers are about making money and they know that sex sells, they know the bloodier the better. Today’s generation want the whole effect they want nothing left to the imagination, and that is their prerogative. Moviemakers often market these consumers. They know if they give them what they want they will keep coming back. On the other hand, if they were to allow their movies to be independently edited by a select group of entrepreneurs that agree to their terms in carrying out the process, just think of the additional audience they would capture increasing sales even more.