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TEAM With a limited release of the first edition, and still trying hard to establish a decent presence, this edition might seem too ambitious. We are after all a month old, and with no major corporate or media house backing. But we did choose to have it in the end. However, choosing the Person of the Year, was a different task altogether. My first choice was basically Michael Phelps, but after a talk with other members of the board (namely Liana & Niki), we had 2 more shortlists, Barack Obama, and John McCain. As this discussion took place prior to 4th November, we had both options, & either of them winning would be an achievement indeed. Obama if he won would make history as the first African-American person to become to be President (which he did). McCain had he won, would have come out of the negative shadow over Republicans and G.W. Bush. After 4th November, I had another choice, “The people of American”, who did vote for a change, they are soon getting the government they chose, the government they deserve. With 3 great options after the election, I was still confused whom to select. However, Michael Phelps had this charm, a story of hope, and he had against all odds won out in the end, that seemed to me a good enough reason for the choice. As with our commitment to bringing new content into the e-magazine, we have launched a new section where we review books and movies. Here I would like to have the pleasure of introducing Karthik Anand, who is Movie Fanatic, he is a reviewer, yes, he is a critic, but he is much more than that, he is a lover of movies, and writes some really fantabulous movie reviews. Another new face on the e-magazine, is Thain Hunter a.k.a Stargazer, who happens to have a great amount of knowledge in both Science and Religion, which is in itself a very rare combination. Last but not the least, we have Raj Kiran a.k.a The Abstractist, who is a very creative and talented graphic designer, has created the wonderful Cover of this issue and will from the future editions be the reason we can make YSeeker more professional looking. An expansion to our YSeeker Picks comes in the form of 1. Book of the Month, this month done by Liana, and 2. Movie of the month, by our Movie Fanatic, Karthik Anand, along with this month’s Website of the Month, with an exclusive interview with Dr. Radu Dan Moisoiu, founder-owner AstrologyWeekly.com. Vishwas Manjulaa Byrappa - Founder, Publisher and Chief Editor.

Vishwas Manjulaa Byrappa byrappa@yseeker.org

Liana “SuryaMukhi” liana@yseeker.org

Niki niki@yseeker.org

PRAKAASH prakaash@yseeker.org


Adrian adrian@yseeker.org

Raj Kiran

SWIPCOM 38, RAJA RAM MOHAN ROY ROAD, (Opp. KANTEERAVA STADIUM), BANGALORE - 560 027 Disclaimer No part of this e-magazine is to be reproduced, without the written consent of the Publisher. Views expressed in the e-magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the publisher. Unsolicited contributions are welcome but the editor reserves the discretion to use them. While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy and honesty in both editorial, articles and advertising content, the publisher will not be liable for any inaccuracies.

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YSeeker – Person of the Year 2008,

04 Michael Phelps
by Byrappa.

10 Michael Phelps- Why we
need this hero? - by Rev. Martin S. Nocchi. YSeeker Picks

11 Website of the Month – AstrologyWeekly.com Exclusive interview with Dr. Radu Dan Moisoiu. - by Liana “SuryaMukhi”. 26 Book of the Month December 2008 – Astrology, Karma and Transformation: The Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart - by Liana “SuryaMukhi”.
Review – Quantum of Solace. - by Karthik Anand. 28 Review – Max Payne. - by Karthik Anand. 29 Review – Tropic Thunder. - by Karthik Anand. 30 Review – Yuvvraaj. - by Karthik Anand. 31 Movie of the Month December 2008 – Dostana - by Karthik Anand. Sacred Journey Types and Branches of Astrology - by Byrappa.

Going once, going twice... sold. What is your soul worth? - by Niki. Around the World,


Living Life

37 Recipes for lip smacking food
from around the world, especially for Christmas REGULARS

21 Christmas
What does it mean - by Thain Hunter.


22 Hanukkah
- by Thain Hunter.

02 – Editorial 13 – Quotopedia 42 – Pic of the Month

32 Ahmedabad to Shimla
- by Sanjay Gajjar. New horizons

16 The Flux Transfer Event (FTE)
What is it and what does it do? - by Thain Hunter.


24 Installing Microsoft Office 2007 - by Prakaash

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Full name: Michael Fred Phelps Nickname(s): The Baltimore Bullet, MP, Gomer Date of birth: June 30, 1985 (1985-06-30) (age 23) Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland, United States Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Hobbies & Interests: Lacrosse, baseball, soccer, video games, Poker, movies. Favourite Quotes: Actions speak louder than words Favourite music: The Fray, Rap music Famous Swimmers: I’d Like To Meet: Hero(s): Michael Jordan, his mom Honours and Awards: World Swimmer of the Year Award: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 American Swimmer of the Year Award: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 Golden Goggle Male Performance of the Year: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 Golden Goggle Relay Performance of the Year: 2006, 2007, 2008 Golden Goggle Male Athlete of the Year: 2004, 2007, 2008 ESPY Best Olympic Performance: 2005 USOC Athlete of the Year Award: 2004 USSA Athlete of the Year Award: 2003 World Championships Swimmer of the Meet: 2003 James E. Sullivan Award: 2003 Teen Choice Awards - Male Athlete: 2005 USA Olympic Team Member: 2000, 2004, 2008 Olympic Games medals: 16, (14 Gold, 2 Bronze) Personal Website: www.swimroom.com/phelps http://www.michaelphelps.com http://www. swimroom.com http://www.facebook.com/michaelphelps

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Michael Phelps today needs no introduction, having achieved fame and recognition world-over for his 8 Olympic Gold medal winning spree, and in the process breaking and making many new records, he has earned a name and spot in the heart of many people, not just Americans, and not just swimmers, but many other people from different walks of life and many countries. He has given hope to millions of people, who today believe that they can do the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the seemingly impossible, and better it too. For the hope that he has given to the world, we select him as the YSeeker Picks – Person of the Year 2008. - Byrappa
Michael Fred Phelps, born on the 30th of June 1985, to Fred Phelps, worked for the Maryland State Police, and Deborah Sue “Debbie” Davisson Phelps, is a middle school principal. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in the Rodgers Forge neighbourhood. Has two older siblings, both sisters, Whitney and Hilary. All three siblings share the love and passion for swimming, with Whitney even being part of the team that took part in 1994 World Championship, and Hillary who swam for the University of Richmond. As a youth, Michael was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He started swimming at age seven, to help provide him an outlet for his energy, also because of the influence of his sisters, who were swimmers themselves. Michael appeared at the 1996 Olympic, to support his sister, Whitney, who was trying to get qualified for the team. When she finished sixth in the 200m butterfly final and missed making the team, the family cried in the stands. Michael says, “It left a scar on our family”. Later Whitney’s career was cut short by four herniated discs, but Michael says he always lives by her example. From the time he was little, he remembers how he would hear her door shut and the car start before dawn as she made her way to practice. Michael trained at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under Coach Bob Bowman and turned out to be an excellent swimmer, good enough that by the tender age of 10, he had already broken a national record in his age group. Over the years he broke many more records under various age groups, with his rapid improvement, the Olympic berth was soon to be his. In 2000, he qualified and participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics, in Sydney, Australia, at the age of 15, becoming the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years, and came fifth in the 200 meters Butterfly event. I personally would like to know if he ever dreamt of taking part in the Olympics or winning so many medals as he grew up. In 2001, five months after the Sydney Olympics, Michael broke the world record for 200-meter Butterfly event, at 15 years and 9 months; he became the youngest man ever to set a swimming world record. He then broke his own record at the LC World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, winning the gold medal for a time of 1:54.58. Soon also won the American Swimmer of the Year award in 2001, which he has won continuously ever since, except in 2005, and it is no wonder if he wins it again for the year 2008. In October 2001, Michael professional, almost two years before graduating from high school, when he signed a reported six-figure contract with Speedo. Michael says that “It was definitely a long thought process,” since he had to forgo his eligibility to swim for college. However, part of the reason for the deal in the first place was to set money aside for his college tuition. With his first earnings, Michael wanted a new Cadillac Escalade, but his mom would not let him get it, so he settled for a used 2000 model. Michael continued to win more races, in 2002, won the 200 meter Individual Medley relay (1:59.70), 400 meter Medley relay ($:12.48) and 4x100 meter medley relay (3;33.48, which was a world record time), and finished second in 200 meters Butterfly event and 4X200 meters free relay (7:11.81), at the Pan Pacific Championships 2002 in Yokohama, Japan. At the 2002 Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Michael also broke the world record for the 400-metre individual medley and set American marks in the 100-metre butterfly and the 200-metre individual medley.

YSeeker – Person of the Year 2008 MICHAEL PHELPS

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Further wins and records followed in 2003. Michael broke 5 world records at the LC World Championships at Barcelona, Spain. Also was the first person to win in three different strokes in one national championship. He in the same year graduated out of Towson Law & Public Policy High School in Towson, Baltimore County, Maryland. Was awarded with the James E. Sullivan Award, which is awarded to the top amateur athlete, World Championships Swimmer of the Meet and World Swimmer of the Year Award, which he has won 3 more times. In 2004, Michael left North Baltimore Aquatic Club with his coach Bob Bowman, who became head coach of the University of Michigan swimming team. Michael started attending the University of Michigan, to study sports marketing and management. But he but did not swim for the university’s team in National Collegiate Athletic Association competition because of his loss of amateur status, as he had accepted endorsement money from his sponsors, so he served as a volunteer assistant coach. However, he trained under Club Wolverine, which is affiliated to the University of Michigan. 2004 Olympics Michael dominated swimming, enough that he was soon compared to former swimming greats, including Mark Spitz, who at that time had the world record of 7 gold medals in a single Olympic event, which he won in the 1972 Summer Olympics at Munich, Germany. In the 2004 Summer Olympics at Athens, Greece, Michael had the chance to break Spitz’s record, even taking part in 8 swimming events, including 5 individual events. He broke and set many records and won 6 gold medals, but he could only get a bronze in the 200-meter freestyle event, and his 4x100 meters freestyle team also could win only the bronze medal, thus he fell short of Spitz record of 7 gold medals. Nevertheless, he did win a total of 8 medals (of any kind), a record he equalled, which was previously held by Alexander Dityatin, a Russian gymnast who achieved the feat of 8 medals (of any kind) in the 1980 Summer Olympics at Moscow, Russia. His 200-meter freestyle final event, was dubbed as the Race of the Century, he finished third in the race behind the winner Ian Thorpe, and Pieter van

den Hoogenband. Michael entered the race to match Spitz’s record, wasn’t disappointed even after losing the race, he savoured the challenge of swimming against the two greats Thorpe and Hoogenband, even though the 200 meter freestyle wasn’t his strongest event. Michael later went on to say “How can I be disappointed? I swam in a field with the two fastest freestylers of all time”. Ian Thorpe adamantly denied that 8 gold medals could be won, after hearing that Speedo was offering Michael an additional $1 Million if he won 7 or more gold medals. Back home a street in his hometown of Baltimore was re-named ‘The Michael Phelps Way’. Michael played an integral part in the creation of Swimroom. com, a social networking site for swimmers around the world to regularly communicate and share ideas. In November 2004, at the age of 19, Michaels was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Salisbury, Maryland. He pleaded guilty to driving while impaired the following month and was granted probation before judgment and ordered to serve 18 months probation, was fined $250, was obligated to speak to high school students about drinking and driving and had to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) meeting. Later that month, when questioned by Matt Lauer about the incident on the Today Show, Michael said his drunken driving was an “isolated incident” and that he had let himself, his family and a lot of other people in the country down. Michael won the Golden Goggle Male Performance of the Year and the Golden Goggle Male Athlete of the Year awards that year and was nominated for the Laureus World Sports Sportsman of the Year Award, which he has been nominated for a total of 3 times without winning, I wish he does win the award in the year 2009, he does deserved it. Michael later co-founded the “Swim with the Stars” program, along with Ian Crocker and Lenny Krayzelburg, a program that promotes swimming and conducts camps for swimmers of all ages. In March 2005, Michael co-authored the book “Michael Phelps: Beneath the Surface” along with Brian Cazeneuve. The road to 2008 Olympics Michael competed in the 2005 World Aquatics Championships or the XI FINA Championships were held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, winning 6 medals, (5 gold and 1 silver) and breaking 1 Championship record. Michael won 7 gold medals, while breaking 5 world records, at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships held in Melbourne, Australia. The 4x100 m medley relay team he would have competed with in the final received a disqualification for a false start during a changeover in the heats, if not he might have got an 8th gold medal too. In October 2007, Michael slipped on a patch of ice and fell while climbing into a friend’s car in Michigan, breaking his right wrist. Coach Bowman recalled that Michael was in despair over the injury. For a few weeks after the surgery, Michael was confined to kicking in the pool with a kickboard while his teammates swam. However, this allowed Michael to strengthen his legs, which may have helped him in the 2008 Olympics. According to an article in The Guardian, Michael eats around 12,000 calories each day, which is almost six times what a normal adult male eats every day. It typically includes: Breakfast 3 fried-egg sandwiches, with cheese, fried onions, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes, 2 cups of coffee, 1 omelette (which contains 5 eggs), and a bowl of grits,3 slices of French toast, topped with powdered sugar, and 3 chocolate chip pancakes.

