Category Archives: FEATURED

Handwriting a Dying Skill?

Is Handwriting Becoming a Dying Skill?

HandwritingFor centuries, the only way to communicate with people at distances or record one’s thoughts and experiences was to put things in writing. Although it might seem that writing had existed as long as humankind itself, it was certainly not the case. The history of writing is a long and fascinating one, starting with primitive drawings on the walls of caves and rocks and gradually developing all around the world in different forms such as pictographic, hieroglyphs, and finally to the earliest known alphabetical systems such as Proto-Sinaitic, Ugaritic, Egyptian, and Phoenician which were dated to about 3500-3000 years ago. Over the time, the materials for writing have changed, the writing instruments have changed, the subject matters have changed, but the enthrallment of people with writing itself has always been constant.

However, with the astonishing progress of technology in recent years, there is one form of writing that seems to be slowly eroding. It is writing by hand. Modern people are very much connected technologically and seem always to be e-mailing, tweeting, texting, instant messaging, etc. to each other. Surely, there is an occasional note or signature handwritten; but it is an undeniable fact that we all write less and less by hand. Is handwriting need to be preserved nowadays? For example, there is much debate regarding the need to teach our children to write in cursive. Many people argue that cursive, writing can be difficult for elementary level children to master and, as a result, might negatively affect their academic success.

Moreover, many school districts in the USA have voted in favor of teaching of keyboard typing skills than cursive writing. While children still write by hand at schools (though most of them print), they rarely write long compositions and mostly fill in blanks with few short sentences. I know this for a fact. My son, who is a seventh-grader and a very good student, almost does not write by hand. He does most of his work on computer (supposedly, this way school saves a lot of paper and trees), and as such he types at terrific speed but his penmanship is quite poor. Frankly, it saddens me.

Handwritten letters, notes, cards always bring so much more pleasure than anything typed. Somehow, knowing that a person took time to write by hand evokes closer feeling to a writer and the things he or she is writing to you. Not only that, but there were studies (quoted in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine article by Joanne Chen), that have shown, that when people write by hand, their hand movements make them remember the written things better and maybe even become smarter and more creative. For example, when one studies a foreign language, he or she will remember new words and language rules much better if they were written by hand (probably because it makes one to concentrate more than when typing).
Handwriting is gradually becoming more and more marginalized in today’s technology-obsessed world. However, it is a form of art which needs to be preserved because it is so human, personal, and expressive. – Becky Kospanova 


Ex-Wife & Ex-Husband

unnamedEx-Wife & Ex-Husband

Dear Wife:

I’m writing you this letter to tell you that I’m leaving you for good. I’ve been a good man to you for seven years and I have nothing to show
for it. These last two weeks have been hell. Your boss called to tell me that you had quit your job today and that was the last straw. Last week, you came home and didn’t even notice that I had gotten a new haircut, cooked your favorite meal and even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers. You came home and ate in two minutes, and went straight to sleep after watching all of your soaps. You don’t tell me you love me anymore, you don’t want sex anymore or anything. Either you are cheating or don’t love me anymore. Whatever the case is, I’m gone.

Your Ex-Husband

P.S. Don’t try to find me. Your SISTER and I are moving away to West Virginia together! Have a great life!

Dear Ex-Husband:

Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter. It’s true that You and I have been married for seven years, although a good man is a
far cry from what you’ve been. I watch my soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining and griping. Too bad that doesn’t work.
I did notice when you got a hair cut last week. The first thing that came to mind was “You look just like a girl!” but my mother raised me not to say anything if you can’t say anything nice. And when you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused with MY SISTER, because I stopped eating pork seven years ago. I turned away from you when you had those new silk boxers on because the price tag was still on them. I prayed that it was a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed fifty dollars from me that morning … and your silk boxers were $49.99. After all of this, I still loved you and felt that we could work it out. So when I discovered that I had hit the lotto for ten million dollars, I quit my job and bought us two tickets to Jamaica. But when I got home you were gone. Everything happens for a reason, I guess. I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that with the letter you wrote, you won’t get a dime from me. So take care.

Rich as Hell and Free!

P.S. I don’t know if I ever told you this but Carla, my sister, was born Carl. I hope that’s not a problem!


2014: The Year of Women in Politics?

Women in PoliticsOn November 4, 2014, midterm elections will be held in the United States where all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives; 33 out of 100 seats in the United States Senate (plus three more seats up for special election); as well as 38 state and territorial governorships and 46 state legislatures will be contested. The main question for most people is whether the Democrats will be able to keep their majority in the Senate because it would determine the policies of American government to a great extent in a foreseeable future. However, there is another exciting development related to it because the upcoming elections present an unprecedented opportunity for more women than ever to rise to political power.

Many political analysts predict that there is a real chance to change the traditionally male-dominated American political landscape to one where more women will have a real chance to impact the country’s politics. It is a well-known, albeit disconcerting, fact that although American women represent more than 51 percent of voting public, they still hold only about 20 percent of political positions. However, some influential political positions are contested by women this year, which can make a difference on how the political process will proceed in the country.

