Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Reflection : Golden Shoes for Jesus



It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season had not yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store. Inside the store was worse. Shopping carts and last-minute shoppers jammed the aisles.

Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift buying anything but fun.

Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last-minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. I picked the shortest, but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minutes wait.

In front of me were two small children - a boy of about five and a slightly younger girl. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house-slippers. As the Christmas music sounded in the store's stereo system, the small girl hummed along, off-key, but happily.

When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure.

The clerk rang up the bill. "That will be $6.09," she said.

The boy laid his crumpled bills atop the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. "I guess we'll have to put them back," he bravely announced. "We'll come back some other time, maybe tomorrow."

With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. "But Jesus would have loved those shoes." she cried.

"Well, we'll go home and work some more. Don't cry, we'll come back." he assured her.

Quickly I handed $3.00 to the clerk. These children waited in line for a long time. And after all, it was Christmas.

Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, "Thank you lady."

"What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?" I asked.

The boy answered, "Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus."

The girl spoke, "My sunday school teacher said the streets up in heaven are shiny gold, just like these slippers. Won't my mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?"

My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear-streaked face. "Yes," I answered, "I'm sure she will."

Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.

Somehow, not only for Christmas
But all the long year through
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Security Hole At Internet Explorer 7



Microsoft has issued a security patch to fix a critical vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser it said has attacked over 2m Windows users.

The flaw is believed to have already infected as many as 10,000 websites.

The "zero day" exploit let criminals to take over victims' computers by steering them to infected websites.

Microsoft's Christopher Budd said the software giant "encourages all IE customers to test and deploy this update as soon as possible".

He also said the threat lead Microsoft to mobilize security engineering teams worldwide to deliver a software cure "in the unprecedented time of eight days".

The company's security response team said the patch consists of more than 300 distinct updates for more than half-a-dozen versions of IE in around 50 languages.

"Even with that, the release Emergency Response process isn't over," said Security Response Alliance director Mike Reavey.

"There is additional support to customers and additional refinement of our product development efforts."

Microsoft stressed that the flaw was proven to exist only in IE 7 on all applicable versions of Windows, but that IE 6 and the "beta" release of IE 8 were "potentially vulnerable".

Users who have automatic updates turned on will receive the patch over the next 24 hours while others can access it via a download.

"Wildfire"

The AZN Trojan has been making the rounds since the beginning of December but became public knowledge in the last week . Unlike other exploits, users only have to visit a malicious site with Trojans or other malware in order to become contaminated.

Once an infected web page is opened, malicious downloaders are installed on the computer designed to record keystrokes and steal passwords, credit card details and other financial information.

The sites affected are mostly Chinese and have been serving up programmes to steal passwords for computer games which can then be sold for cash on the black market.

Internet Explorer is the world's most widely used web browser with nearly three quarters of the market share.

Microsoft estimated that one in every 500 Windows users had been exposed to sites that try to exploit the flaw and the number of victims was increasing at a rate of 50% daily.

Researchers at the software security firm Trend Micro said attacks were speaking "like wildfire".

"This vulnerability is being actively exploited by cyber-criminals and getting worse every day," said the company's advanced threat researcher Paul Ferguson.

Microsoft labelled the bug as "critical," the most serious threat ranking in its four-step scouring programme.

MICROSOFT SECURITY ADVICE
  • Change IE security settings to high (Look under Tools/Internet Options)
  • Switch to a Windows user account with limited rights to change a PC's settings
  • With IE7 or 8 on Vista turn on Protected Mode
  • Ensure your PC is updated
  • Keep anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date
Source: BBC News

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Make Your Own Christmas Tree Ornaments



Start a new tradition by making tree ornaments out of recycled and repurposed materials. Instead of store-bought trimmings for their office Christmas tree, the Plenty magazine editors (along with a few crafty friends and family members) made ornaments entirely from found or recycled objects–no buying or using anything new. The resulting decorations were fresh and festive. Here are a few standouts.





Tin Can Star
Three 42 oz. aluminum cans
Aluminum take-out food containers

1. Clean and dry cans. Then, carefully cut off each can’s top and bottom and uncurl the remaining piece of aluminum, flattening overnight under a heavy book if necessary.

2. Make basic origami stars using flattened aluminum instead of paper (just be careful of the sharp edges). You can view an animated diagram of the pattern and folding technique at origami-club.com/en.

