Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oprah's Favorite Things Hits Big This Holiday Season

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most popular talk show hosts in American television history. As her show enters its 21rst season, she has millions of viewers who tune in each day. One of her most popular segments is her "Favorite Things" holiday show. During this show, Oprah shares with the studio and television audience some of her favorite things including jewelry, gadgets and vacation getaways.

People love this show because on the "Favorite Things" episode, audience members get the extravagant gifts that Oprah displays. Around 300 audience members are showered with gifts each holiday episode. The amount varies, but Oprah audience members can each expect to receive between $4,000 and $15,000 worth of gifts. But, Oprah is a big winner as well. The 2004 episode of "Oprah's Favorite Things" had the highest ratings ever for a "Favorite Things" episode and was the second highest rated episode for the season.

Oprah has been doing her "Favorite Things" episode since 1999. Guests received a set of Illumination Ritual Candles, each one to inspire different feelings like love, peace and passion and each candle contained a tiny gemstone inside. The 12-candle set was valued at $169.95. Dog owners were no doubt thrilled with the Fifi and Romeo Pet Clothing ($150 and up) - one of Oprah's favorite things of 1999. One of the most extravagant gifts that year was a Susan Abbott Personalized Painting, ranging from $5,000 and up. Oprah loved the Susan Abbott painting given to her by author Sarah Ban Breathnach.

In 2000, Oprah added many hi-tech gadgets like the Motorola Talkabout pager (priced at $179), so audience members could receive email while on the go. Another favorite thing from 2000 was the book equivalent of the iPod, the Gemstar REB1100 eBook from RCA ($299). The Gemstar let users download up to 8,000 book pages, so they never had to carry around a book again.

The BlissLabs Glamour Gloves ($44) and Gel ($22) was one of Oprah's favorite things in 2002. The Panasonic 4-in-1 Digital Camera from Frontgate ($449) was also a big hit that year. The camera, the size of a credit card, takes pictures and video, but can also be used as a MP3 player and audio recorder.

In 2003, Oprah decided to do two episodes of her favorite things segment - one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Spring audience members got an Apple iPod ($399), Silhouette Minimal X Sunglasses ($175-$250), and a Hewlett Packard Digital Camera, Printer and Dock (total value $730) among other items. Fall audience members racked up with UGG Classic Short Boots ($110), a Philip Stein Teslar Watch ($595), and a Sony DCR-DVD200 Handycam ($1000).

2004 was a very special Favorite Things segment for Oprah. She convinced 300 teachers to attend her show, under the premise of talking about education and a teacher's daily routine. Instead, she surprised them with the Favorite Things episode. The teachers received gifts such as a Sony VAIO S260 notebook computer, a Dell 30" wide-screen LCD television, a Maytag Neptune Top-Load Washer and Drying Center, and a trip for two to the exclusive Miraval Resort and Spa. Total gift amount for each teacher was about $15,000 - much more than the previous year total of $4,800. Oprah, a supporter of education and teachers, knew the teachers were worth every penny.

In 2005, Oprah decided to make her favorite things audience up of Katrina relief workers. Among the gifts were Sony VAIO® FJ Notebook, Kashwére® Shawl Collar Robe, BlackBerry 7105T(TM) from T-Mobile, and a couple of Oprah's favorites from 2004, UGG Australia's Uptown Boot and an Apple iPod. While considerably less than the year before, the 2005 recipients still received over $7,000 worth of items.

Probably due in part to Oprah's television audience as well as her personal appeal, each year the manufacturer's of the items found on Oprah's favorite things donate all the gifts. But they reap great benefits from doing so. They get television exposure and an immediate increase in sales after each episode. Companies like Sephora and Macy's have both publicly stated that as soon as Oprah mentions one of their products, people are coming in the stores in droves to get it.

So in the end, it is a win-win situation. The manufacturers see increased sales, the audience gets great gifts, and Oprah just keeps on getting more and more popular with her viewing audience.

