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In the Joy of Cooking’s 70 years, only 18 recipes have survived an increase in serving sizes, fat, sugar and calories.
Did you know that today is National Coffee Day? Of course, we can’t be surprised there is such a day since nearly every day seems to be National Something or Other Day. Interestingly, a couple other countries celebrate a version of National Coffee Day, just on different days – in Ireland it’s September 19th, in Costa Rica it’s September 12th and in Japan it’s October 1st.
Being able to catch 2 out of 4 coffee celebrations are good enough for me. Like anyone really needs a reason to head on over to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or Tim Horton’s for a cup of joe. Mmm…there’s just something about fall mornings and the smell of a fresh cup of coffee!
How do you plan on celebrating National Coffee Day? If you can’t make it out for a cup of coffee why not try out a new coffee recipe.
Things have been a little crazy here in the greater LA area the past couple of weeks. First we had yet another brush fire in Griffith Park, once again putting the LA zoo at risk. Then last week we had a 5.4 earthquake that was pretty much felt throughout most of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Luckily, it didn’t do much damage since it was so deep. Today, there’s not one, but two more brush fires in Griffith Park as I write this. This all makes me wonder…
How prepared are you for an emergency?
It’s no longer just Californians and those living in “Tornado Alley” that need to be prepared. According to Ready.gov, “preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones.” Just having an emergency kit isn’t enough. You also need to be informed and know what to do in an emergency. Always use common sense and available information to determine if there is immediate danger.
Do you have your emergency kit packed?
According to Ready.gov, it should cover the basics such as fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. For more specifics about what to have ready to go, check out the checklist at Ready.gov – and don’t forget the pets, a change of clothes, a radio and manually powered flashlights. You can purchase ready made kits, or you can head out to your local Army/Navy supply store and create a kit that matches your family’s needs.
In our case, we keep one large kit in the garage with enough food and water for a couple of days along with extra shoes and a change of clothes, and the necessary pet supplies. In the cars we keep very basic kits – two packets of water, emergency food bars (less salt than standard energy bars), a flashlight with a blinking mode, a whistle, an emergency blanket, etc. In the house, in an easy to grab backpack, we keep the basics for all of us including the pets along with glow sticks under the mattress on each side of the bed in case we can’t locate the flashlights.
Do you have an emergency communication plan?
Did you know that often times, during an emergency, it’s easier to place an out of state call than to call locally? Does your family know who they should call if an emergency should strike? Does everyone have a current phone tree or contact list with cell, work and home numbers of family and friends?
After our recent earthquake, we also learned that while both the cell and regular phones might be out of service, text messages and internet connections were still strong. So have alternate ways to communicate with your family and friends (you’d be surprised just how much during- and post-earthquake communications were flying about on on Twitter).
Do you know when it might be safer to remain and when it might be safer to evacuate your home or office?
Depending on what happened and what’s going on, you’ll need to make the decision whether it’s safer to stay where you are, or to evacuate. In either case, make both possibilities a part of your emergency plan. Designate a meeting place for your family. Know where you should meet if you need to leave your home or if your family is separated by work or school.
What should you do if you’re in a moving vehicle?
- If there is an explosion or other factor that makes it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could impact the physical stability of the roadway, avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.
- If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- Listen to the radio for information and instructions as they become available.
Last week, before things started to get too book launch crazy for Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl), we were able to sit down for a brief chat about grammar, podcasting and so much more. We’re also giving away five copies of her new book Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, so be sure to leave a comment below with your biggest grammar conundrum.
I’m really nervous here. It’s one thing to have a teacher or professor to look over your work, it’s yet another to send it off to a grammar specialist. What was your goal and how did you become involved in Grammar Girl?
I had been playing around with podcasting, and Grammar Girl was just my hobby. I came up with the idea when I was editing technical documents at a coffee shop on the beach. I realized I was seeing the same writing errors over and over again, and thought it would be fun to put out a short podcast that helped people brush up on their grammar and usage.
You were podcasting almost from the beginning, before many people even knew what podcasts were. You made the top ten list within your first year. With that world having been so new, what made you decide to go that route? How did your audience find you?
I have always been interested in technology. I worked at Internet start-ups during the dotcom craze, and although after that I was working as a technical writer, I kept up with all the new developments, so I heard about podcasting very early on. In fact, by the time I started my first podcast in 2006 I felt as if I had already missed the boat. It’s laughable when I look back on it.
Word-of-mouth seemed to be the way people found Grammar Girl. The show was featured at iTunes one week, and then it took off and never stopped. I could tell from the e-mails I got and blog posts I saw that people were really excited about the show and telling all their friends or co-workers about it.
A few months later the Wall Street Journal chose Grammar Girl as their Web pick of the day and I was invited to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and after that the business side of the podcast started coming together.
Where do you get most of your topics? Do viewers send them in because they’re stuck between affect and effect, lay or lie, or some similar challenge? Or do you see something during the week that might influence your topic?
Usually my topics come from listener questions. I have an e-mail address where people can send in questions (email@example.com) and a voicemail line where they can leave questions (206-338-4475). Sometimes I play those voicemails to start the show, so if someone leaves a question, they might hear it played on the podcast.
Occasionally, something in the news will catch my eye and I’ll use that as an introduction to a topic. For example, when Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House, I did a show about the words “woman” versus “female” because people were referring to her as both the first female Speaker of the House and the first woman Speaker of the House. When Saddam Hussein was executed, I did a show about “hanged” versus “hung,” and on New Year’s Day I did a show about how to write dates.