For example, for the first time in the history of West Virginia, there are two female contenders for a Congress seat this year: Natalie Tennant (D) versus Shelley Moore Capito (R) (Capito is predicted to be a winner at the moment). In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is running for a Congress seat against Mitch McConnell (R), although she is facing an uphill battle in a predominantly Republican state. Terri Lynn Land, Former Secretary of State in Michigan, is one of those who holds a lot of hope for a Republican party to win the position after Carl Levin had retired. And, of course, there are media favorites such as Susana Martinez, New Mexico’s first female governor who is surely a force to be watched; Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, who became popular after airing her views at such shows as Jon Stewart; and Mia Love, who potentially can become the first black female Republican in Congress and the first person of color to represent Utah. There are many women candidates running for Governor of states, like Wendy Davis (D) Texas, across the US as well which is sure to change the political landscape.

Why women can make better politicians? Although it may be politically incorrect to say so, but women are more flexible, better attuned to other person’s view, and are more willing to compromise. If one considers low poll rates for an American government at the moment, women can provide new hope for people. The ability of women politicians to achieve results was well demonstrated during the shutdown of the American government. Out of fourteen senators of the bipartisan committee which worked out the compromise, six were women (which is very impressive considering the number of women there overall), and they delivered. The shutdown was discussed, debated, and ultimately resolved. Such is a power of women: discuss, listen, consider, compromise and deliver. – Becky Kospanova


Child Free Lifestyle on the Rise

To Have or Not to Have: Childfree Lifestyle is on the Rise

bbbbbOne of the most frequent questions any married couple receives is, “Do you have kids?” and if the answer is negative, the inevitable follows, “So, when are planning to start having kids?” It is not surprising, of course. For centuries, marriage and parenthood were practically synonymous and—provided a couple did not have fertility issues—it was taken for granted that at some point they would have children. However, nowadays more and more people make a conscious decision not to have any children. For example, Pew Research Center found out that the value of having children in order to have a fulfilling relationship is gradually declining over years. To illustrate, 65% of people in 1990 agreed that children were important to relationship, but in 2007 only 41% did so. Consequently, nowadays every one out of five women of childbearing age does not have a child compared to one out of ten in 1970s (US Census Bureau).

What are the main reasons which make capable and, most of the times, financially secure couples forego the notion of parenthood? As with any human behavior, there is a plentitude of explanations. Sometimes, there is a relatively simple one such as unwillingness to pass genetic diseases. Modern level of medical science enables us to predict whether our children will inherit some diseases which are incurable; therefore, people can make a responsible decision not to risk to have a child with a potentially devastating disease.

Still, the majority of people who decide not to have children in committed relationships are perfectly healthy and driven by other considerations. Some of them are: concern about overpopulation; unwillingness to bring a child into a world where there are so many political, environmental, and societal problems; taking care of elderly or sick parents or other relatives which does not leave much time for children; financial constraints; unwillingness to jeopardize their careers; fear of pressure childcare might take on a relationship with a significant other; lack of patience when it comes to children; having bad childhoods and consequent fear of being inadequate parents themselves; unwillingness to pass on freedom childlessness allows and such.

aaaaThere is a certain stigma many people, especially women, carry if they decide to not have a child. They are often considered to be selfish and self-centered when compared to their counterparts with children. However, numerous studies have shown that while conventional wisdom dictates that children bring happiness to parents, things might be in fact different. Quite often, people without children report better satisfaction with the quality of their lives than people with children. For example, they have more money because childrearing is expensive; they are able to do many things such as traveling, working more hours, having time to pursue their hobbies and volunteering; they are able to focus on their partners more and, subsequently, have better relationships; and they are generally less stressed than people with children.

In the end, it is a very personal decision to have or not to have a child. While children, undeniably, bring a lot to a person’s life, some are just better without them. Given the current rate of population growth in the world, we are not in any danger of extinction, and as such we should be more tolerant and accepting of those who decide to be childfree. – Becky Kospanova


Cohabitation vs. Marriage

Cohabitation vs. Marriage: What Is Your Choice?

Couples Living Togeather 3Just a few decades ago it was socially and culturally unacceptable, or at least frowned upon, for couples to live together without being officially married. However, nowadays it is not only a common occurrence, but the trend is actually on the rise. For example, there were about half a million unmarried couples living together in 1960, by 2000 there were about 4.75 million unmarried couples, and by 2013 the number of such unions grew to a little bit over an eight million (which is an astonishing 1500 percent increase over the last half a century). What are the reasons for such a change and what impact does it have on a society as a whole?

One of the biggest reasons for such a change was the shift in cultural and societal norms in the country, starting with sexual revolution and the introduction of birth control pill. People felt liberated and the previously rigid norms of societal conduct became more fluid. Consequently, more and more couples felt that it was perfectly acceptable, and even advantageous, to cohabit, i.e. to share household and have intimate relationship without being officially married. For example, according to National Marriage Project report from 2002, “In recent representative national surveys nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of the girls indicated that they “agreed” or “mostly agreed” with the statement “it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.” Thus, not only society as a whole became more open to the idea of cohabitation, but the belief that cohabitation is actually a more progressive form of family life which allows the couples to make sure that they are truly compatible before getting married became firmly entrenched.

