My Great Opportunity to Tour London.
I made a trip to England nine years ago to visit some friends up near the Lake District, and when I arrived at Gatwick Airport in London, I got a call saying that they would not be home until the next day. They had been vacationing in Holland and were delayed, so they asked if I could stay in a hotel for the night and meet up with them the next day.
I told them that I certainly could do that, but then it hit me that since it was still morning, it would be a perfect day to tour London, with most of the day to do so. I told them about my plan, and they thought it was a great idea, so I said I would just stay in a hotel in London that night and take a coach up to their home the next day.
What I ended up learning pretty early on is that it would take much longer than a single day to tour London in its entirety, so I just decided to take in what I could and plan future trips to the city to discover more. I decided to start out by going to Westminster.
This is where all of the touristy stuff is, such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and so forth, but I was a tourist, after all, and I wanted to make sure that I could tell people that I had seen all of those things when I got back from England.
I spent the day seeing as much of the city as I could, and what struck me the most about it was how effectively the city seemed to weave the old and the new together. When I decided to tour London, I had no idea that I was going to be able to see such architectural beauty mixed in with a modern metropolis, but in many respects, that is exactly what it is.
When I went to have lunch, I met up with another American who told me a little bit about the city. He said he had lived there for about 10 years and loved it. I told him about my plans to tour London that day, and he was kind enough to take the rest of the day off and show me some of the other attractions, such as Piccadilly Circus.
When I got back to Victoria station, I asked about some local hotels and found a good one. As I rode to the hotel on the train, I thought about my day of sight-seeing and how much I had taken in, and it was kind of overwhelming. I don’t think it is possible to tour London in a single day, but I did get to see a good part of the city, and I can say with complete certainty that I will be going back.
What to Take into Account when Looking for a Bank Account.
These days, it is almost impossible to do business without a bank account. Whether you are shopping at your favorite store, making a purchase online or attempting to get money to someone in need quickly, the ability to do so with cash is becoming increasingly difficult. However, finding a bank account that fits your needs may be difficult, especially in this financial climate. Here are a couple of tips for finding the bank account that is right for you.
First, consider what your banking needs are. If you are someone who travels a great deal, you should probably consider banking with one of the bigger corporate banks, such as Chase with JP Morgan, Bank of America, or US Bank. These will have locations across the United States, creating convenience for you and saving you money at the ATM.
However, if you mostly work locally, you should consider setting up a bank account with a regional bank. These will usually be very friendly locations, and may provide you with better terms than what the corporate banks can.
Second, you should take your credit score into consideration. Many banks are going to look at your credit rating before they are willing to open up a bank account for you. This does not mean you need perfect credit to open up an account. However, it does mean you should be prepared to have to pay monthly service fees. This is the bank’s way of protecting themselves if you overdraft and never pay. Has that happened to you in the past? Consider second chance banking. Offered at a variety of banks across the United States, especially online, these banks will not look into your records with the Chex system, which gives you a chance to restore your credit while having access to banking resources.
Finally, think about what kind of services you need from your bank. A lot of the time, when you go to open a bank account, the banker working with you is going to try to entice you with all kinds of extras and perks. Offers will include things like special credit cards you can earn rewards with, or cash back rewards if you sign up for auto-bill pay. However, not all of these are good choices for every person. If you don’t have a lot of cash flow, an automatic deduction could put you in the red, and for many of us, that is not something we can afford. Read the fine print before you agree to anything with your bank account.
Having a bank account certainly has its perks. If you can find the right bank for you, it is absolutely worth it. Before you sign up, though, you should weigh your options carefully. Does this bank account meet your banking needs? Do I have a good enough credit score for this kind of bank account? Does this bank give me the right kind of services? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then it looks like you will have found your match.
Religions of the World Was One of My Favorite Classes.
I once took a course in college called Religions of the World, which was pretty self-explanatory, and I soon fell in love with the class. It was because of this course that I decided to minor in religion when I was in college.
