A Review of the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC Treadmill

I love walking, especially out doors, but there are times in winter when it's just too darn cold. So, recently I bought the Sportcraft TX 5.0 RC Treadmill. Here's my review and why I'm glad I bought it.

It's great that I can now enjoy a good walk workout in the comfort of my own home and the features of the Sportcraft TX5 treadmill are really good. I talk about the best ones below.

Out of all the features of the Sportcraft treadmill, the best one is that it can easily go from its horizontal walking position to a vertical position so I can easily store it: I live in a small town house so space is an issue for me. Mind you, the Sportcraft machine does look quite stylish so leaving it set up and on display will not embarrass a style-conscious person.

The display panel that comes with the Sportcraft TX5 is fantastic as it gives me lots of information. Not only does it show the miles and steps I've walked; it also shows the calories, heart rate, time and speed. There's a quick mode button that lets me change the speed as well; It's real easy, you just use the "+" or "-" signs to slowly increase or decrease speed in increments of one tenth of a mile.

Although it is a cheap machine, I've found I can also use it for running, though I have to admit I do not run on it all that much. When I do run, I find the remote control to be very useful as it allows me to easily change speed without touching the display panel.

I'm a bit of a safety nut and one reason I put off buying a treadmill was because I was afraid I'd fall off – I had visions of my legs and arms being mangled. But, the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC has banished those fears. It comes with a safety cord that attaches to you and a sensor on the panel so if you should fall or slip, and the cord is not connected to the sensor, it stops automatically.

What I liked, and my husband loved, was the low price of the machine at just under $ 250. My husband found setting up the Sportcraft treadmill a breeze. The manual that came with it was easy to follow.

If you are looking for a treadmill, I would highly recommend the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC Treadmill. My husband does not use it because he's an ardent runner; it is not really suitable if you take running seriously. But, for walkers like my self I think it works just great.

My review of the Sportcraft treadmill is a little short; I've just mentioned the things I liked most about it. The display console of the machine is just about right, the remote control makes operating the treadmill easy and I really like the safety cord. To date, I've had hassle free walking on this machine and am getting the workout I need.

Source by Robin Cassidy

Haruki Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes

The Elephant Vanishes is Haruki Murakami's first US released collection of short stories. It consist of 15 short stories showing his work at its finest, from magical lands with dancing dwarves, giant elephants, and a man searching for his cat. Every thing is certainly Murakami though, and every single one of these stories is worthy of your time to read, and some of them to read the novel to which they are attached. Here are some notes I jotted down while reading the collection and some thoughts on his work as a whole.

– Murakami uses a singular human feeling or emotion for each of his stories, then he expends and distorts, contracts, and expanss that emotion to his pleasure. Use of loneliness, Hunger, and Tiredness come to mind.

– His concepts on reality are very interesting. He is constantly letting the characters recreate it for themselves, the way they want it. The presence of dual reality is consistent, wherein there lies a layer below actual reality that the character must come to terms with.

– He uses the journal and memory as a common device. The narrator's memory and how it is utilized is consistently bought up and analyzed. His use of a journal repeats as a means of organization and structure in the dynamic and chaotic lives of his protagonists, lending a much more structured manner to their lives

The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday's Women

The first story was really odd. Mainly because it's not actually a story, but the first chapter of his most famous book, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. After being able to find the cat, he travels out into the blocked off alley to look and ends up in the back yard of a young girl sunbathing, where he falls asleep in a lawn chair. A series of appropriate phone conversations with a stranger, and the weird girl in the alley set up one of his greatest stories in that novel, but here are a little out of place as all you get is the first chapter. In typical Murakami fashion though, any chapter from any of his books could have read stand alone and make sense, as very little tenders to happen in the physical reality of his characters. Instead, something more that you feel more than observe occur here. It heartily establishes the tone for the rest of the book, and sets up the reader for the oddities to come.

The Second Bakery Attack

The second story was odd too, in its execution. The hunger cure is interesting to me in that it seems to be the result of a more psychological problem. His wife is an inherently person here and that does not seem to make much sense. What purpose is there to her violence? Why is she stuck by the curse as well and why has he not felt this hunger otherwise since the time at the bakery. I think it might be that he needs a companion to feel this hunger. His best friend was around the last time it happened, and then he left. Without a conspirator it does not matter how he feels. The hunger appears though, only 2 weeks after his marriage, and she takes up the matter quite efficiently. Her apprentice knowledge on the subject is interesting though. It rouses speculation in the narrator. Something that Murakami does in the first story as well. A sort of under suspicion from this man towards his wife.