Shelley Lowery is a successful writer with an interest in celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. She demonstrates the power of Oprah's Favorite Things list each year on the holiday shopping season. See her report on what products made the list on Oprah's Favorite Things for 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Little Things - So Little as You Think Big But Do Not Forget the Little Things!

It is true that little things are so little you must not forget those little things that matter.
You might be busy and have loads of things to do. But you should not ignore the little things that will help you attain your goals. "Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things - I am tempted to think there are no little things."-Bruce Barton.

Little things are really little and could be easily missed out, ignored or overlooked in most situations. But know that "It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."-John Wooden.

For example, attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.-Winston Churchill. You might have the money and skills required for a job but your attitude to the receptionist might ruin that opportunity. Same thing goes when you are relating any one be it waiters, drivers or security men -courtesy or kindness are also little that could go a long way. After all, "That best portion of a man's life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."- William Wordsworth

Yeah! The big things need most attention, they can get. But when "we forget the little things, so it's no wonder some of us screw up the big things." -Neil Cavuto. Og Mandino once said, you should "never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it."

As simple as a phone call just to make it known that you are going to be a little late.

As Pure as a kiss on a cheek saying I love.

As gentle as saying everything will be okay.

As soothing as asking; hope you do not mind?

As easy as getting a little quiet time alone.

"You build a successful career, regardless of your field of endeavor, by the dozens of little things you do on and off the job." Zig Ziglar. Also you need to "guide your pennies for your pounds to be self-protected." -Anonymous

I will leave you with lines from India Arie 's song, titled little things:
"In the quest for fortune and fame do not forget about the simple things.... the little things... and the joy they bring".

This article is brought to you by Ola Olabimpe. A creative motivational writer for a FREE motivational self improvement ezine. She is a lover of quotes and would find lots of it in her writings.You can read and enjoy our weekly ezine on [] Mind juice is sent via email and the site is regularly updated with absolutely free and just about anything that has to do with self development! SO kick start every week with a handful of inspiration visit [] Now!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The King Thing

If you take out all light, you get pure darkens, if you take out all darkness you get pure light, if you take out all the warmth from the universe, from earth, from a human being, you get pure cold, if you take out all the cold, you get pure heat...if you say you know God, then know that he is pure light, and through nothingness created you, and put you into a universe he created out of nothingness; and from light, and heat, and cold, and darkness, we were sent into, and thus, now we stumble between these elements, light, dark, cold and heat, things, because of sin, these are elements, parts to things, for all that is, are things, and we look and we touch, and we smell and we hear things, things that pass by us, away, little things and big things, just things, things that come out of us, come to us, circle around us, invade us, consume us, possess us, who is the king of things? There must be a king, the ruler of things. Before you take the thing, try the thing, because the world now has so many things, and false prophets, the flesh can no longer overcome things. We all have become little gods of things, with so many things, we no longer hear the spirit inside of us, it is saying 'Here is an error, let no man deceive you, for you have been deceived by things.' There is no more compassion, now they slew the brother, the mother; the children wait outside the hospital room for the father to die, so they can collect more things. The children of today, and tomorrow, and yesterday, go from one thing to another thing, they hate not being compensated unto their heart's desire with things, they want their life cramped with so many things, a grasshopper couldn't fit in it afterwards, let along God. And he goes to pray, to his god (and who is really his go?) and says, "I love you, but I want more things," and he takes from his neighbor, and says "I need them more than you," and a voice says, "It is easy to love those who love you, who are lovable, who give you things, that is not a perfect love (try to love the unlovable), it is a thing you need to replace something you lost, love needs no returns, no things to replace something: now the he asks for receipts, he is keeping count. Love is often a one way street and nowadays all we seem to have are two-way highways, and the preacher man says: I shall speak for, and he tells his people to vote for this man, or that man, thinking he is replacing God, speaking for God, because he wants things... not even he, can escape the dead dog, and find a live lion because he has lost the scent.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Juvenile Hall Opportunity - Positive Things Locked Up Kids Can Do In Their Rooms

You will never have as much time as you now have, here in Juvenile Hall, to think about your life and your future. You must make your time useful. A boy in 1400 told me to tell you, "don't serve your time, let your time serve you." He was living that principal by doing everything he could to make his time, a growing experience. You must do the same.