The class focused on the major religions of the world which have millions of followers, but it did incorporate some of the smaller religions as well.
Religions of the World started with Hinduism, which is believed to be the world’s oldest major religion. Of course, it is a polytheistic religion, meaning that adherents believe that there are multiple gods, and it includes such concepts as reincarnation, meaning that when we die we are born again as someone or something else.
One of the things that surprised me the most was that even though Hinduism is polytheistic and Christianity is monotheistic, there some striking similarities. For instance, in Christianity, there is the concept of the Holy Trinity, one God comprised of three separate entities: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In Hinduism, there are three deities called the Trimurti, which is three deities: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. They are often called the Hindu Triad, with Brahma being the creator.
We then moved on to Judaism in the Religions of the World class, and what is so interesting about this particular faith system is that it is also the basis of Christianity and Islam. In other words, all three religions believe in the same God and have many of the same prophets.
Christianity came next, and what I enjoyed the most about the section on Christianity was that it separated the different branches of Christianity and explained the differences between each denomination. I liked this a lot , because I am a Catholic, and this helped me to understand the customs of most of the Protestant branches of Christianity. We moved on to Islam, and learned about the Articles of Faith and the Five Pillars, as well as the holy cities in Islam, such as Mecca and Medina.
The Religions of the World class also taught us about Buddhism, with the Eightfold path and the struggle to attain Nirvana. I also learned that Buddhism is one of the major world religions that people of different faiths will become while still remaining a Christian, or Hindu, because it does not require you to change your faith.
Religions of the World was a great class to take because it opened my eyes to so many faith systems and their origins. It helped me to understand why various groups believe what they do, and how their religions were started. I really feel like anybody would benefit from taking such a class.
Everyone could use a little time away from their everyday life. With the economy in shambles and people’s stress levels at an all-time high, planning a vacation may be a necessity to even survive. Of course, not everyone can plan and pay for some lavish getaway. Sometimes, finances may hinder the actual destination of your getaway, but you can still make something happen.
Ideally, the best way to escape is when you look into all inclusive travel. Some of the prices may look at little bit intimidating but when you’re going to be needing a flight, hotel and meals, it truly can be the best way to go. When booking all inclusive travel, you may actually end up saving quite a bit of money.
How is that possible? Its simple. Your all inclusive travel is most likely going to include your round trip airfare, your room or overnight accommodations, all meals and drinks and taxes and tips. If you have to pay for all of that on an individual basis, you may find that those little details could add up to double the price that you will be paying for an all inclusive travel package.
Going on a cruise? You don’t want the see what your bill would be for all of the alcoholic beverages, or even non-alcoholic drinks for your entire trip. Many travelers have just about had a heart attack or a panic attack when the cruise reaches its final destination and they are responsible for paying for not only the drinks, but the gratuities as well. Suddenly, the end of their vacation leaves them not as peaceful as they should be at the end of a relaxing trip.
Your all inclusive travel package could lead you to places that you never thought that you could afford to see. Right now, travel is quite a bargain. You may not be able to name your own price, but you may be able to get a much better deal than you would have a few years ago.
Let’s face it people can’t afford all of the luxuries anymore. Their travel plans may be the first thing that they cut back on. When there are not as many people travelling the world, the prices tend to go down. If the price goes down travel destinations want to lure in as many people as possible. The best way to draw people in is to lower the prices. Suddenly, an all inclusive package may end up being a price that you can afford.
You can find tons of all inclusive travel deals all over the internet. However, before you decide to make any payments or purchase anything definite, make sure you do some shopping around. Just because one site has a great deal doesn’t mean that another site won’t have another price that will save you a few extra dollars or offer a different location that may be even more appealing.
You could contact a travel agent and put them to work to find you the best all inclusive travel deal. Or, you could take advantage of a travel agentís knowledge and your own research to truly find the ultimate and affordable all inclusive travel package and treat yourself to a wonderful vacation.
