Month: February 2017

February 28, 2017 admin No comments exist

Sociologists say that a particular rite of passage, backpacking through Europe, furthers the maturation process of college students. For the fortunate few, where the trip is nothing more than the lure of copious amounts of alcohol, sun, and Amsterdam, life hasn?t begun to be complete without it. Either way, all face the same question: what to take?

Just take a look at the following list of hints:

1. First, take a look online. That?s the top site to look for low cost plane tickets to Europe. Take a crack at it on your own: do a study on every airline company that has routes flying from the U.S. to Europe. Look at the costs. Then look online. You will be shocked at how many different prices you see for the airfare.

2. Plan ahead, by knowing which cities have airports you can opt for a connected flight. Connected flights are always cheaper than direct ones, especially when flying from North America.

3. Don?t use first class and business seats. What you want to do is get to Europe the cheapest way you can. First Class and business sets might cost two times more than coach. You shouldn?t worry about whether or not people will look down on you for sitting in the back of the aircraft. What the heck, you still will get there at the exact time and arrive in the exact place as those who paid a higher cost.

4. Off-season flights. Out of season flying is always priced low, and many know that airlines in Europe are most affordable over the winter, albeit at the expense of some drastic snowfall.

?Remember, I can pick it [(lower voice) toothpaste, book, soap] up over there.?

6. Look for slow days. It would be beneficial to plan a flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday, because arriving in Europe on a Sunday is no different than arriving on Tuesday.

7. Go home on slow days. Taking arrival days a step further, you can save even more on the travel expense if you plan to leave for home on Tuesday or Thursday (slow days).

8. Get your plane tickets in advance. Not only will you have more choice in your desired seats on the plane, one would also benefit from lowered airline rates by booking tickets in advance.

?I accept that I will come home wearing something I didn?t take and will have lost/traded/burned much of what I did take.?

10. Haggle your tickets. It would not hurt to ask for the lowest cost plane ticket. Most of the time these advantageous rates are just awaiting the smart flier.

These chants were developed originally by the little known, Oh-My-Back Monks, or the ?OMB? Monks of Southeast Asia, who would travel to far off cities, only to turn around half way and return home, to then travel the full way to said city.

Religious experts opined as to the deep metaphysical meaning of such trips. They were later embarrassed when the monks revealed the back and forth nature of the trips was due to forgetting something, often as small as whether or not they had turned off the iron. Joking aside, these have become the guiding light of experienced backpackers.

And if you have the courage, you might consider these tips:

The Evidence

Now comes something you?ll want to keep in mind. You might forget special moments of your trip: meting the hunk Sven or babe Svenetta from Sweden and the adventures around it.

On a low budget, these tips could greatly benefit an individual. Many may lead you astray from your intended destination, but they are all viable options. Remember, there are many more choices than one would have previously thought.

Graham McKenzie is the content coordinator for the leading UK Flight Booking website, which offers detailed information on Booking a Flight.

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February 28, 2017 admin No comments exist

Where did it all wrong? An art form created in the Bronx in the 1970s initially united an entire generation. Gangs who had been bitter rivals in the early 1970s united because of hip-hip culture and music.

The hip-hop phenomenon began on the mean streets of New York, and quickly spread throughout the country in the 1980s. People who had once settled their differences in the streets began squashing their beef on the dance floor or on the microphone. Emcee and break dance battles quickly replaced violence as the measuring stick to determine the hardest cat on the block.

What started as innocent competition, however, became deadly in the late 1990s with the senseless murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. Rap battles started becoming extremely personal and eventually led to the demise of two hip-hop icons.

The hate that exists among some of hip-hop’s brightest stars is reminiscent of the slavery era, when the division between African Americans gave birth to the crabs in a bucket mentality. This theory stated that whenever an African American made it to the top another African American would pull him back down before he made it out of his current situation.

Recently, Nashville-based rapper Young Buck allegedly assaulted an Atlanta deejay for playing a record by his nemesis The Game.

According to, “Young Buck performed in Atlanta’s Club Nocturnal. After his performance, Buck announced he had some business to handle with Hot 107.9 DJ Will, who was deejaying prior to Buck hitting the stage. Although DJ Will stood up for himself, he was outnumbered by members of Buck’s entourage who jumped in. As a result, Hot 107.9 program director Jerry Smokin’ B has banned Young Buck from the station’s play list.”

Young Buck’s alleged assault led many deejays across the country to consider a ban of all of his music.

