Inculcating Ethical and Moral Values in Children

The couple, Mr. and Ms. Thompson, was very poor. They were residing in the suburb of a small town. They dwell in the below the poverty line neighborhood. They were not blessed with children. They adopted a male child Eric, who was a docile but possesses very sharp outlook. They were not very educated couple. However, their priorities were very clear. They wanted to make their son a well educated and learned man. Their meagre income was insufficient to make a smooth passage for Eric to attain higher education. They changed their lifestyle and started saving money to accomplish their aim.

Mrs. Thomson was a lady of very broad vision and discipline. The innocence and adorable look on the face of a tiny tot reveal volumes of information. The simplicity and the mitigating expression tell the entire story of a man in the making. The laying a foundation for a brighter future is the prime concern for both. Mrs. Thomson knew that the characteristic structure of the personality depends on the right environments and perfect surroundings. She started inculcating simple but perfect ethical and moral values in the young Eric's mind. She narrated stories of great personalities. The honesty, bravery, and educational values were getting embedded on Eric's mind. She encourages him to take initiatives and drive and ensured that he always ask questions. This routine helped Eric to gather initial momentum in life. When he started going to school his performance was way above other students. His status became much above the board. He stared growing under the shadow of knowledge. He completed his high school with flying colors.

He became a full-fledged doctor and later completed his specialization in surgery. He became an expert and very well known among elite doctors. His simplicity and kind heartedness distinctly reflected his upbringing. He reserved one day in a month for free surgery to poor people. His magnanimity made him popular in the community. He gradually became a national icon.

At a congratulation function, commemorating his performances and contribution to humanity, he spoke candidly and graciously. His parents were sitting in the front row. He addressed the audience and very proudly said that his achievements and his contribution are dedicated to his parents. It is the foresight of Mrs. Thomson, which put him on the right tract since his infant stage. Her encouragement driven him to ask an intelligent question that has made him a successful doctor.

He advised all parents to inculcate ethical and moral values among children. He also emphasized that treating children as friends will pay rich dividends rather than confronting them. The age old practice of having dinner together as family will teach them financial literacy and social bondage.

Captain Ehtesham Mirza

Two Simple Steps to Reduce Your Weight Without Spending Money

In the modern times, the obesity rate is climbing at an alarming pace. However, it is more pronounced in America. The other aspect of life reflects that the younger generation is getting more health conscious yet it is not reached a recognized number worth mentioning. The grownup people seem to be ignoring the tell tale effect and drifting with current of negligence and casual attitude. It seems a cumbersome exercise to follow a diet pattern and exercise routine which is unattractive and difficult to implement. The fate cannot be allowed to move in a pendulum fashion hence it requires a paradigm shift. It is not difficult to follow a more practical routine and get into ship shape.

The best exercise a body requires in which all parts move rhythmically without straining or exerting undue strain. It is simple and plain walking. A regular walking pattern should be for one hour duration. It is most important to note and understand that prior to walking you should warm up your body so that the ligaments do not get strained or ruptured.It is, therefore, necessary to commence your walk in the following pattern:


(1) Walk slowly for about ten minutes

(2) It then commenced brisk walk for forty minutes.

(3) Lastly follow the slow walk again for ten minutes.

The last leg of the slow walk is essentially required to cool down your body. This particular pattern is good for heart as it suits medically too.

Step Two: DIET

(1) Breakfast: - Porridge or Cereal with skimmed milk without sugar.

(2) Black tea without sugar

(3) Fresh fruit juice without sugar. At 11'o' clock -Black tea/Coffee with three Marie cookies.

(1) Lunch:- Brown bread four slices

(2) Chicken or Fish 100 grams steamed.

(3) Salad without dressing

(4) Yoghurt without flavored or sugar.(200 grams)

(5) One fruit (Apple or Orange )

At 3 'o' clock: Black tea /Coffee without sugar with three Marie biscuits

(1) Dinner : Vegetable soup(2) Brown bread -three slices

(3) Salad without dressing

(4) Yoghurt without flavored or sugar. (200 grams)

(5) Boiled vegetables (Beans, cabbage, capsicum, lettuce leaves, Tomatoes, Carrot,

One hour prior to sleeping drink one cup of skimmed milk without sugar.

If you feel hungry any time during the day, then eat salad or boiled vegetables. You must totally stop sugar and all starch food. You must refrain from eating cookies, chocolates etc. Drink cold water and the thumb rule are:

I Kg of weight = 30 ml of water.

