Girls Gone Lost

What’s it going to take before girls decide to take the appropriate actions to keep themselves safe in a world that’s not so friendly anymore. There are too many young girls running around with that “can’t happen to me” attitude, and cemeteries full of “oh yes it can and did graves.” There’s four stories right now in the news of young girls missing without a trace and loved ones worried sick. In case you girls didn’t know it, there are sex-traffickers in the world who will grab you, drug you, and you’ll wake up in a foreign land never to bee seen or heard from again. And what makes the situation doubly sad is the fact that you become a victim of your own stupidity because of a dumb choice you made.

You never take a strangers word for anything when you’re in a drinking establishment, and you actually shouldn’t be in one alone to begin with. You never leave your drink and go to the ladies room because by the time you get back, your drink could contain something more than you asked for. And don’t think for one minute that the “cute” guy at the bar is harmless because there are plenty of women who come up missing after meeting Rico Swave’, and I’d like to remind you ladies that the Boston strangler was also “cute.” The biggest dumb thing you can do is get “fall down drunk” in a bar where you are at the whims of anybody who can get you away from the public. Now I’ve been talking mostly about young girls but older lonely women fall for the same tricks. Just about every bar has one or two “barflies”, older women that hang in the bars looking for a guy to buy them drinks, and the next thing you know, “Susie” is on a missing persons poster down the block.

These are just a few suggestions but ultimately, the best safeguard is right between your two ears. You don’t have to put yourself in danger for the sake of having fun, and yes, there are guys that also come up missing, but not nearly as much as girls. The one thing you should remember is that there are lunatics running loose in the world and you must keep your safety in mind when you go out, and if you can, don’t go out alone.


Following Life’s Blueprint For Your Soul

A great woman once said, “Trust yourself, create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Those words were spoken by Golda Meir, Israeli teacher, politician, and Israel’s former Prime Minister from 1969-74. For those who wish it, it is a roadmap that can lead to inner peace and a feeling of self worth. All to often we concentrate on trying to be what others want us to be, and in the process, we lose touch of our own unique destiny. And if we do reach that level that satisfies others we find out that we are truly not as happy as we thought we’d be. Every being has their own set of blueprints that their life is to be built on, and to deviate from those plans disrupts a sense of balance and corrupts a timetable and throws one into a spiral of despair. To attempt to be something you’re not meant to be, and failing at it, brings an emotional upheaval and brings to the forefront that disruptive emotion we know as depression. You might not have noticed it as a child, but imprinted in your soul is a journey that you are destined to walk. It dictates how you feel in your heart such as the compassion you have for other living creatures. We are not born uncaring but we lose track of our heartfelt feelings due to outside influences combined with grave temptations. Imagine if you will a world without war and only a brotherhood of mankind with all helping one another, a perfect world so to speak. There are millions who dream of such a place….John Lennon did and he was right to say that he’s “not the only one.” While it may be too late for the world as a whole, it is never too late to make the most of your life and turn yourself into someone you can be forever proud of. It is never too late to take the path less traveled and turn the possibilities into achievements. As long as you live and breath and a tiny spark of righteousness burns in your soul, you can fan the flames and set yourself ablaze and mold yourself into a person that you will be happy to live with the rest of your life.

Soul Food Or Food For The Soul?

Actually, it amounts to the same thing except the menu varies a little depending on nationality, and sometimes  people equate food for the soul as knowledge based, but for this article, I speak of edible food for the soul. Soul food by definition is food that makes you feel good, comfort food so to speak. With the fall weather, we tend to prepare foods that as my mother use to say, “sticks to your ribs.” African Americans consider beans and ham-hocks, black-eyed peas, collard or mustard greens corn bread and green beans as some of the “soul foods” they enjoy. For Hispanics, it may be bean enchiladas, tortillas, and an assortment of burritos, both bean and meat. Beans are almost always on the menu when you talk about food for the soul and they are often called the “poor man’s meat.” Besides being high in protein, they have almost no fat and are packed with fiber to keep you regular, and they help to keep your cholesterol and blood sugar down. One thing you might not know is that beans are directly related to income. Rich people shun eating beans because of the legumes ability to cause gas, and heaven forbid a rich person with gas is unheard of,….yea, right. Health experts are always saying to eat green leafy vegetables, and there’s nothing better than a plate of collard greens or spinach. Collard and mustard green are a southern staple and African Americans and some Hispanics have their own special way of preparing them. I’m not talking about greens in a can, but fresh greens that have to be cleaned before being cooked. And while some don’t particularly care for some of the southern soul food fare, White Americans have their own recipes that are geared to “food for the soul” that is front and center during the fall season. Yes, beans are included in their fall line-up but it’s most often in various forms of chili. Some with meat, ground beef or turkey, different types of beans such as kidney or black beans, and the latest twist, adding butternut squash to the pot. The fall is also the time to get your pumpkin on and once you’ve carved that Blue Ribbon Jack-o-Lantern it’s time to make that fall dessert everybody, loves, pumpkin pie and running a close second is sweet potato pie. Needless to say whatever your desire or taste soul food or food for the soul, it all falls in the category of comfort food, enjoy.

