Monday, November 30, 2009

Dubai official: Dubai World's debt its own (AP)

AP - The heavily indebted Dubai World is not guaranteed by the emirate’s government, a top financial official from the city state said Monday, offering little direction to anxious investors on a day when the United Arab Emirates registered a record fall on the back of Dubai’s debt mess.

Read more of Dubai official: Dubai World’s debt its own (AP)…



Sunday, November 29, 2009

Police search for cop killer in Wash.

Police in the Tacoma, Wash., area were searching for a gunman who ambushed and killed four of their own as the officers worked …

Read more of Police search for cop killer in Wash….



Thursday, November 26, 2009

IAEA chief: Iran investigation at 'dead end' (AP)

AP - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that his probe of allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms is at “a dead end” because Tehran is not cooperating, and he warned that confidence in Tehran had shrunk in the wake of its belated revelation of a previously secret nuclear facility.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Israel readying new arms to meet Iran challenge (AP)

AP - With cutting-edge anti-missile systems and two new submarines that can carry nuclear weapons, Israel is readying a new generation of armaments designed to defend itself against distant Iran as well as Tehran’s proxy armies on its borders.

Read more of Israel readying new arms to meet Iran challenge (AP)…



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marksurman/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marksurman/

Many years ago, it is said that the Pilgrims came to America. They made friends with the Native Americans and the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to farm and grow crops. This was before the Pilgrims turned on them and put them on reservations, but that's another story for another day.

To celebrate their friendship, the Pilgrims and Native Americans had a great feast. They cooked turkey and corn and probably not a lot of the things we cook in our Thanksgiving meal today but at any rate, they celebrated together and continued that celebration every year since then.

Are you looking for Thanksgiving Dinner Menu ideas. Here's our Thanksgiving Dinner Menu. Maybe it can give you ideas:

Punch

Appetizers:

Dill Dip and veggies

Cheese Ball & Crackers

Slice Sourdough and Brie and other sliced cheeses

Main dishes:

Turkey

Ham

Side Dishes:

Candied Yams

Cranberry Sauce

Pasta Salad

Cranberry Jell-O with nuts and apples

Warm Rolls

Potatoes

Stuffing

Gravy

Corn

Dessert:

Chocolate Cream Pies

Banana Cream Pie

Pumpkin Pies

Cookie Jell-o



Cranberry Relish

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rene-germany/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rene-germany/

Thanksgiving is around the corner which means Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, at least at our house. Well, it seems, cranberry sauce is now known as cranberry relish.

Cranberry relish can be as simple as opening a can to a very elaborate, difficult recipe. One easy trick to cranberry relish is to open a can of whole berry cranberry sauce, add a can of mandarin oranges and stir.

Another a little more elaborate recipe is to take that whole berry cranberry sauce, add orange rind (don't get the white, it can be bitter, just grate the outside orange peel), and then cut up the orange in pieces. Warm up on the stove and serve warm cranberry relish.

If you prefer to make the recipe from fresh cranberries, it's not difficult either. Here's a recipe

Cranberry Relish

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

2 c. washed fresh cranberries

2 peeled and cored tart apples

1 whole (peel ON) seedless orange, cut into sections

1 to 2 c. sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you would like your relish to be)

Method:

Put all in a food processor. Use the entire orange, peels, pith and all. Be very careful when pulsing not to over-pulse, or you’ll end up with mush. Pulse. Mix in the sugar. Let sit at room temperature until sugar dissolves, about 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3 cups.



Thanksgiving quotes

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xybermatthew/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xybermatthew/

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. It is running close to Christmas, but nothing can beat the fun you have on thanksgiving.

On Christmas you open the presents and do all that stuff but by the time you know it the special day is over because you started so early. But thanksgiving is way better, it's a full day of cooking and playing games and then the fun thing is you have thanksgiving the next day because there is bound to be left over food, which is the best kind of food.

Some funny things about thanksgiving are the thanksgiving quotes; there are some pretty funny ones out there. For example; "An optimist is someone who starts a new diet on thanksgiving"-Irv Kupcinet. Also "Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day"- Robert Casper Lintner And last "Praise god even when you don't understand what he is doing."-Henry Jacobsen. Thanksgiving is just a fun time to have fun and eat a lot of food. Maybe you could take all day to play games and spend time with you family and think about everything you are grateful for instead of turning on the TV and watching football or some Disney shows.

But some things are tradition, for example I know that at my friend's house on thanksgiving they always watch the Grinch who stole Christmas to start getting ready for the next Holiday, I think that is fun but I think the family all needs to watch it together. Because what I have seen is the family eats and then just disappears. I mean it's a holiday! It is a special day and you need to do something with your family all day.

