Continuing Education

Many of us seek to continue our education after graduating college and going into the real world. Recently, I discovered a few continuing education sources on the Internet. The courses offered range from Grant Writing to Medical Encoding. There’s a little something for everyone.

This aspect of continuing education is good for those who seek to learn something new and for those who want to expand on what they already know. It’s a great idea for resume builders and job enhancement for promotions.

My recent experience was completed in a 6-week course on Ed2Go. The course was basically built around my busy schedule, this allowing time for lesson reading and assignment completion. In the end, I received a certificate for my hard work and dedication.

For those seeking to expand on their knowledge or simply for those who want to learn a little…

Lobbying in American Politics

Lobbying, the act of communicating with elected officials in an attempt to influence the outcome of legislation. Often hired by businesses, corporations, and non-profit groups, lobbyist’s have been a staple in American politics since the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. Marred by highly publicized scandals and controversies throughout history, lobbyist’s are often held in contempt by the American people and considered to be a corrupting influence in our nations capital. I am arguing that the use of lobbying is not a cause of corruption in American politics. And that the hiring of lobbyist’s by major corporations has been misrepresented and demonized by the mainstream media, drawing attention away from the real problems in Washington. Also resulting in widespread misunderstanding regarding the function of lobbyist’s as public policy experts and advocates. Political lobbying simply would not exist today if it was detrimental to legislative processes.

Conceding the fact that lobbying does not have an immaculate ethics record in Washington, only a small percentage of the 40, 000 lobbyist’s may participate in illegal practices (Birnbaum, 2005). The most notable instance of a lobbyist taking part in corrupt activities is the case of Jack Abramhoff. Abramhoff, dubbed a “Super Lobbyist” by the media, was convicted of conspiring to bribe public officials, tax evasion, and fraud. More like a successful conman than super lobbyist, Abramhoff’s case has become the gold standard for associating lobbyist’s with corruption. But I would like to look at this from another perspective. Abramhoff went to jail for conspiring to bribe public officials, earning six years for his actions. I agree that what he did was criminal, but when it comes to bribery it takes two to tango. Upon further investigation of Abramhoff’s actions, one member of the House of Representatives and two high ranking White House officials were found …

Maria Menounos Book Review: “The Every Girl’s Guide to Life”

Maria Menounos’ first book “The Every Girl’s Guide to Life,” was released on April 12, 2011, via It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

From start to finish, Menounos does a stellar job writing her book. If her readers take her honest advice to heart, they are bound to see major improvements in their lives, and ultimately, become happier and healthier individuals!

Background on Menounos

Throughout her tenure in the film and television industry, Ms. Menounos has played many different roles including actress, journalist, host of Entertainment Tonight, former Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, independent movie producer, as well as West Coast special correspondent for Access Hollywood and The Today Show. It is safe to say, that now she can add “published author” to her impressive list of professional accomplishments.

 
 

About the Book

In this book, Menounos takes her readers on a journey, as she includes stories from her own personal experiences, and discusses how she tackles such issues as health, love, work, fitness, friends and family, among other topics.

Menounos reveals several of the events she has covered in her career. These include the 2010 earthquake in El Salvador and an AIDS series from South Africa. She has also interviewed such luminaries as the Clintons, former President George W. Bush, John Edwards, and was the first reporter to interview the entire Obama family.

Menounos talks about makeup, shares her workout routines and yoga stretches, and how she lost forty pounds by eating healthy; furthermore, she opens up about Keven, her partner and best friend in life.

The lists and organizers she includes in the “Appendix” section of her book are equally helpful and useful.

Menounos Stays True to Greek Roots

Particularly impressive about Menounos, is that throughout this book she always stays true to her Greek-American roots. She …

Worship Places, National Geographic Book Review: Religious Festivals & Sacred Places, Pilgrims, Retreats & Memorials

Sacred Places is in the Journeys of a Lifetime series, published by National Geographic and packaged by Toucan. The coffee table book explores 500 worship places around the world through the eyes of professional travel writers and photographers. Peaceful or powerful, most destinations claim a full page with lavish illustrations.

With ten chapters and nearly 400 pages, Sacred Places looks at many aspects of worship, from religious retreats and memorials to festivals, pilgrims and shrines. Themed lists complete the picture of the world’s top spiritual sites, whether it’s about harvest festivals or artists’ chapels. The book appeals to readers interested in spiritual or cultural journeys.

Worship Places, National Geographic

Sacred Places of a Lifetime by National Geographic opens with a chapter on inspiring landscapes, from the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming to the Islands of the Sun and Moon in Bolivia, from the sacred Ganges to Mount Ararat. Climb Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka, listen to aboriginal tales at Uluru or witness the summer solstice in the French Pyrenees. Mountains, rivers and lakes are well covered alongside natural phenomenon.

