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by StGrundy

Nature is absolutely amazing.  Not only is a there a vast array of creatures on land and sea, but the subtle variations and unique adaptations are fascinating. The new show Life on Discovery channel, Sunday night at 8pm is a captivating insight into the world around us.

From the depths of the ocean to the oldest desert in the world, life survives and thrives in the harshest environments. (I meanly really – can’t they just move?)  Take the female chameleon for example.  In the heat of the Namib desert, she turns one half of her body black to better absorb the sun and regulate her body temperature, while leaving the other half white.  Her feet are adapted to the desert sand and she has lost the prehensile tail of her tree-dwelling relatives.

by Muddy Funkster

I was entranced by the intense but hilarious antics of the Giant Bullfrog as it fights for the right to mate. With their huge fat yellow bellies and strong back legs they launch from the water into each other in big awkward leaps.  It’s clumsy and off-balance and will make you laugh, but the ferocity of their attacks will leave you no doubt who is King of the Tadpoles.

I am constantly astonished at the unusual and somewhat bizarre behavior and features found in the animal kingdom. Even though I’ve seen them a thousand times, alligators continue to captivate me with their dinosaur-like look and primitive, but highly effective body armor.  However learning that some male garter snakes put out a pheromone that mimics the female so that he can “cheat”” and have all the other smalls males warm him up by rubbing against him in the futile hope of mating.

Let’s give a round of applause to the filmmakers and the camera crews who spend their time plodding through mud, climbing mountains and waiting in the rain for that one stupendous shot.  And let’s not forget the amazing slow-motion cameras where you can actually see the skill and precision it takes for the long sticky tongue of a frog to catch its prey, or the beauty of an eagle in flight.

Check it out yourself and enjoy the mystery and fun of Life.

LIFE : Panther Chameleon : Animal Planet

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Harry Potter
Originally uploaded by aquinas_college2

I haven’t been keeping up to date on my other blog, Fun Spirit.  But while looking it over I saw a few articles I really loved.  This one really made me laugh.  Hope you like it:

Yes, believe it or not HP Fans, there are actually people who do not adore our little black-haired, super-genius, evil-defeating hero known as Harry Potter. These foolish muggles overlook the greatness of The-Boy-Who-Lived, thinking him nothing more than a silly little child.

When you come upon such addle-brained and unenlightened people, simply try some of these well proven strategies to cope with their narrow little minds:

  1. Make sure they are healthy. Find out if they have had a recent check-up. A head injury could account for their confusion on the subject. Check their pulse and peer into their eyes to be sure they are breathing and not in a coma.
  2. Be friends. Assure them that you understand how much better the Jedi in Star Trek was. Always salute them with “Live Long in the Force.” This is sure to please.
  3. Squeal in horror as you recognize a Death Eater in disguise. Shout “Death to Voldemort,” and run away screaming.
  4. Express your sympathy about their being dyslexic. No wonder they haven’t read the books yet poor things!
  5. Gently pat their hand and assure them it’s alright to be afraid of the unknown. Offer to teach them the “Lumos” spell if they’re also afraid of the dark.
  6. Send them frequent HP updates, including new movies, the upcoming theme park, each character’s film career and whatever other interesting tidbits you can find. Tell them “you don’t know what you’re missing – let me show you.”
  7. Remark on how much they look like a Harry Potter character. Argue with yourself over which one they remind you of most. “Hagrid – no, Dumbledore – certainly not, ahh, I have it – Dobby!”
  8. Report them to the Ministry of Magic. These are obviously criminal masterminds whose resistance to the esteemed Mr. Potter is simply a reflex of their dislike for any “meddling goody-two-shoes.”
  9. Assume they are a pessimist who thinks everyone is terrible. Suggest you can teach them skills to become as optimist as you have been inspired by the heroics of Harry and his friends. Offer to give them numerous examples.
  10. Check them into the nearest psychiatric hospital for examination. Nothing but mental impairment sufficiently explains their lack of adoration for our favorite hero. :0)

Check out this fun video on You Tube.

