Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 20 – Losing Weight and Healthy Eating – 13 Healthy SubstitutesThat Taste Pretty Good.

Well I made it to my 20th Thursday Thirteen, which means I am no longer considered a novice blogger. This week I thought I would focus on healthy living and losing weight by sharing some alternatives foods that might help you to reach weight loss goals without suffering. I believe if you have enough items to substitute for sugar and fat-filled foods, you will be more likely to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I am including web sites where you can go and read the nutritional values of items listed. When commenting please share a healthy item that you have in your diet as I am always looking for variety.

1. VitaBrownie – Made by the Vitalicious Company, this is a decadent dessert that will satisfy your craving for sweets and chocolate. They also make VitaMuffins, muffin tops and cakes.

2. Whey Low Natural Sweetener – A sugar substitute that taste exactly like sugar, No Joke! It has 75% fewer calories, 70 – 80% lower Glycemic Index, and only 1 effective carbohydrate per serving.

3. Butterball Turkey Bacon – If you like bacon, you will probably like turkey bacon. What’s great about it is that it has only 35 calories and 0.2 carbohydrates per slice. Hint: To get the crispy effect fry it in a little extra virgin olive oil.

4. Stonyfield Organic Low-Fat FrozenYogurt – One ½ cup serving has only 150 calories, 2% of your daily fat and 15% of your daily calcium. The yogurt comes in Javalanche, Cookies’N’ Dream, Cream Caramel, Minty Chocolate Chip, and Raspberry White Chocolate Chunk.

5. Fat-Free Organic Milk – There are several brands to choose from. I started out by drinking 2%, then 1%, until I finally got to the fat-free version. Organic milk seems to keep a lot longer than regular milk. It is excellent with the VitaBrownie.

6. Flat Earth Crisps – These flavorful crisp come vegetable and fruit flavors. There is a half serving of fruit or vegetable in every serving and they actually taste good. These chips can satisfy your need for crunchy snacks.

7. Oatmeal – Yep, regular old oatmeal can satisfy your hunger, is low in fat, and helps to lower your cholesterol naturally.

8. Bear Naked Granola & Trail Mix – This stuff is great! If you like granola you will love this. The company boasts of having all natural, bearly processed and utterly naked ingredients that you can pronounce.

9. Walnuts – Limited amounts of walnuts are very nutritious and great tasting. They are packed with minerals and proteins such as magnesium, zinc and selenium. Keep nuts is the refrigerator to avoid spoiling.

10. Organic Microwave Popcorn – This is a great snack sans the butter and salt. Newman’s Organic Popcorn is one brand, but there are others. Consumers concerned about fat consumption will appreciate that no partially hydrogenated oils or trans fatty acids are used.

11. Nancy’s Organic Non-Fat Yogurt - Our fruit on top is a pure delight for those who take pleasure in mixing their own fruit and yogurt. We also have blended yogurts – you need only your spoon to stir up the fruit from the bottom.

2. Southeast Whole Grain & Supply – I was never able to get into the sunflower seeds, I do like pumpkin seeds. This company carries natural seeds and grain, but you can always buy the one in your local market.

3. Frugal Snacks - Many people who want to lose weight claim they can’t afford to purchase healthy foods. However, there are plenty of snack choices that can help you stick to your diet without blowing your budget. For example, you can snack on any of the following choices: apple slices, bananas, dry cereal, baby carrots, grapes, hard boiled eggs, and homemade trail mix made with unsalted almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, pretzels, and chocolate chips.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Patrick Is First Female Indy Car Winner

Danica Patrick became the woman to win an Indy event in the history of the race, edging out 5th season “Dancing with the Stars” winner, Helio Castroneves by 5.8594 seconds. Patrick said. “It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn’t believe it. This is fabulous.” It seems that Patrick was able to lead the pack after other front runners had to make pit stops for fuel.