The Kangaroo Communique

The third story was very cool to me. The way he starts it off, completely off topic, explaining his 36 steps of though – which we never actually get to hear – and then goes on, the various tangents in his conversation are brilliant. The man works a horribly boring and depressing job and when he finds a gem in his pile of coal he grasps it without abandon. He wants to talk to this girl. He wants to get to know her. He goes on about his wish to be alive in double state. He wants to exist in two places at once. A desire to overcome the monotony of his life and yet not abandon it at the same time. He's afraid of change and this is his way of dealing with it, by not changing. Since he records this letter to the girl and tells her things that are probably not appropriate. But they are his other self acting. The reclusive, department store self is put aside and this second self, the self that wants to sleep with her and write her this letter is brought out without fear of consequence.

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning

This is another brilliant story that I could not get over. It was short and to the point, offering no plot, or development. Just a very cool series of thought and a seed of doubt left in the reader as to what really happened. Murakami's narrator sees a girl on the street that he knows is perfect for him. Does not know how or why, she just is. Love at first sight. He does not do anything though. Conjecture develops the extremely tragic or wholly romantic story that exists below the surface. If he had told her his story and they got together the reader is left thinking how horribly romantic this is. Since since he does not talk to her, I'm left to wonder if this story might be true. How horribly sad that would be. This is a story about opportunities. About taking chances in life and making the most of them. Not letting fate kick your ass. Twice the narrator leaves his 100% perfect girl. Once in his story and once in real life. She will never return to him


This is a very interesting story. It tackles a bunch of different little things about her life. She seemed to be lost in a world of her own creation. Lost to the arrogance of her husband's family, she has lost everything in her life that made her her. When she stops sleeping she is condemning reality to regain that part of her. She is going against her fate that has been constructed and is creating a new reality for herself. In doing so she must confront death and in that ends up meeting it. Her perceptions of reality are skewed completely. In this she creates a new one. One where she keeps her own identity. Not the one that her husband brave her. She is having a mid-life crisis and her way of dealing with it is as such.

The Fall of the Roman Empire, The 1881 Indian Uprising, Hitler's Invasion of Poland, and the Realm of Raging Winds

This piece uses key events to mark the narrator's own personal history. It follows a simple day of events for him and marks small normal events as big events with historical metaphor. It's as if he's saying that one's entire life can be marked and remembered by key points and words without all the details. A certain linearity to our lives exists that makes life easier to remember.


The lederhosen act as a catalyst for her to have stepped back and see the world and her life for what it was. She had to that point built up an illusory world that she lived in. She was unable to step out of it and see how much she did not want. She was to ensconced in it to do so. When she finds the guy that looks like her husband but is not, she is able to view what she has from an outsider POV. This is disturbing to her and because of it she is able to work through her emotions and forget about her husband.

Barn Burning

This is a pretty horrible little story. The man from Africa is either a murderer or a truly horrible person that scared her off. I lean toward the former in the way he described how the barn was calling to be burned. The narrator's closeness to the girl is important here because the counters the man's statement of the barn needing to be burned. His whole idea is that the barn is old and useless and it will not hurt anyone, but this last barn is such that the narrator is the one affected by it. So it was not harmless. He is not aware of the correlation although and continues to seek out the barn and the girl. This leading to the dual existence matter again in which he is trying to seek out the literal object that has not been burned and inside his mind seeks out the figurative object, the girl that he misses, that has been removed from his life. Very Poe like and quite disturbing.

Little Green Monster

She rebukes love. In doing so, her every move, every bad thought and ill manner hurts the creature. Seems like a metaphor for rejection. She rejects the creatures unrequited love and in so doing destroys him. She sees him only for what he is, a horribly ugly creature, ignoring his love and calm manner. She, instead of figuring out what he wants to say or how to get him to return to his home, destroys him, mercilessly. His passion draws him into her home, unwanted, and because of her her malice is unleashed, almost by reflex. The author seems to be making a statement on women here and how unforgiving they can be for a man's love. Also a statement on the blindness of love and how the male will react without thought and not weight the choices implied.

Family Affair

This story stuck me as being fairly laced with subplots and hidden meanings. All of it was done in a very humble manner, true to Murakami's style and it really stuck well, especially at the end, with its blunt, matter-of-fact manner of storytelling. Firstly, the narrator and his sister are just what he says, "partners". Partners in living a pointless lifestyle. She has grown out of it though. In the 5 years they have lived together she has grown and developed a sense of responsibility and place in the world. He however, is still trapped in his own little world, his separate reality. This is demonstrated often by how he says things that do not affect him do not concern him, such as who wins the baseball game. It does not matter. "I'm not playing, they are." The differences in the narrator and Noburo Watanabe are extensive. An important thing to point out at first, is the fact that Watanabe has a name at all. Very few, if any characters even receive names in Murakami's stories. This name is important in that it symbolizes a place in reality. His place in reality is marked by his name and he conforms via that name. His sister will become a part of that reality when she takes this manes name. Thus, as the representative of reality, Watanabe begins to destroy the narrator's fantasy world. In the end of the story, after talking to this man and hearing how pathetic his life really is, he first feels the pointlessness of his life. His night out with the girl at the bar is miserable and that is the first mark of the destruction of his fantasy, drawing him into Watanabe's reality.

