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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Halle Berry

It was hard for the bi-racial actress growing up in Cuyahoga County in Ohio. She was bullied because she was bi-racial but she used her looks to her advantage. She became involved in beauty pageants and became Miss Teen Ohio. Not content with being a model Halle exchanged her modeling career for an acting one with her first movie role in Spike Lee’s movie , Jungle Fever.

Halle’s acting career has been varied and tested her ability in many different ways. From her initial role as a crack addict in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever where she was able to show case her more dramatic side to her role in the miniseries, Queen. Halle gained her first Emmy for her role in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and her acting career came to a a head with her Oscar as Best Leading Actress in a motion picture for her role in Monsters Ball.

Unfortunately her personal life hasn’t been as happy. Halle suffers from 80% hearing loss in her right ear due to the abuse that she suffered at the hand of a former boyfriend. She also suffers from diabetes. Halle’s marriage to singer Eric Benet ended among allegations of his sexual addiction. It seemed for a while that one of the most beautiful women in the world…happiness would continue to evade her. That changed in 2005 when she met model Gabriel Aubry at a Versace fashion shoot. In 2008 Halle had her first child…a daughter with the model..Nahla.

For the woman who almost didn’t have it all….its clear that she is more than just a beautiful shell and there is definitely more than meets the eye.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Chic & Swag Friday

Photographer, Max Aguilera-Hellweg /Stem Cell

Max Aguilera-Hellweg was the editor's choice for the National Geographic's July 2005 cover.

The Stem Cell Divide

Embryonic stem cells may someday help doctors treat ills from paralysis to diabetes. But science must contend with politics before that hope can be realized.

Max Aguilera-Hellweg is a photojournalist, writer, and filmmaker, whose recent work focuses on medicine. He began his career in the 1970s doing the darkroom work at Rolling Stone and assisting its chief photographer Annie Leibovitz. His photo essays have appeared in numerous magazines including National Geographic, The New Yorker, Life, Time, and Esquire. His books include “The Sacred Heart, an Atlas of the Body Seen Through Invasive Surgery” (Bullfinch Press, 1997). After many years as a free-lance photographer, Aguilera-Hellweg went back to school, doing his premedical coursework at Columbia University and received a degree in medicine from Tulane University in 2004. He completed a two year residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, and in 2006 returned to his creative work fulltime. The first of many projects on his slate, with two published short stories behind him, is to finish the novel he’s been working on for fifteen years.

Kobe Bryant


Classy Strollers

Stokke 2007

Bugaboo Cameleon 2008

Mommies compare these strollers to Porshes & Mercedes Benzs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Konstantinos Labrinopoulos - KLAB architects

Summer House in Tzia

Athens-based Kostantinos Labrinopoulos originally founded KLMF architects with fellow-architect Miltos Farmakis, before deciding to go on and set up his own practice in 2007 – k-lab, or Kinetic Lab of Architecture – taking up from where KLMF left off. Labrinopoulos graduated from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the SCI-Arc Southern California Institute of Architecture Los Angeles, with a special interest in residential architecture and the ways in which people inhabit architecture in general.


Coastal Highway 1, Big Sur, California, 1999

Each year more than three million visitors navigate the treacherous turns of Highway 1 and cross its soaring arch-span bridges, its narrow passes, and the unique curiosities, which artists have called 'the greatest meeting of land and water in the world."


Herodes Atticus Theater, Athens, Greece, 2000

In a ritual that has taken place for centuries, an expectant assemblage awaits a dramatic entrance by performers under darkening skies in the Herodes Atticus Theater in Athens, Greece. This steep-sloped amphitheater was built around A.D. 160 by Greek philosopher and rhetorician Herodes Atticus as a tribute to his wife. The theater still hosts music, dance, and theatrical events today.

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "A Night in Athens," April 2000, National Geographic Traveler magazine)

Indra K Nooyi

Forbes considers Indra K Nooyi as one of the most influential woman in business within the US. She has headed PepsiCo as President, Chair and CEO after being elected as such in 2006/7.

Raised in a middle class family in India. Indra was hardly the traditional Hindu girl. She played in an all girls cricket team and formed an all girl rock band as a teen. Indra received her Bachelor of Science degree from one of only 2 business schools in India. She received her Master’s there and it was a spontaneous thought that lead her to apply to study at Yale.