Something that my other friends family does is every thanksgiving a couple days before is they make turkey feathers out of colored construction paper and write things they are thankful for and then stick it behind a paper turkey on a door. It looks really cool and I think that is a very fun tradition. It is something to do as a family and also remember the things you are thankful for. Every family has different ways of celebrating thanksgiving but I think the one and only important thing is to be happy and enjoy the time you have being a happy family and also eat a lot of food.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Taylor Swift wins five American Music Awards (Reuters)

Reuters - Country crossover star Taylor Swift overshadowed the late Michael Jackson at the American Music Awards on Sunday, winning five prizes including artist of the year.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Griffin, Ortiz deliver for UFC

In a time of UFC turmoil, old hands Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin stepped up and delivered.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Project Runway" season finale airs after legal dispute (Reuters)

Reuters - Irina Shabayeva won the sixth season of the fashion reality show “Project Runway” on Thursday in the conclusion of the hit cable series which was delayed for months by legal wrangling.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

I would hate feeling like I was expected to be something.

I don't know how some people do it. I like that I have the free will to make whatever decisions in my life that I want. I can be whoever I want to be. It is really nice to have that assurance.

If I want to be a bum and not work then nobody expects me to. If I want to make millions of dollars, there is nothing stopping me. I can be whoever I want to be and do whatever I want to do. That is the best part about being an American. With enough ambition and a little bit of luck, anything is possible.



How to Justify a $3,000 Coffee Maker

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Photo: CoffeeGeek

Are you a coffee snob? Do you sniff at drip? Are you willing to endure a day of caffeine headaches and jitters rather than sip a subpar brew? And most importantly, is this addiction/affliction costing you more money than you can afford? These days a lot of people are telling you to get your caffeine fix at home rather than spending $10 a day at carts and counters.

"You probably stop at your local coffee shop at least once a day and grab your latte, cappuccino or Americano," says sales manager Darren Ruffel of Whole Latte Love (WLL), a consumer-oriented e-tailer based in Victor, NY. He estimates, for example that if you average two venti mochas daily at $4.27 each, that comes out to $59.78 a week or more than $3,100 a year on take-out coffee, not to mention the cost of gas, parking and waiting in line.

"Your coffee habit is costing you a lot of moola!" he cries. WLL has definitely seen an uptick in machine sales since the economy crashed. "More people are investing in home equipment to save money and have good quality coffee at home."

A shot in the dark

The heart of a gourmet coffee drink is the espresso shot, flavored with milk-stuff, sugar-stuff or spice-stuff or blended with ice or foam. It was Achille Gaggia who invented the modern espresso machine in 1938, which uses pressure to extract the best flavor and aroma from ground beans.

The signature of a perfect shot is the crema, the ephemeral golden foam of oils, proteins and sugars floating on the ebony slurry of extra virgin extraction. You only get that when properly selected and roasted beans are properly ground and pressed and then properly heated and pressurized water is forced through the coffee during the proper 20-25 second window.

How hard is it to get a professional-quality cup at home? "Not hard at all. With the right equipment, beans and knowledge you can create a great cup of coffee in your home—in most instances, a better cup than at cafes because you can customize your drink to your own personal tastes," Ruffel says.

Types of espresso technology

So assuming that five or six cups before 8am will keep you going all day (really?), what kind of investment are we talking about? These days several categories of espresso machines have been especially popular: super-automatics, semi-automatics and single-serves. (Price ranges provided by WLL).

Super-Automatic ($499-$3299): Essentially a coffee-making robot. Put whole beans in the hopper, fill the water reservoir, and a superautomatic grinds and pumps perfect cups of espresso or crema coffee at the touch of a button. Then the mechanism expels the spent puck into an internal bin and readies itself for the next shot. Some have LCD screens or manual adjustments; many have self-frothers to foam the milk.

Semi-Automatic ($59-1999): Upgrades from the traditional pump machines. You'll need to grind your beans first (use a burr grinder) and tamp it into the portafilter, but then the machine takes care of temperature and pressure.

Single-Serve ($89-499): A new market entry. These machines usually feature space-saving designs and deliver a single, precise extraction from an inserted capsule or pod. Many manufacturers also make tea, hot chocolate and flavored coffee pods.

Does it pay?

At my house we bought a Gaggia Synchrony Compact. Our preferred way to enjoy coffee is to express about 2-4oz of coffee and then add an ounce or less of milk or creamer to cut the acidity of the coffee. In Spain and Latin America, this is often called a cortado.

We paid $650 in 2005, so our beloved little robot just turned four. Over that time, this superautomatic has required very little maintenance and only weekly cleanings. It grinds and brews perfect cups of crema at the push of a button, and then cleans up after itself. After four years at an average of 5-6 cups per day, the machine itself has cost us less than 7 cents per cup.

Besides the coffee-maker, of course, you will be spending money on coffee beans. We use Peet's Espresso Forte blend, which we buy fresh for $12.95 per pound. Using—believe it or not—the IRS's estimate of 60 shots per pound, we're paying a little more than 21 cents per cup. So for about two bits per cup, we're enjoying the best coffee I've ever had anywhere in the world.

Compare that to about $1.45 for simple shot of espresso at Starbucks. If we invest the time in steaming some milk or adding a flavor, our investment only goes up by a penny or so. Compare that to Ruffel's $4.27 venti mochas.

Coffee culture

Unless you work at home, this works best if you get your whole caffeine fix first thing in the morning. (Or maybe you need to invest in one at work too?)

But what about the social aspects of the coffee house? Dropping in on your crowd, taking a break from a stressful workplace? Coffee houses have become the quintessential "third place" between work and home, but Ruffell suggest that space has gone virtual, anyway.

"With the increased world of Web 2.0, we find that people are making coffee at home and sharing the ritual of creating unique drinks on social networks like Facebook, forums and blogs," he says. "Individuals are spending more time at home and enjoying good quality coffee with neighbors and friends."

Steve Barth blogs about work, play, society and politics at Reflexions.


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Susan Boyle Sets Amazon Record for Pre-Orders

That dreamed she dreamt is coming true!
Wow! Susan Boyle came out of nowhere and shocked people all over the world as she performed on Britain’s Got Talent. We kind of thought she was just a phase (or a fun video to watch on YouTube), but it turns out she’s the real deal and it looks like she’s here to stay. And now she’s setting more records with her upcoming album I Dreamed a Dream.

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Thanksgiving Worksheets

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xybermatthew/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xybermatthew/

Are you having a slew of people over for Thanksgiving and are you looking for something to keep them busy? How about Thanksgiving worksheets? Print out all kinds of worksheets for everyone to work on.

These worksheets are not just for children. You might think of coloring pages of turkeys and cornucopias. Or you might be thinking of tracing kids' hands on paper and adding feathers and turkey looking feature. But adult Thanksgiving worksheets can be really fun too and a conversation starter.

Did you know there are sites online where you can make your own crossword puzzle? You can put in questions about your guests and the answers. Like you can put, where was Grandma born. Then the crossword puzzle will have the spaces for the answer (like LosAngeles).

Just Google free crossword puzzle generator and you should find something. Have a list of questions ready such as birth places, number of children of maybe great aunt Edna, Uncle Leroy's dog's name, how many grandchildren are in the family, the favorite vegetable of Aunt Em, the first job of Grandpa, etc.

List the questions and the answers. Be sure to have a question related to every member there and then maybe some general thanksgiving questions like, what vegetable the pilgrims grew. You put in all the questions and answers and voila, the crossword puzzle generator makes the crossword puzzle for you!

You could also have worksheets with words that you circle or other word puzzles. Do include the children's coloring pages, if children will be come. It would be lots of fun to sit around as the turkey cooks and work on these Thanksgiving worksheets.



Father kills 15 year old son

Yes, it's true. A father kills 15 year old son. Supposedly the 15 year old had molested a young toddler. Many things about this are disturbing. One, the father killed his own son. Second, the 15 year old molested a toddler.

It is so sad how these kids (or adults) decide to participate in such actions. Who knows, maybe that 15 year old was born being surrounded by that sexual behavior and he thought it was normal, but odds are that the 15 year old had some common sense.

It's a shame to have so many people in America going through the depression of dealing with being molested or raped. I hear that some women who get raped or molested tend to think it's their fault. And that is totally understandable but women who go through this should understand that if you didn't want it, and the man pressured you into it.

I think that being raped could possibly be one of the worst things that can happen to a woman. Women take things to heart and we are more sensitive and we think more. Things like being raped can totally screw up a woman. But hopefully women who go through that can walk away stronger and be a role model for younger women about how you can overcome anything and maybe give tips to how you could prevent it or help to get out.

There is a story how a woman was at a bar drinking heavily and having fun but she was very drunk and two men asked her if she would go with them to their apartment, she went with them and she ended up with her underwear on the floor and naked. She went on a talk show and shared her story how she got "raped" but I strongly disagree that was rape. It was the women's choice to go get drunk and to be hanging out with strangers. And she willingly went with the men, yes she was drunk but she shouldn't have gone drinking in the first place.

It is not always the boys fault when things like this happen, and it's not always the girls. This example shows how it was both of their faults about what happened. Some people just live life as they want and don't think about anything, and I think that is where people like that land. You need to make a plan and stick to it so you don't end up like the person who decides its okay to invade a person's personal space anytime you please. Be smart.



