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The year of the Dragon April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Entertainment.
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For a mythical creature, the dragon boasts a real history.

From dragons drawn in China 5,000 years ago to Puff the Magic Dragon to the dragon of Cheyenne Mountain, this beast has lurked in the human imagination for centuries. Don’t think the long dance with dragons is over. Most recently, the dragon has been in the limelight in the fantasy world of Alagaesia, thanks to author Christopher Paolini’s three-part trilogy, “The Inheritance.”

His first book, “Eragon,” was made into a film that was just released on DVD, and the third and final book is rumored to be coming out this year, although the publisher says it could be as far off as 2010. And although there’s debate on whether the “girl dragon” will play a big role in “Shrek the Third,” which comes out May 18, just go to the movie’s Web site and see the first thing that pops up > www.shrek.com 

But dragons can be far more than light entertainment. Most dragon myths have deep links to the spiritual and magical. They burn through the pages of a vast array of sacred literature, there’s the Hindu mythology of Indra, god of the sky and giver of rain, and the biblical description of a fire-breathing leviathan in Job 41:18-19: “His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn. Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.”

Dragon myths seem to have popped up independently across the globe, Europe, Asia, North America, Africa. We even have a hometown myth, as the queer shapes atop Cheyenne Mountain gave rise to a dragon myth among the Ute Indians. Theories abound as to why dragon myths are so widespread. Perhaps it’s because the discovery of dinosaur bones fueled visions of giant reptiles for ancient peoples. Perhaps what we call “the dragon” is an amalgam of basic human fears that crop up in every culture: reptiles, teeth, great size and fire.

What the dragon myths mean is as ever-changing as the dragons themselves. In Asia, dragons often symbolized power and vitality, a symbol many emperors in China used to represent themselves. In Europe, most dragons were malevolent, a dangerous creature deep in a cave that must be slayed by the hero to gain a great treasure.

Master myth collector Joseph Campbell discussed dragons with Bill Moyers in their book “The Power of Myth.” He concluded that the European dragon, sitting in his cave on a hoard of gold that he’ll never use, represents the part of us that keeps us from getting the most out of life, the part of us that must be slayed.

Like the multiheaded Hydra in Greek mythology, however, for every dragon slayed, two more seem to appear. The dragons in “The Hobbit,” Dungeons & Dragons and video games are carrying an ancient myth into a new age.


– Greece: The Lernean (or Lernaean) Hydra sprouted new heads when one was cut off. In Greek mythology, Hercules fought and killed the Hydra. Also in Greek mythology, Jason killed a Hydra to get the Golden Fleece.

– Vikings: They often had dragon figureheads on the prow of their ships to endow their warriors with good sight and cunning.

– Mexico: Quetzalcoatl is the winged and feathered serpent from Aztec legends. Some think the myth of Quetzalcoatl started with a bird with long tail feathers that looked like a flying serpent, the Quetzal.

– Africa: Amphisbaena is a dragon with two heads, one at the tip of its tail. It is usually portrayed with scales on its body, feathered wings and feet of a rooster, and if one head holds the tail in its mouth it can roll around like a hoop.

– Indonesia: Komodo dragon, the only real “dragon,” is the world’s largest lizard at nearly 10 feet long and is an apex predator; not discovered by Westerners until the 20th century.

– North America: The Piasa was a legend created by the Illini Indians in modern-day Illinois. The birdlike creature had the body of a dragon, the head of a person and a long tail, and lived near the Mississippi River. This dragon did not bother humans until one day when it found dead bodies and tasted the meat. It liked the taste and started hunting humans.

WHAT IS A DRAGON? > Here are the common characteristics of dragons:
– reptilian
– breathes or spits fire or poison
– guards treasure, knowledge or another resource and will fight to the death for it
– lives in or is associated with water
– influences storms, rain or wind
– can fly, even if it doesn’t have wings
– magical powers
– most are smart and speak in riddles

WELL-KNOWN DRAGONS > You may recognize these fire-breathing denizens of lore.

– Puff the Magic Dragon. Made famous by the Peter, Paul & Mary song, Puff is powerful but gentle, and represents the childhood of Jackie Paper. When the boy stops believing in him, it quiets his “fearless roar.”