3. Use one of the flattened 42oz. cans to make the biggest origami star. Use the aluminum take-out containers to make stars that get gradually smaller as you layer them. I used three stars for stacking.

4. Use another 42 oz. can to cut out the flat base star.

5. Coil the third flattened can into a cone shape. Use a dab of nontoxic glue to seal the overlapping edges.

6. Hold the smallest origami star with its center point facing away from you. Place a dab of glue inside the point. Put the next biggest star inside the smaller star, glue next center point and attach a slightly smaller star, and repeat, working toward the smallest star.

7. Place the stacked stars on the base star. Add dots of glue where stackers touch the base star’s surface. Make rays from thin strips of tin. Glue these to the back of the base star.

8. Carefully place star on tin cone, using a tiny dab of glue. Tin cans come in every conceivable color and pattern–have fun mixing it up.

Bottle-Cap-and-Ribbon Bows
Photos or magazines
Bottle caps
Non-toxic glue
Leftover scraps of gift-wrapping ribbon, various lengths and widths

1. Cut an image to fit the size of the bottle-cap interior and glue it in, pressing to make sure the image lies flat.

2. Take one of the wider ribbons and tie it into a bow proportional to the size of the bottle cap.

3. Then, take a thinner ribbon, preferably one with wire in it for stiffness, and thread it through the top of the bow’s knotted center. Once threaded, pull ribbon to desired length and tie a knot at the top to form a loop.

4. Glue the back of the bottle cap to the bow.

Wreath
Coffee can lid
Shells
Non-toxic glue
Raffia (or yarn)

1. Cut out the inside of coffee can lid to use as wreath base.

2. Wrap raffia around the lid and tie in back to make a loop.

3. Glue cut shells and smaller seashells onto raffia.

4. Glue on raffia for hook to hang.

Gingerbread Man
A piece of sandpaper
A used brown paper bag
Thread
Large handful of dryer lint
String
Scraps of used ribbon
Mismatched buttons
Scrap of old fabric

1. Using sandpaper, lightly sand the surface of the paper bag until it has a soft, felt-like texture.

2. Cut two identical gingerbread man shapes out of the paper. Sew together with thread, using large stitches, 1/8 inch away from the edge, stuffing the dryer lint into the arms and legs as you go.

3. Once you have fully stuffed and sewn up the gingerbread man, make a hole at the top of the ornament and thread a piece of string or ribbon through. Knot at the top to form a hanging loop.

4. Glue the buttons down the front of the ornament and draw a face with a pen. Cut a thin strip of fabric from the scrap to tie on as a scarf.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Story Of The Christmas Tree



People often wonder where the custom of having a tree in the home during Christmas time comes from. We will probably never know for sure. But there are several historical clues that point out where this custom came from.

An Ancient Symbol
Thousands or years ago, there were people who believed that evergreen trees were magical. Even in winter, when all the other trees and greenery were brown and bare, the evergreen stayed strong and green. People saw the evergreen as a symbol of life and as a sure sign that sunshine and spring would soon return. Candles, or the electric lights we use to decorate our trees today, are also an ancient symbol. They represent the light of spring triumphing over the darkness of winter.

In ancient Rome, people decorated their homes and their temples with greenery during a special December feast. It was a happy time. No battles could be fought, the schools were closed, and people everywhere joined in the carnival-like atmosphere and gave each other presents.

The Modern Tree
So when did the Christmas tree go indoors? Legend has it that the tradition was begun by Martin Luther in Germany. He was a monk and church reformer who lived from 1483 to 1546. According to the legend, Luther was returning home one wintry night when he saw the stars twinkling in the sky through the tree branches. Luther was amazed by the sight, and when he arrived home, he was eager to tell his family about it. To help them understand, he went to the woods and cut down a small fir tree. Luther brought it indoors and decorated it with candles, which represented the stars he had seen.

The custom spread in Germany, and from there all over the world. In England, the Christmas tree first appeared when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, who was German. In 1841, Albert set up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle near London to remind him of his homeland. The Christmas tree custom was brought to the United States by people from England as well as by many German immigrants who came in the 1800's. Whatever its origin, the Christmas tree is a beautiful symbol for everyone who celebrates Christmas.