You can positively achieve desired results if you follow this routine for three months. You will lose at least 40-50 pounds of weight. Well, you can think seriously and make a start, and you will be on the way to a healthy, slim fit body.

Best of Luck!

Capt. Ehtesham Mirza

Weight Loss and Basic Mathematics

The single most discussed point in younger generation is obesity. Many articles were written on the subject and health watch dogs advice on do's and don'ts. What matters, in reality, is to think seriously and act in the right direction. It is very simple to understand and adopt ways and mean to control obesity yet it takes consistency and willpower to implement right measures.

The simple and basic rule of thumb is to understand what causes obesity. The type of food triggers the weight gain and negatively affecting our system. At the outset, it is very important to understand the elementary mathematics behind our weight gain.

(1) The Income i.e. (food intake) should be less.

(2) The Expenditure i.e. (burning of calories) should be more: The net result is Negative Balance.

The following two points which are to be remembered and implemented seriously, to achieve desired result;

Hence the Golden rule of thumb:

(a) The day's intake of food should be slightly less than the body requires.

(b) Regularly exercising to burn 30% of the total calories' intake in a day.

It is to be remembered that at no point of time your intake of food in terms of calories should be more than it is required considering various factors of a balance diet.

It is also to be remembered and adhered to that you should not deprive your body of vital ingredients of intake of food. All important Organs of our body need Carbohydrates. The Muscles require proteins. The Bones require Calcium etc.

The most important of all is to develop a mindset of positive attitude. The aim in life is to learn and follow what is constructive and progressive. The determination will certainly help you to reduce obesity.Once that is achieved then keep it at that level for two years by consuming measured diet and regular exercise. The weight gain will not relapse.

Capt.Ehtesham Mirza

A Hobby I Have Cultivated Over The Years

I really love to read and write even at a very early age. I love to explore the unknown. Not that I am following the footsteps of a scientist but writing and reading are already in my veins ever since I had my first grade.

I even climbed our guava trees or our mango trees just to study and read and read and read! Even if there was no electricity in our place during that time; I was still able to study 'till midnight. Our deficiency never seemed to be a problem because it became my inspiration to strive for more and reach my goal. I was already earning even at a very early age due to my hobby. I loved to compose poems as well. Anything that came to mind, I put them into writing.

What I considered as a skill earned much. I had an obsession to study a lot because I came from a very poor family. I stayed in the library during recess time to read anything because I did not have money. I was not able to mingle with my classmates and friends because of financial constraints. So I spent most of my time in the library.

My passion in writing also gave me the opportunity me to become a writer. It opens a lot of windows for me. Despite the tough competition in the job market, I did not find it difficult to find a source of living because of my skills.

I did not realize that what I thought as just a hobby and past time during my teenage years would become my bread and butter today. Who would recognize that even if I am not employed but I am still earning much? My passion is a very high paying job. My skill is earning much than my degree. So I decided to nurture it more in order to reach its maximum potential.

By saying so, I mean that I still continue my studies up to now because I believe that learning is a continuous process. I am not yet satisfied with what I have right now because I still want to quest for more knowledge. Not that I am after of fame and prestige but I want to have the self-satisfaction that only me can do.

Thus, writing is the hobby that I cultivated for years and now I am earning the return of my investment.

I want to share what was once I considered as my hobby but now my only source of income.
By Rosemarie Sumalinog Gonzales

Mother and Children Relationships

It is not an only important but also very interesting word. It reflects a profound sense of belonging to every individual. The experience one gathers during the passage of time since development of "Relationship" is a story by itself. It is the passage which begins from the cradle and ends at the grave. The bone of contention is the understanding of core concept and implementation of individual responsibility towards that Relationship, both in terms of action and deeds. The sincerity in doing so is the ultimate goal we all expect, at one stage or the other. Although the meanings of "RELATIONSHIP" stretch and cover different types and forms yet I am concentrating on "Parenthood". The relation between parents and children, more specific, between Mother and Child is of paramount importance. The reason being obvious: The growing of satellite families and youngsters becoming independent of at a very young age. There are gaining financial independence and thus becoming materialistic too. The importance and respect of Mother and Child relationship which they should and must understand in order to lay a strong foundation over which humanity structure will be building. We must understand that it is the Mother, whose untiring love and affection towards children are conspicuous by her selfless desires to see her children grow and flourish. It is also known fact, whether a child is good or bad, well or ill, smart or has special needs; the love of a mother is always reflecting in every aspect of her actions. This fact children need to know. The biggest challenge a woman may ever have is the job of a mother, but along with the challenges comes the greatest rewards life can give to a woman. It is the respect, honour, forgiveness, peace and above all everlasting love which will be embedded forever in your memory. On the other hand, when children do not give due respect and turn out to be irresponsible, arrogant and unthankful than the agony and ecstasy she suffers deep within herself is extremely painful yet she swallowed these harsh and stressful moments with a smile and doesn't reveal her pain and distrust to anybody. It is these very tragic moments that we as grown up adults should and must understand and restrain our behavior and action to translate into such tragedies. On the other hand, we must teach our tiny tots the importance of parenthood and in particular the Motherhood. Understanding concept of relationship 'of Mother' and implementing these thoughts into reality in total earnestness should be the ultimate goal in life. Capt. Ehtesham Mirza