Don't waist your time sitting around feeling sorry for yourself or feeling angry. Use your time wisely so your stay will be a positive experience.

Here are some ideas to help you so your time at Juvenile Hall is worthwhile.


1. PRAY -Throw yourself out of bed and get down on your knees and pray. If you
can't do this, because your room companion may not understand, say your
prayer before you get out of bed. Pray together if you can. Ask God
to help your attitude and show you what you should be doing that day.
Make a plan. Try to be excited about the things you can accomplish that day.

2. READ THE SCRIPTURES - Get to know your Father-in-Heaven, then you won't
feel so alone. You will know God loves you. He will comfort you and
give you hope.

3. MAKE YOUR BED - Clean your room. Organize your things. Care for your
things. Teach yourself good habits you can take home with you. You
will feel better if your room is in order.

4. EXERCISE - Walk - Run- Dance - Do Push ups - be creative in your small
home. Get your body moving and work up a sweat. At night exercise until
you are tired so you will sleep well. When you feel lazy, get your body
moving. This will help you feel better about yourself and your situation.

5. WORK ON YOUR ATTITUDE- Write down or think of your many blessings.
When you have a negative thought squash it! Replace it with a positive
thought. Memorize scriptures, hymns, uplifting poems or positive
songs and bring those to your memory. You can't think of two things at
once so make sure you your mind is wrapped up in positive things. Learn
to control your thoughts. Be helpful and work toward being an 80 worker,
if you are able.


a. Take school seriously.

b. Finish high school.

c. Get your GED, if you have no other way.

d. Start a tradition for your future, Get all the education you can get.

e. Read as many good books as you can and educate yourself.

f. Study.

g. Work hard on your homework.

h. Think of your hobbies and what you can do to work on them.

i. Be create in your thoughts and think of new, positive and worthwhile things to do.

j. Create stores, in your mind, which you can write down or share with others.


a. To your loved ones and tell them you love them.

b. To whomever you have hurt and ask for forgiveness.

c. To your brothers and sisters to help them stay straight, so they know you love them.

d. To other young people, you can influence for the good. Help them know what you have learned to save them from the pain you have experienced.

e. If you have a child or are expecting a child write a letter to them and share what you have learned so you can help them in the future. Then give them the letter when they get older.

f. To your boy friend or girl friend to help them know your are sorry for your mistakes and that you are going to change your life and that you want to help them have a good life too.

g. To people who can help you learn things you want to know.

h. To check out schools and colleges


If you already have a talent, work on developing it. If not, draw anyway. Find out if you enjoy it or have a talent for art.


a. Write a poem, or a story or a screenplay. If you have a talent use it, if you don't
think you do, try writing anyway, you might find your good at it.

b. Keep a journal. Everyday write down what you are doing and what you are
thinking and what you are learning. Keep a record so you will remember and remind yourself of what it was like here. You can share this with other kids when you get out. Your journal could one day become a book.


Sing or write music, memorize words to songs, Choose uplifting music,
not music which encourages you to think evil thoughts.


Memorize things. Music, Scriptures, Poems, etc. Get your roommate to help
you and you help them. Memorizing is very good for your mind and well help
you throughout your life time. Remember your mind is free - Use it!


Seriously figure out what mistakes you have made which brought you to Juvenile Hall. Figure out the bad choices you have made and try to think of solutions and how you should have done things differently. Try to solve your problems. Don't blame others. Look in your own heart at your choices and choose to use consequence thinking, in the future. Write all this down.


Look in your heart and try to really think about what good things you want
to do with your life. Make some plans and get excited about discovering
your life's purpose and your life's mission. Make plans for your education and
for your life's work. Plan how you will get an education and what you will do to
get a job. Have some plans, in place, for when you go home. Write all these
things down so you have them to motivate you when you leave.