– Smaug. The dragon in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” is a wily old beast with a magnificent hoard of treasure, but Bilbo Baggins finds his weak spot.

– Dragon from “Shrek.” The girl dragon, who somehow mates with Eddie Murphy’s donkey character and gives birth to a “dronkey.”

– Saphira. The dragon that Eragon finds and befriends in the “Eragon” novel and movie.

– Draco the constellation. A far northern constellation. The most famous myth about the constellation holds that Draco represents Ladon, the hundred-headed dragon that guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides and was slain by Hercules.

– Leviathan. The biblical dragon that appears in Job as a fire-breathing sea monster.

– Nessie. The Loch Ness Monster in Scotland falls firmly into the realm of dragon mythology.

– Beowulf and the Dragon. After the evil dragon sears the countryside in rage, King Beowulf decides to take him on. Neither combatant survives the fight.

– Baal (or Bel) and the Dragon. From chapter 14 of the book of Daniel, a deuterocanonical biblical text that does not appear in most Protestant bibles, is this story of Daniel killing a dragon by making cakes of pitch, fat and hair. The dragon ate them and burst open.

– St. George and the Dragon. The patron saint of England slew a mighty dragon and saved a virgin princess who was about to be sacrificed. Although the story is thought to have been brought back from Asia by crusaders, the Christian retelling cast the dragon as paganism, and St. George’s victory becomes the victory of the faithful over heathens. St. George’s feast day is April 23.


MySpace Skins party > you have been warned! April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet.
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Two British parents were left with a 20,000-pound ($47,681) bill after a party advertised by their teenage daughter on the MySpace social networking site attracted hundreds of revellers who trashed their home.

Despite warnings from her mother not to have “any kids or drink in the house” while her parents went on a caravan holiday, 17-year-old Rachel Bell advertised her “Skins” themed party, named after a British television series about promiscuous, drug-taking teenagers, on MySpace for Easter Monday.

Bell expected about 30 or 40 people to arrive, but instead more than 200 invaded the house in Woodstone Village, County Durham, northern England, some from as far away as London, carrying what neighbours described as “a suitcase full of alcohol” and wreaking mayhem in the quiet town.

Her parents Alan and Elaine returned home the following day to find plastic buckets filled with vomit, cigarette butts littered throughout the house, and even Elaine’s wedding dress pulled out from a wardrobe and urinated on.

“It’s worse than a burglary, I can’t believe it,” Elaine Bell said. “Whoever has come in here are worse than animals, it’s like house rape. They’ve been sick everywhere, urinated and trashed the house. It will take a month for it to be professionally cleaned and we are having to stay in temporary accommodation.”

Rachel Bell was staying with a friend on Thursday for a “cooling off” period which she agreed to with her mother, while her parents dealt with the devastation in their home.

Her MySpace advertisement for the “Skins” party was subtitled, “Let’s trash the average family-sized house disco party,” though the teenager denies posting the message.

“They’ve pulled light fittings from the ceiling and I can’t believe someone would come in and do something like this,” Alan Bell said. “There’s cigarette burns on furniture and mattresses and it’s a wonder they haven’t burnt the house down.”

Durham police said the incident would be investigated, with a spokesman saying that they planned to “speak in due course to as many of the party-goers as we can.”

‘Harry Potter’ book a record breaker April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books.
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He is not expected to ride his flying broomstick into bookstores for 100 more days, but already British boy wizard Harry Potter is whipping up some magic at bookstore chain Barnes and Noble.

Barnes and Noble says advance orders for author JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows have topped 500,000 copies, breaking the bookseller chain’s record for the most advance requests in its history. The book is the seventh in the series of hit novels that have thrilled readers and been made into big-budget Hollywood movies.

Speculation has been rife that Rowling, who became the world’s first billion-dollar author on the success of the Harry Potter books and films, may kill Harry off in book seven, but confirmation of Harry’s possible demise awaits publication. Copies of Deathly Hallows officially go on sale on July 21.

Room for groom for improvement April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in MetroSexual.
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Men need grooming tips just as much as women. Here’s some expert advice.