Couples Living Togeather 2However, the evidence shows otherwise. According to National Marriage Project, couples which cohabitate report less satisfaction with the quality of shared life than their married counterparts; they break up more often and more easily; if they eventually get married, the rate of divorce among those who cohabitated previously to getting married is 46 percent higher than among those who did not cohabitate before the marriage; and it has an adverse effect on children. Why does it happen? Some researchers have suggested that people who decide to cohabitate rather than marry may already have lower commitment levels to their partners and, therefore, are more likely the end their relationship if something does not go the way they want. It holds especially true for those who cohabitate multiple times because they become more “habituated” to the idea of abandoning the relationship at the sight of trouble. In contrast, married couples are usually committed to long-term relationships and are decidedly more willing to find solutions to their problems such as improving their communication, seeking counsel, etc. Also, it has been suggested that when people choose to cohabitate, they do not apply the same criteria to their partners which they would have applied if they were choosing a marriage partner. Without a clear long-term commitment, people often get involved with “good-enough” partners, thus further diminishing the perspective of long-term and stable relationship.

Does it mean that cohabitation is a bad idea? Certainly not when approached with a right attitude and realistic expectations. The research has shown that when a couple decides to cohabit for a short period of time as a step to marriage, the rate of divorce is not higher than among those who did not cohabit. Of course, the idea that the cohabitation will surely lead to marriage needs to be clearly understood, articulated, and accepted by both involved parties.  – Becky Kospanova


Micro-Apartments: Yes Or No?

2013-WRThere seems to be a new movement growing n the USA; people, especially in big cities, are downsizing and starting to live in very small apartments and houses. Primarily, it is an economical decision because rent rates tend to be very high in large cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and smaller dwellings look like a good option for budget-conscious renters. Moreover, it seems to work the best for single people who spend most of their time at work and socialize outside. Many of the buildings with micro-apartments offer communal amenities such as gyms, media rooms, and outside recreational areas which provide the tenants with an opportunity to meet their neighbors and socialize.

Is it a movement which will catch up? Worldwide, people live in places which are much smaller than what an average American is used to, especially in such countries as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, India, Japan, and China. But, the question stands whether the American public ready for such a downsizing? As such, there were many reports which claim that living in small quarters might lead to depression, substance abuse, and domestic abuse; moreover, children who grow up in smaller places might develop learning disabilities. According to Susan Saegert, a director of Housing Environments Research Group, children who live in small apartments “can end up becoming withdrawn and have trouble studying and concentrating.” However, such claims need to be studied more because the experience proves them otherwise. After all, school children of Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other countries routinely outperform their American counterparts in all the school tests; and the lack of space does not seem to adversely affect them.

Moreover, life in smaller places can also mean being more environmentally friendly because one simply spends less energy and leaves smaller carbon print when living in a micro-apartment. If the culture of competing with Joneses was considered outdated, many of Americans might have well agreed to live smaller because it would save them money and effort. – Becky Kospanova


2013 – A Look Back

2013: Looking Back at What Was Happening

2013-WRThe 2013 year was a year full of events: from serious ones such as the U.S. government shutdown, contentious introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or commonly known as ObamaCare), and a NSA spying scandal to some rather silly ones such as perplexing popularity of “twerking” incessantly perpetuated by the infamous Miley Cyrus, the widespread posting of “selfies” which once again brought down former governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, and the unfortunate drug habit of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Of course, some of the biggest news of the past year was happening in political realm. A lot of people were dismayed, but probably not very surprised to learn that the U.S. government spied not only on its citizens but also on many foreign nationals. Edward Snowden, a former NSA employer leaked the facts about it; as a result, he was forced to seek political asylum in Russia. Of course, it did not add to the popularity of the government. Gallup poll—a well-regarded outlet to observe the nation’s feelings—demonstrated that job approval rate for Congress was 12 % in December, a slightly higher number from an abysmally low 9% job approval rate in November, 2013. All in all, 2013 annual job approval rate for Congress was 14 %, or the lowest one since Gallup started taking the poll in 1974. Similarly, Obama’s job approval rate is rather uninspiring; according to Gallup poll, it was 40 % in December 2013.

One of the biggest controversies introduced by the President Obama and which negatively affected his popularity to a large degree was the ObamaCare, the universal health insurance plan for the Americans, which led to the government shutdown in October 2013. While many critics argued that the plan was “socialist” and run against the values of market competition deeply ingrained in the USA, ObamaCare provided a major help (aside from Medicare and Medicaid) for many Americans who could not afford health insurance before. As such, Americans might take a little longer to appreciate the value of ObamaCare, but it still was an undeniably big step for the government.

Of course, there was much other news that dominated the media in 2013. There were tragedies such as Boston Marathon Bombing, death of Nelson Mandela, devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, and wildfires in California, but also the stories of human achievement and perseverance such as the recognition by the Supreme Court of the right of gay marriage, Pope Francis’s encouraging acts which showed that Catholic Church is becoming more accepting, and the actions of many regular people who were kind and considerate to their countrymen (a cop buying shoes for a homeless person, a waitress buying a meal for government worker’s meal, and numerous donations to sick and poor).

