Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Remembering Alexa"

As mentioned before, I will be posting excerpts from a book I'm working on, Remembering Alexa. It's Nicholas Sparks meets Philippa Gregory, two of my favorite authors.

Alexa (Alexandra) is a college student any female can relate to, and a girl any boy would want to date. During her senior year, her perfect world is shattered when a car accident forces her to face a past she's tried to forget. Most importantly, the event forces her to reconnect with her family and to reevaluate the friends she's made.

If you think you've heard this plot before, you're probably right. But the difference is, I don't hold back when it comes to writing about topics like drugs, sex, relationships and college.  

This is the first time I've ever tried to create a story longer than 20 pages, so any feedback is greatly appreciated and encouraged.

The following is the prologue and a chapter that will give you a taste in what you can expect in posts to come......


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Power of Print Campaign

I'm a huge fan of the "Power of Print Campaign." I think it combines pop culture with an important message: magazines and newspapers aren't dying.

The following three ads are my favorites. I'll let the ad speak for themselves:

Young people do everything online. Like order millions of magazines. Somehow, amidst their infatuation with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like, young adults are still making time for another one of their favorite pursuits: reading magazines.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Memory of Sonia Weitz

Last night, the Jewish nation lost another Holocaust survivor- Sonia Weitz.

Sonia Weitz was an incredible woman who was one of the many few (and brave) who verbalized the horrors she experienced during the Holocaust in her poems and book, I Promised I would Tell.

She was born in Krakow, Poland. During the Holocaust, she was sent to five different death camps, one of them being Auschwitz. The love and faith she had for G-d and her sister  (who was with her during the Holocaust) gave her the strength to survive.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Unwanted Visit from an Old Friend

I just re-watched an incredible movie, Remember Me featuring Robert Pattinson. Honestly, this is one of the best movies I have seen in a couple years.

Regardless of how you feel about Robert Pattinson and chick flicks, this movie is a must see. It touches upon family, friendship, real-life events and ....love.

Now, I almost never try to write love poems because I don't think you can. I don't think it's possible. However, I do try taking a stab at writing heart-ache poems.

So the following is a poem dedicated to what happens when you lose a love (no, it's not personal). Instead, it's one-hundred percent inspired by the movie, Remember Me (but don't think I just gave away the ending because I didn't!)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oil in the Gulf, two months later

  Sixty-two days have passed since the initial explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and the crude oil and natural gas continue to gush from the seafloor. Re-revised estimates now place the flow rate at up to 60,000 barrels a day - a figure just shy of a worst-case estimate of 100,000 barrels a day made by BP in an internal document recently released by a congressional panel. Louisiana's state treasurer has estimated environmental and economic damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could range from $40 billion to $100 billion. Collected here are recent photographs from the Gulf of Mexico, and of those affected by the continued flow of oil and gas into the ocean.

- The Big Picture


Sunday, June 20, 2010

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Review

In one word, this book was "chilling". I haven't experienced a book like this in...... a while. I was emotionally, mentally and (at some points) physically involved with this book.

Allow me to explain...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a series of stories, secrets and psychological insights into an entire world that -- unfortunately -- can be real.

The paperback version is 590 pages of intense dialogue, history and dramatic events. There wasn't one point in the book when I was relaxed while reading. Ninety percent of the time I was biting my nails and breathing heavily.


Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup = Unity


The best thing about the World Cup (and sports in general) is that it is brings together countries we typically don't get along with politically or typically don't know about culturally. 

Regardless of what team you're rooting for, there is that universal sense of respect each player has for the opposing team. The second the first whistle is blown and the game starts, everyone is on the same field for the same reasons: the love of the game and the chance to represent their country.

These are some of my favorite pictures from the opening week via The Big Picture.


Go Team USA!!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Love Poems by Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton’s poetry has always touched me in a way no other poet has. Sexton’s volume of poetry in Love Poems is an amazing piece of work because of what she writes about and how she writes it.