Just like a car, a man’s grooming routine needs a regular service. We asked the experts to compile a manual to update every guy’s regime.

Close shave > secrets for the closest, smoothest shave.

step 1 > Proper cleansing is the key to a smooth and comfortable shave. Warm and cleanse skin while in the shower, or use a damp towel; warm water helps soften the beard and prepares the skin for shaving. Hot water can dehydrate skin. Rinse with warm water. Apply cleanser to warm, damp skin to exfoliate, prevent razor burn and leave skin smooth.

step 2 > Apply a thin layer of a pre-shave oil to lubricate the skin, soften beard hairs and help shield the skin against razor burn.

step 3 > Smooth a thin, even layer of shaving cream over the face and neck. Don’t use too much or the razor will clog and skip. Before you begin, check the direction your beard grows, the general rule being to shave in that direction. To avoid cuts and nicks and achieve a close shave, use your free hand to keep the skin as taut and flat as possible. Use short strokes, starting with the sideburns, cheeks and neck. Finish with the upper lip and chin. Rinse your face with cool water, then gently pat dry. Don’t rub.

step 4 > As a final step in protecting against razor burn, apply an aftershave balm that contains soothing aloe vera and strong antioxidants to help disinfect, hydrate and soothe.

Complexion correction > advice for every skin need.

oily skin > Use a foaming, non-drying, cleansing gel morning and night. Apply with a moist, round sponge to provide better exfoliation and deep cleansing. Follow with a gel-based moisturiser. A complexion scrub used twice a week will help eliminate dirt and grime and prevent blackheads.

dry skin > Use a moisturiser containing humectants and oils to keep skin moist all day; look for ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate, dimethicone, algae, glycerin, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil and grapeseed oil. Moist skin should feel dewy, without being greasy to the touch. In cold weather, apply a soothing and protective serum prior to your moisturiser to prevent potential broken capillaries and rashes.

anti-ageing > Invest in a rich eye cream that will act like a second layer of skin around the eyes. Use morning and night and follow with ananti-ageing moisturiser.

Back to the future > The most effective, long-term way to get rid of back hair is to invest in laser treatments. Generally, a course of laser treatments reduces hair growth by 80 to 95 per cent. The laser emits energy at a specific wavelength, which is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle, injuring and disabling it. The pulse is controlled to produce only enough heat to damage the follicle and not the surrounding skin. It takes between four to eight treatments to achieve optimal results. Patients experience varying degrees of discomfort depending on the energy levels used, the skin type, coarseness of hair and the individual’s pain tolerance. After treatment, the area can feel mildly sunburnt, which we minimise with a cooling gel.

Smells like… > the inside info on buying a scent for yourself, or for the man in your life.

judge the scent by its box > The scent and packaging are usually created in sync, so if you’re drawn to the box, you’ll probably like the scent. If the look is modern and contemporary, chances are the fragrance will suit a younger, trendier guy. Likewise, masculine and traditional fragrances usually come in square, solid bottles with more subtle, simple packaging to suit a more mature or conservative man.

culture club > Men from different cultures tend to go for different types of scents. European and Middle Eastern men tend to go for something more exotic, with woody, musk or amber notes. The more heady scents suit their dark, olive skins. Fair men from Anglo-Saxon backgrounds suit softer scents with earthy and aromatic ingredients. Asian men love light fragrances with citrus or soft floral notes.

colour code > The colour of the actual fragrance can give a clue to the type of scent inside the bottle. Dark amber fragrances are usually a heady musk or an exotic woody oriental. Fragrances that are almost colourless are generally citrus or water fragrances that are light and fresh. The rule is the darker the colour, the heavier the scent.

Great names for great companies April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business.
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Some businessmen come up with great names for their companies.

One of the best was The Happy Bird, a shop which sold hunting equipment including shotguns, cartridges, boots etc.

But I think a cabaret owner in Lakatamia, Cyprus, has bettered it. His sleaze den is called Sodoma Nightclub. It does not leave much to the imagination. No man could ever tell his wife he had gone there by mistake, not knowing what he would find.