What can be learned from looking back at 2013? Probably, the most important lesson is that people of all stations in life make history. One does have to be rich or famous to show a little kindness, compassion, and love. – Becky Kospanova


Timeless Classics Reggae/World

HousTone Records Announces The Release Of
Timeless Classics Volume III Reggae/World January 15th, 2014

Timeless-Classics-Vol-III-Reggae-World-Vol. III Reggae/World is a collection of Gold and Platinum songs recorded, by reggae stars and undiscovered artist from around the world. There are many people around the world that enjoy and listen to reggae; but many others that have not really listen to reggae music, mostly because they cannot understand the music and what the artist is singing. That is no longer a problem as Reggae/World features all well-known songs performed by Reggae and World artist from around the world. This CD is great for theme pool parties or just enjoying the great vibes and feeling that Reggae and World music offers from songs you know.

For more than 25 years HousTone Records has released LP/CDs, from the fields of Rock, Jazz, Classical, Blues, Country, New Age, Reggae, World Beat and R & B. One of the key elements in HousTone Records signing, processing, selecting and distributing artist’s products is, the artist must agreed to record for the CD two well known cover songs. This allows the artist music to be judge by fans for the talent they have, from the music they know.

UB40, Bunny Wailer, Big Mountain, Shaggy, Little Kirk, Aswad, Dennis Brown, Sammy Levi, Fauzi & Tribo De Jah, Johnny Dread, Tony Tribe, Fugees, Mikey Spice are just some of the artist on the Timeless Classics Vol. III Reggae/World compilation.

Hear their versions of some of your all time favorite songs like No Woman No Cry, Man In The Mirror, Me And Mrs. Jones, Ribbon In The Sky, What A Wonderful World, Now That We’ve Found Love, Girl From Ipanema, Wings Of Love, Killing Me Softly, Roxanne and many other million selling hits featured, on Timeless Classics Vol. III Reggae/World CD.

HousTone Records does not except unsolicited material. Artist can submit a request to have, 3 songs reviewed and one of the three must be a well-known cover song. Submit request by E-mail only but hard copy promo package must be sent by regular mail only.

HousTone Records: Making a difference by Marketing, Recording and Distributing One Act at a Time!

PO Box 8305-Houston, Texas 77288
PH: 713-866-4009, EXT 2


New Year Resolutions

New-Years-Resolutions 14

The advent of New Year stirs the desire to improve their lives for many people. As such, many imagine themselves thinner, healthier, and generally happier than they were in a previous year. Psychologists agree that it is productive to set goals: attainable, self-improving, and realistic. After all, it is in a human nature to want to improve things and what is the better time than the start of a New Year? However, when did the tradition to set New Year resolutions start? And, more interestingly, what are the most popular goals people generally set for themselves?

The tradition of making New Year resolutions traces centuries back. Historical research shows that ancient Babylonians, Romans, and Greeks made New Year resolutions to help the poor, pay their debts, and be better citizens. The goals of modern people seem to be more egocentric. Generally, people resolve to do the following:

1. Improve themselves physically (lose extra weight, eat more healthily, start going to the gym, abstain from alcohol and cigarettes, etc.)
2. Improve themselves mentally (think positive things, be nicer to immediate family, laugh more, enjoy life and surrounding beauty to a full extent).
3. Improve finances and career (pay the debts, apply for a dream job, perform better at a current job, obtain the long-sought promotion, or establish own business).
4. Get better education (develop a new hobby, learn a foreign language, start reading more, get a college degree, take some classes at a local college).
5. Volunteer (donate their time and effort to a worthwhile cause, help those in need, and get involved into community).
6. Improve themselves socially (meet new people, make a new friend, become active socially, travel).
7. Improve themselves spiritually (attend church more often, pray more, reflect on life).

Interestingly, recent research shows that in previous decades people were more concerned with doing good deeds for others, but nowadays people are more self-involved and mostly concentrate on themselves. Even then, most people fail to follow on their New Year resolutions; according to a study conducted by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol, as many as eighty-eight percent of people do not fulfill their resolutions, although initially fifty-two percent of people have absolute confidence in their eventual success.

However, there are ways to achieve success with New Year resolutions. For example, it helps to set them in steps—instead of generally resolving to lose extra weight; it is more productive to say “no” to a pound or two per week. More importantly, it is always easier to do things for others; it fulfills your sense of civic duty, it makes you feel better, and it makes a world a better place. Why not make this year a year to help others?
– Becky Kospanova


Live On Another Planet?

If You Could, Would You Live On Another Planet?

mars-one-729-620x3491People have always been fascinated by the Universe; Archaeological finds demonstrate that as early as 5000 years ago, people already tried to analyze and interpret the movement of celestial bodies; ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Central America, China, and Greece built first prototypes of astronomical observatories. Nowadays, thanks to impressive technological and scientific advances, it is becoming more and more plausible to imagine people being able to live on some other than the Earth planet.

As it is well-known, first space mission occurred on April 12, 1961 when a Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin traveled into orbital space for one hundred and eight minutes in his space ship Vostok 1. Soon thereafter, an American astronaut Alan Shepard went into space on May 5, 1961; and John Glenn was the first American to go into orbit around the Earth on February 20, 1962. Moreover, twelve people, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, have landed on Moon. Currently, many countries have space stations and space programs and the NASA had recently announced that it plans to develop a space capsule which will allow four astronauts to travel into deep space locations such as Mars, Moon, and different asteroids by 2016.

living-inspaceMoreover, in recent years a new phenomenon called “space tourism” or “citizen space exploration” has taken place. While very few people were able to take advantage of it due to its really astronomical price which goes anywhere from twenty to forty million dollars per person, people still seem to be intrigued by the possibility of living on some other planet in the future. Of course, there are numerous variables to consider: gravity, radiation levels, temperature, and the availability of life-sustaining recourses such as water. So far, NASA scientists reported the discovery of some Earth-like planets in the habitable orbit of sun-like stars which are not too cold or hot for water (essential factor for possible life). And, quite frankly, it does seem plausible that in an infinite universe there might be at least one planet capable of sustaining life besides the Earth.

