Archive for May, 2010

Waterfalls – Ceaseless Cascades of Water

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Of course, the planet, along with humans and many other things, consist mostly of water. So, to change it up a bit, I thought I’d add a delightful pictorial post to the blog – featuring some splendid waterfalls from different parts of the world. The depictions below, shall represent the “ceaseless cascades of water.”

I’ve added a few pics of waterfalls from the blue-green water at Havasu Falls, the mighty Niagra Falls, the beautiful Fulmer Falls, and the grand Baatara Gorge waterfall.  The first image is astonishing, but I can’t recall which waterfall it was (since it has been in my picture files for quite a while), so if you recognize it, feel free to let me know.

Click on the images below, to enlarge for a better view:

waterfall

Truly magnificent...

havasu_falls

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Havasu_Falls_ 1a_md.jpg

Copyright info @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NiagaraFallsShoeHorse.jpg

Copyright info @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NiagaraFallsShoeHorse.jpg

The sublime cascades of water...

The sublime cascades of water...

Wickedly attractive waterfall...

Wickedly attractive waterfall...

Tinnitus Scams – Be leery…

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As with most marketing scams, if there is room to exploit the gullible or take advantage of the desperate, it will surface at a rampant rate.

scams

Tinnitus scams are currently all over the place via internet, radio, baloney infomercials and senseless adverts by way of television.

Tinnitus is the term used to describe “ringing in the ears.” Many people suffer from this condition; to some, it’s a temporary problem and to others, it’s a lifelong ailment.

Many things can cause it, for example: various types of medical conditions, ear infections, even a build up of ear wax, drug side-effects, circulatory issues, aging, albeit the most common cause is from being chronically exposed to loud noise.

Tinnitus from permanent ear damage due to loud noises has yet to be cured, although many of these bogus scams claim to cure such things, they are just out to make quick cash by deception; and these fraudulent folks will stop at nothing to steal your money.

This is not so much of an informative blog post, this is just a warning to the ones who are searching for products that claim miracle cures for tinnitus. Be very leery…

By all means, try lifestyle changes and natural remedies that are free from shams; stay away from aspirin and certain blood thinners that increase ringing of the ears; avoid high decible sounds; experiment with white noise and other soothing background noises (such as air purifiers) to assist you when trying to fall asleep, and so on. But, when you see or read something that sounds too good to be true and has a huge sales pitch behind it, be wary of such things and try to steer clear from bogus products or else you may find yourself minus several dollars along with getting totally duped in the process.

A while back, I noticed numerous, obvious scams and spurious claims while searching for online products that might help my dad’s tinnitus.  Instead of listing them here, I’ll leave it up to anyone who wants to drop down their comments into the comment field – that relates to the falsehoods of miraculous cures for this particular ear condition……

Related Link:  How to help loosen & remove clogged Ear Wax

Health Benefits of Beer & Alcohol – Cheers!

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At times, I’m guilty for imbibing beer like it is some sort of Gatorade or form of medicinal liquid enhancement. But, for the ones who do drink sensibly and moderate, there is many health benefits to be gained. Cheers!

Beer comes in many forms, such as: ales, lagers, bitter, stout, and wheat beers…

Jovial & fun, public beer drinking…

Beers & babes, cheers!

The Health Benefits of Drinking Beer!

The standard rule of moderation for alcohol is usually in the range of 1-2 daily drinks for females, and 2-3 drinks per day, for the males. I mean ‘drinks’ as a unit. One unit equals 1 – 12 oz. beer, roughly 6 oz. of wine, or 1 oz. of 100 proof liqueur. Personally, I look at moderation as being of a slightly higher quantity, but everyone has a different body and chemistry therein, so drink at your own discretion.

Health Benefits of Beer…

Obviously, beer helps relax the body. The hops found in beer, with or without the alcohol, relaxes the stomach. Hops is also considered to have anti-cancer properties. This has led many to believe that even if you’re consuming non-alcoholic beer, it still poses excellent health benefits.

Moderate consumption of alcohol is good for the mind and nerve cells, as this helps prevent dementia – in your later years.

Merely drinking 1 or 2 beers a day, has also been shown to reduce the risk of having high blood pressure.

Beer contains potassium, magnesium, selenium, chromium, silicon, and several forms of B vitamins. See, you can tell ’em you was just drinking for B vitamins & trace minerals…try that as an excuse, the next time you over-indulge. Ha-ha!

