Thursday, March 30, 2006

Old Adirondack Furniture

Any vision of American outdoor style includes classic Adirondack cedar furniture. This icon originates in the great North East woodlands of the U.S. and travels to every corner of our country. Rustic, yet refined furniture lines are found lakeside, poolside and in every backyard. Superb weathering charactristics of natural Northern White Cedar Furniture develop a soft gray weathered look of centuries past within a year in most climates. Adirondack cedar furniture gives any home a sense of tradition and history.

According to Wikipedia, the Adirondack design was created by Thomas Lee in 1903 while on vacation in Westport, New York. His friend, Henry Burnell, made the design famous while making the chairs in his little carpentry shop as a source of winter income. Learn more about Adirondack history from Wikipedia.

Old Adirondack furniture will add charm to your indoor or outdoor spaces year round. This furniture is shipped directly to you from Old Adirondack in its natural state. It is your choice to stain or leave your furniture in its natural condition. Staining, and other treatments, are known to add longevity to furniture, especially for the outdoor pieces. (Learn How to Stain Your Old Adirondak Furniture here. Click here for Old Adirondack Furniture Dimensions so you know how much stain to purchase.)

Interested in making your own rustic furniture? Issue #147 of Mother Earth News has an excellent article that explaines the nuisances of working with wood, and how to make a strong piece of rustic furniture.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Air Purifiers

Studies show that the air inside of your home contains more harmful substances than the air outside. Breathing such contaminants will contribute to such health problems as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, migraine headaches, lung disorders etc... By cleaning the air you breathe, using an air purifier, you can effectivly remove contaminants from the air before they enter your lungs.

HEPA filtration technology was originally developed by the US Atomic Energy Commission to filter our radioactive "dust" and materials from the air. Unlike many airpurifiers, once particles are "captured" by a HEPA air purifier, they are not released back into the air. HEPA air purifiers will not lose their efficiency over time, but do run the risk of clogging.

Hunter has developed a line of Whisper Quiet QuietFlo™ Air Purifiers. These Air Purifiers offer a programmable Hepa Air Cleaner that allows you to set when and how long it will operate. The Hunter® QuietFlo™ has a digital filter change reminder and is effective at capturing 99.97% airborne particles. The popular slimline styling allows their air cleaners to be placed flush against a wall or in the corner. If you are on a budget, look to the value priced Hunter HEPAtech® Air Purifiers.

Choosing a model that utilizes a prefilter, such as the HEPAtech 251 is highly recommended. A prefilter removes larger particles (1 micron and larger) before they reach the HEPA filter, ultimately extending the life of the purifier. Most HEPA filters will last 2-5 years.

IQ Air® Advanced Air Purifiers are made in Switzerland by a family-owned and operated group of companies known as the IQ Air® group. IQAir® home air purifiers are used in homes by allergy and asthma sufferers, or people living in areas with air pollution. They are used in various industries to control particles, gases, and odors. They are the only air purifiers with an EN 1822 Certified HEPA Filter, and are so effective that they are now being used in government hospitals in Hong Kong to prevent the spread of SARS to hospital staff and patients.

With over 45 years of providing industrial grade air purification products, IQ Air® has the experience, resources and commitment to produce air cleaning systems of the highest caliber. Hospitals, laboratories and medical device manufacturers around the world rely on IQAir Commercial Air Purifiers to maintain the exacting standards required in these critical environments.

While a significant business focus remains on medical job air purification and Industrial Air Treatment, IQ Air® recognizes the need for high-performance air cleaners for homes and offices. With the introduction of the IQAir HealthPro Home Air Purifiers series of air cleaners, IQ Air® has finally brought high-performance air cleaning to homes and offices.

IQ Air® uses the same uncompromising approach to air cleaning, whether their air treament systems are used in a hospital, laboratory or in your personal residence or workspace. IQ Air Air Treatment Systems bridge the gap between conventional home air purifiers and large commerical air purification systems. While maintaining the size of room air cleaners, IQ Air® Air Purification Systems offer superior air cleaning performance due to the uncompromising implementation of state-of-the-art air purification technology. IQAir is the only maufacturer using HyperHEPA air cleaners made for the home market. HyperHEPA is the highest standard of HEPA filtration. While most HEPA air purifiers filter particles down to 0.3 microns, IQAir's patented HyperHEPA technology can filter particles down to 0.003 microns. IQ Air also provides a guaranteed minimum efficiency of over 99%. In essence, the HyperHEPA technology offers 100 times the air cleaning efficiency of traditional HEPA air cleaners.