As such, a hypothetical question arises—if some planet which potentially could sustain humans was discovered, would there be people willing to leave the Earth and start a new life there?

Of course, first and foremost it is a question of personal choice and available technologies. After all, there are always peopleMooncolony1 who like the unknown and our technological progress is truly astounding. Many things which seemed like something out of sci-fi books and movies are becoming a reality; and it is not so far-fetched to imagine that someday people will be able to develop technologies which would allow us to live on another planet. Also, there is another, much more gruesome, possibility that people will simply be unable to continue living on Earth due to some catastrophe such as ecological, nuclear, being hit by an asteroid, or overpopulation. While it is difficult to consider such awful scenarios, it is still better to be somehow prepared for them. Consequently, it is crucial that further exploration of space continues. – Becky Kospanova


How wonderful it is

Young beautiful woman jumping with a scarfHow wonderful it is to realize that we have a great gift: choice. the next time you are in the market, notice the many choices you have. You like cheese? Well, there is gouda, cheddar (sharp or mild), goat cheese, mozzarella; the list goes on.

What are we choosing in the marketplace of our thoughts? Are we choosing doubt? Fear? What are we picking from the shelves of consciousness and putting into the baskets of our lives? We must make sure to put Joy on the shopping lists of our thoughts. Joy is a High Vibration that attracts more Joy. Life can be easy; however, we must choose to see it that way.

Set the intention to enjoy this day no matter what. If something goes amiss at work, remember Joy. If the job interview turns sour, remember Joy. If someone cuts you off on the road, remember Joy.

When we are in Joy, we Create an atmosphere that says we are ready for greater things to happen. The items we have on our shopping lists of Life begin to show up. Work becomes a pleasure, or we move on to greater things. the interviews that seemed to go sour actually turn out to be sweet experiences. the people who cut us off on he road are blessed because the Joy we feel in our lives touches them.

Today, and everyday, choose to be in Joy. Enjoy the day because It is Good.-  E.VirGinia Johnson “Genii”


