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From Tom Parsons - Fall Fares Are Falling Like Leaves
From Tom Parsons - Fall Fares Are Falling Like Leaves
August 22, 2014

As the end of summer approaches, we are still waiting for a battle between DFW and Love Field, due to the end of Wright Amendment domestic flight restrictions in October.

In the meantime we have been seeing a big battle between DFW airlines like American, Delta, United and even US Airways, which is part of the new American Airlines. This battle is great for the consumer, because we've seen some amazing deals in the past couple of weeks.

We've seen United offer some very low fares out of Dallas. Sometimes American has matched these low fares out of Dallas, but in many cases, American will retaliate by cutting fares in United's hub cities like Houston.

This past week we saw a winter sale from United from Dallas to St. Lucia, Punta Cana, Grand Cayman, Antigua and Montego Bay with fares that were $400-$700 cheaper than regular fares. American retaliated with similar fares out of Houston, and United pulled its Dallas fares, so if you missed the Dallas sale, you would want those Houston sale fares. If you see five Caribbean Islands on sale for $249 out of Houston, grab the fares while you see it because you may not see those fares out of Dallas.

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Posted by Ken at 6:49 PM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Good Day Goodies!
Good Day Goodies!
August 22, 2014

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Dream Big America - August Finals!
Dream Big America - August Finals!
August 22, 2014

Here are the finalists for August for Dream Big America...

Tom Force from ICE Medical Cards

Ron Ben-Zeev from Complete The Pair

Craig Jackson from Tiger Tiller

To find out more about Dream Big America, click the link below!

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Nearly 400 people 'pay it forward' at St. Petersburg Starbucks
Nearly 400 people 'pay it forward' at St. Petersburg Starbucks
August 22, 2014

The acts of kindness began at 7 a.m. Wednesday with a woman, her iced coffee and a stranger's caramel macchiato.

The woman paid for her own drink, then asked to pay for the drink of the person behind her in the drive-through. That person returned the favor and paid for the person behind, and so did that person, until the employees at the St. Petersburg Starbucks on Tyrone Boulevard began a tally on green laminated paper near the drive-through window.

By 1:30 p.m., the chain had reached 260 customers.

People ordered a drink at the speaker. When they pulled through to the next window, the barista, Vu Nguyen, 29, leaned through and said with a smile that their drinks had already been paid for by the person in front of them. Would they like to return the favor?
"It makes your day better, I think," said Lexie Kane, 17, of St. Petersburg, who ordered an iced coffee.

Tim Burnside, 19, had visited in the morning and paid it forward. He returned later to see whether it was still going on. Seeing that it was, he ordered a second chai tea.
"It's nice just to do a random act of kindness for someone you don't know," said Burnside, also of St. Petersburg.

Some said the simple act connected them to all of the others in line before them. Others said they didn't want to be the jerk to end it.

The baristas inside began to think of what they might do if it lasted until 10 p.m., when the Starbucks closed. Perhaps they could put the final amount on a gift card and continue the next day? They tallied 378 people by early evening.

Then at 6 p.m., customer No. 379 - a woman in a white Jeep Commander - pulled into the drive-through and ordered a regular coffee.

Nguyen leaned out the window. He told her about the chain that had begun that morning. Would she like to participate? The woman declined, saying she just wanted to pay for her $2.25 drink and not someone else's.

Nguyen said it appeared the woman didn't understand the concept of paying it forward.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

From Andrea Metcalf - Fitness May Fight Depression in Girls
From Andrea Metcalf - Fitness May Fight Depression in Girls
August 22, 2014

The more fit a child is, the less likely he or she is to suffer from depression, a new study suggests. That's especially true for girls, according to researchers from the University of North Texas, who found a link among middle schoolers. The findings, which have yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal, came after researchers analyzed the fitness levels of 437 sixth-graders. Overall, those with better fitness were less likely to report symptoms of depression when they entered seventh grade, notes Science World Report.

It may have to do with "better self-esteem, healthier weight, or getting more positive reinforcements that go along with being active," the lead researcher tells WebMD. However, "it could be more biological. We know certain proteins and hormones associated with less depression respond to increased exercise." Zeroing in on the issue is important, though, because depression at that age can lead to chronic problems later in life. Researchers see it as one more piece of the puzzle for overall mental health in kids and suggest that school fitness programs could be key.

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What An ALS Family REALLY Thinks About the Ice Bucket Challenge
What An ALS Family REALLY Thinks About the Ice Bucket Challenge
August 22, 2014

From a blog by Bo Stern...

Well, we are on week two of the very-viral very-everywhere ALS ice bucket challenge. I know, I know, I can hear the groans...it started out cute and now it's out-of-control. Played. Clogging up social media sites everywhere.

I even read this article in which the author called the challenge (that has raised an unprecedented amount of money for one of the most outrageously underfunded diseases) a waste of fresh water. Another headline whined, "Is the Ice Bucket Challenge Going to Cure ALS?" Um, no (and - btw - that's a stupid bar to set for any fundraiser.) Critics complain that the challenge is really about feeding our American narcism and does nothing for ALS awareness or funding. They assert that people should just quietly donate their money and move on with their lives.



I get that they're cranky, but I think maybe they don't realize what it's like to face this insidious disease and then realize that it's nearly invisible to the rest of the world. As I watch my husband become entombed inside his own body, I feel desperate for people to understand that this sort of inhumane condition exists. But for some reason, while everyone acknowledges it's one of the worst fates imaginable, funding for research and patient care is nearly nil. I recently mentioned to a doctor that my husband has ALS and she first looked confused and then said, "Oh, that's Lou Gehrig's Disease, right?" Right. Why does she -a doctor of medicine - still only know it by Lou Gehrigs Disease? Because we humans need to associate things with people. It's easier that way. That's why the celebrity faces and personal challenges happening in the ice bucket challenge are so effective at bringing in money. And if someone gets to look good while plunking their $50 in the ALS tip jar, I have zero problem with that.



Because here's the deal: We are in for the fight of our lives with this monster, and the very LAST thing I want is for people to give quietly, anonymously, and then slink away. Raise the roof! Raise a ruckus! Call all sorts of attention to yourself! I will be happy for you and every Facebook like you receive, as you nudge ALS an inch or two closer to the collective public consciousness.



So, fear not, dear reader, this too shall pass and your Facebook newsfeed will go back to cat videos and kids singing Let It Go. Until that happens, here's a little reminder about what it's like to live with ALS and why this level of awareness is like gold to families like mine.



----------


A Mile in ALS Shoes

People ask me often what it's like to live with ALS. It's a brave question because the answers are not very pleasant. But it's also such a worthy question because understanding how this disease impacts those who suffer from it creates empathy which is so valuable; it carries us into another person's world and allows us to understand what they're feeling and how they're hurting. As I watch my strong husband struggle with things that used to be easy and automatic, I sometimes wish that everyone could see life from his perspective.



If you would like to experience just a tiny corner of an ALS life, I have a list of Empathetic Experiences for you. These are things you can do to walk for just a mile in ALS shoes. If you try one, take a little time at the end to consider that people actually living with the disease have a million miles more to go.

1. Pick up a 10-pound weight. Now imagine it's your fork and move it from your plate to your mouth repeatedly without shaking.

2. Sit in a chair for just 15 minutes moving nothing but your eyes. Nothing. No speaking, no scratching your nose, no shifting your weight, no changing the channel on the television, no computer work. Only your eyes. As you sit, imagine: this is your life. Your only life.

3. Borrow a wheelchair or power scooter and try to maneuver quickly through the aisles at Walmart, without speaking. Note the way people react to you.

4. Strap 25 pounds to your forearm. Now, adjust your rearview mirror.

5. Using none of your own muscles, have your spouse or child or friend get you dressed and brush your teeth. Write down some of the feelings you have being cared for in this way.

6. Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food. Inhale deeply and appreciate the aroma. Now, imagine never being able to taste that - or any other food - for the rest of your life.

7. Put two large marshmallows in your mouth and have a conversation with your friends. How many times must you repeat yourself? How does this make you feel?

8. Go to bed and stay in one position for as long as you possibly can, moving nothing.

9. Strap weights to your ankles and climb a flight of stairs, taking two at a time. That's the kind of strength it takes for someone with ALS to tackle the stairs on a good day.

10. Install a text-to-speech app on your phone or iPad and use it exclusively to communicate for one day.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Windows 9 Preview to Launch September 30
Windows 9 Preview to Launch September 30
August 22, 2014

Code-named Threshold, Windows 9 is set to bring a major change in terms of design and features compared to Windows 8, which was launched less than two years ago.

According to sources within the company, speaking to well-known Microsoft-watcher Tom Warren at The Verge, the company is planning to hold a media event on Sept. 30 to unveil the new software, though that date could change in the coming weeks.

The news from Warren comes just days after fellow Microsoft expert Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet reported that the Redmond-based company was planning to make a "technology preview" of Windows 9 available in late September/early October.