IQ Air® Purifiers' modular design allows for a range of specialized models and configurations which provide the user with customized and specially targeted air cleaning solutions. IQ Air® Air Filtration Systems are customized tools in the fight against indoor air pollutants.

IQ Air® are the best air purifiers for those who expect maximum performance from their air cleaner, whether it's for allergen or odor control in a home or biological contaminant control in a hospital or lab.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mutant Message Down Under

This book appears to be at the center of some pretty intense controversy. Is the story really true? Is it really hurtful to the Aboringinal Tribes?

The book describes the tale of one womans walkabout in the Australian Outback with an unknown aboriginal tribe she calls "Real People".

During her time in the desert she is allowed to learn about many ancient customs and rituals with the Real People. She learns about the nature of the world and the innate harmony that is present each second. She learns that this harmony spans all species, all life forms...everything. She learns to never leave a situation unattended, lest she will have to re-visit the lesson again. She learns that every piece of this world has a purpose for being. She learns to learn from people how to be a better person. She learns that everyone must lead at some point in order to follow gracefully. She learns how to trust. She learns how to celebrate. She learns what real faith is. She learns how to live.

I think that some people are focusing too much on whether or not the story is true instead of opening up to the truth of the lessons in this powerful work.I haven't been so inspired after reading a book since "The Celestine Prophecy". Inf act, Reading the book has given root to my own spiritual walkabout.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Inversion Tables

Inversion tables are one of the hottest products on the market today, and for good reason. Finally there is a product on the market that will far outway the initial cost of the item, truely benefit the user in gaining better health...and in many cases correct spinal problems without going under the knife.

An inversion table is a device that offers traction for your entire body by hanging you upside down. Many other benefits include the reversal of effects that gravity has on our bodies, increased blood circulation, reduction in muscles spasms etc... Doctors, physical therapists and sports trainers recognize inversion as a safe and effective form of therapy for the spine and weight-bearing joints.

Believe it or not, inversion therapy has been around for thousands of years. In early 400 BC, Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, strung up a patient on a ladder with ropes and pulleys and allowed gravity to do its work.

So, why not just go outside and hang on a treebranch?

  • An inversion table is precisely balanced, which makes returning to the upright position effortless.
  • Inversion therapy, as any new exercise program, should be gradually increased. In this case, you wouldn't want to begin by hanging in the fully inverted position right away. A good inversion table will have preset angles as well as a safety tether strap to assist you in this progress.
  • An inversion table secures you at the ankles. This allows for traction of your entire body. Therefore you receive the benefits throughout your entire body.

Common attributers to back pain, such as poor posture, weak back and stomach muscles, and muscles spasms can be directly connected with the downward pull of gravity. As we become more mechanized and computerized, we also become less exercised. When sitting, our stomach and hip muscles are inactive. Lack of exercise obviously causes stomach and hip muscles become weaker, which causes strain on the back. Sitting actually places a 150 - 250% higher load inside the lumbar disc than standing. Ouch!

Inversion therapy requires gravity to work for you. By placing our bodies in line with the downward force of gravity, inversion naturally elongates the spine by increasing the space between the vertebrae. This action will relieve pressure on our discs, ligaments and nerve roots.

As we all know, stress and tension cause muscle spasms in the back, neck and shoulders. This is achieved by limiting oxygen supply, blood, and lymph flow - which in turn encourages waste chemicals to accumulate in our muscles. This also contruibutes to headaches and various other health problems.

By inverting as little as 25°, tense muscles begin to relax and the flow of lymphatic fluid is increased. As stated above: when inverted, your body is in line with gravity. When in this positon, your spine will naturally gravitate to it's intended form. A steady inversion program could help you maintain proper posture.

Our hearts constantly work against gravity to pump blood up to our brain. While the brain accounts for only three percent of our body's total weight, it requires 25 percent of the body's oxygen intake - more than any other organ. Inversion increases our oxygen supply, and improves circulation which gives our heart a break.

I have only begun to touch the surface of the benefits of Inversion Therapy. To learn more, please read Better Back, Better Body: The benefits of inversion therapy.

Ok, so how do I choose the right inversion table? There are so many, and such a huge price range!!! This question is really simple. Teeter Hang Ups is the way to go. Teeter has been making inversion products for clsoe to 40 years now. They have the highest safety rating, the smoothest rotation when inverting, and is the only company backed by doctors related to this field (i.e. Chiropractors, Sports Therapists, Physical Therapists...). Teeter only makes products that will improve your back health - in my opinion, they are experts.