A Window

There's not much here that I could discern that the author does not say straight out. So, I'll just quote the last paragraph.

"Should I have a slept with her?

That's the central question of this piece.

The answer is beyond me. Even now, I have no idea. There are lots of
things we never understand, no matter how many years we put on, no matter how
much experience we accumulate. All I can do is look up from the train at the windows in the buildings that might be hers. Every one of them could have her window, it sometimes seems to me, and at other times I think that none of them could be hers. There are simply too many of them. "

Life has many possibilities. The simple place of her window is such that it could be anywhere, or sometimes even nowhere at all.

Source by Anthony Chatfield

A Psychological Profile of Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano is one of the most intriguing and enigmatic characters in the history of television. Understanding him psychologically is a difficult proposition, although many of the shows other character's have proffered some ideas. In one early episode, Dr. Melfi's husband Richard refers to Tony as Alexithymic, the short definition being "the inability to talk about feelings due to a lack of emotional awareness." This definition is certainly somewhat accurate, as Tony often reacts with rage during periods of confusion and frustration.

One classic example of this comes when Tony enters his office and sees that someone has purchased a "Big Mouth Billy Bass" and placed it on his desk. Seeing the singing fish reminds Tony of his dream about Big Pussy, and this memory floods Tony with multiple emotions that he is unable to process or understand. Tony reacts to this emotional flooding by beating Georgie, (A favorite pastime) who he knows placed the fish in his office, as this choice allows him to temporarily exorcise his uncomfortable feelings through this physically violent reaction.

At one point Dr. Melfi suggests Tony has an Anti-Social Personality Disorder. People with this disorder often show a persistent pattern of conduct disorder in their teen years which involves breaking the law, poor academic performance, disrespect for authority as well as several other more criteria including torturing animals and starting fires. Throughout the series we learn several things about Tony's younger years. In Season 1, we learn from Uncle Junior and Livia that Tony and his friends stop a car, and also that Tony used to sell stolen lobsters in an effort to earn some extras cash. In another episode we see him skipping school, breaking into his father's car, and generally being very willing to bend the rules.

Skip to Tony's teen years and we learn that Tony has become good enough at sports to become a "varsity athlete" despite Junior's claim that he was not. He graduates from High School and attendes Seton Hall for a semester and a half, before he "got into some trouble" (revealed to Meadow during the episode "College") and goes to prison for a short while. While Tony is insuring to Dr. Melfi that he never engaged in Homosexual activities, we learn his time in prison was reliably short, and we can there assume his crime was relatively minor. Around this same time Tony robbed Feech Lamana's card game, which was a major turning point in his life where he became officially respected as a gangster.

From this brief look at Tony's adolescence we learn he probably did meet many of the characteristics for conduct disorder but probably not enough to make a firm diagnoses. Which moves us to the diagnoses of Anti-Social personality disorder, which according to the DSM-IV, involves "a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing actions that are grounds for arrest

(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

(4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical failures or assaults

(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others

(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

(7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being otherwise to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

B. The individual is at least age 18 years.

C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with sunset before age 15 years.

D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.

So, does Tony meet at least three of these criteria? The answer seems to be that yes of course he does. Although he does not seem to meet the criteria for number 6, there have been multiple examples of his actions meeting the criteria for the other 6 components. But does this diagnosis really encapsulate Tony Soprano? It does not appear to. The fact is that Tony is capable of unselfish and extremely generous acts, although often these actions have ulterior motives. There to certainly get a sense of the patterns of Tony Soprano's life, it is extremely useful to use an Adlerian model to examine the patterns of his basic convictions. The Adlerian model looks at key components of a person's life, and also at their early recollections in an attempt to examine several key determinants that Adler believed made up a person's unique lifestyle.

Gender Role Preparation perceives through Gender Guiding Lines and Role Models

Through observing their parents and the gender patterns they adopt in their relationships, a person learns to conceptualize a personal definition of what a man is and what a woman is. From watching his father, "Johnny Boy" Soprano, a respected and feared Mafioso, Tony formed some impression of what it is to be a man. First and foremost Tony learned that the man is the breadwinner in the family, and that he needs to do whatever it takes, regardless of the law, to provide for his family.

Tony also learned a great deal about conflict resolution from watching his father deal with people from around the neighborhood. One particularly important observation was watching his father handle a man named Satriale who had been avoiding him because he owed him a debt. When Tony watches his father chop off the man's finger as a result of this dispute, Tony formed an early impression that a man goes to any lengths, despite the law, when that man owes him a debt. This impression was again confirmed when he watched his father brutally pummel a neighbor named Rocco, who also owed Johnny a debt.

