We Were Born In 1940s …


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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We were born in 1940s. Most of us were born at home.

Some of my friends and relatives are still alive and kicking.

As babies, our mothers fed us at any time of the day, and when we cried.

We slept not in cribs, but with our mothers on hard beds or on mats spread over the floor.

When we fell ill, the doctor gave us aspirin tablets for fever. Our mothers powdered the tablets added honey and forced us to swallow the bitter-sweet mixture.

We never got checked for any allergies.

There were no locks on doors except the front door; and no locks on cupboards.

We did not have plastic containers since plastic was not invented then, but we had celluloid containers.

There were no child-proof lids on medicine containers.

When we were little children we rode in cars that had no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags.

We rode on rickshaw pulled by a human.

When we grew up and rode our bicycles, we had no helmets to protect our heads.

We had fun drinking water directly from the garden hose.

We shared a single soft drink bottle with several friends, without anyone dying.

We added brown sugar when we drank tea or coffee.

We ate white bread with real butter and natural fruity jam.

We ate lots of chocolates. Even so, no one said that we were overweight.

We played a lot outside in the sun and never applied sunscreen lotions or creams.

On holidays, we played all day. We returned home only after the gas lamps on the streets were lit.

No one could reach us or bother us because there were no mobile phones. Even so, we were all right.

We had the following coins in circulation:

1 pie = 1/12 Anna = 1/192 Rupee
1 pice = 1/4 Anna = 1/64 Rupee (in Tamil we called this coin ஓட்டைக் காலணா / oattai kalana meaning 1/4 Anna with a hole.)
1/2 Anna = 1/32 Rupee
1 Anna = 1/16 rupee
2 Annas = 1/8 rupee
4 Annas = 1/4 rupee
8 Annas = 1/2 Rupee
One Rupee
5 Rupees

These were a lot of money at that time.

Telephones were rare and mounted on the wall or placed on desks, they were not mobile. One stood  in one spot to talk since an electrical cord connected the phone to the receiver.

Faber Castell Slide Rule

We never heard of computers? Since there were no calculating instruments, the word computer was not coined at that time. My first calculating instrument was a Faber-Castell slide rule bought in 1967.

Now, young people ask my wife and me: “How do you still manage to stay together for 48 years?” 

Our reply: “We were born in a time when if something broke we would fix it, not throw it away.

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Your cutlery can influence taste of food


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Cutlery

Ever wondered why cheese tastes saltier when eaten from a knife? Our perception of how food tastes is influenced by the size, shape and colour of the cutlery we use, a new research suggests.

Food tastes saltier when eaten from a knife, and denser and more expensive from a light plastic spoon. Taste was also affected by the colour of the cutlery, researchers said.

The crockery we use has been shown to alter our perception of food and drink. Beverages in cold coloured glasses were rated more refreshing and the weight and colour of a plate can alter how dense, salty or sweet food tastes, they said.

Researchers from the University of Oxford demo-nstrated that cutlery can also have an impact on how we experience food.

They found that when the weight of the cutlery confirms expectations, yogurt seemed denser and more expensive.

Colour contrast is also an important factor. White yoghurt when eaten from a white spoon was rated sweeter, more liked, and more expensive than pink-coloured yoghurt.

These effects were reversed for yoghurt tasted from a black spoon, which suggests that colour contrast mediates the effects of cutlery on flavour perception. Similarly, when offer-ed cheese on a knife, spoon, fork or toothpick, the cheese from a knife tasted saltiest.

“How we experience food is a multi-sensory experience involving taste, feel of the food in our mouths, aroma, and the feasting of our eyes. Even before we put food into our mouths our brains have made a judgment about it, which affects our overall experience,” researchers Vanessa Harrar and Charles Spence said.

This may be used to help control eating patterns. Also, people may be able to make better food choices if their ingrained colour associations are disrupted by less constant advertising and packaging, they said.

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Re-posted from DECCAN Chroncile

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IndiRank: Ranking of Indian Blogs


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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IndiRank is a system built to rank the blogs in the IndiBlogger network. Although every blog is manually verified before it’s allowed into the network, the IndiRank system is completely automated.