For more ways to annoy Harry Potter Haters.

Be sure to check out my old blog Fun Spirit for more fun-filled articles.

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HP Theme Park

Harry Potter theme park sign by Jonathan D. Bloom

Universal Orlando recently released some information about their upcoming new theme park – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  For Harry Potter fans young and old, this will be a fantasy land like no other, it’s sure to be a hit!  Full of the all the charm and whimsy of the book, this attraction is set to open in Spring 2010.

Castle

You will enter through the magnificent gates into the grandeur of Hogsmeade Village.  Once inside you will be shut off from the outside world as you are greeted by the  signature whistle and the sight of the Hogwarts Express.  Many of the favorite shops and pubs from the story are recreated here in all their medieval glory.

There will be eateries featuring food from the books, favorites such as Butterbeer or pumpkin juice at the Three Broomsticks, and sweets like chocolate frogs or Bernie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans at Honeydukes.  Shop at Ollivander’s for your own personal wand, or stop in Dervish and Bangs for Quidditch equipment and Triwizard souvenirs. Try Zonko’s joke shop for a bit of Weasely-inspired zaniness!

Luna with glasses

The Dragon Challenge will be a twin high-speed roller coaster with elements from the story.  The Flight of the Hippogriff is a family coaster simulating a flight over the school grounds.  There is also a recreation of Hogwarts Castle.  Here everyone, whether Gryffindor or Slytherin, will be welcome.  Visit the cozy common rooms, or the great feasting hall.  Every sight and sound will immerse you into the magical world of Harry Potter and his friends.

For a unique vacation you won’t soon forget, try traveling into another world.  For more information, visit the web site at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and be sure to check out the “First look” video at the site.  I can’t wait!!!

For other great Harry Potter fun, check out the fabulous web site at Muggle Net.com.  Read up on the latest news, view gallery photos, play games and learn about the World of Hogwarts.  See you soon!

P.S.  Stop by my other web site Fun Spirit for a funny look at “How to Deal With Harry Potter Haters.”

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baby

Making Music by nyki_m

We all have weird and unique, hobbies, interests or talents.  I have recently been reminded how fun it is to indulge in them. And how fulfilling it can be.  Our passions – those activities that feed our joy and happiness, are vital to our wellbeing.  No matter what others think, you need to pursue your passions to give excitement and satisfaction to your life.

Whether you love riding ATV’s through the mud, studying poetry, dancing, singing, or using your belly as a bongo drum, it is important to do things you enjoy. Just as some people love country music, and some love rock, we all like to do different things.  While classical music could be viewed as an alien form of torture to a hip-hop fan, to the right person it is an uplifting, mood-enhancing pastime full of emotion and beauty.

Be yourself.  Don’t change to fit someone else’s idea of you. If you’re a woman who loves power saws and wood working – go for it.  If you’re a man who loves drawing and sculpture, join a class with like-minded souls.  Step away from fear.  Fear of embarrassment that people think you’re silly.  Fear of failure because you’re not skilled at your task.  If it makes you happy – then go for it!

Not sure what your passions are?  Google some ideas on the Internet, or go to the local library and browse some books.  When you find something that peaks your interest try it.  By yourself.  Don’t have any family or even friends there to influence you.  If it makes you smile, laugh or motivates you to do more, you’ll know you’ve found a new calling.

One of my greatest dreams is to write for a big greeting card company like Hallmark.  While that may never happen, I do still love both writing and greeting cards.  I love to visit the Hallmark web site to see all the great cards they have and to visit some favorite characters like Maxine and Hoops & Yoyo.  I also love to make up my own greeting cards for family and friends.  I love rhymes so most of mine are like that.  They are often silly and not too great, but they enjoy the personalized gift, and I enjoy the process of creation.