I personally own an F5000, and love it. The F9000 features a longer handle mechanisim that secures you into the table. This is a great benefit for those with severe pain, or symptoms that limit bending. For those who may have experienced a loss of limb, I would suggest an electric powered table. These tables use electricity to invert the bed rather then relying on balance of body and arm movements. I would suggest a power table for commercial settings as well.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

American Idol - My Top 4 picks

Is anyone else brave enough to admit that they are watching American Idol this season? Well, I am. I began by watching the tryouts as a means to make me feel better about myself. I knew there would be some very interesting candidates. These were sheer entertainment value subjects that added a little laughter into my otherwise routine life. Then, I heard Paris. She sang Bille Holiday better then Billy Holiday. She gave me chills. I was hooked. Unfortunately, Paris has not lived up to my expectations. She is still a fantastic performer, and has a great voice...but some of her song choices have been less then inspired. I would like to hear her sing "Embraceable You" or maybe some Tracy Chapman. Mark my words, this girl will make it. Maybe not as the next American Idol, but she will make it.

Enter Mandisa. This girl is INCREDIBLE!!! She has quickly become my new favorite female contender. She is absolutely beautiful, and an endless well of talent. Simon, oddly enough, was right when he said they would need a bigger stage for this woman...her innate sense of music is far superior then any challenge they have thrown at her. Will "America" be forgiving enough to close their eyes to her stature and open their souls to Mandisa? I certainly hope so. I would like to hear her sing some Paula Cole (NOT "Where have all the Cowboys Gone?") to show her intimate side. Ms. Cole can belt it out, and then reel you in softly...I think Mandisa could too. She would also do well with some Roberta Flack. Yummy.

As far as the guys go - what is Ace still doing on this program? He and his beanie have got to go. He is all nasal when he sings, he has no range to speak of as far as musical genre is concerned, and I am sorry Paula, he is not hot. He does not have a smouldering gaze - and he is completely fake. Have you noticed that every chance he gets he is pretending to be sensitive? Rubbing the losers back, squeezing out a tear here and there...lame. I laughed so hard when little Kevin beat him out last night. (I was really disappointed to see Melissa voted off. Depsite her lyrical faux-pas she sang circles around Ace.)

Taylor Hicks however - THERE is a performer!!! He is all passion, talent and fun. I love his style and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I think that "America" will not see him into the finals because of this quirkiness. I hope I am proven wrong. I can't get enough of this guy. He is as genuine as they come. (HEY!) I would like to hear him sing "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" or maybe some Billy Joel.

I really like Chris as well. However, he needs to change it up a bit. He has a great voice, but he comes on stage with the same attitude, the same attack, and has difficulty making his song choices his own. This will not prove an all around talent force. I think we will be hearing him on the radio though. He is comfortable on stage, fluid in his transitions and is quite good looking. He seems to be a very sincere guy. I get a good vibe from him. However, since I am sure he won't stray from his comfort zone, I would like to hear him sing "Jeremy" or perhaps some Alice in Chains. (Preferably from the album "Dirt". I have always wanted to cover this album...)

Now - the judges. Paula Abdul is completely incapable of giving constructive criticism. What is she doing on the show if she hands out positives all night or cops out and says, "I agree with Randy..."? Rarely does she speak of performance, vocal nuiances or anything that matters. Paula, you are not everyones best friend. Why not focus on stage presence, or dance? Many of these contestents need help in this area, and you are good at it.

Randy needs to lay off the "dude" and the "dawg". However, he is able to give some insightful feedback once in awhile. My question to him: Why do you keep telling the younger girls that their song choices are too old but compliment the men when they choose a nostalgic song? Not fair. And just in case you forgot, the "Dog Pound Woof" died with Arsenio Hall's career. Leave it alone.

I think Simon is the only one who actually gives constructive criticism and helps imporve the contestents performances. However, he is not the metophoric genius he thinks he is. Stop attempting witty comaprisons, Simon. You are not funny. It is possible to give great feedback without being a jerk. Sometimes I think he does get wrapped up in being mean and forgets to give the contestents any advice. In his favor however, Paula and Randy need to let him speak before they try and "protect" the contestents. By the way - what are Simon's qualifications as a musical judge?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Board Game Broads

My partner and I have recently begun a "Game Night" with a few friends. We started out meeting on Saturday evenings at our friend Kryssa's house. Somehow the word has been floating around and we are growing exponentially. You would be suprised how many 30 somethings are into this! What began as a few bored old hippies playing LIFE, is taking on a life of it's own. We have had several people request admission to our game night recently...I have taken to daydreaming about hazing rituals to administer, thus making certain only the serious gamers apply. (If anyone has a suggesston...)