The Value Of Friendship

Can you remember the times where you couldn’t wait to get together with friends for an outing, whether it was to go out to dinner or take in a movie or just hang out talking. I’m not talking about a date with your girlfriend or boyfriend, I’m talking about doing things with your best friend or friends. If you were born to the world of technology, putting down your access to social media is like going back to the dark ages. Some of us older people who were born just ahead of the tech age can remember doing everything without a digital screen in front of us. Hanging out at the roller skating rink, playing softball at the park, or going to the beach with transistor radios. What I’m getting at here is are you getting a daily dose of your friends, not through social media, but talking to them face to face? Believe it or not, it could determine your happiness in life.

Most of us are so caught up in the world of WiFi, iPads, X-Boxes, laptops and android phones, we seldom leave our homes for fear of missing that next Tweet. Ask yourself, could you leave home without any of your digital playthings and feel comfortable? Jim Harter, Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup and co-author of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements says that his research shows that America’s happiest people purposefully take time out to plan for social times with friends and family. And we’re not talking about a couple of hours, these people plan their days around spending six hours a day for interaction. Furthermore, research at Harvard University shows that by interacting with the right group of social friends, you will feel a happiness that can be contagious. Research also showed that with each happy person you add to your friendship circle, you increases your own happiness by nine percent.

By the same token you might want to stay away from that unhappy person who always seems miserable because he or she can cause your happiness level to decline by seven percent. A strong social network is foundational, so find and keep the people you like and consider true friends and commit to a routine of meeting daily away from the digital world. If you don’t have healthy trustworthy friends, take the one or two that you have, and expand your social network by enlisting a friend of a friend of a friend. We are fast losing the ability to even have a phone conversation because we’d rather text our friends because it’s the “now” thing to do. Friends and family are a valued commodities and sometimes “old school” is the way to go.


Getting Inspired

We sometimes wonder what it takes to get us going each day when our feet hit the floor in the morning, and while some of us are able to hit the ground running, there are a lot of people who lack the inspiration to take on a days activities. That begs the question, what do people do to inspire the mind? What do Web Content writers do to write about things everyone is interested in when they sit down at their computers. How does one create content that will be entertaining or informative and will keep the readers attention? Well, it’s not as hard as you might think. What motivates you is most likely the same thing that motivates those that think like you do.

Let’s take an example of you riding on a bus going to work, and there are a lot of people riding with you, and you strike up a conversation with the person next to you. A subject comes up that you might not have ever thought about, but after listening to the other person talk about it, you find that it interest you also. You start to give your own opinion, and next thing you know, it’s a full blown conversation equipped with questions and answers. Inspirational subject matter is all around you everyday and all you have to do is grab hold and run with it. You read a newspaper and read that the soup kitchen in your neighborhood is serving 100 homeless people a day, and they could sure use some more volunteers. You’ve always wanted to help the less fortunate, and that story you just read has inspired you to go down and help. Sometimes all it takes to give you inspiration to do something is an outside nudge.

A lot of people still keep journals that they write in everyday which is a kin to blogging. A blogger basically writes about their activities of the day, or writes about things that they might have learned which made their life a little easier, and passes it on in a blog in hopes that it will help whoever reads it. Your mind is a perfect tool to get you inspired, and all you have to do is listen to it. How many times have you thought about something you should be doing and don’t act on it. The Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines inspiration as “The act of influencing or suggesting opinions. The action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.” While you may think that what went on in your day wasn’t to exciting, it may be of interest to someone else. So what do you do to inspire your mind, nothing, because it’s a thought process, and the only thing that keeps you uninspired is procrastination. Think about it.