Here’s a quick sample:

With a flick of the wand
And a swish of his cloak
Girls giggled and swooned
Over that Harry Potter bloke
He works with Dumbledore
To catch You-Know-Who
His friends Ron and Hermione
Stand by him too
He’s dashing and clever
And oh so smart
That black-haired rascal
Captured many a heart
Snape creeps along
And Malfoy sneers too
Keep your eyes peeled
And watch what they do
Sad and exciting
What a tale to tell
I sure hope in the end
It all turns out well!

Silly yes, but I’m sure a few of my friends will enjoy the fun of the film and a silly poem to boot.  :0)  I may not be great, but it’s still fun and that’s what counts.

There is great happiness in doing what you love. If you can’t do it for money, you can certainly do it for fun.  When times are tough, say financial difficulties, a lost job, family illness or other problem is when you need the comfort and mood-boosting effects of your passions the most.  Even 10-20 minutes a day can help – heck even 5 minutes of music during a stressful day at work can turn your frown upside down.

Be your weird, strange, unusual kooky self.  It’s okay to love Audrey Hepburn – even if you’re only twenty years old.  Go ahead and be the only history buff at work.  Feel free to advise friends of the benefits of digging in the dirt for semi-precious gems.  Go ahead and build 25 custom-made birdhouses for your backyard.  You’ll love it, and it’ll make you happy.  When you’re happy so are those around you.  Remember your positive attitude may just rub off on the rest of the world.  Isn’t that a beautiful benefit of being yourself?

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Jack-o-lantern by Paul Keleher

Do you love the thrill that courses through you as you sit in the dark with your popcorn mesmerized by the drama on the screen, listening the to rumbling music escalating to warn of some impending threat about to happen at any moment?

Horror movies let us experience the elevated heart rate and adrenaline rush normally associated with daring sports like mountain climbing, hang gliding or bungee jumping without any danger to ourselves. We get the excitement without the pain.  The adventure without the work.  It’s a win-win deal.

Scary films also have another bonus – they let us escape our problems for a short time. They also put difficulties like annoying coworkers, higher food prices, or misbehaving kids into clearer perspective.  After all, none of those things will kill us right?  Sort of takes the pressure off the issues which can otherwise overwhelm our lives at times.

The thrill of unknown draws our curiosity and fascination. It’s a chance to experience the strange and bizarre – from aliens and zombies to ghosts and demons, the unusual and odd abound in horror movies.  Suddenly ordinary life seems much simpler and sane.  Not to mention that thrillers are just plain fun.  Who doesn’t love shouting “Don’t open that door,” to the naïve victim about to step into the killer’s lair?

So what are the Halloween films you can’t live without? Which ones do you need to watch every year?  Who is your favorite creepy character and why?  As you think it over take a look at some of my favorites to spark your memory.  Then get out the popcorn and pick some flicks and have a fearfully good time.

The Frighteners (1996) –   A creepy, ghost-filled horror story with a sense of humor.  Michael J. Fox gives a great performance as a confused and man with the ability to see ghosts.  With a can’t miss FBI agent with a bizarre twist.  Sure to give you chills and have you staring at people’s foreheads.

An American Haunting (2005) – A loving family is caught in a supernatural trap in this menacing tale.  When John Bell is cursed by his neighbor, a rumored witch, strange things begin happening in the family home.  Who is what is causing the haunting and abusing their innocent young daughter Betsy?  The truth is truly horrifying.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)  A riveting tale based on a real life story; delve into the life and mind of Emily as she faces horrible pain and suffering.  You decide as the case is laid before you – is it demon possession or abuse by her caretakers that torments this gentle soul?  With a mesmerizing performance by actress Jennifer Carpenter unlike anything you’ve seen before, you’ll be glued to your seat until the end.

