Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Cheap Chic In New York

Best Hotels at $150 or Less

From stylish to standard, bohemian to basic, here are some great spots to rest your head without draining your wallet.

By T Sahara Meer (Sourced from

Second Home on Second Avenue
Pick your theme: Peruvian, Tribal, Caribbean, 20th-century Modern... Each of the seven cozy rooms ($80-$195) has decorative touches that are intended to evoke a cultural motif — thankfully most are too subtle to detect. Staying in five of the quarters does require sharing a bathroom, but the charm of this 19th-century townhouse (and its owner, Carlos) makes that trip across the hall in the middle of the night worth it.
• 221 Second Ave., between 13th and 14th Sts., 212-677-3161,

Howard Johnson Express Inn
Despite the hip address, the accommodations are fairly run-of-the-mill (you can take the HoJo out of suburbia but, well, you know). As a result, this East Village over-nighter is perfect for those who would rather spend their time hitting the streets than hitting the hay. Rates start at $109 for a single and include a continental breakfast.
• 135 E. Houston St., between First and Second Aves.; 212-358-8844,

Cosmopolitan Hotel
TriBeCa's latest bargain hotel, the Cosmo offers 122 small, clean rooms, ideal for business types looking to stay downtown. If you do want a bit more space, however, they can accommodate — book one of their eleven 2-level mini-lofts with a lower-level sitting area and upper-level bedroom area ($129 per night). Other features include newly renovated rooms, all of which have color televisions and private bathrooms. Rates for a single room start at $145.
• 95 W. Broadway, at Chambers St.; 212-566-1900,

East Village Bed and Coffee
Let you inner child out at this funky nine-room B&C (sorry, no breakfast here), where room options include the first-floor Treehouse room (which was used as Jennifer Tilly’s bedroom in the French film, Happy End), the relaxing top-floor Zen room, and the top-floor Children’s room, which is meant for “grown up kids” and decorated with the proprietor’s childhood artwork, a chalkboard wall, and a desk from the intermediate school down the street. And it won’t take too long to save up your allowance to stay here, as rooms start at just $80, with all taxes included.
• 110 Ave. C, between 7th and 8th Sts.; 212-533-4175;

Union Square Inn
Artists of all kinds flock to this East Village inn, which is patterned after a European pensione and just steps away from lively Union Square, itself reminiscent of an open European plaza. Its 46 rooms are clean, simply furnished, and come with the expected basic amenities, but are also slightly larger than many comparable rooms in the city. Rates start at $109 for a single, or $119 on Friday and Saturday nights.
• 209 E. 14th St., between Second and Third Aves.; 212-614-0500;

This Broome Street hotel claims to be the oldest in the city, and sometimes it shows—the rooms are small and amenities are sparse. But SoHotel has three things going for it: location, location, location. Just steps from Little Italy, Chinatown, and (of course) SoHo, its central downtown position is ideal. Actually, it has a fourth thing going for it, too—rooms that start at just $93.07, tax included.
• 341 Broome St., at Bowery; 212-226-1482;

Chelsea Inn
With its muraled art-deco bathrooms and flea market furniture, the Chelsea Inn has all the bohemian charm of a Montmartre flat. They offer a choice of private or shared singles and suites, ranging from $99 to $259. Check often for seasonal specials where you can snag one of their quaint singles for as little as $79.
• 46 W. 17th St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.; 212-645-8989,

Chelsea Lodge
If you're a country mouse visiting the big city, you'll feel right at home in this European-style, Chelsea brownstone. It's quiet and private, and with 26 rooms in an Americana style — complete with showers, televisions, and air conditioners — you'll be one rested, comfy tourist. Rates start at $95 for single occupancy.
•318 W. 20th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves.; 212-243-4499,

Chelsea Savoy Hotel
Not to be confused with its famous neighbor the Hotel Chelsea, amenities in this 89-roomer are pretty spare and the overall experience is not nearly as enchanting. But what it lacks in allure, it more than makes up in location and price (singles begin at $99, doubles at $135).
• 204 W. 23rd St., at Seventh Ave.; 212-929-9353,

Colonial House Inn
You wouldn't know it from the outside, but this charming Chelsea inn doubles as an art gallery. The lobby is home to The 24 Hours for Life Gallery, which has featured art by Keith Haring and proprietor Mel Cheren. Some rooms have mini-fridges and fireplaces, with all rooms boasting free satellite TV. There's a roof deck and the first floor lounge has Internet access. Rates start at $85 and include a continental breakfast.
• 318 W. 22nd St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves.; 212-243-9669,