Beer is made of all natural ingredients, which is always a good thing.

Alcohol, in all forms, helps raise the good cholesterol (HDL).

Alcohol is well known for its ability to help prevent blood clots.

Beer does contain a fair amount of antioxidants & polyphenols from the hops and the cereal grains – that are found within this blissful beverage.

Beer enhances digestion, by stimulating the body to release extra pancreatic enzymes and digestive acids, etc.

The alcohol in beer and in other wines & spirits, reduces your chance of developing kidney stones and also minimizes your chances of developing gallstones.

It is an established fact, that alcohol dilates the blood vessels, hence improving blood circulation.

Moderate consumption of beer, helps prevent osteoporosis – due to the boosting bone-density effects (from the silicon in beer) on the body.

Moderate usage of alcohol, helps reduce the risk of suffering from a stroke.

Alcohol from beer, wine, spirits, etc., helps prevent heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.

This is very apparent, but in case you didn’t know: alcohol can elevate the chemical serotonin (happy hormone) when consumed within limits. I think this can also apply to when you exceed the limits, as well, but the fallout sort of contradicts the happy – when you wake up the next day; especially if you wake up beside someone who doesn’t look as appealing as they did the night before. 😉

Beer is often used as marinades in cooking, helps tenderize meat, and adds flavor. It is also used in batters to make hush puppies, and hey, have you ever heard of beer battered chicken? Yummy!

There are many drinking games a person can play, when consuming alcohol with friends, but most likely, this would put a person past what is considered moderate…fun-fun!

Alcohol, of whatever type, is great for awkward first dates, or tense situations…as the relaxation effects of beer and/or alcohol transpires, this also brings lowered inhibitions and free-flowing speech – which makes everything that much more easier.

Interesting tidbit: This is something I learned about beer today, as I already knew of the health benefits, years ago. But listen to this, a quote from Wikipedia:

“Beer is one of the world’s oldest prepared beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9000 BC, and is recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.” Wow! I didn’t know that it went that far back. You can call it the “antiquity of alcohol,” I suppose.

On the other hand, if you’re like me, and drink too much of this healthy stuff on a regular basis, exceed the “recommended level of moderation” and feel the need for liver protection…visit my page: Milk Thistle – Liver Detox.

Cheers!

Related Link:  “Beer Glassware – Drinking Glasses – Tulip Glass

———>‘Click Here’ for Beer & Alcohol-related products!<———

Dedicated Beer Babes!

Beer babes!

Health Benefits of Laughing – Laugh Out Loud – LOL!

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In today’s cyberworld that is full of cell phone texting, instant messaging (IM), and so on, abbreviations & slang is definitely “in.” For example, the famous ‘LOL’ (laugh/laughing out loud) and ‘LMAO’ (laughing my ass off) are quite commonly seen all over forums, blogs, et cetera. But are you really? If you’re actually displaying mirth & joy at the other end of the conversation, having explosive laughs, or even merely chuckling in a mild fashion, it is all good for your health……

I’m sure most people realize that being happy is an obvious forward step towards an overall state of well-being, but I’m going to show some evidence – from the scientific side of things……

Laughter reduces the level of epinephrine, cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine, which are all stress hormones in the body. These silly bursts of expressions also raises your levels of healthy hormones, neurotransmitters, and endorphins. Studies have linked laughing to an increased immune system (antibodies, t-cells, etc.), which helps combat disease & sickness.

Due to the relaxing effects and positive hormonal impact within the body by performing the “LOL,” it can improve memory and overall cognitive ability, lower blood pressure, and protect against heart disease. Also, while being relaxed from your bouts of “laughing out loud,” the blood vessels often dilate and this increases blood circulation, which is always a good thing.

There is also something about the way you feel, after you’ve had a lot of humorous moments within a short time span… Have you ever noticed that calm, warm feeling, like your body has expelled pent-up stress or frustrations, immediately after you fell out of your chair from laughing so hard at some of the morons online? Ha-ha! Okay, you don’t have to fall out of your chair nor do you have to laugh at moronic beings, but it can happen when you visit too many random, online forums & blogs throughout cyberspace. LOL! Excuse me, I got sidetracked… Anyway, this particular release from laughing…seems to effect the body in both physical and mental ways.

Some studies have favored the notion, that laughter may help increase the pain resistance level in the body, but more research needs to be done. Personally, I don’t think any research needs to be done. It is pretty obvious, like I said before, that being happy (even if it’s just in spurts) is always going to have health benefits.

Laughing is an attribute geared towards the betterment of mental health, as it can help rid yourself of depression or from feeling down and/or enhance your current state of joviality. And, for the temporarily detached individuals out there, a good laugh can bring back your feelings of being apart of something worth living for, something worthy of being an onlooker, if you will.

When arguing with others, finding something humorous amid the turmoil, can often end up being a common viewpoint between the two (or more) at verbal war. This, in return, can change the tempo and often ends the whole conflict, as the parties agree on the reason of laughter. This peacekeeping method of invoking laughs, however, may not apply to Religious & Political debates, because some of them crazy bastards wouldn’t know the jest of a joke if it slapped ’em in the face. LOL!

On a physical health note: The act of laughing out loud, is good for your heart, lungs, and abdominal muscles; this especially applies to those hard-to-stop, laughable break outs from insane, ludicrous realizations of asininities.

With all that being said: If it’s at all possible, try to find some humor in your life. There are plenty of foolish, absurd things and imbecilic, doltish beings out there to laugh at, trust me. And also, try to not always take life so seriously; being uptight with restrictive thoughts, may shorten your life in the long run. If your life permits, do as the convivial statement says: “Eat, drink, and be merry!” I just realized, this is the most happy-happy, joy-joy page I’ve ever wrote. Okay, I’m rushing to go vomit in a toilet now… LOL! Just kidding…

Orangutan, laughing out loud, I suppose.  LOL!

Orangutan, laughing out loud, I suppose. LOL!

Is Monogamy Natural for Human Beings?

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A question that is frequently pondered by many, but never universally accepted. I think this one, is best answered in the ‘comment field’ as opinions will definitely vary.

Bonobo

This is not a promotion for adultery, ha! It’s about monogamy, whether it is natural or not. Sure, it seems to be the right thing to do, especially if you’re married with kids. But, is it really in our nature to not stray, biologically?

What is the tie that ties two together and keeps the knot knotted? Trust, respect, and morals…could be the main reasons. To cut right down to the mental aspect of this, there is no telling how high the percentage is for sexually active male & female adults, (probably close to 99% or higher) when it comes to, from time to time, mentally lusting for other partners, sexually fantasizing about anyone besides your current lover on occasions, and so on.

Look at the high divorce rates in the U.S., as the results are self-explanatory when it comes to couples not wanting to stay together for the duration. I’ve known several people who only keep their marriage together solely because of the kids, or due to financial reasons, security issues, etc.

Emotional thoughts often conflicts the primal instinct with doubt, hesitation, reason, logic and conscience. Many people think love is illogical, and many think that being with one partner is actually cheating on yourself. On the flip side, there are a load of hopeless romantics and principal-bound fundamentalists out there. It sounds like a person’s head could split in half with all these conflicting rational thoughts.

Morals are not the only reason that keeps certain peoples’ genitals masterlocked by their spouse, since some customs and traditions around the world also practice these gonadal clamping beliefs of monogamy. On the other hand, depending on your system of beliefs, it may be perfectly normal to have multiple wives (polygamy) – it doesn’t work that way over here, though.

Like an animal out in the wild with all those potential mates, who is to really say there is only one for you? As nature often dictates, the male is generally a wanderer – out searching for fresh bounty and/or meandering around seeking female after female, sort of like a tomcat on the prowl. Hmm, I think I just defined the term ‘womanizer’. There are some monogamous pairs of animals that aren’t actually sexually monogamous, as they often pair up to mate and stick together, yet they still take part in promiscuous activities – having sex with other partners outside of their prime mate.

Going back to the Stone Age, can you even imagine something like “faithfulness” being applied to their lifestyle? Yeah, I really doubt it. Have we slowly evolved into this conflicting subject, as we have strived for sophistication? Human beings, at times, are borderline domestic animals that can revert back to animalistic ways in a whim. So, with that being said, I see no reason why our sexual sensualities would be restricted if we was, say, back in the wild!