She was accepted and received her Master’s degree in public and private management. She began her business career working for Johnson and Johnson in India. After working in planning strategy for Motorola, Boston Consulting Company and Asea Brown Boveri, Indra began working for PepsiCo in 1994. Indra was one of the key executives in the change of direction of PepsiCo, from what it was to being one of the foremost, food and beverage companies in the world. Known for her toughness and sometimes abrasive manner. It is clear that in a world that is filled with privileged men, Indra has managed to break the glass ceiling with her accomplishments.

As a wife and mother Indra shows that it is possible for women to hold a high powered position and be a mother too. Surely a woman that young girls should aspire to be like.


Taj Mahal

The 17th century Taj Mahal is often called a poem in stone. If so, the mausoleum is a love poem—created by Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jack Black

Whether entertaining us as one half of the comedy/music act Tenacious D or acting as a self obsessed actor in Tropic Thunder, Jack Black steals the laughs from within your chest. It must have been the last thing that his parents thought that he would be doing in his grown up life, but humor was actually as equal a part of Jacks childhood as was academia.. Both of them being Scientists, his mother even worked on the Space Hubble telescope. Jack was raised in California and by the third grade. His natural talent for making people laugh was evident.

One of his English teachers became so exasperated at the thought of failing one who was bright yet wasn’t committed to doing the work that he made a deal with him. If Jack could act one scene from Sam Sheppard’s, Fool for Love, then he would pass him. Jack succeeded.partly he says in order to be able to impress the girl that he was acting with!

He went on to join the Tim Robbins co founded acting group where he met his future comedic partner…Kyle Gass. It was there that his group" Tenacious D" which was formed, and even though their music isn’t exactly considered high brow..It allows Jack to release the latent rock star within. There was even a fictitious film in 2006 which tanked but still the fact that he was able to get someone to make a movie based on a comedy duo is outstanding.

Not only a musician,Jack has starred on TV and Movies in many break out hits. His most notable being High Fidelity. What makes Jack different from other funny men is that he started out as an actor. Other similar “funny men’ such as Jim Carrey and Rob Williams, have had a harder time, trying to divert their movie careers onto vehicles,that call for more serious actors.

With the birth of his first son in 2006 followed by his second son in May 2008,Jack has calmed down a bit. He is taking on more meaningful, family friendly roles.

I mean how cool is it to be able to show your child a movie where your character is a Kung Fu Loving panda!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jay Z

Born in the Marcy Streets Projects in Brooklyn, the young Sean Carter grew up with his mother and younger brother in the notorious Marcy Street Projects in Brooklyn. His mother talks about listening to Sean banging out beats on the kitchen table which caused her to buy him a drum machine. Sean had an unremarkable childhood, a typical one for an inner city child, although at the age of 12 he shot his brother in the arm for stealing his jewelry. As Sean grew older, he became involved with drug dealing but music was his first love.

He went to school with fellow Brooklyn rappers, Busta Rhymes and Biggie Smalls and used to battle in the area. This was the time when Jay Z was born. A homage to one of his mentors Jay O, but also to the train line whose stop runs to his home. The J/Z line With his first album.No reasonable Doubt, Jay Z was propelled to Hip Hop Royalty. His subsequent Albums have sold over 50 million units crowning Jay Z as the king of hip-hop.

Not only is Jay-Z a prolific recording artist but he has his hands in other pots. He is the head of the Roca Fella label and has been instrumental in the success of artists such as Tierra Marie and Rihanna. He created a fashion label called Roca Wear which he sold last year for 200 million dollars. He was the first rap act to headline the English rock festival at Glastonbury. He has opened the 40/40 club in NYC with several others scheduled to open all over the US. Not only has Jay show that he has the lyrical skills to make it out of the projects, but he has the business acumen to make it last as well.

On April 4th 2008, Jay married his long time girlfriend Beyonce Knowles. Neither has formally acknowledged their relationship, but it is a testimony to the foresight of both that their personal lives has remained just that. Personal.



