More Bucks For Barbecue

Food prices are indeed rising. This is something most of us hear on the news or read in the paper (or the paper’s website). The reality, for me and for some people I know, only really set in just recently.

Like any good ol’ American, I wanted to grill some burgers and hotdogs this weekend since the kids are coming over for a little get-together. It’s quite soon after Mother’s Day but they felt like stopping by for a weekend, plus the friends and neighbors I gave a few calls to. I went to the local supermarket to get my meat. I came back with a little less than I expected. Still enough, but the prices surprised me a bit. I didn’t bring enough money to get everything I wanted.

According to experts, prices of staples like meat, eggs and milk will keep rising for at least a few years. The common American is finally feeling the sting. We’re finally starting to feel what the rest of the world is feeling, and I agree that it’s not very pleasant. Especially if the trend continues like the experts predict, and at this rate it definitely will.

Being forced to buy less when planning a party is always hard, and this is no better. Next time, I’m bringing more cash.

Top 4 Dangerous Airports

For every great thing in the world, there are equivalents which are not so pleasant. For every top-of-the-line cell phone model, there’s one with the barest of features and will probably cause cancer! For every wonderful, sparkling, luxurious resort, there’s a beach near a crime-ridden area, filled with litter and an old house near it to rent. And for every large airport filled with amenities and safety precautions, there are ones which are essentially an airstrip and a building. Here are those airports that have earned the title of most dangerous in the world.

1. Lukla Airport, Nepal – The people who attempt to climb Mount Everest know this place very well. Renamed in January 2008 as Tenzing-Hillary airport, after the two men who first ascended the highest mountain in the world, this airport is where all Everest climber aspirants land to start their journey. The runway is around half a kilometer long, 20m wide, with an incline being a staggering 20%! With a 700-meter drop on one end and a mountain in the other, and the airport being so high up, this is another added risk to adventurers. There have been five recorded plane accidents. Nevertheless, the people who do come here consider it as part of the risk they signed up for.

2. Courchevel, France – A ski area in the French Alps, it is the largest linked ski area in the world. This is the first resort in France to be constructed from scratch, as opposed to the others which were built around an already existing village. Courchevel’s airport is infamous for having a short runway of around half a kilometer and a gradient of 18.5%! Pilots have to land on the higher incline to slow down enough, and takeoffs must be done towards the decline to pick up speed.

3. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba – The only airport in Saba, in the Caribbean, it is well-known to flyers because of the methods of landing and taking off for the small airport. There have been no tragedies there, but it is still very dangerous. One side has high hills while all the others drop into the sea. The runway length is a bone-chilling 396m, only allowing small aircraft and helicopters to land! The tower is an advisory service only and does not provide air traffic control. You also can’t refuel, so tough luck if you run out.

4. Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Martin – A very busy airport in the Eastern Caribbean, it is a major gateway for other airports nearby. Its runway of a little above two kilometers means that large jets have to fly low to land, and beachgoers at nearby Maho Beach are often treated to an up close and personal view of a big plane. Signs are placed nearby so no unfortunate spotter would be blown back by any plane’s powerful engines.

The ease of air travel allows lots of airports to pop up, including not so safe ones. Been to any of these airports? Speak up and tell us about your experience!

4 Amazing Things People Ate

Remember when you were a kid, and you swallowed that piece of gum accidentally? These people are kind of like that, only they didn’t think it was so chewy. Or did they? Remember the superheroes that could eat anything? Well, these people aren’t exactly heroes, but they ate things that we weren’t meant to eat!

1. A plane. But how can you eat one of those? Michel Lotito did. He broke a Cessna 150 into little pieces and ate it over two years. The term iron stomach now has a whole new meaning.

2. Rocks. Wait, people eat rocks? A lady from China did. She ate 20 cobblestones, which she thought would pass through her system. The rocks eventually had to be surgically removed.

3. Frogs and rats. Not just frogs and rats. Living ones. Yes, alive. Yang Dingcai from China has been eating them for 40 years, which he claims benefited his health. Whatever floats your boat, old man.

4. Hair. But hair isn’t a big deal! For one 18-year old girl, it is. A short lifetime of chewing her own hair led to a 10-pound hairball taking up her entire stomach, which had to be operated on.

Ate anything like these lately?

Everyday is Mother’s Day

I know I just wrote something about Mother’s Day facts, but I want to extend this a little further. You see, for me, that day is just another holiday. It’s a holiday for our special and beloved mothers, sure, but how is that different from every day? It doesn’t take one Sunday a year to show your mom you care.

My friends are always puzzled why I don’t do anything overtly special for Mother’s Day, aside from the call and small gifts here and there. It is because I try to make most days that special day. To be honest, I’m not close to my mother. She’s really piling on the years and getting senile, causing quite an annoyance sometimes. I still love her though, and she knows it. And I show it. Love is all she has left in her life now.