Take a bonobo, for example. Huh, what is a freakin’ bonobo? It’s part of the Hominidae family (great apes) – often called a Dwarf Chimpanzee and has very, very similar DNA to us, Homo sapiens. These highly, sexually active creatures often display non-monogamous activities, along with face-to-face sex, oral sex, kissing and even have same gender relations. But the point is, they do what they want. As odd as it may sound, I unfortunately read about how two male bonobos occasionally take part in something they call “penis fencing” – I found this tidbit when searching for more info about this particular type of critter. Yeah, I’m informed now, thanks Wiki. I guess their display of “fencing” shows even more what it means to be “free in nature.”

Anyway, back to the subject, I assume religion has a lot to do with installing guilt to the ones who like variety, as with marriage laws often preaching about faithfulness. And with many, it is also a mutual agreement between two people that love & care for each other. Personally, I think being faithful and loyal are great virtues to try and attain…but, I can’t help but still wonder, “Is monogamy natural for human beings?” I think not…

Update [7-31-2013]: Dang, it is hard to believe that it has been 3 years since I originally posted this.  Anyway, I happened to think of this post a few moment ago, when I noticed an article online entitled “Monogamy may sound sweet, but why it evolved isn’t.”  You can find that recently published article, here:  http://news.yahoo.com/monogamy-may-sound-sweet-why-evolved-isnt-190422956.html Anyway, I think a lot of people are so glued to trying to twist and turn everything into the stupid evolution theory.  Sure, things evolve and adapt, but my gawd!  There are so many things I don’t agree with when concerning that theory.  Anyway, that’s another subject entirely.  I just thought I’d update this old blog post with a fresh link; cheers!

XXX Reality Porno: Wild Whores & Crazy Latinas

Power Tower – Upper Body Fitness

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Without all the weights, pulleys, and bulky gym equipment, you can effectively hit the primary muscle groups with a Power Tower.

Power Tower - Ultimate Upper Body Fitness

Many gymnasts focus on these same areas when it comes to upper body strength. It’s the old school methods to physical vigor, such as: dips, pull-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts.

Quick note: You need to be in decent condition before purchasing a Power Tower or Stand; in my opinion, it’s not for beginners who are in poor shape. Yeah, you won’t often hear the manufacturers tell you that. Although, if you’re at a moderate, intermediate fitness level or higher, this can be a great addition and a possible replacement for all of your other equipment.

I’ve owned one for years, and I’ll drop down a few highlights:

*Most Power Towers come with a sturdy pull-up bar; some better than others. I’d go with one that has a full bar, so you can do reverse grips – wide and narrow. Pull-ups/chin-ups are great for the biceps, lats and forearm flexors. When you get to where you can perform several repetitions along with several sets, a weighted vest is good to wear for added resistance.

*All of them should be equipped with reliable dip bars, as there shouldn’t be as much variation with this simple feature. In this exercise, you’re in a vertical position as you lift your entire body up by pressing down on the dip bars, and then slowly lower yourself back down – with feet never touching the ground. It doesn’t take too many reps to get a good burn. Dips are great for the lower pectorals, front deltoids and its main target area is the triceps. The same as with pull-ups, you can always add a weighted vest for a more challenging workout.

*Power Towers usually come with push-up bars. Nothing impressive here, just simple push-up bars. Are they necessary? Well, not really…but they make for excellent warm-up and cool-down exercises. Push-ups are basically like lightweight bench-presses and in my opinion, they are better done without the bars because you can do them at different angles using random grips, etc. They work a large area of the pectorals and deltoids, while the ones with your hands closer together focus more on the triceps.

* Leg lifts can be performed on these stands by using the existing arms of the tower, that supports the dip function. Leg lifts require you to put your feet together and slowly raise your legs even with your waist…while being suspended in the air – using the arms of the tower (as mentioned before) with a back cushion for support. This is a great exercise for the lower abs. Most exercises for the abs only cover the middle and upper regions, so leg lifts are great at hitting that commonly neglected area.

*To supplement this regimen, even though it isn’t necessary, I’d use dumbbells in conjunction with your pull-ups, dips, push-ups and leg lifts – especially towards the end of your workout.

* One of the main benefits besides being a great strength training stand and not taking up too much room, is the fact that by doing these type of exercises, you’ll be done with your workout in half the time or less – when compared to free weights, pulley systems, etc. These motions, using your own body weight plus the optional weighted vest, will target directly and hit those muscles hard without all the endless reps & sets.

* You can usually find these fitness stands and power towers within a $150 to $300 dollar range.