Military History Anniversaries

Military History Anniversaries 15 Nov thru 14 Oct
Significant events in U.S. Military History for the next 30 days are:
·       Nov 15 1777 – American Revolution: After 16 months of debate the Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation.
·       Nov 15 1864 – Civil War: Union General W.T. Sherman’s troops set fires that destroy much of Atlanta Georgia as he began his march to the sea in an effort to cut the Confederacy in two.
·       Nov 15 1942 – WW2: The Battle of Guadalcanal ends in a decisive Allied victory.
·       Nov 15 1960 – Cold War: The first submarine with nuclear missiles, USS George Washington, takes to sea from Charleston, South Carolina.
·       Nov 15 1969 – Vietnam: A quarter of a million anti–War demonstrators march in Washington, D.C.
·       Nov 15 1969 – Cold War: The Soviet submarine K–19 collides with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea.
·       Nov 16 1943 – WW2: USS Corvina (SS–226) torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I 176 south of Truk. 82 killed
  • Nov 16 1944 – WW2: Dueren, Germany is completely destroyed by Allied bombers.
  • Nov 16 1945 – Cold War: Operation Paperclip – The United States Army secretly admits 88 German scientists and engineers to help in the development of rocket technology.
  • Nov 17 1776 – American Revolution: Hessian mercenaries capture Fort Washington from the Patriots.
  • Nov 17 1970 – Vietnam: Lieutenant William Calley goes on trial for the My Lai massacre.
  • Nov 17 1856 – Indian Wars: On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army establishes Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.
  • Nov 17 1863 – Civil War: Siege of Knoxville begins with Battle of Campbell’s Station near Knoxville TN – Confederate troops unsuccessfully attack Union forces.
  • Nov 17 1913 – The first ship sails from Atlantic to Pacific oceans via the Panama Canal.
  • Nov 17 1943 – WW2: American bombers strike a hydro–electric power facility and heavy water factory in German–controlled Vemork, Norway.
  • Nov 17 1944 – WW2: Operation Queen, the costly Allied thrust to the Rur river was launched
  • Nov 17 1945 – Cold War: Operation Paperclip – the United States Army secretly admits 88 German scientists and engineers to help in the development of rocket technology.
·       Nov 17 1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson tells the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”
·       Nov 17 1969 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.
  • Nov 18 1909 – Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of José Santos Zelaya.
  • Nov 18 1961 – United States President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
  • Nov 19 1861 – Civil War: Julia Ward Howe writes “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” while visiting Union troops.
  • Nov 19 1861 – Civil War: The Confederate raider Nashville captured and burned the Union clipper ship Harvey Birch in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Nov 19 1863 – Civil War: Lincoln delivers the “Gettysburg Address” at the dedication of the National Cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.
·       Nov 19 1943 – WW2: USS Sculpin (SS–191) damaged by Japanese destroyer Yamagumo and later scuttled north of Truk. 12 killed, 51 POWs later died and 21 POWs survived.
·       Nov 19 1944 – WW2: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the 6th War Loan Drive, aimed at selling US$14 billion in war bonds to help pay for the war effort.
  • Nov 20 1943 – WW2: U.S. Marines landed on Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, one of the bloodiest campaigns waged by American forces against the Japanese in the Pacific.
·       Nov 20 1945 – WW2: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.
  • Nov 20 1950 – Korea: U.S. troops push to the Yalu River, within five miles of Manchuria.
·       Nov 20 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.
  • Nov 21 1864 – Civil War: From Georgia, Confederate General John B. Hood launches the Franklin–Nashville Campaign into Tennessee
  • Nov 21 1970 – Vietnam: Operation Ivory Coast – A joint Air Force and Army team raids the Son Tay prison camp in an attempt to free American prisoners of war thought to be held there.
  • Nov 22 1812 – War of 1812: Seventeen Indiana Rangers are killed at the Battle of Wild Cat Creek.
  • Nov 22 1864 – Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea: Confederate General John Bell Hood invades Tennessee in an unsuccessful attempt to draw Union General William T. Sherman from Georgia.
  • Nov 22 1943 – WW2: War in the Pacific – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai–Shek meet in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss ways to defeat Japan (see Cairo Conference)
  • Nov 22 1977 – Vietnam: U.S. loses its first B-52 of the war. The eight-engine bomber was brought down by a North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile near Vinh on the day when B-52s flew their heaviest raids of the war over North Vietnam.
  • Nov 23 1863 – Civil War: Union forces win the Battle of Orchard Knob, Tennessee.
  • Nov 23 1863 – Civil War: The Battle of Chattanooga in Tennessee, one of the most decisive battles of the War, begins. Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant reinforce troops at Chattanooga, Tennessee and counter-attack Confederate troops.
  • Nov 23 1914 – Mexican Revolution: The last of U.S. forces withdraw from Veracruz, occupied seven months earlier in response to the Tampico Affair.
  • Nov 23 1941 – WW2: U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana, by agreement with the Netherlands Government in exile, to guard the bauxite mines to protect aluminum ore supplies from the mines in Surinam.
  • Nov 23 1943 – WW2: Tarawa and Makin atolls fall to American forces.
  • Nov 23 1968 – Vietnam: Battle of Nui Chom Mountain. The 4th Bn, 31st Infantry, 196th Inf Bde fought and destroyed the 21st NVA Regiment on Nui Chom Mountain southwest of Da Nang in a fierce six day battle.
  • Nov 24 1943 – WW2: The USS Liscome Bay is torpedoed near Tarawa and sinks with nearly 650 men killed.
  • Nov 23 1944 – WW2: The first bombing raid against Tokyo is carried out by 88 American aircraft from Saipan.
  • Nov 24 1979 – The United States admits that thousands of troops in Vietnam were exposed to the toxic Agent Orange.
  • Nov 25 1940 – WW2: First flight of the deHavilland Mosquito and Martin B–26 Marauder.
  • Nov 26 1941 – WW2: The Japanese fleet departs from the Kuril Islands en route to its attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Nov 26 1950 – Korea: Troops from the People’s Republic of China launch a massive counterattack in North Korea against South Korean and United Nations forces (Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River and Battle of Chosin Reservoir), ending any hopes of a quick end to the conflict.
  • Nov 26 1968 – Vietnam: USAF helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescues an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire and is later awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • Nov 27 1863 – Civil War: Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and several of his men escape the Ohio Penitentiary and return safely to the South.
  • Nov 27 1863 – Civil War: Battle of Mine Run – Union forces under General George Meade position against troops led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
  • Nov 27 1868 – Indian Wars: Battle of Washita River – United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an attack on Cheyenne living on reservation.
  • Nov 27 1901 – The U.S. Army War College is established.
  • Nov 27 1950 – Korea: East of the Choosing River, Chinese forces annihilate an American task force.
  • Nov 27 1965 – Vietnam: The Pentagon tells U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that if planned operations are to succeed, the number of American troops in Vietnam has to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000.
  • Nov 28 1862 – Civil War: In the Battle of Cane Hill, Union troops under General James G. Blunt defeat General John Marmaduke’s Confederates.
  • Nov 28 1941 – WW2: The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise departs from Pearl Harbor to deliver F4F Wildcat fighters to Wake Island. This mission saves the carrier from destruction when the Japanese attack.
  • Nov 28 1943 – WW2: Tehran Conference – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran, Iran to discuss war strategy.
  • Nov 28 1964 – Vietnam: National Security Council members agree to recommend that U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of bombing in North Vietnam.
  • Nov 29 1776 – American Revolution: The Battle of Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia comes to an end with the arrival of British reinforcements.
  • Nov 29 1847 – Indian Wars: Whitman Massacre – Missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and 15 others are killed by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, causing the Cayuse War.
  • Nov 29 1864 – Indian Wars: Sand Creek Massacre – Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacre at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants inside Colorado Territory.
  • Nov 29 1864 – Civil War: Battle of Spring Hill – Confederate advance into Tennessee misses opportunity to crush Union army. Gen. Hood angered, leads to Battle of Franklin.
  • Nov 29 1872 – Indian Wars: The Modoc War begins with the Battle of Lost River.
·       Nov 29 1950 – Korea: North Korean and Chinese troops force United Nations forces to retreat from North Korea.
·       Nov 29 1971 – Vietnam: Americal Division stands down and departs.
  • Nov 30 1782 – American Revolution: Treaty of Paris – In Paris, representatives from the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles (later formalized as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).
  • Nov 30 1864 – Civil War: Battle of Franklin – The Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounts a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions with Hood losing six generals and almost a third of his troops.
  • Nov 30 1942 – WW2: Guadalcanal Campaign Battle of Tassafaronga – A smaller squadron of Japanese destroyers defeats a US cruiser force.
  • Nov 30 1950 – Korea: President Truman declares that the United States will use the A–bomb to get peace.
·       Nov 30 1972 – Vietnam: White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler tells the press that there will be no more public announcements concerning American troop withdrawals from Vietnam due to the fact that troop levels are now down to 27,000.
  • Nov 30 1981 – Cold War: In Geneva, representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union begin to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe (the meetings ended inconclusively on Dec 17).
  • Nov 30 1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.
  • Dec 01 1918 – WWI: An American army of occupation enters Germany.
  • Dec 01 1941 – WW2: Emperor Hirohito of Japan gave the final approval to initiate war against the United States.
  • Dec 01 1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.
  • Dec 01 1964 – Vietnam: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top–ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam.
  • Dec 01 1969 – Vietnam: America’s first draft lottery since 1942 is held.
·       Dec 02 1943 – WW2: A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbor of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I era mustard gas.
  • Dec 02 1944 – WW2: General George S. Patton’s troops enter the Saar Valley and break through the Siegfried line.
  • Dec 03 1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.
  • Dec 03 1950 – Korea: The Chinese close in on Pyongyang, Korea, and UN forces withdraw southward. Pyongyang falls 2 days later.
  • Dec 03 1942 – WW2: U.S. planes make the first raids on Naples, Italy.
  • Dec 04 1864 – Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea – At Waynesboro, Georgia, forces under Union General Judson Kilpatrick prevent troops led by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler from interfering with Union General William T. Sherman’s campaign destroying a wide swath of the South on his march to the Atlantic Ocean from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Dec 04 1942 – WW2: Carlson’s patrol during the Guadalcanal Campaign ends.
·       Dec 05 1943 – WW2: U.S. Army Air Force begins attacking Germany’s secret weapons bases in Operation Crossbow
·       Dec 05 1944 – WW2: Allied troops occupy Ravenna.
·       Dec 05 1965 – Vietnam: First Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam awarded to Army Capt. Roger Donlon
·       Dec 06 1917 – WWI: USS Jacob Jones is the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action when it is torpedoed by German submarine SM U-53.
  • Dec 06 1941 – WW2: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a personal appeal to Emperor Hirohito to use his influence to avoid war.
  • Dec 07 1862 – Civil War: Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Casualties and losses: US 1,251 – CSA 1,317.
  • Dec 07 1917 – WWI: The United States declares war on Austria–Hungary with only one dissenting vote in Congress.
  • Dec 07 1941 – WW2: The Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, causing a declaration of war upon Japan by the United States. Japan also invades Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch Ea
  • Dec 07 1942 – WW2: The U.S. Navy launches USS New Jersey, the largest battleship ever built.
  • Dec 08 1861 – Civil War: CSS Sumter captures the whaler Eben Dodge in the Atlantic. The American Civil War is now affecting the Northern whaling industry.
  • Dec 08 1941 – WW2: Roosevelt declares war on Japan noting the previous day’s events mark it as a date that will live in infamy.
  • Dec 08 1943 – WW2: U.S. carrier–based planes sink two cruisers and down 72 planes in the Marshall Islands.
  • Dec 08 1944 – WW2: The United States conducts the longest, most effective air raid on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima.
  • Dec 08 1965 – Vietnam: Operation Tiger Hound – Aerial raids begin to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail to reduce North Vietnamese infiltration down the trail into South Vietnam. Became Operation hunt after 1968.
·       Dec 09 1775 – American Revolution: British troops lose the Battle of Great Bridge, and leave Virginia soon afterward. Casualties and losses: US 1 – GB 62 to 102.
  • Dec 09 1835 – The Texan Army captures San Antonio, Texas.
·       Dec 09 1941 – WW2: The 19th Bombardment Group attacks Japanese ships off the coast of Vigan, Luzon
  • Dec 09 1950 – Cold War: Harry Gold gets 30 years imprisonment for passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II.
  • Dec 09 1992 – Operation Restore Hope: U.S. Marines land in Somalia to ensure food and medicine reaches the deprived areas of that country.
  • Dec 10 1861 – Civil War: the Confederate States of America accept a rival state government’s pronouncement that declares Kentucky to be the 13th state of the Confederacy.
  • Dec 10 1864 – Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea – Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army troops reach the outer Confederate defenses of Savannah, Georgia.
  • Dec 10 1898 – Spanish American War: The U.S. and Spain sign the Treaty of Paris, ending the war and ceding Spanish possessions, including the Philippines, to the United States.
  • Dec 10 1941 – WW2: Japanese troops invade the Philippine island of Luzon.
  • Dec 11 1862 – Civil War: Union General Ambrose Burnside occupies Fredericksburg and prepares to attack the Confederates under Robert E. Lee.       The battle ends two days later with the bloody slaughter of onrushing Union troops at Marye’s Heights.
  • Dec 11 1941 – WW2: Germany and fascist Italy declare was on America. The U.S. reciprocates.
·       Dec 12 1862 – Civil War: USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine.
  • Dec 12 1863 – Civil War: Orders are given in Richmond, Virginia, that no more supplies from the Union should be received by Federal prisoners.
  • Dec 12 1937 – USS Panay incident: Japanese aircraft bomb and sink U.S. gunboat USS Panay on the Yangtze River in China.
  • Dec 12 1941 – WW2: Fifty-four Japanese A6M Zero fighters raid Batangas Field, Philippines. Jesús Villamor and four Filipino fighter pilots fend them off; César Basa becomes the first Filipino pilot killed in combat.
  • Dec 12 1941 – WW2: USMC F4F Wildcats sink the first 4 major Japanese ships off Wake Island.
  • Dec 13 1775 – The Continental Congress authorizes the building of 13 frigates.
  • Dec 13 1774 – Mass militiamen successfully attacked arsenal of Ft. William and Mary
  • Dec 13 1862 – Civil War: At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats the Union Major General Ambrose E. Burnside. Casualties and losses: US 12,863 – CSA 5,377.
  • Dec 13 1964 – Vietnam: North Vietnamese commence attack on Phuoc Long Province. Decisive North Vietnamese victory.
  • Dec 14 1814 – War of 1812: The Royal Navy seizes control of Lake Borgne, Louisiana.
  • Dec 14 1964 – Vietnam: Operation Barrel Roll – Covert U.S. Air Force 2nd Air Division (later the Seventh Air Force) and U.S. Navy Task Force 77, interdiction and close air support campaign conducted in the Kingdom of Laos begins. Limited tactical U.S. success but strategic failure.
  • Dec 15 1864 – Civil War: In the 2 day Battle of Nashville, Union forces under George H. Thomas almost completely destroy the Army of Tennessee under John B. Hood. Casualties and losses: US 3.061 – CSA Approx. 6,000.
·       Dec 15 1942 – WW2: The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse begins during the Guadalcanal campaign. Casualties and losses: US Est. 250 – Japan Est. 2,700 to 3,300.
[Source: Various Nov 2013 ++]