Tony also learned a great deal from watching his father's work habits throughout the years, and this affected his own adult attitude toward work. The beatings Tony witnessed in the previous situations were both over an attempt to collect a debt, and Tony saw that a great deal of Johnny's income was simply taken by force or the threat of violence. There he learned that men do not need to work if they can take things from others, and this was a lesson that appeared to resonate.

In one noticeable event that occurred in Tony's teen years, he covers for his father to his mother when she correctly asserts he's been with another woman. In this situation, Tony, who has most likely learned through watching his father lie many times before, that it's OK for a man to lie when confronted by an uncomfortable situation.

Through Tony's interactions with his mother he learned that a woman, although she works in the home, holds a great deal of power and control in interpersonal relationships. One early impression came from watching his father and mother interact after his father brings home a large order of meat, and Tony observes that this was the only time his mother was ever really happy. Tony also makes the connection that when his father brought gifts it was "probably the only time he got laid" which also created the impression for Tony that a woman only provides sexual gratification to men when they are given gifts, and this was an idea that also seemed to translate to his adult life.

Interpersonal Style received through Experience of Family Atmosphere

The family atmosphere in the Soprano family was one of storm and strife. As Tony's sister Janice correctly explains to her husband Bobby, "In my family it was dog eat dog." This was an accurate description of the Soprano household, and much of this difficulty stemmed from the interactions between Livia and Johnny which was based on repetitive patterns of incessant nagging on Livia's part and extreme deceit on Johnny's. Livia's tyranny over the house may have even historically contributed to Johnny's physical declination, as in Tony's estimation she had this very strong man into a "little nub."

Livia Soprano's love was conditional love. Livia was extremely critical of her children and she did not demonstrate encouragement and support of their endeavors which appeared to stimulate a lifelong pattern of self-doubtful in both Tony as well as his sister Janice. Discouraged children often grow up to be angry and unfulfilled adults, as they begin to feel that everything they do will not live up to someone's standards. In these situations a kind of "learned helplessness" (Seligman 1965) can take place, where kids simply give up rather than continuing to compete in a seemingly foolish situation. This appeared to be the case with Janice Soprano, who spends a lifetime avoiding any kind of useful activity rather than have to be judged a failure as she has so many times before.

Tony on the other hand compensated for this lack of love like his father did by lashing out at others, finding temporary gratification though many sexual conquests, and finding solace in acquiring material possession.

Livia also talked openly of killing her children when Tony was a young man, which he must have seen as a great devaluation of his importance and worth in his mother's life. In one noticeable instance Livia tells Tony she could "smother him with a pillow" which terrifies Tony and makes him question how far his mother might really go in enabling punishment in the Soprano household. Johnny Soprano on the other hand freely used corporal punishment in the house, and in Tony's words, "the belt was his favorite child development tool." Johnny clearly demonstrated though many of his actions in the house that violence was an appropriate response to frustration, and this was also a value that Tony appeared to inherit.

Johnny Soprano was also consistently deceitful in his dealings with his family, and his constant deceit was often the trigger that sent Livia flying into a rage. One early example of Johnny's deceit came following his arrest at a kid's carnival, where he tells his children the cops made a terrible mistake and arrested the wrong guys, which would be difficult for even a child to believe.

Another important event that confirms Johnny's constant deceit occurred when Tony was a teenager and Livia was in the hospital having suffering a miscarriage where she was in dire physical danger. Johnny, who was staying overnight with his mistress, concocts an elaborate lie that hinged on Tony supporting the lie and confirming the story for his hospitalized mother. Tony does go along with the lie, and this event marked as major turning point where he embrates the deceitful lifestyle and begins to head down the path his father has paved for him.

Personal Code of Conduct received through Acceptance / Rejection of Family Values

When Tony embraced his father's lying ways, he was essentially accepting the Soprano family values, all of which were also modeled by Tony's Uncle Junior. Although Tony made a brief attempt at following a different path by going to college, his robbery of Feech Lamana's card game demonstrated an early lesson learned from his father that if someone wants something that it is easier to simply take it than others than to actually work for it. This idea was firmly reinforced when Tony was used for this act and he was not only punished, but in effect promoted into the "family" following this brazen and irresponsible action.

For Tony the term "family values" obviously had more than one meaning, but upon close examination of the values ​​modeled in the Sopranos household were the same that were necessary to survive and even Thrive in the mafia "family" Tony was also a part of. For instance Livia used the threat of killing someone weaker than her to retain order in the house and get people to comply with her wishes. The exact same thing is used by the mafia family, as the threat of pending violence is one of the key ways the family perpetuates its wealth.

The family value of deceit in the house was also a necessary value to succeed in the larger Mafia family. The code of "Omerta" implies silence and avoidance of even discussing the organization, and this is an interesting connection to make considering the fact that Livia was so against Tony going to therapy as she felt he was there to "talk about his mother." Livia, who preferred the family secrets stay buried, was so consumed by feelings of anger from thinking that Tony would reveal her secrets to a therapist, that she in essence convinced Junior to have him killed. Returning to the moment of the idea Tony is Alexithymic, one can speculate that this condition may stem from his mother's absolute inability to promote the sharing of feelings in the Soprano household.