Think Coffee is Bad For You? Think Again!

Think Coffee is Bad For You?
Think Coffee is Bad For You? Think Again!
The past is full of misconceptions about coffee, and more and more people are beginning to drop coffee drinking and libel it as a guilty habit. But the truth is, when it comes to the nutritious value of coffee, there are more benefits than risks. Coffee is known to prevent several malicious and deadly diseases, thus extending the average coffee drinker's life span. Moderate coffee drinking is often thought of as unhealthy, but it actually proves to be a helpful and healthful habit.

Over the past decade, cancer, a once rare disease, is becoming more and more common throughout the world. Research is beginning to show, however, that drinking coffee on a regular basis may be able to prevent several types of cancer. A recent study tracked the coffee drinking patterns of 129,000 men and women for two decades to note the affect of coffee drinking on heart disease. These studies showed that women who drank four to five cups of coffee daily were 34 percent less likely to contract heart disease and die from it, and men who drank more than five cups routinely were 44 percent less likely to die from this devastating disease. This pleasure drink also has shown to prevent other types of cancer, such as that of the liver, bladder, and ovaries.

Routine coffee drinking has also been found to reduce memory loss, and memory-related diseases. Recent research conducted by Finnish and Swedish scientists has shown that middle-aged men and women who drank from three to five cups of coffee daily had a reduced risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease or dementia, by as much as 60-65%. The reason for this reduced risk is still vague and being researched, but it may be because of coffee's strong antioxidants, which are known to prevent dementia. Also, coffee protects the nervous system, which leads to a decreased chance of dementia.

Not only does coffee prevent many types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia, but it also reduces the risk of contracting several others, such as Parkinson's disease and Type Two Diabetes. It also stimulates the brain-studies show that regular coffee drinkers score better on average on IQ, spacial awareness, short term memory, and cognitive ability exams. This delicious draught also ceases minor headaches and lifts a sorrowful mood. However, just as all substances of any kind, coffee should be enjoyed in moderation, as an excessive amount of coffee drinking can lead to anxiety and depression.

There are so many negative rumors about coffee that one may surprised to know how beneficial it really is. It has shown to prevent several potentially fatal diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes. It is a mood lifter and a brain stimulator, and overall a beloved drink in every aspect. They say that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". Now it is becoming clearer that a drinking a few cups of coffee daily does the trick as well!
By Anitha Ahmed

How Thinking Pattern Affects Life

The meaning and concept of life are interesting topics of discussion. The way we look at it, at the outset, is a point to ponder. What is being transpired and conspired, since birth to the end, is the passage, we go through in multi dimensional mode. The variance and multitude of ideas reflect an enormous amount of people's mind and their thinking pattern.

The meaning of life is a philosophical entity within the concept of existence and performance. The accountability of our existence is directly proportional to our commitments and expectation. We are required to meet commitments within the ambit of dos and don'ts. There are rules, regulations and guidelines imposed on human beings once we accept our existence and its realities. There is no room for fantasies or hypothetical deductions. On the contrary, facts and factuality are the life pattern. The life span is moving in a fashion as designed by us.

The creational reality comprehensively balances between cause and effect. An individual takes its lead from wisdom and knowledge; a gift from the creator. Now, the action and reaction reflect an individual's thinking pattern. It affects are experienced by human beings during the passage of life span. It leaves its telltale effects distinctly and clearly. However, few understand its implication and others ignore it. A question arises as to why these anomalies evolve when realities are exposed, and factuality appeared?