Monday, August 25, 2008

Vincent Van Gogh

If the question was asked in the style of Jeopardy, “He cut off part of his ear”. The immediate answer would be who is Vincent Van Gogh? It is probably the best known fact about him, however Van Gogh is more than an answer on a game show. He was one of the most talented post impressionist painters that ever lived. Born to religious parents in the Netherland, in 1853,Vincent was given the name of a brother that was still born a year earlier. In a way morbid but very normal in Dutch culture at that time. Vincent had a very average childhood that was in his own words very mundane. He struggled to find a direction. He wanted to emulate his father by entering into a religious profession, but he wasn’t able to complete any of his studies to reach that goal.

His first connection with the art world began at the age of 15. He worked for a French art gallery as a Dealer. He became disenfranchised with the position, mainly because he didn’t enjoy dealing with Art as a commodity. Vincent had an erratic work career, constantly bouncing between careers, countries and home in Belgium. Perhaps his inability to stay maintain a job and relationships, was a tell tale sign of the mental illness that was to creep upon him as he matured.

At the age of 27, he was encouraged to draw, having always had a talent for art and so he began concentrating on that. His family was well connected in both the art world and religion and so his cousin helped him in his initial studies. That relationship ended when it was discovered that Vincent was in a relationship with a prostitute by the name of Sien. Vincent left Sien, unable to handle the pressure of the relationship and went on to Paris where he studied more and began painting in earnest. Before Paris, his initial creations were dark in color scheme. After seeing what artists were doing in Paris , he adjusted his style to what we are familiar with today as what is unmistakably Van Gogh. He began to use more color and used some elements from a style known as pontalistic. In Paris he befriended other artists such as Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin. He moved to Arles hoping that his fellow artists would join him in order that he could create a school of art. Gauguin joined him too and it was there that Vincent began painting what would become a signature for him…Sunflowers.

Towards the end of 1888, it was apparent that Vincent was suffering from some sort of mental illness. In one of his manias, he stalked Gauguin with a knife and cut a piece of his own ear in the rage. That was the beginning of the end. He was hospitalized and returned to Arles only to find that Gauguin had left. It was difficult for him to maintain his sanity after this point but he was still able to create in the moments of calm. Those paintings that he created in that time seem to be a cry to the world to see the turmoil that was ravaging his mind. At the end of 1890 Vincent shot himself believing that his art was a failure. He died two days later from the wound.

It is often the case that the best artists are only recognized after their deaths and this is the case with Vincent Van Gogh. A failure in life but in death his paintings have sold for tremendous amounts. To be an owner of a Van Gogh is a sign of true wealth.



"I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."

Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chic & Swag Friday

George SchallerGeorge Schaller watches snow falling in an Afghan shepherd's yurt in 2004. He has spent much of his life in the field, studying animals and hoping to preserve the wild places where they live.

At 73, George Schaller is one of the world's preeminent field biologists. He has just returned from two weeks in Iran, monitoring the fate of the last of the Asian cheetahs, when we meet at his home in the wooded hills of western Connecticut. In a couple of weeks, he'll be off to the remote edge of Alaska to retrace a trek he took half a century ago. In addition to making his expeditions, he serves as vice president for science and exploration at the Bronx-based Wildlife Conservation Society. Over the decades, the modest, soft-spoken Schaller has been a force in helping establish wildlife sanctuaries and reserves throughout the world—though he is quick to say that he is "only one of many" trying to save natural lands. Born in Berlin, Schaller immigrated with his family to the United States in 1947. He is the author of 15 books, including The Serengeti Lion, which won a National Book Award in 1973, and hundreds of articles and papers published over the course of his 54 years afield. A small, spare cabin, separate from the comfortable house he shares with his wife, Kay, serves as his office. There is no computer or telephone here (electronic devices are confined to the house). This, he says, is a place for contemplation.

RCA Vehicle Design 2008

Nuaero concept by Jon Redbrink


New "product" from my buddy Bradford Hansen Smith


A kayak is a small human-powered boat. It typically has a covered deck, and a cockpit covered by a spraydeck. It is propelled by a double-bladed paddle in the hands of a sitting paddler. The kayak was used by the native Ainu, Aleut and Eskimo hunters in sub-Arctic regions of northeastern Asia, North America and Greenland. Modern kayaks come in a wide variety of designs and materials for specialized purposes. Kayaks are in some parts of the world referred to as canoes.

Great Barrier Reef MarinePark, Australia

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia, is a network of fully protected areas within a larger protected area, designed to protect all habitats in the region.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Holiday House

Switzerland by, AFGH, Kitchen, dining and living room.

Limestones Bluffs Aran Islands,Ireland 1993

Rugged as the people who settled here more than 3,000 years ago, the sea-chiseled limestone bluffs of Inishmore rise 300 feet above the Atlantic. Inland, hundreds of miles of stone walls ring thin-soiled fields where islanders toil in a land known for ciúnas gan uaigneas, Gaelic for 'quietness without loneliness.'"

— Text from "The Aran Islands: Ancient Hearts Modern Minds," April 1996, National Geographic magazine

Yves Saint Laurent

Classic High-Top Sneaker in Silver Rubberized Canvas with Logo.

Fencing Men's Individual Sabre.

Zhong Man and Nicolas Lopez of France compete.

Jimmy Wales

"Edit this page." Just three little words, but what a miracle they have wrought. Just about every entry on, the online encyclopedia, invites visitors to fiddle. Is the entry incomplete? Add something. Is it wrong? Correct it. Is it biased? Edit away. That such a remarkably open-door policy has resulted in the biggest (and perhaps best) encyclopedia in the world is a testament to the vision of one man, Jimmy Wales.

Wales, 39, is a former options trader who in 1999, set out to reinvent the encyclopedia for the Internet age—free, up-to-date and available to all. He started the way most encyclopedists start, by commissioning articles from experts and subjecting them to peer review. After 18 months, he had a pitiful 12 entries; at that rate, it would take a few millenniums to equal Encyclopaedia Britannica. So Wales created a free-form companion site based on a little-known software program called a wiki (the Hawaiian term means quick) that makes it easy—with the "edit this page" button—to enter and track changes to Web pages. The effect was explosive. That simple button turned readers into contributors and contributors into evangelists. Wikipedia now has more than a million articles in English, nearly 10 times as many as in Britannica. That number nearly doubles each year. And most extraordinarily, the site has not been defaced by vandals or hijacked by zealots. Or more precisely, it is vandalized every day, but is usually repaired within minutes by any one of the millions of users who are motivated to protect and nurture the site.

Today Wales is celebrated as a champion of Internet-enabled egalitarianism. He describes himself not as anti-elitist but as "anti-credentialist." That's a key distinction. It means that amateurs can have as much to contribute as professionals and that talent can be found anywhere. Everyone predicted that mob rule would lead to chaos.

Instead it has led to what may prove to be the most powerful industrial model of the 21st century: peer production. Wikipedia is proof that it works, and Jimmy Wales is its prophet.

Wikipedia Globe

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Great Wall of China

The history of the Great Wall is said to start from the Spring and Autumn Periods when seven powerful states appeared at the same time. In order to defend themselves, they all built walls and stationed troops on the borders. At that time, the total length of the wall had already reached 3,107 miles, belonging to different states.

In 221 BC, the Emperor Qin absorbed the other six states and set up the first unified kingdom in Chinese history. In order to strengthen his newly born authority and defend the Huns in the north, he ordered connecting the walls once built by the other states as well as adding some sections of his own. Thus was formed the long Qin's wall which started from the east of today's Liaoning Province and ended at Lintao, Gansu Province.

In the Western Han Dynasty, the Huns became more powerful. The Han court started to build more walls on a larger scale in order to consolidate the frontier. In the west, the wall along the Hexi corridor, Yumenguan Pass, and Yangguan Pass was built. In the north, Yanmenguan Pass and Niangziguan Pass in Shanxi were set up. Many more sections of the wall extended to Yinshan Mountain and half of the ancient Silk Road was along the Han's wall.

The Northern Wei, Northern Qi and Northern Zhou Dynasties all built their own sections but on a smaller scale than the walls in the Han Dynasty. The powerful Tang Dynasty saw peace between the northern tribes and central China most of the time, so few Great Wall sections were built in this period.