Perspective on the World received through Experience of Psychological Birth Order

As the second born child of three, Tony's assumed the position of the classic middle child. The second born child often takes their cues from the oldest child, who has been in the world longer and provides a roadmap for the second child to follow. Second born children are often the rebels in the family, as the first borns tend to be responsible and can often even be like a second parent. The second child there before often finds pertaining through acting distinctively different than the first, as the first is naturally better at things because of their advanced age and physical development. This was partly true in Tony's case, as Janis appeared to enjoy flaunting her position as the eldest, and at least in her early childhood convinced her father she was a well-behaved and accomplished child. Tony on the other hand showed immediate rebellious behavior, and found pertaining through being as Junior described a "little hellion" who learned to fit in and get attention through misbehavior.

Adler made a strong point of emphasizing that birth order also had a psychological component to it, where the literal birth order may differ from the physical birth order. This can happen when the first born son usurps the first born female child and becomes the de facto leader of the children, as he comes from a culture that values ​​males over women. This dynamic appeared to manifest itself in the Soprano household. In Tony's case Janis, who enjoyed the power of being the first born but not the responsibility, in effect passed the torch of responsibility as the first born to Tony, who became responsible for the family as he entered into adulthood.

Range of Social Interest received through Other Particularities

Adler believed that the extent and degree that a person takes an interest in his or her fellow human beings was an excellent predictor of their mental health. Tony never developed this interest in others, and instead came to value others based on their personal usefulness to him. There are many examples of this in Tony's life, one example being his relationship with Paulie, who fell out of Tony's favor following a financial downturn in Season 4. Even in his dealings with Artie Bucco Tony often sets up how Artie can be useful to him , and continually their imbalance of power Tony finds little ways to exploit this friendship for his personal gain.

Tony's odd obsession with animals also demonstrates his inability to share emotions with other human beings, and again this behavior may have some roots in the lack of love and support he received from his mother. Tony often projects feelings on animals that he is unable to feel for human beings, and this trait shows how confusing and upset Tony gets when confronted by negative emotions.


In conclusion Tony Sopano's life is one lived with little insight or mindfulness. This lack of insight has lead to an external locus of control where he views the bad things that happened to him as bad luck His statements "I can not catch a break" and "I'm like king Midas in reverse" are example of this behavior, and these claims do not jibe with the many, many fortuitous events in Tony's life.

Tony also likes to present the idea that he is a "sad clown" but again the evidence in his life does not seem to support this. When Tony is angry or hurt he almost always responds with physical violence, and occasionally with em0tional violence such as when he calls Melfi a "cunt" following her rebuke of his advances. The sad clown motif indicates the sense of pity Tony often fears for himself, and his general pessimistic attitude towards life.

Adler felt that by gaining insight into your behavior you could begin to understand the patterns and faulty thinking and logic that these patterns then created. Melfi, after many years has uncoated some of these patterns, but does not seem to offer much assistance as to how to process this information. The result has been that Tony continues to repeat many of the patterns directly inherited from watching his parents, and constantly his often empty promises to change his life, this is really not possible without going back to the beginning.

Adler referred to this idea as "soft" determinism, meaning a person's patterns of behavior were firmly and deeply entrenched, and very, very difficult to change without a tremendous amount of insight. Although nearly dying was a kind of apotheosis for Tony, it is likely he will return to much of his former behavior as he falls back into these familiar patterns.

Source by Joe Guse

4 Quick Mind Games Which Will Pull Your Ex Back – These Will Get Your Ex to Notice You Again!

So now that you broke up and you really want your ex back, the idea of ​​giving him or her some love potion has been lurking in your mind … if any such thing implemented. Or regardless the desperate measure to just kidnap them and tie them in your room so they will not ever leave you again. Not necessary!

Yes, there is a better way. Take a look at these four amazing mind games to pull your ex back ….

Keep your connections close – Mutual friends, family members, college classmates, etc. First thing to keep in mind; these people will serve as your accomplices whenever you need any new information that would help you in your plan.

One other reason why this is important is these people would also serve as your messengers whenever you need to relay something to get that mind of your ex's thinking about you. Remember, nothing you do would work if your ex is unaware. So you need to make sure that he or she finds out or else the plan would not work.

Friendly date – Go out on a friendly date with someone else. Again, make sure your "accomplices" know so the news would reach your ex. But this should be done with caution. You are not trying to give an idea to your ex that you have moved on. He or she needs to know that you are just going out on a friendly date. Why is that important?

If it is just a friendly date, the cogs on your ex's mind would be moving faster and start thinking, is it really … is it something more, are you having fun? Now he or she will start to feel the fear of losing you to someone else. Instead of giving the message that you have moved on which can just get them to be mad at you. Do this a few times.

He or she looks nice – Try to get your ex on a friendly conversation on the phone. Now the time has come when your ex is going to ask you about your friendly dates or new people you meet at work. This is your chance. Tell your ex that this friendly date or the new guy / girl at work looks nice, but you are unsure yet about any possibility.

Talk about the "nice" things this other person does or has. Believe it or not, your ex would actually think of can be done to outdo them. If your ex does not ask, open up the topic yourself. Do it cool, find other things to talk about first that would lead the conversation to it.

Do not make yourself too available – This does not mean that you should never talk to your ex or return his / her phone calls. Do not run to every phone call or reply to their messages immediately. Let it simmer for a little while before calling back and tell your ex you've been busy. This gives them the message that you are getting on with your life.

Source by Avril Harper-Rae

In Defense Of Clowns – Jokers, Politicians and the Games They Play

Jokes, comparisons and cartoons of a political nature have been a staple of campaigns and party symbols in America for centuries. Recently, there appears to be a surge in the media suggesting similarities among politicians and clowns. As a circus clown I would like to take this opportunity to set a few things straight.

On his speech to a joint session of Congress on September 8th, 2011, even President Obama used the phrase "political circus." Yes, many parallels exist between the two groups but using derogatory references like "politician" when referring to my fellow clowns is offensive. Let us compare a traditional circus with national politics in order to get some bearings.

Our three branch government functions are similar to the well-organized three ring circus. That much is clear. Also, clowns and politicians are both adept at juggling, whether it be bowling pins, flaming torches, scandals or blocks of voters. There is even a book titled "The Congress of Clowns," a publication on political satire and theater in Russia, by author Joel Schechter. It's no wonder politicians attempt to associate themselves with clowns when Mr. Schechter referes to clowns as "intellectuals of the circus."

In addition, clowns use make-up and colorful wigs while politicians prefer hair plugs and spray-on tans. Both claim to be in it for the children but let's face it, everyone knows that we are all in it for the perks. Politicians have the benefit of tax-payer funded overseas congressional junkets while clowns have virtually unlimited access to a multitude of balloon animals.

Perhaps Congress could take a useful cue from clowns and rather than enacting recently proposed tax increases host instead of nationwide carnival to raise needed funds. It could include a dunking booth where, for a nominal fee, you can attempt to splash your local, state and national bureaucrats. Since losing almost twenty percent of my home value over the past few years it may be worth it for me to fly to Massachusetts for the opportunity to lob a few fastballs at Congressman Barney Frank while I still have the chance. Although to be honest with you I would not aim for the button. Let's see how he likes being in an underwater position.

We could also raise additional funds by charging carnival goers to take short rides around the parking lot in the space shuttles since they are no longer being sent into space. One popular carnival game consists of guessing the number of gumballs contained within a large plastic container. We could put a new twist on that old favorite and truck in a complete copy of the IRS tax code. For a few dollars you can try to guess the correct number of pages contained within. My guess is 79,512.

Republicans could play pin the tail on the donkey using real democrats while democrats could set up a booth selling elephant ears decorated with republican caricatures. Representative Pelosi could even demonstrate her pole-vaulting skills that she touted during the healthcare debate.

In ages past, court jesters were sometimes referred to as a fool, dolt or halfwit. Even this tradition has been infringed upon in the halls of Congress. It has been suggested that two halfwits make a whole wit, hence the prolific presence of so many political committees. But recall those beloved fraction worksheets from seventh grade math you will remember that a halfwit times a halfwit produces a fourth of a wit. Interestingly enough, when you multiply out that denominator times the 535 members of Congress it comes out to the fraction one over fifteen trillion. That total just happens to mirror the current national debt. Coincidence? I do not think so.

These and many other parallels exist interpersonal equivalence among clowns and politicians yet irreconcilable variances remain. Do not be fooled by animated imitations. For instance, when was the last time you saw a real clown wearing a five thousand dollar suit or a politician spending their own money? In these difficult times we could all use some comic relief but that is still no reason to be insulting. Clown on.

Source by Todd Lester

How to Enjoy a Baseball Game

Now there are many different ways to take in and enjoy a good baseball game, but for the sake of this article I am going to limit this to just simply a professional game. You do not have to spend the money on a big league ticket to find enjoyment in the sport. You could attend a minor league game for a fraction of the cost or even a local college or junior college. Even a local high school team could have fun to go and watch. To try to stay something contained with my focus I am going to limit this article to only going to see a professional big league club.

I went to my first major league game as a very young child and still remember that game today. There have been many since then but game was really an experience I will never forget. The best major league games attended are usually with someone who has never been to one. There is really something special when it comes to sharing your passion, the big league experience, with someone else who is taking it all in for the first time. If this is the case, it is really up to you to make sure that their experience is not short of spectacular. So while you are taking someone to their first big league game or just looking to enjoy one yourself, following these easy steps will help to insure that you have a truly wonderful time.