When facts and phenomenon are exposed, an individual or group ignores it in spite of sufficient evidence, then arrogant sets in. Thus, all the ill effects appear as glorious and beneficial. Hence, they get carried away into a chaos and commotion accepting the same as advantageous realities. Therefore, the thinking pattern of an individual dictates its own terms and compels him or her to accept the illusion as realities. This is the most crucial state, and one must exercise caution and take utmost care. If he or she succeeds, thereby, experiencing bliss and contentment.

The after-effect of the line of thinking suggests and advises that evaluating the situation should be the priority. There are quite a few wise men who think twice before taking a decision and react accordingly. The cardinal point of the issue is the culmination of ideas, which are a focal point of pattern of thinking. Here, the reactionary forces could create hurdles that affect the line of thinking; hence it affects our life differently.

The truth lies in the realities of life as experienced by people that they accept it. The denial is the negativity and stubbornness of an individual intentionally relegating facts and factuality. Therefore, the thinking pattern of an individual is governed by two factors. The straight-forward path of truth leaves a beneficial impact on the life of an individual. On the other hand, an arrogant individual's line of thinking and approach is based on falsehood and deception. He, then, gets into delusion and thrives on fantasies.

The crux of the subject is the development of mind enabling an ordinary person to take charge of his line of thinking. It generally thrives on some basic issues of cognition, emotions or feelings and violation. People then get affected accordingly subject to situation and environments. They think that everything is designed to suit their desires. They react violently when encounter failures or denial. These are the peripheral perceptional tendencies. However, an individual other than an ordinary person will react differently due to his ability to evaluate and assess the scenario in realities and actualities. He sees beyond the horizon and values the visible and unforeseen effects in real terms relegating fantasies behind.
By Ehtesham Mirza

When I Feel Frustrated

Trying to ignore what we feel about something makes us feel frustrated because we are not satisfied with our effort. We feel unfulfilled and if left unchecked it would eventually lead to depression.

The feeling of frustration resulted from not being able to satisfy our needs, wants and desires in life. When we feel that we are out of control of the things happening in our lives, then we feel unhappy. We feel insecure and uncertain because we are afraid to face our fears.

When we are in pain, we usually give up our hopes and dreams. It is easier to give up something that we are not struggling to get than continue to find ways to succeed. This should not be the case because persistence is very important during difficult times. In the event of crisis our perseverance would be our anchor to succeed. If we fail, it doesn't mean that it is already the end of the world. We just have to try harder in order to reach our goal and get what we want in life.

Frustration is a feeling of disappointment or anger for not being able to get one wanted. When I am upset, usually I just keep silent and write everything I feel because I am not the violent type who would shout or throw things just because I am angry. I also cry to release all the negative feelings I have inside. But sometimes too much frustration can lead to depression.

When I am trying to solve a problem, I get so wrapped up in trying to find a solution. Sometimes having many options is easy but there are also times that I am having headache just to find one alternative. There are even times that I spend my whole time worrying what would happen if I cannot do it. But once I am able to move forward, I also realize that there is no sense worrying at all.

It is very important to have a positive mental attitude. When we are mentally drained, we make things appear worse than they usually are. We just need to take a break to reflect. We can understand that our frustration will just pass because a positive mind is more open to see solutions and answers than those being close-minded and feeling hopeless. When we feel that there is no hope, we stop looking for remedies because we feel that it is already useless. So, we always need to stay POSITIVE.

So, to end up my frustrations in life, I relax and unwind for a while until such time that I am able to get back in track again to find new solutions to meet my unfulfilled needs.

Sometimes we are really upset. This article somehow helps to cope up our frustrations in life. By Rosemarie Sumalinog Gonzales

Are Men More Intelligent Than Women?

What is intelligence indeed? Intelligence is actually the ability to perceive and retain knowledge or information. It is the intellectual capacity of humans to perceive, comprehend and understand. It enables humans to remember and gives humans the cognitive abilities to learn, to communicate and to experience and think.

Is it true that men are more intelligent than women? According to some people men are more intelligent than women because they are more aggressive and decisive compared to women who always let their emotions dominate their minds. Aside from that there are many things that women cannot do especially in terms of hard labor.

However, there are also some people who think that women are smarter than men particularly in decision-making at home. I am talking about how to budget to meet both ends. It is the woman who knows how to keep up the budget for the whole family. The role of man is to provide the needs of the family especially in terms of financial stability. But when talking about how to economize and stretch the budget, women are more intelligent in this area. Women are considered as wise spender compared to men, although there are some men who would argue to this notion because of their patriarchal nature.

