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Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for August, 2008

Aug 28, 2008

The child prodigy who started playing piano at two

Sour grapes is a new category in my blog. I guess everybody knows the fox and the grapes fable by Aesop. The fox declared that he didn’t care that he could not reach an attractive bunch of grapes because he imagined they were probably sour anyway. You express sour grapes when you put down something you can’t get or when you are bitter about something.
The best sour grapes is the one about winning the lottery, as in ‘winning the lottery is a big headache anyway’ or ‘I don’t even want to win the lottery because I am sure it’s cursed’
First entry is a story about the little Marc Yu, nine-year-old, dubbed ‘The Little Mozart’ who will make his debut at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday. He made his concert debut, on the piano and cello, at six – the same age as Mozart.
Marc started playing the piano at a friend’s birthday party in Los Angeles when he was only two. As the other children sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, he went over to the piano and started playing the tune. Six months later, Marc gave his first public recital, playing Beethoven. He credits his mom for playing Beethoven CDs when she was pregnant with him.
He practices eight hours a day, is home schooled and according to his mother, he learns in 30 minutes what other kids learn in eight hours. Ouch!! His mom does not sound very humble, does she? Recently he developed interest in gambling games like blackjack and poker.

I played lots of classical CDs when I was pregnant with my kid and he is not a prodigy. He does not even want to play the piano and he is almost five. His relationship with our piano resumes to making sure he is not crushing his fingers under the piano lid.

Aug 23, 2008

Headlines- August 22, 2008

Headlines:

Olympics probe into China’s ‘underage’ teenage gymnast
There have been persistent media allegations that He Kexin who won gold for China in artistic gymnastics and asymmetric bars, had competed in earlier tournaments under a later birth date. On Thursday, the Web security expert Mike Walker said he had uncovered Chinese state documents that proved she was 14 and not 16.
The caption on a photograph published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua last year referred to ’13-year-old He Kexin’, while China Daily reported in May that she was 14.
Now more speculations arose that even the bronze medallist Yang Yilin is below the minimum age to compete. IOC gave the verdict: they were satisfied with the proof offered by Chinese government. Huh???!!!!!!!
What?! Did anybody expect a full admission from the Chinese officials?
To all people saying that ‘so what? What does it matter if they were younger?’ I have the answer. It matters because of the bone structure. A 12-14 years old is lighter and more supple than a 16 years one, hence it’s easier to perform acrobatics. Everybody now brings up Nadia Comaneci, who was 14 when she won the perfect 10. But at that time that was the minimum acceptable age to compete. Since then it’s been changed to 16, in an attempt to prevent the abuse of the children and to allow them to have a childhood, instead of training for 10 hours a day.

Mexicans using implanted chips to fight abductions
When I thought that abduction is a national sport for Brazil, it looks like their cousins, the Mexicans are going to the same ordeal.
According to state statistics, the number of abductions jumped almost 40 per cent between 2004 and 2007. That put Mexico in the same league with Iraq and Colombia. Not an envious position, eh?
So, while the official number for 2007 is around 700 abductions, an independent institute came up with a different number: 7000.
Considering the interest people have in purchasing the new gadget that allegedly allows them to be found via satellite, probably the latest number is closer to reality.
The gadget is a chip implanted under the skin. It’s been designed by a company named Xega and it’s currently sold for about $4000. On top of that, customers must pay an annual fee of about $2000.

Celebrity gossip:

Juicy piece of info running wild on the net: a hunk in a summer movie is secretly gay; he sneaked into an ex-gay lover house and raped him; after that he paid the guy $500,000 to keep it quiet.
The front contenders were: Christian Bale, Will Smith and James Franco (no idea who the dude is?). For the obvious reasons: hunk and summer movie.
Now, more details surfaced about this secret gay hunk’s past: he took ballet lessons as a kid among others.
Unless this detail was given just to throw us on a wild goose chase, Christian Bale was the one with ballet past. But I refuse to believe that he is the guy.
Web super sleuths came up with…. you will never guess …. Will Smith!! because apparently he has been rumored to be gay years ago, because apparently he and Jada are into some sort of ‘convenience’ marriage… hey, the dude is friends with Tom Cruise. Does it ring a bell of similarities??
OK, the jury is still out, but the latest update settled for James Franco.
Again, I have no idea who this guy is or what he did or not in the past.
Just for entertainment, take a look at other potential candidates, based strictly on the summer movie criteria, ok?

Ashton Kutcher: “What Happens in Vegas”
Mark Wahlberg: “The Happening”
Justin Timberlake: “The Love Guru”
David Duchovny: “The X-Files”
Harrison Ford: “Indiana Jones”
The Rock: “Get Smart”
Jason Lewis: “Sex and the City”
Colin Firth: “Mamma Mia”

Personally I would have picked Harrison Ford.. yeah, I am just kidding. Probably the sweet -not- Calista would break his bones.
And no, I refuse to even think about The Rock as well. Although, on second thought, he played brilliantly a gay character in ‘Be Cool’.