The Legend of the First Christmas Tree
The night of the Saviour's birth, all the living creatures, both flora and fauna, came to Bethlehem with gifts. The olive tree brought its fruit and the palm its dates. But the little fir tree had no gift and was so tired it couldn't resist when the big trees pushed it into the background and hid it from view. But then a nearby angel took pity and commanded a cluster of stars to come and rest on its delicate boughs. When the Baby Jesus beheld this lovely lighted tree, He smiled and blessed it, declaring henceforth that fir trees should always be filled with lights at Christmastime to please little children.

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Worst 10 Things to do during Christmas



1. Don't donate anything less then a quarter to charities
Yes, I know that sounds stupid, but in reality, its a safety issue. when you walk out of a store, and you see one of those assholes ringing a bell, DO NOT walk up to them and put the change you got from your groceries into their bucket. They will look at you with the deepest sort of hatred imaginable, and if they happen to be in an especially pissy mood that day, they will not hesitate to rip your throat out of your neck. At this point (and I can tell you this from experience), the best method of escape is to duck down and pivot slightly to the left, and then tuck into a sideways roll. with any luck, you will dodge the swipe, and at the same time, you can reach out and grab the stupid bitches bell and throw it into the street. This should leave them stunned for long enough to make your escape.

2. Don't say "Happy Holidays"
What is it with this whole "happy holidays" thing anyway? Happy holidays what? It doesn't mean anything. Its just two unrelated words that can apparently be used together in a sentence. You don't see people walking around saying "turkey shit," because its stupid, and it makes absolutely no sense. neither does saying happy holidays. So don't do it. Its stupid.

3. Don't give people socks for a present
Nobody likes them. They're socks; They're stupid; They're pointless, and nobody wants them. Don't try to argue, you'll just get shot.

4. Don't take your kids to Christmas parties
The first thing that will happen, is you'll walk through the door, and the host will say "Oh good, you brought the kids! I'll show them to the "kids room" downstairs." Always downstairs. This is the most strategic place to put a "kids room," because it's small, out of the way, and no one will hear them scream. I've been in those "kids rooms." It's not pretty. The biggest, fattest kid iimmediately takes charge, and starts picking on the younger ones. That goes on for a while, until the fat bastard makes the fatal mistake of taking over the rocking horse. At this point, after the kids figure out that there are more of them then there are of him, they revolt, and attempt to overthrow the tyrant. He then retaliates by employing the next three or four eldest children to suppress any such rebellions. Now it is about 30 minutes into the party, and the social standings are set. There is the Fat tyrant, His brute squad, and then they're is the general public. From here, begins the roots of an underground. A small rebellion that is far to sophisticated to be crushed out by the brutes. A leader is secretly chosen and the smaller children begin to fight back from the inside. It begins with small attempts. Weakly organized raids on the kings stash of the best toys. once a few of the toys are recovered, the rebels have some leverage to recruit more freedom fighters to their cause. The group is silently growing, and the king is blissfully unaware of his problem. Now some slightly better organized attacks are staged. It begins with the turning of one of the kings brutes. The children will offer him toys if he should mutiny. After many attempts at persuasion, they are finally successful. Now they have a man on the inside. It is a strong foot-hold, and they decide to go for the kill. They launch a full-scale attack on the king, and he is defeated, leaving the kingdom to be ruled by the people. This is a state of anarchy, and is not something that is healthy to expose your children to, and so my point is brought home that it is a general bad idea to bring them along to your Christmas parties.

5. Do not put toothpaste in your kids stockings!
This is the worst thing you can possibly put in a stocking. You might as well just stare them straight in the face and say "fuck you!" It's cruel. Worse then giving them coal. If they recently killed their grandparents, okay; maybe they deserve it, but even then I don't think that it is justified. Thats that; no questions asked.

6. DO NOT make "old family recipes" for christmas dinner
The key word there is "family." As in only family, and no one else. Old family recipes tend to be dishes that the immediate family has been exposed to for generations, and as a result, they have developed a taste for something that no human should enjoy. I have seen people serve foods anywhere from pickled carrots dipped in raspberry sauce to mashed potatoes mixed with spinach and spam. These foods are not natural! Nobody likes them (although they are likely to pretend to), so just stick to the regular turkey dinner.

7. Home Made gifts are a great idea suck
Maybe the grandparents like them, but please dont try to tell me that you would rather have a six-year-old make you a gingerbread house then just have him buy you a silver necklace. Buy it, don't make it. End of story.

8. Stop trying to sell your kids this crap about Santa
Sure, if there 5 and they believe it, it's cute, but they'll figure it out someday, and when they do figure it out, just give it up. All your doing is pissing them off. They know it, You know it, so just shut up.

