How to Decorate a Tree

One of the most important things in your Christmas decorating is your tree. It is the center of our holiday decorating scheme. Each year we scratch our heads and try to figure out what we can do with our tree. Then of course we would like the family to get involved but that does not always happen with our busy lives these days. How you decorate depends on your own individual tastes. The colors you want to use. The decorations that appeal to you and so on. It actually takes some knowledge to be able to put your tree together. In this piece, we will talk about what you should be doing when thinking about setting up your own tree and the sequence of each task.

-lights

-garlands

-tree trims

-ornaments

-tree top and skirts

Fresh or Artificial

First, you will want to decide on a real or artificial tree. While real are nice and full and have the touch of scent, they can also be hard to keep fresh. If you opt for artificial, you can be assured that it will last for several seasons. Try to keep the tree away from the wall. It makes it easier to decorate.

Decide on a Theme

Choosing a theme can be creative and fun. It is totally up to your imagination.

Create Decorations

Instead of the usual run of the mill store bought decorations, you and your family can make your own. Simply visit a craft store or dollar store and find some truly inspiring items.

Personalize

Add a special touch with personalized decorations. You can add photos, dates, names and mementos to make the tree a family event.

Look In Unusual Places

You do not always have to visit a department store to get decorations. You could take a walk around your local hardware store, fair, garage sale and thrift store. You never know what treasures you can find.

Lights

When it comes to lighting, you should always bury your lights deep within the tree. Make sure you wind them around every branch for the most impact. Start lighting from the top of the tree to the bottom. That way you do not end up with unsightly plugs in the wrong places.

Garland

You should start at the top with the garland too. The garland should be weaved in and out of the tree as well.

Ornaments

Bigger ornaments should surround the bottom of the tree and smaller ones towards the top. Also try to place some deeper into the tree as well. You can mix less expensive ornaments with more expensive for greater impact.

One thing to remember is to decorate all sides of your tree, even the back. This can still be seen even if it is against a wall. Well now that the tree is decorated, one last item needs to be placed.

Topper

The topper is very important. Without it, the tree looks unfinished. If you do not have, toppers then make one. You can use almost anything. A nice thick ribbon would work equally as well.

Now that your tree is decorated, you can sit back and enjoy it for the rest of the season.

Do Blind People Dream

It would seem like a sensible answer and it is. Everyone dreams right? Blind people do dream. If they see any visual images depends on when they went blind. If you went blind before age 5, you do not see visual images. Our dreams come from what we live in life so for people blind from birth they have no visual images. Their dreams are rich with sensory, audio and emotional senses. There dreams come from tastes, smells, touches, hearing. Their experiences can be from sound, textures, and temperatures. This is known as “kinesthetic awareness.”

Of course, people who went blind later in life can dream about the world they have seen. Blind people do not show eye movement during REM sleep. There have actually been cases where a person blind from birth can even be an artist. They can draw portraits, landscapes, and even perspectives. They even dream in pictures. So how is this possible? It is truly remarkable. Could it be that the other senses take over to compensate for the loss of sight? We have all heard of such things. If you lose one sense, all your other senses are heightened. Here are some testimonies from blind people about their dreams. It may help you to better understand from their point of view.

Lucho Nakamatsu, 34 years old. (Totally blind from birth)
“I dream of the things I always do. For example, I like to talk about sports very much. Also I dream about the people that are usually with me (friends, relatives, etc.)

Lucio Suárez Sánchez, 30 years old. (Totally blind since he was 17 years old)

“Sometimes I dream I am seeing and sometimes I dream like it is now, that is, without seeing, but I can hear. Usually in the dreams that I can see, I am anywhere, but it is in a place where it is night, and only very few times, I dream that I am seeing in daylight. Also in my dreams I can see people I have known since losing my sight and I see them according to the descriptions people give me about them and I make in my mind a kind of in conscious visual projection of their faces”.

In a weird twist of fate, some blind people dream of objects. They dream of closures. Like walking down a street where all the blinds are shut! That has to be frustrating. It is nice to know that blind people are no different than the rest of us when it comes to dreams. Perhaps dreaming brings sight even for a little while.

Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photos

I can relate to this topic. I rarely smile in photos either. I just do not feel I have the whitest teeth and I tend to smile awkwardly. There are a number of reasons why people did not smile in old photos. They may have felt embarrassed by their teeth. Remember way back when they did not have access to the dental care we have today. Their teeth were probably horrible if they had any teeth at all. Perhaps they were all gums! They may have felt down. They just did not want to force a fake smile. However, a more realistic reason was probably that they had to stand so long in the old days. After you have to stand for so long, the happiness for taking the picture tends to fade.

In the 1870’s having a photo taken at a studio was a special occasion. It involved dressing in your best attire. It was almost like attending Sunday Mass. The whole experience was serious and people wanted to remain stoic to retain their life in pictures. In fact, some thought it might be the only picture they would ever take! That is how serious they were! The cameras were big and so were the pictures they produced. Pictures were delicate and protected on heavy card stock. In some cases, people would have to stand and sit for so long they would be exhausted.

They would actually prop them up with metal rods put down their backs. Just think of how uncomfortable that must have been. I would not be smiling. I would be cursing! Of course, life was very different then. Even children never had smiles in pictures. What could children be upset about? People had to work very hard just to make ends meat. Times were tough and so were the people. They suffered many hardships. Poverty, disease and poor hygiene. Not to mention war. That does not leave a lot to smile for a picture. After all smiling is a form of happiness. It can reflect contentment, joy and inner satisfaction.

People tend to smile less, as they get older. Women tend to smile more then men.   The weird part of it is that smiling can actually benefit your health and emotions. No wonder there were so much illness years ago. Even a surface smile can be better than nothing can. It will trick your brain to release those happy hormones called endorphins. Remember it takes more facial muscles to frown then to smile! It takes an amazing 35 muscles to frown and 4 to smile! If only people knew that year ago. Another reason many people did not smile was simply that they were taught not to. Pictures were taken at formal occasions and smiling was not proper etiquette. It could also be a cultural thing among certain peoples.

Thank goodness, cameras and serious attitudes changed over the years. Today we can enjoy taking pictures wherever and whenever we want and even smile from time to time.

Do Snakes Sneeze

I would not be interested in this topic because I hate snakes! In this piece, we will delve into the question of snakes and sneezing. The word snake is actually from the Latin, “to creep”. They can move stealthily without being observed. That is true! They seem to come out of nowhere and scare the crap out of you!  Do snakes sneeze and the answer is “Yes”. However, it does not sound like a sneeze. It is more like a hiss that sounds like a sneeze. It can be a mild respiratory infection. Some people find it hard to believe but its true!

They will wheeze, gape and sneeze. If you have a snake, you can try to treat it yourself by keeping your lovely scaly friend in a warm dry environment. You should raise the temperature to the higher end around 89 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. This actually brings on a fever and helps it fight the infection. Just remember to keep it isolated. In some cases, a frothy green discharge may run from the mouth of the snake. At this point after you have raised the temperature, a trip to your veterinarian would be a good idea. We know now that reptiles can in fact get sick and get respiratory infections.

When it is apparent your reptile is having issues with sneezing putting a hot rock in the cage can help. You can find them at pet stores. All you have to do is plug it in and place it in the enclosure. Sneezing is just a natural thing for snakes to do when their noses get irritated or they are allergic to something. It really is not much different then humans. We sneeze when our noses get irritated too. Another way to help your reptile is clean away any salt buildup on their nose or cage and clean it with some glass cleaner frequently. If all this fails, a trip to your veterinarian may be in order. A battery of tests may be necessary.

I hope this answers the question do snakes sneeze. Although, they are reptiles they still suffer from seemingly human responses when something is not right in their systems. So next time you hear a noise coming from your cage, it could be your snake sneezing!

When Do Fish Sleep

It is funny to think of fish sleeping but they do. All animals need to sleep to stay healthy. They sleep when they need to but also it depends on whether they are nocturnal or diurnal. Fish do not have eyelids so they are thought to be resting. They can see when sleeping and can be immediately alert to any dangers. When you see fish being inactive or staying in one spot they are usually resting/sleeping. It is a good idea to shut any lights off to give them the darkness they need. They sleep part of everyday asleep if the conditions are right.

Fish are different in that part of their brain actually shuts down and they lightly rest. They are in constant movement so that they can take oxygen in through their gills and into their bloodstream. It is amazing that some fish actually go into hibernation. When they do this, their metabolic rate slows down. They are not like bears or other mammals. They go into a kind of daze and stop eating. They usually hide at the bottom of the tank or near rocks etc.