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Lunch Half a kilogram of enriched pasta, 2 large ham and cheese sandwiches, on white bread topped with lots of mayo, and around 1,000 calories of energy drink. Dinner Another half kilogram of enriched pasta, an entire pizza, and another 1,000

of 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm); they act as long, propulsive “paddles”, thereby able to cover more distance sooner. His legs are relatively short for his height, therefore reducing drag or resistance, and perhaps giving him a speed enhancement. His size 14 feet provide the effect of flippers; and his hypermobile

He first, on 10th August won the 400 meters individual medley, by first breaking the Olympics record, and then later in the final breaking his own world record, winning his 1st gold medal of the event, for the record time of 4:03.84. The next day, on 11th August he won the 4 x 100 meters freestyle relay, along with

calories of energy drinks. Wish I could eat so much, but I have to remind everyone that, he ate all this, for a gruelling five-hours-a-day, six-days-aweek training regime, swimming almost 96 kilometres in a week, none of us would ever even come close to neither eating that kind of food, nor working out for so long. Michael idolised Australian Ian Thorpe, even trying to emulate the Aussie’s famous six-beat underwater dolphin kick off the turns. Michael unsuccessfully tried to lure the Australian out of retirement in 2007 saying “I like to race him”. Thorpe initially said it was highly unlikely for Phelps to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Michael used Thorp’s remarks as a motivation, by sticking them on his locker. Physique Michael’s physique has played a really important and contributing factor for his success. His long, thin torso offers low drag or resistance; therefore, with lesser resistance he can swim a few nanoseconds faster than other can. His arms span 6 feet 7 inches (201 cm), which are rather disproportionate to his height

(which can be stretched farther than normal) ankles he possibly whip his feet as if they were fins for maximum thrust through the water. In short, Michael’s has an upper body of a 6 feet 8 inches person but his lower body seems to be of someone who is only 5 feet 10 inches, which also make the perfect plane in water.” Even at 6 feet 4 inches, and all that hard work & eating, he is hardly 195 pounds, or around 88 Kilograms. His unique constitution also produces less lactic acid than others, which means he takes less time to recover compared to others. All this led to Russian swimmer Alexander Sukhorukov saying that Michael is “just a normal person, from a different planet, a planet from a different galaxy.” Olympics 2008 Michael qualified to race in 5 individual events, and 3 team events, totally 8 events, while representing the USA Team for the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, China. He swam an unthinkable 17 races in the time span of 9 days, winning each race, breaking and making records, and in the end winning all 8 events.

his friend Ryan Lochte, Klete Keller, and Peter Vanderkaay, who has been like a sturdy anchor, winning his 2nd gold medal for the world record time of 3:08.24. On 12th August, he went on to win the 200 meters freestyle event, winning a 3rd gold medal and making another world record time of 1:42.96. Making Michael only the fifth Olympic athlete in modern history to win nine career gold medals, along with Mark Spitz, Larissa Latynina, Paavo Nurmi, and Carl Lewis. On 13th August, he won the 200 meters butterfly event, which is his signature event, even without being able to see the last 100 meters, winning the 4th gold medal, and breaking his own old record and setting the new record at 1:52.03. By his own admission, Michaels said, “I couldn’t see anything for the last 10... My goggles pretty much filled up with water.” Later, less than an hour later on the same day he along with Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay , and the Olympic rookie Ricky Berens, won the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay, winning the gold medal (& his 5th one) after scrapping off 4.68 seconds off the old world record, thereby creating a new record time of 6:58.56. On 15th of August, Michael went on to

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win the 200 meters individual medley, winning his 6th gold medal, for another world record time of 1:54.23. On the 16th of August, he won the 100 meter Butterfly event, winning his 7th gold medal, and equalling Spitz’s record, but unlike the previous 6 races, he didn’t set a world record, but did set the Olympic record with the time of 50.58 seconds, leaving Ian Crocker’s world record time of 50.40 seconds, set in 2005, intact. Michael won the race by edging out his nearest competitor, Serbian-American swimmer Milorad Čavić, by 1/100 of a second. His 0.01-second finish ahead of Čavić prompted the Serbian delegation to file a protest; however, subsequent analysis of the video by the FINA (International Swimming Federation) panel, which required analyzing frames, shot 1/10000 of a second apart, confirmed Michael’s victory. The initial refusal by official timekeeper Omega, to release underwater photos of the finish also raised questions due to Michael’s sponsorship relationship with Omega. Čavić later wrote in his blog, “People, this is the greatest moment of my life. If you ask me, it should be accepted and we should move on. I’ve accepted defeat, and there’s nothing wrong with losing to the greatest swimmer there has ever been”. It was also Michael’s 5th individual gold medal in Beijing, tying the record for individual gold medals at a single Game originally set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equalled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. After the 7th gold medal, Michael said “Dream as big as you can dream, and anything is possible… I am sort of in a dream world. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it is real.” Mark Spitz immediately said “Epic. It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he’s maybe the greatest athlete of all time. He’s the greatest racer who ever walked the planet.” On 17th of August, the whole world was waiting to see old records being broken, new records made, and history being written. And Michael did not disappoint the people. He along with Brendan Hansen, Aaron Peirsol, and Jason Lezak, won the 4x100 meters medley relay, setting a new world record in the event with a time of 3:29.34 seconds, 0.7

seconds ahead of second-place Australia and 1.34 seconds faster than the previous record set by the USA Team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, of which Michael was a part.

which included 14 gold medals, inching close to Larissa Latynina, Soviet gymnast holds more total career Olympic medals with 18 medals including 9 gold medals. Therefore, that is one more record for Michael to break in the future. Ian Thorpe was in the stands for the Men’s 4x100 metre medley relay, where Michael was swimming for his 8th Olympic title. When Michael and his teammates captured the gold, Thorpe gave a congratulatory kiss to Michaels’ mother, and then gave a handshake and a hug to congratulate Michael. Thorpe afterwards said “I’m really proud of him not just because he won 8 gold’s. Rather, it’s how much he has grown up and matured into a great human being. Never in my life have I been so happy to have been proved wrong. I enjoyed every moment of it”.

When Michael dived in to swim the 100-meter butterfly leg, the third leg of the 400-meter medley, the USA Team had been trailing Australia and Japan. Michael completed his split in 50.1 seconds, the fastest butterfly split ever for the event, giving teammate Jason Lezak a more than half-second lead for the final leg, which he would hold onto to clinch the event in world record time. Upon completing the event, which won him his 8th gold medal, Michael said, “Records are always made to be broken no matter what they are… Anybody can do anything that they set their mind to”. Throughout the 2008 Olympics, the press questioned Michael if his feats were “too good to be true”. What they referring to was if he was taking any performance enhancing drugs. In response, Michael noted that he had signed up for Project Believe, a project by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which U.S. Olympians can volunteer to be tested in excess of the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. During the Games, Michael was tested nine times, and he passed all of them. The Aftermath In the wake of the event, The New York Times in an article noted that, had Michael Phelps been a country, “the Person’s Republic of Michael would have ranked fourth in gold medals [after China, the United States, and Germany] and been ahead of all but 14 countries in the medal count”. Michael had just made 16 career medals in the Olympics,

George W. Bush called Michael from his Texas ranch and said, “If you can handle 8 gold medals, you can handle anything”. Bush went on to say that he and his wife were thrilled by Phelps’ achievement and that the swimmer had handled himself with “humility”. Bush also said, “Laura and I are proud of you. Our family is proud of you, but most importantly, America is proud of you. We’re excited for you”. Post-Olympic Michael went to Portugal, where he was able to lie low for the first time in months. He even spent some time on a driving range, pounding golf balls, a hobby he plans to pick up. From there, he went to London for the handoff of the 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in London. Then he had a whirlwind trip covering Orlando, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Cleveland, back to New York, Atlanta and then Baltimore. Along the way, he did promotional stops for Visa and Disney, he presented an award at the MTV Video Music Awards, he attended the Browns- Pittsburgh Steelers football game in support of his friend Braylon Edwards, hosted Saturday Night Live, and yeah he did appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Michael then headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be honoured by the University at a Michigan football game, and then returned to Baltimore for a parade of more than 30,000 fans heralding his return to Baltimore area, and to honour him and other competitors in the Olympics and Paralympics who have ties to Maryland. With all this, he did, however find time to get into the

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pool, just because it does not feel right to completely leave the water behind. Michael said, “I just jumped in and swam around for half an hour or 45 minutes”, “It hurt, but afterward I actually felt better. It was a good thing to get back in the water again and work out a little bit. It’s weird not having swimming or working out ... be a part of my everyday life, just because for the last 10 years, I’ve been [in the pool] pretty much every day. But it’s a good feeling to not have anything to do. It feels nice to get up when I want to get up.” Ever since Michael won the gold medals, the membership in swimming clubs all around USA have increased, increased enough, the phenomena has been named as the “Mike Phelps bump”. Swim coaches are accustomed to the ripple effect produced every four years by the Olympic Games. However, this year it was more like a wave. A spokesperson for USA Swimming, the national organization for competitive swim clubs, said the largest spike in membership, 10 percent, followed the 1992 Barcelona games. That year, U.S. swimmers Matt Biondi and Tom Jager became the first American swimmers to win gold medals in three Olympic Games. USA Swimming expects to set a new record this year, said Pat Hogan, director of club development. “USA Swimming always enjoys a healthy spike after the Olympic games,” she said. Even High school swim teams which have rarely seen an influx of swimmers after the Olympics, have many people interested in joining them. Michael received a $1 million bonus from his swimsuit maker Speedo, for winning at least seven gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, (the offer that continued since 2004 Olympics), he used the money to create the Michael Phelps Foundation, a charitable foundation to promote water safety and to advocate swimming for children. Speedo then donated an additional $200,000 to the Foundation. With Kellogg’s pledging to offer $250,000 to Michael’s Foundation. The future Well none of us do actually know the future, but it is never going to be the same as what it was before the Olympics, even if he had not won the 8 medals. Bob Bowman, Michael’s long time Coach,

feels that Michael’s needs to realise that his life is going to change. He went on to say, “I think it will be different, particularly for him, as far as recognition or public [adoration],” “And I think it’s going to be different than he thinks it will be. It will be like whatever Cal [Ripken] goes through. But it will be good for swimming.” Michael has said that he intends to return to Baltimore following the 2008 Olympics, joining Bob Bowman there when he leaves the University of Michigan, to become the CEO of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Michael went on to say, “I’m not going to swim for anybody else. I think we can both help the North Baltimore Aquatic Club go further. I’m definitely going to be in Baltimore next year.” Michael even purchased a house in the Fells Point section of Baltimore, where he is now residing after returning from the 2008 Summer Olympics. Michael has co-authored a second book, “No Limits: The Will to Succeed”, along with Alan Abrahamson, which will be released on 9th December 2008. Michael has totally won 48 career medals thus far: 40 gold, 6 silver’s and 2 bronze. This includes all of the Championships in which he has competed: The Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships. Has 32 world records (26 individual, 6 relay), just 1 short of Mark Spitz’s record of 33 world records (26 individual, 7 relay). 2 short of the record 18 career Olympic medals. In addition, many more records to break and make. Whatever the future holds for Michael Phelps, we sure do hope he gets all the happiness he deserves. This article has been an attempt to show the side of Michael which is known to people, and I certainly am among the people who would like to know the side of him which is unknown, because behind all these records, the medals, the honours, is a person, a human being, just like you, me and everyone else. It is to this human that I salute for his “I can” attitude. I hope that he has success in getting Ian Thorpe out of retirement to race him again. J - Byrappa.

http://w w w.amazon.com/ Beneath -S u rface-Mi ch ael -Ph el ps/ dp/1596703520/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

h t t p : / / w w w. a m a z o n . c o m / N o Limits-Succeed-Michael-Phelps/ dp/1439130728

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We are fascinated with the “underdog” story, enthralled whenever someone can rise above and overcome the challenges set before him.

