Archive for February, 2011

National Pancake Day

February 28, 2011

National Pancake Day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, is a tradition celebrated by Catholics throughout Europe and English-speaking countries around the world.  Every year, this tradition falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent, the season of fasting.  In most countries with sizable Catholic populations, Pancake Day is held to consume foods that contain ingredients such as sugars, fats, and eggs, which cannot be eaten during Lent.  Enjoying a final feast of pancakes before Lent is a way to not waste certain ingredients because, by the end of Lent, these ingredients would have since spoiled.

Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday — call it what you will, but foods that contain sugar, fats, and eggs are restricted by the time Lent begins.  IHOP gets into the spirit by offering free pancakes.The International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, is a chain of restaurants that sells breakfast foods.  They are most famous for their short stack pancakes.  Beginning in March 2006, IHOP commemorated National Pancake Day in its own way by giving away free short stacks, while asking in return that costumers leave a small donation to contribute to a local charity.  Each year, they raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities.  So far, $5.3 million have been raised for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  Last year, over $2.1 million was raised.  Their goal is to raise $2.3 million this year.  Since the beginning of National Pancake Day at IHOP, 10.1 million buttermilk pancakes have been given away.  On Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 starting at 7AM and ending at 10PM, IHOP will be giving away free pancakes.  Make sure to head there early!

UPDATE

IHOP‘s National Pancake Day takes place on Tuesday, February 28, 2012.  Get there early for your free short stack of pancakes!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

Recent Eruptions in the Philippines

February 28, 2011

Mount Bulusan, a volcano located near the capital city of Manila, erupted on February 21, 2011.  The eruption sent thick, dark smoke into the sky and caused a shower of rocks in the immediate area.  The huge eruption covered the town of Irosin as well as four farming towns in the Sorsogon Province.  The dark cloud cover has made it impossible for light to pass through, causing zero visibility in the town of Irosin.  Despite zero visibility, officials checked the town for any damages or casualties, none of which have been reported so far.

Mount Bulusan, a volcano located near the capital city of Manila in the Philippines, has erupted, sending dark smoke into the sky and causing a shower of rocks in the immediate area.Ever since November of last year, multiple steam-driven blasts have occurred at Mount Bulusan, which has led Chief Volcanologist, Renato Solidum, to believe that eruptions will continue in the next few weeks.  This volcano is located in what is known as “The Ring of Fire”, amongst 23 other active volcanoes along the edge of the Pacific Plate.  This tragic event has forced over 1,000 people to head to emergency shelters although there have not been any government-ordered evacuations in the communities near the volcano.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

Blockbuster Calls It Quits

February 24, 2011

Blockbuster Video had been a fixture in the American household, providing entertainment to millions of people.  Unfortunately, thanks to the advent of newer technologies and a new business model that does not require a storefront, Blockbuster's days are numbered.Blockbuster has always been the leading movie rental company in the United States.  However, cheaper alternatives have hastened their demise.  It was sad to see them file for bankruptcy in September 2010.  Almost 960 stores are being shut down all over the country.  With competition from newcomers such as Redbox and Netflix, it seems as though Blockbuster has become part of the past.

There are many reasons why Blockbuster has had to close down their stores.  For example, the technology keeps changing and, frankly, there is no need to go rent movies when you can get them from the comfort of your own home.  Netflix’s 10.6 million subscribers can order movies online or receive them in the mail.  Meanwhile, Redbox still requires you to drive to a kiosk and rent movies, but with a price of only $1 per night, this option is much more economical.  There is also On Demand by Time Warner Cable, where you can order new releases and old classics without even leaving your couch.  Blockbuster has tried making changes to its video rental stores, but they just aren’t making as much money as they used to. Blockbuster’s days are numbered.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Joie Montoya

Why do Some Movies Take Home More Gold?

February 23, 2011

Over the past 83 years, award shows have been created to honor different movies, directors, actors, and many other people in the film industry.  Deciding who takes home the gold can be a long process.  There are a few rules regarding nominations for an award, such as: the movie must be in the previous calendar year; producers must submit a form giving credit to the right people as well as list the category they feel the nominee belongs in by a certain deadline; and the length of the film differs between ceremonies and categories.  Voting for the nominees is done by members of each award ceremony’s academy.  A couple of months before each awards show, members are sent a ballot and copies of the films that were entered to be nominated.  After the list of nominees has been downsized to just five hopefuls, members are sent a final ballot in which they choose one winner for each category.  Without further ado, here is a list of the all-time top ten winners from the Oscar Awards, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and BAFTAs.

  1. Various award shows have been created to honor different movies, directors, actors, and many other people in the film industry.  Spanning the Oscar Awards, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and BAFTAs, here is a list of the all-time top ten movies that have won the most awards.The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” holds 19 awards.
  2. Slumdog Millionaire” also holds 19 awards, tying for first with “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”
  3. Gandhi” received 17 awards throughout all four ceremonies.
  4. Schindler’s List” won 17 awards as well.
  5. Titanic” won a total of 15 awards.
  6. Ben-Hur” earned 15 awards, too.
  7. The English Patient” received 15 as well.
  8. On the Waterfront” won 11 awards.
  9. My Fair Lady” also won 11 awards.
  10. The King’s Speech”, a more recent film, won 10 awards.