Some fish go through a completely detailed event when sleeping. One such fish is called a Parrotfish. They live near reefs that they squeeze into. Once in the there they produce a mucous substance that covers their body in a protective membrane and then they go to sleep. Through research not only has it been found that fish sleep but they can also suffer from sleep deprivation and insomnia just like us. They never reach the REM sleep as we do. I guess if you were a fish, you would not want to be in a deep sleep. You may end up on a hook!

Why clock moves Clockwise

A clock is an instrument that indicates and maintains time and passage. Before clocks were established, the terms “sun wise” and “deiseil” were used. The earliest form of time keeping dates back to 3500 B.C. These words are from the Scottish Gaelic. They refer to the direction of the clocks hands. Have you ever wondered why clocks run clockwise? The definition of clockwise is the same direction as the hands of a clock. Well that makes sense. It may seem like a funny question but let us explore it. Inventors who were trying to make models of the suns movement in the sky invented clocks in the northern hemisphere. Today this region is actually Iraq! To watch the sun from this hemisphere you have to face south.

Therefore, the sun would rise on your left and pass over your head to set on the left. Therefore, the hands of the clock were designed to move left to right over the clock clockwise. The hands were modeled after the design of a sundial-(a vertical stick or obelisk). It is described as a tall four-sided shaft of stone that casts as shadow.  This is how people used to tell time. You can find one in Jantar Mantar in Delhi. We actually did not have watches until the early 20th century. Throughout history, the movement of the earth around the sun determined time.  It seems this movement is by accident as to where people settled and human nature. If so, long ago our ancestors had decided to settle in another place like Africa, we would be dealing with a counter clockwise movement. This is because everything is reversed south of the border.

Long time ago people realized that the earth revolved around the sun so they knew when the sun was in a certain position what time it was. You probably are familiar with the notion that when the sun is highest in the sky it is close to noon. Clocks were not invented until 100 A.D. in China. It is surreal to think that if we were in a different hemisphere we would read out clocks and watches differently. If clocks were invented in the southern hemisphere instead of the northern hemisphere, we would be watching the hands of our watches go from right to left! That is weird to think that things could have been so different. In fact, some Arabic and Jewish clocks run right to left but then there lettering reads from right to left too.

Therefore, I hope this helps to inform you about the movement of clocks. It is fascinating to know and the history of clocks and little known gems of facts.

The Bio and Controversies of Britney Spears

Even after Britney stopped her acting and singing career for several years due to marriage, childbirth, and emotional breakdowns, she remains one of the most watched and most controversial people in Hollywood. Born in McComb, Mississippi, she was first viewed as a cute teenager who used to perform with the Disney Channel Mickey Mouse Club with Justin Timberlake. In fact, Britney and Justin became a couple for some time after they reached the height of their career.

And Justin Timberlake was not the only popular star she became associated with at a young age, other cast members included Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell (from the show Felicity), Jason Chasez (from the band NSYNC), Ryan Gosling. But aside from Justin Timberlake who eventually came into his own after his gig with Nsync, Britney surpassed them all.

She was catapulted into stardom after the release of her first single, “Baby One More Time” and she never looked back since then. The single was not only a hit in the United States but in many other countries as well. But her second single, “Oops!…I Did It Again” was the single that sealed her fate. After debuting number one, it was huge. Britney became a household name. At the tender age of 17, she had to deal with stardom and all the things that went with it. This was probably the main reasons for her break downs later on.

On January 3, 2004, she married Jason Alexander, a childhood friend. They were married for a mere 55 hours before getting a divorce. Following this wedding, her second album was released and became a worldwide hit. After several months, Britney announced her engagement to Kevin Federline, a dancer. He has two children with an actress named Shar Jackson.

In September 18, 2004, they finally tied the knot. But this marriage was not meant to have a happy ending. On the contrary, Britney’s most notorious behaviors will manifest itself during her wedding. Kevin Federline and Britney Spears are to have two children: Sean Preston and Jayden James. But the couple finally divorced in 2006 because of “irreconcilable differences”.