Interview with a Vampire (1994)  A captivating story played superbly by Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a young Kirsten Dunst.  High society living cannot distract from the loneliness, pain and suffering that the vampires live with daily.  Horrifying and heartbreaking at the same time.  A must-see movie.

Other favorites:

  • Alien (1979)
  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! (1966)
  • Slither (2006)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • The Thing (1982)

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Relaxing in Maldives by nattu

These days it almost seems like the world will end.  Will your candidate get chosen and save our country?  Can the financial mess on Wall Street be straightened out or will I lose everything?  What new train wreck, catastrophe or problem is lurking around the corner?

Time for a news break. Whether you turn off the TV, change the channel, or read something uplifting, now is the moment to add some balance to all that negativity you’re listening to.  Otherwise you may just take up a sign proclaiming that the Armageddon has come and it’s time to put on your clean underwear!

So take a minute and change the channel. Click over to Animal Planet and watch a mother dog nurse a cute baby squirrel or a hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier run through a sprinkler.  Watch HGTV and see thrifty woman do amazing room makeovers for less than $500.  Check out Food Network and learn how to make a decadent triple chocolate cake – just to indulge your sweet tooth.

Read something inspirational. Whether it’s a fun-filled children’s tale, or the Dalia Lama’s Art of Happiness, there are fascinating and stimulating books for every taste.  If time is short, try a blog article or two.  You can recover the wonder and innocence of a child, or you want to find a way to be more relaxed, there are educational and motivational reads all over the place.

Of course the old stand-by works just as well.  Take a walk, play with your cat, or watch the sun rise before you leave for work. Find 5 or 10 minutes in your day when you do something special just for yourself.  Listen to classic music, take a dip in the hot tub, or just close your eyes and imagine your favorite person or place.  Remind yourself of the beauty and joy that lives all around us.

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Do U Dance?

So You Think You Can Dance by beesquare

Tomorrow night is the finale for “So You Think You Can Dance.”  I just discovered the show this year and I absolutely love it!  I’ve learned so much about dance and enjoyed learning about all the different styles.  Never before had I seen the “street” techniques of Krumping and Popping, or realized how hard it is to do a “simple” Waltz.

The show is entertaining, upbeat and totally captivating.  With top-notch choreographers, glamorous and funky costumes and great music, it is hot-hot-hot!  Seeing a hip-hop dancer perform the quickstep, or a contemporary dancer doing a Broadway routine is educational, impressive, and sometimes hilarious.  I’ve learned that dancing takes lots of practice and work.  But it’s also a ton of fun!

I love hearing the judges tell top dancers over and over, “With your lack of technical dance background, you shouldn’t be able to do this, but here you are!”  It’s like a motivational/inspirational jolt to see a guy or girl with little or no technical dance background end up in the top ten.  Watching them week after week keeping up with competitors who have years of additional dance education and experience is a reminder that none of us should give up on our dreams without at least giving it a try.  You never know what might happen.

This year’s favorites, Joshua and Katee, have performed numerous routines and styles of dance near flawlessly.  They are exuberant and energetic and make those difficult moves seem easy.  Until you try to follow along at home and end up stumbling over your feet and falling on your backside.

Of course that doesn’t stop me from following along and trying my best to get at least one or two moves down.  I doubt I’ll be entering any competitions myself, but I’ve found a new type of exercise that is far from boring, and gives me a better cardio workout than any aerobics tape I’ve seen.

Although this week is the final shows for the year, I look forward to watching the past three seasons on the Internet.  It’s been so enlightening to see the cool moves I’ve never seen anywhere else.  (Why aren’t these kinds of moves in more music videos instead of that booty-shaking junk?  I might actually watch a few if they had this kind of dancing in them.)

The great thing is that the judges say this year’s group of dancers are the best ever, so I’m really looking forward to next year.  (You know it’s a tight competition when you feel sad and teary-eyed when each round of dancers gets voted off.)  Check out the web site for more details and some of the hippest moves you’ve ever seen.

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