The Agonies of the Damned

I know I’ve said this before, about something else (I don’t remember what). And I know it’s not news to parents.

But if I may be permitted to not only repeat myself, but state the obvious, because it never fails to surprise me:

I experience more pain when painful things happen to my kids than when they happen to me.

Now I know that’s a big dramatic buildup for a discussion of a topic that may seem trivial to many: the underattended birthday party.

Mack doesn’t even want to go into specifics, except to say it happened to someone in my vicinity of late, and I couldn’t take it. It was five solid hours of sheer torture.

This is why Mack doesn’t even HAVE birthday parties for myself anymore. Mack doesn’t want to know how many friends he has left. Mack doesn’t want the truth about who really gives a crap about Mack.

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: “Mack can’t handle the truth!”

So I just go out for dinner with Mrs. Daddy, to a nice restaurant.

And I love this ritual, actually. Mrs. Daddy pays. It’s still much, much cheaper than having a dinner party, so the sky’s the limit.

And someone else does all the work, man. Throwing a party is a lot of work, I don’t know if you’ve noticed. It takes hours to get ready and hours to clean up the next day.

Go to a restaurant they do all the cooking and cleaning.

I’d talk more about this topic but even though I am talking about it I don’t want to talk about it.

If you’ve ever attended, or even worse thrown, a party to which almost no one shows up, you will understand the above cryptic statements.

It’s sheer torture. And you can’t leave. That would make the host feel even worse. You have to stand there, squirming.

It’s agony.

TGIM: Hectic Family Weekends

Montrealers used to mock Torontonians, saying they only cared about money and lawn sprinklers and their little petit bourgeois existences; whereas Montrealers cared about culture, friends, food, had passionate arguments about art, they dress better, have more fun nightlife and esprit and joi de vivre, etc.

All of which may be true: my main observation when I go to Montreal is how many people wear turtlenecks. And what beautiful turtlenecksso carefully chosen! Certainly, though it may have suffered setbacks elsewhere, the turtleneck is alive and well in Montreal!

The ultimate sniffing dis Montrealers used to drop on Torontonians (and perhaps still do, Mack’s not sure) is that Torontonians had so little clue what to do with themselves on weekends that they would say: “Thank God it’s Monday.”

If that is indeed true then perhaps Mack at long last is turning into a true Torontonian.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the weekends and enjoy spending time with the whole Mack Daddy brood (three boys, ages 6, 9, and 12).

But holy freakin’ hockey puck the weekends are busy!

I keep waiting for downtime to kick in, but a strange inversion has taken place and our weekends have become busier than our weeks. Not only that, we have to get up just as early if not earlier! It’s sick!

The main culprit is hockey, methinks. This weekend, our middle child, J.J., had not one, not two but three hockey-related events: two games and a practice. And often his games (I think because he’s a kid and is down the food-chain a bit in terms of ice-times) begin at an unholy hour, like 8 a.m.!

For each hockey thing he has to suit up in his gladiatorial gear, be driven to rink, etc. Throw in the activities of the other two; the need for the youngest to be babysat aka “parented” (i.e. supervised, fed, and amused); the need for grocery shopping, food preparation, a certain amount of minimal house-tidying, and Mack and Ms. Daddy are both busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest for the entire 48-hour experience.

Of course I miss it all when Monday hits, and my theory is that when we grow older Ms. Daddy and I will miss “the busy years.” We’ll miss being busy and stretched so tight we twang.

But I confess I feel a slight twinge of TGIM action when Monday rolls around, just as Montrealers accuse. Mack’s a writer, so I spend my weeks in quiet contemplation, alone, tapping on a keyboard and thinking and musing on the human condition. If I crack a book over a steaming bowl of pho at lunch I can even justify it: “research.”

My week-days are very calm and peaceful, in other words.

It’s Ms. Daddy you should feel sorry for. She’s a television news reporter. She runs around all weekend, then during the week races out of the door where a camera truck is often awaiting her, blasts off, and zooms all over town, poking her mic in people’s faces, always racing against the clock, trying to get the story.

I should get her a coupon for some time at a spa. She’s earned it.

The only question is: when would she ever use it?

Answer: she wouldn’t.

Spas stress her out, she says. Her mind’s always racing the whole time, thinking of all the things she really should be doing.

Poor baby. For her, truly, it never stops. Still, I think she likes it. It’s the engaged life, baby: always on the run!

My dear friend Curt

I lost a friend about a year and a half ago. His name was Curt, and I had known him for 11-12 years. He helped me get started on a road to self discovery and self help. I may have lost him, but I am thankful every single day that I had the chance to have known him for the time I did. I feel I would not be where I am today without him. He was the spark that got me started on the amazing and unbelievable path I am on now. If you would have told me 2 years ago I’d be where I am now, I would not have believed you. People I went to high school with are just amazed, and I usually leave them with their jaw dropped. I owe all this to my dear friend Curt, because I feel I may never have started on this road if it wasn’t for him.

Background Information:

I had a deep social anxiety all of my life. I has panic attacks all of the time and wasn’t ever comfortable around people, unless I was very close to them. Simple everyday things were nerve wrecking to me. My friend also had a social anxiety, and we both would often talk and discuss it, and we both started building up positive thoughts about it.

Soon after, he was killed in a car accident. Which, really changed my view on it instantly. The positive things we discussed, became beliefs for me. I then started to apply that optimistic way of thinking to all areas of my life. I now have very few traces of ever having a social anxiety, and am improving myself in every area every day. I went from not being able to talk to anyone without having a mild panic attack, to waiting tables and loving it.

Getting over myself

I came across at and found this interesting post, here is it as below:

I intend to project confidence and not let old fears or worries get in the way of being successful and facing the everyday stuff that sometimes seems insurmountable. I stop blocking myself from moving forward. I move forward and face authority figures without worry, concern or fear and clean up the old so that new wonderful, peaceful experiences come into my life effortlessly.

Supporting Actions:

expect good reactions
be confident
be strong
know my selfworth
no self pity or making excuses

Background Information:

I have some license/registration issues that have to be cleared up and could probably be done with a phone call. I get all nervous and tweaked when I think of the issue so I will do my EFT and move forward. A PHONE CALL! Just do it! I also have to inform my bosses of something I’m picturing them meeting with resistance. I know that’s probably just me projecting on them and it will be fine but somehow I feel as though they are going to be upset with me, even though this has nothing to do with me or my personal choice. Just something that will perhaps inconvenience them briefly. I need to stop putting up my own barriers and just confront any challenges when or if they present themselves.

Here are some comments:

I pray you feel good, and know most people get like you with authority figures. My thoughts are of you feeling relaxed and confident broaching the issues and making the phone calls and of you feeing really good and happy. God Bless

Yes, I’ve been there many times. You know you should do it but you tell yourself it doesn’t really matter because you are afraid of ruffling some feathers. I been in situations like this countless times. I hope the thoughts that others are with you will drive you to make that call and do whatever else is necessary.

Biotin Hair Growth Results

Sure we all need to see results on other people before we can actually go ahead and blindly purchase a product that not a lot of folks have actually heard of so far, or one that has not been strictly tested in certified laboratories. But the truth is, as long as we know our friends have used it and they are more than happy and content with the results, there’s really no need to go ahead and wait a great deal of time before an official comes carrying out the good news. So when it comes to hair growth products, for instance the same pretty much goes. You have to face it; you too would be tempted to try something such as Biotin vitamins, provided you knew that there are actually some results that can actually be seen with your own eyes.

Biotin hair growth results are nothing but the visible effects of using Biotin vitamins or Biotin based shampoos that are said to be efficient when it comes to either preventing hair loss or aiding hair into growing at a faster pace. Also, it is part of the Vitamin B complex that is also knows to have some proven effects on nail growth. So you might be able to kill two birds with one stone, provided you are willing to give these products a try.

If you are able to see some amazing results with your bare eyes, you should be able to personally convince yourself of the actual effects of these products and use them on your own self. The fact that doctors seem to prescribe Biotin as a great vitamin intended for hair loss recovery is another strong argument that comes to lobby for the effectiveness of Biotin. But the truth is these results do not come off easy at all. Following a strict Biotin based treatment is definitely going to involve going through some other dietary changes also. Your entire body is going to have to go through a cleansing procedure, so that you can know for a fact that it is going to be best absorbed. Writing down all visible results is going to make you feel a lot more confidence tin your progress. Plus, you should probably ask for your friends; chart, provided they kept any, so that you can try and figure out whether your own progress is slower that theirs; you should compare body weight, age and try to figure out if you are in fact using the right dosage of Biotin or if you should enhance it a little, so it can provide you with some superior outcomes.

If you are not certain of the fact that you shall be able to do all of these, it might be better to go see a physicians, preferably a dermatologist and ask for the right dosage of Biotin that can offer you the results you are expecting to see in a certain amount of time – a few weeks or a few months.

How to Grow Your Hair:

Losing Weight Tips – Shedding weight permanently

There’s no hard and fast rule about losing weight. The losing weight tips are readily available at our finger tips. However, it’s so sad to see a lot of people going after the complex ways which does not even guaranty hundred percent success. Most overweight people who do not feel good with their weight, don’t get proper advice and counseling about healthy weight loss programs, thereby they end up with physical problems and complications.

Nonetheless, In this twenty first century, everything has become so instant, instant noodles, instant beverage, instant information online however, when it comes to weight loss, instant may not be  the most effective and may not be completely healthy. Since it has to do with your well-being, consulting a physician will be a smart attempt.

Due to cognate experience and expertise, I’ve discovered that choosing the natural process works wonders and faster. It’s also safe, stress-free and healthy. In essence, the unique and weight loss tips that are in this article have been carried out, therefore, they will absolutely guaranty that you do not gain back the weight you have shed. By following the tips you will tend to shed weight in the right way and right places. Making you to look not just trimmer but fit and  healthy.

Another vital point to note is that your metabolism is a biochemical process that takes place in your entire body. It assists in breaking down nutrients in your bloodstream which leads to the addition of more muscle mass, bringing about a greater amount of energy, signifying that you get rid of more fat, especially the bad fat which are loaded with free radicals.

If you have an active lifestyle, the large volume of energy within you will definitely be consumed by the billions of cells in your body. For those who are not so active due to their career type or lifestyle, it’s high time you started one else you would not shed so much and might even end up adding more fat. To start an active life, begin with your family or loved ones by cycling or jogging round your neighborhood every morning. Swimming is another very good source of activity that helps with weight loss, climb the staircase instead of making use of the elevator, learn how to dance ballet, salsa, samba etc. Engage in a sport of your choice. Make sure you carry out one or two of these activities daily and not monthly.  That wouldn’t work! Practicing all these will help you to start an active and healthy lifestyle which can meaningfully speed up your metabolism .  Now let’s start with the losing weight tips.

The Number one step is that it doesn’t really come across to most overweight people that the first safe process of losing weight before delving into any other thing is getting proper medical advice. I will refer to it as an open secret because a lot of people do neglect this needed counsel. Everybody has been bitten deep by the bug of advanced technology and modern civilization which has turned the world into a global village. Instant has become the watchword of everybody. Technology is a good thing but that does not mean you should accept everything you see on net and under-value the necessary help you need. Visiting your physician will enable them to carry out a thorough study on your health status and decide exactly what is causing the overweight. Seeing your doctor will make you to discover the where the problem is coming from and be able to tackle the problem.