Stefanie Spielman died

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Stefanie Spielman, the wife of NFL and Ohio State star Chris Spielman died Thursday after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.

Stefanie first found out that she had breast cancer at the age of 30 while she was three months pregnant. Sadly, she later miscarried and that is when she discovered she had cancer.

Stefanie was an amazing woman and both Spielmans are advocates for breast-cancer detection and research, and they have won several awards for their dedication to the cause.

They helped raise over $6 million for breast cancer research at Ohio State through the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. Stefanie Spielman also helped in forming a support group for young women with breast cancer, and she was also inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2002 for her work.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Target Black Friday ads 2009

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dno1967/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dno1967/

Today I decided to look at the target black Friday ads 2009. They look like they've got some sweet stuff being sold.

After looking at all the things we could buy, I feel like it might actually be worth getting up early in the morning and trying to win the stuff in the giant crowd. I've never really been a fan of shopping on black Friday. I thought that it wasn't really worth saving the money to try and beat the crowd. I hate being in big crowds like that.

I had some extra time and just decided to look at what was being sold to see if there was anything I really thought was worth it. I found a ton of stuff that was on sale and worth the money.

Most video games that are typically $50 are on sale for $37 which is definitely a very good price. They had some sweet tools on sale. They also had really big TVs on sale for anyone who got there in time.

I don't know whether or not I can really make it to all of these things but it would sure be worth it. The crowd may be worse than they were last year. I don't know how much worse you can really be than the people who trampled the employee last year. I hope that nothing like that happens this year.



Sarah Palin kicks off her "Going Rogue" book signing tour

Free Press staff writer Kathleen Gray live-blogs from suburban Grand Rapids where Sarah Palin is kicking off her “Going Rogue” book-signing tour

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I love frogs

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67156567@N00/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67156567@N00/

They are so cool. When I was a kid we lived right next to a swamp. My friends and I would go out there and play. We would collect frogs.

We went on doing this for a long time before our parents all found out. I would take them into our back yard and put them in this plastic box that my parents hadn't noticed went missing.

We didn't really know what to feed them so they would always die. We would always try feeding them food things like fruit.

They also may have suffocated in the box that we put them in. We thought we were being nice too. I miss those frogs.



Peaches are my favorite fruit

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Peach is not only the name of my favorite pet when I was younger but also the best fruit that I have ever tasted in my life. I really love eating peaches. I will buy them and cut them up into pieces.

Sometimes I will eat them with a little bit of sugar sprinkled on them. Sometimes I will eat them with some cottage cheese. They are always extremely delicious. I love it. They are so good.

I am always sad when they aren't in season. That tends to mean that I can't find them or that they are really expensive. I love making pie with them as well. They are always really good.



The Silverdome

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14380473@N07/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14380473@N07/

The Silverdome was bought today for $587,000. Michigan is sure struggling.

First there is Detroit with a 29% unemployment rate and where the average home is selling for less than $7,500 because there are no jobs and the highest crime rate in the nation. You do not want to live in Detroit.

And now, it's neighbor, Pontiac, Michigan has sold its Silverdome, the Pontiac Silverdome, the home of the Detroit Lions from 1975 to 2001, the Detroit Pistons from 1978 to 1988, the Michigan Panthers from 1983 to 1984, the Motor City Bowl from 1997 until 2001, MHSAA football state finals from 1976 to 2004, the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the Cherry Bowl in 1985 and 1984 and many other events and teams. Notice all of these are dates in the past.

Even Pink Floyd performed the Dark Side of the Moon from the Silverdome . In 1997, when it was opened, it was the largest stadium there was. It was built with a special silver roof that actually looks more silver from the sky than anywhere else and that's where it got the name Silverdome.

It is a domed stadium and because of that, the noise level inside is very high. The city of Pontiac has been trying to sell the property and finally decided to just auction it off once and for all and a Canadian real estate company won the bid for $587,000. The new owner plans to use the Silverdome for, well, if it's a Canadian company, my guess would be ice hockey or soccer. Well, it is soccer. What a bargain someone got today on the Silverdome.



Much Anticipated 'New Moon' Opens tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the official opening all over the country for second movie in the ‘Twilight‘ trilogy, ‘New Moon’. There are quite a few theaters that have premiers at 12:01am Thursday night. Many fans have already bought tickets, and are eagerly awaiting the doors to open.

In the first movie ‘Twilight’ we got a look at the story and characters, and by the end most were wanting more. At that time, the making of the next book into a movie was up in the air, with problems between the book writer and the movie folks. Luckily, agreements and terms were made, and the next book went into production. I think lots of fans let out a sigh of relief, and began watching for anything new coming out on the progress of this new movie.

As fans, most of us have read the books, and had formed our own ideas about what the characters would be like. Once the first movie was out, we were able to visually connect with those characters, and the popularity of those actors increased dramatically.

Now with this movie, we are introduced to another group of characters, who will continue to bring more depth and excitement to the screen.

I know I’ve already made my plans for Friday night along with all the other “Twilight” fans. I will be at those doors, at my favorite theater at the appointed hour.

For more on today’s hottest stories, check out our top searched list. What other big stories happened today? Let us know! Come back for tomorrow’s Hot Searches and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates.

Hot Searches for November 18, 2009
1. Ken Ober - MTV game show host dies at 52
2. Leonids - Meteor shower a disappointment in Asia
3. Shaniya Davis - New Charges filed
4. Maersk Alabama - Pirates try a second time to takeover
5. Dakota Fanning - Stars in Twilight Saga, New Moon
6. Jenna Jameson - Talks porn with Oprah
7. New Moon Premiere - The second in the series, Twilight premieres in LA
8. Sarah Palin - home state anxious for book release
9. John Paulson - Citi stock rises after 300 million shares are bought
10. Elizabeth Smart - Kidnapper asks for forgiveness

More: new movie releases, moviephone, movie listings, movie reviews, movie fone, movie posters

 

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Federal Subsidies Keep Small-Town Airports Flying

You may not ever take a flight to a place like Hot Springs, Ark. — but you’re paying part of the cost for people who do. Under a decades-old government program, federal money is used to subsidize commercial air service for small communities that can’t support it on their own.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A model dancer gone: 3 stars advance to finals (AP)

AP - Model Joanna Krupa is leaving “Dancing With the Stars.”

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How to Avoid Unnecessary Car Costs

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Photo: Simon Blackley

A guy walks into a mechanic and asks for a tune-up.

"Looks like your car needs a lot of work," says the mechanic. "After a quick inspection, I estimate about $1000 worth of services."

It may sound like a joke, but car owners are often hit with an unhappy diagnosis like this. Many of us have little-to-no car expertise. We feel helpless at the sometimes-merciless hand of our mechanic. After all, who are we to say when a spark plug needs changing or steering should be flushed?

Jon Bartunek, owner of his family's Union Street Garage in San Francisco who has worked in the car repair business since he was ten years old, has some empowering tips and guidelines to offer.

"Many car repair shops are in the business of selling auto repair, not the business of repairing autos," says Bartunek. "Keep in mind that any good shop is a combination of both, but you want the mechanic you work with to have your best interest in mind."

Read on to find Bartunek's words of wisdom to help you through the car maintenance and repair process without spending an unnecessary, exorbitant amount of money. Bartunek shares his knowledge on how to be informed before and after service, the common traps car repair shops will use to get more money from you, and what you absolutely must require of any mechanic who performs work on your car.

A reputable mechanic should provide:

ASE [National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence] or AAA [American Automobile Association] certification, and/or a state license, which is required in many states

  • A clean garage, free of empty cans, dirty rags, and old tires
  • A friendly, polite staff that communicates well
  • Before service: an itemized bill with a written estimate for repair work
  • After service: a detailed invoice of work done and parts supplied

How to approach a new mechanic

Get a recommendation. Ask someone with a similar income level and car type if they have a good relationship with their mechanic. Don't ask a friend who has a car or lifestyle that's very different from yours because they may work with someone who's not suitable for you.

Use the owner's manual. This manual is your most valuable defense tool when visiting the mechanic. You should never, ever walk into a mechanic like the guy in our opening example and say, "I need a tune up." This is way too vague and your professional may see this as an open invitation to charge you up to $1000 for miscellaneous unnecessary services such as spark plug replacements when you don't need them. Bartunek advises, "Cars don't need tune ups like they did years ago. Go by the services in your owner's manual. Most list the necessary services according to the mileage you have on your car. Just saying something as simple as 'I need my 30,000 mile service,' shows your mechanic you are informed and not someone he can easily take advantage of if he is so inclined."

Get an estimate. Before service, make sure your prospective mechanic gives you a detailed parts-and-labor estimate so you'll know exactly what he plans to do and what went wrong if you have a post-service failure. Never accept a verbal estimate or a sheet of paper that says something unspecific like, "Fix Car – $800." Make sure you sign the itemized estimate and walk away with a signed copy.

Ask questions. Never be afraid of asking questions such as "Do I really need that?" or "I don't see any symptoms of failure. Is work on that part absolutely necessary right now?" If your mechanic makes a generalization like, "The part is old," ask for details. Find out if it's leaking, losing pressure or what the specific problem is. Then ask to see the part. A good mechanic should be able to physically show you the problem with the part on your car or explain it to you by using a removed car part. Similarly, if the price quote sounds expensive, tell the mechanic what you were hoping to spend and ask him if you can get by safely with a less expensive job.

Finally, if you think the job sounds expensive and your car seems to be working fine, get a second opinion.

Common traps

Drastic statements like, "We need to tow your car out of here because we don't want to be responsible for you driving it," are almost always a scam. Bartunek has seen many car owners succumb to these warnings and end up paying an arm and a leg to get their car back from the mechanic in "driveable" condition. He advises, "If you drove your car into the mechanic with no issues, most likely you can drive it away from any threatening advice without any problems."

Coolant and power steering flushes are common services some of the larger mechanic chains will propose in order to make money. Check your owner's manual to see how long your fluid is supposed to last so you know if your mechanic's suggestion is warranted.

Do your research before having a catalytic converter or other emissions part repaired. Some of these pieces have a very long factory warranty including free replacement of covered parts.

A muffler that lasts a lifetime does not exist. Many of the larger companies give you free replacements and make their money on expensive exhaust system repairs.

The $55 brake pad job is also a scam nine times out of ten. No shop can make money on a $55 dollar brake pad replacement job. It's an excuse to suggest the replacement of other parts such as brake rotors when you don't need them.

Keep up on car maintenance

In addition to being a savvy buyer of proposed services, it's important to keep up on regular car maintenance to avoid unnecessary breakdowns or repair costs. Here are Bartunek's suggestions:

Get regular fluid changes as per your owner's manual. This includes oil as well as brake, windshield and coolant fluids.

Replace the air filter when needed or suggested in the owner's manual.

Keep tires inflated properly for your safety. Check once a month and before long car trips to make sure your tires have a little bit less than maximum pressure.

While all these warnings and rules may be overwhelming at first, there are some great mechanics out there. If you remember these tips, you're much more likely to find a helpful professional than a wallet-draining scam.

New! Compare Auto Insurance with Mint.com.


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Meteor Shower November 2009

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mangoandpeaches/

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mangoandpeaches/

The Leonid meteor shower will be hitting its peak on Tuesday November 17th, 2009. This is the meteor shower November 2009. Everyone is excited for this one. Anyone who is far away from city lights is encouraged to go out and watch these meteors as they hit.

The meteor shower comes every year at about this same time. It is really enjoyable to watch as the meteors fall in the sky. Many people like to go out into the middle of nowhere and watch it as it happens. I think that anyone who can get out there to watch it that night ought to.

If I weren't as busy as I am, I would probably go out to see it with my sister and her kids. We could get some warm clothes on and blankets so that we could enjoy watching it. It would probably be a really good time for me to be able to teach them all about meteors and why we have meteor showers.

Hopefully nobody runs into clouds. I'm sure there will be a lot of people that end up being so unfortunate as to have a cloudy sky that night. I wish everyone luck in their adventure.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Cleric says he was confidant to Hasan

SANAA, YEMEN — In his first interview with a journalist since the Fort Hood rampage, Yemeni American cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi said that he neither ordered nor pressured Maj. Nidal M. Hasan to harm Americans, but that he considered himself a confidant of the Army psychiatrist who was given a glimpse…

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Kate Walsh Private Practice

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Everyone knows and loves Kate Walsh because of her hit TV show Private Practice. Everyone wants to go see Kate Walsh Private Practice.

What they don't know about is her divorce with her husband. Apparently they called it quits after a large fight they had. I don't know how she feels about it but she seems to be alright.

She has been out partying and enjoying the single life. Everyone seems to think that she is doing just fine with everything going on. She looks really good while she is out on the town.

If you happen to see Kate Walsh around, she probably is looking great. Nobody would suspect that she has just gone through a divorce. She seems like everything is great in her life.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fed: banks need customer consent on overdraft fees (AP)

Banks will have to secure their customers’ consent before charging large overdraft fees on ATM and debit card transactions, according to a new rule announced Thursday by the Federal Reserve.

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Wonderful Evening with the CMA awards

What do Darius Rucker and Barbara Mandrell have in common? Well, they are both CMA winners from last night. Darius Rucker won New Artist of the year, and Barbara Mandrell was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame.

The show last night had most county music lovers in front of their TV’s clapping and singing along with their favorites. Folks wanted to see if the group or person they were rooting for would win that most coveted award, be it favorite country male vocalist, favorite group, or country entertainer of the year. For one evening we get to share in the triumph and joy with the award winner, as well as the satisfaction of knowing millions agreed

that this artist was a favorite.

One of the great parts of the award show, was hearing all the new music, and experiencing the different musical crossovers, such as Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews, Daughtry with Vince Gill, or Kid Rock with Jamey Johnson. Another of my favorite parts of the show, is seeing all the dresses and styles the singers are wearing. There is so much glamour and glitz!