The 26-year-old Patrick won in her 50th career IndyCar start, taking the lead from Castroneves on the 198th lap in the 200-lap race. At the 2005 Indy 500, she became the first female driver to lead the race en route to a fourth-place finish. It was the best finish by a woman at Indy, and helped her take rookie of the year honors. Patrick finished a career-best seventh in the season standings last year, and was second in the Indy race at Detroit’s Belle Isle.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Supercentenarian Turns 115

Edna Parker, who is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest known person, turns 115 on Sunday. Researchers want to know why she and other supercentenarians (people 110 and older) enjoy such long lives. Scientists who study longevity hope Parker and others who live to 110 or beyond can help uncover the mystery of extreme longevity.

Mrs. Parker’s 59-year-old grandson provided insight on why his grandmother has lived as long as she has by stating that "she's never been a worrier and she's always been a thin person", so maybe that has something to do with it. So essence most of us need to lose some weight and adopt a positive, worry-free attitude. I am sure I won't make it to be a supercentenarian and I don't know if I would want to if it was possible.

On Friday, Parker laughed and smiled as relatives and guests released 115 balloons into sunny skies outside her nursing home. Dressed in pearls, a blue and white polka dot dress and new white shoes, she clutched a red rose during the festivities.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New York Knickerbockers Coached Given The Axe

Isaiah Thomas was fired today after one of the most embarrassing seasons in the New York basketball franchise's history. Thomas couldn’t win with the team he assembled as the organizations president, now he has lost both jobs. The Knicks have experienced a season of listless, dreadful basketball and to add insult to injury, Thomas lost a sexual harassment suit. As in most cases when the teams play badly, the coach is the first one held up to scrutiny. This seems to be a pattern for Thomas who was also unceremoniously fired as coach of the Indiana Pacers a few years ago.

Thomas lost the support of fans who chanted at home games for his dismissal. His players did not seem to be motivated to play for him. They finished the season with a record of 23-59 in their seventh losing season. New team president Donnie Walsh, who took over the job of president from Thomas on April 2nd stated, “I feel like some of the bigger events that happened on the way with Isaiah have overshadowed some of the good things he’s done for the franchise”. Walsh further affirmed that Thomas will still have a position within the organization.

How To Beat David Archuleta

Season 7 of 'American Idol' has felt more like a coronation than a competition, with golden child David Archuleta prepped to sing a syrupy final anthem to the adoring masses. But a foregone conclusion is no fun at all; there must be a way to bring Archie down. So, 'Idol' contestants, here are 10 things to do in order to beat the (seemingly) unbeatable.

1. Consult Reuben – David has an ardent fan base similar to that of the beloved Clay Aiken (teenyboppers, grandmas). And yet, in a hotly contested showdown, Clay lost to Ruben. Exactly what did the Velvet Teddy Bear use to pull out the win? Prayer? Mental voodoo? Even if Reuben doesn't have a specific answer, maybe his winning aura will rub off on you.

2. Don’t Fight the Judges – Talking back doesn't make you sassy, it just makes you sound like a whiny baby. When Simon blasts your song choice or vocals, simply nod and smile sweetly. The more you speak, the better the chance you'll put your foot in your mouth. In fact, play the wounded puppy dog as Simon rips into you ... maybe you'll get the pity vote.

3. Re watch Constantine, Then Do the Opposite – David Cook looks to have the best chance to overtake Archie, yet he's in danger of going bust. Why? His swaggering self-confidence comes across as smug and arrogant. Be careful: Humility always trumps personality. Think of Kelly, Carrie, and Fantasia -- and how grateful they were even to be on the show.

4. Michael Johns Should’ve Taken Off His Shirt - No voting bloc holds more power than teenyboppers -- and David A. has them under his thumb. Winning will require siphoning off some of those nimble-fingered dialing machines. Michael, a hunky dreamboat (with an accent!), wasted a good chance; David C. could still play the bad boy with a heart of gold. Time to break out your best Justin Timberlake impression.

5. Carly Smithson Should Keep Her Shirt On – Carly, your vocal talents are as good as Archie's. But it's time to soften up -- and start by covering up those tattoos. 'Idol' voters like their female winners to be tough, yet graceful. And they love makeovers. Curl your hair, wear a glamorous gown ... and then see Steps 8 and 10.