Choose to be obedient to the coaches and other people in Juvenile Hall. This is a
great place to start practicing the things you should be doing on the outside.
Learn respect for others and for yourself. Learn to be cooperative and helpful.
Learn tolerance of others and be a good example to the other kids. Get rid
of contention and get along with your roommates and the other kids.


You have already learned a lot from this experience. Help the other kids
make good choices also. Talk to them, when you know the things you have to
say will help them. They need your help as much as you need their help.
Together find ways you can make this a positive experience and decide what
you will do when you get out so you never come back to Juvenile hall. Support
each other.


Start new positive and healthy habits for your future. Work on your
attitude. Start new habits of love, caring, striving, working hard, and doing
good, learning and growing. Make some commitments, while you are here,
so when you get out you already know what to do. For example: make
a commitment to quit drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and using
drugs. Make a promise to yourself and to God, right here, right now so that
when you get out and someone asks you to do these things you already know
the answer. No!


a. Go to Church

b. Read the Scriptures

c. Get clean with God

d. Confess your mistakes and sins to God

e. Ask for forgiveness

f. Choose to make right what you can

g. Make a decision, from now on, to Choose the Right (CTR)

h. Dedicate your life to using the bad things which have happened so far
as motivation to choose a better life. Also use your experiences to help
others avoid your mistakes and the consequences you are now facing.
Learn from others mistakes too.

i. Help your roommate choose a better life too. Share together what you
have learned and help each other endure and survive this
experience positively.

j. Pray together

k. Talk together about positive things

l. Help make positive plans for the future together for when you get out so you will have a good, happy and successful life and avoid anything which will bring you back to Juvenile Hall.

m. Help your roommate be a better person. Both of you plan to be better people when you leave Juvenile Hall than you when you came in.

n. Think of how you can make this experience have value.


Write down what you accomplished and how your feel. Be aware of what you
could have done differently. Pat yourself on the back for the good things you
did that day. Write them down.


Thank God for anything good that happened that day and anything good
you learned. Ask him to forgive you for the things you did wrong and
ask him to help overcome these things. Pray for others kids who need
God's help and for your family and friends and loved ones. Thank God for
Your many blessings and ask Him to bless you.


Prepare for tomorrow by thinking about what you want to accomplish and write
it down. If you can't write it down make a list in your mind. Choose to have a
positive attitude and hang onto hope for anything good which can happen and.
what you can do.

Be a Winner in Life - Eva Fry

Eva Fry's mission is to help others become better and happier. She is an inspirational author,singer/songwriter/ motivational speaker and seminar leader. Eva has published three books - "YOU MUST HAVE A DREAM" -for seniors, "BE A WINNER IN LIFE"-for good kids, troubled kids and their parents. "LETTERS FROM JUVENILE HALL, KIDS HELPING KIDS" - Actual letters from kids at Juvenile Hall, intended to save other kids from messing up their lives. She has produced 7 Music CD's - "Remember" - (new music for seniors), "Oh What Joy, Christmas", "The Little Things" (Inspirational Contry), "I Love Living The Teachings of The Lord", "Classical Style", (Instrumental Music. Her music and books can be purchased on her web site  Her books can also be ordered at any book store. She invites you to use the free articles she has written, at  - for: at-risk kids. Also other free articles of inspiration to help meet Life's challenges. Her articles have been publised, all over the world Booking for shows and presentations

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Posthumanism in John Carpenter's The Thin

gSociety has always held a curiosity for the non-conformal body, the deviant, the abomination, and the monster. From Beowulf's Grendel, the Victorian sideshow freak and Victor Frankenstein's laboratory creation, and through to the modern cinematic creations such as Giger's Alien, the posthuman has both fascinated and appalled. In some cases, such as with Mary Shelley's unfortunate beast, the monster has garnered pity; a misunderstood misfit that is sympathised more than it is feared. The posthuman "Other" is always identifiable, if not always associable.

Posthumanism is a critical theory that realises mankind's fallibility, vulnerability, and inconsequence within the universe. For the last century science fiction, through literature and cinema, has analysed the human, and exactly what defines the human, physically and psychologically, perhaps further than any other popular media. And the alien, more specifically the extra-terrestrial, presents us with a being that often rivals humanity in terms of intelligence and wisdom, and at other times cruelty and ignorance, but importantly, is always differs from us in appearance.

The extra terrestrial creature in John Carpenter's The Thing reminds us of our inferiority; genetically it is the superior life form. The Thing is an unusual creation, in that it is immediately identifiable, as is any effective cinematic creature design, despite having no secure form or consistent features. Instead, the sexless, faceless alien mimics its victims, which it must first consume, often merging several of these assimilated forms into grotesque, ever shifting amalgams that are only in part identifiable as human, a common trait of the postmodern subject. There is never genuine explanation as to why the creature must consume that which it mimics, though this could be considered essential to the plot; the Thing kills not because it is evil, but purely for self preservation, an important factor that separates the creature from our sentient values; Carpenter never reveals the Thing's motives, or exactly how intelligent it is.

In Carpenter's movie, the human body, mind and body, is viewed as little more than disposable flesh; though the alien mimics the form of those it has assimilated, its victims are inconsequential once gone. The mutation of the character's identities produces images hideous and shocking, but never less than magnificent; despite its alien design, the Thing demands a certain level of respect. It is the efficient hunter, one step above man on the evolutional ladder, never conforming to one analytical or interpretational state, a unified mind even in coexistent bodies. The non-identifiable Thing, far removed from the more traditional, sympathetic monster such as Dracula or Frankenstein's creation, is terrifying because it is simply the better beast, and not unlike the virus it is a form without our limitations that will continue to adapt and consume until it is the planet's dominant organism. To the Thing we are the threat, we are the alien. The film's downbeat ending, with MacReady and Childs unsure whether the creature has been destroyed or is in fact one of them, suggests that man has met his match.

The Enlightenment subject suggests that reason and rationality form the basis of human progress, that the human race, our actions dictated by reason, has its limits. Man is a self-governing body, unified and complete. The alien body, conversely, is inhuman, liminal and incomplete, often limitless, a randomised facsimile of our own form, that compels us to anxiously consider our own image. The way in which the Thing absorbs it victims could be seen as something similar, a violation of the human form, its complexity and uniqueness. The alien genetically rapes that which it assimilates; that it is able to mimic the scientist's actions and mannerisms suggests that it also absorbs the scientist's personalities to some degree, stealing intellect and memory as well as genetic makeup. This violation of the human form in which nothing is sacrilege, a simplification the flesh of the body into a leaking, simplified substance, opposes the essentialist basis of inherent identity; here, identity is something to be taken.

It s interesting to compare Carpenter's remake to the 1951 original, The Thing from Another World, an allegorical portrayal of the McCarthy era, and the American fear of communist intrusion. This political theme, of constant threat to an American identity ever susceptible to violation from foreign bodies, is near neglected in Carpenter's1982 remake, released only two weeks after the more optimistic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Though this version retains the themes of paranoia and confused identity, Carpenter's movie plays on a far more relevant fear; that of contagion. The inability to detect the Thing by sight alone, and the scientist's reliance on blood tests, reflects the world-wide hysteria around the AIDS virus that had emerged just a few years earlier. The Thing is not a physical creature as such, but a contamination, an infiltration of the system, detectable through examination of bodily fluids. Whereas The Thing from Another World's characters are united by their paranoia, MacReady and company are isolated and distanced in The Thing, despite the film's smaller scale. When MacReady kills one of his comrades, we realise that the scientists may be as much at risk from each other's suspicions as they are from the alien. The notion of the sociological subject, of identity formed by significant others, is perverted by the presence of the posthuman Other; identity is now unclear, unreliable and dangerous. Though it is tempting to see the Hollywood monster as pure spectacle, it is not the monster that we consider when witnessing the amorphous, leaking forms of the Thing, but ourselves.