Reading Books Is Still A Popular Pastime

It seems that reading a good book has not lost out completely to the onslaught of digital gadgets as some might have thought. Millennials, described as Americans who are between the ages of 16 and 29 years old, have read at least one book within the last year. How many, well the report says that 88 percent of those in that age bracket enjoyed a good old fashion print on paper novel. Pew Research said that while it’s research is based on the one book study, the typical number of books read is more in the neighborhood of ten. In their study of those 30 and older, they found 79 percent read at least one book over the last year. Another surprising study showed that 43 percent of millennials read a book on a daily basis.

LeVar Burton always promoted reading for young people on his Reading Rainbow segments on Public Television, and it was geared towards the “turn the page” type books instead of the digital books that so many now download online. Curling up in an easy chair with a real book in your lap sounds more appealing than staring at a computer screen for an hour or so. And what better resurrection for a tree that’s been cut down than to be reincarnated as the pages of a book. What really comes as a surprise is the fact that while millennials use public libraries, they are less likely to value them. Of people over the age of 30, 32 percent say that if their library was to close, it would have a significant impact on them and their families. On the other hand, only 19 percent of those under 30 said it would make a difference in their lives.

The Pew report states that “our library engagement typology found that Americans’ relationships with public libraries are part of their broader information and social landscapes, as people who have extensive economic, social technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks.” The type of people who frequent libraries are those who find it beneficial in their search for a job, students, and those seeking research data to help them make an informed decision about a certain situation. The book readers are more apt to check out their favorite selections and head home to their easy chair where they can comfortably enjoy their literary trip to a far away .land. Yes folk, reading is still fundamental.


Is Gluten-Free Good For Everybody?

There are millions of Americans who are eliminating gluten from their diets on the notion that it helps weight loss and is better for your health. Gluten-free products are popping up all across the country and it’s turning out to be a cash-cow for those that produce these products. Sales topped $2.5 billion in 2010, and it’s estimated that by 2015 the sales will reach somewhere near $5 billion. Is gluten-free good for everybody, well it all depends on your health, but there are some people that must have gluten in their diets.

For people with celiac disease, a gastrointestinal disorder triggered by gluten, which is the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, gluten is a must. The condition is rare, affecting 1 in 100 people, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent. If you are one who has constant cramping or the feel of being bloated all the time, you should get tested by your physician before eliminating gluten from your diet If you stop consuming it before you have the blood test used to diagnose celiac, the test will come back as inconclusive. What’s more, those who were prone to the cramps and bloating but find that once they stop taking gluten the symptoms disappear may just be gluten-sensitive. That’s why getting tested is the best way to go.

Imagine a spectrum where at one end there are people who can eat gluten and have no reaction, and on the other end are those with celiac disease. In the middle are those that are considered gluten-sensitive. Researchers have determined that roughly 7 percent of the population are gluten-sensitive which shows all the symptoms of celiac, but doesn’t lead to long term consequences. Once you’ve been tested and celiac disease has been ruled out, you can then give up gluten for a week or two to see how you feel. Be aware that gluten can be in such things as soy sauce or beer so you want to make sure you read the labels of everything you plan to eat or drink. There is one thing to remember if you decide to go gluten-free, consult your doctor or a dietitian to make sure you are still getting the nutrients that your body needs


The Most Scariest Movies In The Last 50 Years

Well it’s almost time for those Ghost and Goblins to make their appearance with Halloween just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate with your little Ghouls once they’re done terrorizing the neighbors, than to watch a scary movie. So with that in mind, I thought that I would make a list of the most scariest movies of the last 50 years. Space restraints will keep me from going into the movies with long drawn out descriptions, but I’m sure I can give you a hint as to what to expect.

You might have seen one or two of these creepy films depending on your age, but they never lose their fright factors no matter how many times you’ve seen them. You’ve heard about haunted houses and in this 1963 movie, Paranormal experts investigate and actually live in one. “The Haunting” will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Staying with that haunted house genre, “The Changeling” made in 1980 tells the story of a grief stricken composer who moves to an old country estate to be alone only to find out that he’s not the only one habituating in the mansion. “The Amityville Horror” from 1979 is a “true” story of a family who moves into a nice suburban home only to find out that the previous family hasn’t exactly moved out. “The Shining” also made in 1980 displays the acting talents of Jack Nicholson at his creepiest best as a father who is slowly going mad with his timid wife and psychic son all locked away in a remote hotel in the dead of winter.