The Power Tower is the Ultimate in Upper Body Fitness……

—————————>‘Click Here’ to check out a fine selection of Power Towers<—————————

Freshwater Aquariums – A scenic, decorative hobby…

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An aquatic delight, which brings animated beauty that can enliven any home, room or area.

Other than the obvious supplies and fish, what is mainly required is: responsibility, special care, and an ongoing interest in this splendid, creative hobby.

Before you begin…

If you’re new to this, don’t jump right in without giving it some thought. It’s amazing how many people lose interest in a whim, after finding out there is a little effort and care involved. I really think some people believe that an aquarium suppose to just run itself or perhaps, they rely too heavily on others doing the work for them. The fish are confined to a limited water space outside of their natural habitat and they depend on the owner to feed them, clean the tank, change the water, check the PH, replace filters, supply air flow, etc.

On the flip side, successfully operating a single aquarium or multiple aquariums with lots of tropical fish and live plants, can be so easy and fluent that you don’t even consider it to be a chore, just merely fun play and amusement.

But if you are an amateur to aquatics, ask questions to yourself, such as: Do I really have time for this? Do I have too many pets already? Do I really want to change filters with fish waste adhered to them and clean the gravel with a manual vacuum? Can I afford this hobby? If you plan on buying bigger tanks, 29 gallon and up, you better ask yourself if you plan on moving/relocating anytime soon. Take it from me, it is no fun having to transport and reset a tank setup from house to house, but it can be done – if caution is applied. Once a large tank gets established at your residence, especially if you have a lot of stock swimming around, it is a delicate process to relocate them.

What you need for a Freshwater Aquarium…

Basic supplies, besides the actual aquarium, fish, and the optional live plants, include: gravel/rocks, decorative items [semi-optional] of your choice (caves, ornaments, fake plants, etc.), depending on the water flow from your filters – you may need an aerator with electric pump (to oxygenate the tank), food (flake, pellets, freeze-dried, etc.), medicinal products (optional, but sometimes necessary for parasites, infections, etc. — this can normally be prevented be keeping good water conditions), a filtration unit with replacement filters, PH Test Strips with PH buffers – to maintain a proper acidic/alkaline balance, gravel vacuums/water siphons, magnetic glass cleaners, sea salt (an additive that, when added in small amounts, promotes the health of freshwater fish), a lighting unit/bulb – unless the tank comes with one already supplied, and if you have chlorinated city water, you must definitely get a de-chlorinator/water treatment formula to remove any existing chlorine; use this anytime you add water to your fish tank. Don’t forget the adhesive thermometer; you may need an aquarium heater, especially during the winter months (some tropical fish are more sensitive to cooler temperatures than others). All of these supplies can be found at a local retailer, pet shop or online.

Freshwater Aquarium

Tips & Advice when first setting up a tank…

Don’t add a bunch of fish all at once. There is a biological process (it slowly transpires) that has to take place, which involves healthy bacteria thriving within the tank, on random substrate, that helps break-down waste material. If you overload your tank before this naturalistic fundamental takes place, you will end up with toxic amounts of ammonia in the tank(s), which can be lethal to the fish. Remember, without good bacteria, your tank’s initial waste accumulates Ammonia, then when enough bacteria has cultured, the bacteria breaks the ammonia down to Nitrites (still harmful) and finally, into a less toxic Nitrate – which can be reabsorbed back into live plants, released into the atmosphere or removed manually by your filter replacements and water changes.

Don’t overfeed your fish; too much waste can build up and cloud the water. To rectify this, try adding scavengers and bottom-dwellers to your tank; they will feed off of the excess food and they add a nice touch to the tank.

If you don’t want to clean the glass with a magnetic brush, try adding some algae-eaters. They will keep the glass surface spotless, as they regularly scavenge for microscopic growth, etc.

When first setting up your aquarium, after adding fish, ornaments, et cetera, you may notice the water becoming cloudy in a couple days. This is normal; let it clear on its own, naturally. This is simply a bacteria bloom and even though the nitrites may be high, it should taper down over the next several days into less harmful nitrates. But, during this crucial setup (as mentioned before), be careful not to overfeed or add too many fish. A crowded tank may look appealing, but it is not healthy for the inhabitants.

If this seems quaint or unfamiliar, I’d purchase a simple Beginners Guide/Book for aquariums and tropical fish. Once you get the basics, the rest is trial & error.