Though it bears little resemblance to the alien from Philip Kaufman's original The Thing from Another Planet, Carpenter's creation is not unique, owing more than a little to the impostors from either version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But whereas the body snatcher could love, feel and hate (or at the very least express impressions of such human emotions) the Thing displays no desires other than consumption and self preservation. In Kaufman's 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one of the most effective scenes involves our protagonist Bennell, played by Donald Sutherland, facing the cloned shell of his now deceased girlfriend Elizabeth, as she gains consciousness and stands naked before him. This moment of temptation, as Bennell is overwhelmed by panic and enchantment combined, is broken only when Elizabeth releases a piercing, inhuman scream, revealing that she will never be capable of replacing the dead partner. This scene possesses a certain level of identity anxiety that The Thing lacks, and asks a question that is at the centre of Tarkovsky's Solaris; could one come to accept that which is human only in appearance as a replacement for a deceased loved one?

Whereas Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers plays with themes of wide spread violation, an extra terrestrial insurrection which only Leonard Nimoy's peculiar psychiatrist eventually embraces, the protagonist in Solaris, confronted by a perfect replica of his dead wife, struggles to reject the warmth of illusion. This cold sexuality displayed by the replicas in Solaris and Body Snatchers, is an artificial empathy, almost android, with little understanding or appreciation of the human, takes the fear of violation in the opposite direction of The Thing's hunter/prey themes: man is replace by an equally civilised being, perhaps more so, which adapts naturally to man's normative identity. The body snatcher does not disrupt society but replace it with a new order, an order not suited toward man.

The 'uncanny valley', a hypothesis that suggests that the more human in appearance a robot may be, the more repulsive it will be received by a genuine human. Also applicable to dolls and computer generated characters, the uncanny valley suggests that we hold the body sacred, and become disturbed when something appears almost human... but not quite.

This is a far more complex identity anxiety to appreciate, in terms of visual or physical imagery, than the 'Other body' of the Thing. Giger's Xenomorph design, from Ridley Scott's Alien, is a humanoid, relatable evolution of the shark; engineered and phallic in design, externally based on both human genitalia and machine parts. The Xenomorph is ritually parasitic and sexless, both savage and motherly, vile and alluring. Strangely, the Thing lacks this fetishist attractiveness; when it does take on human parts, they are either a perfect mimic, or stretched and disfigured beyond association. But it does fascinate, if only through indifference, and for the film's stunning use of animatronic technology, itself a mechanical imitation of natural life. Though it is sexless (or at the very least, its gender is unidentifiable) the creature shares two common elements with man, a drive to consume and a desire to keep warm.

The case studies we have looked at, such as The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, are not set in futuristic dystopias or idealistic utopias, but grounded in our own present. The 'it could happen to you' impact of these films should not be overlooked. The Thing is a hideous half-resemblance of man, an amorphous, monstrous fake that not unlike the infection that it metaphorically represents, wants nothing more than to survive; to find food and shelter. In this respect, we are not so different. Science fiction has represented the posthuman in as many ways as it has the human, emphasizing that:

The Thing preys not only on the fear of contagion, but on the loss of individuality. Of all of the recent science fiction 'horrors' it reveals the human condition as much as it tells a good monster story. The films human characters are almost indistinguishable from one another. Cold and impersonal, they are a study of the human race as a whole than any one specimen. The protagonist MacReady's identity is defined not by similarity to his fellow men, but from his differences to the alien. In Carpenter's movie, the posthuman Other and the human form are indeterminable, and identity is indefinite.

Carl Doherty created under supervision of his doctor, who conceived the criticism and categorisation of every film that Carl watches as a way of tackling his obsessive compulsive disorder. Carl has now watched 23 films, and is not entirely sure he liked any of them. Carl currently resides in Southend-on-Sea where he shares an abandoned warehouse with a buffy-tufted marmoset named Tautilus Samson. Together they have all sorts of adventures. He is currently completing his second non-fiction book How to Build a Quantum Flux Capacitor in 8 Easy Steps, the sequel to the bestselling Manipulating Time and Space on a Budget. Or maybe not.