Know Your Neighbor?

How Well Do You Know Your Neighbor?

Neigbors-2-BModern life is so much more different from what it used to be just few decades ago. Seemingly everyday, new technologies are developed which allow people to access all kind of information and communicate with people from anywhere in the world. However, at the same time the Americans seem to know less and less people who live right next door to them. It is a fairly new phenomenon because our grandparents and even our parents knew most of their neighbors rather well. But not anymore—for many Americans their whole interaction with neighbors is reduced to perfunctory hand wave and an occasional small talk in passing. For some, it is a perfect arrangement because they really do not have to be friendly with people with whom they happened to live nearby by chance; others might feel that they are missing an opportunity to get to know their neighbors, be helpful to each other if necessary, and maybe get a new friend.

Sociologists have been analyzing this phenomenon for quite some time. One of the best books on the subject, Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” published in 2001, argues that the break of social bonds (taken in a wider sense to include involvement into civic clubs, church groups, etc.) leads to a number of problems in a society such as decreased safety of the neighborhoods, lower educational performance, reduced civic involvement into communities, decline in democratic responsiveness, and even health, happiness, and everyday honesty.

There are many factors which explain our reluctance or inability to establish relationships with our neighbors. Historically,how-to-deal-with-neighbors Americans have always been a nation which prized their privacy and the right to protect their properties; as a result, we are often disinclined to approach a neighbor out of fear to feel unwelcomed. Also, Americans move from one place to another much more often nowadays. Thus, we often fail to establish relationships with ever-changing neighbors. In addition, modern families are often two-career families and there is nobody home most of the day and, after a long day of work, people rarely have time to associate with their neighbors. After all, there is housework to do, dinner to be prepared, children to be taken care of—the list is long. Moreover, new technologies allow us to keep up with just about anything happening in the world; as such, simple, face-to-face interaction with your neighbors is often less interesting and stimulating for many. These are just few factors, and it is a fact of our modern life that sometimes it is simply easier not to get friendly with our neighbors.

However, there is something to be said about trying a little bit harder to become more neighborly. After all, you will always have somebody to watch over your house and pick up your mail when you go away; you might carpool with your perspective kids; you might acquire a new friend; your neighbors might notice any suspicious behavior around the neighborhood and alert you as well. So, turn off you TV and computer, step out of the house, and get to know your neighbors! – Becky Kospanova


Have A Good Life!

Some good ideas; A little long, but it sums up life and a good way to Have a good life.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.Smile About Life
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, but the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets; Wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare; then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time
31. However good or bad a situation is; it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Dream, as the song goes, ‘If you don’t have a dream, How you goanna have a dream come true?’.
50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

‘A Real Friend Is One Who Walks In….When The Rest Of The World Walks Out’