Apple Core Hotels
Apple Core's quintet of Midtown hotels lack flair but the rooms are clean, supply the basics, and come with complimentary breakfast. All locations have fitness and business centers, and the La Quinta has a great view of the Empire State Building from its year-round rooftop bar. Not a bad deal considering that doubles start at only $89.99.
• La Quinta, 17 W. 32nd St., between Broadway and Fifth Ave.; 212-736-1600
• Comfort Inn, 129 W. 46th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves.; 212-221-2600
• Red Roof Inn, 6 W. 32nd St., between Broadway and Fifth Ave.; 212-643-7100
• Super 8, 59 W. 46th St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.; 212-719-2300
• Ramada Inn, 161 Lexington Ave., at 30th St.; 212-545-1800

The Gershwin Hotel
A veritable arts epicenter unto itself, the quirky Gershwin boasts a pop art- festooned lobby with an actual Campbell's Soup can signed by Andy Warhol; rooms with an array of wall murals and art pieces. In addition to an eyeful of art, a stay here will get you Internet access, babysitting and dry cleaning services, and discounted parking upon request. Also, don't forget to ask about their specials and packages to get an even better deal. Rates start at $99.
• 7 E. 27th St., between Madison and Fifth Aves.; 212-545-8000,

Murray Hill Inn
There may be a few things a pricier hotel offers that this east side inn does not (for instance, an elevator). However, there aren’t as many as you might think, as amenities here include air conditioned rooms, a 24-hour concierge, and daily maid service. Rooms start at only $89—just be sure to request one with a private bathroom.
• 143 E. 30th St., between Lexington and Third Aves.; 212-683-6900;

Bentley Hotel
We didn't think it was possible, but you can find uber-chic rooms with stunning river views on the Upper East Side for less than $150. Seasonal rates vary, but most of the year a standard overlooking the glittering Queensboro Bridge can be yours for the bargain price of $135. Oh, and be sure to save some time in your busy itinerary for a drink at the spectacular rooftop bar.
• 500 E. 62nd St., at York Ave.; 212-644-6000,

Harlem Flophouse
Clean, beautifully-restored and historically-engaging, playwright and artist René Calvo's B&B celebrates its neighborhood's Renaissance. The good-sized rooms bear names like The Corky Hale, The Chester Himes and The Cozy Cole and décor such as an original pressed tin ceiling, beautiful claw-foot tub and large walnut dresser dotted with ancient cigarette holes. Singles go for $100 and doubles for $125, with discounts available for artistic brethern.
• 242 W. 123rd St., between Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Seventh Ave., 212-662-0678,

Hotel Newton
This Upper West Sider makes a smart choice for travelers willing to lose some frills while still maintaining their dignity. The hotel's clean, kitsch-free rooms come with large bathrooms, basic amenities, and refined touches like cherry wood desks and headboards. Doubles start at $105 while suites—which can comfortably house four—will set you back at least $175.
• 2528 Broadway, between 94th and 95th Sts., 212-678-6500,

Baisley House
This charming, modestly-priced 19th-century bed and breakfast is arrayed with owner Harry Paul’s collection of Victoriana, with a meticulously assembled English rose garden to boot. Two doubles ($156.50 or $186.50) and one single ($128.50) are furnished completely with antiques and decorated with ecclesiastical art, although secular amenities like a TV, VCR and, thankfully, an air conditioner, offer 21st century comforts. Less modern is the communal bathroom, shared by all occupants on the second floor.
• 294 Hoyt St., between Sackett and Union Sts., 718-935-1959, Baisley House website

Bed & Breakfast Marisa
Hidden on an unassuming, leafy street a few blocks north of Prospect Park, Marisa offers the choice of the garden-level apartment (a two-bedroom space with a living room, kitchen, private bathroom and a separate entrance) or one of the two guest rooms that share a common bathroom on the upper level. Décor is simple, understated and soothingly homey, heavily favoring wooden furniture stained in rich, earthy hues. Rates are equally lax, ranging from $95 to $130, plus discounts for extended stays.
• 288 Park Pl., between Vanderbilt and Underhill Aves., 718-399-9535,

Union Street Bed & Breakfast
At this Carroll Gardens brownstone, less than a block from Smith St.'s restaurant row, each of the six guest rooms is identified by its dominating color scheme. There are two rooms with queen beds and two large rooms with two beds each, that begin at $150 per night and decrease based on the length of stay, as well as two significantly smaller rooms at $100.
• 405 Union Street, between Smith and Hoyt Sts., 718-852-8406,

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Monday, 28 June 2010

Three Lessons

By Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

There are three lessons I would write, —
Three words — as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light
Upon the hearts of men.