Sexton is the most honest poet I have ever read. Her poems in Love Poems covers all the areas and shades of love. Sexton begins her book describing what love does to the body and she focuses on one specific aspect.

For example, in her poem “The Touch,” the first two stanzas consist of imagery that describes what her hand felt like before it was touched by love. Sexton is completely honest and says, “For months my hand had been sealed off/in a tin box. Nothing was there but subway railings.” Sexton is not afraid of sounding like a needy woman. She just says it how it is and uses the most outrageous metaphors to say it. 


Saturday, June 12, 2010

US vs England : World Cup

Huge Deal. Learn about it. Get excited for it!

Or you can read about it..... 

60 Years Later, US and England Meet Again in World Cup

 (thanks to AP and AOL News)


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Transforming into the swimmer

If you liked my most recent post on Revisiting An Old Friend: The Pool, read the full story:

36.63 Seconds

Ready, Set, Go
The freezing water smacks my face and the chlorine engulfs my body. My feet turn into propellers and begin thrusting the water behind me. The shoulder-burning motion, rhythmic dolphin kick and hip-flowing dance push adrenaline through every muscle in my body. I focus on the clock. The ticks on the electric board are sending vibrations down my spine. I pull harder, motion faster and kick stronger. It is just me and the clock. That is all I care about.

Pool Rules
That’s all she cared about. I grew up surrounded by screaming parents, scary coaches, body-building women and Speedo-wearing males. While most five-year-old girls were playing with dolls in the park, I was poolside playing with the program. While most parents spent their money on weekend romantic getaways, my parents spent every weekend of every month for ten months eating at the closest restaurant to a YMCA.

How did they get me to attend every meet she swam in for the next four years of my life? Bribery. Every swim meet brought promises of a new teddy bear, Fisher Price doll house, Malibu Barbie and chocolate-covered almonds. The toys distracted me from the fact that I’d been sitting for seven hours on gum-infested benches in 90˚ heat, surrounded by over-caffeinated parents. That was my deal—and they kept their side. 


Revisiting an Old Friend: The Pool

In the middle of my run last night, I had a revelation: I miss swimming.

I swam for ten years for the North Shore Piranhas at the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore. For four of those years, I also swam for Marblehead High in Mass.

My swimming career then abruptly came to a stop when college started. I made the decision not to swim because I knew how much dedication and discipline it took to be a swimmer.

I never had the guts to quit in high school because I loved my coaches and I loved my team, but when picking colleges, swimming was never an issue. As a result, I realized I was tired of the sport and knew I wanted a fresh start.

But, I never fell out of love with the sport; we just took a break.

So last night, when I was doing my usual jog, I realized something was missing in my work out routine. I realized it was lacking "fun."


Monday, June 7, 2010

Get to know the 'Bad Vamps' in Meyer's new book

Get to know the Bad Vamps in Stephanie Meyer's new Eclipse novella: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.

Here are the top three reasons why you need to read this book before The Twilight Saga Eclipse comes out (June 30)

1) Meet a new coven
Twilight fans love the Cullens: they are kind, passionate, loving and good. Traits not usually equated with "vampires."

But what about the evil vampires? Readers got a taste of the Volturi in New Moon, but Meyer's new book takes it a step further.

She puts you inside a bad vamp's (Bree Tanner) head. For example, in Twilight we get a sense of how hard it is for Edward to resist the urge to bite Bella, but Meyer's new book puts it into more descriptive terms.....the imagery will leave your hairs standing up.

2) Bad Vamps have feelings too
If you thought this book would lack passion, you're wrong. There is plenty of heat and carnal urges shared between a new couple, Bree and her boy toy.

Here is an excerpt:
Kissing didn't sound the same with vampires as it did with humans. No soft, fleshy, liquid-filled cells to squish against each other. Just stone lips, no give.

But the strange vampire kissing sounds continued. Someone sighed in contentment. And after a few more minutes of patience, the low, romantic sounds were suddenly interrupted...


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pictures of the Week

It was a busy week.
I don't think anyone can really sum it all up in a few sentences, so why not enjoy a few pictures?