Closure…

This subject is so vast, it would require separate pages that specifically target certain aspects of Aquaria. If you have specific questions, there is a ‘comment field’ below.

This can be a very scenic, decorative piece to add to any residence or area.

Lastly, there is another, more complex aquatic hobby that requires more preciseness, that being Saltwater Aquariums.

But for beginners, I’d recommend freshwater fish for the meantime, and maybe eventually work your way up to the big boys – if desired.

—End of Post “Freshwater Aquariums – A scenic, decorative hobby…

Additional Reading Material:

A while back I started a Wildlife & Nature blog.  Recently, I just finished an aquatic series dedicated to freshwater aquariums, fish, plants, etc.   You can find that material in the February Archive, located here:  http://exotic-life-creatures.blogspot.com/2015_02_01_archive.html

3 Foods You Shouldn’t Overcook – Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, & Spinach

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There are some foods that when cooked wrong, it will leave such a bad impression on a person, they’ll never try it again.

There are three healthy foods that first come to mind – when thinking about some of the worst things to overcook: Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage and Spinach.

When you overcook the Brussels, for example, it releases a chemical that in turn, emits a sulfurous odor. Not only does it smell bad, it will have such a sulfuric taste that it will have many persons shoving them to the far end of their dinner plate. Take it from me, I’ve had them prepared the right way and the wrong way; there is a big difference. Same for Spinach, as overcooking these greens can totally ruin your opinion of this leafy vegetable – especially for the ones who are trying them for the first time or rarely eat them. As for Cabbage, overcooking can often lead to a less tasty result and a house full of unwanted, lingering odors. Below, I’ll provide some quick, easy-to-follow methods that’ll improve the end results of these healthy side dishes.

Spinach – Cooking Method

There is no need to boil spinach, as steaming is the best way to go. I usually buy them fresh, pre-cut, in bags.

Use about 12-16 ounces of spinach per large fry pan.

Rinse spinach; try to remove as much excess water as possible; set aside.

Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of Olive oil or Canola oil (whatever oil you desire).

Add 1/4 cup diced onion to the pan.

I usually add salt & pepper to the pan before adding spinach, but you can always season after it is done.

Over medium heat, using a large frying pan, cook the onions into the lightly salted & peppered oil.

Cook for 1 to 1.5 minutes, then:

Add spinach; you may have to press it down.

Cover immediately.

After it has cooked for about 1.5 minutes, remove cover and begin turning these lovely greens over.

Cover again and cook for another 1 to 1.5 minutes.

Remove from heat; drain and season to taste.

Unless you’re a chef with finesse, the whole process, counting the rinsing and seasoning, only takes around 7 or 8 minutes. It is as simple as that; presto, you’re done!

Cabbage – Cooking Method

Cut the cabbage as you like; some prefer it finely cut, I prefer square, big pieces.

Rinse cabbage, then add to a large pot. (I usually add 1/3 cup of water to the pot, to start the steaming process while I’m adding cabbage)

Add salt & pepper, as desired. (Optional) Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Cover with lid and cook over medium heat.

Stir occasionally while cooking for 5 minutes.

Uncover, add 2 tablespoons of butter, bring heat up to medium-high.

Leave uncovered and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes; stir.

Remove from heat.

Cover with lid or serve.

Brussels sprouts – Cooking Method

Fresh_brussels_sprouts

I usually buy them fresh-frozen, in 32 oz. bags. This is how I cook them and, of course, you can season or alter it as you like:

In a large sauce pan, add 5 or 6 cups of water or enough to cover the amount of sprouts being cooked.

Add about 1 ounce of Worcestershire sauce to the water, along with 2 tablespoons of sugar, a few drops of Hot Sauce (optional), an ample amount of Lawlry’s Seasoned Salt and McCormick’s Season All pepper (or you could use regular table salt & pepper), 1.5 tablespoons of butter (you could also replace this with a healthier oil).

Bring the prior contents to a boil.

Add the Brussels.

As soon as it returns back to a boil, remove from high heat, then simmer for 3 to 5 minutes over a lower temperature setting.

Remove from heat.

[From here, while the stove eye is off, I let mine soak for a while to absorb some extra flavor.]

Drain; season to taste.

That’s it…..There is no need to give them an infernal flame or sulfurous boiling, just a quick cook with seasoning and they’re done.