Michael Phelps - Why we need this hero?
- Rev. Martin S. Nocchi

Now, most people would never say that Michael Phelps was an underdog. He is a master at his game -- and now an icon for the entire sports world. So if it isn’t the idea of the underdog, what can it be -- beyond hometown pride -- that attracts us to his story? His experience doesn’t resemble any of the underdog stories that have fascinated us for years, such as Rudy, Seabiscuit and Hoosiers. Or does it? Before and during the Beijing Olympic Games, we have all watched Mr. Phelps overcome deficits with grace, unite an American team, give praise to his coach and mentor, and express deep love for his family. But there is something else there. Behind any of us, including public figures and renowned athletes, there is still a child who wants to prove that “I can” and beat back the voices that tell us, or have told us, “You can’t.” Often during the Games, we have heard Mr. Phelps give voice to that message. Time and again, there were people, including his peers, who told him he couldn’t achieve his goals. Mr. Phelps was quoted as saying, “With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it took was a little imagination.” In a way, Michael Phelps is not much different from you or me. No, I am by no means an athlete. I probably couldn’t swim 50 meters in the time it takes him to swim 400, nor can many other people. But when we put swimming aside -- or baseball, football, horse racing, Hollywood, politics, etc., and the fame and fortune that come with them -- there is a human being, one with a story that goes beyond what the eye can see. And it is precisely what we can’t see that intrigues us all the more. Greatness doesn’t come with simply hitting a ball, swimming laps, starring in an Oscar-winning film or sitting in the Oval Office or Congress; it comes when you can believe in something bigger than yourself and not become controlled by those who tell you, “You can’t.” We have all had people who have told us we wouldn’t amount to much, or we can’t do that, or why even bother? Often, those voices remain in our heads for life, and we sometimes become jealous, envious or even resentful of those who have quieted those voices and who begin to say, “I can.” We begin to compare ourselves with their success and see ourselves as something “less than” and “not as great as.” This is an unfortunate part of our broken humanity, because our belief in something bigger than ourselves is what can help us rise above the belittling voices and the naysayers and begin to see ourselves as being as great, in a way, as Michael Phelps. Not in a swimming pool, of course, but in having a shared ability to connect with him on this higher level that allows us to also strive for greatness. A desire and a passion have been touched within many of us last week in witnessing greatness and a hero being born. We can’t always put words to it, but we know it’s there. We can sense it: a desire to do more and be more in our lives. Yet we are pulled back into the realities of life where so many things say to us, “You can’t.” We are divided from one another, terrorized by financial or political fears, suffering from terrible illnesses and broken families. So many things that we seemingly cannot overcome are right in front of our faces.

In a world that sometimes seems hopeless, we seek something more. That is why we need people like Michael Phelps -- because, if only for a moment, he can open our eyes and our hearts to something bigger than ourselves. The Michael Phelps we cheer and cherish is an ordinary guy who doesn’t give up, chases dreams, believes, motivates, overcomes and in some ways always has that little boy within him telling him he can, even in the face of “I can’t.” This generation has waited for someone to challenge us in this way, someone who understands the trials that young people face. What this young man offers us isn’t an invitation to be Michael Phelps, but rather to be who we really are -- and to be something and someone better in the face of all adversity and naysayers we may encounter. The challenge for us is to accept it and own it as this hometown hero has done.

In the end, we are all “underdogs” to some degree; even Michael Phelps can attest to that. But he is giving us the chance to ride this wave with him and to each become great in our own way. It may take years for some to see it in their lives, but for today, greatness is undoubtedly in our midst. Mr. Phelps is the one bringing eight gold medals home to Baltimore; that victory is his alone. But the thing that made it possible for him to do that belongs to all of us. - Rev. Martin S. Nocchi. The Rev. Martin S. Nocchi is director of the Monsignor Clare J. O’Dwyer Youth Retreat House in Sparks. His e-mail is mnocchi@mycomcast.com.

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YSeeker Picks - Website of the Month, December 2008

AstrologyWeekly.com one of the most detailed resource available on Astrology online, with many interesting scripts like Sabian Symbols, Chakra-planet system, declination convertor, etc, and a hugh database of dates of people, and events, music for each zodiac sign, videos, lessons on Astrology, etc, and not to forget a fantabulous forum filled with many active members, all useful for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced practitioner, from the believer to the sceptic, and everyone in-between. Liana in an exclusive interview speaks with Dr. Radu Dan Moisoiu, the man behind the site that so many people love, about himself and the lovely site that he has created for the benefit of all Astrology lovers. , which has been selected as the YSeeker Picks - Website of the Month, December 2008.
I discovered the Internet, and found out that there are many other people actually interested in Astrology, not just me, and there are countless applications of Astrology. Out of the interactions I had with these people, I came to understand Astrology.

Romanian Astrology enthusiasts, discussing Astrology and publishing articles on a website, to finally have a national association, in order to promote the study and practice of Astrology. I happened to be part of that group of enthusiasts. Li: As an Astrologer, what is your take on the demotion of Pluto? Ra: What? It was demoted. When??? Oh, come on, why should the Astrological science care about what some people decide at a certain moment in a conference? Li: And what is your view of Charon, Ceres and Xena? Ra: Very selective. They are advanced tools to be used sparingly. Li: Are you interested in or practice any other spiritual/occult subjects other than Astrology? Ra: Yes, I am interested in most spiritual sciences. Li: As a devout Christian, you never had any crisis of faith that most people talk about, either in religion or in Astrology? Ra: No. Li: Tell us a bit about AstrologyWeekly. com? Ra: This is just a site that allowed me to express and deepen what I can

Li: Tell us a bit about Horary Astrology, I have come to know that it is one of your favorites branch’s of Astrology. Ra: My main area of interest is Horary Astrology, which is the science of understanding an Astrological chart set for the moment a question is genuinely asked. It can answer any question, including “What should we have for dinner today”, if that really represents the object of the questioner’s interrogation. It really shows that that there is a Truth and that we can get to it, if we are prepared for it. Everything happens at the right time. Li: What exactly is Spiritual Astrology? Ra: All Astrology is spiritual, by its essence. Astrology works by the spiritual laws of the universe, such as the Law of Resonance for instance: there is an analogical correspondence between the Astrological configurations and the peoples’ lives. There are other spiritual principles in Astrology as well, so that I am not even sure if there is such thing as ‘not spiritual’ Astrology. Li: How did you get involved with Romanian Astrologers’ Association? Ra: It was the desire of a group of

Liana: By way of an introduction, could you please tell us a little about yourself Radu: Sure, I am a 31 years old guy, who had the opportunity to learn to read the Astrological writings of the universe. There are countless of such books, once you know the letters, all it takes is the intuitive wisdom to understand them. My primary interest in this life is to learn new things, and by doing that, to understand life and its happenings. Li: You are a Doctor, How did you get interested and involved in Astrology? Ra: I do not see me as a doctor that is merely an attached label. Medicine, as Astrology, is just another field of knowledge and experience waiting to be known. Astrology came into my life when I was 15 and it was a love at first sight. I gradually read everything I could on Astrology for the next years, until

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understand from Astrology. I like writing articles, as it allows me to structure my thinking and on the way to discover new correlations. Li: What was the vision AstrologyWeekly.com? behind

Ra: Managing the forum, as it takes lots of time. Li: How do you manage the content on your web site and do you have a publishing policy? Ra: I mainly publish texts that I think that would interest me as well to read. Li: What are the plans for the site? Ra: Not much, unfortunately, just to publish some articles every now and then. I have a busy professional and family life, which disallows me to give much time to Astrology, other than for my personal needs, or occasional readings. Li: Which are the other websites you manage? Ra: Two websites on love: www.dindragoste.ro (in Romanian), www.amour.ro (in French). Two websites on occupational medicine www.medicina-muncii.com (in Romanian), www.physician.ro (in English), and some others for friends. Li: Thank you very much Radu and best wishes from YSeeker Team. Ra: Thank you for this interview opportunity. Links of scripts on AstrologyWeekly.com CHART GENERATOR: http://astrologyweekly.com/chart.php WORLD ATLAS: http://astrologyweekly.com/atlas/ SABIAN SYMBOLS: http://sabiansymbols.astrologyweekly. com/ TRIPLE TRANSITS - Free Astrology predcitions: http://astrologyweekly.com/tripletransits.php CHAKRA-PLANET SYSTEM: (A personal favourite of the Editor) http://astrologyweekly.com/astrologyarticles/chakra-system-diagram.php MOON PHASES: http://astrologyweekly.com/moonphases/moon-phases.php

DECLINATIONS CONVERTOR: http://astrologyweekly.com/declination/ - Liana “SuryaMukhi”

Ra: The vision was simple: I just wanted to create a website I could love and that could also entice other to love Astrology. Li: Who all are & have been involved in AstrologyWeekly.com? Ra: Just me. Li: What does AstrologyWeekly.com provide? Ra: My articles on mainly Horary and mundane matters, as well as some personal innovations in Astrology, collections of Astrology data and information, some online programs and tools I have coded myself in php, some Astrology goodies and a forum, apparently the biggest success. Li: How do you distinguish AstrologyWeekly.com from other Astrology sites or forums? Ra: I do not know and I do not really want to compare it with other websites. Li: Which is the most popular part of AstrologyWeekly.com? Ra: The forum has grown immensely lately to about 100,000 posts (and I want here to express my gratitude to the group of voluntary moderators who work to keep it peaceful and organized), and the several online tools that I have developed: the Now chart (the page gets your IP, converts it into geographical coordinates and then displays the Astrology chart for the moment and your location), the Sabian Symbols page, the Triple Transits, and the horary articles section. Li: How did you come up with the Chakra-Planet System Chart? Ra: It just came to me, one cold day, while walking on the street. I guess that partly it was the result of some previous readings on yoga. Li: What is the single most challenging aspect of running AstrologyWeekly. com?