Popular Classical Music is Important for New Listeners.
When I hear music like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or Pachelbel’s Canon, I am usually tempted to turn the stereo off. It’s not that they aren’t beautiful pieces of music, but for a serious classical music fan, it is about the equivalent of hearing ìShe Loves Youî by the Beatles. In other words, I’ve heard them so many times that I can’t get anything new out of them.
Popular classical music certainly does have its place, however, especially when it comes to drawing in new listeners of classical music and, hopefully, instilling in them a love for the genre. The good thing about it is also the bad thing about it ñ you hear it all of the time.
Let’s start with a car commercial from a few years back where a bunch of guys ride by in a car, roll down the windows and start hurling water balloons at another guy. The commercial is in slow motion, and it is made to look like a Mafia hit. The guy that gets drilled drops his water balloon and slowly crumbles to the ground. It was very funny.
The song playing in the background is what I remember, because it was an aria from the opera Pagliacci, a great example of popular classical music that many people would recognize first as the music from that car commercial.
Another work of popular classical music that I saw recently on commercials for Subway restaurants is one that I have already mentioned, the 1812 Overture. In this commercial, it shows different people preparing to eat food from another fast food place, and their chairs break as they sit down, or their buttons snap and fly off, all while that overture is playing.
Popular classical music is used to promote many different products, and most people don’t even realize what the songs are. For instance, the music from the Helzberg Diamonds commercial is Palladio
by the Welsh composer Karl Jenkins.
Another example of popular classical music being used as a theme song in a commercial is George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue being used for United Airlines. It is funny, because this was one of the very first pieces of classical music that I ever heard, and it made me want to learn more about classical music.
With the fact that classical music is probably the least popular of all the major genres of music, I think it is important that the general public be exposed to popular classical music through such things as commercials. I have been around friends that will hear classical music in some advertisement and ask me what it is, and they really like it and want to listen to more. This could be the best way to expose the largest number of people to a very beautiful musical style.
NFL Football Cards Are Still Fun to Peruse.
The other day, I was going through my closet and came across some of my old NFL football cards, and it was as if I had been magically transported back to my childhood. I sat there for several hours, just looking at the cards and remembering some of the great players I saw growing up.
Of all of my NFL football cards, my most prized possession is a 1990 Action Pack Emmit Smith rookie card. I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, and I was so thrilled when I actually came across this card at a reasonable price.
It is very special to me because it always reminds me of the Cowboys’ heyday back I the 1990′s, when they won three Super Bowls with Smith at running back. I remember watching him in his prime and thinking he was the best running back I had ever seen. I found some of my old NFL football cards from the 1980s as well, and remembered how great the quarterbacks were of that era. I found my John Elway, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Warren Moon cards, and I began to wonder if there was ever a better time for quarterbacks in football than that decade.
I also found some of the receivers among my card collection from the ’80s and ’90s, guys like Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a receiver because I thought it was the position, other than quarterback, that got the most glory on the field.
Eventually, I found some of the great defensive players of those two decades among my NFL football cards, including Reggie White, Jerome Brown and the rest of that Philadelphia Eagles front four, as well as Charles Haley and Russell Maryland for the Cowboys.
I think the best thing about taking that trip down memory lane was the fact that football was so special to me then, probably because it was so new to me. I remember being fascinated with everything about the game, from the players’ uniforms, to team mascots, to how players stood, ran or did anything, really.
Don’t get me wrong I still love the game with every fiber of my being, but being around those NFL football cards reminded me of a time when I truly appreciated everything about football and a time when I was still so innocent.
Looking through my old NFL football cards was something I had a lot of fun doing that day, and I hope that my son feels the same way about the sport now. I showed him some of the cards that I had and talked about some of the players that meant so much to me, and I think he really enjoyed it, too.
To Tour Eastern Europe, I Would Have to See Russia.
An area of the world that I have always found fascinating is Eastern Europe, and I will periodically see travel deals to the region for reasonable prices. For me, however, to tour Eastern Europe, I would have to see Russia.
One of the things that most appeals to me about going to tour Eastern Europe is the fact that it seems so unexplored compared to Western Europe. In other words, I have been to Ireland, England, France, Spain, Holland and Germany, but I have never visited Czechoslovakia, Poland or any of the former Soviet countries at all.
I think probably the first place I would want to visit on an Eastern European tour is Prague. I have heard that it is absolutely beautiful and that it did not sustain nearly as much damage during World War II as some of the other great cities of Europe. In pictures I have seen of the city, it looks very clean and the architecture is beautiful.
I would probably continue on to Poland and Romania, simply because I do not know a whole lot about either country, and then it would be on to Russia. There are a number of places I would like to see in Russia, and in my mind, no tour of Eastern Europe would be complete without seeing the largest country by area in the world.
With my great passion for art, the first place I would stop would be St. Petersburg to see the Hermitage museum. Some of the greatest Russian works of art are housed in this museum, and it is renowned universally for being one of the greatest museums in the world.
St. Petersburg is a must when I tour Eastern Europe for another reason, in that from what I have heard, it has a different feel than other Russian cities. From what I have come to understand, St. Petersburg is much more like a Western European city, and while my interest is certainly in discovering Eastern Europe, I would like to see for myself if that is true.
I would definitely have to travel to Moscow as well and see the Kremlin and Red Square. I think this would be one of the most fascinating aspects of the trip, because for all of my childhood the Cold War was going on, and the Soviet Union was the United States’ enemy. Of course, there is probably no greater symbol of the former Soviet government than the Kremlin.
If I ever were to tour Eastern Europe, these are some of the places I would definitely want to see. From what I have read about Eastern Europe, it sounds very interesting and I would love to learn more about the history of the area. What better way is there to do that than by going there?
Soccer Players Don’t Get Enough Respect.
Most Americans have a different attitude toward the sport of soccer than people from around the rest of the world. One can start with the name of the sport itself. We call it soccer, while the rest of the world calls it football, but it really doesn’t end there.
Soccer players don’t get the same kind of respect here that they do in other countries, and I think that is very unfortunate. Some of the best athletes in the world are soccer players, and as the sport continues to grow in popularity in the United States, I hope that more Americans begin to realize how talented they are.
I was in England about 10 years ago and happened to see a prominent professional soccer player in London. The guy was practically mobbed, and it took more than an hour to make it into the restaurant where he was originally headed.
On another occasion when I was in England, a team called Bradford City defeated the perennial powerhouse Liverpool. The next day, the town actually had a parade for its soccer players, and they were treated like heroes as they rode on floats down the main street in the city.
There are, of course, the flip sides of those stories, where goalkeepers who give up the winning score have their lives threatened, or worse. There are also brawls that break out at soccer stadiums that always give a black eye to the sport, but I think that speaks more about the passion that fans have for soccer than anything else.
Soccer players are among the world’s finest athletes, and should receive that same kind of respect that other athletes receive.
I am not sure if people do not realize the amount of work that goes into the sport and why it is lagging in American popularity to the degree that it is, but it takes a lot of hard work and skill to play soccer. An athlete must not only have tremendous stamina and coordination, but also have excellent footwork, which takes years to develop.
Soccer was once referred to as ìthe beautiful game,î and it is certainly just that. Watching a good soccer match, to me, is like listening to a beautiful symphony; it is simply breath-taking, and something you feel fortunate to have witnessed.
I am not sure if soccer players will ever get the kind of respect they deserve in the United States. It seems sometimes like baseball, football, basketball and hockey have a stronghold in the country, and if any other sports do break into that realm, it is usually golf, tennis or NASCAR.
While there are many great athletes in distinctly American sports like baseball and football, I think it is important to remember that soccer players are playing the world’s game, and that really should count for something.
They say that more and more, the television is becoming the universal babysitter. While some decry the use of television as a distraction for children, many of these individuals don’t know what it means to be a working parent, single or not. The fact of the matter is that, while television in excess can be bad, monitored use of television to provide safe, educational fun for children is perfectly acceptable at any age.
For this reason, more and more parents are looking for baby dvds that will keep their kids’ attention and make them feel ok about doing a load of laundry while their little angel is zoned out. Parents looking for such dvds need look no further.
If your little one is very little (we’re talking newborn), look into Baby Mozart. These baby dvds seem nonsensical to us, but are entrancing for the little peanuts watching from their swings. Set to the melodic work of Mozart himself, the screen is filled with bright colors, toys, animals and babies, giving just enough variety to keep a baby’s attention without overstimulating them.
There are also other variations on Baby Mozart, including Baby Bach and Baby Monet. These are baby dvds that any parents can love.
As your baby gets a little older, there are other baby dvds to consider. Barney is always a good choice. With several decades of experience, the big purple dinosaur regales children with lively songs and down home lessons about hygiene, friendship and responsibility.
While the songs are, at times, grating, and, at others, downright irritating, kids love his dvds, and you can pick from dozens of options. These are baby dvds that have stood the test of time, and are still popular.
There are other baby dvds for this age group too. More and more popular today is the cute as a button Dora the Explorer.
The bilingual child wonder takes children on interactive adventures in everyday settings. It’s like Blue’s Clues in cartoon format, except without the creepy host and shorter pauses for the kid’s responses. These baby dvds are nice because nearly every episode is intended to teach a child something new, and the skills they learn are fun to show off.
As your little babies start to grow into little toddlers, there is one other genre of baby dvds to consider: Disney. While your one year old may not completely understand the humor or plot line of The Little Mermaid, the visual stimulation and fun music will keep them engaged and on the edge of their seat.
Disney also has a wide span of movies that are a little more accessible for the youngest viewers, like Lilo and Stitch. Plus, these baby dvds are a lot easier to stomach for any older children you may have, or you, yourself.
Some of the Best Oscar Nominated Movies Never Won,
I try to watch the Oscars as often as possible, and I routinely find that the movie that I liked best in a particular year is the winner for best picture. On a couple of occasions, however, I felt that there were some very good Oscar nominated movies that should have won, but did not.
Let’s start with 2010, in which the best picture award went to The Hurt Locker. I thought that there were two movies that were better in The Blind Side and ìInglourious Basterds. To me, they had better stories and were more interesting than the winner.
I was happy to see that Sandra Bullock received the Best Actress in a Leading Role award for The Blind Side and that Christoph Waltz won the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for ìInglourious Basterds.
Going back a few decades, in 1990, two Oscar nominated movies that did not get the nod for Best Picture were Field of Dreams and Born on the Fourth of July. Instead, it was Driving Miss Daisy, that won, and I never could understand why. I liked the movie all right, but to me, Field of Dreams in particular was such an iconic movie.
Then in 1993, one of my favorite Oscar nominated movies of all time, A Few Good Men, got beaten out by Unforgiven.
I have to admit, I really did not like the movie Unforgiven that much, and I still scratch my head over that one.
In 1999, Shakespeare in Loveî beat out two Oscar nominated movies that I thought were much better, Saving Private Ryan and Life is Beautiful.
That is one that actually made me a little angry, because I did not feel that Shakespeare in Love should have even been nominated, and I definitely don’t think that it is on par with the other two.
Million Dollar Baby won in 2005, and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved that movie. But I still think that Ray, another Oscar nominated movie, was a little better. That year was a bit too close to call, but I still thought that Ray should have won, and it always takes me aback a little when one wins that I didn’t think would.
I know that it is all a matter of opinion and I am sure that there are some people out there who are looking at the movies that I like and thinking that I am out of my mind for suggesting that they should have won. I just feel that a lot of the Oscar nominated movies that did not win were better than the ones that did. Of course, that is probably why they were nominated in the first place.