9. Getting thirteen presents is an ill omen
A little known fact, receiving exactly thirteen presents is the mark of Satan. It is a curse upon you and your family, so before you begin to open your gifts, it is a good idea to count them. If you should end up counting thirteen, it is socially acceptable to secretly buy yourself another gift and slip it under the tree. It is for you and everyone else's own good. Satan does not easily forgive mistakes.

10. Stop saying "X-mas"
Its not X-mas; its Christmas, The birth of Christ. He was born on the 25 day of December, which is why we celebrate Christmas at all. Nobody named "X" was born on the 25. We can at least do him the favor of saying his whole name. It doesn't take any longer either. X-mas and Christmas both have two sylables. It could also be argued that christmas is easier to say in general then X-mas. So they're you have it. Call it what it is; Christmas.

(Actually, it's a greek letter, the first one in the greek translation of christ. -- 198.146.33.10 14:30, 15 September 2008 (UTC))

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10 Best Places To Go at Christmas



Tired of spending Christmas at your house year after year? This year, add a dash of adventure to your Christmas by going out. Not just out of the house, but out of your city! This time, pack your bags and celebrate at one of the top 10 Christmas destinations around the world. Rest assured; this will be one hell of a vacation that you are not going to forget in this lifetime! There are many popular as well as unexplored places around the world; all you have to do is pick and choose your destination. We have compiled a list of ten best Christmas destinations that will surely help you to decide your best bet.

Caribbean Islands
One of the best places to go for Christmas is undoubtedly Caribbean Islands. You have at your discretion, 2500 mile-long island chain in the crystal blue Caribbean Sea and some of the best beaches you could enjoy in. Celebrating Christmas in Caribbean will surely be special.

Goa (India)
Want the best of sun, sand, sea and sumptuous sea food? You get all this and more at one of the hottest destinations in India in the state of Goa! This small state is a mesmerizing blend of modern life and historical legacy that is sure to give you a high on Christmas.

Holland
Situated in Netherlands, this beautiful place boasts of rustic lifestyle blended with the chic urban living. Large fields of colorful tulips, picturesque countryside, huge farm lands, etc. make Holland very peaceful and ideal to spend a cozy Christmas.

Las Vegas
The Sin City offers you the best of everything that you need to have a rocking Christmas. With almost everything being larger than life, your Christmas is sure to be an event in itself!

New York
The Times Square at New York is the place to be on Christmas. You practically get to party every minute of life when you are there and believe me, it is the best way to spend your Christmas.

New Zealand
This beautiful country located in the Pacific Ocean and comprising of several small islands, New Zealand offers a unique and different Christmas. It is the best place to relax and take it easy and welcome Christmas with a relaxed attitude.

Paris
The city of lights, Paris is the ultimate destination to be with your beloved for Christmas. Sip French wine as you relax under the night sky lit with fireworks and city lights.

Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is beautifully decorated on Christmas. Many fairs and parades mark the streets of this ethnic place and women, men and children actively participate in the celebrations.

Rome
Rome offers traditional Christmas celebrations to its visitors. The churches are beautifully decorated and Christmas is celebrated in all zest and fervor in Rome.

Sydney
Sydney offers its visitors, superb beaches, amazing countryside, beautiful Christmas decorations and delicious food. It is a great place to be if you want to a rocking and pulsating Christmas.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

The top five cancer-causing foods



1. Hot dogs
Because they are high in nitrates, the Cancer Prevention Coalition advises that children eat no more than 12 hot dogs a month. If you can't live without hot dogs, buy those made without sodium nitrate. 



2. Processed meats and bacon
Also high in the same sodium nitrates found in hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats raise the risk of heart disease. The saturated fat in bacon also contributes to cancer. 



3. Doughnuts
Doughnuts are cancer-causing double trouble. First, they are made with white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils, then fried at high temperatures. Doughnuts, says Adams , may be the worst food you can possibly eat to raise your risk of cancer. 



4. French fries
Like doughnuts, French fries are made with hydrogenated oils and then fried at high temperatures. They also contain cancer- causing acryl amides which occur during the frying process. They should be called cancer fries, not French fries, said Adams . 



5. Chips, crackers, and cookies
All are usually made with white flour and sugar. Even the ones whose labels claim to be free of trans-fats generally contain small amounts of trans-fats. 





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