While other movies may have won more awards from other organizations, the movies listed above are the ones with the most awards won throughout the aforementioned list of awards shows, which have the highest television audiences.  “The King’s Speech” might receive more awards in this year’s Oscar Awards ceremony.  However, we will not find out until February 27th, 2011 on ABC!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

Grammy Performers are Grammy Winners, too?

February 22, 2011

It has been a week since the Grammy Awards aired and many people have shared their opinions online and in the press about the outcome of the show.  Steve Stoute, American record executive and CEO of Carol’s Daughter, stood out due to his thought-provoking argument as well as the fact that his letter was published in ad form in the New York Times.  In his open letter to Neil Portnow, the president of the NARAS, he claims that the Grammys “have completely lost touch with contemporary popular culture”.  He goes on to explain his reasons for the criticisms he made towards NARAS and the Grammy Awards.  I watched the Grammys from beginning to end, and I believe that one of his arguments is valid.  For example, the programming of the Grammy’s was such that almost every performer ended up winning a Grammy as though it had been planned.  I ask myself: are the Grammys letting only eventual winners perform as though they already know who the winners are?

Even though the Grammy Awards has always been about honoring music artists who have excelled in their genre of music, music mogul Steve Stoute openly complains to Neil Portnow, NARAS and the Grammy Awards over criticisms and flaws he sees in the latter.Over the years, the Grammys have always been about honoring those who have excelled in their genre of music.  In recent years, however, it seems as though the main focus of the Grammys has shifted to the performances.  Almost every performer this year seemed destined to, and did win, the Grammy for which they were nominated, such as Miranda Lambert, Muse, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Usher, Keith Urban, Eminem, Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Lady Antebellum, and Arcade Fire.  The only performers who didn’t win were Katy Perry and Justin Bieber (Bieber was heavily favored to win a few awards that night).  While some might come to the conclusion that the Grammy performers are also the Grammy winners, others might argue that the only reason those who performed would be because they are the artists most fans want to see.  On the other hand, if people knew every performer that would be winning an award, that would eliminate the whole “surprise” factor, which is a main part of the Grammys.  In my opinion, if the performers are destined to win a Grammy, the list of performers should not be announced beforehand.  What’s your opinion?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Joie Montoya

Why Clothing Prices Have Gone Up

February 21, 2011

Since January 1, 2011, cotton prices have increased by 44%, driving clothing prices up 10% and causing some retailers to consider boosting prices on their cotton-heavy merchandise.  Cotton prices have soared recently due to high foreign demand and as well as unfavorable weather conditions in cotton-producing locations around the world, where flooding has created a shortage in the cotton supply.  Commodity experts say the reasons for the price jump are not uncommon.

Cotton is in most of the clothes we wear.  Items that contain 100% cotton will definitely see a price increase.  Avoiding inflation will be difficult if prices continue to stay high.  Leaders around the world are worried about how cotton prices will affect the economy of their nation.  Retailers say that it will take a few months for consumers to see an increase in clothing prices.  Raised cotton prices have created a problem not only for the consumer, but the retailer as well.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

The Meaning Behind Presidents’ Day

February 21, 2011

As another Presidents’ Day draws near, let’s stop and think about the meaning behind this holiday.  Each person has a different perspective of it: for kids or teens, it’s a day off from school; for shoppers, it’s one more day of specials and sales at department stores.  However, these things aren’t the point of Presidents’ Day.  The point of the holiday is to recognize George Washington, one of the founding fathers and the first president of the United States, as well as Abraham Lincoln, the president who held the nation together during the American Civil War.

Before 1968, George Washington’s birthday was celebrated apart from Abraham Lincoln’s.  Washington’s birthday was on February 22 while Lincoln’s was celebrated on February 12.  Even though each of them deserves a special day of recognition, in 1968, the 90th Congress decided it wanted to make the federal holidays uniform so that they would fall on Mondays.  Thus, the original dates of each president’s birthday were changed.  However, some people feared that the identities of Washington and Lincoln would be lost considering the days set to commemorate their birthdays were not their actual birth dates.  Eventually, some states such as California, Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas decided to name the third Monday of February “Presidents’ Day”.  With a new title for the holiday, many now feel the holiday honors all United States presidents, not just Washington and Lincoln.  So however you decide to spend your Presidents’ Day, keep in mind the presidents you admire and recognize all the good they’ve done for our country.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Joie Montoya

Spring Break 2011: Family Plans vs. College Plans

February 18, 2011

Spring break is a time that everyone can enjoy with friends and family, especially after going to work or school for 2-3 months straight after the New Year.  Throughout the years, I have had lots of fun with my family during break.  We’ve been to many places throughout California for spring break, such as Sea World, Santa Barbara, Hearst Castle, Solvang, the state’s beaches, and the neighboring state of Arizona.  My mom, sisters, and I all love to take trips together.  A majority of my fondest childhood memories are created from these trips.  Taking road trips with your family to fun places is a great way to spend spring break and welcome the summer.  Keep in mind a few things when planning a spring break getaway for you and your family: plan ahead and search months in advance for cheaper deals on plane tickets and hotel rooms when they are easiest to come by; find packaged deals that include hotels, rental cars, and theme parks; and map out where you will be going if you have multiple destinations, since you may very well find extra roadside attractions along the way.  Saving money while having fun is always great in any economy!