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friend who has prospered.
- Aeschylus

It is in the character of very few

men to honor without envy a ited Diogenes and asked wheth- eurism, hearing joy from your Civilization is a method of living, all men. er he could do anything for the neighbors. famed teacher, Diogenes replied: til then, one of the best things an attitude of equal respect for haps some day we shall know So you see, imagination needs we can do for creative men and
- Jane Addams

When Alexander the Great vis- This is the best kind of voy‘Only stand out of my light.’ Per- The true civilization is where ev- Chuck Sigars,

how to heighten creativity. Un- ery right that he claims for himself.
- Robert Ingersoll

ery man gives to every other ev-

moodling - long, inefficient, hap- women is to stand out of their The most potent muse of all is py idling, dawdling and putter- light. ing.
- Brenda Ueland

Every child is an artist. The prob- make mistakes. Art is knowing lem is how to remain an artist which ones to keep. once he grows up.
- Pablo Picasso - Scott Adams’

Creativity is allowing yourself to
- John W. Gardner

our own inner child.

Next in importance to freedom
- Stephen Nachmanovitch

and justice is popular education, nor justice can be permanently maintained. It is the mark of an educated
- James A. Garfield

It is possible to store the mind traditions or money to really with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.
- Alec Bourne

You don’t need fancy highbrow the desire to better themselves.
Accepted 2006

without which neither freedom

learn. You just need people with Envy can be a positive motivator. for what you want.
- Robert Bringle,

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. They envy the distinction I have
- Malcolm Forbes

- Adam Cooper and Bill Collage,

mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

Let it inspire you to work harder

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.
- Helen Keller

won; let them therefore, envy my ods by which I gained it.
- Sallust

toils, my honesty, and the meth- in your face and you should be proud of that.” - Lauren Bacall

“I think your whole life shows I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
- Mark Twain

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Continued from the last issue, Byrappa gives us a list of the different types, branches, divisions and calculation methods, of Astrology, though not complete, it does list most of the parts of Astrology.
What is Astrology? Astrology is a Technology derived from a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs in which knowledge of the apparent relative positions of celestial bodies and related details is held to be useful in understanding; it is also called as a Divine Knowledge. It deals with the study of cosmic celestial objects & events and their vibrations & effects on the behaviour of people, animate & inanimate objects, nature & events on Earth. Especially co -relations which cannot be explained by gravitation, magnetism, or other forces that are well established in Medicine, Physics, and/or others sciences. What are the types of Astrology? Basically all Astrology can be classified into 2 types: 1. 2. Esoteric Astrology and Exoteric Astrology. means that there are many branches of Astrology which use things much different than what Babylonian or Vedic uses. Will try to list all of them here in the alphabetical order:


Astro Mapping and Relocation Astrology: tells the position of the planets which has certain lines of alignment with the geographical location of various places on earth. Arab and Persian Astrology: Has its roots in the Zend-Avesta, parts of which are very similar to the Rig Veda. Much of the ancient cosmology of Persia/Iran has been lost because of the advent of the Koran and the systematic destruction of Pre-Islamic libraries. It is based on many stars, observed and recognised during that time. Believed to be the mother of Electional Astrology. Aztec Astrology: Has the 20-day signs, the signs can be used to describe human nature and natural events Babylonian Astrology: Was one of the first organized system of Astrology, arising in the second millennium B.C. It is based on Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury, who were all considered as gods. The only division of this branch was Mundane Astrology. Celtic Astrology: Little is known about the Celtic or Irish native system of Astrology, as it is only described in a few Old Irish manuscripts, none of which have been published or fully translated. However, it does seem to have been based on an indigenous Irish symbol system, independent of any other branch. Chinese Astrology: Based on the Chinese Zodiac, which is a 12 year cycle, each year of the 12 year cycle is named after one of the original 12 animals. Each animal has a different personality and different characteristics. The animal is believed to be the main factor in each person’s life that gives them their traits, success, and happiness in their lifetime.

Chiromancy: Also called as Cheiromancy or Palmistry, it is the art of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palmistry, palm-reading, chirology or hand analysis. Its roots can be traced back to the Indian Vedic Astrology. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those who practice chiromancy are generally called palmists, palm readers, hand readers, hand analysts, or chirologists. Cosmobiology: Developed by Dr Reinhold Ebertin (1901-1988), who based a large part of his techniques on the midpointAstrology work of Alfred Witte (18781941). Has concentrated mainly on Medical Astrology. Egyptian Astrology: Egypt developed its own form of Astrology based on the Decans. After the occupation of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332BC, Egypt came under Greek rule and influence. It was then that Babylonian Astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decans, to create Horoscopic Astrology. This new system was labelled as “Horoscopic Astrology” because it employed the use of the Ascendant, otherwise known as the horoskopos in Greek, and the twelve celestial houses which are derived from it.

Esoteric Astrology is concerned with man’s actions within & with the power of Harmonise himself with Nature’s Laws. I personally feel that all actions by us, events related to us and people we are connected to, all come under Esoteric Astrology. Exoteric Astrology is with man’s impulses prompted by the attraction that is out of his control. I personally feel that events which happen on both small and large scale, which have the power to affect humans, example: Eclipses, Natural disasters, etc. Branches of Astrology Over the centuries, Astrology has branched out into many different systems. Though we cannot exactly say which the first one is, we can agree that both Babylonian and the Vedic Astrology have many factors which were used in other forms of Astrology. But it also

Esoteric Astrology: Is the Astrology of the soul. It uses natal charts to find out things about the spiritual conscience and spiritual development of a person. Evolutionary Astrology: Is a theory usually applied along with Natal Astrology which says that souls evolve over lifetimes and are born with pre-existing experiences and orientations that affect the native’s current incarnation. In the evolutionary Astrology paradigm, the natal chart is said to hold the soul’s intent and life lessons of a person in their present life as well as insight into their souls past incarnations. Financial Astrology: Also known as Business Astrology, Economic Astrology, or Astro-Economics, it is a practice of

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their relationship to the Earth. Was used mainly during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance to distinguish between the type of Astrology that was considered to be heretical by the Catholic church, versus the “natural Astrology” such as Medical Astrology and Meteorological Astrology which were seen as acceptable because they were a part of the natural sciences of the time. Today this distinction is largely obsolete. Kabbalistic Astrology: Is a system of Astrology based upon the Hebrew Kabbalah; it is used to interpret and delineate a person’s birth chart, seeking to understand it through a Kabbalistic lens. In Hebrew, Astrology was called hokmat ha-nissayon, “the wisdom of prognostication”. Although Kabbalah is part of the mystical Jewish tradition, its use of Astrology does not represent the complete Jewish views of Astrology, which have been both positive and negative, depending on the authority. Karmic Astrology does not merely predict the future in immediate limited physical terms. Its predictions of the future are informed with deeper, spiritual implications that may affect our life birth after birth. Locational Astrology: The method to discover the right place, city, region or country to base yourself in, to feel the best, to succeed in a job, goal or to help your financial, health, creative, relationship or even faith issues, and to help you in being able to achieve your aims. Also is it is important to take into consideration that your health, prosperity, ability, and mental faculties all depend directly on the place or the location where you live or work. Mayan Astrology: The entire Mayan thought, social-economic-financial was deeply inspired and deeply wrought up with Astrology during the height of Mayan civilization, which was completely dependent on the 260-day almanac known as the Chol Qij, (or Tzolkin). The Chol Qij consists of twenty naguals which can be thought of as archetypes roughly analogous in significance to our twelve zodiacal signs; except they are considered to be alive and petitionable. A nagual is preceded by a numerical coefficient ranging from one to thirteen which modifies its underlying meaning. Thus twenty naguals x 13 numerical coefficients = 260 days. The origin of this numerical system is unknown but some

A chart representing Chinese Zodiac signs
relating the movements of celestial bodies to events in financial markets. Used to predict major economic trends as they relate to certain cycles, specifically on the cycles of outer planets, helping an investor find the best industry to be in for a particular period of time based on major planetary configurations. Identifying the best stocks to own during a particular time, and when to dispense it off by. Identifying the best date and time to buy or sell a stock. Correlating the Astrological aspect to the movement of stock market in day trading. This form of Astrology has many sceptics in the Astrology community itself. Free Will Astrology: Free Will Astrology is one of the most important aspects of Astrological studies. Astrology does predict our future. Gemmology: This branch combines Astrology and Mineralogy. Every stone has the specific influence of certain planets. Using properly selected stones, it is possible to improve a person’s character, life situation and even health. It is impossible to select stones just by general recommendations. Hamburg School of Astrology: Developed by Alfred Witte, based on the Trans-neptunian regions, which were later discarded and mixed with the conventional Astrology for deeper study. Horoscopic Astrology: Also called Hellenistic Astrology, is a form of Astrology which uses a horoscope, a visual representation of the heavens, for a specific moment in time in order to interpret the inherent meaning underlying the alignment of the planets at that moment. The idea is that the placement of the planets at any given moment in time reflects the nature of that moment and especially anything which is born then, and this can be analyzed using the chart and a variety of rules for interpreting the ‘language’ or symbols therein. Islamic Astrology: Inspired by the preIslamic Arab and Persian Astrology, Islamic Astrology is the study of the heavens by early Muslims. It was used to refer to both astronomy and astrology, both of which were heavily inspired by Greek, Persian, and Indian traditions. Later after they were divided, Astrology was shunned and Astronomy was studied. Judicial Astrology: Is the art of forecasting future events by calculation of the planetary and stellar bodies and

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Mayans believe that the number comes from the fact that 260 days is considered the normal human gestation period.

significant in your life, as well as many other things.

twelve zodiac signs, on the moment of birth. This sign is then called the Sun Sign of the person. Ironically, it is the

The chart showing all the 20 signs used in Mayan Astrology, Aztec Astrology chart is almost similar to the Mayan one. Moon sign Astrology: Is a sub-system of Vedic Astrology which considers only the position of the Moon, in the twelve zodiac signs and the Nakshatras at the moment of birth. This sign is then called the Chandra Rashi, the Nakshatra in which the moon is called as the Janma Nakshatra. It is also used in predicting the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly forecasts of a person using the position of Moon in Transit. Is used popularly in Indian newspapers and magazines, for forecasts, just like Sun Signs. Nadi Astrology: Is a form of Hindu Astrology practised in Tamil Nadu, India. It is based on the belief that the past, present and the future lives of all humans were foreseen by Hindu sages in ancient times and written down as Palm Leaf Manuscripts. Numerology: Talks about the mystical relationship between numbers and the physical objects and the Cosmos. Numerology isn’t exactly a part of Astrology, but it is closely connected to it, because each planet is associated with a particular number. It is used when selecting a name for your child, or business. It is good, when the name matches a strong and benevolent planet. With the help of Numerology, it is possible to calculate numbers that are Psychological Astrology: Psychological Astrology, Astrological Psychology or Astropsychology is a recent product of the cross-fertilisation of the fields of Astrology with depth psychology, humanistic psychology, and transpersonal psychology. It uses the horoscope and the archetypes of Astrology to inform the psychological understanding of an individual’s psyche. It owes its origins to the writings of Carl Jung in the 1950s. Jung once said “Astrology represents the summation of the psychological knowledge of antiquity” (1962). He went on to synthesize his own Analytical psychology theories with those of Western Astrology. Spiritual Astrology: Is a branch of Astrology, developed by Alice Bailey. It focuses on the spiritual evolution of a person or groups of persons. Classical Astrology focuses on the personality, or one’s individual identity, where as Spiritual Astrology focuses on the soul, or one’s higher purpose. Sun Sign Astrology: Also known as Newspaper Astrology is the form of Astrology most commonly found in many newspapers and magazine columns. It is a simplified system of Astrology, both Western and Vedic, which considers only the position of the Sun, in one of the Moon, whose movement is considered for indicating the daily trends of sun sign Astrology forecasts. There is much argument about the validity of Sun sign Astrology, particularly amongst Astrologers of different persuasions. The more traditional the Astrologer, the more likely they are to dislike sun sign Astrology. Also Sun Sign Astrology is quite an easy target for sceptics, and scientists. They find it easy to research using Sun Sign Astrology, and later claim that Astrology itself is baseless pseudo science, where are they themselves haven’t studied or researched the subject properly. Tarot Cards: Also known as tarocchi, or tarock, is typically a set of seventy-eight cards, composed of 22 major cards called as the Major Arcana, and 4 suits of 14 minor cards, totally 56 minor cards are called as the Minor Arcana. It is a tool used to confirm some energies around us, whose existence we are not sure about, a way to develop some subtle qualities in the tarot reader for personal spiritual grow, a verified way to get some answers to follow for the querent. Though they are used independent of Astrology, they do have a link to both Astrology and Numerology. Uranian Astrology, subset of the Hamburg School: Is a relatively recent