Other news: Gwen Stefani gave birth to a baby boy. The name is Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale.
Yep, another notch on the list of stupid names for kids.
At least he’s not alone, there are a lot of other celebrity kids with weird names: Apple,Moses (Gwyneth Paltrow), Peaches(Bob Geldof), Kal El (Nicolas Cage) Kyd (David Duchovny), Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone), Memphis Eve (Bono)
Going back to Gwen’s baby, people speculated that Nesta is because of her love for Jamaica. Don’t forget that her first kid’s name is Kingston. Nesta was Bob Marley’s middle name.
Others said that Zuma and Nesta are some soccer players. I would go with the first assumption. She is a musician after all.
As for Zuma… it’s a Zulu name, a computer game, a name of a beach… so your guess it’s as good as mine.


Aug 21, 2008

Headlines- August 21, 2008

Headlines
Spain Air Crash Updates
More info about the Spanair flight JK5022 that crashed during take-off at Madrid’s Barajas airport yesterday afternoon, killing 153 of the 172 passengers. According to an official, the device called an air intake prob reported as overheating in the front of the plane under the cockpit was not to be blame for the crash. The device was turned off by the technicians after found defective, but is not on a list of equipment that has to be functional for a plane to take off. He told a news conference that turning off such a device in these circumstances is an accepted procedure. In the mean time, witnesses said they heard an explosion and saw smoke coming from the plane’s left engine as it attempted a take-off. The plane attempted the second take-off when it crashed. What is known about the plane model- MD-82, is that it belongs to MD-80 series that has been involved in at least 10 fatal crashes, with an overall loss of over 1,000 lives. A sister plane of the jet that crashed had to make an emergency landing six days ago after suffering suspected engine problems. The flight from Lanzarote to Madrid diverted to Gran Canaria after losing power in mid-air.

Tesla Roadster electric car launched today
Now that the fuel costs cut jobs and pushed airlines into bankruptcy there is light at the end of the tunnel. Or is it? Check this wonderful piece of news: British Tesla Roadster is on the road as of today!!! Yupee!!! This baby looks just like a normal sports car, has a top speed of 125mph and acceleration of 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. What’s so special? Two words: electric car. It takes three hours to charge up and has a range of 220 miles on each charge. So, if you are in the market to purchase an Aston Martin, Porsche or Ferrari, maybe you change your mind and join George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the waiting list for the green friendly machine.
Tesla Roadster
tesla-electric-car.jpg
Wait, wait!! I forgot a small detail: Roadster cost over $172,000. At this price, the company has a firm order for 1,100 cars for North America and 250 for Europe. No wonder.

Woman, 61, gives birth to her own grandchild using eggs donated by her daughter
The surrogate mother used a fertilised egg donated by her daughter, who has no uterus. In my opinion it was a wonderful and generous gesture a mother can offer to her child. I have read comments from ignorants going from ‘why did she not adopt an orphan from Darfur instead of using her mom as a surrogate’ to an even more stupid ‘this is inbreeding’. It’s not inbreeding and no, I would not adopt from Darfur either. We leave Darfur, Malawi, and other exotic destinations to our beloved celebrities.

Celebrity Gossip:
– Jennifer Aniston is flying solo again. The last stunt with John Mayer was really bizarre and I tend to believe the tabloids that it was more a promo kind of thing.
– Matt Damon and wife had a new baby girl. The name: Gia Zavala (weird name)
– Alex O’Loughlin (Mick St.John from Moonlight) will be back on CBS next season. He signed a one-year deal with CBS to star in a new series, only that this time he won’t be playing a vampire. And Moonlight is still cancelled. Instead, HBO is going to give us a new vampire series, called ‘True Blood’. According to some old rumors, CBS considered that people did not really enjoy Moonlight as much as they enjoy watching a shirtless Mick St.John. Hence they cancelled the show but kept the actor. Fine with me.
– Michael Phelps has purchased a $1.69 million condo on the waterfront in Baltimore, Md. His new pad is 4,080 sq. ft. The complex has a rooftop terrace, a private screening room, a state of the art gym, a clubhouse with pool tables.
– If you watched the stupidest most recent Bachelorette, you know that that attention seeker dimwit named DeAnna Pappas rejected the eligible Jason Mesnick, the single father from Seattle. While most of the comments on various forums cried bloody murder and accused her of being a manipulative bitch (I totally agree) at the same time suggested him not to take the offer of appearing on The Bachelor series. Guess what??!! Apparently he has signed on to be the new Bachelor when the ABC series returns in January 2009. In your face DeAnna!!

Aug 8, 2008

From the news- August 8, 2008

The first piece of news is about … the Olympics. What else?

I am not going to talk about the lavish opening ceremony, other than to mention that it took seven years to master the choreography and it cost about $40 billion.
beijing-olympics-2-fireworks-light-up-the-birds-nest-stadium.jpg
Interesting are the other aspects surrounding this year Summer Olympic Games. After the terrorist attack happened last week, an extra 100,000 security and police troops have been deployed to Beijing and Tiananmen Square was closed off.
An Air China flight bound for Beijing from Tokyo was forced to turn back after an Olympic-related bomb threat was received.
Buddhist monks continue to protest wherever they can along with exiled Tibetans. It’s an understatement to say that they are unhappy with the Chinese ruling.
Pollution remains a key concern for the Games and on the morning of the opening ceremony, fog obscured the Beijing skyline. Naturally, the official point of view is that people confuse ‘haze’ with ‘pollution’ Yeah, right.
I wonder if the food prepared for athletes is coming from irradiated seeds or not.
Some time ago, Chinese scientists boasted about the huge size of the crops made with seeds irradiated in space, assuring at the same time that they are not going to be used to feed the Olympians. But what about the rest of the people?

In any way, the Olympic Games are very important to the Chinese officials. They are to show that China emerged from being a poor country, occupied in the past by Western power players and Japan and morphed into a power to be taken into account.
The idealistic image has been unfortunately tarnished by some events, like the resignation of Steven Spielberg as artistic director of the Olympic Games in February, over Chinese relation with Sudan.
Following month, March, has been plagued by riots and demonstrations in Tibetan areas culminating with angry reception of the Olympic torch in many international capitals.

The oil control proxy war
While China is busy hosting the Olympic Games, Russia is busy staging a war with Georgia.

What if the problem actually is related to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline? The pipeline feeds Caspian oil to the West, without passing into Russian territory (hence no Russian control… at least not directly; some terrorist acts only)

It looks like there are some forces trying to control the oil reserve in Central Asia. Russia wants the pipeline to go through Russia (duh!), the USA wants to go through Georgia and Turkey and Iran wants to see it go through … Iran (where else??)
Coincidentally or not, the Americans have sent a huge naval task-force to the Persian Gulf to blockade Iran. Throw into the equation another player: Israel, and remember the recent reports of a massive IAF exercise over the Mediterranean.

For some time now, Georgia has been fighting separatists with ties to Russia in order to regain control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which voted for independence in 2006, in unofficial referendum. The separatist administration in South Ossetia has been trying to gain formal independence since breaking away in a civil war in the 1990s.
The majority of its 70,000 population are ethnically distinct from Georgians, speaking a dialect related to Farsi. The Ossetians claim that they have been forcibly absorbed into Georgia under Soviet Rule.
Now, South Ossetians want to join up with their ethnic cousins in North Ossetia, which is an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation.

In April 2008, Russia steps up ties with the other Georgian’s breakaway republic, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in retaliation to NATO’s position of allowing Georgia to join the alliance at some point.

In July Russia admitted flying jets over South Ossetia to ‘cool hot heads in Tbilisi’ and at the same time Georgia and Russia accused each other of military build-up.

August 8, 2008 marks the start of heavy fighting between Georgia and Russia.
Photo of Georgian shells fired at separatist rebels in South Ossetia, August 8, 2008
georgian-shells-fired-at-separatist-rebels-in-south-ossetia-august-8-2008.jpg
Hundreds of fighters from Russia and Abkhazia were reportedly heading to aid the separatist troops.
Some people believe that Georgia’s president tries to draw NATO into the conflict, but chances are that it’s not going to happen. After trying to avoid a military conflict with Russia for so many years, would NATO be foolish to get into one at this point?

Let’s move on to a more serious and much anticipated issue: Angelina Jolie’s newborns
Here are some pictures of the happy family. Shiloh is a sweetheart and I must admit that the twins are beautiful. Considering that Hello! Magazine paid $11 million for the first pictures, they should have better been gorgeous.
Jolie Pitt Twins
Jolie Pitt twins
Shiloh and one baby
shiloh-and-newborn.png
Jolie Pitt family
angelina-newborns-brad-and-the-other-kids1.png
Angelina, Shiloh and the newborns
angelina-newborns-and-shiloh.png
What a slap on Jennifer Lopez’s face! Her twins were worth only half the money.

Now if you want to see a picture of Nicole Kidman’s baby… there is only a very fuzzy one not worth uploading. I guess it’s just a typical baby, looking like her father (as per Nicole’s statements) with a reddish blond hair.


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