My kids also learned that lesson. They love their mother, no matter how far away they are, and they call and email at least once a week. Mother’s Day is just an excuse for them to visit. They also visit at other times, too. It makes me happy that they still care for us. I must have done something right.

Mother’s Day isn’t that special. Every single day is much more.

5 Interesting Facts About Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has come and gone! I made sure it was a special day for my dearest, even though I couldn’t take her to the resort she likes this year. The kids came to visit too, so it was a wonderful day for us all. To celebrate this special holiday for mothers everywhere, I’ve compiled these little tidbits about this special occasion!

1. There are at least 30 dates for Mother’s Day! The one we Americans know is on the second Sunday of May (May 11 this year), which is also the most common date it’s celebrated. March 8 is the next most common, which is mostly celebrated in some parts of Asia and Europe. British and Irish people celebrate Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is March 2 this year. Indonesia has theirs on December 22! If you forget the date there, at least you can claim your Christmas present is also for Mother’s Day!

2. Mongolia celebrates Mother’s Day twice! March 8 marks International Women’s Day in this country, which is treated like Mother’s Day. June 1 sees Mothers and Children’s Day, which is also celebrated! It’s the only country which celebrates this occasion twice. The moms there must be quite happy with all the attention!

3. Anna Marie Jarvis is the woman responsible for Mother’s Day in America. When her mother died on May 9, 1905, she devoted her time to making Mother’s Day a holiday for mothers everywhere. Her mother was an advocate of the holiday, joining campaigns for peace, worker’s safety and health, ever since the Civil War ended. It was first celebrated in 1907, with only a few people. In 1908, it was 407 children and their mothers. The holiday became official in 1910, and a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson came in 1914. By then it had finally turned into the holiday to appreciate mothers, not just for peace.

4. Mothering Sunday is deeply rooted in the church. It was originally a mass held in one’s mother church on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Families gathered at such days, and mothers and children were often reunited for one day of the year. Later, it became the day that servants would be allowed to visit their mothers. Today, it is interchangeable with Mother’s Day. It was also called Simnel Sunday, Rose Sunday and Refreshment Sunday before, due to certain traditions on the day. Talk about a deep history!

5. Ancient Greeks and Romans also celebrated Mother’s Day! Although it wasn’t called that specifically, the two peoples celebrated dates related to their gods. Greeks honored Cybele, great mother of the Greek gods, at a date around mid-March. Romans had a holiday called Matronalia, dedicated to Juno. At the same time, mothers got gifts on that day.

Pretty interesting, hm? Mother’s Day is a holiday rooted within our society, as appreciation to those hardworking women who gave birth and took care of us. Did you give your mom a present this year? If not, at least give her a call!

3 Things You Should Know Before Going To China

The Beijing Olympics are getting closer and closer, and more people are considering going to the most populated country in the world to watch. I don’t really condone China and their policies, but for those who want to make the trip, here are a few important reminders.

1. China has only one time zone. All places in China use Beijing’s time, which is GMT+8, no matter where in the country you are. On the off chance you wander quite far, don’t panic when the sun sets early!

2. There are three units of currency. They’re all called Renminbi. The primary unit is the yuan. The jiao is a tenth of a yuan, and the fen is a tenth of a jiao. The latter two are available in 1, 2 and 5 units while yuan is available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. The exchange rate hovers at around 7 yuan per US dollar. You can’t use the dollar in most places so convert quickly. Also, you can’t bring Renminbi into the country.

3. Mind your manners. In China, everyone gets food from a big plate, with each person having smaller plates. Chinese hosts also love to place food on your plate. Don’t refuse! This displays their politeness and friendship. Leave it on the plate if you are full.

There are more things but I feel these are the most essential. What tips can you give?

A Family Lost

I want to take a break from the trivia to tell a story. I know a young man. He was 21 years old, had a stable job, and recently got married to the girl of his dreams. They weren’t rich, but they were very happy. He was going to get their own place once he saved up enough money, since his parents were putting up the couple in the meantime.

It was taking his young wife a while to go into labor, so she told him to go back home and sleep. He did so, and it was a few hours later that the call came.

Excited, much like a first-time father was, he hurriedly dressed and set out to catch a bus. He crossed a few streets, being careful but quick.

It was then when fate decided to frown on him. A truck driver, a very drunk one, did not see the red light, nor saw him cross the street. It was only when his body was flying in the air did the driver realize what he had done.

The wife didn’t know of his husband’s death until after she had given birth.

It’s a very sad tale, and it happens all over the world. This is why I never drink before driving. And for those who get behind the wheel when under the influence, it will only end in tears. Yours or the family you just destroyed.