I read in an article that you once said that you wish, “people would be less judgmental about poor grammar and rather that blatantly pointing out errors, give them the skills to correct themselves. My job isn’t to make people feel bad about having the courage to ask questions.” Do you find that your listeners are often apprehensive about contacting you for fear of grammatical errors? Does the same sort of thing happen when people meet you in person?
People regularly say they are nervous when they write to me, which makes me a little sad. The whole reason I do the Grammar Girl show and wrote the book is to help people who struggle with writing, so the last thing I’m going to do is criticize someone who took the time to write a question or a thank you note. People seem less nervous when they talk to me in person. Once people meet me they quickly realize I’m not the kind of person who relishes correcting people in public.
Is Grammar Girl something that you do full time? Do you work out of your house or do you have to go into a studio to record your sessions?
Grammar Girl and Quick and Dirty Tips are a full-time job for me. I’ve been working on the Grammar Girl book for almost a year, and in July I’ll be increasing the production schedule for the podcast to two shows per week. I’m also working on a handbook for first-year college students, and a writing book for teens, and occasionally do speaking engagements.
Besides working as Grammar Girl, I’m also the managing director of the entire Quick and Dirty Tips podcasting network. The network has nine shows that release a weekly podcast, and I work with all the news hosts and personally edit about half of the scripts. We have a pretty aggressive schedule for launching new podcasts this year, so it’s keeping me very busy.
You have a book coming out this week (today as a matter of fact), what made you decide to take the podcasts and turn them into a book?
Listeners were regularly asking for a book, and writing one seemed like a logical next step. I’m particularly excited about the cartoons in the book. I have a lot of fun memory tricks that use the characters Squiggly and Aardvark, and it’s been a blast to see them turned into cartoons.
What’s next for Grammar Girl? Daily grammar tips? A movie with Grammar Girl as the unlikely super hero? A clothing line?
Besides writing the other books (which won’t be out for at least a year or two), I already send out a newsletter with a weekly grammar tip, and I hope to make that daily within the next few months.
My publisher, Henry Holt & Company, just created a wonderful free Grammar Girl quiz widget that people can put on their Facebook page, MySpace page, or blog (see above). It has a quiz now, and once people put it on their pages, I can push out new quiz questions so there will always be new challenges.
We’ll also be putting the Squiggly and Aardvark cartoons on T-shirt and other products, and I’m working on a grammar song. Surprisingly, people seem excited about the Grammar Girl temporary tattoos we’re giving away on the book tour (which starts July 14; the whole schedule is here), so we may do more little things like that.
I have a lot of other plans for next year, but I like your movie idea. If anyone wants to make a Grammar Girl cartoon (or video game), drop me a line!
Any suggestions or helpful tips for our readers?
The best advice I can give you is to admit when you don’t know something and then look it up.
If someone wanted to send you in a question for your show, what’s the best way that they could reach you?
How to Enter:
- Leave a comment with comment with your grammar stumper, one that gets you every time. No purchase is necessary. One comment per person, please.
- You must supply us with a valid email address.
- The contest starts now and entries must be date stamped by our server no later than Sunday, July 14th, 2008 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time to be eligible.
- The winner will be selected during a random drawing using random.org and will be notified via e-mail to receive the prize.
- No prize substitutions.
- You must be 18 years old or older to enter and a resident of the USA.
- No purchase necessary.
- Void where prohibited.
Did you know…
- that applying corn starch to your feet before you put your shoes on can help to deter blisters?
- that wearing a thick pair of socks and your new shoes around the house will help to break in new shoes?
- that applying a liquid bandage (much like a clean nail polish) over the prone-to-blister or affected spot can help the discomfort?
- that applying a black tea bag to the areas of your foot where you tend to blister can help toughen up the skin?
- that if the area is red and hasn’t yet turned into a blister you can apply ice to the spot and will help to calm the swelling?
- that you shouldn’t pop a blister as the liquid inside protects the new skin from exposure and infection?
- the liquid in blisters is reabsorbed into the body when left alone?
Ladies do you feel like bra sizing is a secret formula that only a few know? Don’t be discouraged I am here to help. Take Nancy of Miami, she wrote to me after using Sculpted Silhouette’s Bra Calculator.
Question: Hello. I’ve been buying 36A’s, but when I used the bra calculator, I got 32D. If I am 31 inches under the bust, 34.5 (35) inches over the bust, and 35.5 (36) inches across the bust, what size would I wear? Nancy
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“The refugee challenge in the 21st century is changing rapidly. People are forced to flee their homes for increasingly complicated and interlinked reasons. Some 40 million people worldwide are already uprooted by violence and persecution, and it is likely that the future will see more people on the run as a growing number of push factors compound one another to create conditions for further forced displacement.Some 40 million people worldwide are already uprooted by violence and persecution, and it is likely that the future will see more people on the run as a growing number of push factors compound one another to create conditions for further forced displacement.
Today people do not just flee persecution and war but also injustice, exclusion, environmental pressures, competition for scarce resources and all the miserable human consequences of dysfunctional states.
The task facing the international community in this new environment is to find ways to unlock the potential of refugees who have so much to offer if they are given the opportunity to regain control over their lives.”
There isn’t any reason to be daunted by selling on eBay – it just takes a bit of planning to be successful. This article will provide some planning ideas and put you ahead in the learning curve and on your way to success.
You will need some basic tools – a digital camera that takes good, clear photos, a seller account on eBay, a listing tool to make managing your listings easier, and a PayPal account or merchant credit card account. This last is a new rule intended to make the buyer experience easier.
read more from "eBay 101: Getting Ready to Sell"
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