2. Though I have already stated part of this earlier when I talked about getting an active life. Because this self-monitoring technique is so important in your weight loss process, I’m going to be expatiating on it. Take the stairs as opposed to the elevator. Recent research has shown that eating lots of dark chocolate offers favorable health benefits due to the flavonoids found in cocoa. But the Harvard study only recommends it “three times a month.”  Almost all sources of dark chocolate are high calorie candy bars, and the health hazards of being overweight far outweigh the benefits that eating dark chocolate  offers. Note that milk chocolate and white chocolate do not offer the same nutritional benefits as dark chocolate. Alternate coffee intake with tea. Keep your life active by going out for sight-seeing with friends and family to the zoo, parks, beaches etc Try going to the spa and gym with friends or family, it’s fun being on the treadmill. The result of all these activities is visible by making them a regular habit.

3.Overtime, researchers have purported that less water intake results into weight gain. The simple reason is because the kidneys can’t function properly without enough water. When they don’t work to capacity, some of their loads are transferred onto the liver. One of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidney’s work then it means it can’t function properly. As a result, it metabolizes less fat, more fat get stored in the body and weight loss ceases.

The overweight person needs more water than a slender person. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, then the overweight person needs more water.

Water also prevents the sagging skin which comes after weight loss — shrinking cells buoyed by water which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and glowing.

4.Fruits and vegetables are also part of the natural ways of losing weight without stress. They contain nutritional benefits that fight against diseases and also help to reduce weight. If you religiously abide to all the losing weight tips you will see the wonders that will be performed on you.

Is there such a thing as clean coal

The abundance of coal makes it the most logical choice for energy independence, however the impact of coal on greenhouse gas emissions makes it a troublesome choice. The United States has more coal than the rest of the world has oil, with enough coal underground to provide energy for 200 to 300 years, compared with roughly 100 years of oil. We’re not going to break away quickly and easily from our coal habit, with more than 600 coal powered plants in the United States, and roughly half of our energy coming from this source.

Coal is becoming an increasingly contentious issue among environmental and energy factions, but with this abundance, it’s going to be frankly impossible to put a close on this energy source. Coal is troublesome because of the sulfur and nitrogen that are released as it burns – combining with water in the atmosphere to form acid rain. Microscopic coal particulates are also released into the air, which is an issue for human health because it can lead to asthma and other respiratory diseases. And, there’s the issue of carbon emissions, so called greenhouse gases, that are contributing to the warming of our planet. All three of these issues must be addressed if we’re going to make coal a more sustainable energy source.

Stripping Chemicals

Coal found in the eastern United States can contain as much as 10 percent of sulfur, while western coal is cleaner with less than 1 percent. In order to rid coal of this acid-making matter, it needs to be cleaned. One step is pre-processing plants that crush coal and put it through a water bath where the coal floats and the sulfur particles sink. It also takes scrubbers in the smoke stacks of power plants to bind to the remaining and combusted sulfur and eliminate it before it can escape into the air.

The issue of nitrogen in coal, which combines with oxygen to for nitrogen oxide (NOx), causes visible brown clouds around our cities. To combat NOx, scientists have devised a two-stage combustion where smaller amounts of oxygen are introduced in relation to the amount of fuel, which makes it tough for the nitrogen to combine with oxygen to form NOx. This method has proven to reduce NOx by 50%.

Both of these steps have been improvements over how we burn coal to make energy, but they’re not good enough to call coal clean.


A more efficient means of stripping coal of contaminants is to turn it into gas. Blasting hot, but not burning, coal with steam turns it back to a mixture of component parts – carbon monoxide and hydrogen – both gases. These gases are then burned in turn to spin turbines at the first pass, and then the hot gas exhaust from this process can be channeled for second-stage energy generation by turning water into steam that turns another turbine.

One of the best outcomes of gasification is that scientists have come up with ways to strip more than 90 percent of the sulfur and dirt particles from coal through this process. The detailed diagram of the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant process below gives you a sense of the complexities of this process.
IGCC Diagram

Cutting Carbon

While gasification solves a few of the problems, there’s still the issue of carbon. Coal is the second leading source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, a key contributor to global warming. The prevailing answer to dealing with carbon dioxide emissions is called carbon sequestration, the process of pumping the carbon dioxide gas underground for long term storage. Carbon sequestration projects are now underway all around the world.

