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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Power Vinyasa Yoga by Kris

Kris Hunter (my sister) has completed extensive training in a specific discipline of yoga, known as Vinyasa. From a physical standpoint, Vinyasa means that poses will flow from one to another in conjunction with the breath.

Taken from http://www.baronbaptiste.com:
This method is a dynamic combination of precise education, intuitive discovery, profound knowledge and experiential practices that results in transforming limitations into power. Those engaged in this process become empowered to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of allowing themselves to revolutionize their body, their emotions, their relationships and their ability to serve the greater good. No other process utilizes so many tools to tap into one's hidden potential for achieving authentic personal power and living an extraordinary life.

Kris is receiving wonderful support from her mentors and instructors and is seeking people to attend her classes. Yoga, specifically Vinyasa, has helped to change her life in all aspects and broken down the stereotypes she felt towards Yoga in general. She wants to share what she has learned and pass on the benefits she has experienced to others. Kris can be reached by phone at 916-769-1543 so you may ask any questions you may have about Vinyasa or her approach, as well as discuss when you may attend one of her classes.

Tell her that SharkByte sent you!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

END DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER!!

Recently I found a video online that showed fishermen in Japan slaughtering Dolphins, in huge numbers. This is no joke, it's absolutely real and horrifying! These dolphins are sliced open with a machete and left to die because dolphin meat is a high priced item over there.

If you don't belive me, CLICK HERE but I'm warning you, this video is extremely graphic and very disturbing to watch. DO NOT let kids see this!

I wrote a letter to the Wyland Foundation to see if I could get their help and involvment and I was pleased to see that actions are already in place to end this. They sent me a few links to check out and one of them is an online petition.

PLEASE read and signed the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/427037941
End Dolphin Slaughter in Japan

I'm asking all of my readers, PLEASE, sign the petition and pass this on to EVERYONE you know. This video literally put me in tears and I don't care who you are, it's hard to watch. Anyone who has a heart needs to get involved in this, it's simply intolerable. I may be a shark lover at heart, but I love all creatures in the ocean and they deserve better!

Growing up today vs. years ago

I got this post from a friend, Kerri, and had to share it because it amazes me just how much the approach of raising children has changed over the years. My dad jokes about being breastfed while his mom had a vodka drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, but he was serious! These days, it's unheard of and frowned upon heavily but if we're now say that smoking and drinking causes birth defects, why are all of the people born in the 50's and 60's ok?

Reading the section below, you're sure to pick out things that you did growing up or definitely heard it from parents and friends. Ever take a drink from a hose? Bottled water was hardly around and it was used for going camping! Read the rest and you tell me how the hell our parents survived......


TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's 40's , 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day, and we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound , CD's or Ipods, no cell phones! , no personal computers , no Internet or chat rooms....... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them! Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
If YOU are one of them . . CONGRATULATIONS!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So, did you do any of the things mentioned above? Did you get a BB gun when you were a kid? I had one in 3rd grade, and loved it. I drank from the hose, drank gallons of Kool-Aid, ate peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwiches, and I turned out pretty damn good!

I think the overall message is that so much stress has gone into protecting our kids, we may be keeping them from having the kind of childhood that we did! When I was a kid, nothing made me happier than riding my bike down the street and swimming in my pool all day. These days, if kids don't have a Playstation and a cell phone, they feel underprivieged!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Eddie VH chooses rehab over the fans.......


You've heard the phrase used before, but I thought I'd provide a visual answer for anyone who is wondering when Van Halen will finally get this ill-fated tour back on schedule.

Eddie is back in rehab and has posted a message for fans on http://www.van-halen.com/.
Alex and Ed skipped out on attending the induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sammy Hagar and Micheal Anthony attended, and were inducted by Velvet Revolver who performed "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Runaround". Sammy and Michael performed "Why Can't This Be Love" with the help of Paul Shaffer.

The induction speech by Velvet Revolver, as well as the performances mentioned above, can be seen at http://spinner.aol.com/rockhall/2007-induction-ceremony.

There are also interviews with Sammy in regards to reuniting with the band and his success with the Cabo Wabo.

As much as I love Sammy Hagar, I think that a tour with the original lineup of Van Halen would have been a great start to a new chapter in the band's career. I personally think that Ed and Alex have a lot of music still left to share, but can't seem to get the ball rolling for more than a few minutes at a time.

The band's five newest tracks, two recorded with Roth and three with Hagar, are all indicators that this band is not done yet. "Me Wise Magic", recorded with Roth for the 1996 release "Best of Volume 1" cd, rates among my top 5 favorite Roth-led songs. The three opening tracks on the "Best of Both Worlds" compilation of 2004, recorded with Hagar, gave a mucical nod to Van Halen's past while providing a glimpse into their future.

When I heard the news that Sammy had left the band back in 1996, I was waiting to hear that it was all a joke and a new album was coming out just to throw everyone off. The punchline never came, and I'm still waiting. From what I've read and heard, Ed's alcohol problems put a halt to any recording plans following the 2004-2005 tour with Sammy. Of course, nobody besides the group knows for sure if that was the extent of it.

I'd like to think that Eddie can get sober (again) and take Sammy or Dave on tour and put attitudes aside for the sake of the fans. The fans have always been a key focus for Sammy Hagar, in and out of Van Halen. He conjured up the Sam and Dave tour for the fans, and it's the fans that have been strung along for the last decade waiting for new (relevant) material.

I guess it's just wishful thinking at this point, as the tour of 2007 with original singer Roth has been cancelled with no known outcome. It's interesting timing that Ed chose to start rehab, on the arrival of their induction and a planned tour. There's no mystery as to who controls the future of Van Halen; he's the guy who calls the shots from rehab.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Man in Black

Until Johnny Cash released his single "Hurt", written by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), I never paid much attention to him. However, it didn't mean that I ignored the fact that he is a legend and huge contributor to music, past and present.

Last weekend at my dad's, my wife and I saw "Walk The Line" for the first time. The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny and June Carter Cash. I had wanted to see it for a very long time but just never got around to it. After seeing the film, I felt stupid for waiting so long to see it.

While many critics say that Joaquin didn't match the bravado of Cash, I think he did a fantastic job. Reese was miraculous as June Carter and received an Oscar for her performance. Being that I hadn't followed the story of Cash prior to seeing the movie, I can't necessarily speak to the accuracy of the events. However, I felt like I was watching Johnny Cash on screen instead of an actor playing him. I'm still puzzled about how Joaquin projected that darkness in his voice that Johnny just naturally had.

After seeing the movie, I got much more interested in Cash's music. I have the soundtrack to "Walk The Line", with all songs sung by Joaquin and Reese. I know others may not agree, but if you heard the album without knowing who was singing you may just assume it was Cash and Carter from one of their own records. To me, the main difference was the volume and tone of the recordings that give it away. If you listen to the original recordings from Johnny Cash, the sound isn't quite as crisp and loud due to the lack of recording technology we have in today's studios. While the clarity and fidelity may be lacking from those old recordings, his charisma and edgy storytelling are loud and clear.

I have the "Legend of Johnny Cash" CD and it covers the basics for anyone who just needs a simple collection. Cash's "At Folsom Prison" is definitely a fine example of what made him the "Man in Black". Just released in 2006 is a CD of duets with Johnny and June Carter which is definitely worth picking up if you want to hear what musical chemistry is supposed to sound like.


Some of his newer work can be heard on his "American Recordings" series on which he puts his signature on some popular songs and makes them all his own. Best examples are "Personal Jesus" from Depeche Mode and "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden.

American V: A Hundred Highways contains "Like The 309", the last song written and recorded by Johnny Cash.

American IV: The Man Comes Around contains "Hurt" and "Personal Jesus" (mentioned above) and the classic rock staple "Desperado". Another track on this album which captured my attention is "Tear Stained Letter".

Whether you're a die-hard fan of Johnny Cash or only know him by one or two songs, you are certain to understand why he is a legend and an icon in the music industry. I'm just starting to fully explore his body of music but I've already begun to realize just how much he means to the music industry.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Latest Fashion Trend: Pregnancy?

I just read the article below and I had to share it along with some thoughts. Please read the article and you'll see my notes following.......



Pregnant 14-Year-Old Says Having a Child Is the Newest Fashion Among Teens
Saturday, February 24, 2007


LONDON—

The newest fashion among schoolgirls is getting knocked up, according to one pregnant 14-year-old whose four friends are also expecting. British teen Kizzy Neal says she's been approached for advice from other pregnant girls her age ever since she conceived, reported London's Daily Mail. "When my friends see my bump they say they wish they could have a baby, then three weeks later they're pregnant and don't know what to do," Neal said.

"It seems to be fashionable to get pregnant. ... Teenage girls think babies are cute, but they forget the physical side of being pregnant, then having to give up your own childhood to look after a baby," she told the paper. Neal says she got pregnant the first time she had sex with her 13-year-old boyfriend.

Family campaigners say her comments show how current sex education policies leave teens with the "ridiculous but extremely worrying" idea that having a child is comparable to buying a new handbag. Neal's comments come as figures show England and Wales have the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe, with the biggest growth among girls under 16.


------------------------------

After reading the article I noticed that it didn't say if Ms. Neal got pregnant on purpose, only that she got pregnant after having sex for the first time with her boyfriend. Four of her friends followed her lead, and see her as a mentor. I see this as a prime example of kids raising kids, nothing more. If her friends got pregnant because of her, they are setting themselves up for extreme failure by looking to her for advice.

A few years ago I saw a show on teenagers having babies, on "The Maury Povich show". There were about 4 or 5 girls, all younger than 16, wanting to become mothers. While they didn't have the notion that pregnancy was "fashionable" as Ms. Neal, they just wanted a baby with no valid reasoning to back it up. As Ms. Neal says, babies are cute and girls love babies and don't take into consideration all that comes with it. On the show, a group of people from Planned Parenthood created a "Baby Bootcamp" and put these girls to the test. After about 15 minutes of mock bathing and diaper training, these girls quickly lost their desire to be young mothers.

I read about sex laws in England and legal age of consent is 16 years of age. Somehow, the laws are not keeping these kids from doing the deed and it's not surprising. I don't think these young girls are setting out to become pregnant, but it's obvious that there has been no education provided from schools or parents regarding the consequences of unprotected sex. Since the laws mean nothing to these kids, the responsibility falls on the parents, and in this case I see the parents of Ms. Neal at fault.

Any realistic parent knows that you cannot keep your kid from doing much, since they go away to school each day. You can make threats of punishment, but it physically will not stop any activities they do while they're away from home. If that is the case, parents need to give their kids all of the information they need in order to make smart decisions. The friends of Ms. Neal who have gotten pregnant and come to her for advice must lack parental guidance if they're taking cues from another teenager. The notion that pregancy is "fashionable", as Ms. Neal said, is completely ludicrous and displays her immaturity.

I think women who give up their careers to raise children or those who have difficulty having children would be particularly offended by Ms. Neal's attitude towards motherhood. Her ideas undermine the sacrifices that many women give up willingly to raise a child. I think that in a place where the age of consent is as low as 16, with even younger kids having sex, parents need to form a much tighter bond with their children to keep them informed.

I don't know about any of you reading this, but if my unborn son started having a physical relationship in his teen years, he would be loaded with condoms and would be aware of the consequences of his actions. Many boys are foolish in believing that they can just pull out at the right moment and that's their form of birth control. Then there's my favorite situation in which the girl says "I'm on the pill" and the boy accepts that for his protection. Being that there are far more consequences than pregnancy for unprotected sex, the pill should mean nothing when the discussion of safe sex arises.

In the end, all you can do is teach your kids well and let them live by your words and examples. I guess that in London, kids just run wild and have sex every chance they get. Parents will pay the price in the end when their children can't handle a baby of their own.

What do you think about the article or my thoughts?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Must-See Movies

I've always considered myself a fair critic whether I'm trying a new restaurant, watching a movie, or hearing an album for the first time. Now that I have this blog for my creative output, I feel like it's time I start sharing my opinions and recommendations.

Sometimes, I'll mention a few albums worth listening to and buying or maybe a restaurant that I found particularly impressive. If I have a favorite vacation spot, or come across a new one, I'll share those as well.

This is the first posting of a series called "Must See", and the focus is movies.

Blow (2001)
Directed by Ted Demme
(Starring Johnny Depp, Ray Liotta, Penelope Cruz, Paul Reubens among others)


This movie is based on the real-life story of George Jung, Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder and the Medellín Cartel, involving the introduction of cocaine in the states. It follows George from childhood all the way to his capture (he remains in prison to this day). The movie hits on all nerves from start to finish, with laughable and sad moments interlaced.

On the "Infinifilm" DVD, there are several special features, including an interview between Director Ted Demme (who ironically died of a cocaine-related heart attack only a year later)
and George Jung himself which was filmed in prison. During the interview, George decribes his amazement in Depp's performance. While much of the story is very true to life, many of the names have been changed.

Personally, I think Depp deserved an Oscar nomination for this performance, whether he would have won or not. Ray Liotta gave a touching performance as George's father, who has to sit back and watch his son live on the wrong side of the law. Penelope Cruz plays a woman who George steals away from another man to become his wife. I have seen this film several times and it never gets boring or old to me. It remains one of my very favorite movies and I urge you to see it if you haven't already.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Directed by Frank Darabont
(Starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, others)

This film is based on the novella
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption written by famed horror novelist Stephen King, and follows Tim Robbins' character Andy Dufresne after he is convicted for the murder of his wife and her lover. In prison he becomes friends with Red, played by Morgan Freeman who earned an Oscar nomination for his role. Much of the film is narrated by Freeman himself, and his pace and tone provide remarkable feeling to each situation he describes. The movie spans 20 years of Andy's life in prison and while it has a very dark tone to it, the ultimate theme is hope. The casting was brilliant in this movie in terms of making the characters very believable. I just watched this movie yesterday and I love it just the same as I did the first time I saw it. This is another movie that I feel has potential to be on anyone's list of favorites.


The Green Mile (1999)

Directed by Frank Darabont
(Starring Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, Barry Pepper, David Morse, others)

This is another film directed by Frank Daraont, this one adapted by him from the Stephen King novel The Green Mile. The film stars Tom Hanks as a prison guard during his time on Death Row. Michael Clarke Duncan plays a man brought to his prison after being convicted of murdering two small girls. Barry Pepper and David Morse play Hanks' associates as all witness some strange events after Duncan's character arrives. This film has a familiar tone to it, most likely due to both being directed by Darabont and possibly because they both take place in a prison. However, this film separates itself through an entirely different storyline and a more lighthearted presence overall. The film earned four Oscar nominations, among them Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan. I treasure this movie highly among my collection, and place it high on my list. I hope if you take the time to follow my recommendation of this movie, you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

**Duncan lost to Michael Caine for the Oscar and I could only think how hard it must've been for them to both have the same name since they'd hear "the award goes to Michael C-" and both of them would think they'd won.**


**DOUBLE FEATURE**
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
The Devil's Rejects (2005)
Directed by Rob Zombie
(Starring Sid Haig, Sherri Moon, Bill Moseley, others)

These are the first two films directed by Rob Zombie, who was first known for his music that featured psychadelic creepshow-style videos such as "Dragula" and "Living Dead Girl". Before creating these two films, Rob was approached to write and direct the sequel to
The Crow but his script was rejected. Later he was hired to animate the psychadelic trip sequence in the animated feature film Beavis and Butt-head Do America, which showcased his talent and creative capabilities.

He got inspired to direct his own film and got to work on his first feature film as a director, "House of 1000 Corpses" which he also wrote. The film took over 12 million dollars at the box office and did very well in DVD sales. It wasn't long after the first film that buzz started for its sequel, "The Devil's Rejects", which ultimately improved upon the first film and took 16 million at the box office.

I felt the need to provide this information before I give my praise because these films got very little press. Also, being that they were directed by a former music persona and are cult horror favorites, they are not sought out by a large audience.

Personally, I love each of these films equally for different reasons. While watching the first film with director commentary on I was very impressed by Rob Zombie's approach to creating his first film. Additionally, he was determined to improve upon it and create a sequel that felt completely different and he greatly succeeded in doing so.

The first movie definitely has an amateur feel to it, but it is that feel which lends to its success. The story is quite ambitious, and the characters are as likable as they are horrifying.
The family in the film is reminiscent of that in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. People are lured to their home and hell is unleashed upon them. The family in this film is the Firefly family, including Otis and Baby as the major characters. After visiting Captain Spaulding at his Museum of Monsters and Madmen, four young adults wind up at the Firefly house and are involved in a series of horrific events. This movie is extremely graphic so do not dare watch it if you can't handle what you may see.

The sequel, The Devil's Rejects, picks up right where the first one ends and you can immediately see the difference in the filming style between the two films. I think Rob did a great job sealing up any loose ends or mistakes he may have made in making the first one. This movie is even more graphic than the first one so again I stress to be prepared. He definitely did his homework to improve upon his first movie, even as well-received as it was by viewers and critics alike. If you enjoyed the first movie, you'll love this one.
Keep an eye out for Rob Zombie's "Halloween" coming this fall!!

**COMEDY 6-PACK**
Old School
Wedding Crashers
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
The 40-Year Old Virgin

Since I've bunched these movies together, I won't give the Director/cast info that I did on the previous ones. These are pretty much my favorite comedy movies and I've watched each of them several times. It would take me far too long to provide the plots and cast for all of them so I'm leaving it up to you for that. Of course, you could just take my word for it and put these on your list for comedies to rent/buy. If you use an online service like Blockbuster Online or Netflix, add these to your queue immediately and you'll have a house filled with laughter for days to come.

Funnyman Will Ferrel stars in all but 2 of these movies (Dodgeball and Virgin) and if you ask me, he provides most of the best parts of those. Vince Vaughn appears in the first 3 on the list and is quickly becoming a favorite of mine with his quick-witted style of humor. If you watch Anchorman and just can't get enough of the cast, you'll be pleased to see many of them starring in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Personally, I would recommend buying them whether you rent them or not. You will eventually want to own them so save the money you'd waste on renting it.

That concludes this posting of my Must See series.
I hope that you will give these movies a chance if you haven't already.

**The links for movie titles and other information will take you to the Wikipedia site for that item that you clicked. For movies, be careful as there are sections that give "spoiler alerts" because the plot and several moments from the film are provided in detail so you won't want to read it before seeing the films.**