Men always wanted to have the final say especially at home. By doing so, they think that they are more intellectual and more powerful than women. On the other hand, women are considered as by nature emotionally weak. They cannot think straight when they are upset and they are too sentimental. They use their hearts more often than their heads because they show more concern for feelings of others. They are sensitive to what other feels although there are also some women who only think of themselves rather than on other significant people in their lives.

But there are also some people who believe that men and women are equal not only in potential but also ability. Whatever men can do, women can also do especially now that men and women are given equal opportunity at work. Corporations nowadays are no longer headed by the male species. There are many women who are now leading the corporate worlds. It only shows that whatever men can do, women can also do.

Thus, intelligence of men and women can no longer be measured by how high or how low is the IQ. It can now be determined through performance. Either men or women could be on top depending on how hard they work and how they persevere.

I write this article in order to lessen the status quo belief that men are smarter than women. By Rosemarie Sumalinog Gonzales

When Men Became Women

Unless you and I have been living in two different worlds, we seem to have an issue on our hands. We have feminized men to the point where they are slowly starting to resemble women. It is enough evidence to go down to your local super market to see the vast array of beauty, hair and make-up products specifically made for men. So what is happening here?


Nearing the beginning of the 21st century the cosmetics industry woke up to one, booming thought. For decades they ignored 50% of their potential customers. Men, in the same way as women, have personal grooming issues which could be solved with the application of cosmetics. And with the wave of acceptance and gender equality that came with the 21st century it was the perfect time to start mass producing cosmetics products aimed at men. Gray hair, wrinkles and eye-bags were all relatively simple issues which could bring in a lot of money. According to the cosmetics industry makes over $55 billion annually, as of 2014. And with around 25% of men taking more than half an hour in the morning to get ready, there is clear indication that the male based products are selling.


We have seen a massive shift in the cultural attitudes, especially those within the western areas of the world. Societies are becoming more accepting of men being less masculine. The days of leather jackets, motorbikes and hard rock are (sadly, may I add) long gone and have become replaced by a mindless, spiritless pop culture. These days, it is enough to make a fool out of yourself, or better, a freak, to grab people's attention and become famous. Furthermore, as women gain more and more rights, becoming (virtually) equal to men in their rights, the pressures of the past on men to provide for their families are gone. It is now perfectly acceptable for the woman to be the one who works and brings in the hard-earned cash home and for the man to stay behind and do the cooking. Although most couples tend to live in a symbiotic relationships in which both partners are expected to contribute both financially and at home, it is no surprise that men are becoming more feminine.


We are vain. That is the simple truth. Because every day we are bombarded with adverts of beautiful men and women, working out, eating healthy and looking beautiful in their designer clothes, we have slowly come to expect this of ourselves. We now do more than ever, to look good and impress others. It's enough to look at some statistics to know this is true; 25 million American males (and 20 million females) going to the gym each year. Furthermore, the British males spend an incredible 13 billion pounds on clothes each year, on average spending just 99 pounds less than their female counterparts. Because of the earlier mentioned shift in culture, we no longer live in the times when it was the woman's job to look beautiful and stunning and the man's job was to be handsome. These days, men feel the need to be pretty, beautiful and stunning themselves, abandoning natural masculinity.

So why mention all of this?

Because I think men are close to the point of no return. If we do not act now, soon, traditional men will become a dying breed. I am not in the favour of unkempt hair, facial hair whose shave is long overdue or an outfit which has clearly been in someone's wardrobe for three decades but I do believe that we should make a stand for traditional men. I want to see the return of the gentlemen; men who knew how to look after themselves without excessive grooming, man-pedicures and what nots. Men, who woman adored not for their beauty or perfect body, but for devilish handsomeness and intellect.
By Michal Wroblewski

When Does It Become Too Hard to Forgive?

We, as Christians, are familiar with the words of Jesus: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." These are words contained in the 'Our Father,' the 'Lord's Prayer,' which most of us learned as small children.

But how realistic is it to expect one to forgive those who indiscriminately murder your parents, a family member, or a friend? And is it possible to forgive a person or persons who walk into a church or a school building and assassinate huge numbers of students and/or adults? How can a monstrous individual who burns a child with cigarettes be forgiven? Or an evil man deliberately placing a crying baby in her toy chest with a hair dryer until the crying stops and she's dead? How is it possible to forgive those people?

For me, forgiveness doesn't come easy even in the most innocuous circumstances, and where inhumane, incomprehensible criminal acts have been committed, no, never can I forgive! But there are people who do forgive those who've committed heinous crimes, and there are people who do "love thy neighbor as thyself." It is my opinion that anyone who can stand up and say with honesty and sincerity, "I forgive you" can only do so by the grace, the strength, the moral power and substance that comes from God alone.

A baby-faced twenty-one year old who allegedly shoots and kills nine innocent individuals who are praying together in a church is not crazy; he didn't just 'lose it,' or 'go berserk.' He is a hater, a bigot, an egotist, a misanthrope, a detestable individual without scruples, morals, principles, character or honor.

The question is how does such conduct become part of a man or a woman who was once a cooing, laughing, crying, burping, whining, screeching, adorable baby? He or she was not born to become a monster, a person filled with hate, bitterness, anger, resentment, and malice. So when did it happen; how did it happen?

I have no answers, but of this I'm sure: hatred and bigotry are learned behaviors; humans are not born that way.

How wonderful that there are people who are strong enough to forgive. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

I hope to some day be rewarded with God's grace and strength in a way that makes it possible for me to forgive.
By Pat Estelle

Gucci and Me

Gucci and me?

Yes, I know. To look at me, you'd never dream that I'd own a classy Gucci original. In fact, I'm very much aware that I do not really look the type that would even know who the designer, Gucci, is (does he have a first name?). So what does the world famous fashion French trendsetter, Gucci, in all actuality have to do with me? Read on, and learn about the ridiculous side of life and my rather innocent - and embarrassing- part in it.

It was providence that put me in the path of the elite, fashionable crowd in that posh upscale area of London, England, where I had come for a cousin's wedding, a good twenty-five years back. As the rain fell incessantly down from the overcast gray skies onto what appeared to be a dull bleak world, my wife and I - American country bumpkins - marveled at the old society charm of English Europe. Tourist sights that we'd never dreamed of visiting were suddenly within our immediate panoramic vista. The transparency of our unsophisticated traveling experience must have stood out for all to see as we gasped out loud in sheer wonder and amazement at the wrong side everybody seemed to be driving their cars, at the grandeur of the great Big Ben clock, at the imposing Buckingham Palace and at those funny artificially stiff- looking royal guards with the tall furry hats! We visited some of the most famous museums, gawked at some of the most unusually colorful punk-dressed locals and literally had the time of our lives as we reveled in the wonderful temporary role of being wined and dined without a care besides telephoning across the ocean to see how spoiled our children were getting at their grandparents' home for that one week in June.

The entire experience was beyond any vision that we had conjured for ourselves, yet it was rejuvenating. As we said our goodbyes and sincere thank you to our generous hosts, I asked if perhaps there might be anything that we could take to relatives in America for them. After a brief moment of deliberation, it seemed that there indeed was.

"Would you mind very much," my host began in his quaint, endearing English accent, "if we would ask you to bring a wallet to my sister in Deal, NJ? It's a Gucci original - not too new, but just the same, I know that she would appreciate it. And why should it be thrown out?"

Would I mind? What a question! In all honesty, I was happy to return the favor of unique hospitality in some small measure!

We packed the 'Gucci thing' within our belongings and were off to the airport. With England becoming smaller and smaller, and eventually totally disappearing as the plane gained upward and forward momentum, we mentally prepared ourselves for the long flight home and our shift in roles.

The reunion that we were a part of at Newark was a fitting end to our lovely vacation. Although we had indeed left London, England, home to world culture, art, fashion, and gales of raindrops, the shower of unmistaken love we received with our welcome home reception made us ever so much more glad to be back to our own familiar beloved turf and immediate family.

We changed into our normal gears - I, as father and daily breadwinner, and my wife as familiar 'mommy' figure - and life seemed to go on just as we had left it with only photographs to keep the memories vivid.

Then, one bright Sunday morning, my wife reminded me about the Gucci wallet.

"Max," she said worriedly, "I just remembered about the wallet. Have you seen it anywhere?"

"The Gucci wallet?!" I asked in the low tone. "Don't tell me that you don't know where it is! Didn't you pack it in the big blue suitcase?"

"I thought that you had put it away in the carry-on," my wife responded quickly. "How awful if it's lost!" she continued. "What a way to show our gratitude for all they did for us!"

Anxiously, we went through every single piece of luggage and belonging that we had taken with us on the trip. Feverishly and with determination, we sifted through the clothing and paraphernalia, spending a good while on the search. Unfortunately, it seemed that the Gucci wallet was nowhere to be found! We sadly concluded that we had either lost it on the way to the airport or it was... stolen. We felt terrible. Too bad we had not purchased travel insurance! After all our English hosts had done for us, how would we ever be able to own up to what had occurred?