Have Hope. Though clouds environ now,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow, —
No night but hath its morn.

Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven, —
The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth, —
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The habitants of earth.

Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But men, as man, thy brothers call;
And scatter, like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all.

Thus grave these lessons on thy soul, —
Hope, Faith, and Love, — and thou shalt find
Strength when life's surges rudest roll,
Light when thou else wert blind.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

One Day You’ll Know

By Pandora Poikilos

I am huddled in a corner
Waiting for you to speak
Waiting for you to love me
Waiting for you to accept me
Waiting for the day when you will know
All there is to know

One day you’ll know
How my memories of you
Are ones torn with torment filled words
I craved for you to accept me as I am
And not to break me to become who you want me to be

One day you’ll know
How I longed for my memories of you
To be filled with laughter and shouts of joy
There was always something else more important
Joy and laughter are not priorities you said

One day you’ll know
You didn’t have to be correct all the time
I didn’t want you to be perfect
I just wanted you to be there
For me as I have been for you

One day you’ll know
More wrong words have never been spoken
When you told me to live my life
As how others wanted to see me
As to how others thought of me

One day you’ll know
That the most important standards are your own
And others will always have something to say
Nobody is perfect
We can only let our own experiences be our teachers

One day you’ll know,
Innocence robbed can never be restored
Caught deep in your misery
You’ll crave for memories of joy
For moments when “we” mattered more than “I”

One day you’ll know
You’ll realize that too many moments have slipped by
So much time lost
So much distance has come in between
So many walls have been built

But one day you’ll know
Moments passed are moments gone
Wounds may heal but scars will remain
And scars of yesterday
Will always be memories tomorrow

One day you’ll crave for the chance to tell me
That you do love me
That you won’t change who I am
That you will take me as I am
That we have so much to talk about
Where will I be, when you know?

Friday, 25 June 2010

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Anything vs. Everything

By Pandora Poikilos

As I trudge on in these seemingly never ending road of uncertainties
Help me to become less self-reliant
and understand that I can indeed
Place all my fears, doubts, worries and burdens on you

As one person, I cannot do anything,
But you, God, can do everything

Help me to become more patient
With situations, people and
Day to day problems surrounding me

Even as I am surrounded with bleak moments
Teach me to never leave your word
To understand your direction
And to always be reliant on you and you alone

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

My Needs Are Less

By Pandora Poikilos

At a moment when so many things
Are going wrong all at once
Help me, Lord, to be mindful and
Always grateful of the blessings I have received today

Even as I know I cannot help everyone in need
I am thankful
That I can help the few that cross my path
And to always seek prayer for those
Less fortunate than me
Those without homes
Without a daily meal
Who have lost their much needed jobs
Who are in so much pain from sickness
Who are overcoming the recent loss of a loved one
Who are dealing with a devastating tragedy

Though my simple prayer is all I can give
There is always a definite surety in knowing
That you will always provide for their needs

Monday, 21 June 2010

Sunday, 20 June 2010


By The Bashful Bartender, 500 Ways To Mix Drinks

*this is an alcoholic beverage

What you’ll need
2 jiggers white rum
1 pony lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar syrup
3 ice cubes

Method to savour
- Blend for 10 seconds, strain into chilled cocktail glasses.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Wine and Food Pairing

The delicious thing about moving is that delightful find of things you (sometimes) never even knew you had. I uncovered this list (source unknown) which might help when deciding which is the best wine to complement the sumptuous spread you’ve prepared.

In general, light foods go with light wines. Heavy foods go with heavy wines. Delicate meals need a light wine. Heavier meals need a bigger wine.