In 1973 a priest battles a demon for the soul of a child in a Catholic-sanctioned exorcism. “The Exorcist” is a movie that had the whole world talking and gave a new meaning to the duties of a Catholic priest. In 1968 we learned all about immaculate conception when a pregnant women’s life descends into a horrific nightmare. “Rosemary’s Baby” made some women wonder about the true origins of their babies. In 1982, “Poltergeist” told the story of a 5-year old little girl who could see the demons that nobody else could. Guaranteed to keep you up all night wondering. In 1982 a remake of the scientific thriller “The Thing” was brought to the big screen in living color. The original black and white version starring James Arness, yes Matt Dillon, who played the original “Thing” was scary enough, but the remake was something to see. A creature that could transform itself into exact replicas of anybody or anything had you jumping out of your seat every second..

In 1975 this movie was the reason no one wanted to swim in the ocean. “Jaws” was the perfect nature versus man movie that left a lasting impression on a lot of people. Steven Kings first novel “Carrie” made into a movie in 1976 forever gave prom queens a bad name. “The Silence Of The Lambs” brought cannibalism to the fore-front in 1991 and was good enough to win an Oscar as “Best Movie.” And now my pick for the best horror movie in my opinion, which came to us in 1978 and will not go away as they keep finding ways to bring back the worst killer of all time, Jason in “Halloween.” Well there you have it, the most horrifying movies of the last 50 years.


The Brutality of ISIS

With all that’s going on around the world, it makes you want to open the lid on this hand-basket we’re in and ask, “are we there yet?” It would seem that the chances for world peace is a far-fetched fleeting wish and the world is going straight to,…well you know what I’m saying. Afghanistan, Syria, the unrest in Palestine dealing with Israel, and now the extremist known as ISIS who feel as though beheading innocent people will make countries do what they want such as pay millions of dollars for their captives. To coin a phrase that was used by the Japanese right after they attacked Pearl Harbor, all ISIS has done by beheading these citizens was to “wake a sleeping giant.” The hunt for the executioner in these gruesome videos will be relentless and while Great Britain initially declined to take part with the Unites States and the coalition of others to take on these extremist, the recent beheading of a United Kingdom aid worker may cause them to do some rethinking. Great Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, has already vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice no matter how long it takes. ISIS is a clear case of militants out of control and it’s going to require a collective effort to bring their reign of terror to a halt. They are said to be the first group of this nature to have an expertise in the use of social networks as a recruitment tool thanks to an American recruit that was educated in the United States. It is also said that the head of ISIS was once a detainee at the infamous Guantanimo Bay detention facility and when he was released, he promised he would “see everyone again in New York one day.” What worries everyone is the fact that they have been able to recruit citizens with valid passports who could easily join the group, be trained to do harm, and then return to their countries by way of their credentials, and kill countless civilians in any number of ways. Yes this is truly trying times in the world, but because of the brutality shown by ISIS, they are at the top of the list of problems that must be addressed before we can move on to the next world problem.

Gun Control Needed Now Not Later

Well it looks like the debate over gun control will go on forever, and as of right now, there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  At the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meetings, the Republicans are standing around with their hands out for that much needed campaign cash denying the facts that are looking them square in the face which is innocent people are being killed every day from gun violence. In April, 2013, the U.S. Senate chose to scuttle a bill that was aimed at implementing the most basic gun safety measures, including comprehensive background checks at gun shows, and addressing gun sales on the internet.

This bill was supported by 90 percent of the American people, but the disproportionate influence of senators, and the powerful gun lobbyist failed to represent the people’s interest and will. You would think that after the children of Sandy Hook became the victims of a deranged man with mental problem, the senators would be tripping over themselves to pass a bill to stop such a thing from happening again. But even with some of the parents of these innocent children showing up on Capital Hill to plead in support of the bill, it was not to be. It appears that the combination of money and certain senators, who represent small rural states across this land, shunned any attempt to make the needed changes required for a safer United States.

At the current homicide rate, there could be as many as 21,000 Americans murdered by the end of 2014 because of 45 senators who voted against background checks because the lobbyist opened their wallets. The deciding votes on the failed legislature came from five senators in four states representing 1.4 percent of the American population. Something that gun safety advocates need to remember during the upcoming elections. They should also remember who cut funding for much needed facilities intended to help the mentally ill. Congress can still curb some of the violence by addressing treatment for those who would choose to harm others because they are mentally incapacitated. But I’m not holding my breath.