Looking At Humor, In Quantity

humorWhat transforms a staunch humor supporter into an even more zealous advocate of laughter? Well, it’s a bit like baseball — or cricket, for that matter. Once you start watching the games with any sort of intensity, you gradually notice the underdog (I used to be a Boston Red Sox fan) and start focusing emotional energy on the poor thing. And humor, alas, has tended to be something of an underdog in the big literary box scores.

For me, as a judge for the 1993 Australian Children’s Book of the Year Awards, reading and writing reports on the 243 submitted 1992 titles was a bit like watching a season’s worth of games in half a season. And I discovered that the whole process was a mighty effective way of cementing my allegiance to good quality humor: I found myself increasingly grateful for an occasional burst of laughter. I cheered for wit, delighted to see it getting up to bat a bit more frequently than it has in recent years’

I …

Hard Drive Data Recovery Tips For Damaged Hard Drives

Hard drives are combination of a circuit board and numerous movable parts and therefore they are quite complex. In case of recovery of hard drive data, one must be sure if the problem is hard drive itself that hinders your access your data. Problems regarding faulty circuit boards or the actuator arm are the most common problems that can occur. When platters do not move beneath the copper wire, that means the drive fails to ‘spin up’ and it is usually due to defective circuit board. Abnormal clicking or a grinding noises signifies serious mechanical issues and a defective actuator arm. In order to determine whether it is a mechanical drive problem, it is recommended that you listen to the sound of hard drive. Bad sounds equals a high chance of failure.

Typical hard drive recovery procedures are very complex.

Typical hard drive recovery procedures are very complex.

The hard drive data recovery might turn out to be a costly service as the technician may have to disassemble the drive to fix it. A clean room is usually required to perform the task because hard drives are sealed to make them dust proof.  Moreover, it takes special equipment to distinguish the platters on a physically damaged drive, as the hard drives are finely tuned machinery.

Make sure, when you are sending your hard drive to a data recovery service, that what estimated amount they will charge you. Since you have only one shot to recover a hard drive, make sure you know who you’re dealing with!

It is almost impossible for a layman to understand the manner in which data from a damaged hard disk drive can be recovered. Some damage incurred by a hard drive overheating appears so harsh that recovering such data seems a mystery. The technical bit behind damaged hard drive recovery is data remnants. Don’t worry, though. Experts understand what to do. Read the full post »

Be Patient, And You Will Surpass Your Siblings

bepatientYou’re a guy. Your older brother is the captain of the football team, an ace at math, and a total chick magnet. Although you fight a lot, deep down you probably love him. But that doesn’t make up for the sad fact that you spend your life being compared to the guy.

You’re a girl. Your older sis is a champion downhill skier who loves the mountains and a prize-winning writer. You feel you’ll always be the geeky younger sister or the ugly duckling. Since this is reality and not a fairy tale, you’re convinced your life is lame.

Sibling Rivalry

Spending your life in the shadow of an older brother or sister is part of sibling rivalry, the catch-all term for not getting along with your brothers or sisters. As long as there have been siblings, there has been rivalry. Many TV shows have featured squabbling sibs–Frasier, The Brady Bunch, and Malcolm in the Middle, for example. These sitcom siblings competed in every possible arena, including seeking their parents’ …

Teens In Court: Stopping The Crime Epidemic

teensincourtTall, shaggy-haired Nick, age 15, glances once at the jury and then down at the courtroom railing in front of him. “I’m really sorry,” he says softly. “What I did was wrong, and I deserve punishment for it.”

The jurors watch him steadily, without expression. One twists her hair. Another tugs at a sneaker. Like Nick, they are all teenagers.

Welcome to the teen court of Fort Worth, Texas. On any other night, Nick might be playing freshman football, chasing a hockey puck, or hanging with friends. But here he sits, facing six teens he doesn’t know and answering tough questions from the prosecuting attorney (age 16) about how he and a friend came to be full of beer and climbing on the roof of a school after curfew one night. Nick is about to find out what it feels like to be judged by a jury of his peers.