I sat down gingerly on the edge of the living couch as I thought. Finally, the obvious answer came to my mind.

"And what's so terrible about bringing a new Gucci wallet to our host's sister instead of his old, used one?" I asked. The solution I had thought of was brilliant in its simplicity!

My wife looked at me in wonder. "Wh-where does one go to buy a Gucci wallet?" she asked. "I mean, aren't Gucci originals exclusive items? Maybe you have to buy them in special one-of-a-kind shops. And how much do you think they cost anyway?"

Although both my wife and myself had been brought up in plain, no nonsense type of homes where designer clothing and merchandise were things that, for all intent and purpose, did not exist, we understood that the price tags on these types of ware were on the higher end of the general merchandise payment spectrum.

"I'm sure that one of the department stores in the mall close to us sells Gucci wallets," I said. "And as far as the price is concerned," I continued in a deliberate voice, "How much could a small wallet cost already?"

That said, we piled the kids into our car for a 'trip' to the Ocean County Mall.

Once we had arrived at our destination, my wife led our troupe to the ladies' accessory department. Her hunch had indeed been right. There, in the locked case, lay a small assortment of Gucci wallets and purses. In my mind, their beauty was debatable and I wondered what the major attraction was about them, but I quickly dismissed the hearsay thoughts as the results of my being 'uneducated' in the ways of fashion.

"We'd like to see the Gucci wallets," my wife said to the woman behind the counter.

The saleswoman jingled her ring of keys as she unlocked the glass display case and reached inside for the two featured wallets. "These are the two styles that we carry," she said.

"Hmm," my wife paused. "How much are they?" she inquired.

"This one here is five- fifty," began the saleswoman. "And this one is seven," she said.

I looked at my wife. She looked at me.

"Listen," I told my wife. "The prices are not bad at all. Let's splurge. We'll buy them both. One for our hosts' sister and one for you."

My wife nodded. Generally accustomed to living on a set budget, we both were somewhat relieved at the affordability of the famed Gucci wallets.

"Ahem," my wife cleared her throat as she began in complete earnest innocence. "You said this one on the right is five dollars and fifty cents and that one over there is seven dollars?"

The woman paused for one uncomfortable long, long moment as she seemed to digest what had been asked of her. Then, in the most cold, unfriendly know-it-all saleslady voice, she corrected the blatant unforgivable blunder.

"No, madam, the cost of this one is FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS and that one is SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!"

"Oh, I see, I'm so sorry," my wife said in a very small voice as the rosy color of embarrassment crept up to her cheeks. "We - uh - I guess we'll think about it. Thank you."

Without another word, the saleswoman gathered the wallets, placed them back in the display case, jingled her ring of keys with a flourish and noisily locked the glass door.

As we made our hasty getaway, we giggled together at our simple ignorance and unsophisticated expectations. How blessed naïve we had been! $550 and $700 for wallets embellished with some strange man's name, indeed!

As ludicrous as we knew the prices were, we still had a matter to take care of.

I telephoned our hosts in England and shamefully explained the situation to them. True to form, they made away with it all, saying that the lost wallet was too old to be of any true worth and we should forget about the entire incident.

Gucci and me? Well, I can't exactly say that although quite some time has elapsed since the unfortunate loss of the Gucci wallet, I have completely forgotten about it all. One thing's for certain, I know that Gucci wallets are not on my personal buying list because there has GOT to be better things to do with my money. Still and all, the incident brings back gales of laughter when we reminisce about our 'wonderful unworldliness' and the absolute nonsensical, ludicrous ways of the 'polished, sophisticated' world!

Got items of value? PRIME Insurance can help you protect your possessions, from your car, and home to your business and more. An experienced independent insurance agency with numerous awards from the industry, PRIME utilizes its association with many of the leading insurance companies to find tailored coverage at the lowest quotes out there. Visit us at to find out more. By M Wyzanski

Cheapest Prepaid Cell Phone Card Review

If you are like most people, you purchased your cell phone from a well-known provider and agreed to whatever contract they provided you with. While you may be tied to a long-term contract for you basic service, you actually do have options on your service that can save you money. One very attractive option is to use a cheap prepaid cell phone card to save on long distance, especially if you call internationally. With a prepaid cell phone card, you can simply use your cell phone to call a local or toll free number, and then connect to your long distance call at a fraction of the cost of calling through your cell phone carrier. One must review some of the quality prepaid mobile phone card providers that are out there before making a decision. One reputable provider that is known for offering great rates for cell phone users is Pingo.

Making this decision comes with several benefits. After I conducted a lengthy review of cheap prepaid mobile cell phone providers I came up with the following conclusion. When you use a cell phone contract you are often bound by a lengthy contract. If you decide to opt out you may face outrageous charges or nagging legal problems. You may also have the minutes that you have not used cut off at the end of the month. So it's best to limit your commitment for long distance calls, and use a prepaid card. By buying a product that is sold over the internet, you can gain many conveniences that you don't have if you buy a card at retail stores. Look for phone card businesses online that offer ANI recognition, auto recharge, great access numbers around the country and world, and quality connections. You can find some of the cheapest cards no matter where you are as long as you have an Internet connection.

Using these cards with your cell phone is very easy. When you find the cheapest provider with the best quality, and purchase your minutes, you will be provided with access numbers. This means no matter where you are in the world you can enjoy low rate quality talk time on your cell phone.

Staying in touch is a necessity. Whether you use your cell phone mainly for work or to chat with friends and family, you can rest assured that you will not have rising costs. You pay for the minutes and that's it. Calling long distance is no problem. You know exactly what rate you have purchased and no longer have to worry about long distance fees.

There are many prepaid cell phone card reviews on the net for you to take a look at. No matter how many you take a look at, you will most likely end up with the same result, saving money on prepaid mobile cell phone rates.

How to Care for Your Silver

Silver is beautiful but it can tarnish quickly. This sometimes puts people off collecting it. Don’t let it deter you. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your silver.

— Use it. Regular use is best. Silver was made to be used.

— Wash in hot mild soapy water. To avoid spotting, wash quickly in hot mild soapy water, rinse in hot clean water and dry quickly.

— Avoid contact with scotch tape, cardboard and newspaper. Acids in the tape, cardboard and newspaper can be harmful to silver.

— Use acid-free paper. Wrap silver in acid free paper when storing.

— Avoid contact with eggs, onions and peas. The sulfur in these foods combines with silver to form silver sulphide, which discolors the surface.

— Avoid contact with wool and felt. These fabrics contain harmful sulfur.

— Avoid contact with rubber. Don’t fasten cutlery with rubber bands or store rubber bands in silver cups etc because rubber contains ingredients that can tarnish silver. This includes latex gloves. Don’t wear them when cleaning your silver.

— Avoid dishwashers. The combination of harsh detergents and very high temperatures is far too much for sterling to bear.

— Avoid salt. Remove salt from silver saltshakers and salt sellers after each use. Salt is a corrosive element. Storing these items with salt in them will damage them along with the rest of the silver in the cupboard because salt will permeate the air.

— Clean silver candlesticks carefully. Avoid using a knife or other sharp object to remove the nub of a candle. Instead, pour in a little hot water. Let it sit and then the remainder of the candle will slip out.

— Don’t store silver in freshly painted drawers. Some paints can accelerate tarnishing. You should wait 4 months.

Cleaning your silver

Here are a couple of methods to clean your silver.

— Commercial cleaners. A wide assortment of commercial cleaners is available at grocery and hardware stores. The less abrasive the cleaner, the better.

— Aluminum foil method — This fast working homemade remedy works like a charm. Add to pot of boiling water – a piece of aluminum foil, salt or a water softener such as Calgon. The chemical reaction among these elements quickly lifts tarnish. Works well for cutlery, trays etc.

— Toothpaste — An old standby that works in a pinch. Apply with a soft toothbrush. Remove with soft clean cloth.

Storing your silver

A humid environment encourages tarnishing. Caustic elements such as sulfur and salt cause tarnishing and pitting. Using one and/or more of these techniques will help to create a barrier between your precious silver and that pesky tarnish.

— Anti-tarnish strips — Can be added to drawers where silver is stored. These strips, containing activated charcoal absorb tarnish producing gases.

— Kenzied cloth — Line your drawers with this 100 per cent cotton per cent cotton flannel cloth. When used in combination with anti-tarnish strips, they provide a good barrier.

— Polyethylene bags — Store silver pieces in polyethylene bags that create a barrier from tarnish producing gases.

— Desiccated silica gel & activated charcoal — Add to storage area a small container of desiccated silica gel that absorbs water to keep humidity levels low and a small container of activated charcoal. This one-two combination packs a punch and absorbs harmful gases. Works well when added to polyethylene bag.

Martin Swinton

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