Some of the controversies Britney became involved in include shaving her head bald on national television, flashing herself while getting out of a car, and her court case regarding her kids. After all these challenges and controversies, Britney is finally trying to bring herself back together. Only time will tell if it is already too late or not.  The Bio and Controversies of Britney Spears

Even after Britney stopped her acting and singing career for several years due to marriage, childbirth, and emotional breakdowns, she remains one of the most watched and most controversial people in Hollywood. Born in McComb, Mississippi, she was first viewed as a cute teenager who used to perform with the Disney Channel Mickey Mouse Club with Justin Timberlake. In fact, Britney and Justin became a couple for some time after they reached the height of their career.

And Justin Timberlake was not the only popular star she became associated with at a young age, other cast members included Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell (from the show Felicity), Jason Chasez (from the band NSYNC), Ryan Gosling. But aside from Justin Timberlake who eventually came into his own after his gig with Nsync, Britney surpassed them all.

She was catapulted into stardom after the release of her first single, “Baby One More Time” and she never looked back since then. The single was not only a hit in the United States but in many other countries as well. But her second single, “Oops!…I Did It Again” was the single that sealed her fate. After debuting number one, it was huge. Britney became a household name. At the tender age of 17, she had to deal with stardom and all the things that went with it. This was probably the main reasons for her break downs later on.

On January 3, 2004, she married Jason Alexander, a childhood friend. They were married for a mere 55 hours before getting a divorce. Following this wedding, her second album was released and became a worldwide hit. After several months, Britney announced her engagement to Kevin Federline, a dancer. He has two children with an actress named Shar Jackson.

In September 18, 2004, they finally tied the knot. But this marriage was not meant to have a happy ending. On the contrary, Britney’s most notorious behaviors will manifest itself during her wedding. Kevin Federline and Britney Spears are to have two children: Sean Preston and Jayden James. But the couple finally divorced in 2006 because of “irreconcilable differences”.

Some of the controversies Britney became involved in include shaving her head bald on national television, flashing herself while getting out of a car, and her court case regarding her kids. After all these challenges and controversies, Britney is finally trying to bring herself back together. Only time will tell if it is already too late or not.

Diet Secrets of the Stars

Looking at the stars, you would think they were all born with perfect bodies. No one is born with a perfect body. How do they look so amazing? To saunter down the red carpet looking gorgeous takes some work. Well with their money, they work out with personal trainers and some go under the knife. For the most part, they watch what they eat. One of the biggest weight loss trends is to cut carbs. One huge diet trend is the “Zone”. Jennifer Aniston actually dropped thirty pounds on the diet. Friend’s stars like Matt Leblanc and Matthew Perry have also had success with the zone. It works on 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent-unsaturated fats.

Another popular diet is the low carb-high fat Atkins. How does this diet work? Isn’t fat the culprit here? It is meat and cheese rich. The plans philosophy is to cut sugar and carbohydrates in order to lose the weight. The body goes into ketosis, which is where the body is tricked into thinking it is starving. The body burns glycerin so there is a big amount of weight dropped quickly which makes it popular. Who wouldn’t want to drop weight quickly! After a few weeks, carbs are reintroduced but limited. This diet is not for everyone because ketosis affects the kidneys and muscle tissues. Of course, with any diet you should research it and talk to your doctor.

Well remember this is Hollywood. With Hollywood comes parties and with parties comes drugs. Some celebs use them to stay thin. One such drug is cocaine which is popular among some stars like Lindsey Lohan who was pulled over for drunk driving and had coke on her. A new comer in the world of slimming drugs is Adderall.  The number of celebs getting addicted to it is rising. It keeps you awake and suppresses the appetite. These young Hollywood types fail to realize everything comes with a price. This drug can cause heart problems, psychotic episodes and depression. Well sounds great to me!

Of course, there is the popular fasting approach. This is typically a diet of liquids. A fast approach is to mix together water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Mmm, sounds yummy! Some go so far as to check themselves into a hospital. They are put on an IV just to stop eating altogether. Then there are the constant coffees, smokes and other so-called weight shedders who are obviously doing more harm then well. These are all the extremes that stars will go through just to be thin. They fail to realize that sometimes you can go too far. There is thin, and then there is unhealthy. Your body needs the nutrients that food provides and without it, your body shuts down.

Therefore, there is no real secret to the stars thin builds. We all would like to think there is. We have to remember they are just human like the rest of us. The answer to a healthy lifestyle is everything in moderation. Make sure you exercise and drink lots of water. The rest will take care of itself. No one is perfect and we should not kill ourselves to try to achieve that which is unachievable.

Bollywood vs. Hollywood

It seems that Bollywood is catching up to Hollywood. Bollywood was born in 1899. Hollywood came along in 1910. It is actually amazing to me that Bollywood produces more films than Hollywood. It is located in the heart of India in Bombay. Bollywood actually produces 5 times the amount of movies then Hollywood does. The actors and actresses work harder then those of Hollywood films and for less money. Usually, they will be working on a few films at a time. Well they must be doing something right. The Bollywood films not without their problems. The plot lines seem to all be about love and there is no variety. How many times can you watch a love film without getting bored? Apart from this bollywood, viewers exceed Hollywood viewers.

Then there are those who rave about the Bollywood film industry. There are films on the list that should be seen in order for an individual to get the full effect of these movies. One such film is Dil Chata Hai. It is more westernized and apparently won an Oscar. The costumes and props in most of these films are amazing. I would probably want to watch more just for the costumes!  The men are usually as pretty as the women are which just seems wrong! They are usually a dance performance and can at times be too cheesy. Well I guess a vast portion of the world loves the cheese because these films are viewed in Pakistan, Israel, Arab regions, Africa and even the USSR. That surprised me. I had no idea Russians were interested in Bollywood?

Therefore, this begs the question. How important is Bollywood to Hollywood? It would seem they are looking at new focuses from the recent release of The Love Guru. Bollywood growing popularity comes from their stars too. Aishwarya Rai a prominent actor has gained popularity in our western world.  The first time I saw a picture of her I thought she was stunning! No wonder she was the former Miss World! She has appeared in such television shows as 60 minutes and Oprah Winfrey. You know if you get to appear on Oprah, you are going places. Bollywood is definitely trying to influence our western way of thinking by incorporating English into their films. In fact there are films that are now entirely in English. Okay, so that is a good start.

Well Hollywood and Bollywood have something in common, “Scandal”. There are rumors of how Bollywood films are funded. Of course, we all know there is daily scandal surrounding Hollywood and its stars. Someone is divorcing, separating, cheating etc. All you have to do is walk into any convenience, drug or supermarket to learn the latest Hollywood gossip. Let us face it we are all entranced with Hollywood stars. If there weren’t so much scandal and intrigue, how would they sell magazines? Will Bollywood ever entrance us the same way? Is Bollywood destined to remain in the shadows of the Hollywood empire?

Truth about Vampires

Sordid tales about vampire is a word out of literary imagination than fact of any significance. Vampire is by itself a sordid tale of ghosts, werewolves, tales of horror and unsolved mystery etc. Vampire assumes the form of a woman or a big bat or a man with a penchant for human blood as in the case of count of Dracula. Dracula is the fictional character out of imagination depicted as an example of a human vampire. He was a creation by Bram Stoker, a horror story writer and become popular for the work. The narration of the story in movie makes women faint.

Now it is proved by the scientists that these dangerous creatures do exist in the form of bats and humans but with a twist. A case of a woman Anastasie Dieudonne  in Haiti, confessed to sucking the blood of her niece driven by an urge absolutely uncontrollable with a mental imbalance. This is the case of a human vampire. There have been many cases reported similar to this from different walks of life more dramatic and horrifying.

With reference to bat vampires, Dr. August Kronheit of the German Academy of Science, and member of a number of leading American societies, has made an elaborate study of them in South America. Dr. August Kronheit of the German Academy of Science has done a in-depth research on the existence of bat vampires in south America. He identifies the true vampire as a monster natured black-brown bat with a large wing spread and razor-sharp teeth with easily unrecognizable nose resembling a pig. As a bat, it is nocturnal and sucks blood by attacking animals and humans at sleep. A case of a young girl in Bolivia proves this case when the girl’s dad saw a bat crouching on his daughter’s shoulder at night in the porch. He crushed it to death and later found that the vampire was sucking blood from the girl.

This is not to frighten the readers as most of the bats are harmless. They live by eating insects or by sucking juices from fruits. Vampire bats are known to exist in tropical countries. The puzzling fact is that the victims are not awakened during sucking of blood by the vampire. Reason is attributed to the flat razor-sharp teeth that shave the upper portion of the skin. Blood is sucked through the abrasion by suction. It is neither biting nor stinging and has no depth and so the wound created doesn’t create any pain for the victim. Human vampires are psychologically affected people with a passion for sucking human blood and investigations do point out that such people existed earlier and exist now also.