Threshold - as the software is currently known within Microsoft - is set to be the next major release of the company's desktop software and will be known as Windows 9 when it officially launches in the spring of 2015.

Microsoft is said to be focusing more on making the new Windows experience better for those using non-touch devices, with Windows 8 roundly criticized by mouse and keyboard users for being too touch-focused.

Microsoft began to address these concerns with the Windows 8.1 update last year, and this will continue with Windows 9.

Among the additions to feature in the Windows 9 release:
A mini Start menu returning to the desktop
"Windowed" Metro-style apps
Virtual desktops
Cortana integration
Removal of the Charm bar

Microsoft has stated its intention of having a much more rapid update cycle for Windows software, similar to its update cycle for Windows Phone mobile software.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Study: Nobody Is Paying Attention on Your Conference Call
Study: Nobody Is Paying Attention on Your Conference Call
August 22, 2014

The best studies are the ones that tell us we are not alone. A new survey from Intercall, the largest international conference call company, finds that when I occasionally zone out on conference calls, I'm participating in a national pastime, not unlike baseball.

More than 60 percent of Intercall's respondents admitted to doing other work or sending an email while on a conference call. More than half the people on the line are eating (hopefully on mute). Just under half are in the bathroom (hopefully on mute!). One in five are shopping. One in 11 are exercising. Six percent are taking another call.
Conference calls might be one of the least exciting aspects of office life, but their necessity points to a positive development in the workplace.

When routine-based assembly-line work dominated the economy, important decisions were made by a small group of executives and delegated down to the drones. Today, the decision-making process at many large corporations is diffuse and democratized, so that many lower- and mid-level employees have responsibilities that would have seemed absurd at old companies. With this democratization of power comes a heightened need for bosses to constantly check in, assess, manage, and tweak strategy. As teams spread out across the country, the conference room has given birth to the conference call.

But even the executive that stands to benefit the most from our conferencing addiction says that it is killing our productivity. Rob Bellmar, Intercall's executive vice president of conferencing and collaboration, told Harvard Business Review that the fault is not in our attention spans, but in our approach to work. "Part of the problem comes from too many meetings," he said. "This leads people to confuse activity with productivity." In three separate surveys, managers said that between 25 and 50 percent of their time in meetings was a waste of time. A large review of studies on meeting productivity similarly found that meetings, although critical to workflow across many industries, repeatedly tested as being net drains to productivity. One 1982 study found that mid-level managers spend the equivalent of one full year of their full working-and-non-working life in meetings.

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Pete Rose to next MLB commissioner Manfred: Give me a second chance
Pete Rose to next MLB commissioner Manfred: Give me a second chance
August 22, 2014

MLB's all-time hit king Pete Rose said he wants incoming commissioner Rob Manfred to give him a second chance and consider reversing his lifetime ban.

On Aug. 24, 1989, Rose was banned for life for betting on games. He has since apologized for his actions, but hasn't been reinstated since being banned by commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

Rose said in an interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap he wants another chance to make it right.

Rose finished his 24-year career with more hits, more games played, more career at-bats and career plate appearances than any other player in major league history.

Manfred is scheduled to take over for reigning commissioner Bud Selig in January. Rose told Schaap what he would say to Manfred if he had the opportunity.

"I wish some way in your heart you'd find an opportunity to give me a chance, a second chance, because if you don't, I'm still going to sell baseball like no one else you have working in the game," Rose said.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

All Pregnant Women Need Flu Shot
All Pregnant Women Need Flu Shot
August 21, 2014

A group representing U.S. obstetricians is calling for all pregnant women to get a flu shot.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), several studies released in recent years have upheld the safety and effectiveness of flu vaccination during pregnancy.

"The flu virus is highly infectious and can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women, as it can cause pneumonia, premature labor, and other complications," Dr. Laura Riley, chair of the college's Immunization Expert Work Group, explained in an ACOG news release.

"Vaccination every year, early in the season and regardless of the stage of pregnancy, is the best line of defense," she advised.

The best time to get vaccinated is early in the flu season, regardless of the stage of pregnancy, the guidelines state. However, pregnant women can get a flu shot at any time during flu season, which typically lasts from October to May.

All women who are or become pregnant during the flu season should get the inactivated flu vaccine, which is also safe for women who have just given birth and those who are breast-feeding. However, pregnant women should not be given the live attenuated version of the flu vaccine (the nasal mist), according to the guidelines.

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

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