Traditional Weapons – Martial Arts – Bruce Lee included…

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Just like the song says, “Everybody was Kung Fu fighting…” Well, not exactly everybody or everywhere. The explosion of the interest in Martial Arts, started a few decades ago in the U.S. and has slowly tamed back down, but it is still alive.

After the great Bruce Lee died, it seemed that a lot of these wanna-be successors were coming out of the woodwork – some talented, some were just plain amusing. Many walks of life from young to old were Karate kicking, Kung Fu slapping, while the limbs were just a slinging.

Below, I’ll list a few traditional weapons in the diverse field of martial arts – Bruce Lee included. Side note: even if they are not used for self defense, the routines make for great workouts and it helps to sharpen your hand-eye coordination.

Nunchaku or Nunchucks – is a personal favorite of mine. Ever since I seen the movie “Enter the Dragon” at age 5, I was destined to own a pair. I started out with foam, later I made my own, now I probably have 10 or 12 professional ones ranging anywhere from telechucks, minichucks, studded chucks, metal, acryllic & wood.

The nunchaku consists of two sticks of wood or metal, connected with a chain and ball swivels. This swirling device can put on one hell of a display and can be used as an effective weapon in self-defense. Check out the video below, for a demonstration via Bruce!

Nunchucks via Bruce Lee

3 Sectional Staff – is one traditional weapon that I haven’t mastered yet, and it isn’t seen as often in martial arts films. I only know a few moves but, once it is mastered, it can be an excellent weapon for defense along with a creative display of whirling wind and swinging fury. It consists of 3 long sticks connected by short chains. It is very interesting to watch; check out this awesome display, below:

3 Sectional Staff – Demonstration

Sai

Sai – is an attractive, effective, traditional martial art weapon from Okinawa.

This is great for trapping, blocking, blunt end strikes, and so on. It is believed by some, that this used to be an agriculture tool (like a lot of weapons) that later become “weaponized.” It is usually used in pairs. The Sai is versatile and can be wielded in many different ways. It is often twirled around during demonstrations, but in combat it is used for jabbing-type strikes, punches, blocks, and has the ability to ward off and/or trap a sword, etc. I own a large pair, and they are fun to play with, to say the least.

Bo Staff – this single section, long staff is favored by many. I was never that enthused about a bow staff – due to the simplicity of movements. But, regardless, if you become familiar with this long-range weapon, it can do some damage.  I must add, some grammar gurus will state that you can only say “staff” or “bo” but never “bo staff.”  I say call it what ya want, hell, saying “a long stick” is descriptive enough for me.  Ha-ha!

Bo Staff – Basic Moves

Kama – this is another farm tool that got modified into weapon form, and is also referred to as the “Okinawan sickle.”

It is dangerous, so I recommend buying an unsharpened, practice version for beginners. I have both, the training one and the real razor-sharp sickle. A real professional, razor-sharp Kama is lethal. I haven’t had much experience with it, for I only trained with this weapon for a short time. If you get enough speed going, it makes a nice whipping sound. I’ll provide a video below, that goes over some basic strikes; nothing flashy, just a simple demo:

Basic Movements of the Okinawan Sickles

Rattan Escrima Sticks

Eskrima or Escrima Sticks – is basically a short staff cut into 2 pieces. Often referred to as stick fighting. Most people look at this style of weaponary as primitive battle, sort of like having 4 sticks and 2 maniacs going at it like crazed lunatics. But actually, there is a lot of techniques to master and it takes a good deal of time to perfect.

Tonfas

Tonfa – is sort of like enhanced, defensive, police nightsticks and are often used in pairs. They have exceptional defense properties along with the offensive tactics of holding/pinning an opponent and/or striking repetitive blows into you opposition. The picture to the right, depicts this traditional weapon.

Ninja Sword

Swords – of all kinds are often used in martial arts, ranging from the training bokkens to ninja swords (ninjato) to the ancient samurai swordsman. Whether you’re fencing for play or wielding a powerful blow to an opponent, swords have played a big role in martial combat, down through the years.

Bruce Lee – Links & Products…

These where just a few common examples of traditional weapons in martial arts, as there are many more that I could have included…

Informative Links for the great Martial Artist & Philosopher Bruce Lee:

| Bruce Lee Foundation | Bruce Lee – Fight History |

‘Shop’ Bruce Lee: Bruce Lee’s DVDs | Bruce Lee – Books |

Organic Fertilizer – Natural ways to Fertilize your Garden

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Buying inorganic/synthetic fertilizers at local retail stores/markets, is a simple solution to fertilize poor soil, but they often lack the trace elements that are naturally found in organic fertilizers. On this page, I’ll go over some of the basic ingredients to use in compost, along with a few other soil amendments.