Our ability to store carbon underground with out any harmful side effects is still untested. Some scientists fear leakage through sils, the contamination of aquifers that might harm drinking water, and the potential for geological instability. The technical feasibility will take time and testing to fully understand.

What is Clean?

Even with all of these scientific advancements, coal is inherently a dirty energy source that needs to be mined, hauled and handled with biproducts such as ash and mercury to be dealt with after energy is extracted. When compared with harnessing the power of sun, wind or water, coal is definitely at a clean energy disadvantage.

Coal has thrived for decades because it is plentiful and cheap to burn. Efficiency hasn’t really factored into the process until recently, because we can no longer tolerate harmful practices that jeopardize the longevity of humankind’s existence on our planet. Now that all the costs of this energy source are becoming  apparent, we’re going to need to break out all of our scientific and engineering skills to make coal cleaner even if it can’t be considered clean.


Cilantro – pronounced [sih-LAHN-troh]
This member of the carrot family is also referred to as Chinese Parsley and Coriander.  It is actually the leaves (and stems) of the Coriander plant. Cilantro has a very pungent odor and is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cooking.   The Cilantro leaves look a bit like flat Italian parsley and in fact are related.

Jalapeno Peppers
Jalape?os have become an American institution and a basic feature of sports stadium and bar fare. In these settings jalape?os are used to spice up nachos or are deep-fried after being stuffed with cheese. They are also a mainstay in Mexican, Indian, and Thai cuisine.

Selecting the ripeness of mangos can be determined by either smelling or squeezing. A ripe mango will have a full, fruity aroma emitting from the stem end. Mangos can be considered ready to eat when slightly soft to the touch and yielding to gentle pressure, like a ripe peach. The best flavored fruit have a yellow tinge when ripe; however, color may be red, yellow, green, orange or any combination.
Mortar and Pestle
A mortar is a bowl shaped container made of a hard wood, marble, pottery, or stone. The pestle is a bat shaped tool that is used to grind inside the mortar (bowl) and pulverize grains, herbs, and other food substances as well as medicines.

Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Greek and Italian cuisines. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.
Serrano Peppers
The chile that’s smaller and hotter than a Jalapeno. The Serrano’s life cycle resembles a leaf’s: These small, skinny, pointy chiles are about five times hotter than jalapenos.

There are many different kinds of tomatoes used in salsas:
Ripe Tomatoes
Green Tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes
Plum Tomatoes

Abstract Landscape Haunting Beauty

Wheat Field with Cypresses (1889)Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

In most people, abstract landscape artwork can inspire these kinds of feelings and more. Abstract landscapes can be about any subject ranging from weather, seascapes, natural scenes, mountains, trees or anything else the artist fancies. But how do these abstract landscapes differ from other regular sceneries? In landscape paintings, the artist simply translates what he sees in the physical world on to his canvas. However, in abstract landscape paintings, the image that finally appears on the canvas is the artist’s representation of the scene or the view. The artists can also use skillful brush strokes to create chimeras of depths and heights. Besides the landscapes, you can get paintings depicting cityscapes, hardscapes, skyscapes and moonscapes.

To become an abstract artist you need to have an innate understanding of colors and art. You also need to have the mind of a poet to interpret what you see in the world in your own unique way.

Do You Know Your Colors?

Your abstract landscape painting should have a balanced composition, the right kind of texture and tone. Besides, you should also know how to take care of aspects like tension, contrast and harmony. There have been several painters who have made a name for themselves in the field, Barnett Newman and Sean S is quite famous in this genre.

These kinds of paintings are all about evoking the emotions of your viewers through the right blend of colors, lines and strokes. Regardless of whether you create your own abstract painting or buy a masterpiece, a landscape painting helps enhance the interior of your home and work place. Although there are many masterpieces available in this genre, most of them are quite expensive, thankfully, these days, you can get a number of reproductions that can equally enhance your home or office on a budget.