All in all it was a wonderful night, with wonderful music, and I can’t wait till next years show.

For more on today’s hottest stories, check out our top searched list. What other big stories happened today? Let us know! Come back for tomorrow’s Hot Searches and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates.

Hot Searches for November 12, 2009
1. CMA Awards - Taylor Swift wins Entertainer of the year award
2. Charla Nash - Brave survivor of chimpanzee attack appears on Oprah
3. Lou Dobbs - CNN broadcaster says goodbye to viewers
4. Veterans Day - Dozens stop by ARC building to sign cards for troops
5. Celine Dion - No longer pregnant
6. Darius Rucker - Change from Pop to Country pays off
7. Gemma Ward - Australian supermodel quits modeling
8. Anansa Sims - Plus size who posed for Glamour talks fashion
9. Mike Tyson -Not a good time to be on his bad side
10. Barbara Mandrell - Inducted in to the Country Hall of Fame

More: country music awards tickets, country music ringtones, country music karaoke, buy country music, download country music

 

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Jobless claims fall more than expected to 502K (AP)

New claims for unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week, evidence the job market is slowly healing as the economy recovers.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DC sniper Muhammad executed for 2002 attacks

JARRATT, Va. (AP) - The mastermind of the 2002 sniper attacks that killed 10 in the Washington, D.C., region has been executed. A prison spokesman says John Allen Muhammad died by injection at 9:11 p.m. Tuesday at Greensville Correctional Center.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I have a friend named Steve

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Unfortunately, Steve is a squirrel. I am pretty sure that he doesn't know we are friends either.

I have a lot of pictures of him. The truth is that I just use Steve as a generic name for all of the squirrels that I run into in my time around town.

I will always call them Steve and get really excited by them. I love knowing that I have little friends named Steve all around the town. It is awesome.

Maybe they aren't my friends. I think that they probably spend more time running away from me than anything else.

I guess that I will eventually get used to it.



Nidal Malik Hasan

Nidal Malik Hasan is creating fear among Americans. Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed many people on a US Army base and wounded dozens more. The big problem is that he is Muslim and now many Americans fear the Muslims they know. They fear sleeper cells and Muslims who claimed to be hiding among us.

People are saying the sleeper cells are infiltrate the military and government. They are doctors and professors at universities. They are business owners and just plain ordinary people. Then one day, they commit the terrorist act that assures them salvation according to Islam.

Even if you banned Islam in this country, they would still exist secretly, not appearing to practice Islam, but still holding on to their belief that death to the infidel (American) would be their greatest act of devotion (as well as getting 20 virgins in the next world).

Is it possible that there are Muslims who live in the United States who love freedom and our country just as we do? Of course it is. Creating fear and bigotry is not good for anyone. But when something happens like did with Nidal Malik Hasan, it is very hard to deal with.



Obama salutes Fort Hood victims, condemns murders (AP)

AP - One by one, President Barack Obama spoke the names and told the stories Tuesday of the 13 people slain in the Fort Hood shooting rampage, honoring their memories even as he denounced the “twisted logic” that led to their deaths.

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Suicide car bomb kills 24 in northwest Pakistan (AP)

AP - A suicide car bomber attacked a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 24 people and illustrating militants’ growing willingness to target civilians in their war against the government.

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'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' : Creativity and controversy

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (out today) looks to test the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable in video games.

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This swine flu thing is scary

The news has been predicting that it is going to grow like weeds this winter. Schools are preparing for what they will do when it hits their school. Businesses are taking precautions. A vaccine is being invented.

But as if that's not enough, now we have scammers out there trying to make money on it all. The news says to watch for scams. Don't buy vaccines online. Don't buy masks that you can't verify are strong, good masks. Don't look for special vitamins. It's all so out of hand. How do we know who we can trust?



Monday, November 9, 2009

After the Berlin Wall: German unity proves elusive

BERLIN | Most Berliners adore their city and are proud that this former symbol of East-West division has become a modern and united capital, as well as one of the world’s most visited places. But 20 years after the wall dividing Berlin fell, the country is still not nearly as unified as the capital, many Berliners and other Germans say. “We all underestimated the challenges,” said Friedrich Merz, a former member of parliament from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union and now chairman of Atlantic Bridge, a nonprofit organization. “It takes much longer to unify a country.

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My Great-Aunt Minnie

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Great-Aunt. I’ve been meaning to write about her ever since starting this blog, as I mentioned in this post (I gave my great-aunt a water buffalo.), but for some reason I never have. She’s now 95 years old and sadly, her health is finally fading and she won’t be around much longer. Maybe this is a good thing, in a way– it must be hard to live so long and feel the pain of losing so many people before your own time comes. My Dad was her nephew and I’m sure she never thought she’d outlive him. But she’s never lost her strong spirit, and she’s actually been a great financial role model in many ways.