People’s Court

All across the country, teens like Nick are discovering that Judge Judy has nothing on their generation. More …

Snoring Devices:This Isn’t What I Ordered!

snoringdevicesThere are lots of hazards when you shop online that are sort of getting better as technology increases. One of the biggest issues when you are ordering anything online is the fact that you are trusting in the information and the pictures put on the site by the seller of the product you are interested in. When it comes to clothes sellers have been uploading full-view pictures and specific measurements so that you don’t have to just rely on the fact that they say it’s a small or large shirt that you’re trying to order. Depending on the channels you go through to buy things online you can either order direct from a supplier or you order through a third-party.

Some things are better left purchased in person, like a house or a vehicle. That way you know exactly what you are getting. With the ease of online shopping people are able to order from anywhere in the world, which can be really convenient.

People who snore have definitely been taking advantage of online shopping. There are a host of anti-snoring devices ranging from mouthpieces to chinstraps to weird little nose plugs and electrifying wristbands. Snoring can be a definite relationship killer and those who do snore generally don’t because they want to. They snore because they can’t help it. Most people don’t have control over what their body does while they sleep and those who snore are no different. There are lifestyle changes that can be made to help reduce snoring such as proper exercise, reduction of heavy smoking or drinking and also looking at what causes you stress in the daytime.

But while people are working on these lifestyle changes they will still snore. In the meantime they may need something to help reduce or eliminate the annoying snoring sound they make in the night. They’re tired of getting jabbed in the ribs by an angry elbow or having to sleep in another room so that their partner can get a good night’s sleep. They also want to sleep better and snoring is just no fun for anyone.

Many of these people will turn to the internet to find reviews of snoring mouthpieces. This is where things can get crazy and you have to make sure you protect yourself from scams. Read the full post »

Kids Need To Relax A Little

kidsneedtoThree years on the soccer team, one as captain. Band for two years and chess club for four. If you think you’re the only kid on activity overload, think again. More and more teens are juggling homework with after-school activities, volunteer work, and jobs, and are exhausted from the effort.

Ask Lindsey Jones. Jones is an 18-year-old senior at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, N.J. Her busy lifestyle “takes away from my sleep,” she told Azernews.net. “If I could change my schedule, I’d probably do a little less.”

Thanks to a steady stream of club meetings, music lessons, and sports, teens like Jones are finding themselves on the fast track to burnout.

How Did We Get Here?

The trend began in the 1980s when educators said organized activities would benefit kids. They were right; extracurricular activities give kids an opportunity to socialize, learn organizational skills, gain self-esteem, and stay out of trouble.

Some teenagers, like 18-year-old Caroline Gable, enjoy having a busy schedule. A senior at Ridgewood High …

Tattoos: Should You Consider It?

tattoosAngelina Jolie and 50 Cent. Britney Spears and David Beckham. Don’t forget Steve-O. What do those people have in common? Each sports at least one tattoo.

Tattoos–designs created by inserting ink under the skin–are a fashion trend among today’s rich and famous, as well as the poor and unknown. Approximately 39 million people in North America have a tattoo.

Perhaps you are thinking of getting one. Before you plunk down hard-earned cash to have a Celtic cross or a delicate butterfly emblazoned on your skin, consider the facts.

Just the Facts

Such as what? For starters, how old are you? Laws governing the minimum age for getting a tattoo vary widely. In many states, minors cannot get a tattoo. Other states require people younger than 18 to obtain permission from a parent or caregiver before going under the needle.

OK, let’s say you are 18 or you’ve managed to wear your parents down and they have agreed to the idea. What’s next? Think seriously about what the tattooist will do …

Healing From Soviet Times

healingThe skies are blue and bright these days in Sumgait (pronounced Sumgay-it). Especially on Sundays. A satellite of Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku, Sumgait is beautifully situated on the Caspian Sea. But the beauty is deceptive. A sharp and pervasive smell hovers constantly in the air, irritating one’s nose and eyes. The city is home to one of the largest chemical industrial complexes in the entire former USSR. Massive concentrations of toxic chemicals have been produced here. Environmentally, it is little exaggeration to describe Sumgait as a death trap that ensnares its inhabitants.