The IndiBlogger network believes that any ranking system should not be taken too seriously – and that is because no system can be accurate. IndiRank is built to rank the majority of Indian blogs as accurately as possible. However, please do take note of IndiBlogger network says:

  • Not every blog applies to our algorithm, and a blog may get a rank it does not deserve.
  • The IndiRank algorithm is continually tweaked to improve it’s accuracy.
  • No piece of computer code can ever judge your blog as well as your readers can – so get your blog reviewed on our forum if you haven’t done so already!

I joined the IndiBlogger network recently and here is how IndiRank has ranked my website “Impressions”.

IndiRank - June 13, 2013

Updated on August 18, 2013:

IndiRank - August 18, 2013

IndiRank - September 9, 2013

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A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband)


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By Dr. Kelly Flanagan

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Father and Happy Daughter

Dear Cutie-Pie,

Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”

It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.

And I got angry.

Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”

Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)

If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)

If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.

I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.

I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.

I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.

I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.

I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.

I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.

In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common: You.

Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.

Your eternally interested guy,

Daddy

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This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.

I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”

I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.

And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.

Dr. Kelly Flanagan

Dr. Kelly Flanagan is a licensed clinical psychologist, practicing at Alliance Clinical Associates in Wheaton, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Re-posted from Untangled

22 Things Happy People Do Differently


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By Chiara Fucarino

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

smiling-woman

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better..

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Re-posted from Life’d

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Chiara Fucarino

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Chiara Fucarino – Contributing Writer at Life’d.com

Accomplished freelance writer. Aspiring entrepreneur. Deep thinker. Rocky Mountain dweller. Animal lover. Health nut. Motorcycle rider. Hiker. Amateur chef. Traveler. Those words are just a few different ways to describe me. Aside from chatting with me, the best way to get to know me in my entirety is to read my articles. They’re awesome. I promise.

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Miffed with Centre, Jaya­la­li­th­­aa to Skip CMs Conclave


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Jayalalitha
J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister, Tamilandu, India.

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Chennai: Chief minister J. Jaya­la­li­th­­aa has decided to skip the conference of chief ministers on internal security being chaired by the Prime Minister at New Delhi on Wednesday, pointing out that the CMs were being gi­ven “very little opportunity” to express their views at such meets that were re­duced to being mere “annual ritualistic exercise”.

In a letter to the PM on Tuesday, copies of which were made available to the media, she acknowledged the invitation from the Union home minister for the present conference, which “no doubt is a very important event since it concerns the primary function of the state, viz, maintenance of public order”.

But then, like all such conferences chaired by the PM, this one too had “a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects” and even uttering just their titles would take ten minutes, the time being “cavalierly allotted” to ea­ch CM to present his/her views, Jayalalithaa said.

She said the UPA government had reduced even su­ch important conferen­ces “to a routinised ritual rat­her than a consultative pro­cess, with the chief ministers constantly guillotined to cut short their speeches”, despite the fact that they were equal partners in the governance of the country.

The CMs would expect to be able to make meaningful contributions to the discussions and make the Centre aware of the true situation on the ground. “Only this will ena­ble us to formulate policies and allocate resources ba­sed on real need”, she argued.

She said the current conference too appeared aimed at “merely assembling” all the CMs to “rubber stamp” measures pre-decided by the Centre.

Recalling her experience at the National Develop­ment Council meet last De­c­ember when she was fo­r­ced to cut short her speech by the guillotine bell after the allotted ten minutes, the CM said rather than attending a conference wh­e­re CMs would be “railro­aded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table”, she was deputing senior minister K.P. Munu-samy to deliver her speech and it could be taken on record.

“I have given the most earnest consideration of all the agenda items and my speech gives the detailed views of Tamil Nadu on all the subjects listed in the agenda”, Jayalalithaa told the PM in her hard-hitting letter that is bound to trigger a fresh debate on the callous manner in which the Centre has been treating some of the non-Congress states in recent times.

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Re-posted from DECCAN Chronicle

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A letter to Angelina Jolie by an Indian Transman


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By Satya

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie

Dear Angelina Jolie,

Thank you for coming out. I mean about your mastectomy. You have no idea what this can mean for a transman like me who went through the exact same procedure as yours; well almost!