Minnie has always been a great aunt, and a great great-aunt, probably because she never had kids of her own and never married. (Perhaps she was discouraged from doing so by seeing her sister pop out six babies in ten years!)

Minnie would have been referred to as a “career girl” in her youth. After graduating from high school, she started working. I don’t know the full details of her early jobs, but I assume they must have been more or less secretarial, as that would have been the norm for that era. At some point she must have shown that she was very capable and not on the marriage track, so she started to be given more responsibility. I remember her telling me she’d worked for a large corporation in the 1940s and was sent to live in New York for several months to set up a new office there. She spent the last 25 or so years of her career working her way up to the position she held until she retired, a very prestigious job that she was the first woman to hold.
I remember visiting her in that office when I was about 8 years old. Minnie always dressed very casually when I’d see her on the weekends, so it was funny to see her wearing a formal skirt suit, with rea! ding glasses on a gold chain around her neck, and I was very impressed to see her doing these important, business-y looking things. Everyone in the office called her “Miss B.” rather than using her full last name. This was back in the days when people tended not to call the boss by his or her first name, so this was actually quite informal, but I think Minnie was the type who could allow that kind of cheekiness while still seeming very authoritative! She is a very warm person, always cheerful and easy-going, but she has a certain sporty toughness about her too– she always used to like to pretend we were boxing right before she’d grab me into a big hug.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but in retrospect, I think it was quite important to me to see a woman running things as someone’s boss. She wasn’t anyone’s mother, she wasn’t a teacher or a nurse or a doctor or a store cashier– I came of age at a time when women already had a lot more options for careers, but other than Minnie, I wasn’t close to anyone who went beyond those roles.

Though Minnie worked hard, she never let the job become her life. She had a group of friends she would take vacations with, spending a week each summer at the beach and traveling all over the world, always bringing back little souvenirs, some of which I still have. She always loved sports, and used to swim and play tennis and golf, and I remember her being really good at bowling too! She also went to Red Sox games and got tickets to the Olympics a few times. Every other weekend, she’d be at my grandmother’s house when my family visited, and every Christmas, she’d be have to be dragged out of the kitchen and forced to eat instead of serving everyone else. She moved back in with her elderly parents to take care of them at the end of their lives, and ended up staying in that apartment, which was rented, until a few years ago. I sometimes wonder why she never bought a house or a condo, but I suspect there was so much history there that she never wanted to mo! ve, and the rent was quite low. The apartment was full of things that my great-grandparents had owned, including a few items I now have in my own home, like a little handmade stool, and an old Saltine cracker tin.

Minnie, of course, grew up during the Depression and like so many others, never lost that frugal mentality. I have no idea what her salary ever was or how she might have invested, but she retired with a pension and I know she must have saved quite a bit of money. Every birthday and Christmas, I’d get $20 or $25 from her, as my many cousins must also have, and I know she gave my father and his sisters larger amounts. When I was in college, I remember her taking me aside once just to give me a $10 bill, “for some pizza,” she said. And another time, when I’d gotten a $75 speeding ticket on my way to visit her and my grandmother, she again cornered me secretly to give me the money to pay the ticket– not that she wanted to encourage me speeding, and not that she was ever the type to spoil anyone– I guess just because it made her happy to do odd little things like that when you wouldn’t expect it.

About 10 years ago, Minnie moved in with my grandmother, and one of my aunts moved in with them. After my grandmother died, her house was sold and my aunts helped Minnie find an assisted living facility. At first, she didn’t want to do it– she was still quite spry and she was horrified at how expensive assisted living was. But as she herself admitted, she was “deaf as a haddock,” and she didn’t want to become a burden to anyone, so she ended up moving to a lovely community where she dove into every activity that was offered: shopping trips, lectures, concerts, fitness classes… Even a few weeks ago she was still going to tai chi regularly because she knew the instructor would be disappointed if she didn’t show up. And here’s another thing one of my aunts told me: Minnie recently said that maybe this coming year, she’d finally give up doing her own taxes and have her lawyer do them instead!

As I grew older, Minnie was always interested in my progress. She was very proud of me when I started to work, and when I got my first business card, she was thrilled when I gave her one. Every time I’ve gotten a new card since, I’ve always given her one. She has always been far more interested in my career than my own parents, and now that I know her time is limited, I find myself wishing I could reach one more big career milestone, just so I could tell her about it. She also has loved hearing about my travels, and whenever I see a sporting event, I tell her about it– she’s even quite tolerant of my having turned into a Yankees fan! In our family, I am pretty much the only female of my generation who followed in her footsteps as the single “career girl” and it’s become a bond between us, something I feel very lucky to have had.


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