We (the Board Game Broads) are getting very excited because now we will begin incorporating themes into our little nights of escape. It may be a RISK, or perhaps a Trivial Pursuit...but we are going to try it. Just imagine all of the fun themes we can use! Here are a few of the Gastronomical Num-Nums on our list:

  • Just Desserts
  • Snack Attack
  • Mexican Fiesta
  • Fondue Nation
  • Finger Fun
  • Cultural Cuisine
  • Fruity Tootie
  • Crockpot Creations

The list is limited only by imagination. Lucky for me, most of our friends are really good cooks, so I can just sit back, bring the drinks, and enjoy. Ok, you caught me, they are really the lucky ones because they won't have to be subjected to my "cooking". But, honestly, it isn't about the food anyway. Game Night is a great way to relieve stress, get things off your chest, and more importantly - LAUGH!!! The older I get, the more I really appreciate my friends, and the worse I get at games!

My Favorite Games

Have you ever played Apples to Apples? This has got to be the best game on the market. I discovered it about a year ago when visiting friends in Seattle. We haven't introduced this favorite to the Board Game Broads as yet, but I assure you we will. It's loud, it's creative, and it is easy to play at any age. The more people playing the better. I have played it with 7 year olds and 70's a blast!

Cranium is definitly a must have. This game gets all of your creative juices flowing, and some juices you might not know you have. There never really is a dull moment when playing Cranium. You get to sculpt, sketch, immitate,'s a creative cocoon of cackles.

Believe it or not, Dice is amoung my top 5 as well. I think it's because I grew up playing a lot of dice with my family. It's hard to cheat, and hard to feel bad if you lose because it's really all left to chance. I like trying to push my luck in this game.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bring On The Beer!

On St. Patrick's Day, March 17th, some will raise a pint of Guiness and wish their friends "Slainté", pronounced SLAN-cha, for "health."

Who is St. Patrick, and why do we celebrate him? In this day and age, it's a very convenient excuse to drink beer. I, for one, am in great favor of throwing back a cold one - so I thought that a little trivia might add to the festivities.

[It's also a great base for a new drinking game: Ask a trivia question about St. Patrick, the Irish, or Beer. Answer the question wrong, drink a sip. Answer it right - drink a pint!]

Saint Patrick's real name was Maewyn Succat. Bring on the beer!

Saint Patrick is well known for driving the snakes from Ireland. Bring on the beer! (Ireland never had a snake population! Bring on the beer!)

Saint Patrick's jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the "evil eye." Bring on the beer!

St. Patrick was kidnapped at 16 and brought to Ireland. He was sold as a slave in the county of Antrim and served in bondage for six years until he escaped to Gaul, in present-day France. Bring on the beer!

Upon his escape he returned to his parents' home in Britain. Here he had a vision, and claimed that God had hand picked him to preach to the Irish and convert them to christianity. Bring on the beer!

After 14 years of study, Patrick returned to Ireland, where he built churches and spread the Christian faith for some 30 years. Bring on the beer!

In Ireland green has long been considered to be unlucky. Bring on the beer!

Irish folklore holds that green is the favorite color of the Good People (the proper name for faeries). Bring on the beer!

The Good People are likely to steal people, especially children, who wear too much of the color. Bring on the beer!

Chicago is famous for dyeing the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day. The tradition began in 1962, when a pipe fitters union poured a hundred pounds of green vegetable dye into the river. Bring on the beer!

Today only 40 pounds of dye are used, enough to turn the river green for several hours. Bring on the beer!

1,883,200,000 (that's 1.9 billion) pints of Guinness are consumed around the world every year. Bring on the beer!!!

Ok, so at least half of those pints have been consumed by my friends and family. We have a very stict mantra: "Beer. For whatever ails you."

In my opinon there is nothing worse then a warm beer. To avoid this at your St. Patrick's Day party, and all of your future parties, I recommend purchasing a Kegerator. Fully insulated with moisture resistant foam and a clever cold air-cooled keg tap, your favorite keg(s) of beer will be ice cold to the last foaming drop. And even better - it will be in the convenience of your own home. (This is especially handy for the safety of you, your friends, and the general population.)

To this, my friends, I have only one thing to say: BRING ON THE BEER!!!

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may you hold a cold one in the palm of your hand.