You didn’t have to come out, but you did. Especially since during your mastectomies you kept it private and carried on with your work. I know how difficult it gets with film producer types. I am a filmmaker in Mumbai and you won’t believe it, but once during an edit session, Mr. Moneybags, finding me alone in the cutting room, asked if we could compare our d*** sizes! He giggled and said he hadn’t ever seen one of someone who has had a sex change operation.

Your piece in the New York Times ‘My Medical Choice’, undoubtedly must have been that  – a medical choice. You spent three months, since this February, on a procedure called ‘Preventive Bilateral Mastectomy; ‘Preventive’ since you are the carrier of the BRCA1 gene that puts you at 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer. I spent several years trying to convince doctors that I needed a mastectomy for preventive reasons too. Years of forced living in a gender identity that wasn’t my own, began to immobilize me. In a society that understands only two genders and in a medical system that sees abnormality in everything outside of it, going on is eventually impossible. But your risk of celebrity cancer turned out to be higher than my risk of a commoner suicide. Still, I am happy for you. The mere idea that someone can remove their breasts, at 87% risk or no risk, is just good enough for me for now.

And of course you wrote this piece for women! And I am hoping that you meant transwomen too, some of whom I know would kill to have your new breast implants. How atrocious is the idea being peddled that you wrote it to benefit the Pink Lotus Breast Centre, where your procedure was performed, or for the biotech company, Myriad Genetics, which owns a patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes giving them exclusive right to develop diagnostic tests for, at a current cost of more than $3000 in the USA. The fact that most breast cancer seems to be sporadic and has nothing to do with a BRCA1 mutation, pales beautifully in front of your sheer courage to talk about your own mastectomy in the media.

It is interesting though that all the media attention has been on your courage in losing your breasts, and not equally on your desire to have them reconstructed. Your doctors could have expected you to simply get back to the business of life without them. After all they were lost to a very high possibility of a most dreaded disease. But they didn’t. If you were non accepting of your loss, they could have put you through that monster of an American psychiatric-diagnostic-manual called ‘DSM-4 ‘ to prove your mental illness and therefore the need to cure you through breast reconstruction. But they didn’t. On the contrary, they became your facilitators. They saw you, as you saw yourself, a woman, one with those very definitive markers of femininity : breasts. Why do cosmetic surgeries for women skip the pathologisation that is mandatory for trans people all over the world? Why is it that medicine cannot facilitate trans people in the same way and grant them the same dignity of self identity?

Just like many of my trans brothers, sisters and lovers, I become complicit. I agreed to pathologize my gender identity. I agreed to let the psychiatrist issue me a certificate for Gender Identity Dysphoria [GID]. If I was to lose my breasts, I needed those gatekeepers to let me in. You had the BRCA1 to open the big wide doors of reconstructive surgery for you. And I had my GID certificate. I let them say, I am mentally ill. I let them say it on paper. I signed on an affidavit stating this was my consent and that I was totally responsible for whatever the surgeries would result in.

In a world with greater understanding, removing my breasts should have been seen as my ‘aesthetic choice’ ; a choice exercised in the severely limited societal understanding of gender, as being either only male or only female. But you’d agree that medicine being organized on the central idea of disease or, as you now have made so public, the possibility of it, is ill equipped at the moment, for such fine abstractions as mine. I knew success when I saw my psychiatrist scribble on his over qualified letterhead: “Diagnosis: G.I.D.’ Just like you, I too finally, made a ‘medical choice’. That I was as smart in 1997, as you are in 2013, makes me feel rather pleased with myself! Perhaps, this is a sign? Perhaps I will be a celebrity soon! Perhaps I will meet you at the next Cannes film festival and we can rule the world together?! Two Celebrity Bilateral Mastectomy Survivors, with reconstructed breasts on one, is better than none?! No?!

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Re-posted from THE TIMES OF INDIA

The author Satya is the founder & facilitator of the Indian Trans Group, Sampoorna.

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30 Things You Should Never Pay For


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By Chiara Fucarino

hand-holding-dollars

A lot of things out there are free. Just ask any frugal person. Most of them would gladly rattle off a list of things they never had to pay a cent for, some of which might surprise you.

There are tons of free products and services out there, but businesses work so hard at hiding them from us. They’ve succeeded in getting us to fork over our hard-earned money for stuff we could easily get for free. It’s time to start beating them at their own game! Take a look at the following list of 30 things you should never pay for.