6. Bring a Lovable Relative to Cheer You On – Be it a cute kid (Fantasia), a devoted mom (Elliott Yamin) or a whole loving family (Chris Daughtry), an aspiring 'Idol' needs plenty of backup -- endearing relatives who can gush about you, so you don't have to. Just don't bring anyone scary (Carly's facially tattooed hubby) or too hot (Shyamali Malakar), or they'll distract attention away from you.

7. Overcome Obstacles – Just as Kelly rose above financial hardship, Fantasia survived sexual abuse and Elliott sang despite being 90% deaf in his right ear, Archuleta overcame ... vocal paralysis. Everyone loves an underdog, right? So, comb through your past for a moment when you conquered adversity. Even standing up to a bully in third grade will do.

8. Sing A Classic Ballad – We thought Elliott had the Season 5 finale in the bag ... until Katharine McPhee knocked our socks off with a gorgeous rendition of 'Over the Rainbow.' While rock and country have been on the rise, nothing makes an 'Idol' star like a soaring ballad. Remember Fantasia's 'Summertime'? Of course you do. We rest our case.

9. Get A Catchy Fan Group Name – The most popular contestants' fans have come up with great names: Claymates, the Soul Patrol and the Blaker Girls. Now, David's got the Arch Angels. The Castronauts (Jason) and the Aussie Posse (Michael) are worthy monikers, but Brooke, Carly and David C. need to do some serious name-storming -- and fast.

10. Shed A Fake Tear Or Two - We knew Jordin Sparks was going to win as soon as that single tear ran down her cheek as she belted out 'This Is My Now.' The emotion need not be genuine; it just has to seem like it. Voters want to believe this experience is meaningful for you. So buy some Visine and think about your dog dying. But don't blubber too often. When it comes to tears, a little goes a long way.

Top 5 On Friday - 171

From Music Memoirs, Top 5 On Friday - Week 171: Top 5 break up songs.

1. Brokenhearted – Brandy and Boyz to Men

2. Careless Whisper – George Michael and Wham

3. One More Night – Phil Collins

4. Tainted Love – Soft Cell

5. I Wish It Would Rain – Temptations

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 19 - In Praise of “In Living Color” – Thirteen Characterizations on the Show

On April 15, 1990 'In Living Color' premiered on the Fox network. This landmark series was created, written, and executive produced by Keenan Ivory Wayans, who also starred on the show. This sketch comedy helped to launch the career of Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, Tommy Davison, and later Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Ann Inaba (Dancing With the Stars) as well as the talented Wayans clan.

From the very beginning regular viewers knew the show would controversial, innovative, and dare I say something that had never been seen before on network television. The show made you think by poking fun at some serious and not so serious topics. From the theme song by Heavy D to the dances choreographed by Rosie Perez and performed by “The Fly Girls” the show was an absolute winner. In tribute of the eighteen year anniversary, I would like to remember and share some of the characterizations introduced on the show.

1. Fire Marshall Bill – Jim Carrey is the inept fire marshal, who starts more fires than he extinguishes.

2. Benita Betrell – Kim Wayans portrays neighborhood gossips who know and tells all.

3. Hey Mon – The Headley’s are a Jamaican family that believes work the most important priority. Father has fifteen jobs, while mother has 9 jobs besides her housework.

4. Snaky Shack – The restaurant where you will find the menus right next to the roach motel.

5. Homeboy Shopping Network – Keenan and Damon Wayans as Wiz and the Ice Man who attempt to sell stolen goods to the consumer.

6. Antoine – The bum who is a victim of society and an entertainer.

7. Cephus and Ressie Maywether – No singing, jheri curl wearing, wannabe entertainers.


8. Bob Jackson – Jim Carrey portrays the black belt who runs a self-defense class for women.

9. Jheri’s Kids – Jim Carrey as Jheri Lewis, an entertainer who holds telethons to stamp out jheri curl syndrome.

10. Go On Girl! - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah portrays author and talk show host Shawanda Harvey.

1. I Write A Fast Song – Kim Wayans does a send up of singer Tracey Chapman, who looks out the window and “write a fast song” about the happenings in the neighborhood.

2. Homey the Clown – Damon Wayans plays the disgruntled clown who always utters the catch phrase “Homey don’t play that”.

3. Men on Films, Art, Books – Blaine Edwards and Antoine Meriwether are two gay critics who give their view on the latest offerings in the world of art.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday Tunes #29

From Music Memoirs Word Association Week. Remember name the first band/ artist/song/ album/instrument that comes to mind when you see these words.

Drum: Funky Drummer - James Brown

River: River Deep, Mountain High - The Supremes and The Four Tops

Sea: Too Many Fish in the Sea - The Marvelettes

Sand: Castle in the Sand - Little Stevie Wonder

Travel: Travelin Light - Queen Latifah

Time: Time Passages - Al Stewart

Journey: Up, Up, and Away - Fifth Dimension

Number: Call Me (I Got Your Number) Tina Marie, feat. Rick James

Theme: Love Theme - Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra

Magic: Do You Believe in Magic? - Lovin' Spoonful

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Jackson Family Woes

Recently I saw a PBS reunion of the Osmond family, which made me think about the Jackson family and how they had the world in the palm of their hands back in the 60's, 70's and 80's. A few months ago I posted a story about a reunion tour that was supposedly in the works. Now I don't know if that will happen, although it probably ought to. It would help with their financial woes.

Stiffed by their superstar brother Michael and plagued by decades of bad fiscal decisions, the once-mighty Jackson family is barely scraping by, with one brother stocking groceries, another repairing car and others living at home with mom while hoping for their sister Janet's next handout.

They have fallen far from their days as sequin-studded stage stars who could rake in seven-figure paydays for a single performance. Then they were the Jackson Five, the undisputed kings of Motown, a Berry Gordy-led, bell-bottomed global phenomenon. Their first four singles rocketed to the top of the charts, four albums went platinum, and the band of brothers sold more than 100 million albums, second only to the Beatles, while pioneering a multimedia empire that spanned radio, TV, cartoons and magazines.

Family patriarch Joseph Jackson, 79, spends most of his waking hours conjuring up schemes he hopes will replenish a bank account that once had more money than the FDIC cared to insure. Peddling musical girl groups in Las Vegas and a book about his family in Germany, Joseph, despite evidence to the contrary, is not convinced that time and the music industry has passed him by.

"We can get back out there and set the world on fire," he told The Post last week. "If the Rolling Stones can still rake in the money, so, too, can my boys."

Like their days growing up in hardscrabble Gary, Ind., the Jacksons are approaching poverty. Tough times have the clan recalling how the six boys and three girls shared a shingled home with a two-car garage, when Joseph worked in a steel mill and mother Katherine, 77, scoured thrift shops to clothe her brood.

But the beauty belies the family's dark fiscal troubles - workers often go months without a paycheck, and Janet Jackson, 41, the new breadwinner in the family, purchased a Vegas home for her mother in anticipation of her eventually losing Hayvenhurst.

How did their fortunes crumble? A slew of bad investments, poor advice, bankruptcy, stubborn pride, divorces, IRS debt, child support and a brother, Michael, who would rather give $1 million to Marlon Brando than do a concert tour or record to help make his brothers whole again.

The family's downfall is not entirely Michael's fault, others argue. The Gloved One footed their bills for years. But his generosity came at a devastating price: The King of Pop used his vast power and influence to prevent his siblings from plying the trade that led to such mega-hits as "I Want You Back," "The Love You Save" and "ABC."

The family filed for Chapter 11 protection in 1997, listing debts of more than $45 million following the collapse of Jackson Communications Inc., which was started by Jermaine. Only Michael, Janet and sister La Toya were spared from the many lawsuits connected to JCI.

Janet is said to be worth upward of $150 million, while controversial sister La Toya, 52, is a millionaire. Rebbie, 57, the oldest, has been married for more than 35 years to a successful businessman she met in Gary, and the two live in an exclusive Las Vegas enclave.

More broken promises followed Jacko's acquittal.

"Michael said after the trial ends, and we know he is going to walk, that we are definitely going out on tour," Jermaine said. "We are going to set the world on fire." Instead Michael fled to the Middle East. Randy Jackson, who persuaded several friends to remortgage their homes, used the cash to help pay Michael's legal and other expenses. Randy said he was left holding the bag when Michael fled to Bahrain. When Michael returned to the States, taking up residence in Las Vegas in December 2006, Randy tried to confront him, but Michael would not have it. A desperate Randy charged the compound housing Michael, but bodyguards stopped him.

"We are willing now to go out and do some things without [Michael]," one of the brothers said recently. "We have to."

This is how family members stand today:

Joseph Jackson, 79 and Katherine Jackson, 77

Dad hustles various girl groups in Las Vegas. Mom is still a stay-at-home housewife and the only family member in contact with Michael. Both have previously filed for bankruptcy

Janet Jackson, 41

The current family breadwinner. She bought her mom a Vegas home in anticipation of losing the family's mansion, Hayvenhurst, to foreclosure. Like their Neverland colleagues, workers at Hayvenhurst have not been paid for months.

La Toya Jackson, 52

Family turncoat who declared Michael guilty during the 1993 molestation case, she earns a living mostly in Europe and in the UAE judging beauty and singing contests. She lives with a wealthy boyfriend in Beverly Hills and has little contact with her siblings.

Rebbie Jackson, 57

The oldest, she's married to successful businessman Nathaniel Brown.

Tito Jackson, 55

Formed a blues band several years ago and plays at small venues for $500 to $1,500 a gig.

Michael Jackson, 49

On the verge of losing Neverland ranch as well as the family's Encino, Calif., home. He's hiding out in Las Vegas and repeatedly makes promises to his brothers while sabotaging any attempts by them to ply their musical trade.

Randy Jackson, 46

Randy does odd jobs like changing tires to support himself. He was Michael's business manager during the 2005 molestation trial but ran into serious problems with friends after he persuaded three people to take out lines of credits against their homes to help Michael pay his attorney fees and Michael stiffed them.

Marlon Jackson, 51

Lives in San Diego, where he works stocking groceries at a Vons supermarket. He fell on hard times three years ago when he was forced to leave his foreclosed home and move into an Extended Stay America hotel with his wife, Carol.

Jackie Jackson, 56

The oldest son started an Internet clothing business and is trying to produce records by his sons. Nothing has panned out.

Jermaine Jackson, 54

Splits time between the parents' Hayvenhurst mansion and his girlfriend's home in the San Fernando Valley. With more than $5 million in federal, state and other liens against him and a 1995 bankruptcy filing, he doesn't work or have a regular income.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 18 - Thirteen Celebrities Without Makeup

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? Ever have one of those days when you beat up on yourself because you felt unattractive? Have you ever looked at the Hollywood's rendition of women and found yourself coming up way short of America's idea of beauty. If only we could look like Cameron Diaz or Julia Roberts then everything would be alright. NOT! Get a load of some of our "icons of beauty" sans their makeup. Just goes to show you that they are no different than the rest of the women in the world.

1. Chalize Theron - Can you say Monster?

2. Christina Ricci - I have never seen her look like the picture on the right.

3. Drew Barrymore - At least the photo looks like her.

4. Calista Flockhart - Ally McBeal eat your heart out.

5. Cameron Diaz - How about opening up a bottle of proactive!

6. Halle Berry - Not bad, comparatively speaking.

7. Julia Roberts - Pretty (or average) Woman?

8. Lisa Kudrow - Whoa Lisa! Who let the dogs out?

9. Pamela Anderson - Is this who Kid Rock and Tommy Lee was fighting over?

10. Alicia Silverstone - She looks like she just got out of jail.

11. Penelope Cruz - If she ran a comb through her hair, she would be alright.

12. Renee Zellweger - She looks like she just took a bite out of a lemon. Bridget Jones look out.

13. I am not revealing the name of last, very famous celebrity. Guess Who She Is?

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!