Saturday, July 21, 2012


                            Marion Pellicano Ambrose
Ever since the first word of the tragic shooting at the Colorado theater hit the air, conservatives and liberals have been pointing fingers and crying “their fault”.
ABC News was just itching for a right wing connection, so they found one of the many people named “James Holmes” in the Denver area who happens to have a Tea Party connection even though they didn’t know for sure if it was the murderer. Here’s the conversation:

Stephanolpoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.

Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.

Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

Of course, it was a middle aged different “James Holmes” which ABC must have known, but they couldn’t resist taking the shot.
Conservatives have jumped on the band wagon saying that the liberal media have allowed violent, dark movies like Batman to mentally damage young people like James Holmes, and that’s what caused him to go on his shooting spree.  While I have to  agree that movies are way too violent and filled with sex and deviant behavior these days, I don’t think that was the single ,deciding factor that made this man murder 12 people and injure many more.

 As I switched from channel to channel, I heard about the need for gun control and how NRA was to blame for the tragedy, how the school system has let society down and caused the situation, how parents have failed in raising their children. There were so many fingers pointing I couldn’t keep track of who was blaming who! (or is that whom?)

Anyway, I finally saw one person on TV who was making perfect sense. He wasn’t pointing a finger or placing blame, although more than almost anyone, he had that right. He was the boyfriend of Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring young sportscaster who was killed in the theater shooting. When the reporter attempted to have him take a stand on the gun control issue, he refused and said all he wanted was for everyone to concentrate on the victims, on Jessica. He’s right. This isn’t a time for politics.  As both President Obama and Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stated, this is a time for prayer and reflection. They both had the good sense and sensitivity to put politics aside to mourn for the dead and comfort their families and the injured.

Perhaps in a few days, we can talk about gun control, violence in movies, and all the rest. But not today, today is for remembering.

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 19th: Ramadan 2012

Tonight is the beginning of the Muslin holiday season of Ramadan.

Ramadan is celebrated by 1 billion Muslims worldwide. But if you’re not one of them, you may not know what the holiday is about. From being kind to those less fortunate, to putting a cap on lying, the holiday has a lot of great principles to offer—no matter what your religion.

First, the basics: Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which was first penned in about 600 A.D. The Islamic calendar is lunar, not solar, and unlike a holiday like Christmas (which falls on the same date every year) Ramadan begins on a different date each year—whenever the first sliver of the crescent moon, in the ninth month, appears.

For kids, the most striking thing about Ramadan is the fasting. People who celebrate the holiday eat only when it’s dark outside. From the first light of dawn, until the sun goes down, Muslims don’t eat or drink anything. For kids, the concept of no food can be hard to swallow! But not eating anything gives Muslims time to focus on other things.

For example, during Ramadan, celebrants spend more time with family. They pledge not to tell any lies, not to gossip, and not to be greedy. Those too sick or too old to fast are asked to feed one needy person each day of the month. And everyone who celebrates Ramadan is asked to do as many good deeds as they possibly can over the course of the holiday.

“The prophet Muhammad was very generous at all times, but in some portions of the scripture it says that he was generous like the wind during the month of Ramadan,” says Mohamed El-sanousi, Director of Community Outreach and Communications for the Islamic Society of America, the largest umbrella group of Muslims in the U.S. “This is a month of giving. Of healing and caring. It is a time for people to remember those who are less fortunate and an opportunity to reinforce the spiritual reasons behind fighting hunger and poverty,” he says. Even if you don’t celebrate Ramadan, here are a few things you can do to teach your kids a little more about it:

  • Be kind to others. Sure, Santa may not be looking to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice for another few months. And trying to get into the “good book” for Yom Kippur isn’t for several more weeks. But every day is a good day to teach your kids the importance of helping others. This is a key principle of Ramadan.

  • Make more time for the people you love. During Ramadan, people make an extra effort to visit with friends and family. Make it a point to plan get-togethers with the people in your life that are most important. Drop in on an elderly relative. Invite all the cousins over for Family Fridays all month long. Use Ramadan to jumpstart a regular routine of visiting with friends and family and teach your kids that keeping those ties strong should be a major goal all year long.

  • Plan dinner in the dark. Pick a day during the month to show your kids what it would be like to celebrate Ramadan. Invite them to fast for the day, or for a portion of it. Then plan a special dinner for after sunset. “The tradition is to break the fast with dates, water, and milk,” says El-sanousi, “That is the same for all. But the dinner afterwards is very different from culture to culture within the Islamic community.
 It seems to me that everyone if every faith can agree that being kind, making time for loved ones, and appreciating what you'ce got are good practices for our children.  So during Ramadan, Advent, Passover or whatever holy season you celebrate, take the time to show your children these basic actions, and how practicing them brings us all that much closer together!
                        Oh, and Ramadan Mubarak”, or Happy Ramadan!


The Sun is your ruling planet Leo. Of course the Sun is not really a planet; it is the center of our solar system. And, as above, so below! You shine as brightly as the Golden globe because you reflect the characteristics of the heavenly body that rules your star sign!
You too are a ball of dynamic energy. You are warm, bright and self-motivated, and you want to make an impression in everything you do — your work, your love life and your social life.

Because you are extremely generous, you expect others to be just as big-hearted. So when you see others holding back, you find it hard to not jump in and try to change that. You want to see everyone giving to the best of their ability. To other people, you can look like a bit of a tyrant, asking for more than they can give.