Composting - Organic Fertilizer in the making...

Composting - Organic Fertilizer in the making...

Organic, natural fertilizer is the way to go, especially for personal gardens and flower beds. A prime example of an organic fertilizer is the end result of a self-made compost.

Compost involves a variety of waste material…

There are many benefits, when it comes to using this method. For one, the environment, since a lot of the waste material used while composting, would normally find its way into the trash cans and/or landfill. Compost typically contains all of the nutrients needed for vigorous plant growth, improves the soil quality and moisture retaining properties, and acts as a slow-release fertilizer.

Make your own Compost…
Generally, you can either use an “open bin” or a “compost container” for the composting process. You can buy these bins and containers or, if you’re the least bit dexterous and motivated, you can always make your own. There are loads of informative reading material on this subject via Amazon.com, for example.

You’ll also need a shovel, garden cart/wheel barrel or some type of transporting device that you’ll use to convey the final product to your garden or flower bed, a pitch fork or some other useful type of tool to turn, mix & stir the active compost pile within the container/bin.

A proper balance of microorganisms is necessary for an effective compost pile – don’t worry, those microscopic beings will be there by way of nature. The main thing you have to watch for, is to not have too much green material versus brown material, or else, you’ll end up with a smelly, heaping pile that reeks like garbage.

When I speak of green material, I mean stuff like kitchen scraps (avoid adding meat scraps), fruits, green trimmings, tea bags, fresh manure (chicken, rabbit, cow or horse dung – but only in small quantities), etc. The brown material should be somewhat at a minimum of 3:1 to green material and the optimal ratio is roughly 4:1. Brown material mostly consists of dried leaves and dried grass trimmings – which you can easily accumulate the dried grass trimmings during the spring & summer months and the dried leaves during the autumn season. You can add, but only recommended in small amounts due to the very high carbon content, wood shavings and sawdust (this is especially useful if you have too much green material in your pile).

During the composting process, you’ll need to turn & mix often – as this will help keep the brown & green material balanced and adds oxygen to the pile. The microorganisms need water, food, and air. To enhance the process by adding additional healthy bacteria into the pile, it has been noted that adding a shovel or two of garden soil into the mix, will help speed up the decomposition of waste material. A quick tip for your compost pile: If possible, try to keep the particles & scraps that you add, as small as possible – this makes it easier for the microbes & bacteria to break ’em down. When garden season rolls around, you should have a nice, dark, fertile mass of compost that is ready to be applied to your growing area.

Soil Additive – Wood Ashes as Fertilizer:

If you still use a fireplace or have occasional campfires and you have a garden or flower bed, you might want to save some of those ashes. When used in moderation, wood ashes are a decent soil additive. Ashes will lack when it comes to Nitrogen, so it is better to use this method in conjunction with other additives and fertilizing techniques. The composition is often estimated at: 1.5 – 2% Phosphorous, 4 – 8% Potassium (depending on the type of wood), 25-50% calcium compounds and magnesium carbonate/oxide…along with other trace elements and nutrients. Due to the high amount of calcium & magnesium, wood ashes have the ability to raise the soil PH – this, in turn, is not good if your soil is already alkaline albeit it still takes about twice as much wood ashes to increase the PH as it would if you applied lime to the soil. In most cases, using wood ashes in small amounts only helps your soil’s condition. Also, one shouldn’t apply wood ashes to your garden no more than once a year – due to the risk of elevated PH and salt levels. Please be advised, wood ashes is a big no-no if you’re dealing with certain plants that require and/or thrive in acidic soil conditions.

Conclusion: There are many natural ways to fertilize your garden, I just listed a few. You may want to skip the compost method, if it seems like too much trouble. I know someone personally that fertilizes their garden by saving their tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, and wood ashes during the winter and early spring, and then, simply tills them into the soil (their garden area) each spring. Whatever works, but the main message in this page is: try and be more prone towards organic, natural methods besides synthetic/artificial ways. If you have any particular natural methods of fertilization that has worked for you, feel free to drop them down in the comment field. Good luck and have a great growing season…