1. Museum visits

Why pay full price when you could get a free pass at your local library? A lot of museums also offer free admission on certain days. However, you might still have to pay to see special exhibitions.

2. Cable TV

Millions of people fork over at least $75 a month for cable TV. It’s an unnecessary expense, considering how many free movies and TV shows are available online. Local channels are still free, and with digital signals being stronger than ever, you can receive over-the-air digital television without having to pay a cent.

3. Books

Borrow books from your local library. Download free audiobooks from LibriVox.org. Swap your used books at PaperBackSwap.com or TitleTrader.com. Get free eBooks at websites like Free-eBooks.net.

4. Cookbooks

With a lot of recipes readily available online, why should you pay for a cookbook? You can download free cookbooks from websites like AllRecipes.com.

5. Music

Paying for music has become somewhat obsolete. Internet radio services like Pandora and Spotify offer great music at no cost. You can also rent CDs from your local library.

6. DVDs

You can choose from a huge selection of DVDs at your local library. Redbox also offers a lot of free rental codes to anyone who signs up for their Mobile Text Club.

7. Information services

Instead of paying a ridiculous fee every time you dial 411, call 1-800-FREE-411. They’ll make you listen to a 10-second ad before offering you any information you need… at absolutely no charge.

8. News

Why pay for a newspaper subscription when the Internet offers an overabundance of news for free?

9. Email

There are many great free email services and clients, like Gmail, Mozilla  Thunderbird, and Yahoo! Mail, so there’s no sense in paying for one that might not be just as good.

10. Higher education

If you want to expand your knowledge without getting a degree, you’re in luck. There are many free online courses and lectures from prestigious schools. For example, MIT has free online classes open to anyone in the world, and BBC offers free lessons to anyone who wants to learn a foreign language.

11. Business advice

The Small Business Administration has tons of free resources, including online courses and consulting sessions, for anyone who’s looking to start their own business.

12. Birthday meals

There are many restaurants out there that will give you a free meal on your birthday. The only catch is that you have to sign up for their mailing lists beforehand.

13. Kids’ meals

Many restaurants offer free meals to their pint-sized customers. Visit MyKidsEatFree.com to find the participating restaurants in your area.

14. Water

Water isn’t technically free, because you still have to pay your water utility bill. However, tap water is still a whole lot cheaper than bottled water.

15. Job listings

Some websites actually charge job seekers to apply for jobs. Do all your job hunting on the websites that will allow you to apply for free. Chances are you’ll see the exact same job listings on both kinds of websites.

16. Condoms

Planned Parenthood, college health clinics, county health departments, and bars are some of the many places where you can get free condoms.

17. STD testing

Many clinics and health departments all over the United States offer free STD testing. However, some of them might charge you a small fee based on your income.

18. Moving boxes

You can score used moving boxes from sites like Craigslist or FreeCycle. You can also visit local warehouses, retailers, or office buildings because they usually have a bunch of boxes they no longer need.

19. Packing supplies

Before you go out and shell out a silly sum for packing peanuts, crumple up some used newspapers and stuff them into the boxes. You can also cushion your fragile items with old sweaters or pillows.

20. Firewood

Construction sites always have an overabundance of scrap wood, and they want you to take it all. You’re actually doing them a favor because they would’ve had to pay to dump the wood somewhere. You can also get free logs at a lumber yard.

21. Passport photos

In this age of digital cameras, it’s kind of silly to pay a drugstore to take your passport photo. Have someone use a digital camera to take your photo (while following the official passport photo guidelines), and then upload it to ePassportPhoto.com for free.

22. Exercise

Instead of paying for a gym membership or attending pricey classes, go jogging in your neighborhood or rent exercise DVDs from your local library.

23. Real estate commissions

If you put forth enough time and effort (and list your house on ForSaleByOwner.com), you’ll have just as much chance of getting your house sold as if you had a real estate agent. However, if you’re going at it alone, it’s very important that you really know what you’re doing.

24. Travel-sized toiletries

Go on freebie websites and request free samples of soap, shampoo, and other toiletries. Your collection may take a while to complete, but it won’t cost you a cent!

25. Nursing advice

Why pay hundreds of dollars for a “lactation consultant” when you could dial a free nursing hotline offered by your local hospital or breastfeeding organization?

26. Baby food

Not only is packaged baby food pumped with preservatives and artificial flavors, it also costs money. It’s much cheaper (and healthier) to mash up or puree the food you already have around the house.

27. ATM fees

Use only ATMs that are in your bank’s surcharge-free network. If you can’t find one nearby, buy something small like a pack of gum at a supermarket and ask for cash back while checking out.

28. Basic checking accounts

Why pay for a checking account when you could use one for free? There are still a lot of banks, such as ING Direct and Ally Bank, that offer free checking and great interest rates.

29. Annual credit card fees

Your credit card company is making money by charging you interest, so why give them more money? Look into using a no-fee credit card unless you’ve determined that the annual fee will actually save you money (i.e. more cash rewards).

30. Pets

Don’t buy; adopt! If you adopt a pet from a shelter, you might still have to pay a low adoption fee that covers shots and care costs, but it’s for a good cause. You’re still supporting a shelter that doesn’t put a price tag on animals.

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Re-posted from Life’d

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Chiara Fucarino

Chiara Fucarino – Contributing Writer at Life’d.com

Accomplished freelance writer. Aspiring entrepreneur. Deep thinker. Rocky Mountain dweller. Animal lover. Health nut. Motorcycle rider. Hiker. Amateur chef. Traveler. Those words are just a few different ways to describe me. Aside from chatting with me, the best way to get to know me in my entirety is to read my articles. They’re awesome. I promise.

The Saint and the Simpleton (Dennis Aubrey)


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Posted by Dennis Aubrey on May 29, 2013

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There are so many wonderful stories and legends associated with the churches we photograph in France, but none is more pleasing than that of Saint Menulphe and his friend, the Simpleton of Mailly-sur-Rose, a town in the Allier.

Statue of Saint Menoux, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)
Statue of Saint Menoux, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Menulphe was the son of an Irish king and very devout. He traveled to England, Brittany and France and was recognized for his sanctity. When the Pope heard of this and asked him to come to Rome, Menulphe walked the route in poverty, a mendicant with no possessions. On his return, he stopped in Mailly-sur-Rose, exhausted with his journey. During that time, Menulphe took pity on an innocent named Blaise who was the scapegoat for local children. One day he intervened as the young urchins threw stones at Blaise. He chided the boys and took the young man under his protection. Blaise was described as a simpleton, one who could barely speak, and never left Menulphe’s side. He couldn’t pronounce his protector’s name and “Menulfe” became “Menoux”.

When Menoux died, Blaise thought that the holy man was asleep. He spent his days and nights at the grave, conversing with his friend. One day visitors to the cemetery saw that the coffin had been dug up and that there was a hole in the side. They discovered Blaise laying on his stomach, with his head in the hole, talking to someone. The local people were scandalized but the curé said, “Poor Blaise, he is a better and more faithful friend than we are. Perhaps he is the least crazy of all.”

The Curé placed Menoux’s remains in a sandstone sarcophagus and had an opening cut into one side. Blaise spent the rest of his life conversing with his friend, and miraculously, the troubles of his mind faded to the point that he was able to serve mass. At the time of his death, Blaise had the reputation of being a simple, faithful man, as sensible as anyone.

La Débredinoire, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)
La Débredinoire, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

Thereafter, in memory of the miraculous healing of Blaise, parents led the bredins, the simple-minded, before the tomb of Menoux and placed their heads carefully into the sarcophagus – the débredinoire – hoping for the same healing that Blaise experienced. Eventually the site received such a number of pilgrims that the Benedictines built an abbey on the site under the direction of the Abbess Adalgasie and placed the sarcophagus with Menoux’s relics in the choir. They also changed the name of the village from Mailly-sur-Rose to Saint Menoux. The fairs held by the abbesses attracted vendors and buyers which led to the expansion of the village.

The church gives an idea of the importance of this abbey and the monastics who resided there. It was built in the classic Cluny style in the early part of the twelfth century. The nave has three tall, narrow bays with ogive arches covered with groin vaults.

Nave facing west, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)
Nave facing west, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

The side aisles are, as usual, visually stunning. We see the long, uninterrupted flow to the ambulatory in the distance.