When you are feeling upbeat, you carry people away with your energy, and they love you for it. You love sharing your joys and successes with the people you love, and when you do, you are magnanimous — you never give a thought to getting anything in return. There are few star signs who really understand the nature of giving, but Leo seems to have perfected the art.

You also have a great sense of timing. When you offer a friendly word or gesture of encouragement, you pick the exact moment when it will have greatest impact. You always seem to be in the right place at the right time. You’re lucky this way.

Try to remember that your strong sense of self can be misinterpreted by others — understatement could sometimes be a more effective way for you to show your loyalty and express your generosity.
Some people think you are a show-off, but this too is a mistake. Your dramatic flair is part and parcel of your zest for life, your love of people and your optimism. For you, life is a stage on which you can perform and express your talents.

You may not be a performer on the entertainment stage, but Mick Jagger, a Leo, is, and he is a very good example of the strutting, egotistical nature of Leo. Mick exudes charisma, creativity and a personal style all his own. Not only that, but he has embedded his brand name as No. 1 in the rock industry, decade after decade. On the stage of life, you too will want to be No. 1, and to present yourself as someone special, with unique talents.

Loyalty is your trademark. People know you are a genuine friend who is always ready to lend a hand. Even if you can’t help someone with their specific problem, you still manage to send out a warm and reassuring vibration that makes them feel better.

On the other hand, you also have a need to ‘one-up’ others. A little more humility wouldn’t hurt. You will get plenty of praise and recognition for your energy and your self-motivation — you don’t need to big-note yourself. People will instantly recognize your abilities, and many will look up to you. Try not to let this go to your head; remind yourself occasionally to ‘get off your high horse’.

Leo’s totem is the lion, lord of the jungle — full of muscularity, grace and ferocity. This means that your physical appetites and general level of energy are extraordinarily high. You need to be physically mobile and fully engaged in meaningful work and social activities to feel good.

You are a born leader: people naturally gravitate to you, and look to you for guidance and security. This is especially true if you are born in the very first part of Leo - that is you're born between 24th July and 3rd August. At times you can seem a hard taskmaster, demanding excellence from them — this is just a reflection of your own actions, your own approach, but keep an eye out for it, and keep it under control.

For Leos born between the 4th and 14th of August, Jupiter and Sagittarius have a strong sway over your life. You are adventurous and love to travel, learn about new cultures and explores the world and people. Mostly easygoing you attract many friends and seem to be in the right place at the right time. You're one of the lucky Leos.

Are you a Leo born between the 15th and 23rd August? Then your fighting spirit is second to none! Nothing gets in the road of your ambitions so its quite clear that you will achieve what you set your heart upon. My only comment is that you should never tread on anyone's toes on the way up the ladder of success. You might just have to deal with them on the way down!

Generally you have a pioneering spirit; this is connected to your desire to be the best. So while you could be quite happy with a life where you follow other people’s rules and regulations, mostly you’ll much prefer to blaze your own trail.

This means you will carve out your own niche and make a name for yourself. You’ll shine in almost everything you do, and will without a doubt make your mark in the world — you can reach the top of the ladder, no matter what field you choose.

Three Classes of Leo

Being born between the 24th of July on the 5th of August makes you Leo through and through. Your charisma and power are undeniable and from early age you have had a strong sense of your personal destiny. As a result don't be surprised to find yourself assuming positions of authority and power and life. Some of you may even hold high office, become interested in politics or at this community work and will certainly become the best in your field.

As a Leo born between the 6th on the 14th of August you have an adventurous nature and like to explore the different avenues of life to make your life more exciting and interesting. Culture, travel and higher studies are some of the different avenues which will draw you away from a conventional lifestyle to an independent type of life. You have a great love of freedom and will never let anyone dictate the terms of your existence.

Impatience and a hot-headed nature are some of the problems you face being born between the 15th and the 23rd of August. Once you can bring these emotions under control you have a much better chance of not only being successful but finding happiness in your personal affairs as well. Because of the strong influence of Mars and Aries on your birthday you have a strong ego and need to understand that others may just be right sometimes. Notwithstanding these negative traits, you do have a very generous nature and are affectionate to the ones you care for.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

July 18th is Cow Appreciation Day!

While Chick-fil-A celebrated Cow appreciation on July 13th by offering free chicken to people who dressed up as cows, the real, true, honest to goodness cow appreciation day is July 18th. In rural communities all around the country, folks will participate in activities such as butter and ice cream making competitions and  “Cowlege Bowls” where contestants answer questions about cows and dairy farming for prizes. And don’t forget a riveting game of Dairy Bingo! Cow costume judging, “mooing” contests and cow arts and crafts will be the order of the day. So what will you do for Official Cow Appreciation Day?

How to Make a Cow Using a Clay Pot

Make this cute cow using a terra cotta clay pot and a few other supplies.

Materials Needed:

Wipe down your terra cotta pot with a damp cloth and let dry completely.

Turn the clay pot upside down and paint the clay pot and wooden ball head white. Put them aside to dry,

Once the paint is dry, glue the wooden ball onto the bottom of the clay pot. Paint a nose, eyes, and mouth on the wooden ball. I also painted black spots on the cow head and body. For the face of my cow in the photos, I used simple rub-on decals! Once all your paint is dry, spray it with the clear acrylic sealer.

Cut ears and horns out of craft foam and glue them in place. Cut two feet out of craft foam, and glue them onto the bottom edge of the clay pot. Your cow is now complete.