Monday, April 30, 2012

Z...The Bronx Zoo

The very first job I ever had was in the Bronx Zoo.  No, my job wasn’t to feed the animals, although that would have been cool.  My job was as a busboy in one of the eateries in the park called the “Kiosk.”  The job wasn’t a glamorous one… in fact it was downright dirty!  But I was young and I didn’t really care about that.  I just loved working in the zoo!

Like many people, I’ve always been interested in animals.  To me, the creatures we share this planet with are fascinating in all sorts of ways.  From the imposing family of big cats to elephants, polar bears, reptiles and birds, animals are beautiful and intriguing creatures.  Though many people may look upon zoos as a negative thing, keeping animals in captivity mainly for the pleasure of humans, I think zoos serve a valuable purpose.  Zoos allow us to see magnificent creatures we would normally never be able to see up close and personal, and to both learn about and appreciate, as well.

One of the things I loved best about working for the zoo was having it all to myself early in the day.  I’d have to be at work by 9AM to prepare the Kiosk for its 11AM opening, which usually took an hour.  The whole crew had their “lunch hour” from 10 till 11 and almost every day we’d go exploring together.  We’d check out the “World of Darkness” one day, “Jungle World” the next, the sea lion pool on another day…it was always great fun because there was never anybody around that early in the morning. 

The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest and most famous zoos in the world.  The park is situated on 265 acres within the larger Bronx Park, which includes the New York Botanical Gardens right across the street.    The zoo contains a wide variety of habitats and exhibits, both indoor and outdoor, featuring more than 4,000 animals.  

Though it’s difficult to get through the whole place in one day, the Bronx Zoo is well worth a visit during any stay in New York City.  The park is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day.  Wednesdays are “suggested donation” days, which attract a lot of folks, so be wary of this should you plan a visit. 

For more information on the Bronx Zoo, visit their website below.

Image Sources: 

Song of the Day - Forever Young - Rod Stewart

I had this song in my head the whole time I was writing last night's late "Y" post and so of course I had to post it today. It's really a beautiful and uplifting song and one I had forgotten all about until last night. If you were around in 1988 you're sure to remember this one from the great Rod Stewart.  Enjoy and have a great, great Monday!  Oh, and check out the lyrics below the video, too.  Beautiful!


Forever Young - The Definitive Rod Stewart

Forever Young

May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
with a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
and in my heart you will remain
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young
Forever Young

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young ,Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
For, Forever Young, Forever Young

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Y is for Youth

I probably could have done this post under the letter "A" for age, but since youth is really where it's at these days, I'll settle for this as my "Y" topic.  There's an old saying that goes, "Youth is wasted on young people," and I wholeheartedly agree with that.  Having had the 47 years of life experience that I've had, I feel I know a lot more than I did when I was say, twenty-something, and if I had my youth now...ooh I'd be all over this life!

So much can be said about the topic of youth and being young I'm not sure where to begin.  First of all, I believe that age is nothing but a number and how young you are depends on how young you feel and how young you present yourself.  I like to think that I am a young 47 year old...I'm in the best physical shape of my life, I'm pretty "in" when it comes to music, fashion, etc., and I'm slightly more prone to taking chances than a lot of my peers.

Taking chances is something that I think is something that separates being young and old.  Younger people tend to take more chances in life than the rest of us, and by taking chances I'm talking about doing something out of the ordinary, spur of the moment, a little crazy.  I'm sure anyone reading this can remember a time or two in your life when you did something so crazy that you would never entertain doing now.  These times serve as good memories and are the essence of living.

The chances I take are not like those that young people take because, well for one thing, my experiences in life tell me that going to an all-nite rave and taking drugs up the wazoo is probably not the best decision I could make. But I do still take chances in my life that are a lot less severe than the ones I took when I was younger.  Things like clubbing, going into the city, taking trips on my own, things like that, these are the chances I take in life...trying to keep myself out there.

Many of my friends don't do these things as often...some of them are settled down with partners, and the single ones have "played this game already."  So maybe that's why I feel young, because of my situation.  I'm almost five years into being single and forty-something and I'm still trying to sell some of those unused oats, I dunno.