Although rap music has always been highly competitive, many current rappers are unaware of the power that they have as role models, and choose to use their influence in destructive ways and not to uplift the Black community. In past generations, African American youth emulated the preachers and the teachers. However, in the 21st century, the next generation of Black leaders looks up to rappers and athletes for guidance and inspiration.

After the sudden deaths of Tupac and Biggie, many rappers realized the power of words. That generation of rappers understood the consequences of putting negativity on wax, and chose a more positive approach to settling differences. However, after the 50 Cent and Ja Rule beef of 2003 became the talk of hip-hop, many rappers began seeing beef as a way to earn a quick dollar and destroy the career of an adversary in the process.

Consequently, 50 Cent and his G Unit crewing began beefing with Fat Joe, Jadakiss, and Nas, for their affiliation with Ja Rule and The Inc. Records. After 50’s protégé, The Game refused to participate in a battle with Nas and Jadakiss, 50 excommunicated Game from G Unit Records.

Then 50 Cent went on a popular New York radio show to announce The Game’s dismissal from the G Unit camp. After 50 Cent’s diss on the radio, Game’s entourage attempted to confront the G Unit entourage at the radio station. The two crews exchanged gunfire, leaving a member of Game’s crew injured.

After the New York radio incident The Game began exchanging countless insults with the entire G Unit roster, culminating in the November 26 incident in which Young Buck, a G Unit artist, allegedly assaulted a deejay for playing Game’s hit single “It’s Okay (One Blood).”

When will rappers ever learn? Hip-hop culture has grown into a worldwide multi-billion dollar phenomenon over the years, and there is plenty of success to go around for everyone. Just because a fan buys a Game album does not mean he will not buy an album from a G Unit artist.

Young Buck’s alleged assault in Atlanta has been a detriment to his career because of the ban of his records at many radio stations. In attempt to bring down an old nemesis, he may have brought down his own career in the process.

The beef that exists between rappers is the main reason the African American race has not been able to reach the potential that it has. A people filled with all the talent in the world cannot reach the “promise land” that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about because of his jealousy and envy.

When will rappers learn that they have the power to change the entire Black community for the better? They have the power to teach young children that violence is not the way to solve a problem. They have the power to teach the youth that there are more ways to be successful than selling drugs on the corner.

Recently, New Orleans based rappers B.G. and Baby, put aside their beef after the tragic death of Baby’s sister. Houston rappers Chamillionaire and Mike Jones also have squashed beefs and have even talked about working together in the near future. Maybe the entire hip-hop nation can see that as the true way that Black men handle a negative situation.

Todd Smith is the web master for Regal Mag The preeminent Online Magazine for African American Men

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February 28, 2017 admin No comments exist

Hungry? Here’s something you would really like! If you are an internet addict and one of those who don’t like to walk out of home for every single thing; especially food, then you should definitely try ‘Online Food Ordering’ service.

This service helps to order food online directly through their website. Instead of visiting the restaurant or calling the restaurant’s phone number, place your order online and get food delivery service quickly. This amazing service helps you save a lot of time!

Online food ordering service is an amazing concept. There are number of vegetarian and non vegetarian restaurants like Mcdonalds,Dominos,Subway and more which offer online food delivery services. You can choose from restaurant serving Indian, Chinese, American, Italian, Continental, Mexican, Oriental and other cuisines. You can also find Indian specialty restaurants like South Indian, Maharashtrian, Punjabi, Bengali, Hyderabadi, Mangalorian, Gujarati and many more restaurants. Select your favourite restaurant or look for the restaurants you haven’t tried in your vicinity.

You can choose from various options such as Inexpensive, Moderate, Expensive or Very Expensive priced restaurants depending on your budget. This means you can order food online according to the budget you have set for yourself. The restaurant menu displays a number of items that are available in the restaurant. Every food item is displayed with the price alongside and as mentioned before this helps you to order food delivery within your budget.

Once you place your order it will reach the restaurant within minutes. The order will be processed and you will get your food delivered at your place at the earliest. You can make the payment once the order is delivered at your doorstep. Place your order and continue with rest of your work till you hear the door bell ring.

Now you don’t have to waste time in dressing up and driving to your favorite restaurant, and probably waiting for the waiter to take your order. You don’t have to sit in the restaurant with other customers babbling around you or wait for the take away pack. Also, you don’t have to store your favourite restaurants’ numbers and menus in your house and then search for it frantically whenever you get hungry. Food delivery online service comes with a lot of benefits. The platform has a base of large and small restaurants. From popular restaurants to newly opened outlets, you never know you might find some really interesting restaurants selling your favourite dishes. Also a great bonus is that you can also avail this food delivery at night too.

Online food ordering system allows you to Order Food Online in Hyderabad from your favorite restaurants offering food delivery service.
February 28, 2017 admin No comments exist

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, the epicenter of the New York accent. When I went to college in the Midwest, I was constantly told that I talked like a gangster. I wished I could talk like a “real American”. I tried to get rid of my accent. I never succeeded although I guess it has softened over the years. Still my children tell me that even now I talk with a strong New York accent when I talk with my brother. When I was younger and suffered ridicule in Chicago for the way I talked, I was ashamed of my New York accent. Now I am proud of it. It is a sign of my clan, my tribe, my people.

My experience brings out the two basic truths about regional accents in any language. On the one hand they SEPARATE people according to geography or social class. On the other hand, they UNITE people within regions and social classes. Nevertheless with national television and radio and increased travel and moving around the country the old accents are disappearing.

The New York accent is found in the five boroughs of the city (Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island),in neighboring parts of the neighboring counties of New York State, and in the nearby cities of Newark and Jersey City of the state of New Jersey.

Although the origins of the accent have been traced by historical linguists to parts of sixteenth and seventeenth century England, the New York accent has been greatly influenced by the waves of immigrants to this most metropolitan of cities. Traces of Dutch, can be found but it is Italian, Yiddish, and Irish-inflected English that have had most effect on the dialect.

We will briefly examine the pronunciation of the vowels and consonants that influence the New York accent. However, we must remember that an accent is not only made up of proper pronunciation. An accent is made up of three parts: intonation, liaisons, and pronunciation. More on this can be found in the useful site:

Intonation is perhaps the most important and the most difficult to change. It is the “music”, the rhythm or a language. Liaisons, or linkages, are the ways that words and parts of words are linked together in a language. This may be very different from how you do it in your native language.

Having clarified that it is not the ONLY part of an accent, let’s look at pronunciation in the New York Accent. Although most of the extremes of pronunciation of the vowels and consonants in New York are disappearing.

VOWELS: Some vowels are pronounced differently in New York than in other parts of the United States. For New Yorkers, the name of the state Florida and its favorite fruit, the orange, have the vowel sound of the word “horrible” (no criticism intended since many New Yorkers love oranges when they retire in Florida!). In NYC both words are pronounced like the word “pot”. In other parts of the country these words are pronounced like the word “fork”. Another example: The New York accent pronounces the vowels of the words bad and bat differently. In most parts of the country these two words have the same vowel sound. Finally, of course, everyone thinks of the extreme accent of “Noo Yawk”. Sometimes in a heavy accent the vowel even seems to be made of two syllables, as if it were “Yaw uk”. This sound is found in the words, talk, law, cross, coffee.

Everyone has heard that New Yorkers say the “oily boid gets the woim” and the ” car needs erl”. The sounds are really not interchanged as the myth goes. The explanation is a more complicated but this pronunciation is dying rapidly.

CONSONANTS: The consonant differences in the New York accent mostly have to do with the absence of the “r” sound at the end of a word or before a consonant, pronouncing the words car, butter, garlic as if they were cah, buttah, and gahlic. An example of this is the prevalence in hip-hop culture of the spelling “sistah”, “gangsta” etc.

On the other hand, the traditional New York dialect speaker would say “idear” for idea. The end result is that New Yorkers have a “rhotic” problem (a fancy way of saying “variants of the ‘r’ sound”). For them, the words law and lore are undistinguishable. They both are pronounced as “lore”.

We have to mention the famous “dis, dat and dose” of the caricaturization of the New York Accent. Although this is losing ground, the pronunciation of “dis” for “this”, “that, and “those” is still heard and sneaks out even with careful speakers.

Finally, at least finally in our VERY BRIEF and informal treatment of New York pronunciation is the special sound of the composite “ng” sound of the words finger and singer. This feature is still present in the accent of many New Yorkers, especially those with Yiddish influence in their speech. In this case, in General American speech in the rest of the country, the words are pronounced with the combined “ng” consonant ending the first syllable, and with a vowel beginning the following syllable. But the New York accent clearly pronounces the /g/ by itself, ending the first syllable with /n/ and starting the next syllable with /g/. The result is the famous pronunciation of Long Island (home of many speakers of the New York Accent). It is called affectionately “Lawn Guyland”.

VOCABULARY: There are also some vocabulary differences that we won’t look at here since all other also regions have their own. After all, vocabulary is part of a dialect, not of an accent.

ATTITIDE AND STYLE: Now to the most characteristic part of the New York accent, one that has nothing to do with the sounds of the language, but more to do with the New York attitude. I once had a woman contact me from out of state. She had heard of my work with accents (you can contact me at and asked for help. She was a New Yorker living in another state. She worked in customer service andher supervisors were going to pass her up for a promotion because of her accent. The funny thing is that she did not pronounce any of the words in a typically New York way. Her pronuncaition was national but her intonation and rhythm was very New YOrk. There was something that grated on non-New Yorker ears.

It was that she had the choppy, nervous, high-tension way of speaking that characterizes New Yorkers. New Yorkers have to talk. They can’t stand silence. They have to intersperse questions in a conversation and often answer their own questions. If you tell a New Yorker (more women than men) that you have a new job, she will invariably say “You like it? If you say your daughter lives in Los Angeles, she will say, “does she like it”? These questions are just a way of keeping the conversation going; they are not real questions. Often, the New Yorker doesn’t care if your daughter likes her job or not. It is merely a way of saying “Oh, how interesting”, or “how nice”, expressed as rapid-fire questions.

I no longer am ashamed of my New York accent. I consider it a national treasure that enshrines the contributions of the people who have formed it. It was not formed by the tight-lipped descendants of the powerful but by the immigrant millions. New Yorkers still preserve words and sounds of Yiddish, Italian, Irish, and other European immigrant groups. Currently, their speech also has African-American, Caribbean, Hispanic, East Asian, and South Asian influences. The New York accent reflects the “mish mash” (Yiddish), “chanfaina” or “sancocho” (Spanish), “misciata” (Southern Italian dialect) and similar descriptions of the proud people of New York. By the way all these words connote a “mix of ingredients” as does the expression, “gorgeous mosaic” of David Dinkins, New York’s first African-American mayor.

Frank Gerace Ph.D has a strong bilingual presence on the web. He extends guidance on accent reduction and the proper American English accent at . He offers resources for learners of Spanish at His blog is at .

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February 28, 2017 admin No comments exist

We reside in a world where learning to speak a language other than your native tongue can unlock windows of opportunities. Of course, speaking the said language in a pidgin manner can also put your foot in your mouth and inspire laughter in others. But hey, that’s called learning and it is excusable on your first try!

Fortunately, learning how to speak Spanish may be easy especially when it’s made easy. So, why learn? Speak Spanish now and open these windows of opportunities and fun!

Spanish as an International Language

Historically speaking, Spain once ruled the second-largest empire for over four centuries. Therefore, it’s expected from such notable ruler to leave traces of at least its language to its conquests.

Do you know that today, Spanish is the second most-spoken language? As a result, including this language into your repertoire qualifies you to comfortably converse with 320 million people around the globe. A number of countries in Latin America and Europe use Spanish as one of their dominant languages. With this, you are surrounded with thousands of opportunities if you know how to speak Spanish.

Emerging Economic and Political Powerhouse

It may be immature to say that the next European Union will be Latin America. With this, the continent will now be among the strongest economies the world has ever witnessed. Through learning to speak Spanish, you are re-inventing yourself into among those who’ll be the first ones to benefit from this development.

Powerful organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States and the Organization of Ibero-American States make use of Spanish as an official language. Because of this, those who know how to communicate using the language can reap the business and employment opportunities that are generated by these organizations.

Cultural Benefits

More than language, the Spanish culture also gave birth to international artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Antonio Banderas, and Penelope Cruz. The paella, Bakalao, and bullfighting are some of Spain’s cultural influences.

Naturally, these artists have English works but would it not be wonderful if you can actually sing and dance (or sway) to the music while perfectly understanding the lyrics? How about browsing through the interpretation of the art works in their original language? Or appreciate the cinematic works of Pedro Aldomovar without need for sub-titles? Or read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books in its original language?

Indeed, some things get lost in translation!

Lastly, a number of opportunities are unlocked if you learn to speak Spanish: these include travel and employment, medical and creative, as well as those concerning fun and adventure. After all, it would lead to more personal and professional growth if you try to develop your repertoire and not be isolated within the limits of your little corner in the United States (or wherever).

To sum it up, when you learn to speak Spanish, you’re opening doors for employment, creativity, and fun and adventure. After all, there’s nothing better than expanding your horizon and continuously improving yourself.

Go to and get the Free 3 eBooks MiniCourse to Learn Speak Spanish. You will learn how to speak Spanish in no time at all and get travel, employment and cultural benefits when you do learn to speak Spanish!

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February 27, 2017 admin No comments exist

Broadway is one of the longest streets in New York City, beginning in downtown Manhattan and running through the city to connect Manhattan with the Bronx. When referencing Broadway in terms of theater, the Great White Way, as the section of this lengthy street has come to be known, encompasses 14 blocks of the city. Thirty-six theaters located between 6th and 8th avenues and West 41st and 53rd streets make up the Broadway theater district. This small section of the city has been home to some of the world’s most renowned stage performances.

The early history of theater in New York City was sparse until 1750, when the first professional, larger-scale permanent theater was erected by Walter Murray on Nassau Street. The theater seated less than 300 people and put on productions of Shakespeare and various operas for the city’s amusement.

A band of British actors called the city home for a period in the mid-1700s, performing operas and farces. The advent of the American Revolutionary War temporarily suspended theater in New York City but performances resumed in the late 18th century. The Park Theatre, an impressive 2,000-seat venue, was built on Chatham Street in 1798. Various other larger theaters were built throughout the city in the first half of the 19th century.

Early theater in the city consisted largely of classic performance from the Old World. Slowly new forms of stage performance began to appear, with minstrel shows and burlesque performances being among the first. Early minstrel shows were often performed by actors in black-face makeup. Early burlesques were variety shows which included song and dance, improvisational skits, parodies and satires, in addition to pantomime and other performances.

Most of the early resident theaters in New York City were built downtown. Slowly there was a migration that occurred, beginning in the mid-19th century, and resulted primarily from owners seeking less pricey real estate. In the mid-1800s the majority of theater was located in the Union Square area but by the beginning of the 20th century, most of the city’s grandest theaters were located nearer to Madison Square and continued to spread toward the Times Square region throughout the early 1900s.

When many people think of Broadway, the first thing that comes to mind is the Broadway musical. Musical performances as we know them today did not truly emerge in New York City until the mid-1800s, with the first full-length musical play, The Elves, appearing in 1857. The first musical that is similar in structure and style to our modern conception of musical plays was The Black Crook. This 5.5-hour performance opened in 1866 and mixed dance into the telling of the story. The first musical comedy, The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post, opened that same year.

Vaudeville comedy began in 1881 with the opening of the first dedicated theater just east of Union Square. Vaudeville and burlesque performances continued to be popular in the city, especially among the middle and lower classes but slowly, more literate and classy musical comedies became more prevalent. The musical comedies of the late 1800s and early 1900s took their inspiration from the real lives of lower and middle class New Yorkers and quickly endeared themselves to the public as a result.

The improvement of transportation in the city and the arrival of street lights made it possible for theaters to be safely enjoyed by a larger part of the city’s enormous population. Plays could run well into the evening and still draw large audiences. The increased security and transportation resulted in a boom in theater profits in the early part of the 20th century.

The invention of motion pictures posed a serious challenge to theater, and talking pictures posed an even more dramatic challenge. Broadway Theater continued to thrive, due in no small part to the arrival of the extravagant and ornate musicals of the 1920s. These plays, while light on story, were huge productions with impressive sets, fancy costumes and some of the most unforgettable musical numbers. These plays resulted in some of the classic Broadway musical numbers still revered today, including pieces from Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Noel Coward, and Jerome Kern.

The play Show Boat, released in 1927, is considered by many to be the birth of modern musicals, with a completely merged musical score and play storyline. This musical merged all components of the play into a seamless production and was a tremendous hit with audiences.

While the Great Depression was hard on Broadway, the theater emerged victoriously after these lean years, and jumped into its golden age with the opening of Oklahoma! in 1943. The blockbuster ran for an astounding 2,212 performances and rocketed Broadway into a period of unprecedented success that continues today.

The popularity of Broadway has resulted in many changes in New York City, including the establishment of many New York hotels near and around the theater district. It’s possible to find accommodations that are within comfortable walking distance of all the major theaters. is an online travel company determined and dedicated to becoming the leader in providing travelers with the most intuitive online booking experience full of relevant information, helpful guides and travel tips. Find great deals on Flights at!
February 27, 2017 admin No comments exist

In Canada you never ask if there is anywhere to go canoeing, you ask if there is anywhere you can’t go on a Canada canoe trip. The Canadian wilderness is full of outstanding spots, and each one can give you special memories that will remain with you the rest of your life.

How about a Canada canoe trip in Algonquin Park? Algonquin Provincial Park is located in Central Ontario and covers 7630 square kilometers between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River. It was the first provincial park in Canada, and was established in 1893. It is full of lakes and rivers you can splash around in. The park has magnificent vistas and wildlife that has largely disappeared from other parts of North America.

If you take a canoe trip to Algonquin Park, make sure you visit Canoe Lake — it would only be appropriate. It is the point where many canoeists enter the park.

Bowron Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia is another eye popper. It covers over 300 thousand acres and includes six major lakes and several streams and rivers, such as the Isaac River and the Cariboo River.

Maybe you would like to paddle in a major water route. You can find the Yukon River near British Columbia. It lies in both Canada and Alaska and is the longest river in the area.

Check out Killarney Park in Ontario. It was named a provincial park. It is mostly a wilderness area with only one campground. The portages between lakes are well maintained to accommodate anyone taking a Canada canoe trip in the area.

What would you think of a 740-mile canoe paddling route that connects New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Quebec? You can find it at the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Somewhere along the route you will find most any variety of water you can think of. You will get white water, swift water, flat water, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. It does not get much better than that.

Do you love untouched wilderness? Take a trip to the Nahanni river. It features 900 meter walls staring down at you, and the Virginia Falls. There are exciting whitewater areas for the serious experienced canoeist.

Another outstanding wilderness canoe trip takes you down the Upper Stikine River and through the Spatsizi Wilderness Park. Some areas have class II and class III whitewater runs. If you want to continue, you can head through the Lower Stikine River which takes you to Wrangell, Alaska.

The trips mentioned here only touch the surface of some of the fantabulous Canada canoe trips you can make through some of North America’s finest remaining wilderness and scenic areas. So grab your canoe and get going. What are you waiting for?

To learn more about what awaits you during a Canada canoe trip, visit Black Feather organizes outdoor adventure trips all over the world and they can provide everything you need for an unforgettable Canada canoe trip. Art Gib is a freelance writer.

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February 27, 2017 admin No comments exist

After this overview it was now time for me to hit the road and start my busy schedule of discoveries in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I started my day with a visit to the Skylon Tower, Niagara Fall’s most famous landmarks. Construction of the tower started in May of 1964 and 17 months later the tower was officially opened jointly by the then Governor of New York and the Premier of Ontario. I walked in on the main floor which houses some retail outlets and an arcade and took one of the “yellow bug” elevators to the top. As we moved up from the main level, the falls on both the American and the Canadian side came into view.

I went straight up to the top level which houses the observation deck. This indoor/outdoor observatory is the highest vantage point in Niagara Falls, and close to 8,000 square miles in Canada and the United States can be seen. Sights such as the skyline of Toronto and Buffalo are visible from the top and a circular walkway provides a 360 degree panoramic view. Signs at regular intervals identify the various sights surrounding the tower.

A souvenir shop is located in the central portion of this observation deck and through the glass doors you can reach the outside observation deck. I ventured outside where the wind was howling on this rather grey and chilly day. The view of the American and Canadian Falls as well as of Goat’s Island and Niagara Falls, NY, was nevertheless breathtaking. Seeing the Falls from the air just provides a much better idea of the imposing size and beauty of this natural wonder.

When it got too chilly I hurried back inside and went a couple of stairs down to check out the Revolving Dining Room, which must be a wonderful restaurant in the evening, when the colourful lights and the illuminated cascades of Niagara Falls come to life.

I was to get much more intimate knowledge of Niagara Falls through my next visit: just minutes across the street from the Skylon Tower is the Niagara Falls Imax Theatre, a modern facility that features a truly spectacular IMAX presentation: “Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic”. I always love IMAX presentations and was really looking forward to learning more about the unique historical background of Niagara Falls.

The movie started with the native legend of the Maid of the Mist, and featured a dramatization of the first sighting of Niagara Falls by European explorers in the 17th century. It also covered all sorts of stories of daredevils and high-wire performance artists that started to make Niagara Falls a tourism attraction from the early 19th century onwards. Even the story of Roger Woodward, the seven year old American boy who was swept over the Horseshoe Falls in a life jacket (the only survivor who went over the Falls without a protective vessel) was told in moving images.

Just outside the Imax Theatre’s screening room is the Daredevil Gallery that features a number of the interesting and diverse vessels that were used by various daredevils to go over the Falls. One of the most famous was a 63-year old school Teacher named Annie Edson Tayler whose story was also told in the Imax movie. Joined by with her cat, she was the first person to go over the Falls for a publicity stunt, in a wooden barrel, cushioned by a big mattress. Unfortunately, her much hoped-for public speaking career never materialized and she died as a pauper.

Other daredevils went over the falls in metal barrels of all shapes and sizes, with varying results. Some arrived on the other side of the big cascade virtually unharmed, while others suffocated or died of internal injuries. It was indeed rather eerie to see some of the actual vessels that were used in unsuccessful attempts to go over the Falls. One of the most gruesome exhibits is the “George Stathakis Death Barrel” that was used in an unsuccessful attempt in 1930 when its passenger suffocated after being trapped in turbulent water behind the Falls for 22 hours. Today such daredevil stunts are actually outlawed and anyone ever attempting to go over the Niagara Falls would surely face hefty fines.

To continue with the Niagara Falls historic theme my next visit was to the “Skylon The Falls 3D/4D Movie”, a movie theatre located at the base of the Skylon Tower that recounts the Niagara Falls story from a more fantasy-based angle. Special effects include gusts of air, sprays of water and moving seats that are intended to create a multi-sensory experience of the film.

It was time to continue my exploration of Niagara Falls, but I had to get closer. So I walked down Murray Street and turned right onto the Niagara Parkway, walking right next to the mighty Niagara River. The weather at this time was grey and chilly, and wet snow was falling. I was glad to take refuge in the Table Rock Centre, the shopping and restaurant complex right next to the edge of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls which was currently under renovation. Most of the souvenir shops and fast food outlets were open and I had a quick pizza and a charming conversation with five British ladies that were in Niagara Falls for a quick pre-Christmas getaway, their first time in Canada. They seemed to have a pretty jolly old time in Canada and took the clammy weather in strides – they were probably used to it.

Having satisfied my hunger I was ready to get truly up close and personal with the Falls: the “Journey behind the Falls” is one of the best ways to experience the true power of the Niagara Falls first-hand. I took the elevator down to the lower level at the Table Rock Centre and started my own journey behind the mighty Falls. Known until the early 1990s as the “Scenic Tunnels”, this attraction consists of two tunnels and an outside viewing platform. The tunnels date back to early 20th century and extend about 46 m behind the waterfall. I walked down the long underground corridors with their orange lighting and stopped intermittently to read the informational posters on the wall. These displays provide a description of the history of Niagara Falls, its geology and some of the famous visitors who include President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, who were both here on separate occasions.

Towards the end of the tunnel there are two smaller side tunnels, each leading to an opening, or a portal, that provides a view from behind the waterfalls. One of these portals was partially covered by icicles and presented a perfect motif for any passionate photographer. Access to the portals was blocked by a metal barrier for safety reasons, although in the past visitors could get much closer to the edge and admire the tumbling masses of water from just a few meters away. The dull roar of the falling water pervaded the entire underground space and provided an idea of the power of the millions of litres of water that fall down the Horseshoe Falls every second.

The statistics illustrate why Niagara Falls is considered one of the natural Wonders of the World: the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the most impressive of the three falls in Niagara Falls, have a length of over 670 metres, and their height is 53 metres which makes Niagara Falls the most powerful waterfall in North America. The depth of the Niagara River below the Horsehoe Falls is estimated to be 56 metres. The straight line crest of the American Falls is 253 metres. About 90% of the water of the Niagara River plunges over the Horseshoe Falls while the other 10% make their way down the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls which are separated from the Canadian Falls by Goat Island, an uninhabited island that provides great vantage points of all the cascades.

I had now reached the outside observation platform that provides an excellent lateral view of the curtain of the Horseshoe Falls as they plunge into the river below. Tourists from all over the world were feverishly taking pictures of this unique sight. Even on this grey day the view was impressive and the thunder of the cascading masses of water filled the air as one fifth of the world’s fresh water was crashing 13 stories down into the river below.

Duly impressed by this natural wonder, I made my way back up and strolled back along the Niagara River’s edge to my vehicle, which I had parked conveniently at the Fallsview Casino Resort. I was pondering what to do next and because I felt thoroughly chilled I was looking for a nice place to warm up in.

I found just such a place just a few minutes drive away from the Horseshoe Falls: Bird Kingdom, one of Niagara Falls’, Ontario, newer attractions. This tropical destination was surely going to revive my chilled bones and it was going to be my next stop on my Niagara Falls discoveries.

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions. Travel and Transitions deals with travel to foreign countries and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travelers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features.

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February 27, 2017 admin No comments exist

The most widely recognized element of Italian food today is pasta. Pasta is a signature of Italian food in all parts of the globe. It is easy to store and prepare and therefore became the ambassador of Italian food to the world. Pasta has a much older history than other common dishes in Italian food like pizza and tomato sauce.

The other form of pasta used in Italian food is fresh pasta. All pasta actually starts out as fresh pasta but certain pasta recipes require that the pasta be eaten fresh and soft, not dried. Fresh pasta is often made with slightly different ingredients than dried pasta. In the northern parts of Italy fresh pasta is most often made with all-purpose flour and eggs. However, the southern parts of Italy make their fresh pasta with semolina and water. It should be noted that different recipes can call for different variations. These different recipes give a distinct flavor to the Italian food of different regions. Some types of pasta are meant just to be eaten fresh, while others are meant to be dried. There are also some types of pasta that can be fresh or dried; it depends on what Italian food dish is being prepared.

When a variation of pasta can be either dried or fresh it is sometimes argued that the fresh style is best. Making fresh pasta is a point of pride for many Italian households and is reflected in the quality of the Italian food that they prepare.

Italians eat pasta then any other country in the world and is considered the cornerstone of Italian food.

The pizza

It was in the Middle Ages that pizza began to take a form that would be more familiar to Italian food lovers today. Pizza started out being just as dough topped with herbs and olive oil. Once mozzarella cheese began to be produced from Indian Water Buffalo it quickly became a signature aspect of pizza. Today at any true Italian food eatery this fresh mozzarella di buffalo is nonnegotiable. The dried shredded mozzarella that is often associated with Italian food would actually never be used on a pizza made by a true Italian food chef.

Traditional Italian pizza is cooked in a wood fired oven. The reason American pizza is often not thought of as a true Italian food is because the large restaurant chains that specialize in pizza do not cook it in a wood fired oven. Pizzas featured in Italian food restaurants should use only the freshest ingredients. In Italy pizzas change with the seasons as new ingredients become available. The great thing about pizza that has made it so popular is the fact that it can be topped with a vast array of toppings. Each region of Italy has its own particular style of pizza that they specialize in, making use of the ingredients most readily available to them.

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February 27, 2017 admin No comments exist

George M. Cohan’s encounter with a Civil War veteran inspired a song that became a Broadway hit. From there it became a household name.

That song was, and is, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. This song celebrates Old Glory and all that it stands for. The song is a patriotic march with a catchy lilt and equally catchy lyrics. It certainly is a summer concert-in-the park favorite.

George Cohan found himself next to a veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg one day. He noticed the man had a neatly- folded American flag in his hands but that it was ragged looking. This man said to Cohan, “She’s a grand old rag.”

This triggered an idea for a song in Cohan’s head and he wrote one using this line. There was consternation from people over the term ‘rag’. Many felt it was an insult to the Stars and Stripes and they wanted that word removed from the lyrics. Cohan did just that, changing the word to ‘flag,’ and the rest is American musical history.

Cohan wrote the tune in 1906 for his stage production ‘George Washington Jr.’ The play, and the song, premiered on February 6, 1906 at the Herald Square Theater in New York City. The story starred Cohan, who played a U.S. Senator’s son who desires a simple girl from the southern United States. His father has different aims – wanting his son to link up with an English woman of prominence. The story is their battle to achieve two different goals.

The play and the song ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’ were a huge success. From Broadway it subsequently moved into America’s living rooms over the years because of record and sheet music sales. In fact, this was the first song from a stage musical to sell over a million sheet music copies.

You’re a Grand Old Flag became a staple at the family piano and was played across the country. The tune is bright and positive. It evokes feelings of national pride, and one cannot help being uplifted upon hearing it.

George M. Cohan was born in 1878 in Providence, Rhode Island. His parents were Vaudeville performers who continually toured the country. George traveled with them, along with his older sister Josephine. He honed his show business skills as a member of the Four Cohans — this mother-father-sister-brother act. They kept up a hellish tour schedule with the B.F.Keith Circuit and belted out four to six performances a day. This paved the way for the big time for Cohan, the dues-paying years teaching him much.

Eventually Cohan became a prolific Tin Pan Alley tunesmith and penned many popular songs. Others included “Life’s A Funny Proposition After All,” “I Want to Hear a Yankee Doodle Tune,” and “Over There.”
His influence was so great he earned the moniker “The Man Who Owned Broadway.” Along with that he is known as the father of American musical comedy.

Cohan was not only a songwriter. He wore these hats as well in his career:

* Playwright
* Composer
* Actor
* Singer
* Dancer
* Director
* Librettist
* Producer

His influence and popularity as a true American entertainer resulted in a film about his life. This film was Yankee Doodle Dandy, which portrayed his rise from his Vaudeville days to his Broadway success.

Today, Broadway and its tunes may be a whole lot different from Cohan’s time. They still owe a debt of gratitude, however, to this eminent American songwriter and his stage musicals.

Songs like “You’re a Grand Old Flag” still speak today to people who are thankful of and appreciate the opportunity America offers.

Duane Shinn is the author of the free newsletter
“Exciting Piano Chords & Progressions!”

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