Because of the devastating economic impact closures would have on the national economy, it is impossible to shut down the plants. Sweeping environmental reforms will take years to implement and become effective. Although development of a modern waste-recycling facility has been approved, the country cannot finance its construction. But today the skies are clear. Almost all of the thirty-three factories have ground to a standstill; only seven or eight are even minimally operative. The network of supply …

An Interview With Rasul Gouliev

interviewIn 1991, after the break-up of the Soviet empire, 15 independent republics emerged; Azerbaijan was one of these. Even in Gorbachev’s time, a democratic process had begun in these countries, and it was our hope that it would continue. In some it did; but in others, old Politburo members of the Communist Party took over. In Azerbaijan, this was what happened when Heydar Aliyev came to power in 1993 and created the present dictatorship. He had been Azerbaijan’s Communist Party boss.

In protest against his totalitarian regime, I resigned from my Parliamentary post in September of 1996 and came to the United States, both because it is a democracy and because my adult children were already living here. If I were to return to Azerbaijan now, I would probably be arrested because of my opposition to Mr. Aliyev, especially after the publication of my book, Path to Democracy [Liberty Publishing House, N.Y., 1997].

What are your expectations regarding the elections scheduled for October, when Mr. Aliyev will run for a …

Foreign Suppliers Continue To Envy Azerbaijan’s Oil

azerbaijanoilForeign oil companies first arrived in Azerbaijan in the early years of this century, and the capital Baku was famous throughout the region for its elegant homes, wide boulevards, and sophisticated European touches, all thanks to oil money.

Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviets took over the industry. After decades of bad management and questionable extraction techniques, they had largely driven it into the ground by the time the USSR collapsed in 1991.

Hearing reports of freshly discovered offshore fields and sensing a potential bonanza, multinationals like British Petroleum, Amoco, Exxon, Unocal, Statoil (Norway’s state oil company), Lukhoil of Russia, and Turkish Petroleum rushed in to sign development deals. Eventually, the multinationals along with the local Azeri oil company set up a consortium called the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC).

Consortium production is around 70,000 barrels a day, but the AIOC hopes to eventually boost pumping to more than ten times that figure when the three Azeri fields are fully developed, with around 500,000 barrels per day destined for …

Oil And Gas In The Caspian – The Never Ending Madness

oilandgasAt the height of the Caspian hydrocarbon frenzy in the early 1990s, industry analysts and oil company wildcatters alike thought there were reserves in the Caspian Sea that could rival those of the Middle East, or so it sounded. Such an oil-saturated land has indeed sparked armed conflict before. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was prompted by Saddam Hussein’s thirst for what he perceived as his country’s ancient right to the land and its oil, which were given to the royal house of Sabah by the Allies after World War II.

The U.S. and Azerbaijani governments gushed that there were 200 billion barrels of oil pooled under the Caspian basin (1 barrel = 42 U.S. gallons; 7.4 barrels = 1 ton). U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott likes to throw that figure around a lot. If this were true, the region would be akin to a junior Saudi Arabia.

More skeptical estimates place the figure at a “mere” 75 billion barrels of crude, putting the Caspian Sea in the …

Joke Museum, Or Museum Of Jokes?

jokemuseumThe English like to muddle through, and putting things down on paper always seems a little unnecessary.

It’s why, of course, both Meech Lake and the Charlottetown son-of-a-Meech both failed, neither side understanding the other. That’s a joke and perhaps that’s what Montreal’s fun house is supposed to celebrate.

Humor is rather like sex. Once you start to analyse it, all the mystery goes out of it. Montreal’s new Museum of Humor is somewhat like coming upon a six-storey collection of Dr. Kinsey’s findings, or the leftover computer printouts from Masters and Johnson. Suddenly it doesn’t appear all that interesting.

It’s a very serious thing, of course, to get enough money out of politicians, in these perilous times, to erect a monument to humor. Promoter Gilbert Rozon is the guy who can do it, since he has a Montreal reputation because of his well-established Just for Laughs festival.

He has had Luc Laporte, a celebrated Montreal architect, convert the old brewery into a rabbit maze of interconnected rooms that …