How to choose baby names

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So you’re having a baby. And you need that perfect name that will let him stand out from the crowd, will proclaim to all and sundry that this is an important and person of special circumstances.

What shall it be, then, Mr. and Mrs Potter?’ I warn you, if you decide to name your son Harry, expect to hear “Where’s your wand, Potter?” or “Hogwarts toss you out again, Harry?”

Not quite so simple, is it? Lets face it, folks, there really are some very important things you should consider before you stamp that precious bundle of joy with some whimsical and enchanting title. Cute might be your first instinct, but just how cute is that going to be over time because, realistically, your child’s name is something that he will have to live with for the rest of his life, or until she marries. It should be chosen with care, consideration and all the love you have for your little darling and the man or woman this child will become.

Be smart. Take some time to think carefully. Say the name you’re considering, not just once, but several times, so its not the first blush you’re hearing but the true ring. The name you arrive at, first and last, should flow smoothly to the ear.

Another thing, the name you choose should most certainly not not not ever form a phrase that might come back to haunt you and more importantly that babbling bundle in your arms who is looking up at you so trustingly.

You ask why? Well, let me tell you, I know of a person who works as an operator in a call center. One day she answered a call from a client who said his name was Private Richard Parts. He went on to add that he preferred to be called Dick. That’s right, gentle readers, this operator found herself talking to Dick Parts, or Private Dick.

This is what can happen when parents don’t consider how the first and last name will sound together. Listen carefully to the sound of the name you are considering. Does it lend itself to being the butt of a cruel joke, because if there is even the smallest chance of it, someone is going to pounce on it and use it to torment your child as he steps out into the social world.

While your considering how your child’s name will sound, also be aware of what his initials might spell out. Scott Allen Pollander might sound perfectly safe. S.A.P. Really want your child coming home in tears because the school bully has begun calling him sap?

So, you think, how about Honey? Flower? Spring? Very seventies, and very dangerous. That bully will have a field day with these. The same with Bambi, Muffy and the typical stereotype preppy names.

Okay, you think, how about something old fashioned and majestic sounding…Perhaps a family name like great great grandfather Delbert or great great aunt Mertile. Perfectly good names. Dignified. Antique.

You might be able to get away from dangerous ground by shortening these to Bert and Merri.

Popular and common names are usually the safest way to go when its all said and done. But not too common. No one wants to be the fifth Tony in the class. That’s just too common for anyone to bear well. But not to fear, you can check a baby names book or website and very likely find a variation for a common name that sounds right and is just that bit to the side of ordinary. One example is my very own daughter, Valene, whose name was derived from Valerie.

Now, proud parents, go forth and choose your child’s name armed with the knowledge of a few possible pitfalls. Just keep in mind if it all goes wrong and the name you decide on fails to please, you have your entire lifetime to make amends, and children do love unconditionally….Just not always their name.

Original post: Sunday, August 2, 2009

What is scopophobia?

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Scopophobia, an astonishingly common, anxiety-driven mental illness, is an irrational, morbid fear of being stared at or being seen by other people. In mild cases, the victim is known to cover their face much like an infant, there-by not seeing the other people watching them. In more serious cases the sufferer will attempt to escape from view by running away.

By examining a patient’s past history, this crippling phobia can often be traced back to some devastating experience in that person’s past. Or there may not be any obvious event that triggered the fear, either through the mind blocking it out or some other undetermined reason. The key to overcoming this deep-seated phobia, though, is sifting through those sub-conscious memories and addressing the origin of the fear. In effect, replacing the negative feelings and building new, positive ones.

RISK FACTORS FOR SCOPOPHOBIA
The people more likely to succumb to scopopobia are those easily prone to anxiety or fear, High-strung or nervous people and people suffering from a medical condition called adrenal insufficiency where the adrenal glands don’t produce enough steroid hormones.

SYMPTOMS
According to the Phobia Fear Release web site, the most common symptoms of this disease are, and I quote, “breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.”

TREATMENTS
Treatments of this illness are pretty much done through “reprogramming” the mind on a subconscious level. In essence, to simply use mental remapping to suspend the illogical idea that there is something to be afraid of by people observing the patient.

There are several methods of achieving this remapping of the afflicted patient’s thought processes.

One method of reprogramming the phobic person and minimizing the fear is hypnotherapy. By using the power of the mind to heal itself. However some patients are reluctant to under-go hypnotherapy because of the loss of control they would be required to entrust to the hypno-therapist.

The Neuro-Linguistic Programming therapist studies his patient’s self-image, his attitudes and perceptions of his illness to determine where the patient’s phobia originates, by observing the patient’s body language and the words he chooses to express his thoughts, then works to retrain those perceptions in a more healthy direction

Energy psychology is a fairly new form of therapy that combines Eastern approaches by drawing on acupuncture points and Western psychotherapy and psychology.

Do these methods get actual long-lasting results? Some say yes, others claim they are a placebo.

**Originally posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to earn rewards at Memolink.com

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I’ve been a member of Memolinks for a month or so now, just one of a couple dozen “Make money online” sites I’ve joined to blow time since I don’t care for the gaming scene and you can only do so many rounds of computer solitaire before your brains start to seep out your ears and make pretty little grey matter pictures on your pillow.

Although there are several ways to get your rewards, Memolinks “cashes out” primarily in the form of gift cards.

But before you can cash out you need to build up points because each reward requires a specific amount of points to redeem..kind of like those “Green Stamps” our grandmom’s used to spend hours licking to fill books the would then redeem for gifts.

So how do you earn those points, you ask. Up until today I’ve only responded to the email offers, but now seems like a good time to report on why Memolinks is a site of interest. Browsing over the site, I can see that I’ve been overlooking some decent opportunities to get points, because they really do have more to offer than just the emails.

1. Emails
Like the email for cash boards, some of the emails memolinks send out are simply advertisements, worth no points, others can earn points by clicking on them.

2. On-line Store Ads
By clicking on the various stores and restaurants listed in Memolink’ directory of on-line shops you can find out what each site requires to earn points. I clicked on one store that asked that you sign up to receive an ebook book. Easy enough, although I did have to skip through several other offers to get to the ebook. Fairly common on these sort of sites and only takes a couple minutes to flip through the various ads.

The ebook really does have some very good tips for ‘soon to be parents’. FYI, I’m planning to print off a copy of this ebook for each of my children, design an attractive cover page and include it with the next gift I give them.

So in less than five minutes I’ve earned 440 points towards a gift card, a cute whimsical gift for my children and some nice tips to baby proof grandmom’s house as well as the grandchild’s. All for the grand total of absolutely no dollars. Not bad.

Mind you each online store has its own requirements and not all of these are free.

3. Coupons and Deals
Clicking on “coupons and deals” brings up a variety of different on-line stores that offer a ‘points per dollar’ opportunity. Each store has its own point value, so check out a variety of stores that might have what you are looking for and buy through the better

deal offered. If you shop on-line regularly, clicking through to your favorite on-line stores through Memolinks is a sweet cash back option.

4. Surveys
Folks who enjoy taking surveys can earn points on Memolinks as well. The surveys offer various point values and are only paid if you complete the survey.

5. Refer A Friend
Momolinks offers 100 points for each friend you refer who joins.

Keep in mind that new offers and ways to add up the points are added all the time.

Now that you know how to make the points, you might be interested in learning how to redeem those points? Well, there are several ways to cash out. Each of these methods are different depending on the on-line store or if you choose another method to cash out, the method you choose to use.

1. Online Gift Cards
Cash out at several levels (cash value), depending on each store you are requesting a gift card from. Each level requires a specific number of points redeemed

2. Pay Pal
Memolinks does offer its Memogold members the option of cashing out through Pay Pal instead of getting a gft card. This option is not offered to the members who have a basic membership.

3. Cash
Memolinks does offer the option of payment by check, but you would do well to check your banking institution first because they only send something called a memolink checks that are made out to CASH.

4. Charity
Memolink does have several links to charities where you can cash out as a donation. These are offered in several cash value levels for specific points.

One word of warning. Memolinks isn’t for the get rich quick crowd. It can take a couple weeks to get your points recorded after you complete the offer, but if you go into it looking at it as another way to save a few pennies in these financially dangerous days, and keep your expectations real, you should find this site a nice place to blow a few minutes.

Originally posted to previous blog: Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Death of Torchwood?

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There is a rumbling, grumbling rage of upset in the Austin Dr Who/Torchwood fan base tonight.

With the close of this season’s offering, “Torchwood: Children of Earth” the fans are screaming their grief to all and sundry, proclaiming to anyone who will listen that they will not be back for the pending series 4 release.

Why all the hub-bub, you ask?

In Series 2 the devoted fans saw the death of two, not one, but two of the core cast. Speaking in one of the special feature clips on the Series two DVD set, Russell T. Davies asserts that the decision to terminate Owen and Tosh was to off-set Torchwood leader, Jack Harkness’ immortality and show his vulnerability. Perhaps someone should have put up a bill board letting the creator know that his message as clear. Maybe then the fans, still reeling from the tragic deaths of Tosh Santo and Owen Harper, would not have been treated to another devastating team massacre with the current series. In this five episode epic, the fans have a justified feeling of betrayal with the death of Ianto Jones.

And what of the dashing rake, Captain Jack Harness? Is it possible this flamboyant, conman time-agent turned world crusader has really run away with his tail tucked under his flapping greatcoat?

This turn of events has fans screaming for blood. Russell T. Davies blood to be specific. Many grieving fans have declared that they will not be tuning in for Season 4. Only time will tell if they do return

Original post date: Saturday, July 11, 2009

How To Clean A Clothes Iron

A dirty clothes iron can damage your cloths so it is important to keep your iron clean.

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Of course, you can go ahead and buy one of the iron cleaners available on the market, but there are ways to avoid that extra expense. Here are a few ideas to use, using what you might already have on hand.

To begin, the water reservoir should be cleaned regularly. To do this, simply heat the iron, then pour in a mix of water and white vinegar. Allow the iron to steam while ironing over a scrap rag. Drain this out and repeat the process one or two times more until the mineral spots are gone. When done, fill with clear water and iron over the rag to clear any remaining trace of vinegar.

If you prefer, you can simply fill the reservoir one-fourth full with white vinegar and using the steam feature, run the iron over a rag. As above, repeat this until all mineral spots are gone, then fill with clear water and iron over the rag until the reservoir is empty.

Running your iron over an old newspaper on its hottest setting will usually clean off most of the dirt and grime clinging to your iron’s faceplate. If not, you can wipe it off with a soft cloth and a spray of an all-purpose cleaner like 409.

If you want to avoid chemical cleaners, wipe the iron with a soft cloth dampened in white vinegar. Once the faceplate is cleaned to your satisfaction, wipe off the cleaner with a water dampened cloth.

Burnt starch on an iron is a simple fix. Using the dry iron setting (no steam) set to hottest temperature, iron firmly over a wet terrycloth rag or towel until the starch transfers to the cloth. You can also iron over a plain brown paper bag (with no print) which has been sprinkled with salt. The salt will clean the faceplate without scratching or damaging it. Once the faceplate is clean, wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any stray salt crystals.

To clean off oily residue, wipe the cooled iron face with a soft cloth and ammonia. Once the residue is cleaned away rinse off the ammonia.

Occasionally you might accidentally melt plastic or fabrics on your iron. This is not something to panic over. The plastic can be removed without damaging your faceplate. To do this, turn off your iron and allow it to cool. Run the cooled iron over a plain brown paper bag with no advertising print on it. This should clean off most of the melted material. If there is still some clinging to your faceplate, using a wooden skewer (like you would use to make kabobs) gently pry away the material. You can remove any dark staining caused by the melted material with a bit of vinegar and water

Finally clean out the steam vents on the faceplate. Be sure to unplug the iron for this. Let it cool down, then using a cotton tipped swab, gently wipe out the dirt and grime.

Keeping your iron clean and well maintained is important for the life of both your iron and your cloths, and it only takes a bit of time

Originally written for Helium.com. Posted to previous blog on Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Using a Thesaurus

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The English language is a beautiful and concise language, containing more words to say the same thing than any other language in use today. These alike or similar meaning words are called synonyms. A synonym can be a noun, a verb, an adverb, adjective or preposition.

Using synonyms can spice things up, or tone them down, or worst case, hit the snooze button and kill interest completely with its utter boredom. Depending on which word you choose to use, you can throw in a dash of distinct texture or subtle flavor that can intensify or diminish the way that readers, or listeners,interpret what you are trying to say. Choosing you words carefully can clarify a point quickly and easily.

For instance, “he/she said” is pretty much a “big whoop” statement. it says what you mean, but “snooze”. By changing “said” to “he whispered”, you change the action, the feeling that is implied. Whispering implies something that should not be shared with everyone. Something between the person speaking and the one(s) that he is speaking to. An inner circle.

Changing “said” to “shouted”, paints a different picture entirely.

Your use of a specific word, a tighter word, to describe what you want to say is plain and simple using words to paint a picture. Basic colors can get your message across, but a rainbow of color brings life to the painting. In other words, by choosing a word that expresses a tighter definition for the common word, you can make things much more interesting.

Using a Thesaurus can add a vast array of interest to any and all of your writing projects. But don’t go crazy. Choosing the wrong word could be disastrous steering your reader, or listener to territory you had no intention of going so be sure you know what the word you are using really means.

First and foremost be sure to get a good thesaurus and an equally good dictionary, and cross check when in doubt.

When you are looking for a more concise word start by looking up the familiar word. If you find a word that focuses your meaning, wonderful. If not keep going. find the word most close to what you want to say, look that word up and check the listings for you perfect word.

Back to the example above. A shout can be a yell, a scream, a holler, a bellow or a roar to name a few examples. Each of these words has a different feel and can create a tone all their own in the minds of your reader.

All in all, having a good thesaurus is a vital weapon in any writer, or speaker’s, arsenal. Overlooking them could be the difference between a sale or a rejection.

Originally posted Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picture provided here

Happy Teachers Day!!!

Checked the Bizarre American Holidays page for today (June 6) and it declared today Teachers Day.

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Okay, wasn’t that in May, you ask….A little checking about and I discovered that Teachers Day was first unofficially celebrated on June 6th in the year of our lord, 1931, by a group of famous Chinese teachers. At the time, this was not a formal holiday approved by the Chinese Nationalist Party.

So, to all the teachers out there reading this today, have a wonderful, relaxing day and bask in the greatness of your contributions to the nation’s children.

For the rest of ya, why not get on the phone and give that lady or gent that had your kids for those long nine months last year and let ’em know you appreciated the long hours of instruction they spent to give your kids that first non-parental, social leg-up that guides them in the laborious journey to adulthood.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO PREVIOUS BLOG: Saturday, June 6, 2009