South side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)
South side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

The north side aisle, however, has a unique feature. Just to the west of the transept arch is a rather clumsily executed structure that contains a stairway leading to a defensive tower on the exterior. Poking up through the roof, that tower looks almost like a minaret.

North side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)
North side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

The raised apse is perhaps the finest element of the church. The choir has two elegant high bays topped with clerestory windows while the chancel features a seven bay hemicycle with an arcade of windows leading to the oven vault.

Apse, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)
Apse, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

The débredinoire of Saint Menoux is found centered behind the altar in the chancel. These reliquaries have been placed between the pillars of the central hemicycle arch and the tomb can be seen just behind.

Reliquaries, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)
Reliquaries, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

The oldest part of the church, built in the eleventh century, is the narthex on the west end of the church. This antechamber has beautiful arcades supporting a short barrel vault. Some of the pillars are topped with capitals, but it is clear that the restoration was not complete. Fragments of some of the original statuary are rather casually displayed in the arcades.

Narthex, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)
Narthex, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Today, the abbey is gone – only the church remains after the destruction of the French Revolution. The town of Saint Menoux is quiet and peaceful for its 1,009 residents. The church is not well tended; there are rat droppings and cobwebs throughout. Dust cakes the benches and the chairs, but pilgrims still frequent the Église Saint Menoux in order to use the débredinoire for relief from feeble-mindedness or headaches.

Lest we think that credulous in the Middle Ages were alone in these workings, look at this passage in “The Invisible Architecture” by George Prat (2000).

“For more than forty years I made fun of the débredinoire which I considered an example of public credulity … My surprise was great to see that the débredinoire works and is not a gimmick. Thedébredinoire is placed at the geometric center of the apse …. and is located at the junction point of thetelluric current and four streams of water. … When one realizes that this is a machine from another age and can be activated by an ‘acupuncture point’ located nearby, we are amazed at the electrical energy released … The débredinoire is actually an instrument of care-giving; when used correctly, the equivalent a high intensity shock is given to the user. This is certainly very effective in the case of some nervous breakdowns.” People will always find a reason to believe if the need is great enough.

Demon Capital, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)
Demon Capital, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Our daughter Sarah suffers from debilitating migraines and PJ placed her own head in the sarcophagus in hopes of helping. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try! But you must be careful not to touch the tomb while inserting your head. You run the risk of absorbing the feeble-mindedness and headaches of all who preceded you!

If you are interested in seeing some other churches in this region, follow this link.

Location: 46.585211° 3.156842°

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Re-posted from VIA LUCIS

KEZZW5R3W3YN

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Some Mothers Still Do Have ‘Em!


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Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj
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Senthil: Tamil Cinema comedian, Tamilnadu, India.
Senthil: Tamil Cinema comedian, Tamilnadu, India.

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Actor Senthil, a popular cine comedian in the South Indian cine field particularly in Kollywood, Tamilnadu, India has acted in many popular movies with several leading actaors and comedians.

Senthil was born on March 23, 1951, in Ilanjambore, a small village near Mudukulathur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamilnadu. Since he was an unruly boy, he was constantly scolded by his father. At the age of 12, he ran away from home. He first worked in the shop of a cooking oil vendor. Later he worked as a bar attendant in a private wine shop. Interested in acting, he joined a drama troupe where he developed his acting skills. He received small roles in the Tamil film industry in Chennai.

The movie Malayoor Mambattiyan gave him the required exposure to propel him to stardom. He has about 185 Tamil movies to his credit. He has also acted in movies in Hindi, Malayalam etc.

He is notable for his comedy roles pairing with actor Goundamani in the vein of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy who were popular during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s

Senthil is one of the most-loved comedians in the South Indian film industry. His appearance on the screen enlivened the audience replete with claps and whistles; and, when he paired up with Goundamani, the cheering doubled.

Goundamani and Senthil ruled the comedy world of Tamil cinema for over two decades. They established a place for themselves in the heart of their audience by entertaining them with their perfectly timed dialogue delivery and unsurpassed body language, and witty, rib-tickling comedy.

Senthil opted to act in movies irrespective of their budget. Once he said: “I don’t believe in movies with small budgets are large budgets. There are only two types of movies – good and bad.”

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