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methodological approach to Astrology based on teachings of Alfred Witte. Using the midpoints, which were revived and further developed by Witte. Vaasthu Shastra: It deals with various aspects of designing and building living or working environments that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces. It uses Pancha Bhoothas (5 elements), 8 directions, and a 9th direction called as Brahma Sthana (even though many don’t use this, none will discount its validity), in finding the right flow of positive energy for a building. It is an old sub-system of Astrology, is independent of Astrology, but the basics of Astrology is needed to properly understand this branch. It is similar to Feng Shui, but also different. In Feng Shui only flow of energy is concerned, but in Vaasthu even the exact directions of the site, rooms, doors, various objects, materials, etc are taken in to account and recommended to place in. Vedic Astrology: Also called as Jyotisha, is the ancient Indian system of astronomy and Astrology. It considers the earth as the central point with the rest of the world in constant motion around us. It

is said to be originated from the Vedas, which are ancient scriptures, which is the connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm. The practice of Jyotisha relies on the sidereal zodiac, which is different from the tropical zodiac used in Western Astrology in that an ayanamsa adjustment is made for the gradual precession of the vernal equinox. Jyotisha includes several nuanced sub-systems of interpretation and prediction with elements not found in Hellenistic astrology, such as its system of Nakshatras (Lunar mansions). It has under it many methods, with the most popular being Parashara method. Other methods include KP system, Jaimini system, Sripati system, Shodashvarga, Tri Pataki Chakra, and many others. Western Astrology: Is the system of Astrology which originated from the mix of Babylonian Astrology and Egyptian Horoscopic Astrology. It is largely based on the construction of a horoscope, which is a map or chart of the heavens at a particular moment in time. The moment chosen is the beginning of the existence of the subject of the horoscope, as it is believed that the subject will carry with it the pattern of the heavens from that moment throughout its life. It relies on the Tropical Zodiac, but Divisions Apart from the branches, Astrology has many divisions or systems like: Agricultural Astrology: Is the oldest division of Astrology. It was used to predict the best time to start the field work to get the best possible crop. Astro*Carto*Graphy: Is one of the methods of Locational Astrology, which indentifies varying life conditions in different locations. ACG was developed by American astrologer Jim Lewis (19411995). With ACG, lines drawn on a world map show where these factors occur for an individual through relocation. Astro-Meteorology: Also called as Meteorological astrology, is the art of forecasting the weather, and some natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, from planetary aspects. According to the ancient classical texts, when planets occupy constellations as seen from the earth, and that are harmonious to one

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up the prevention or healing process. Astrologers almost never recommend any chemical remedies like tablets, capsules or syrup’s to be taken, unless they are also certified medicinal practitioners. Medical Astrology by no means substitutes for medicine. Mundane Astrology: Is the first and the oldest division of Astrology. It was used in all civilizations, regardless of the branch of Astrology they used. It is used to find the outcomes of events and affairs of a city, state, country or even the whole world. In Mundane Astrology the horoscope of a country was born, which usually means when it was found, or declared independent, or formed, is taken to predict the national happenings and outcomes, even possible future events or issues, and learn about their outcomes. Mundane Astrology focuses also on natural and man-made disasters. Natal Astrology: Also called as Genethlialogy, is the third oldest division of Astrology, used in almost all the branches of Astrology. Here the date, place and time of birth of an individual is taken to taken to cast the horoscope of a person when they were born. It is then used to understand a person’s personality, traits, path of life, lessons to be learned, and future potentials and events. It is used as a basic tool in other divisions of Astrology also, Medical Astrology, and like ACG, Medical Astrology, and even in Electional Astrology. Political Astrology: Is a sub-system of Mundane Astrology, which deals exclusively with politics, the politicians, the government, and laws governing a particular city, state or country. Synastry: Is a special branch of Astrology that is comparing natal charts to find relations amongst people. Calculation Methods Apart from these divisions there are 2 main ways of calculating the position of planets, and stars, even comets, in the 12 zodiac signs. They are: Tropical Zodiac: Is the calculating method of Astrology, based on the tropics, which are the point at which the Sunrise and sunset appear to turn and move along the horizon. Usually it is taken to the north side along the horizon after Winter Solstice, and then from the Summer Solstice it is taken along the south side

Different types of Vedic Astrology Charts another, or that are favourable, the earth in general experiences positive weather conditions. But when planets hold mathematical aspects that are discordant across regions of the earth, the atmosphere responds and the weather is unseasonable. Electional Astrology: Also called as Muhurtha in Vedic Astrology or Katarchic Astrology is a branch found in most systems of Astrology. It is used to find if a particular time is suitable or not for any event, especially to find an auspicious time for an event, like marriage, naming ceremony, housewarming, starting an enterprise, or undertaking, or a project, or even to go to war, etc. A heavy importance is placed on this in Hindu culture, and therefore a lot of information on this topic is available in Vedic Astrology. Horary Astrology: The second oldest branch of classic. Whenever a question is asked the exact time is noted down to read the position of the planets in the zodiac at that moment, through this the situation, the influences, and the solution can be found out. Medical Astrology: Is a system, where the planets (including sun, moon and the 2 nodes) and the 12 zodiac signs are associated with various parts of the human body, to ailments or diseases, and even to the system of medicine (or drugs) to be used to heal. It is used to predict potential health problems, and ways to avoid it, also which treatment to use to solve present health problems. They recommend how to change your diet, lifestyle, and Mantras, Dhaana, or Gemstones, in Vedic Astrology, to speed

Chart with zodiac glyphs, symbols and symbols of Nakshatras. of the horizon. Tropical Zodiac is based on the observations of the tropical points noted in the first millennium BC. Since then the positions have changed almost 23 and a half degrees, making the horoscopes based on this zodiac irrelevant. It is used majorly in Western Astrology, Sun Sign Astrology, and others. Sidereal Zodiac: Is another calculating method of Astrology. Its primary feature is that the signs of the zodiac align to the sky constellations of the same name. The signs therefore run between dates which are different from the Tropical Zodiac used in the West. For example, Aries runs from March 21 to April 20 in the Tropical Zodiac, but runs approximately from April 14/15 to May 14/15 in the Sidereal Zodiac. It has a lot of emphasis on the symbolic meaning of the zodiac signs, which is preserved when a horoscope taken using this method gives the actual occurring in the cosmos, compared to Tropical Zodiac which uses only the pre-set dates. It is used by all Vedic Astrologers, and some Western Astrologers, as it was introduced to the western world only in 1944 by Cyril Fagan. It can be used in almost all types, branches, and divisions of Astrology. - Byrappa

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The Flux Transfer Event (FTE)
Thain Hunter explains just what it is and what does it do?

An “FTE” is like a magnetic portal of sorts that open up every 8 minutes or so between the earth and our sun. When these “portals” open, a large amount of high energy particles travel directly to the earth in a cosmic burst from our host star, all in a very brief opening. As little as 10 years ago, FTE’s were considered as non-existent, but now it is known that such cosmic events are as much as twice as common as previously thought. Active Bursts A connection between the earth and our sun has been know for many years. Particles from the sun are carried away from us by powerful solar winds and follow the magnetic lines that extend between us and the sun. These lines allow the suns particles to penetrate the earth’s Magnetosphere (magnetic field). It was long thought that this connection was permanent, and the particles entering the earth’s atmosphere were

constant. But it has been discovered that this connection is not constant at all. It comes in brief bursts and are very dynamic. One or more FTE’s open up and stay that way for around 15 to 20 minutes. A lot more to learn We are still uncertain how large an FTE can be. The European Space Agency has a fleet of 4 Cluster spacecraft, and NASA has their THEMIS probes that have tried measuring the size and amount of particles getting through and have found that they can be as big as 5 times the radius of the earth. We have found that the cylindrical portals usually form above the equator and move to the north pole in December, and move to the south pole in July.

We still have a lot more to learn, like “Why do they form every 8 minutes” and “How does the magnetic field act inside them”. - Thain Hunter “Stargazer”.

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Going once, going twice...sold. What is your soul worth?

What is your soul worth? Did you ever wonder what your soul is worth? Not to you mind you, but to others… Seems the price of souls these days varies in direct correlation to the basic principles of capitalism; the commercial value of the commodity; the equity value of the Brand; the dividend quotient paid to the shareholders. In addition, competition is fierce. The more “followers” you have, the more souls in your “possession” , the greater your worth as a centre of enlightenment and with this goes the added value of being able to charge what you like for helping people find the path. Supply and Demand…what could be more natural? Following market trends—this is after all a business and a very lucrative one to boot. Whatever happened to the ideal of freely receiving, freely giving? What is actually important? Is it that all people have the right to realize God, to understand their Divinity irrelevant of who’s footsteps they follow—for the only true path to God is through God? Or perhaps it is the right of only those elitist or distinguished few, whose association with a famous trademark or school of thought entitles them to know God? And

what happens to the rest of us? Are we not good enough? Or perhaps our soul’s merit is not as dear as the others are? Where did humility, compassion, devotion, and a true desire to better mankind, which is not monetarily motivated go? You really have to step back and truly admire the façade…for if you start to look below the surface, you will see that not everything that glitters is gold. Not everyone practices what they preach. They preach what people who search outside themselves wish to hear. What the ego needs to appease itself…the greatness of reaching God via a RollsRoyce instead of a Fiat; by flying instead of walking; by imparting instead of discovering; and ultimately satiating the ego, through pomp and circumstance. In the end though, do they ever reach the end point? Do they truly know GOD? Understand their Divinity? Radiate Unconditional Love? Instead of chasing windmills like Don Quixote, we need to stop and look within for our truth, our God and the salvation of our souls. God, Love, Divinity, Spirituality reside within each and every one of us. Every atom in the Universe that God created is equal and exactly the same as any other, for the source of all is One. When we use different

techniques to reach back inside our BEing, we transcend our physicality and move into our Divinity. This connection back to Source, back to God is innate and inherent in all of us. By becoming aware of its existence; healing the hurts and misconceptions that keep us imprisoned; annihilating things that perpetuate differentiation—that anchor our souls in the physical, we, as individuals can reconnect to our Cosmic Origins merging and melding with God, transcending physical time and space to know Divine Oneness, Bliss and Unconditional Love. - Niki

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Thain Hunter explains about Christmas and the history behind the festival.

Christmas has long been thought of as a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. This being true for the most part, it is also observed by many other religions and cultures. Christmas is celebrated worldwide on December 25th marking the birth of Jesus. It has long been disputed whether Jesus was actually born on this date, even though the majority believe it is.
Non-Christians in many cultures celebrate Christmas as a “Winter Festival” mainly for the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the Winter Solstice after which the days get longer and the nights get shorter. In Roman times it was a celebration to the god Saturn called Saturnalia, which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which was on December 17th. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, to December 23rd. Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900 A.D. In the United States, Christmas is a celebration mixed with Pagan and Roman rituals. Modern Christmas with pagan customs include: gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; and Yule logs and various foods from Teutonic feasts. Then we have Santa Clause. Where did he come from? Santa is generally believed to be the result of a synchronization

between St. Nicolas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian Mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media. Throughout all of Europe and most of the Americas, there is some incarnation of Santa Clause. In Russia and Northeastern Europe, there is St. Nick. In Germany and surrounding countries there is Chris Kringle. And in the U.S., there’s just plain Santa Clause. What ever you may call him, Santa is mainly just a symbol of the giving spirit that resides in all of us. So, whether you are Christian, or another religion all together, celebrate Christmas knowing you don’t have to be Christian to celebrate it. Where ever you are and what ever you believe, the giving spirit is always a good thing. What is Christmas? To me, it’s a time of rejoice, a time for family and good food, and above all, it’s a time for giving of yourself. Merry Christmas to all! - Thain Hunter “Stargazer”

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Thain Hunter explains about Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival, its history and a few delicacies.
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights, starting on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (which is NovemberDecember on the Gregorian calendar). In Hebrew, the word “Hanukkah” means “dedication.” The holiday commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews’ 165 B.C.E. victory over the Hellenist Syrians. Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. In 168 B.C.E. the Jews’ holy Temple was seized and dedicated to the worship of Zeus. Some Jews were afraid of the Greek soldiers and obeyed them, but most were angry and decided to fight back. The fighting began in Modiin, a village not far from Jerusalem. A Greek officer and soldiers assembled the villagers, asking them to bow to an idol and eat the flesh of a pig, activities forbidden to Jews. The officer asked Mattathias, a Jewish High Priest, to take part in the ceremony. He refused, and another villager stepped forward and offered to do it instead. Mattathias became outraged, took out his sword and killed the man, then killed the officer. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked and killed the soldiers. Mattathias’ family went into hiding in the nearby mountains, where many other Jews who wanted to fight the Greeks joined them. They attacked the Greek soldiers whenever possible. Judah Maccabee and his soldiers went to the holy Temple, and were saddened that many things were missing or broken, including the golden menorah. They cleaned and repaired the Temple, and when they were finished, they decided to have a big dedication ceremony. For the celebration, the Maccabees wanted to light the menorah. They looked everywhere for oil, and found a small flask that contained only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. This gave them enough time to


The Menorah
obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit. Today Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting candles in a menorah every night, thus commemorating the eight-day miracle. The Menorah On each night of Hanukkah, the menorah is lit to commemorate a miracle which occurred after the Jews proclaimed victory over the Syrian armies in 165 B.C.E. When Jews came to rededicate the Temple-which had been defiled by the Syrians-they found only one small flask of oil with which to light the menorah. This flask contained only enough oil for one day, yet the lamp burned for eight days (by which time a fresh supply of oil was obtained). – In Israel, the Hanukkah menorah is called the Hanukiyah Menorahs come in all shapes and sizes. The only requirement is that the flames are separated enough so that they will not look too big and resemble a pagan bonfire. – Ancient menorahs were made of clay. They consisted of small, pearl shaped vessels, each with its own wick, which were arranged side-by-side. – Today’s menorah, which stands on a base from which the branches sprout, resembles the holy Temple’s menorah and started to appear towards the end of the Middle Ages. Latkes at Hanukkah The most popular themes throughout the Hanukkah dishes are the use of oil. The oil reminds us of the oil which burned eight days instead of one. Latkes are potato pancakes made from grated potatoes mixed with eggs, onions, and flour, then fried in vegetable oil. The texture is crispy on the outside and tender within. They’re served hot and often dipped in apple sauce or sour cream. The Maccabbee soliders ate latkes made from cheese,

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In America the letters stand for “A Great Miracle Happened There”. In Israel the letters mean “A Miracle Happened Here”. Each player receives a given number of coins or candy pieces. Before spinning the dreidel, each player puts a fixed proportion of the amount received into the “kupah” or kitty. Each player in turn spins the dreidel. When the dreidel falls, it will fall on one of the 4 letters. According to the letter, the following will happen: Nun – no win / no lose Gimmel – take all (from the kitty) Heh – take half (from the kitty) Peh or Shin – lose (what you deposited) The game continues until players have run out of ‘funds’ or it is agreed to stop (anyone losing all funds is out of the game). The dreidel game was popular during the rule of Antiochus before the Maccabees’ revolt, a time when soldiers executed any Jews who were caught practicing their religion. When pious Jews gathered to study the Torah, they had the top ready in case they heard soliders approaching. If the soldiers appeared, they would hide the holy scriptures and pretend to play with the dreidl. In Israel the dreidel is called a sivivon. Wish you all a very Happy Hanukkah. - Thain Hunter “Stargazer”


vegetables, or fruits which were brought to them on the battlefields. However, they didn’t eat potato latkes, as potatoes weren’t available until the 16th century. Sufganiyot - Hanukkah Jelly Donuts Sufganiyot are jelly doughnuts without the hole. They’re dropped into hot oil without being shaped and come out in odd, funny shapes, then covered in powdered sugar and/or cinnamon. Sufganiyot are particularly popular in Israel, where they are sold on stands in the streets over a month before hanukkah begins.

Hanukkah Dreidel The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter inscribed on each side. The yiddish word “dreidel” is derived from the German word “drehen”, or “turn”.


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Installing Microsoft Office 2007 is generally a simple affair. You know the drill — open the package, pop in the CD, and accept the default settings by repeatedly clicking the Next button. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of coffee, you have installed a brand new office suite. Right? Prakaash tells you just what you can expect once you have installed and started running Office 2007.
Understand that there is a lot more to installing Microsoft Office than just running the installation program. You need to do some important chores before and after installation, such as backing up data and selecting an installation type. You also need to understand the differences between activation and registration once installation is complete, and how each of these affects your privacy. Microsoft offers many different Office 2007 suites, each tailored to a specific class of user, but installation is the same for all of them. Although the installation process is straightforward, you do need to make some decisions beforehand. You need to decide if you want to upgrade the Microsoft Office product you have or if you want to start fresh with a new installation. If you choose the latter option, you need to decide what you want to do with the old Office program files. You need to back up your data just in case something goes wrong, and you need to make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements to support Office. Once you’ve done that, you can start thinking about the actual installation.

5. In the Installation Types page, select Upgrade or Custom. 6. If you choose Upgrade/Install Now , the installation continues and automatically installs. If you choose Custom, you’ll need to perform the rest of the steps listed here. 7. In the Upgrade dialog box, configure your preferences for installation. a. From the Upgrade tab, select Remove all Previous Versions, Keep all Previous Versions, or Remove Only the Following Applications. When choosing the latter, check which applications to remove. b. From the Installation Options tab, click the drop-down arrow beside Microsoft Office, and select Run all from My Computer to install the entire Office suite. To keep any single application from installing at all, click the arrow next to it and choose Not Available.

c. From the File Location tab, accept the default installation location or browse for a more suitable location. d. From the User Information tab, fill in your personal information for User Name, Initials, and Organization. 8. Click”Continue” Now. 9. When the installation is complete, click Close or click Register for Online Services.

Installation Step-by-Step
1. Insert the Microsoft Office 2007 DVD and wait for the installation program to begin. If it does not begin automatically, open My Computer, click the appropriate drive letter, and start the installation manually. 2. If prompted to proceed with the installation, click Yes. 3. In the Enter Product Key dialog box, type your 25-character key. This key is located on the packaging. Hyphens are added automatically. Click Continue. 4. Read and accept the Microsoft Software License Terms. Click Continue.

After installation you will, under almost all circumstances, be prompted to connect to the Internet to activate your copy of Microsoft Office 2007. Microsoft needs to verify that you have a legitimate copy of the product and activate it. (If the product is not properly activated, it will go into reduced mode after 50 launches.)

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When you activate your copy of Office 2007, the product key is sent along with a hardware hash to Microsoft’s activation system. This hash is a snapshot of your computer hardware. No personally identifiable information is sent during this time. At this point, Microsoft knows only what your machine consists of, not who you are, what your e-mail address is, or even from what city you are. Activation is necessary because Microsoft wants to restrict you to installing Office 2007 on the appropriate number of computers, and to verify you have a legitimate copy of the product. Antipiracy technology takes care of this automatically. If you need to install Office 2007 on more machines, you’ll need to purchase additional copies of the product, and they will require activation as well. Activation limits help keep users from burning copies of the software and distributing it to others, or installing one copy of the product across an entire office. The product activation process helps enforce the software license terms that the user agreed to during the Office 2007 installation. Activation is generally completed through the Internet, but you can activate over the telephone if necessary. You’ll be prompted with a phone number to call if you do not have an Internet connection. You can obtain a hardware hash number from your PC and give it to Microsoft over the phone. Once Microsoft knows what your machine looks like, you can install and uninstall the product as many times as you want on the same machine, and Microsoft can recognize that it’s the same installation from the hardware hash each time you activate it. You’ll need to read the software license terms specific to your suite to see if you can install Office on an additional computer, such as a laptop. In the past, this has been acceptable with consumer versions of the product. Microsoft cannot remotely access your machine, and they cannot revoke activation approval via the Internet. No cookies are placed on your machine during activation. - Prakaash

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YSeeker Picks - Book of the Month, December 2008

Astrology, Karma and Transformation: The Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart

Astrology, Karma and Transformation: The Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart By Stephen Arroyo Published by C R C S Publications, 1992 ISBN 0916360547, 9780916360542 255 pages Original and profound book “Karma, astrology and personal transformation” focuses on understanding and using astrology as a tool in the development of spiritual and psychological. In contrast to traditional forecasts, astrology indicative - this new approach to the oldest science is based on the law of karma and the need self transformation. Hightlightening in particular meanings of Karma and transformers planets Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, this book brings together all the astrologic methods in a vision-oriented development being. The book “Karma, astrology and personal transformation” is of great importance, especially for those interested in astrology from the perspective mean recognition of its spiritual and progress in self knowledge, with the focus on spiritual and psychological growth. Chapters include treating topics such as relationships and karma, progression, transits, astrology readings in his Edgar Cayce, upward influence and significance and a positive approach of Saturn. In addition, the chapters about Pluto and its issues include the most comprehensive and deeper approach to this issue now. The book “Karma, astrology and personal transformation” revolutionize simply the vision of classical astrology, by emphasizing its spiritual values. Stephen Arroyo, precursor of modern psychology, integrated human beings in the context of evolution, reaching a destiny. It is a book in which the elements are harmoniously combined with traditional and esoteric research results from the psychology and psychoanalysis, and what we reveal a new kind of approach in studying and applying the ancient science. The book “Karma, astrology and personal transformation” can be used as a true manual opening and deepening of the level of astrology practice, for starters, but especially for advanced users. - Liana

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YSeeker Picks - Movie Reviews
Continuing the story of “Casino Royale,” James Bond (Daniel Craig) seeks revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), the only woman he truly loved. The movie opens with Bond involved in a reckless car chase on the tollway that leads through mountain tunnels from Nice through Monte Carlo and down to Portofino in Siena, Italy, soon after 007 captures Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), in end of Casino Royale. Soon after, the revelation of a mole in MI6 erupts into a gigantic glassshattering action sequence which leads him to QUANTUM, a secret international organization. First he’s in London, reporting for a lessthan-satisfactory performance review with M (Judi Dench). Then he’s in Haiti, where he teams with a mysterious Bolivian gal (Olga Kurylenko) and eyes an environmentally conscious businessman, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric) who’s a QUANTUM baddie with plans to mess with global natural resources. Bond also needs to dodge the British government and CIA who are after him, and report to M, who fears the spy may be bringing too many personal issues to work. Next he’s in Austria, he’s in South America, he’s with the biggest budget in Bond movie history, and he’s wherever the producers and director Marc Forster want him to be. Daniel Craig remains a splendid Bond, one of the best since Sean Connery. He is handsome, agile, muscular, and dangerous. With his assumption of the role in 2006, Craig announced that there’s a new 007 in town. Bond here is a disillusioned killing machine who lost the woman he loved and still has a bunch of important questions left unanswered. He’s an emotionally damaged Bond, and while that certainly makes him more real, it also makes him so much less fun. In fact, to put it fairly, that’s what’s missing from this Bond adventure -- the film’s grim tone seems to have taken a lot of the fun out of it. Possibly the weakest Bond villain we have ever seen in all the 22 films, whose name is not Goldfinger, Scaramanga, Drax or Le Chiffre, but ... Dominic Greene, who lacks

Review - Quantum of Solace

a headquarters on the moon, or on the floor of the sea. He operates out of an ordinary shipping warehouse with loading docks. His evil transport is provided by forklifts and pickup trucks. Bond doesn’t have to creep out on the ledge of an underground volcano to spy on him. He just walks up to the chain-link fence and peers through. Greene lacks the evil charm of a villain worthy to be Bond’s nemesis. He is reduced to a weak and subdued character who himself admits that he works for someone superior. There is no Q in “Quantum of Solace,” except in the title. No Miss Moneypenny at all. And what about the legendary Bond girls that we are by now so accustomed to? In Quantum of Solace, he will share no cozy quality time with the Bond girl (Olga Kurylenko). We fondly remember the immortal names of Pussy Galore, Xenia Onatopp and Plenty O’Toole, who infused so much life into their respective portrayals. In this film, who do we get? Camille and Strawberry Fields! For James Bond, this is the equivalent of a request for sex: “I can’t find the stationary. Will you help me

look?” Too easy! Quantum of Solace is not the best Bond film to have hit the screens. The main problem with this film is the director Mark Forster who doesn’t get his act right in his first outing in directing an action flick, and that too, a Bond flick. Though it dials down the sexiness quotient, it boasts plenty of killer sequences to distract from the lack of anything fresh— as the movie takes too long to establish its diabolical plan and focus its villain. I have a feeling, or at least a wish, that in the next Bond picture, this 21st-century spy will gain greater access to his own character strengths. For now, we can take solace that 007 is working on anger management. 6/10 - Karthik Anand

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YSeeker Picks - Movie Reviews
Max Payne is based on a very popular violent video game. Back in 2001, the video game Max Payne was released with the then innovative feature of allowing players to slow down time enabling them to escape dodgy situations. The director seems to have used this technique to make the film, as a result of which it looks like a four hour prolonged film. But when you’re playing a video game, at least it’s possible to vent your frustrations by shooting people. When you’re watching a movie this bad, you want to shoot yourself. Mark Wahlberg can be useful in a fiery supporting role, as he was in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, but proves once again that he can’t carry a picture as a leading man. He displays a pitiful lack of nuance as a vengeful vigilante cop trying to track down the killers of his wife and baby. The title character is a cop in a faux New York City who’s investigating murders that appear to have elements of a fantastical nature: there’s an evil corporation called Aesir Pharmaceuticals, there are mythic Valkyries that reward valiant warriors in death, there are tattoos that can actually protect you, there’s “a place called Ragnarok -- it’s an old club, East Side”, which simply screams with the promise of Something Cool. Too soon, though, all those wide-open possibilities about where this story can go get so narrowed down into something banal and bleak and ordinary that you can hardly breathe with it, and all the promise gets blown away like so many of the disposable bad guys offered up for Max’s target practice. He marches homicidally through a near-monochrome version of New York populated by pimps, prostitutes, tattooed psychopaths, leather-clad babes, evil corporations, and, well, you name the film noir cliche, and this film has it. Director John Moore is clearly more interested in hot babes, body tattoos and slo-mo shootings than he is in story or characterisation. Max Payne offers Min Pleasure. But in post-Matrix cinema, slo-mo firefights are now a cliché and Moore’s red screen-flashes are a lame approximation of ‘damage’ hits. We’re left with short spurts of stylish action: Wahlberg taking out a SWAT team with a handgun and a cool tracking shot that reveals a demon hauling a man through a window to his death. There is the occasional muzzle-flare of stylish violence, but that’s it. Dull, depressing and dragging at 100 minutes, Max Payne misfires and Wahlberg’s leading-man jinx continues. You will end up hating it even more if you have been a lover of the game. Watch it if you have no other option. Play the Game at home instead. 4/10 - Karthik Anand

Review - Max Payne

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YSeeker Picks - Movie Reviews
Think of all the ways you can hurt yourself laughing, as in fall down, split your sides, bust a gut, and blow your mind. You get it all in Tropic Thunder, a knockout of a comedy that keeps you laughing constantly. It is also killer smart, lacing combustible action with explosive gags. Major props to Ben Stiller, the director, co-producer, co-writer and co-star, who shows us Hollywood at war with its own ego during the making of a mega-budget Vietnam War movie with an uproariously inept cast and crew.

Review - Tropic Thunder


Stiller excels as Tugg Speedman, a muscled, has-been action superstar. Tugg’s one attempt to prove he can act, as a retarded, bucktoothed farmhand who talks to animals in Simple Jack, flopped big time. Taking the role of the Rambo-esque John “Four Leaf” Tayback in Tropic Thunder — the name of the film within the film — can be Tugg’s ticket to legit. The real Four Leaf (Nick Nolte) is on set to keep things factual. Matching Tugg in diva tantrums and insecurity is famed comic and dope fiend Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), known for The Fatties, a movie series in which Jeff, aping Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, portrays an entire family of prodigious farters. This is Black’s coolest performance since School of Rock, and he makes Jeff’s turn as a gunnery Sergeant look convincing as well. The award for best in show has to go to Robert Downey Jr. — Iron Man himself — as Kirk Lazarus, an Aussie actor who has already collected five Oscars for losing himself in his roles, most recently as a priest who lusts to get inside the monk robes of Tobey Maguire. To get inside the skin of African-American Sgt. Lincoln Osiris in Tropic Thunder, Kirk alters his voice and dyes his skin black. His REAL BLACK co-star and the rest of the cast try their best to stop him talking like a Black and he replies saying. “I don’t break character till the DVD commentary.” Downey has a ball with the role, and his explanation to Stiller about the dangers of going “full retard” if you want to win an Oscar belongs in a comedy time capsule. Downey is so off-the-charts hilarious that you want to stand up and cheer. The plot fires up when Cody and Four Leaf convince the director to get the actors away from their entourages and shoot guerrilla-style in the jungle with hidden cameras. That’s when they encounter the real guns of a heroin cartel, the Flaming Dragons, led by Tran, a sawed-off 12-year-old terrorist played by star-in-the-making Brandon Soo Hoo. When Tran captures Tugg, death is held at bay because Tran and his cronies are big fans of Simple Jack. They dress up Tugg and force him to act out the entire movie. “More stupid,” says Tran, whipping Tugg into beating the studios at their own idiot game. What Stiller has done is come up with a premise for endless teasing of Hollywood types, all built around an action movie that will catch the fancy of some moviegoers for all its explosions and chases. Yet even with all its excess, and its undeniably heavy hand, Tropic Thunder is really a whole lot of fun. It also works big time as a satire of Hollywood and its personalities, also as a takeoff on war/ action flicks. Watch Stiller make a spoof on that memorable scene from Platoon, and a few scenes of Saving Private Ryan have been made fun of by the cast. They are truly hilarious, but only if you have seen the originals. Tropic Thunder also works as a straight-ahead action

. Moreover, make sure you watch closely. Otherwise, you might not even recognize Tom Cruise playing one of several overblown Hollywood types who strut about behind the scenes of the disastrous movie production we are all laughing at. The story is not new by any means. We have seen these types of films before. However, it is still worth every bit of your time as the performances keep you engrossed until the end credits start rolling - Watch Tom Cruise indulging in a happy dance that must be seen to be believed! 7/10 - Karthik Anand

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YSeeker Picks - Movie Reviews
The film’s credits start off with the haunting music of AR Rahman and then, there’s a blank screen for 30 seconds with silence. And then comes the name of Subhash Ghai, known as The Showman, who has given us such classics like KARZ, KARMA, RAM LAKHAN, SAUDAGAR, MERI JUNG, TAAL and the recent box office disasters like YAADEIN, KISNA and BLACK & WHITE. If you thought Subhash Ghai had lost his touch, watch YUVVRAAJ. It is his most opulent work thus far. The film makes a stunning visual statement. Honestly, YUVVRAAJ isn’t Ghai’s best work, but post YAADEIN, KISNA and BLACK & WHITE, YUVVRAAJ salvages him, even redeems the storyteller. The story mirrors a universal truth. Greed leads to disputes and in turn, ruins all relationships. A fact you’ve heard or witnessed time and again in real life. While the story is captivating, the screenplay doesn’t really do justice to the thought. Also, Rahman’s music acts as a soothing balm to the proceedings. Yet, in all fairness, YUVVRAAJ is a notch above the commonplace. If you intend spending your hard-earned money on it or devoting 3 hours of your precious time on Ghai’s new outing, chances are you won’t regret it. Deven Yuvvraaj [Salman Khan] is a chorus singer, in love with Anushka [Katrina Kaif]. Her father Dr. Banton [Boman Irani], however, is dead against this relationship. Things take a turn when Deven’s father passes away and he returns to London to stake claim on his father’s wealth. He meets his two estranged brothers Gyanesh Yuvvraaj [Anil Kapoor, possessing autism from his childhood] and Danny Yuvvraaj [Zayed Khan] after almost twelve years. The entire property has been transferred to Anil Kapoor, who doesn’t understand the value of money. Deven must now set out to win his elder brother’s love and confidence to get a share of the wealth. From here on, Ghai borrows the plot heavily from the Tom Cruise-Dustin Hoffman starrer RAINMAN. If you have seen it, then it will definitely give you a sense of déjà vu.

Review - Yuvvraaj

Ghai has an eye for visuals and every frame of YUVVRAAJ seems like a painting on celluloid. Unmistakably, that’s the first thing you notice as YUVVRAAJ unfolds. It takes time to absorb YUVVRAAJ. On the flip side, the screenplay is erratic. There’re constant highs and lows in this journey, the film works in patches. In fact, the screenplay falls prey to predictability and mediocrity at places. Ghai handles the dramatic scenes with flourish. It’s a complete show by Anil Kapoor. Be it his mirthful encounters with Salman or the emotional outbreak in the climax, he overshadows everyone and shows what a seasoned performer he is. Don’t miss his fabulous gestures after watching the camcorder in the climax. Hats off to Subash Ghai! His genuineness of inserting symbolic representation where Anil Kapoor breaks the masks on the table after viewing the camcorder is superb. Of course, the song ‘Dil Ka Rishta’ following this sequence as broken masks

at backdrops of stage is something you call ‘Director’s cut’. On the whole, YUVVRAAJ is interesting in parts, with the penultimate 20/25 minutes taking the film to an all-time high. Give it a watch and chances are you will like it. - 6/10 - Karthik Anand

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YSeeker Picks - Movie of the Month, December 2008
Love triangles in Hindi movies often centre around two guys falling in love with the same girl, or two girls choosing to love the same guy. But DOSTANA is a first. It’s the first Hindi film that, at the core, is a rectangle [three men loving the same woman], but two of them, guys in this case, pretend to be a couple. Sure, DOSTANA has ample shock-value since what has been witnessed in its promos is barely a fraction of what you’d get to watch in the movie. But more than shock-value, the film offers loads of funn-laughter and dollops of entertainment. A word of appreciation! It requires courage to fund a project like DOSTANA. Karan Johar, the producer, deserves to be lauded for treading the untrodden path. It requires courage and conviction to swim against the tide in your directorial debut. Tarun Mansukhani, the debutante, deserves a few brownie points extra for not thinking straight. It requires courage for two A-list actors to go all out and risk their professional [and personal] lives. Abhishek and John deserve an ovation for not only agreeing to play these characters, but also infusing life in them, without making a mockery of the gay community. DOSTANA is no BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. It’s not a serious take on homosexuality either. On the contrary, it’s a madcap comedy where two straight men pretend to be gays. Although DOSTANA is a mainstream commercial film, it dares to push the envelope in its own way. It brings homosexuality out of the closet, gives it respect and dignity and doesn’t treat gays as ‘abnormal’. DOSTANA shocks you all the while and that is its biggest USP. Don’t expect stereotypical situations or characters all through this film. Watch Abhishek cook up a romantic story between John and him in Venice. Watch Boman Irani’s interaction with Abhishek and John. Watch Kirron Kher’s dramatic entries at this point. They’re sure to bring the house down. Miami is the setting for DOSTANA. When Sameer [Abhishek Bachchan] and Kunal [John Abraham] are turned down for an apartment because the landlady

Review - DOSTANA

[Sushmita Mukherjee] doesn’t want two strapping young men to corrupt her young sexy niece Neha [Priyanka Chopra], they hatch a plan: they pretend to be gay to secure the apartment. Over a period of time, Sameer, Kunal and Neha become buddies. When Neha’s boss Abhimanyu [Bobby Deol] enters the fray as the third contender for her affections, it gets even hotter… If the first hour is laced with crackling chemistry between the guys and terrific humour, things get serious towards the second half since there’s one more person vying for Priyanka’s attention -Bobby Deol. There’s humour in this hour too, but the focus is mainly on who’d get Priyanka in the end. Both Abhishek and John are fantabulous! Abhishek pulls out all the stops and delivers one of the finest performances of his career. His comic timing is superb! John will make guys and girls drool over his amazing physique. But, most importantly, people will sit up and notice how fine an

actor John is. Both Abhishek and John complement each other so well. In fact, had the chemistry and camaraderie been missing, the story would’ve failed to look convincing. Two thumbs up for these two guys! On the whole, Dostana hits bull’s eyes with fun and frolic moments that are quite unsuitable for certain audience. DOSTANA is a winner all the way. In terms of content, it might just prove to be a trendsetter. 8/10 - Karthik Anand

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Ahmedabad to Shimla
Sanjay Gajjar takes us on a scenic trip from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, seen through the eyes (Lens) of his Canon EOS Kiss Digital X.

Sunset during departure from Ahmedabad Aperture: f/8 Shutterspeed: 1/1250 sec ISO: 100

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The World famous Jaisalmer Haveli (Mansion), Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Aperture: f/10 Shutterspeed: 1/250 sec ISO: 400

Inner roof inside Jaisalmer Haveli, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Aperture: f/3.5 Shutterspeed: 1/6 sec ISO: 400

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The Royal Tomb’s and crematorium, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Aperture: f/13 Shutterspeed: 1/500 sec ISO: 320

Train on a bridge Aperture: f/5.6 Shutterspeed: 1/100 sec ISO: 100 www.YSeeker.org | Page 34

The Valley view, Manali - Shimla route, Aperture: f/8 Shutterspeed: 1/125 sec ISO: 100

The Rohtang valley pass, Aperture: f/9 Shutterspeed: 1/200 sec ISO: 100 www.YSeeker.org | Page 35

The Ganga Ghat, River Ganga, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Aperture: f/11 Shutterspeed: 1/500 sec ISO: 400

The Ganga Ghat at night, River Ganga, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Aperture: f/4 Shutterspeed: 1/20 sec ISO: 1600

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Recipes for lip smacking food from around the world, especially for Christmas.


Kourabiethes is a traditional recipe that people all over Greece make around Christmas time. Greek food is such an integral part of the Greek lifestyle so it’s no surprise that there are some delicious sweets that are made in Greece especially for the Christmas season. The sugar cookie is one of these, it is an almond cookie, filled with crunchy pieces of almond, coated in dry icing sugar. It is enticing just to look at it and fits in so well with this time of year when we think of snowy peaks and white Christmas, the cookie is also white and pure looking and so tempting, few can resist them. It is popular with young and old alike. The secret with this sugar cookie recipe is to leave them until cold and then roll them in plenty of soft icing sugar. Also when storing they need a lot of icing sugar packed around them. You will find all households over Greece, filled with the aroma of the delicious sugar cookie recipe being baked, along with many other sweets that are traditionally made at Christmas.

roast them in a frying pan. Taking great care stir them in the frying pan until they just start to take colour, then remove them from the heat and place on a plate until needed. Be very careful as they can burn extremely quickly and then are of no use, as they will give the sugar cookie a burnt flavour. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. The more you beat it the lighter the Kourabiethes will become. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture. Fold the flour gently into the mixture using a metal spoon, until only just combined. Add the brandy and almonds and again stir it through the mixture carefully until it is all combined. At this stage you may need to knead it a little with your hands to make a dough that sticks together. Take a small handful of the dough in your hand and roll it into a ball. Place it on a greased baking tray and then flatten the ball slightly. Repeat with all the dough. Place baking tray in a preheated oven

of 200 C for 15 - 30 minutes, you need to check them to see when they are just taking a colour, then they are ready, be careful not to overcook them as they will become hard. Remove from the tray and let the Kourabiethes cool down completely. Take a plate and pour a good thick quantity of icing sugar over the plate. Next, taking one sugar cookie at a time, roll it all around in the sugar until it is completely covered. Repeat with each cookie. To serve, pile the cookies in a mound on a serving plate, pyramid style and sprinkle more icing sugar over the pile. As long as these cookies are completely covered in icing sugar and are in an airtight container or covered with cling film they will last quite a while. (Unlikely though, if you have sweet eaters like I have in my house!) When storing them in a container, sprinkle plenty of icing sugar on the bottom before placing the kourabiethes on top. You really must not skimp on icing sugar with this soft sugar cookie recipe. The sugar cookies have a lovely almond taste but the icing sugar is what finishes it off and gives it that exquisite taste.

Ingredients :
600g butter 400g almonds, chopped coarsely and roasted 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 230g icing sugar 50g brandy 1.2kg flour icing sugar

Method :
Firstly, chop the almonds coarsely, you can do this in a processor but make sure they are not reduced to crumbs; we want them to be small pieces that you will taste and crunch in the almond cookie recipe. Next, to roast the almonds, I prefer to dry

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Melomakarona is a mouth watering, golden cookie, drenched in honey syrup and often sprinkled with crushed walnuts. Greeks love their sweets all year round, and have special sweets that they traditionally make at certain times of the year or for special celebrations. It is no surprise then, that at Christmas they make one of their most delicious cookies. I will always make up a large batch of them, but it does not matter how many I make, they always go too soon! This honey cookie recipe uses oil instead of butter or margarine, making it slightly healthier than the recipes using butter. As with many of the Greek dessert recipes, the quantities are to make a large amount, so do adjust the recipe for less if necessary. This melomakarona recipe makes approx 60 cookies.

Ingredients :
4 tea cups mild olive oil 1 tea cup orange juice 1 tea cup brandy 1 tea cup sugar 2 teaspoons soda 1 teaspoon baking powder Orange peel 1-1 1/2 kg plain flour, Walnuts, broken into small pieces Cloves

Using an electric mixer beat the liquids for about 15 minutes. It is important to mix it for this long, although it does not look like much is happening to the oil mixture, persevere, it has a big influence on the flavour of the finished cookie. Now add the sugar, about 1 kg flour and baking powder and grated orange peel. Using your hands, mix it all in. You will most likely need to add more flour if it is too runny. I almost always need to add more, between 250 grams and 500 grams more depending on how soft it is, the dough needs to be fairly firm. It will need to be firm enough to be able to hold a shape, if it is too runny it will flatten out whilst cooking. With your hands, take small pieces of dough and roll into an egg shape. Take a small piece of walnut and place in the centre of the dough shape. Blend the

dough around the walnut and form into an oval shape. Place on a baking tray, there is no need to oil the tray, the oil in the Melomakarona is sufficient to prevent sticking. Flatten the cookies slightly and add a pattern. In Greece, they often use a fork across the top to create lines. Insert a clove slightly into the top of each cookie. Bake in a pre heated moderate oven for 20 - 30 minutes. Check - When they are a golden colour, they are ready. Place on a wire rack to cool. Whilst the Melomakarona are cooling, prepare the syrup. Put all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Syrup :
1 1/2 tea cups honey 1 1/2 tea cups sugar 1 1/2 - 2 tea cups water 1/4 - 1/2 orange, cut up 1 cinnamon stick

Method :
In a large mixing bowl, add 3 cups of oil, room temperature and 1 cup of oil, warmed up. Add 1/2 of the 1 cup of orange juice, then with the other 1/2, add the baking soda to the juice, stir it in, it will foam up rather quickly and then add this to the oil. Add the brandy.

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Simmer for about 5 minutes, the syrup will thicken, so be very careful not to let it boil over. When the biscuits are cold, place them in a deep tray. Remove the cinnamon stick and orange from the syrup and then pour the hot syrup over the cookies. Finely chop some walnuts and mix with some sugar and a little cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the syrupy biscuits.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Ingredients : Topping :
¼ cup butter, melted 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 1 can (approximately 1 pound) pineapple in its own juice

Cake :

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup butter, softened 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup milk

In another bowl, cream the ½-cup butter with granulated sugar and beat with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and reserved pineapple juice, mixing well. Add the flour mixture and milk, alternating each in small batches and beating well after each addition. Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly over pineapple and topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a skewer tests clean. Cool upright on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around edge, then invert on serving platter. Cake is delicious warm or at room temperature as is or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Method :
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9” round cake pan. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Set aside. Mix the ¼ cup melted butter and brown sugar, then spread it evenly in the pan. Distribute the pineapple evenly atop the brown sugar topping. (Crushed pineapple or tidbits work especially well, but sliced or chunks are also good.) Set aside. In large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

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Tiramisu’ is one of the latest additions to “traditional” Italian cooking. Unknown until about fifteen years ago, when it is believed to have been invented in the town of Treviso in northern Italy, in merely a decade it has become a worldrenowned dessert, extremely popular from the United States to Japan. It is considered a semifreddo (a dessert served cold, but not frozen). This dessert has many variations, with the only constant ingredient the mascarpone cheese. Tiramisu’ can be prepared in advance and kept in the freezer. Remember to remove it from the freezer enough time in advance to serve it cold at refrigerated temperature, but not frozen. Sprinkle it with more cocoa powder before serving. Tiramisu means “pick me up.” There are so many recipe versions out there and each one seems a little different from the other. This is necessary try.

Ingredients :
Ingredients for 20 squares of Tiramisu: 500 ml. mascarpone cheese, 1 litre whipping cream, 120 grams Sugar, 4 cups double espresso, 50 ml. Amaretto liqueur or Rum essence, 50 ml. artificial vanilla extract, 2 pounds lady fingers.

chocolate over the dessert. Cover the Tiramisu and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to set before cutting. You can add cocoa powder or chocolate on top of it too, like in the image, in some places they even use coffee powder. I also like the idea of layering the Tiramisu individually in martini glasses. - Liana

Method :
Put the mascarpone, the sugar and the cream in a mixing bowl and whip them together to stiff peaks. Cool down the coffee and mix with the liqueur and the vanilla extract. Dip each ladyfinger in the coffee mixture and arrange them horizontally in a suitable tray. Beat mascarpone cheese with electric mixer until it is fluffy. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top and continue with the ladyfingers but this time vertically. Spread the second half of the mascarpone on top and shave some semi-sweet

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Frosted Holiday Sugar Cookies

A mouth watering delight from USA, thanks to Thain Hunter.

Ingredients :

3-3/4 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup butter or margarine, softened (not melted!) 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 2 eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavours, to your taste). Method : Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Beat butter or margarine, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for two hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter or other round object, such as a glass or round plastic container.

Place circles 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes, checking after 6 minutes. Cookies will be done when edges are lightly browned. Do not allow cookies to get too brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Remove from cookies sheets to aluminum foil on a flat surface and allow to cool completely.

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A beautiful image of the birds, taken on the backdrop of the rising Moon at Cirencester, UK. Aperture: f/5.6 Shutterspeed: 1/80 sec ISO: 400 Credit: Jennifer “Jennie” Weatherhead

Birds infront of Moon

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