 
 

Stone circles and ancient mysteries come next, mostly in South America, Mexico and Europe, plus Petra in Jordan and the Plain of Jars in Laos. Cradles of Faith follow with worship places associated with the world’s great religions. These include the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, the Jokhang temple in Tibet and the Nativity Cave on the West Bank.

Places of Worship, Ancient Temples and Memorials

Ancient temples and sacred ruins claim a full chapter with visits to Angkor Wat, rock churches in Anatolia and the Hindu temples of Khajuraho covered in erotic carvings. The memorials section features Ground Zero, the Peace Memorial Park in Japan, the Merry Cemetery in Romania, the Taj Mahal, war graves and much more.

The middle chapter …

World Travel, National Geographic Book Review: Journeys of a Lifetime, Adventure, Food, River Cruise, Rail Journeys

Journeys of a Lifetime was the first release in the National Geographic series which now includes Sacred Places and Food Journeys of a Lifetime. Designed by Toucan with contributions from world explorers, this hard back coffee table book is easy to browse, beautifully researched and illustrated.

Nine themed chapters guide the readers through 500 of the world’s greatest trips from adventure and food travel to river cruises, cultural tours and road and rail journeys. A succinct fact file provides useful tips and information for every trip. Over 20 Top Ten lists cover additional highlights such as canal trips or historic walks.

World Travel, River Cruises, Road and Rail Journeys

Journeys of a Lifetime opens with travel by boat from canoes to ocean liners, from Antarctic and jungle trips to idyllic river cruises. Explore the Kerala backwaters or the Norwegian fjords, board a pirogue in Mali, a felucca on the Nile, sail on Lake Titicaca or cruise in the Eastern Caribbean, there is something for everyone.

Rail journeys include the Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, Switzerland’s Glacier Express and a wildlife safari from Durban to Pretoria. Trolley rides and steam trains are also covered. Road trips take readers along the Pan American Highway and the French Riviera, explore the Australian Blue Mountains and the desert forts of Oman. There are cultural city drives and overland adventures across mountains and national parks.

 
 

Journeys of a Lifetime, Adventure Travel

Adventure travel is split into three sections, the largest highlighting the greenest way to go, on foot. Gentle rambles in the Italian hills are described alongside coastal walks in Ireland and treks to Everest base camp or along the Great Wall of China. There are trails underground, across stunning bridges, through remote valleys and around bustling cities.

Chapter seven leads into the …

Education Comes at a Price

Many high school students are preparing to enter the academic halls of learning at college. It can be quite expensive. Thankfully scholarships are often given to deserving students.

WHAT: Scholarship Day VII

WHEN: Saturday, April 2, 2011

TIME: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: Raytown High School

ADDRESS: 6019 Blue Ridge Blvd.

PHONE: 816-268-7300

PURPOSE: To raise money for scholarships to be given to Raytown district seniors.

SPONSORED BY: The Auction Committee

WHAT TO EXPECT:

♦ Excellent entertainment

♦ Super Silent Auction

♦ Grand Prize drawing for an antique A.B. Chase Pump Organ in working condition

Although the past six years they have successfully raised $100,000 in profit and 50 scholarships, this committee will not be resting on their laurels. A special “shout-out” goes to them for investing in the lives of our youth.

There is sure to be many exciting seniors and their parents awaiting those future scholarships.…

Understanding Workplace Politics in America

You know, most executives don’t think much about labor until there’s a strike or a walkout. They don’t even have enough respect for us to look us in the eyes when they talk to us. If a suit has a problem with one of us, he or she usually tells a subordinate to hash it out with us, lest they lower their royal selves by talking to us common dogs.

In those rarest of times that they will actually converse with one of us, it is usually just to humiliate or degrade us, getting their jollies if one of us cowers before them with our tail between our legs. If one of us bites back, or even barks, we are punished with written reprimands, unpleasant duties, demotions, or even termination, and then used as an example by holding our bloody, severed heads up before the other dogs to frighten them into submission, should they ever even think of standing up for themselves.

They swing the power of their position around like some huge cock, intimidating every employee who will let them get away with it. Most of them are sad, pathetic little people with insecurity issues and feelings of inadequacy. Brutalizing the dogs for some sick, bizarre reason makes them feel powerful, just like the bullies that they are. Hell, the truth is that these suits are just pussies that wouldn’t have the guts to walk into a barroom, or anywhere outside of the corporate microcosm, and treat us like that.