Spring break is a time that everyone can enjoy with friends and family, especially after going to work or school for 2-3 months after the New Year.  How do Spring Break plans differ for families and college students?  Taylor Pancake investigates.Once you are older and in college, your spring break plans become a time to blow off steam before big tests as well as a way to celebrate making it through the semester.  Most college students head to the beach for spring break with their friends and other college students.  Panama City Beach in Florida has a huge event for college students hosted by MTV.  Over half a million students attend this event.  Students can rent out condos or hotel rooms for the duration of their stay.  There are many activities you can enjoy while you are there, such as the never-ending beach parties, volleyball tournaments, scuba diving, outrageous contests, performances by music artists, and night clubs.  Panama City Beach is home to Club La Vela and Spinnaker, two of the biggest clubs in the country.  Of course, legal age limits are enforced when it comes to drinking alcohol.  Flocking to the beach communities of Florida has become a college tradition of sorts in recent years.  It is something students can look forward to during the second semester of the school year.  Other spring break-related events like this one take place all over the country, not all of which are hosted by MTV.  If you attend, make sure to be safe!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

Short Sale Mistakes a Realtor Should Not Make

February 18, 2011

Have you ever gone to an open house and you hear the realtor mention that the house is on short sale?  If you aren’t familiar with real estate terms, “short sale” can sound like a positive thing, but unfortunately, it’s not.  A house that is on short sale can, in fact, take months longer to buy than a house that is simply for sale or for lease with an option to buy.  For a realtor, this type of house can be harder to sell, depending on their clients, so the way they handle a short sale or present the house on short sale can make or break the deal.  Here are a few things your realtor should avoid when dealing with a short sale.

  1. A house that is on short sale can take months longer to buy than a house that is simply for sale or for lease with an option to buy.  Here are some common short sale mistakes your realtor should avoid.Make sure you are familiar with the short sale process; do not go into it blind.
  2. Do not hire an unqualified professional to negotiate with the bank.
  3. Do your homework!  Make sure you keep following up with bank representatives regarding the short sale.
  4. Do not price the property above market value to try to cover full payoff.
  5. Do not submit an offer that is too low or buyer financing that is not strong enough.
  6. Do not pay any upfront fees for someone to facilitate a short sale.
  7. Do not be unaware of how to approach business cases to lenders.
  8. Do not expect the process to be much shorter than is realistic.

Make sure you are confident with your realtor and that you can trust him/her to get you through the short sale process securely.  With an increase in short sales this year, both home buyers and home sellers should look into the process to avoid any confusion in the future.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Joie Montoya

Grammy Awards 2011

February 16, 2011

The Grammy Awards of 2011, which offered awards in 109 music categories, recognized music artists who have achieved musical excellence over the past year, with performances by Justin Bieber, Jaden Smith, Usher, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Mick Jagger.The Grammy Awards, an awards show that recognizes music artists who have achieved musical excellence over the past year, took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles the day before Valentine’s Day, 2011.  Despite the awards show’s running time of over three and a half hours, with awards in 109 music categories, the televised show revealed only a fraction of the award recipients.  There was a wide selection of Grammy nominees, surprise winners, and memorable performances.  I felt the music artists were more focused on their stage performance and looks rather than the actual music, if only because they had a worldwide audience during the show.

The Grammy Awards of 2011, which offered awards in 109 music categories, recognized music artists who have achieved musical excellence over the past year, with performances by Justin Bieber, Jaden Smith, Usher, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Mick Jagger.This year at the Grammy’s we saw both long-time music artists as well as new, up-and-coming artists, with many of the latter following the footsteps of the former.  The performances of Justin Bieber, Jaden Smith, and Usher, all of whom are poised to make their contributions to the music industry for years to come, paid homage to Michael Jackson.  And you can’t forget Bruno Mars, who did an exceptional job portraying soul music, the predecessor of R&B.  Watching the Grammy’s this year made me realize was that no matter what age you are, your music can span generations of fans as long as you keep making music.  Mick Jagger performed a memorable tribute performance even at the age of 67.  Lifetime Achievement Award winners included Julie Andrews, the Ramones, and Dolly Parton.  All three never gave up their love for music.  In the words of Dolly Parton: “Just because you give me a Lifetime Achievement Award doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop.”  I hope these timeless artists have inspired many musicians to keep persevering and moving forward with their music.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Joie Montoya


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers