Friday, May 22, 2009

The World's Weirdest Festivals

Tomatina Festival, Buñol City, Valencia region, Spain (© JosĂ© Fuste Raga/agefotostock)
There is mood for everything. On the last wednesday of August, in Punol, Spain happens the world weirdest tomato festival. People from big cities and small towns join in this funny, and messy adventure. Travelers are also allowed to join to this juicy festival.

The world's largest tomato fight last a weeklong and it has all the other big parties have, It includes fireworks, parades, music, etc... and it's pinnacle is when the adventures meet at some place in the city around late noon and starts a tomato fight. More than 300.000 pounds of tomatoes are dumped in a square in the city where locals and tourist begins the juicy tomatoes' battle.

The festival started around "1944 or 1945 according to various theories that "as either a food fight among friends, the bullying of a bad musician or a rally against dictator Francisco Franco."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol 2009 Winner

On Wednesday, night, ended up the 8th edition of the American Idol. The finalists "Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, "Rocker vs. Crooner,"after several performances were running for a title of American Idol/09. Lambert showed his ability and revived the legendary rock star, Freddie Mercury, "Queen" on his performances in the American Idol; on the other hand, in a contrast the good looking "boy next door" type, Allen, showed on his trajectory in the concourse a soft voice and a nice combination of country music style. The result was fair and CONGRATULATIONS Allen for the good performances and the American Idol 2009 title.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top 10 Cat-Friendliest Cities in America


The Top 10 most cat-friendly cities in the United States.

They are (in no particular order):



San Francisco

Portland (Oregon)




San Diego




Golden Retirement and Executive Perks

Click to show "Bank of America" result 3

In the middle of a huge financial crise some companies still waste money as if nothing was happen. Whoever produced the problem should have to pay for it; similarly in a case when a person(crimminal) is pleaded guilty and taken to the jail.

Some companies' executives who use the money unwisely should pay to cover the big "cannyon" made in the economy and not the public who follow their instructions like a sheep and pay their taxes on time.

In the middle of the hard financial crise while the population is struggling with job losses and budgeting for the future MTA high fares in june; executives from the big companies are eating the "Fillet Mignon" and big companies are still contributing to make the financial crise bigger.

Last week, was broadcasted to the public that some banks e.g, Bank of America will need around $34 billion dollars to survive in this financial crise and keep running as a decent one. Recently I received a letter from Bank of America saying they will increase the taxes in some transactions even those simple ones for instance, withdrawing money from ATM machines which I would be taxed at 4% on the transaction. Below is a list where part of your money goes, Golden Retirement and Executive Perks.

1. Country Club Memberships - Bank of America

On the rare occasion it's safe to leave home, some CEOs like to unwind at country clubs. Companies say there's a business purpose for this perk: hobnobbing with other executives can lead to new deals and ideas.

Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America (BAC), paid more than $940,000 in country club memberships for CEO Angelo Mozilo and other executives including Stanford Kurland, David Sambol and Eric Sieracki from 2003 through 2006, according to proxy statements filed by the mortgage giant.

The money covered monthly dues, assessments, fees and business-related meals, Countrywide said, adding that "a significant portion" of the memberships were for "business purposes."

Mattel (MAT) paid $150,000 last year to cover a country club initiation fee for CEO Robert Eckert. The toymaker spent another $233,620 on country club memberships for other executives and on additional perks including company cars, financial advice and tax preparation, physicals (for spouses, too) and home-security systems, according to its latest proxy.

2. The Parting Perk

Jack Welch ran General Electric (GE) for two decades, turning the industrial conglomerate into one of the most successful companies in the world and cementing a legacy as one of the best chief executives ever.

He also negotiated an employment and retirement agreement in 1996 that included all the perks a hard-working executive could ever need, making Welch a noted leader in this area too.

The year after he retired on Sept. 30, 2001, Welch got roughly $2.5 million in perks under the agreement, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which charged GE in 2004 with failing to tell shareholders enough about the package.

The perks included access to GE aircraft for unlimited personal use and for business travel; exclusive use of a furnished New York City apartment that, according to GE, in 2003, had a rental value of roughly $50,000 a month and a resale value of more than $11 million; unrestricted access to a chauffeured limousine driven by security professionals; a leased Mercedes Benz; office space in New York City and Connecticut; professional estate and tax advice; a personal assistant; communications systems and networks at Welch's homes, including television, fax, phone and computer systems, with technical support; bodyguard security for speaking engagements; installation of a security system in one of Welch's homes and continued maintenance of security systems GE previously installed in three of Welch's other homes.

More perks were alleged in 2002 during Welch's divorce from his wife at the time, Jane Beasley Welch. Papers filed in the case disclosed floor-level seats at New York Knicks games, courtside seats at the U.S. Open and some dining bills at Jean Georges, a three-star Michelin restaurant where the tasting menu currently costs almost $150 per person.

All costs associated with the New York apartment were allegedly covered in the package too, including wine, food, laundry, toiletries and newspapers.

Realizing he faced "a huge perception problem," Welch quickly gave up most of the perks, according to a 2005 interview in the Boston Globe. However, he didn't apologize, telling the newspaper the benefits were part of a contract that helped GE keep him at the company longer.

3. Office Renovations

Fast-forward to early this year and another well respected CEO faced a similar dilemma.

John Thain, the former head of NYSE Euronext (NYX) , was hired by Merrill Lynch in late 2007 to steer the struggling brokerage firm through the financial crisis.

Soon after his appointment, Thain spent $1.2 million to renovate his new office, two conference rooms and a reception area. Furniture included a $35,113.50 "commode on legs," a $68,178 19th century credenza and a pair of guest chairs costing $87,783.

The decorating spree emerged in January, a few months after government bailouts of the largest U.S. banks and Wall Street firms, including Merrill.

Thain quickly said he would reimburse the firm for all the expenses, calling them "a mistake in the light of the world we live in today."

4. 'Stay Bonus,' Even If You're Dead

Some companies are so keen to hold on to executives that they promise big pay and benefits even if the talent dies -- in contracts known as golden coffins.

Life insurance policies worth millions of dollars are the least controversial part of these packages -- even though buying such coverage without company help shouldn't be too difficult for executives pulling in six or seven figures a year.

A peek under the lid of several golden coffins also reveals big severance payments, pensions and continued salaries if executives pass away.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) agreed to pay Chief Executive Michael Jefferies a $6 million "stay bonus" to keep him running the successful fashion clothing retailer, according to its 2007 proxy statement.

If Jefferies dies, the bonus stays and is paid out, along with $10 million from a company-purchased life insurance policy, to his estate. The retailer would also pay some of his incentive compensation, bringing the golden coffin's value to more than $17 million, assuming he died on Feb. 2, 2008, according to the proxy.

5. Gross-Ups

If General Dynamics (GD) Chief Executive Nicholas Chabraja died at the end of 2008, his estate would have received almost $30 million, according to the ship and airplane builder's latest proxy statement.

That includes a lump-sum cash payment of $8.56 million in lieu of his use of corporate aircraft and reimbursement for office space, administrative support and moving expenses. It also includes the cost of paying taxes on those benefits -- known as gross ups.

Many companies are eliminating gross-ups, but there were still some spectacular examples in recent years.

If Nabors Industries Chief Executive Eugene Isenberg died, became disabled or was terminated without cause at the end of 2007, the oil-services company would have paid more than $260 million in cash severance, according to its proxy filed in April 2008.

If Isenberg was let go because there was a change in control of the company, Nabors (NBR) would have covered the tax on the severance and other payments for total gross-ups of more than $114 million, the proxy explained.

6. Tax Preparation

Unfortunately for CEOs, they don't have all their taxes paid by the companies they run. This can lead to a time-consuming process known as filing a personal tax return.

Big salaries, stock options, restricted stock awards and other forms of compensation can make tax returns tricky. So companies sometimes cover the cost of professional tax preparation and financial advice for their CEOs.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) provided Chief Executive Ray Irani with $403,285 in tax preparation and financial planning services in 2008. That's nearly eight times the median U.S. household income and more than the $400,000 salary of the President of the United States, according to the AFL-CIO, a union group.

Irani received $49.9 million in direct compensation last year, making him one of the highest paid executives in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal.

7. Keeping the CEO Safe

If companies are paying top dollar to attract and retain the best executives, some figure it's only right to protect the investment as much as possible.

Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) spent more than $1.7 million from 2004 through 2007 for security systems, advice and equipment along with "personal protection services" for Chairman and founder Darwin Deason, according to the company's 2007 proxy statement.

8. Cars and Gas

Mattel CEO also gets a company-issued credit card that he can use to gas up his car.

Ford Motor Co. (F) and General Motors (GM) provide executives with two free cars a year and free gas as part of broader "vehicle evaluation" programs that require managers to give the companies feedback on how their vehicles are performing.

9. Execs, Families Fly in Style

But why drive when you can fly?

In 2006, Ford paid $517,560 so executive Mark Fields could fly to work in Michigan from his Florida home and back on weekends on the company's aircraft. The automaker and Fields agreed to change the perk and now he commutes first class, at a cost of roughly $29,000 a year, according to the company's latest proxy. Ford still covers the tax on this perk.

Ford also paid for the family of CEO Alan Mulally to fly between Michigan and Seattle, Wash. They used to fly on company aircraft, but the automaker is selling its planes. Ford will now charter private aircraft for the CEO, and his family will be allowed to travel with him on trips. Ford will also pay for coach-class flights for Mulally's family when they travel at his request.

Qwest Communications (Q) paid for the wife and minor child of CEO Edward Mueller to fly on the telecom company's aircraft between California and Colorado during the first half of 2008, as part of a package of relocation benefits. Qwest also paid the tax on these perks, according to its latest proxy.

In 2007, Mattel paid $18,833 to cover the cost of house-hunting trips by the spouse of Neil Friedman, president of Mattel Brands, ahead of his planned relocation from New York to Los Angeles, according to the toymaker's proxy covering that year.

10. Plum Pensions

After decades of tireless service, CEOs deserve a comfortable retirement. If they haven't managed to save some of their prodigious earnings, some companies make sure the money keeps flowing.

By the end of 2005, Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell had accrued a pension that the drugmaker estimated was worth more than $83 million, or more than $6.5 million a year, according to its proxy statement filed in 2006.

Alistair Barr is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco.
Copyrighted, MarketWatch. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of MarketWatch content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of MarketWatch. MarketWatch shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Bravery

Watch this amazing video and music

No Bravery

(4 minutes / 1.9 MB)

James Blunt - No Bravery Lyrics

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.
He has been here.
Brothers lie in shallow graves.
Fathers lost without a trace.
A nation blind to their disgrace,
Since he's been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,
He has been here.
Tracer lighting up the sky.
It's another families' turn to die.
A child afraid to even cry out says,
He has been here.

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produced by

Music by James Blunt

Lyrics to 'No Bravery'

The Story of Blake Miller, Iraq War Veteran (aka: Marlboro Man)

Iraq Coalition Casualties

The Patriot Project

The images the U.S. doesn't want you to see

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
But no one asks the question why,
He has been here.
Old men kneel and accept their fate.
Wives and daughters cut and raped.
A generation drenched in hate.
Yes, he has been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day History

It's a day when lots of people get their mothers cards and flowers, or take them to brunch, or maybe try to make them breakfast-in-bed. But did you ever wonder how this whole Mother's Day thing got started?

Mother's Day can be traced back more than 2,000 years, to a celebration held every spring in Greece. The celebration honored Rhea, the goddess who was considered the mother of all the other Greek gods.

Around 400 years ago, a holiday called "Mothering Sunday" became common in England. It was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is the period leading up to the Christian holiday of Easter.

In the United States, the social activist and poet Julia Ward Howe is given credit for suggesting the celebration of Mother's Day back in 1872. Howe saw it as a day that should be dedicated to peace.

But many people consider the Mother of Mother's Day in America as Anna Jarvis.

In the first decade of the 20th century, she started a campaign to make Mother's Day a national holiday, after the death of her own mother.

On May 10, 1907, she organized a special Mother's Day service at her mother's church in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia. She chose the second Sunday of May because that was the anniversary of her mother's passing.

Jarvis then got financial backing for her campaign from wealthy Philadelphia philanthropist John Wanamaker, the founder of one of the first department stores in the United States. Just seven years later, on May 14, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation that made Mother's Day a national holiday, on the second Sunday of May each year.

For Jarvis, Mother's Day was not a day to go out and buy something for your mother.

In fact, by most accounts, she opposed what she saw as the growing commercialization of the holiday.

She saw it as a day to honor women for the work they do as mothers, not as a day to make money.

So if you don't have money to buy your mom a gift, don't worry. Just do something nice for her, to show her you appreciate what she does for you every day.

Chances are, that you'll be enough of a gift for her.

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 8, 2009

Inspired on Spiderman 5 yo Boy Saves Baby from Blaze

In Brazil, a five year year old boy dressed in a spider-man suit became a superhero when he saved a baby girl from her burning home.

He was playing in his back garden with a friend when he saw a smoking coming out of the wooden house's windows and ran to tell the baby's mother, Lucilene dos Santos. The mother was afraid to enter in the house, when the young Riquelme Maciel, decided to enter into the burning house and grabbed the baby Andrieli from her cradle.

Maciel, act of bravery was inspired on his personal superhero, Spirder-man and; after he became the talk of the town. He was the news in the cover of all the local newspapers which made him recognised everywhere even without the spider-man costume and; no wonder "Maciel already said he is dreaming of becoming a fire-fighter so he can save more lives.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baseball Star Suspended for 50 Games For Drug Violation

  Manny Ramirez became the latest star to be linked to steroids after MLB announced his suspension Thursday.

Manny Ramirez became the latest star to be linked to steroids after MLB announced his suspension Thursday.

Manny Ramirez, the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball star entered to the list of the drug scandal in the world of the sports. Ramirez, affirmed he did not take steroid and whatever the medication he was taken was given by the doctor. He's accused of being using "HCG," (human chorionic gonadotropin); in other words, is a substance prescribed to stimulate female fertility and testosterone production in men and to treat delayed puberty in boys. Ramirez, 36 year-Old outfielder apologized to the Dodgers and fans for the embarassed situation. The Player affirmed that recently had visited a physician for personal health issue when he was medicated and, unfortunately it was a substance that he thought was ok but it's banned under the drug policy in the sports, specially in the baseball.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The True About USA Economy

Truth have to be said that the USA economy is crashed but there are some negative minds everywhere, e.g, if the economy was bad and aparently everything was fine; we have to think positively because after figured out, more or less, how big was the damage in the economy Obama's administration asked some money for the bailout and it was approved to cover the big damage made by the administrations before. Lets think that way if you have a deficit and you get the money to cover it obviously it has to be eliminated. but the negative minds are making it very tough to the public that the economy will not return to be at least what it was before for long time or maybe never; iIf the money to cover the damage in the economy was gotten and past to the needed ones thus, at least we have to expect things go back to their normal track.

How To Make Your Trip Becomes Experience in a Resume

If you got back from your trip and need to get a job you might feel nervous or uncomfortable about the situation of being off the job market for a while; don't desperate; not everything is lost. Today the world of businesses need people who are adventured, who accept challenges, who know other cultures and who speak other languages etc...The experience you got on those trips may be useful. Here is the trick.

1. When you write your resume don't put everything in it because not everything from your trip is counted as experience, but some things you usually pick on the road such as: people skills, confidence, and independence may count.

2. Just the resume is far away beyond to get you a job like old times, you can include some travel data on your cover letter, talk about them and give more details like: why you left, what you learned in the trip also how these experiences contribute to improve your skills. Don't forget to give all the details.

On interviews be a bit funny with some stories. Sure it will make you be seen with different eyes and set apart from others. why? those willing to take a chance are the type of leaders businesses look for. They love people who can take them into new directions and not waste their time behind a desk.

3 - To articulate your experience

a: Remember your trip is not a work experience, but at the bottom of your resume put on Other Experience and title it, (your Name) and include the dates of them.

B: Pick Skills that translate into any job. Like everything on a resume, this will be all about how you words sound. Choose your words carefully. For example:

I bargained on the prices in market to save a few thousand dollars off on a pant in Germany? Negotiation Skills.

Got stuck in an airport because you forgot your plane? Adaptability.

Had to plan, finance, and organize your trip? Budgeting and Planning.

Got stuck in a jungle at night because you explored off the trail? Self-reliance and independence.

You get the idea. It’s all about name your experience correctly. Notice how all of those are skills you can use in the world of the businesses.

Writing “I’m good with people” is generic and makes you sound full of crap. Choose only job related “hard” skills for the resume because what you are doing is showing how your life experience makes up for your lack of practical experience.

4: Know your audience! Only put travel on your resume if it helps explain your long absence in the job market (i.e. a year or longer), is relevant to the job, or unique. If all you did was live in Thailand and got drunk then it is useless fill it that will only hurt you. If you volunteered in an something to another country, then keep it on. If this job requires extended travel, definitely put it here.

So what would this all look like? Here’s how I would put it on my resume.

Other Experience

Kraig’s Gap Year 2007-2008

* Developed negotiation skills through daily contact with sellers in markets and vendors throughout Europe.
* Learned how to adapt to unexpected situations and improvise new plans due to periodic travel and unexpected events.
* Developed budgeting and planning skills by financing, planning, organizing my year around the world. This involved using various spreadsheets and keeping a record of expenses.
* Cultivated language and communication skills through contact with people from around the world. Learned to use non verbal and verbal communication to overcome communication and language barriers.

That sounds professional, actionable, and clear. It explains each skill and how I developed it. Remember that the employer is going to ask you to explain these points just like they would in any other part of your resume.

It’s important you have an interesting short story supporting each bullet point, especially since these have no boss to confirm any of this- just your word. If you can’t explain it well, keep it off.

Use your travel experience to differentiate yourself. That’s why in the beginning, I said put it in the cover letter. It allows you more time to explain the story behind it.

Hollywood Director Involved in Sex Scandal with 13 years Old Girl

When we talk about Scandalous; Hollywood is a Mecca. This week added the list Roman Polanski, after run away the country looks like he ain't never coming back.

The film director Attorneys said in a court filing yesterday that Polanski will not return to the USA from Europe this week to contest in person his 1978 conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

According to Legal experts who said if Polanski returned from France to the U.S., he would promptly be arrested on the spot, but by not coming back, he has no chance of getting the conviction dismissed.

Polanski tried to have his guilty plea thrown out on claims that the judge in the case was improperly coached by a prosecutor, but when that didn't work, he left the country and is now considered a fugitive.

Is hard to make movies when you're behind bars, we guess.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bear is a Man Best Bud

Believe it or not, a men best bud is a 7 years old 800 pounds bear "Brutus" that was rescued from a overpopulated wildlife park by the naturalist Casey Anderson and his wife, actress Missi Pyle. On last August, they got married and one of the guests was the bear who overshadowed the bride. so far the bride hasn't complaint. The bear lives in captivity and enjoy all the activities wild bears do on Anderson's vast acreage, which hosts four other rescued bears. Anderson says: "Brutus is so well-behaved that he’s a star in his own right. He has appeared in films and educational spots. “This is what he gets to do, be an ambassador to his wild cousins.” You can check it out on a National Geographic program called "Expedition Grizzly" which will be broadcasted on May 3rd at 9 p.m.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What is Swine Flu

According to the World Health Organization on this Friday the number of people infected with the H1N1 virus reached 331 people. On thursday, the number of confirmed cases of the swine flu were 257. Between thursday to Friday the number of confirmed cases of the virus increased 74 more people worldwide. Seems the flu is spreading quickly. So far, the swine flu has spread to 11 countries, but with most cases concentrated in the western hemisphere. So far, we have no confirmed case that the transmission of the virus was made human-to-human. Just in USA, the number of confirmed cases of the flu was 109 with one death. Mexico, has the largest number of confirmed cases with 156 people infected and 9 deaths attributed from the virus. Nonetheless, Mexican officials said the death toll had risen to 12 and they suspect more 150 deaths in the country are linked to the virus....