The Ming Dynasty is the peak of wall building in Chinese history. The Ming suffered a lot by disturbances from minority tribes such as the Dadan, Tufan and Nuzhen. The Ming court from its first emperor to the last ceaselessly built walls in the north. The main line started from Jiuliancheng near the Yalu River in the east to the Jiayuguan Pass in the west and measured over 4,600 miles. Besides adding many more miles of its own, the Ming emperors ordered enlargement of the walls of previous dynasties into double-line or multi-line walls. For example, out of Yanmenguan Pass were added three big stone walls and 23 small stone walls. Eleven Garrisons were distributed along the main line of the wall. The countless walls, fortresses, and watch towers made the country strongly fortified. In the early Qing Dynasty, some sections of the walls were repaired and several sections were extended. This great engineering work stopped in the middle of the Qing Dynasty.

Owing to its long history, natural disasters and human activities, many sections of the Great Wall are severely damaged and disappearing. Being a world-famous engineering project and witness to the rise and fall of Chinese history, the Great Wall, needs us to take immediate action to protect it!


Great Wall of China Map

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Steve Jobs

If Microsoft’s Bill Gates is seen as the philanthropist of the hi-tech world, then Steve Jobs should be awarded the title of Rock star. Indeed this is what he is. From his humble beginnings in his parents garage in California to head the wildly successful Apple Company(a company that he was ousted from in 1986.) By being able to tap into the pulse of what young America wanted with his streamlined products such as the Air Mac and the I phone. There is no doubt that Steve Jobs is a true example of Silicon Valley Royalty.

Born in Wisconsin to an American mother and an Egyptian father, Steve was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs in California. He graduated high school but became a college drop out. He took a job at Atari Inc and struck a close friendship with Steve Wozniak. They formed a club together that was the seed for the creation of Apple Computer Inc in the Jobs family garage. Jobs was only 21 years old.

Apple was the first company to fanfare personal computers. The first was sold for $666.66. Unfortunately Steve was ousted by his job by inter company politics and went on to form NeXT computers which turned out to be an expensive failure. At this time he also formed Pixar Inc, which focused on animation. The studio released those new classics such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc among others. He was rehired by Apple Computers and has gone on to spear head some of the iconic tech tools of the 21st century. The I-Phone sought after by fashionista will have sold over 14 million units by the end of 2008.

Steve is not considered the easiest person to work with. There was a blog that famously lampooned him and Mad TV had a sketch devoted to his I products.He has suffered with stomach cancer that was treated in 2003. Recently there has been talk that the cancer may have reoccurred which has resulted in the falling of Apples Stock. Being such a celebrity figurehead for his company, works both for and against Apple as a whole. With the success of the I Phone and Mac computers. It would be a harsh blow for the founder to be no more. We wish Steve the best and hope that he continues to serve as a figurehead for innovation in the 21st century.


Fun Fact


Monday, August 18, 2008

Miley Cyrus

It’s very few people that haven’t heard of the spunky Miley Cyrus. A phenomenon in her own right, Miley has managed to create a world with her Disney character Hannah Montana and gripped the hearts of young girls that hasn’t been since the rise of the Olsen Twins. Although she has been embroiled in some controversy, her racy photo-sets with Vanity Fair, suggestive photos that leaked online and her sniping you tube video directed to a co star, .it’s still clear that little girls love Hannah Montana.

Miley Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus, the daughter of the famous Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. She was given the nickname, Miley, because of her propensity to smile when she was younger. She soon became bitten by the singing bug and auditioned for a new Disney show. She won the role even though Disney Executives thought she was too small at the time because of her burst of energy. She had to audition her real life father, Billy Ray, for the role as her on screen father. In 2006 after the first episode of the "Hannah Montana show,"Miley became an overnight success.

She has made three albums in the persona of Hannah Montana and 2 in her own name. She officially changed her name to Miley Ray Cyrus in 2007. Her concert movie made over thirty- million dollars in its first weekend opening (on only 1000 screens.) It’s clear that her fans support her. As a fifth-teen year old she has already been embroiled in some controversy due to pictures that were taken of her by Annie Lebowitz for Vanity Fair. Miley states that it was a mistake that she regrets,
(although it was seen as sullying the Disney brand in a way.) It is clear that the fans have a lot of love for Miley and it hasn’t seemed to affect her in any way what-so-ever.