Here is photojournalism at its best....

Pictures of the Week brought to you by TIME Magazine


A bird soaked in oil from the spill caused by the collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig struggles against the side of a supply vessel in the Gulf of Mexico.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

A rough week for Guatemala

These pictures are incredible. They mean a lot to me because Guatemala is a neghbhoring country to both Honduras (where I was born) and El Salvador (where my older sister was born).

Take a minute and reflect:
A rough week for Guatemala - The Big Picture - Boston.com


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Israel vs. the World..... thanks to the media

What is going on in Israel is a perfect example of how important it is to get all the facts. I'm going to be honest, I'm Jewish, so automatically I almost always side with Israel. However, I'm also an American, so I care and understand how important our reputation is regarding those we call our "allies."

So when I was on the treadmill Monday morning, watching FoxNews, I almost went into cardiac arrest when I saw the headline "Netenyahu cancels meeting with Obama due to Israel's recent attacks in Gaza."

Needless to say, the heart pains continued as I searched through the next couple of news stations and found the same type of headlines, basically saying: "Israel F**cked up."

On returning home, I walked into another war zone when my parents were arguing with the news stations, saying they were being biased and attacking Israel. At this, I knew I had to do some research to figure out what had just happened.

I went to all the usual suspects: Fox, The Wall Street Journal and CNN. What I learned from those three alone was that Israel felt threatened and did attack ships trying to get into the Gaza strip. It took a little longer to find out why Israel stormed the ships, but I read it was because they suspected there were weapons and terrorist on board (never a good combination).

If you side with Israel, you are going to agree that weapons being present on a ship headed for Gaza is a viable reason to think "attack!"

If you side with the Palestinians (and what seems like the rest of the world), you are going to think Israel overreacted in attacking the ships.

Now, I consider myself a rational person, and for a while agreed with both sides:
  • Israel did have cause to be paranoid and defensive; They are surrounded by countries wanting nothing more than to see them turned to ashes (and that's a fact).
  • However, I also agree with the other side, saying there could have been another way to deal with the situation.

But (and this is a big buttttt) what tipped me on the scale towards Israel's side is one key element that you could barely find in the newspapers and news coverage: "The humanitarian flotilla had been warned repeatedly not to try to run the blockade. It ignored warnings," The Wall Street Journal.

After reading this quote, there was no doubt in my mind that Israel was correct in feeling threatened. They were pushed to their limit. Why would the flotilla push through when they were specifically and repeatedly told not to. "No means no, right?"

But back to the point of this post....

Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, what bothered me the most about the entire situation was not the situation itself, but the terrible news coverage.

I honestly read through over a dozen articles on the situation and found that quote in less than half. More importantly, there was not one news station reporting anything in Israel's defense. You would only find that in small, local (and probably biased) newspapers.

Where's the fair and balanced in that?

For a while I felt really good about the news industry--with all the great coverage regarding the Oil Spill--but this ruined it.

Every station was replaying the videos and reporting the negative. Well, did anyone replay Netanyahu's address regarding why Israel did what she did? No. You maybe saw it a couple times in a short clip.

As a result, Israel is now "the bad guy."

Thanks to the media, Americans have completely forgotten why past Administrations have aligned themselves with Israel:

because the country values the same morals ours does, and maintains a democratic society in a part of the world where that doesn't exist.

So thank the media: the next time terrorist plan an attack, we will welcome them with open arms instead of preventing it.

Great, lesson learned.

The following are articles I think did a good job reporting the news and not speculating:

Israeli Attack Kills 10 Aboard Aid Ships Bound for Gaza, Politics Daily.

Israeli Raid Complicates U.S.'s Mideast Strategy, The Wall Street Journal.

Despite Flotilla Attack, Joint U.S.-Israeli Military Efforts Continue, Politics Daily.

And the following are editorials regarding the incident, favoring Israel:

Sarah Palin: Israeli Flotilla: Don’t Take Mainstream Media Coverage at Face Value

Why Gaza aid flotilla is a media success
, The Jewish Journal