Sauvignon Blanc – white or light fish, mild cheese, fruit

Chardonnay – grilled chicken, salmon, shellfish, grilled fish and anything with a cream sauce

Pinot Noir – light meats, chicken, grilled anything, salmon

Merlot – pasta, red meat, duck, smoked or grilled foods

Zinfandel – tomato pasta dishes, pizza, pesto, red meats, chicken with heavy sauces

Cabernet Sauvignon – red meats, especially a juicy barbequed steak, grilled and smoked foods

Syrah – red meats, spicy pizzas, herbed sauces on red meat, turkey

Dry Rose – salads, pasta salads, barbeque chicken or fish, light spicy foods

Friday, 18 June 2010


Music by Charles "Charlie" Chaplin
Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons

Smile tho' your heart is aching,
Smile even tho' it's breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by,

If you smile
thro' your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shin-ing thro' for you

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev-'ry trace of sadness,
Al -'tho a tear may be ever so near,

That's the time,
You must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying,
You'll find that life is still worth-while,

If you just smile...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I Love You Without Knowing How

Sonnet XVII
By Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this.

Where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

How Do I Love Thee?

Sonnet XLIII
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Most Notorious Art Thefts / 20th Century

(Sourced from Forbes Magazine)

The theft of treasure is nothing new – it is one of folklore’s most persistent themes – but thanks to novels, films and the newspaper headlines, art theft has captured the public’s imagination like few other types of crime have. Below is a list of the top 10 (plus a bonus) post-war art thefts.

1. The Duke of Wellington – Goya
In 1961, Charles Wrightsman, the oil-rich American collector, bought Goya’s “Portrait of the Duke of Wellington” for $392,000 and planned to take it to the United States. There was such a public outrage that the British government raised the necessary matching sum. Less than three weeks after its triumphal hanging in the National Gallery, it was stolen. The thief demanded a ransom of the same amount and said he was going to devote it to charity.

In 1965, the thief sent a claim ticket to London’s Daily Mirror and the painting was picked up by police in a railway baggage office. The thief, an unemployed bus driver named Kempton Bunton, gave himself up six weeks later. He had planned to use the money to buy TV licenses for the poor, serving three months in jail for his offense.

2. The Flagellation of Christ – Piero della Francesco
Italy, the home of art, has also been the home of art theft. When two paintings by Piero della Francesco, “The Flagellation of Christ” and “The Madonna of Senigallia” and a Raphael, “The Mute,” were cut from their frames and stolen from the Ducal Palace, Urbino, it was described as “the art crime of the century.”

The crime was wholly driven by profit. It was committed by local criminals who planned to sell the work on the international market and would not be the last to discover that much-reproduced masterworks are hopelessly illiquid. The paintings were recovered undamaged in Locarno, Switzerland, in March 1976.

3. Various Paintings – Renoir, Monet, Corot
The theft of nine paintings, including Renoir’s “Bathers” and Monet’s “Impression, Soleil Levant,” which gave Impressionism its name, from the Marmottan Museum, Paris, took place in 1985. The police at first theorized that the radical group Action Direct had committed the crime. But several paintings stolen from a provincial French museum in early 1984 were recovered in Japan after a tip-off from a fence. The paintings–including Corots–were in the hands of Shuinichi Fujikuma, a known gangster. He had been behind the Marmottan heist too. Indeed, he had circulated a catalogue of the nine soon-to-be-stolen paintings.

Japan’s short statute of limitations on stolen art was notorious, and rumors became rampant that the Japanese mob, aka the Yakuza, had penetrated the art world. The truth was on a smaller scale. Fujikuma had been arrested in France with 7.8 kilos of heroin in 1978. During a 5-year sentence, he came to know Philippe Jamin and Youssef Khimoun, members of an art theft syndicate. They pulled the job for him. But the paintings were recovered in 1991–in Corsica.

4. Pacal’s Burial Mask – Historical
In December 1985, guards from the National Museum of Anthropolgy in Mexico arrived at work to discover that sheets of glass had been removed from seven showcases. The 140 objects that were taken included jade and gold pieces from the Maya, Aztec, Zapotec and Miztec sculptures. The curator, Felipe Solis, estimated that one piece alone–a vase shaped like a monkey–could be worth over $20 million on the market–if a buyer could be found.

Most of the pieces were an inch or so in height. The entire haul would have fitted comfortably into a couple of suitcases. It is still accounted as the single largest theft of precious objects. The Burial Mask was recovered.

5. Rayfish with Basket of Onions – Chardin
The break-in at the Manhattan branch of the London dealer, Colnaghi’s, on East 8th Street was sophisticated. It involved a break-in through a skylight and a maneuver with a rope that could have sent the robbers plunging down the stairwell. Once inside, however, the perpetrators became bumblers, treading on a couple of canvases, and by no means choosing the best on the walls. That said, the 18 paintings and ten drawings they made off with included two paintings by Fra Angelico–insured at $4 million–and “Rayfish with Basket of Onions” by Chardin. Only 14 of the works were ever recovered.

The loot had an estimated value (then) of $6 million to $10 million, making it New York’s biggest art heist. It underlined that pickings at private galleries can rival those at museums–with higher insurance and (usually) lower security.

6. Dried Sunflowers – Van Gogh
Three Van Goghs, including “Dried Sunflowers,” “Weaver’s Interior” and an early version of “The Potato Eaters,” were stolen from the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo, Holland. The wave pattern of art theft generally mirrors that of the art market itself and here it did so specifically. Just two weeks before, a list had been published of the top prices paid for art at Sothebys and Christie’s. It listed five Van Goghs among the top ten, including the $53.9 million paid for “Irises,” then the highest price ever paid for a painting.

The thieves returned and asked for $2.5 million for the other two. The police got them back on July 13, 1989. No ransom was paid.

7. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee – Rembrandt
At 1:24 A.M. on the morning after St Patrick’s Day, two men in police uniforms knocked on a side door of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, mentioning a “disturbance” in the grounds. The guards let them in and were swiftly handcuffed and locked in a cellar. The work the thieves made off with included “The Concert” by Vermeer, “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee”–which is Rembrandt’s only marine painting–”Chez Tortoni” by Manet, five pieces by Degas and some miscellanea that includes a Chinese bronze beaker and a fitment from a Napoleonic flagstaff. Untouched were the Renaissance paintings, including Titian’s “Europa,” which is arguably the most valuable piece in the collection.

The current dollar figure attached to the stolen work is $300 million. In 1997, with the investigation moribund, the museum raised the reward from $1 million to $5 million. Tipsters understandably emerged, amongst them a Boston antiques dealer, William P. Youngworth III. Youngworth was a shady character but gained attention by telling Tom Mashberg, a reporter on the Boston Herald, that he and a colorful character named Myles Connor could procure the art’s return. His price: immunity for himself, the release of Connor from jail and, naturally, the reward. Connor was behind bars at the time of the Gardner heist–for another art heist–but claimed he could locate the art if released. Credibility soon began to leak. Then Mashberg got a telephone call that led to a nocturnal drive to a warehouse, where he was shown–by torchlight–what may or may not have been Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee.” He was later given some paint chips, supposedly from that painting. Doubts sprang up (the chips were not from the Rembrandt). The U.S. Attorney demanded that one of the paintings be returned as proof that the works were on hand. This didn’t happen. Negotiations petered out. Connor is now out of jail, but the art is still missing.

8. Portrait of a Persian Painter – Unknown
The Kuwait National Museum and the Dar al-Athat al-Islamiyya (the House of Islamic Antiquities) were looted during the seven-month occupation by Iraq. The buildings were then torched. The two museums housed a collection of Islamic art–one of the world’s best–put together by Kuwait’s al Sabah family in the ’70s and ’80s. Some 20,000 pieces–including arms, armour, ceramics, earthenware, seals and decorative arts from ancient Persia, Mamluk Egypt and the Mughal emperors in India and Kuwait of the Bronze Age–were packed in crates and driven to the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad in a 17-lorry convoy.

There was pessimism about prospects for getting anything back, except by buying it in bits and pieces on the black market, but a small team of curators arrived in Baghdad six months after the ceasefire. Between Sept. 16 and Oct. 20, 1991, some 16,000 pieces had been returned.

The massive state-sponsored art theft recalls the behavior of conquerors in earlier wars, including European monarchs and Napoleon. And the intention of Saddam–like that of Hitler–went beyond plunder. He wanted to erase Kuwait’s historic and cultural identity.

9. Wheatfield with Crows – Van Gogh
Four Dutchmen were arrested for robbing the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam of no fewer than 20 Van Goghs. They were recovered within an hour. The police were of the opinion that had the robbery been successful; no ransom would have been demanded. The canvases would simply have become financial instruments in the global black economy.

Three of the canvases were badly damaged, including one of Van Gogh’s visionary last paintings, “Wheatfield with Crows.” The fact that most works get back to where they belong in pretty good shape can make one overconfident. But, as shown here, art works are frail and luck can run out.

10. Young Parisian – Renoir
A few minutes before closing time in late December, a man walked into the National Museum in Stockholm toting a submachine gun. He pointed it at an unarmed guard in the lobby while two accomplices who were already inside seized a 1630 Rembrandt self-portrait and two paintings by Renoir, “Young Parisian” and “The Conversation,” on the second floor. They made a caper-movie getaway, sprinkling nails on the ground to ward off pursuit and zooming away in a motorboat.

The thieves then approached a lawyer who relayed their ransom demand: $10 million per painting. The police officer in charge of the inquiry asked for photographs. The photographs were convincing, and the police promptly demanded that the lawyer reveal the identities of the thieves. The lawyer refused, citing confidentiality, and insisted he had “done nothing wrong,” telling the robbers he wanted no go-between fee. He is nonetheless being treated as a suspect. Eight men have been arrested in this case and there is a warrant out for a ninth. But at the time of writing the paintings are still missing.

Bonus: The Scream – Edvard Munch
On August 22, 2004, the Munch Museum’s Scream was stolen at gunpoint, along with Munch’s Madonna. Museum officials expressed hope that they would see the painting again, theorizing that perhaps the thieves would seek ransom money. On April 8, 2005, Norwegian police arrested a suspect in connection with the theft. On April 28, 2005, it was rumored that the two paintings had been burned by the thieves to conceal evidence. On June 1, 2005, the City Government of Oslo offered a reward of 2 million Norwegian krones (about 250,000 euro) for information that could help locate the paintings.

In early 2006, six men with previous criminal records were scheduled to go on trial, variously charged with either helping to plan or execute the robbery. Three of the men were convicted and sentenced to between four and eight years in prison in May of 2006. Two of the convicted art thieves, Bjørn Hoen and Petter Tharaldsen, were also ordered to pay 750 million kroner (US $122 million) to the City of Oslo, which is where the paintings were previously located.

Both paintings were recovered slightly damaged.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Saturday, 12 June 2010

This Too Shall Pass Away

Author Unknown

A mighty monarch in the days of old
Made offer of high honour, wealth and gold,

To one who should produce in form concise
A motto for his guidance, terse yet wise---

A precept, soothing in his hours forlorn,
Yet one that in his prosperous days would warn.

Many the maxims sent the king, men say.
The one he chose: "This too shall pass away."

Oh, jewel sentence from the mine of truth!
What riches it contains for age or youth.

No stately epic, measured and sublime,
So comforts, or so counsels, for all time

As these few words. Go write them on your heart
And make them of your daily life a part.

Has some misfortune fallen to your lot?
This too will pass away--absorb the thought.

And wait; your waiting will not be in vain,
Time gilds with gold the iron links of pain.

The dark to-day leads into light to-morrow;
There is no endless joy, no endless sorrow.

Are you upon earth's heights? No cloud in view?
Go read your motto once again: This too

Shall pass away; fame, glory, place and power,
They are but little baubles of the hour,

Flung by the ruthless years down in the dust.
Take warning and be worthy of God's trust.

Use well your prowess while it lasts; leave bloom,
Not blight, to mark your footprints to the tomb.

The truest greatness lies in being kind,
The truest wisdom in a happy mind.

He who desponds, his Maker's judgment mocks;
The gloomy Christian is a paradox.

Only the sunny soul respects its God.
Since life is short we need to make it broad;

Since life is brief we need to make it bright.
Then keep the old king's motto well in sight,

And let its meaning permeate each day.
Whatever comes, This too shall pass away.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Pseudotumor Cerebri (Benign Intracranial Hypertension)

Sourced from Mayo Clinic

Pseudotumor cerebri occurs when the pressure inside your skull (intracranial pressure) increases for no obvious reason. Symptoms mimic those of a brain tumor, but no tumor is present. Pseudotumor cerebri can occur in children and adults, but it's most common in obese women of childbearing age.

When no underlying cause for the increased intracranial pressure can be discovered, pseudotumor cerebri may also be called idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

The increased intracranial pressure associated with pseudotumor cerebri can cause swelling of the optic nerve and result in vision loss. Medications often can reduce this pressure, but in some cases, surgery is necessary.

Pseudotumor cerebri symptoms may include
- Moderate to severe headaches that may originate behind your eyes, wake you from sleep and worsen with eye movement
- Ringing in the ears that pulses in time with your heartbeat
- Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
- Blurred or dimmed vision
- Brief episodes of blindness, lasting only a few seconds and affecting one or both eyes
- Difficulty seeing to the side
- Double vision

The exact cause of pseudotumor cerebri in most individuals is unknown, but it may be linked to an excess amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the bony confines of your skull.

Your brain and spinal cord are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, which acts like a cushion to protect these vital tissues from injury. This fluid is produced in the brain and eventually is absorbed into the bloodstream. The increased intracranial pressure of pseudotumor cerebri may be a result of a problem in this absorption process.

In general, your intracranial pressure increases when the contents of your skull exceed its capacity. For example, a brain tumor typically increases your intracranial pressure because there's no room for it. The same thing happens if your brain swells or if you have too much cerebrospinal fluid.

The following factors have been associated with pseudotumor cerebri
Obesity. Pseudotumor cerebri occurs in about one person per 100,000 in the general public. Obese women under the age of 44 are nearly 20 times more likely to develop the disorder.

Medications. Substances that have been linked to pseudotumor cerebri include:
- Lithium
- Oral contraceptives
- Tetracycline
- Steroids or discontinuation of steroids
- Excess vitamin A

Health problems. The following conditions and diseases have been linked to pseudotumor cerebri
- Head injury
- Kidney disease
- Lupus
- Lyme disease
- Mononucleosis
- Underactive parathyroid glands

As many as 10 percent of the people with pseudotumor cerebri experience progressively worsening vision and may eventually become blind. Even if your symptoms have resolved, a recurrence can occur — months or even years later.

While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a neurologist or an eye specialist for further evaluation.

What you can do
Because appointments can be brief, plan ahead and write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
- What to expect from your doctor

In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may also check your neurological health by testing your:
- Reflexes
- Muscle strength
- Muscle tone
- Senses of touch and sight
- Coordination
- Balance

Eye exams
If pseudotumor cerebri is suspected, a doctor specializing in eye disorders will look for a distinctive type of swelling — called papilledema — in the back of your eye. You will also undergo a visual fields test to see if there are any blind spots in your vision.

Brain imaging
CT or MRI scans can rule out other problems that can cause similar symptoms, such as brain tumors and blood clots.

Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
A lumbar puncture — which involves inserting a needle between two vertebrae in your lower back — can determine how high the pressure is inside your skull.

Pseudotumor cerebri treatment typically begins with medications to control the symptoms. Weight loss is recommended for obese individuals. If your vision worsens, surgery to reduce the pressure around your optic nerve or to decrease the intracranial pressure may be necessary.

- Glaucoma drugs. One of the first drugs usually tried is acetazolamide (Diamox), a glaucoma drug that reduces the production of cerebrospinal fluid by at least 50 percent. Possible side effects include stomach upset; fatigue; tingling of fingers, toes and mouth; and kidney stones.

- Diuretics. If acetazolamide alone isn't effective, it's sometimes combined with furosemide, a potent diuretic that reduces fluid retention by increasing urine output.

- Migraine medications. Medications typically prescribed to relieve migraines can sometimes ease the severe headaches that often accompany pseudotumor cerebri.

- Optic nerve sheath fenestration. This procedure cuts a window into the membrane that surrounds the optic nerve. This allows excess cerebrospinal fluid to escape. Vision stabilizes or improves in more than 85 percent of cases. Most people who have this procedure done on one eye notice a benefit for both eyes. However, this surgery isn't always successful and may even increase vision problems.

- Spinal fluid shunt. Another type of surgery inserts a long, thin tube — called a shunt — into your brain or lower spine to help drain away excess cerebrospinal fluid. The tubing is burrowed under your skin to your abdomen, where the shunt discharges the excess fluid.

Symptoms improve for more than 80 percent of the people who undergo this procedure. But shunts can become clogged and often require additional surgeries to keep them working properly.

Complications can include low-pressure headaches and infections.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

How Much Do You Make?

Author Unknown

With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his father as he returned from work.

Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said: "Look, sonny, not even your mother knows that. Don't bother me now, I'm tired."

"But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour, " the boy insisted. The father, finally giving up, replied: "Twenty dollars per hour."

"Okay, Daddy. Could you loan me ten dollars?" the boy asked.

Showing his restlessness and positively disturbed, the father yelled: "So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right?Go to sleep and don't bother me anymore!"

It was already dark and the father was meditating on what he said and was feeling guilty. Maybe he thought , his son wanted to buy something. Finally, trying to ease his mind, the father went to his son's room.

"Are you asleep, son?" asked the father.

"No, Daddy. Why?" replied the boy, partially asleep.

"Here's the money asked for earlier, " the father said.

"Thanks, Daddy!" rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money.

"Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!" the boy said to his father, who was gazing at his son, confused at what his son had just said. "Daddy, could I buy you for an hour?"

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Longly Weds Know

By Leah Furness

The longly weds know that it isn’t about the Golden Anniversary at all. But about all the unremarkable years that Hallmark doesn’t even make a card for.

It’s about the 2nd anniversary when they were surprised to find they cared for each other more than last year.

And the 4th when both kids had chickenpox and she threw her shoe at him for no real reason.

And the 6th when he accidentally got drunk on the way home from work because being a husband and father was so damn hard.

It’s about the 11th and 12th and 13th years when they discovered they could survive crisis.

And the 22nd anniversary when they looked at each other across the empty nest, and found it good.

It’s about the 37th year when she finally decided she could never change him.

And the 38th when he decided a little change wasn’t that bad.

It’s about the 46th anniversary when they both bought cards, and forgot to give them to each other.

But most of all it’s about the end of the 49th year when they discovered you don’t have to be old to have your 50th anniversary!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Wolves Within Me

Author Unknown

An old Grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said, "Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times."

He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way."

"But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eye and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather solemnly said, "The one I feed."

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Never Give All

By Julianne Rowat

Everyone is on the internet now days, and millions are using social sites. With all the internet stalkers out there how do you keep yourself safe?

People need interaction on the internet, for fun and for online home business. Using Facebook is a great social site, you can post your pictures, tell about all the fun you had on vacation, tell all about your business, so with all this how do you keep it private?

Privacy Policies
Facebook has a privacy policy that you can create, and only those you give access to can see your profile, pictures and other personal things you post. When using Twitter, yes it is the most public social site, but you can still click on, protect my updates, that way only people following you will be able to see them.

Nothing is totally safe when it comes to the internet. Their are hackers out there that do nothing but try to destroy peoples computers and lives by stalking them. If you ever have an outing with someone, make sure you change your settings by blocking them, you never know what might happen if they were made angry.

When posting, do not get carried away by saying where you are. Like, here I am still waiting in line for the concert to start, then give details. Never post that you are going on vacation and how long you will be gone, that is a sure way to have your home broke into. There are some things that just should not be shared!

A lot of people use Craigslist for selling something. If you have a couch or bicycle for sale, and the person buying wants to come over and pick it up, make sure someone is with you, or meet them by a busy shopping mall. Never have them come over while you are alone.

Use Google
Another good thing to do is make sure you get their full name, then Google it. See what comes up and sometimes you can even find out what they do. Get their phone number so you can search it, always call them back to see it the number is legit.

If you feel that you are being stalked by someone on the internet, then Google your own name. You can go to and it will tell you if your name or phone number is ever being mentioned in a blog post. It might be more difficult if you have a name like John Smith, as you will get a faulty feedback, but you should know if it is about you or not.

Be very careful when opening emails from someone you do not know. It could literally wipe out your computer with a nasty virus. If your email comes with an attachment, never open it, unless you for sure know the sender. There is a delete button for a reason, and it should be used!

Start using your firewall, most computers have built in firewalls, make sure it is turned on. Having a firewall will protect hackers from getting into your computer and finding out your passwords. Especially important if you do online banking.

Always turn your computer off when not in use. The internet is a two way street, and if left on, can allow hackers easy access. By disconnecting it, it can lessen the chance of anything bad happening.

Never Give All
Remember to never give out your full name, address or phone number to someone you do not know and trust. The use of social media sites is also used by hackers and stalkers that think it is just simply fun to invade peoples private lives.

So whether your use social sites for personal or for your online home business, just beware there are bad people on the internet just as there are on the streets. Your parents taught you to never talk to strangers, well on the internet never give out all your information and you will stay safe.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Funeral Blues

By WH Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

More Experts But More Problems

By the 14th Dalai Lama

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines but less healthiness.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbour.

We built more computers to hold more copies than ever,
But have less real communication;

We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall means but short characters;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It’s a time when there is much in the window
But nothing in the room.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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