In 2008 Miley is among the top under twenty-five earners in the world making $18.5 million last year alone.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Chic & Swag Friday

Masjid Al Haram (Kabah)
Kabah (Grand Mosque in Mecca ) The Kabah is a cube-like structure (dimensions) which is surrounded by an enormous Mosque in Makkah Saudi Arabia. The word ‘Kabah’ is Arabic meaning (appropriately enough) ‘Cube’.All Muslims are expected to pray daily towards the Kabah (wherever they are in the world). Although Muslims pray towards the Kabah, it is important to note that they do not pray to the Kabah. In, this respect, the Kabah acts as a ‘marker’, indicating a consistent direction of prayer for all Muslims, and therefore highlighting the unity of Islamic brotherhood.

Fencing Mask

A fencing mask is a face mask made of fine mesh that is worn over a fencer's face.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) was born and raised in Brooklyn, the son of a Haitian-American father and a Puerto Rican mother. At an early age, he showed a precocious talent for drawing, and his mother enrolled him as a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum when he was six. Basquiat first gained notoriety as a teenage graffiti poet and musician. By 1981, at the age of twenty, he had turned from spraying graffiti on the walls of buildings in Lower Manhattan to selling paintings in SoHo galleries, rapidly becoming one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. Astute collectors began buying his art, and his gallery shows sold out. Critics noted the originality of his work, its emotional depth, unique iconography, and formal strengths in color, composition, and drawing. By 1985, he was featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine as the epitome of the hot, young artist in a booming market. Tragically, Basquiat began using heroin and died of a drug overdose when he was just twenty-seven years old.



In Italian, 1983. Acrylic, oil paintstick, and marker on canvas mounted on wood supports, two panels. The Stephanie and Peter Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut

Michael Phelps

Phelps won eight medals in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, which tied him with Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin for the most medals of any type in any one Olympics.[2] Overall, Phelps has won 14 Olympic medals (12 gold, two bronze): eight at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens (six gold, two bronze) and six at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (all gold, all in world record time),[3] giving him the most gold medals of any Olympic athlete of the modern Olympic era.

Penthouse Apartment atop Hyde Park, London

One of the four penthouse apartments was sold for over £100 million (over $200 million at the time), making it the most expensive apartment in the world. Each of the four penthouses will have a number of security features, including bulletproof glass, panic rooms and access to an underground passage leading to a nearby hotel.

Other apartments in the building are going for an average of over £20 million (around $40,000,000).

Bradford Hansen-Smith / Modern Day Einstein

Simply Genius

Relief V

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Venus Williams

If breaking ceilings was a job requirement,Venus Williams would be the CEO. Born in the Watts area of Los Angeles, all of the Williams sisters played tennis but only 2 stood out as natural talents. Serena and Venus Williams.

Venus learned to play on the public tennis courts in Compton. Her father coached her in amateur matches. As word began spreading that there was a child prodigy in the making,Venus’s father reached out to Rick Macci and asked him to come and watch Venus play. When Rick went to see Venus,he says that he was unimpressed, until he saw her walking on her hands and then doing back somersaults on her way to the bathroom. He knew he had a star on his hands. The family moved to Florida so that Venus could train and be close to the sports academy that Macci Ran.

By the age of 14, Venus had turned professional. Luckily for her, she has a close knit family who worked hard to protect her from the pitfalls of competitive life. But that also worked against her, as she didn’t have the competitive edge that most other players (on the circuit had.) To counteract that her father used to root for the other player when Venus played. Her father has been seen as a controversial figure, the media even dubbed him as a Svengali figure because of the close way that he directed Venus, but in reality he was a concerned father. He didn’t want her to suffer the burn out that other players had at an early age.

By 1998 Venus was proving herself a formidable opponent and started to win her tournaments. Playing the best in the world –including at times her own sister Serene, Venus slowly moved up the rankings to achieve number one status. One by one the Grand slam tournaments fell at her feet. She won her fifth Wimbledon Grand slam title in July 2008, adding her seventh Grand Slam victory in total. She was able to walk away with nearly two- million in prize money from her singles win and her doubles win (with Serena). The same amount as the men’s title winnings. This was only achieved after years of campaigning by other players, because of an Op-ed that Venus wrote the evening before the Wimbledon finals in 2006. In it she calls for the All England club to ensure that woman are paid the same as men (which they had not been doing.) The British Prime Minister added his voice and within months the All England club changed the rules to allow for the female winners to win as much as the men.