You see it every day in the office, at the jobsite, and on the shop floor. They never return a “hello” or “good morning” except with a sneer or that twisted half-smile eye-roll that lets you know you aren’t worthy to speak to them unless they speak first. And …

The Politics of Morocco – Lunch with the King

The very best food of North Africa is some of the best in the Arab world. Moroccan food means spices of modest power with the healthiness that Middle Eastern food is known for. The Arab world is in a frenzy right now as governments throw off monarchy and dictatorships for free elections. But food (oddly enough) will also be affected. In Morocco, every restaurant has a dish named after or influenced by the King’s likes or dislikes. When I visited Morocco, I enjoyed eating the very best food that local restaurants had to offer and the “King’s Dish” was almost always the best food in the restaurant. At “Sim’s Restaurant” it was a dish featuring camel meat and spices. At each restaurant it seemed to be different. I surmised the dish was probably the restaurant owner’s favorite and had nothing to do with the king at all. I gathered it was similar to the way Americans view the president’s favorite food, but with one important difference. Unlike the United States which has a much larger population, the subjects of the Moroccan king seemed to have at least attended some function he was present at. They used the term “met the king” but I understood they had been in his presence. I found this odd. So it seemed they had a relatively positive image of him regardless of their level on the social ladder.

In America, we couldn’t imagine serving a ruler given his position by genetics. That seems morally reprehensible to us. But Morocco is very different than the United States. Sitting and talking to the people of Morocco, it seemed they loved their king; he came to the mosque and worshiped with them, so some people locally felt they knew their ruler. Although he had more than 10 palaces, …

Life Is Elsewhere – Book Review: A Novel by Czech Writer Milan Kundera

A budding poet and his mother are the central character’s of this brilliant book by Milan Kundera. It gives an incredibly candid account of the neurosis that many will have gone through in their adolescence and eventually in their adulthood. Kundera’s insight is both sad and funny but is always gripping.

Plot Summary: Life Is Elsewhere

Set in the author’s home country of the Czech Republic, this book follows the life of a poet from his accidental conception to his sudden death. The poet soon becomes the centre of his mother’s life as her marriage falls apart. No sooner can Jaromil write, than has his mother declares him a poet. As he grows up he tries to live up to the expectations of greatness his mother has bestowed upon him, before trying to rebel against her overbearing love.

Despite his best efforts to forge himself a life free from his mother’s ever watchful eye he can never escape her influence. He becomes a fervent follower of the communist party as a way of carving his own identity. His attempts prove futile as his mother retains her hold on all areas of his life, from his work to the clothes he wears and even the women he loves.

Themes in Life Is Elsewhere

Like many of Milan Kundera’s books, Life is Elsewhere, written in 1973, has several typically existentialist themes. He examines an individual’s search for meaning in their life amid the absurdity, alienation, boredom and angst it often brings. While Kundera deals with issues most people grapple with at some point in their lives, he does so with a refreshing and candid originality.

The book’s narrative begins before the second world war and ends as the Czech’s communist revolution gathers pace. The rise of socialism soon becomes central …

Book Review – The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Pulitzer Prize Novel by Junot Diaz

With exceptional praise for his Pulitzer Prize novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, it goes to show Junot Diaz doesn’t play around when it comes to writing great fiction. As a Dominican-American writer and professor at MIT, Diaz tends to work with the duality of the immigrant experience, and in this novel he undergoes the grandiose task of recording the saga of an immigrant family.

Introducing Oscar

Meet Oscar, a dungeons and dragons geek who is constantly falling in love. He’s an overweight ghetto nerd, kind and sweet but without any game. With his love for role playing games and his sci-fi antics, life is worse than pathetic. Two things are on Oscar’s mind: writing that Tolkien masterpiece and falling in love. But love isn’t a game and with his fear of dying a virgin clawing him inwardly, Oscar’s wooing gets over the top. He attacks girls with his no-end, no charm, and no-game approach, and eventually his overwhelming tactics scares off the ladies.

But what can you say. Oscar’s not the kind of guy to give up, but when things never work out for you, what kind of tragedy is that? Blame the fuku—a curse that has been haunting Oscar’s family for generations. And this curse doesn’t play around. It’s been around for generations, following Oscar’s family from the Dominican Republic and to the United States. Like Oscar, this curse just won’t give up.

Meet Yunior

Told in the point of view of Yunior, a creative writing student, who had to tough it out one semester as Oscar’s college roommate. Completely infatuated with Lola, Oscar’s over-the-top sister, Yunior missed his one chance with the love of his life and is trying to make up for the lost time.

Yet when he finds out how deeply nerdy …