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31 December 2008

My New Year's

The picture on the bottom is what happens when you and your friends are in a freezing basement, drunk and then decide to take a picture to remember the moment. After so many years celebrating the new years, I will try to remember the top five New Year's Eve memories.

5. My first tour overseas, in Kuwait, December 31st, 2002. I felt severely lost and alone, but discovered that I wasn't. I had 10,000 other close friends that were in the same boat as me as well as several countries represented there. There was very little alcohol, but we didn't need it then.
4. My second tour overseas, in Kuwait, December 31st, 2004. I had friends there and the post had quite a bit going on for us. We had a concert, some fake wine, and a free movie. All I kept thinking was another New Year's in Kuwait!

3. A memory from the picture on the bottom. We
were at a relative of my friend Paul's and we had the house to ourselves. They had a nice bar with a ton of alcohol. We had alot of fun.
2. My first New Year's Eve with my wife, December 31st, 2005. We were poor and had enough for a bunch of liquor. We really got loaded, watched the ball drop. Just the memory of our first.

1. This year. My wife got a root canal today and she is sucking up the pain to drink some for the holiday. We were invited to a couple parties, but decided to stay in
. Our first since exiting the Army.

Whatever memories you have, make them special. I know that mine don't seem like much, but they were important enough to remember. Also, if and when you decide on a resolution, make sure they are the ones to better yourself, your life, or your relationships. To you and your family, Happy New Year!

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Drinking Young...and the Follow Up!

The 'nanny state' guide to giving children of five alcohol

Parents are to be issued with government guidance about letting their children try alcohol at home.
Currently, children as young as five can legally drink at home if they are supervised by their parents.
Many adults allow their offspring to try small amounts of beer or wine in the hope that they will adopt a sensible attitude towards drinking.
For the first time, however, Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson is drawing up a series of recommendations, which will include how much alcohol parents can safely give to their children.
Opposition MPs have criticised the Government’s approach, claiming it smacked of the ‘nanny state’.
They said most parents were able to use their common sense when deciding
whether to let their children drink at home.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Children’s Secretary Ed Balls have abandoned plans to take parents to court for letting their children try alcohol at home amid fears of a backlash.
In May, Mr Johnson said he would not give alcohol to his eight-year-old son.
A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that parents will be issued with the new guidance by the spring.
He said: ‘This is about informing parents by handing them guidance about the risks of giving alcohol to children rather than actually prosecuting them.
Fewer young people now drink, but those who do are drinking more - and they are probably unaware of the damage they are doing to their health.
‘So it’s essential that young people and their parents have clear, medical guidance.’
Tory health spokesman Mike Penning said yesterday: ‘Rather than telling parents how to bring up their children, they should be looking at the wider issue of the damage their 24-hour drinking policy has caused to society.
‘There is no doubt that parents should act responsibly when giving alcohol to their children but this is common sense.
‘This is yet another example of this Government’s nanny state behaviour by telling people what they should be doing in their own homes.’
Recent figures show that alcohol-related deaths among young people have risen by 57 per cent over the past 15 years, with a growing number of youngsters also suffering from liver disease caused by alcohol.
Many doctors believe the increases are linked to heavy drinking in teenage years.
Don Shenker, of charity Alcohol Concern, said: ‘Parents need strong and clear guidelines on how much alcohol is appropriate for their children to consume and at what age.
‘There is evidence that children of parents who responsibly allow them to drink under supervision find it less glamorous later on.’
But Margaret Morrissey, from the Parents Aloud pressure group, said: ‘There is no necessity for the guidelines because there is no reason for children to be introduced to alcohol.’
Alcohol and Children
● The number of under-18s in alcohol treatment programmes has soared by 40 per cent in the past year.
● 55 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds have had at least one alcohol drink in their lifetime.
● 11.4 units is the average amount of alcohol consumed per week for 11 to 15-year-olds.
● 20 per cent of those who drink buy it from friends or relatives.
● In 2006-7, one in 10 of alcohol-related hospital admissions was a young person under 18.
By Kirsty Walker

I truly can't believe this is legal...I am in awe of it! And to top it off....

Alcoholic liver disease soars among the young as hospital admissions more than double

The number of young people suffering from liver disease caused by alcohol has more than doubled since Labour came to power.

Damning figures show 6,495 Britons aged 18 to 40 were admitted to hospital suffering from alcoholic liver disease in 2006/07, compared to 2,967 a decade ago.

In the same period, there were 43,548 admissions across all age groups for the disease, with a further 27,040 cases related to the toxic effects of alcohol.

In addition, there were 158,656 admissions made for mental health problems related to drinking, including 6,612 among those aged 17 and under.

The figures come as doctors warn they are seeing more young people suffering from alcoholic liver disease - a condition previously seen only in the middle-aged.

Eight women die a day from liver problems - often at an earlier age than men - while an estimated two million Britons are suffering from chronic liver disease, although many are unaware of it.

It is the fifth most important cause of death in the UK, which is the only developed nation with an upward trend in mortality especially among younger people.

Last year research concluded the burden would get worse and the NHS must develop more capacity to respond to liver disease.

But the Government has not yet approved a liver strategy for England despite support from the Royal College of Physicians and other professional bodies.

Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, who obtained the latest data in response to a parliamentary question, said: ‘These figures expose an iceberg effect where enormous problems are being stored up for the NHS in the future.

'But these figures show a growing trend with people who are in their 30s being diagnosed with liver disease caused by alcohol consumption.

'Behind these figures are huge human and financial costs.

‘The human cost in terms of poor health and premature death, and the financial cost in terms of the drain on the NHS and the lost productivity must be huge.’

In October, a National Audit Office report blamed ministers for failing to act against binge drinking.

A report from the National Audit Office in October blamed ministers for not taking responsibility for binge drinking.

It said the number of alcohol-related deaths had more than doubled in 15 years, to 8,100.

It said the Department of Health and NHS were guilty of passing the buck on dealing with binge drinking to primary care trusts, which were not given enough 'leadership' to address the issue.

One in five women and one in three men are now drinking at levels considered hazardous to health - 14 units or more a week for women and 21 units or more for men, with a unit being a glass of wine, half a pint of beer or pub measure of spirits.

A spokesman for the Department of Heath said: 'We are determined to reduce the health and social harms caused by alcohol.

'The Government's £10million 'Know Your Limits' campaign arms people with the facts about alcohol and its effects.

'The Government recently announced its intention to crack down on irresponsible promotions and impose new standards on the alcohol industry.

We have not ruled out taking action on very cheap alcohol.'
By Jenny Hope

Can you believe this...and in the same paper...linked to one another.

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30 December 2008

Turning the Ship Around

Well, the Pens have had a couple off and I believe it is high time they start turning this ship around. They finally have a compliment of defensemen and have too much talent not to succeed.
We get Hal Gill back tonight, that should help the penalty kill. They are also pushing Goligoski up to a forward position. Yes, they are dressing seven defensemen. The word is that it is just a precaution because it is Gill's first game back. I like the move. Especially against this red hot Bruins team.
A win tonight could provide that same spark that the outdoor classic did last year. It could be that big. It is also Jordan Staal's 200th game as well as Sidney Crosby's 250th game. Sid needs only two points to tie Mike Bossy at 345 and tie for fifth all-time for number of points in the first 250 games. Crosby would be behind some big names like Wayne Gretzky (537), Mario Lemieux (423), Petr Statsny (403), and Eric Lindros (360). I consider this very impressive.
Other than that is is still a big night for the Pens.
I look forward to see if they finally start shooting and if they can finally put together a complete game.
I am tired of Fleury having to bail us out with incredible saves and barely any defense. We have no sense of urgency. I know it is not even to the halfway point, but the Sharks, Redwings, and Bruins are showing that tenacity. I want to see the next level, like all of us do.

Tonight is the night.

Let's Go Pens!

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Regular Season Wrap-up

I look back at this season with surprise. I saw a number of teams play significantly better than what I expected of them (Steelers Schedule), and alot of teams play completely terrible when they had the talent to win (Cleveland Browns). This is just our division too!
I saw a couple Super Bowl favorites go right down the tubes...Dallas...Jacksonville!
I look at the entire league and see a ton of overachievers due to schedule, and a ton of underachievers. I see teams with 11-5 records not making the cut and teams with 8-8 records making the playoffs. I don't know how to explain this except that timing is of the essence. It is not how much you beat your opponent by, but when and who you beat. Last year was another example of this. The Patriots won every regular season game by a ton, setting records all over the place, made it to the super bowl and lost. Like I said, who and when.
The Super Bowl Champs looked just that...Super..until the end of the year...that might cost them just like the Titans.
Denver had a three game lead in their division and lost it in the final game.
All hope looked like it was gone in Atlanta with the Vick incident until a rookie superhero showed up in Matt Ryan.
Carolina looks like they are back to form from the Super Bowl team a few years back.
Minnesota did exactly what was expected of them, just in a different way...on the arm of aged veteran Gus Frerotte.
Look at that 8-8 San Diego this year, starting off 4-8 and coming back to win the division.
You can look at Tennessee as well, they won 10 straight and went 3-3 the rest of the season. I think this will greatly hurt them in the playoffs. I also think that the Titans were blessed with an extremely easy schedule.
I saw a couple teams start off really hot and then die out quickly...Redskins...Bills...Jets!
I saw a couple teams start off lousy and end hot...Colts...Bears!
I saw the first 16 game winless team...Lions!
Miami won the division with 11 wins after winning just one last year. They are going to turn a few heads in the post season with their crazy lineups and smart coaching.
We had the usual losing teams in Oakland, Kansas City, San Fransisco, and St. Louis.
We had some pleasant surprises in Houston, who looks to be turning it around.
Baltimore made a comeback after starting off slow with another rookie quarterback.
Some disappointments in New Orleans, Seattle, and Green Bay.
What about Philadelphia getting not one, but two gifts in the last week. They needed the Bears and the Buccanneers to lose as well as beat the rival Cowboys to get in. All of the about happened and they are now the most unlikely team to make the playoffs. They also tied one of the worse teams in the league this year in the Bengals.
Arizona will be hosting their first post season game since 1947. That in itself is amazing.

All in all, I love how this season wrapped up and I can't wait for the playoffs!

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27 December 2008

What is going on with the Penguins?

So, I have been watching the last couple months and have been at the point of every emotion my body is capable of. At first I was upset, then excited, then sad, now I am a mix between optimistic and disappointed. I know they usually take it up a notch in January and on into March, but we all know that injuries and timing of those injuries play a huge factor into the whole scheme of things.
So, here are my thoughts. We, yes I feel as though I am a member of this team as a loyal fan, usually start out slow and slowly build up. By usually I mean the last two playoff years. Well, we did things a little backwards this year and started off hot without or main defense. I think we played out of our minds for that matter. No, with even more injuries to our players that are significant role players and not superstars like Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, it is catching up to us. The losses of Tyler Kennedy, Mike Zigomanis, Hal Gill, and Maxime Talbot have been huge. I know, I know, you look at them and you think how can those players bring us down? They prove how important role players are in this league. I will start with Kennedy. He may be listed as 5' 11" and 183 lbs, but he plays like James Harrison of the Steelers. He throws what body he has around on every shift. He gives his body and soul to his team and what for? He has the Crosby passion we would like to see in all players. He creates a spark when he steps on the ice for that ever important third line. He helps Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke create things that otherwise shouldn't be there. Next I will move onto Zigomanis. You might ask what does a fourth liner bring to the table? Mike Zigomanis was only leading the league in faceoff percentage. If you think faceoffs don't matter, follow or record versus our faceoff percentage. It is amazing how much they coincide. I would even venture to say that goes back to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. I feel if we could have won those key faceoffs like we were with Zigomanis, we would have won the cup. Next on the list is big Hal Gill. He is a little more obvious, but I am going to key in on his Penalty Killing ability. Our PK has dropped off significantly since he went down with the injury. He covers up so much of the ice and mastered the defensive positioning. He may be slow, but for the most part he can be. By this I mean his positioning and decision making make this possible. I feel like Gill is one of the most underrated defensemen that we have. Finally I want to talk about Maxime Talbot. He has become the toast of the Penguins aside from Sid and Geno. He has that speed and ability to be so versitile and clutch. I feel that every team needs a player like him on their team. He just loves playing and gives his all everytime he steps on the ice. This attitude reflects over every member of this team. I think if we would have traded him instead of Colby Armstrong in that Marian Hossa deal last year, we would not have made it to the Finals. He is that important.
Overall, I am just saying the success of a team is the whole team, not just certain parts of it. Don't overlook anyone. Marc-Andre Fleury and Petr Sykora are difference makers as well. I think that we have the complete package this year when we are all healthy. All I have to say is thank God that our players that were going to get injured were in the first half of the season and not the last half.
I still stick by my prediction of the Stanley Cup Champions this year.

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Band of the Week!...Volume 8! -Apocalyptica

So, here is my newest installation all about what I will call my favorite
band of the week. This weeks band is called Apocalyptica.
You can click on the band name for a full bio, but as for this blog, I will give you the quick down and dirty. I found this statement on their website,"Finland's masters of hard rock cello attain another career milestone this week with a radio chart topper. Their latest single, "I Don't Care" featuring Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace, has landed at #1 on the BDS and Mediabase Active Rock radio charts. The fact that they have supplanted Metallica at the chart summit is somewhat ironic considering Apocalyptica's roots as re-interpreters of the seminal metal band's work." I will tell you, this band I hold higher than usual. I even have this song as my ringtone. I think the most amazing thing is that they are labeled as a cellist metal band. My question is how many of them exist? Apocalyptica was formed in 1993 when four cellists, Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Max Lilja, and Antero Manninen gathered to play Metallica covers at Sibelius-Academy. They performed in an after-Christmas party as a "Jailhouse Band" at the Teatro Heavy Metal Club. That evening the line-up was Toppinen, Lilja, Manninen and Perttu Kivilaakso (who was to join the band permanently in 1999.) Among the audience was Kari Hynninen, who worked for the independent label Zen Garden Records. After listening to Apocalyptica's set, Kari Hynninen signed them on the spot to Zen Garden Records. I know I don't typically write this much about a band, but they blow me away with their music.

There is a player on the bottom here with a couple songs from the band so you can have a hearsee. Also, here is a link to some lyrics, so you can see if you like their message as well.

Basically, I am telling all of you to check out this band and let me know what you think!


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