Still, in a lot of ways I am still forty-something.  Getting older is something none of us can prevent, and though many try their darndest to prolong that as long as possible, I cannot afford Botox or plastic surgery so a little face cream and exercise is all I've got.  I'm not as prone to staying out as late as I did even just a year ago, keeping in shape takes more work than it did before, hair falls out where I want it and grows where I don't, and the aches and pains of forty-seven years slow me down sometimes...but I still consider myself young.

As I live through the rest of the days of this life, however long that may be, I want to stay as young as I can.  I can't stop the physical realm of aging, of course, gravity and time takes care of that, but when I'm 50, 60 or even 70 years old, I still want to get out on that dance floor like everybody's watching, and I still want to feel the wind in my face and the butterflies in my stomach as I navigate the hills of the tallest of roller coasters.  I want to experience as much as I can from life, as long as I am able to.  That's what youth is, to me anyway.

Image Source: i-must-b-butter-bc-im-on-a-roll

April 29th, 2012: Central Park; more Ziggy times; Let's Go Rangers

It’s been awhile since I last updated anything personal on here and since I’m up early enough and with a clear head, I figured I’d catch up now.  It’s been a busy month so far, both at work and at home, and today promises no let up.  The weather here in New York has cooled down quite a bit from what it had been, but it’s been beautiful nonetheless.  Since it’s Sunday, a day off, I need to get outside sooner rather than later…

Central Park

This Thursday I will be taking my students on a field trip to New York City’s Central Park.  The trip is going to be a cool one, with an awesome scavenger hunt built in.  In the past several weeks I’ve been doing a lot of research on the park, and even though I’ve been there plenty of times before, I learned a lot about the place.  Yesterday I took a test run to scope out the things I’ve read about so I can prepare for the trip.

The weather in NYC was absolutely gorgeous yesterday, making it a great time to go into Central Park.  There are so many things to see there, and I wanted to catch most of them while I was there.  I arrived at the park around noonish, and meandered my way through many of the beautiful pathways that wind their way around the place.  As it was such a beautiful day, the place was teeming with activity and only served to remind me of how much I want to live in the city.

I visited the Central Park Zoo, Bethesda Terrace, the statue of Balto the sled dog, Belvedere Castle, Sheep Pasture, and so many other places I can’t even remember it all.  Here are a few photos I took so you can appreciate the wonderful beauty that exists right in the middle of Manhattan…


Ugh, lately I’ve been having some of those Ziggy moments that I experience from time to time.  I dunno, there’s definitely some sort of bad energy that hits me for spells every once in awhile and all I can really do is try not to let them get me down and wait them out until they go away.    

I guess it all started about two weeks ago when I got my third bill from my gas company in a month.  I pay that bill on a monthly budget and once a year I get a year-end statement with a reconciliation between what I paid and what I used.  The first bill was for $28 and change, which was a nice surprise, but then I got a second year-end statement a few weeks later in which the amount jumped to more than $330.  A week after that, yet another came saying my total was well over $400.  Sheesh!?!?! 

I called the company, which is something I neither good at or like to do, and I got this robotic service representative who simply couldn’t answer my questions.  I mean, I’m not disputing what I used, but aren’t I right in that I am on a budget to avoid things like this?  The whole thing brought me from extra money in my pocket to a negative balance.  Ya just can’t fight “the man,” I guess!

My Zigginess continued on Thursday when I got a speeding ticket.  I told you once before about a ticket I had gotten last fall and fought, and now I got another one on my way to work.  Again, this one was cheesy as I was one of about 6 or 7 cars all moving relatively close to one another at a similar speed.  Yes I do drive fast, but I’m not the type of driver that weaves in and out of traffic flying past every car in my way.  I asked the officer why he picked me over all of the other cars that were going at a similar pace and he could not answer me.  All he said was that it didn’t matter if I was in a group of cars cause he uses laser radar and he could pinpoint my speed.  That doesn’t answer the question, does it? 

I felt that I was targeted because of my car, my sporty little Eclipse, and I still do.  I only should have opened my mouth sooner because I don’t think he would have given me the ticket if I had asked before he wrote it up.  I dunno, just a feeling…

I also got a parking ticket in the city yesterday.  Oh when will this end?  It was my first one ever in the city, and again it was cheesy because there were other cars parked in front of and behind me and the “No Standing” sign was at least a half a block up from the spot.  I simply didn’t even notice, and considering all of the illegal things that people do on the roads of NYC, this wasn’t so bad, was it?  And it was for a hundred bucks, too!  Again, when will this end, lol….

On the Bright Side

Earlier this week we held our 6th annual ESL Family Night at school and once again I was tasked with public speaking.  Though I’ve done it a gazillion times before, I still get butterflies for about 24 hours before, and as always it was for nothing.  I’m not sure if it’s because the other teacher who went on before me is so bad, but she energizes me to get out there when she’s speaking and I always do a good job once I’m up there.  Both my boss and the principal were on hand and if I say so myself, I rocked it!

Let’s Go Rangers

Yesterday afternoon the Rangers began their 2nd Round series with the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I DVR’ed the game and watched it last night after I got home from the city.  The Rangers won the game, 3-1, and I’m starting to really love rookie Chris Kreider, who scored a beautiful goal and had an assist for the Blueshirts.  Go Rangers!

Da Bunk

I went to the Bunk House last night for the first time since opening night, and I’m only telling this to anyone who’s read my review of the place to catch up on what it’s really like now that it’s up and running.  The crowd is still nice…not as big as on that first night, but nice enough to make it a regular thing.  The music was great and the crowd was, um, very Long Island.  Take that for what it is…

Well that’s all she, or rather, he, wrote folks!  As always, thanks for checking out my lil corner of the Web.  Your visits are always appreciated.  Enjoy your Sunday, and stay tuned for my late “Y” post…

Image Sources:

John Myers

The Wallpapers

Love and Pride

Song of the Day - Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall

Today's song is a nice, folksy and very catchy tune from 2005. I remember first hearing it when Katharine McPhee performed it so well on American Idol the following year. I enjoyed that performance so much it sold me on the song and I went out a got KT's original version. I still take a listen every now and then and it picks me up every time!


Here's Katharine's version from AI:

Get the song here...

Black Horse & the Cherry Tree (Radio Version) - Black Horse & the Cherry Tree - Single

Image Source: deviantart

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Song of the Day - Judas - Lady Gaga

Last night Lady Gaga performed the first show of her new "Born This Way Ball" in Seoul, South Korea. Though specific details are not in yet, MTV says the show, which was attended by 45,000 fans, is loaded with stuff from "Born This Way," which surprisingly doesn't include this one. For more on the concert, check out the MTV article here, and take a look below the video to see the "Born This Way Ball" set list.


Judas - Born This Way (Bonus Track Version)

"Born This Way Ball" Set List

 "Highway Unicorn" 
 "Government Hooker"
 "Born This Way"
 "Bloody Mary"
 "Bad Romance"
 "Fashion of His Love"
 "The Queen"
 "Just Dance"
 "Love Game"
 "Just Dance"
 "Heavy Metal Lover"
 "Bad Kids"
 "Yoü and I"
 "Electric Chapel"
 "Poker Face"
 "The Edge of Glory"
 "Marry the Night"

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Wanted diss X-Tina

I just got this one off of Perez Hilton's site and I just had to share. Here's Perez...


Guess The Wanted did NOT enjoy their appearance on The Voice! In a recent interview, the boys were asked why they didn't run up and kiss Christina Aguilera the way they got down with J. Lo during their set on Idol. 

The band replied: "Cause she's a total b*tch!!"

Wow indeed! Check out the interview below and the rest of Perez' post here.



X is for Xtra Calories

I started this A to Z Blogger's Challenge with the "A" post A is for Abs a couple of weeks ago and in it I talked about that ever-elusive six-pack.  I mentioned that I had begun doing Pilates and that I was hoping that would be that last push I'd need to finally get the abs I want.  Over the past few years I've lost significant amounts of weight and I've gotten way too complacent with my thin self as I found out last week when I got a rude awakening from one of my students.

"Mr. M, you look like you're getting fatter."

I was crushed!  My hands nervously went down to feel the excess skin that I subconsciously knew had grown ever so slightly above my waistline, and confirmed it later at home in front of the mirror.  I'm not fat, by any means, but I have definitely gained a few and I'm not happy about it.

How could this have happened?  I have noticed that my clothes have been a little tighter lately, but never really paid too much attention to it until I got that unpleasant wake-up call.  I've never stopped working hard to keep in shape, working out often and not overeating at all, except maybe during the holidays.  I was getting frustrated with the non-answers I was coming up with as to my weight gain.

During my long drive home that day I kept trying to think of how this happened.  I've been getting my workouts regularly, and they've been good ones at that.  I really haven't been eating any more than I usually eat, so why the heck have I gained weight?  Suddenly I looked down at the center console of my car and it hit me...Cafe Mocha!

Last summer I became pretty friendly with a really nice Bangladeshi woman that worked in Dunkin Donuts by my job. Rita her name was, and I remember her always suggesting I try a Cafe Mocha, which is a mixture of half-coffee, half-hot chocolate.  It's much better than their powdered "Dunkaccino" drink, which is supposed to be the same mixture, and after a few tries, Rita finally got me to try it and I was hooked!

Now I am a big coffee drinker and I have a long ride home from work, and so every day I stop at DD's for a large cup of java, which has become Cafe Mocha ever since, for the drive.  I not only drink the mix on rides home from work, but sometimes I'd get it during leisure time over the weekend, other times for writing time at home, etc., etc...  That has to be it!  How could I not have realized?

Before sitting down to pen this piece, I did a search to see how many calories were in hot chocolate and a DD's large size is a whopping 440 calories, 126 from fat.  Since my drink is mixed with coffee, it's not nearly as high as that, but still significant, of that I am sure.  I am now absolutely convinced that this is the reason for my weight gain and I have vowed this week to halt my Cafe Mocha activities effective immediately.

I dunno, I've never really thought of calories when it comes to drinks, but I realize that drinking the wrong drinks is definitely an effective way to gain unwanted poundage, for sure.  So no more Cafe Mocha's for me and hopefully I'll be svelte again in no time, lol.

Song of the Day - Better Than Today - Kylie Minogue

Well I know, life is hard 
So we're living for the weekend...

It's been a long time since I've listened or posted a Kylie song, and this is one from her "Aphrodite" album that I uplifting!  Happy Weekend!

Better Than Today - Aphrodite (Deluxe Experience Edition)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rangers beat Ottawa Senators in Game 7, Moving on....

Last week I wrote a little about one of my favorite things in life: the NY Rangers hockey team.  Well, this is the first year since they won the Stanley Cup in 1994 that expectations are high and the Rangers finally cleared their first hurdle in the playoffs with another edge-of-your-seat, 2-1, Game 7 win over the 8th seeded Ottawa Senators.

The Rangers' Mark Staal and Dan Girardi scored for the Blueshirts, and goaltender Hendrik Lundqvist was almost perfect, allowing one lone goal to the Sens' Daniel Alfredsson.  A brand new Ranger making a name for himself in these playoffs is rookie Chris Kreider, who sparked the Rangers with his hustle and great play.  The crowd, as always, was raucous and it always adds a nice touch when they win a Game 7 at the Garden, where they are now 4 and 0 in such games.

This series should have been easier based on regular season numbers than it actually was, and proves just how hard it is for any championship team in any sport to go all the way.  The Senators were the last team in the Eastern Conference to make it and the Rangers were the first, and the entire series was nail-biting.  Other favored teams in the NHL playoffs had already gotten eliminated in what has turned out to be a strange playoff season already, but the Rangers fought back from being down three games to two to win Game 6 on Monday in Ottawa and then tonight at the Garden.

Next up is the dreaded Washington Capitals, who knocked the Rangers out of the playoffs the last two times the teams met.  The Caps knocked off last year's Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins, in overtime of another game 7 showdown, but as I said in my post the other night, I gotta feeling about this year.  Let the tension continue...

Let's Go Rangers!

Read more on the game recap at the Daily News right here.

Image Source: The Star


W is for Writing Wednesday

Okay, okay, so I'm killing two birds with one stone today, and two weeks and a day after the fact, no less.  When I first started this blog it was meant to be another way to promote my writing, an outlet for me to collectively assemble all of the various pieces I publish on several different sites all in one place.  Over the years the blog has morphed into something else, but Writing Wednesday has become a way for me to keep doing what this blog was originally meant to do and that is promote my stuff.

Since the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2012 has kept me so busy, I really haven't been up to much else.  Though I wish I had more time to write, I don't, and so the bulk of this Thursday edition of a typical Writing Wednesday contains mostly from the challenge.  Take a looksie:

A to Z Challenge

J is for all time scariest movie ever!

K is for, not the kind with lips, but the rock band with all the makeup.

L is for Lightning Loops...the long-since retired looping thrill coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure.

M is for pics of the moon!

N is for New York...State, that is!


P is for Cool Photos...some cool pictures from around the Internet

Q is for my 1st Quinciniera

R is for NY!

S is for Single...boy am I that!

T is for El Toro...a wild coaster at Six Flags!

U is for Umbrellas, Unibrows, Underwear and so many Unique things!

V is for Aunt Vi...

An Non-Challenge Post

Circus Wednesdays still a great time!

A couple of weeks ago I returned to Circus Wednesdays at the Lizard Lounge in Bohemia and found that it's still hopping.


Click and Improve takes the hassle out of home repair

I've only done one piece for Examiner in the past two weeks, on a cool service that takes care of the hassle of finding companies to fix things in your home.

Yahoo Voices

I finally published a track by track review of Madonna's M.D.N.A.  Check it out right here.

Well that's it for this edition of Writing Wednesday, published on a Thursday, lol.  For my fellow writers out there, these weekly, or semi-weekly, recaps are a great way to keep readers up to date on stuff they might have wanted to read and missed, and they're also a great way to gain new readers.  So if you've got a blog...

As always, thanks to anyone and everyone who checks in on John's World from time to time.  It is really appreciated!  The Blogging Challenge is nearly finished and so hopefully we'll soon get back to our regular programming....hehe!

Song of the Day - Creep - TLC

I just heard on Twitter yesterday that it was 10 years since TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes passed away in an automobile accident in Honduras. I wish I had caught that yesterday, but better late than never! Left Eye was an integral part of this trio, who had some amazing songs during the 90's, including "Waterfalls," "No Scrubs," "Red Light Special," "Unpretty," and so many more. Though I loved a lot of TLC's stuff, this one, "Creep," was always one of my favorites. Its silky smooth horns and T Boz's equally smooth vocals made this sultry song the soundtrack to many a hot night, I'm sure!

R.I.P. Left Eye!


Creep - CrazySexyCool

Image Source: EAA

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Aunt Vi

Vincenza Mancuso, "Aunt Vi," is my grandmother's sister. A little over a month ago, she turned a whopping 101 years of age. Aunt Vi never had any children of her own, but family has always been important to her and she always took an active role in the lives of the entire extended family, especially my little nook, the Myers family.

Having been such a constant in my life, Aunt Vi has helped to shape who I am as a person. Some of the values I hold are rooted in her ways: a love of kindness for others, a deep rooted value for education, and a belief in the American dream.

The letter "V" is much easier for me to write about than the letter "U."  On June 7th, 2009, I started a series of articles on what was then Associated Content about my dear old Aunt Vi.  Back then Aunt Vi was still around, 101 years of age and beginning to wane.  The birthday I spoke of in my introduction to the series "The Aunt Vi Chronicles" would turn out to be her last, as she passed of natural causes in July of that year.  What would have been her 104th birthday, May 13th, is coming up and I thought that this would be as good a time as any to pay her a little tribute since it's been so long since I spoke of her.
I'm not sure what I can say about Aunt Vi that I haven't already said before.  She was one of those people who had always been around in my life since I was a baby.  She was a loving, kind person with a strong personality and an even stronger devotion towards her family.  Aunt Vi never had children of her own, not having married Uncle Tony until she was in her 50's, so she showered her love on all of her nieces and nephews, which were many.  
Aunt Vi moved out to Long Island from the Bronx in 1979 to babysit the six of us while my mom went to work.  Uncle Tony had just passed suddenly a few months before, and though she had second thoughts about coming, she did finally move and I think in the end it turned out to be a great decision for her.  
Until she'd moved, it was I as the eldest, who had to take care of my siblings every night and in later years Aunt Vi would often tell a story of how she came into the house as I was changing my baby sister's dirty diaper and she told me to go out and play as she took over.  I'm not sure if it went down exactly like that, but she did rescue me from that onerous chore and I'll forever be grateful that she let me be a kid again for just a little while.
I'm sure my siblings and even some of the neighborhood kids can remember those years when Aunt Vi babysat for us.  Though occasionally she'd say that it was hard work, I believe she loved every minute of it.   During those years, she was not only our aunt, but everybody's Aunt Vi, always around us and our friends and often treating the whole gang to Mister Softee or Good Humor on a hot summer night.  
The apple of Aunt Vi's eye, though, was my baby sister Chrissy, whom she had a big hand in raising.  I can recall many a night when Aunt Vi would read stories to her, help her with her homework, and teach her how to play cards, oftentimes letting her win, and always with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye.  Until the day she passed, Chrissy was her "baby."
I feel lucky to have had an Aunt Vi in my life.  She not only "rescued" me from my babysitting chores, but she inspired me in many ways.  From her, I learned kindness and compassion, pride for both my country and my ancestry, a love for writing, and most of all she helped me to develop my own nurturing ways which paved the way towards my wonderful role as a teacher.  
So thank you Aunt Vi for being a part of my life.  I want you to know that even though you are gone, you will never be forgotten.  I and many others still miss you!
If you'd like to read more of the Aunt Vi Chronicles, check out these pieces:


Song of the Day - Chasing The Sun - The Wanted

After several months of waiting, The Wanted finally released their first album in the U.S., an EP simply titled "The Wanted" (Special Edition). Of course I downloaded it first thing yesterday morning and listened to it two or three times during the day and my first impressions of it are great!

The ten-song set is full of the same kind of pleasing, mid to up tempo sounds as heard on their first smash, "Glad You Came," easy to remember, and pleasing to the ears. Early favorites are "Lightning" (check out the steamy video for that here), "All Time Low," and "Gold Forever." Look for an upcoming track by track review on Yahoo, but in the meantime check out their latest single, "Chasing the Sun":

The Wanted (Special Edition) - The Wanted

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Umbrellas, Unibrows, Underwear and so many other Unique things...

Ugh, this was a tough one to begin with, and then it got even tougher! Today is the 21st day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, the letter “U.” Usually (ha, a “U” word!), I already have something in mind, topic-wise, heading into the day, but with this one I was shooting blanks. I decided to put the word out on Facebook and now I’ve got so many “U” words to choose from, it’s hard to decide. I guess if I’d of thought of them beforehand, I would have been sure to come up with some of these:

Unusual, urban, undies, ukuleles, Uganda, Underdog, uber-anything, unbearable, unacceptable, useless, Utah, Underoos, underpants, underwear, upcycling, unique, underestimate, United States, unhinged, unimportant, unibrow, uneasy, upholstery, ugly sweaters, upscale apartments, urban development, ulcers, ushers, usage, users, Umbrella Ella Ella, under the stars, underdogs, unbelievable, useful, uninteresting, unique news of the day, unicorns, united, upbeat, underbelly of society, ulterior, urine, uptown, unnecessary, unconditional, undercover, ultimate, ulcer, unanimous, unattractive, unisex, unions, underground, uniforms, unpredictable, ursa major/minor, umpire, Uncle Tom, unchanging, unbalanced. 

Umbrella, Ella Ella...

Wow, right? Who's have realized there were so many "U" words?  Some of these are definitely workable, like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (Ella, Ella, lol). "When the sun shines, we'll shine together..."



Another “U” word that popped out at me was one that made me chuckle: unibrow.  Oh, I think we all know what a unibrow is, don’t we?  Wikipedia describes a unibrow as a “confluence of eyebrows,” …appearing to “converge to form one long eyebrow.”  Luckily, this is not one of the unfortunate physical characteristics I was cursed with, but for those suffering from it, it is a relatively easy thing to contain with a pair of tweezers or some hot wax.  Ouch! 

When I first saw that one posted on FB, I immediately thought of the Austin Powers character that Frau Farbissina, who’d met her androgynous “Unibrow” lover at the LPGA Tour.

Ooh, and when I was looking for that picture, I found some other disturbing unibrows.  On second thought,maybe it IS that bad, lol.



The one “U” word that came up the most times by far, in one form or another, was underwear.  Yes, underwear is something that the great majority of us come in, um, contact with every single day.  Underwear is such a vast topic in and of itself I could probably write a whole book on all of the varieties, uses and history of it.  

Underwear is sexy

Underwear is warm

And some underwear is just plain fun!


Probably my favorite “U” word of the day is unique.  One of my old pals Willie suggested this one, and added a later comment to the thread that said, “I feel we are all unique.  Right?”  That’s totally correct my friend, and unique is what makes all of us special in our own little ways.  I’ve never been a fan of the cookie cutter/bandwagon type of ideal that many of us tend to be attracted to sometimes.  I always try to do my own thing and I think that’s how we all should live our lives.

Though I’m not a believer in any specific religious doctrine, I do believe in a higher power and I do believe that each of us has been given our own little talents and idiosyncrasies that make up who we are, and who we are is beautiful. 

Another friend of mine, Diane, suggested I write about the “U” word “uplifting,” because I “always seem to be.”  I take that as a complement and a nod to my own uniqueness in the world.  I’ve long-since recognized that one of my talents is the gift of lifting people up, and I always try to approach every interaction with the desire for the other person to walk away from it with a smile or even just a good feeling, and I get to do that every day in my classroom, through my writing, on Facebook and Twitter, and just about everywhere else. 

So, embrace the things that make you unique, whether it’s in the way you dress, the way you interact with others, or the things you do in your daily life.  “Unique” and “special” are synonymous, and we should all be celebrating the things that make us, us!  Hey, another “U” word!

Special thanks to my friends Lori, Marianne, Crystal, Ted, Donald, Willie, Darlene, Lisa, Amy, Lisa, Jolie, Diane, Anna, Theresa, Lady Samantha, and my sister Ann Marie for giving me such wonderful “U” words. 

Image Sources: 

Song of the Day - Payphone - Maroon 5, ft. Wiz Khalifa

Here's a hot new one from Maroon 5, with guest vocals by Wiz Khalifa,  from their forthcoming album, "Overexposed." Pretty catchy, I have to say...Enjoy!

 Warning: Explicit lyrics ahead...


  Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa) - Single - Maroon 5

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for El Toro

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Lightning Loops, the very first looping coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.  Lightning Loops was a big thing when it opened in 1978, and the looping feature, of course, was what drew the thrill seekers in.  Loops on roller coasters was a new thing at the time, and it was one of the first new ride design features that would prove to be big draws over the years. 

In the annual roller coaster wars among amusement parks around the world, the competition is always fierce, and the thrill seeker always comes out the winner.  Seemingly every year, newer and more innovative ride designs are introduced, taller, faster, steeper, etc.  One of my favorite roller coasters at Great Adventure was introduced in 2006 as having the steepest drop of any coaster in the world at 76 degrees.  Though that record has since been eclipsed, El Toro still packs a mean punch!

El Toro means “The Bull” in Spanish and this wooden roller coaster is as wild as a ride on its namesake, for sure!  The ride is not your usual wooden roller coaster in that it is constructed of prefabricated pieces of wood, which are laser cut in a factory and give the coaster’s effects much more precision, and a smoother ride, than your average woodie.   

The lift hill is also very different than a traditional coaster of any kind in that it doesn’t use a chain to get the train to the top of the first hill.  Instead El Toro employs a cable lift, which gets the cars up there frighteningly fast before banking to the left and into that steep, steep drop.  Absolutely thrilling!  The coaster is nearly 19 stories high, and runs about 70 mph through a series of terrifyingly sharp banks and turns, with plenty of airtime.   I love it!  So sit back, press play, and take a ride on El Toro:

Check out these Yahoo articles by me on the coasters of Six Flags Great Adventure:

Image Source: team liquid

Song of the Day - Here Comes The Rain Again - Eurythmics

After what seemed like weeks since our last rain, we're almost at the end of a big, wet, cold nor'easter that's hit the entire northeast. Here on Long Island it rained almost the entire day Sunday, but hasn't been too bad, at least not as bad as was first expected.

"Here Comes the Rain Again" is a classic! Both the video and the song can only be described as haunting and hypnotic, and it sounds as fresh today as it did in 1984. The video below is a remastered version of the original.  Enjoy...


  Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics: Ultimate Collection (Remastered)

Image Source: wspucla