First of all, it is absolutely crucial that you get your hands on a good ticket. It does not have to be right behind first base or home plate, but there is nothing worse than all the hype of a major league game being quickly doused by bad seats. Those of us NL Central fans that have had a Wrigley Field experience know that they do put seats directly behind those pulls that hold up the upper deck. Those seats are not very favorite and I would encourage anyone going to a major league game in any stadium to make sure to do their homework before they buy big league tickets. Any ticket that says it may possibly have a restricted view I would make it a point to stay away from. This is a skill that comes with experience, after going to your favorite ballpark again and again; you will soon obtain the skill of knowing where to sit.

Now there are many different ways to get your hands on tickets. If you like me you sit and wait until 10 am on the first day that tickets go on sale to try and purchase tickets in any way that you can. On that first day that tickets go on sale it is possible usually to buy tickets via phone or internet and I am typically trying to get them on both fronts. The only draw back to opening day tickets is the box offices are usually very busy and it can be tough to get the tickets that you want. Luckily for us baseball fans, the internet allows us to get our hands on tickets that we may not have been otherwise able to. Websites like eBay and StubHub allow us fans to get our hands on tickets that we would not have otherwise been able to get. These sites are devoted to people just like yourself that can buy and sell tickets amongst each other to get a good seat at the game they want to be at. I personally enjoy StubHub to get the seat that I want. You will find links to those sights at the bottom of this page.

After you have a ticket in hand it is now time to work on other accommodations that will make your trip a success. If you are like me you do not live in a big city where there is a big league team. Therefore, it is important for you to arrange for transportation to and from the ball park. Driving is fine as long as everyone in attendance is not drinking at the game. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a beer or two at your favorite ball park as long as your of age, just make sure that you designed a driver who will not be drinking to get you to an from the stadium. I found it best to offer someone a free ticket if they will be the designated driver. Often a friend who maybe does not quite have the money to go or maybe is not old enough to drink will jump all over the chance to go to a major league game for free. There are also other options. Perhaps a bus trip or other forms of transportation may be your best way to and from a game. Often organizations schedule bus trips that will take you directly to the stadium and pick you back up after the game. I went to one game just after I turned twenty-one where myself and eight other friends rented a limousine to take us to and from the stadium. It solved the designated driver problem and it was a lot of fun ridding in style. As long as the ride is split amongst those going, it's not to terribly expensive.

So your at the ballpark, the only thing left to do is sit back and enjoy the game. I personally prefer to grab a hot dog or two and a cold beverage of your choice and take in everything that is so perfect about being at a ball game. Since everything for that moment in your life is now completely perfect, take the time to cheer on your favorite team, hopefully to victory. Do not forget a pair of sunglasses for day games and maybe an extra layer for night games as the summer breeze can often bring a chill with it. So whether your favorite team wins or looses, these couple of tips are sure to help you enjoy your day at the ball park.

Source by Adison Wilkins

Why Scrabble Is A Great Game For Young Children

As most people know, Scrabble is a game where you have to spell out words on a board in order to earn points. Certain letters are worth more points than others and certain spaces on the board are worth more points than others. But Scrabble also represents a great educational opportunity for young children. It is obvious that Scrabble teachers children new words and exposes their vocabulary, but Scrabble has other benefits that may not be obvious at first glance.

# 1: Scrabble Improves Young Children's Spelling

Part of the gameplay is having to spell words correctly. When young children play the game, they are forced to spell their words correctly, otherwise they do not receive points for them. Spelling words correctly will become an integral part of a child's growth because spelling mistakes are often frowned upon in writing. As young children play Scrabble over a period of time, they expand their vocabulary and learn to spell more complex words correctly. This will really help children in the future.

# 2: Scrabble Motivates Children To Learn More Vocabulary

This is different from the previous statement made that Scrabble expands a child's vocabulary because this point is meant to indicate that children are more motivated to learn new words. As children continue to develop their gameplay skills, they will realize that they must learn new and complex words if they are to win. Children are willing to look in the dictionary more often and look for new words that are longer in length and will help them score more points. Over time, this will help improve their motivation to learn new words in general and not just for the game itself.

# 3: Scrabble Also Representations A Parent's Opportunity To Teach The Child New Vocabulary

Board games represent an opportunity for families to come together and bond. Scrabble is no exception. Whenever parents play with their children, it gives them a great chance to teach their kids new words. It is hard nowdays to sit kids down and motivate them to learn. Thus, it is advisable to keep the child busy in a game setting where they can have fun and learn at the same time. Scrabble accomplishes just that.

Source by Sohaib Azam, Esq

Mahjong Connect Adds Unique Twists To An Intriguing Game

There are multiple myths surrounding the origin of the game Mahjong. One story claims that Confucious, who was supposedly fond of birds developed the game in 500 BC. Other claims are that Chinese army officers created the game to pass the time during the Taipan Rebellion. Yet more stories circulate that the game was actually created between 1870 and 1875 by a nobleman living in Shanghai.

Many historians believe it was derived from a Chinese card game called Mdio or Ma Tiae , which translates to hanging horse. This game, is played with 40 paper cards numbered 1 to 9, in four suites, along with four extra flower cards, that are all similar in appearance to the cards used in the game called Ya Pei. The numbering system in Ya Pei bears distinct similarities to the number system in Mahjong tiles.

Mahjong was banned by the PRC government in 1949, when gambling was seen as a reflection of Western decadence and corruption of capitalism. The game was ever revived, without the gambling connotations, after the Cultural Revolution in 1985. Today, it is a popular diversion, not only in China, but the popularity is spreading to other Asian regions.

The game that requires patience, and a bit of strategic clarification, was brought to the Western world at the later stages, when variations of the original version were already added. Many of the variation have become more popular than the original version.

Mahjong Connect is derived from the original game, but it has its own rules while it still contains some of the features of the original.

The Mahjong Connect board is composed of 140 tiles, which are typically arranged in a 14 by 10 grid.

Connections must be made with a limited number of movements and it typically required that the tiles on the perimeter be eliminated first. Matching tiles may be in the same row, but adjacile tiles should be eliminated before the match is made. In some instances, only three moves are allowed to make a connection

When Mahjong Connect is played electronically on devices such as a personal computer, additional challenges, such as time-limits are usually included. Accumulating higher scores would normally take a longer time, so racing against the clock, adds some more intrigue to the game.

Fans of the game believe that the different facets involved in playing this game, can help in personal development. Elements that can be developed include decision making, and logical thinking, which are important processes that are needed in real-life.

Source by Richard D Grandall

Online Poker Rooms

Poker has now started controlling the online gaming industry, offering round-the-clock poker tournaments. All that is required for online poker is a computer with Internet connection. An online poker room is actually a company that allows players to use its software to participate in the poker game. Online poker rooms generally make profit by incurring a percentage of money from most of the played pot, known as rake. In real, rakes range between 5 and 20%. But, online poker rooms charge only 5% as rake, since the overhead expenses are low.

Before selecting an online poker room, it is vital to check whether its connections are protected by a reliable Internet security firm. Another requirement for online poker room is a license from a trusted gaming commission. The next is to check wherever the poker room offers unique features like multi-table features, personalization features, and operating system compatibility. Player traffic also plays an important role in online poker rooms. The larger the traffic, the more games you can participate in and the more players you may win or lose against.

In addition, the level of bonuses and promotions of online poker rooms must be checked for. But, beware of scams involved in it. For instance, some online poker rooms advertise to offer huge bonuses. Sometimes, it may not be a scam. However, it is always advisable to play in respectable poker rooms, offering reasonable bonuses. Other important factors to be considered for selecting an online poker room are financial stability, accessible customer service, and ease of competitions. Player reviews are listed as one of the best sources to compare various online poker rooms and choose an appropriate online poker room.

Online poker rooms include poker rooms of large online poker networks and independent poker rooms. A poker room belonging to online poker networks is called a skin. Some of the top names in poker networks with online poker rooms are The Cryptological Network, iGlobal Media, Prima Poker, and The Tribeca network. Among the significant independent poker rooms are Poker Champs, Pacific Poker, and Paradise Poker.

Source by Alison Cole

Good Printable Baby Shower Games – Tips for Finding Them

If you're hosting a baby shower, you need games; that's a given. The trick is finding good baby shower games that do not bore people to tears. Printable baby shower games are available online. They can be found at various sites, sometimes for a price and at some sites one can find free printable baby shower games.

Baby shower games probably started back with the cave men playing "Let's see who can throw the Pterodactyl egg the farthest" while the cave women discussed various methods of cooking the leftovers of the game. Since this is not really an option today unless you're going for a prehistoric theme, you'll need to find good baby shower games that people dressed in something other than animal skins can enjoy.

Good games for baby showers do not need a lot of supplies. One popular one is Baby Bingo, a twist on normal Bingo where the Bingo sheet consists of various baby words and phrases with the first person to complete a row winning. You can find that and other printable baby shower games on sites, both free and retail, that specialize in supplies for baby showers.

Making good baby shower games such as these is easy to do yourself if you put some time into it. Using the ideas online, you can create your own versions of their games and print them off, making your own printable baby shower games with a more personal touch.

Whatever games for baby showers you choose, do not get bogged down in details. You want to have fun and let guests win small prizes and recognition. In the end though, even printable baby shower games do not change the fact that the main focus is and should be the mother to be.

Source by Kelly Jezek