Not so much as breaking ceilings, Miss. Williams totally removes them!



Fun Facts

Serena and Venus Williams became the first sisters to play for a U.S. singles championship - and did so in the very first Grand Slam tournament final ever scheduled for a prime time national network telecast. On the night of September 8, 2001, Venus won 6-2, 6-4 during the most-watched program on television that evening. And just for the record: the sisters went on to play in finals at the 2002 French Open and Wimbledon, and again at the 2002 U.S. Open.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lance Armstrong

The yellow bands that support those living with cancer may have become in ways a cool way to show support for cancer survivors.But there is no doubt that Lance Armstrong has shown in action what it really means to live strong.

Being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 must have been a heart stopping moment for Lance. He had been part of sport competitions since the age of eleven. A tri-athlete from the age of thirteen, Lance realized his strength laid in cycling. Lance had already won two stages of the Tour De France in 2005 having decided to focus his attention on bike cycling, after his initial sport pursuits.

Lance is very open about his cancer. As a patient in remission it is his wish for people in general to be educated about cancers in general. When Lance was diagnosed his cancer had already spread to his lungs and brain. Aggressive treatment had to be started and in Lance’s case 4 cycles of chemotherapy, brain surgery and he had to have one of his testicles removed. To others maybe this would be reason alone to be quiet, but Lance feels that it is his responsibility to speak and educate the public.

After his diagnosis Lance went on to win the Tour De France five times, after becoming the first American to win the prestigious race more than twice. Lance was dogged with rumors of drug taking that persisted even after numerous drug tests. He had a high profile relationship with the singer Sheryl Crow and then Kate Hudson, but he is now single and dating. Good news for his legions of adoring female fans!

His charity now known as "Live Strong" is dedicated to educating and bringing people together in knowledge of cancer. Lance definitely has proven that determination can overcome all odds and we sincerely hope that not only does he live strong….but lives long too!



“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

Lance Armstrong

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Aung San Su Kyi

Aung was born the daughter of a general. Her father had aided in Burma's independence from the British.He was assassinated by his rivals a year later and she was raised by her mother. She had two brothers, one of whom drowned and one who immigrated to the United States. Her mother soon became involved in Politics and was appointed the Ambassador to India. Aung was educated in India before going on to attain her first degree in Oxford in 1969.She met and married her husband, a professor of Tibetan Culture, Michael Aris in 1972. She had two sons, Alexander born in 1973 and Kim born in 1977.

In 1983, she returned to Burma (now known as Myanmar) in order to take care of her now ailing mother. It was there that she saw firsthand the effects of military rule and decided to become involved. She helped form the National League for Democracy partly because of her desire to see all citizens of Myanmar living in a democratic country and partly as a result of her Buddhist belief of non violence. This was in 1988. In July 1989 she was placed under house arrest for the first time. She was offered freedom if she left the country but she refused.

In 1999 the Junta called for a general election. The National League won and naturally Aung being the leader. She would have been Prime Minister elect, but the junta nullified the election and refused to allow the country to walk down the same road of democracy (which other nations have walked.) In 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her non violent struggle and human rights. To this day, she is the only recipient to be imprisoned for her beliefs.

The Junta has offered to allow her to leave with the condition that she never returns. She refuses this often as she should. She has suffered great losses because of her convictions.Her husband died of prostate cancer in 1997. She has not seen her sons for years and the toil on her health has been terrible. Yet the Junta refuses to free her. She has had the major world’s leaders campaign for her release but the military refuse to concede. Perhaps they realize, that she is a symbol for freedom, and would rather imprison her like a caged bird than to allow her to roam free.

For 12 years out of the past 18 years, Aung San Su Kyi has been held under house arrest by the military junta of Burma. She has been held captive because she stands for something that the Junta cannot stand for.She stands for freedom!


Guess What?

Burma Flag

, officially the Union of Myanmar Burmese is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia.