Air Travel

Air travel or driving that is the dilemma I face. The last time I checked on the infrastructure in Europe or the Middle East it was a hit or miss. There usually are no problems finding trains, cabs, or even buses. Nine times out of ten they are the cheapest way to go. Although flying in this country is cheaper and less time consuming you are taking chances with the smaller planes. I call them the island jumpers. In Europe however, it is wiser to drive or take a train. It has to be said that when traveling by bus in some countries it can take you directly to your location. Not a bad deal if you are not familiar with your surrounding. However keep in mind that sometimes when flying you could be stuck sitting next to the woman you avoided at the terminal that had 3 kids in tow. On a bus you just politely grab your bag and iPhone and move to another seat, (if available). However on a plane the assigned seating make it difficult to move.

For some reason I kept flashing back on that woman that was asked to give her baby some Baby Benadryl. I am still not sure how I would have reacted. To think you finally make it through security in one piece including all the bags you tow around only to be scrutinized as an unfit mother. Good thing I don’t have kids, I would probably get a couple of bloody Mary’s down as I watched the kids fighting over the window seat or playing with the drop down table. My luck I would be arrested for being drunk and disorderly and my children would be taken by child protective custody.

I have always been the one that flags the flight attendant if I get stuck sitting next to children on a flight. Hopefully you can smile politely move to another seat as you mention how cute the baby is. It’s not like you can save the seat and say someone is sitting here. In other words, flying is annoying most people are tense and don’t want to be there, so you may as well get hammered.

Another trick I have used on busy flights is to pretend I am sleeping as the passengers get on and if you are lucky the person next to you won’t feel compelled to chat you up.

Air flights in some countries only work between major cities, and are expensive. You can expect to pay 15 to 25% more than your local bus or train. Last time I traveled I had a choice between driving and flying. You tell me what you would have done. A 24-hour drive or a 3-hour flight. Okay genius, guess what I did, I drove since I was driving across several countries. Now that is far better than flying.

Since I am discussing flying I do not want to regress. As I have mentioned flying is a stressful situation regardless of your circumstances. Therefore here is my suggestion start saving your miles, you can always upgrade to business class where the seats are more comfortable and you rarely see children seated in that section.

How To Make Wine From Home

Wine has been said to be "the nectar of the Gods", enjoyed for it's robust fruity flavor, and intoxicating effect. It has been the center of society since man discovered the fermented juice of grapes thousands of years ago. Many attribute wine as being the reason civilization evolved. Churches have even used it for centuries as the Holy Sacrament, the blood of Christ, center of the ritual of the Eucharist. Wine was predominant throughout the Old Testament, and Jewish rituals. Whatever your reason and interest in wine making are you need not be intimidated by the process. It is quite simple and inexpensive to get started. Once you've mastered the basic principles you can try your hand at more advanced methods.

You do not have to plant a vineyard or own a winery in order to make a good wine. The process is basically easy to learn but the most important factor is your area and equipment must always be clean and sterilized. There are kits available at wine and liquor stores, through catalogues, or on the Internet that simplify the set up needed to begin. These kits take the guesswork out of the results. Ancient man went through many batches of bad wine before the process was honed to perfection. They had little knowledge of what chemical process was happening; they just knew they enjoyed the end product. One trial after another the winemaking became an art. The basis of the kits includes such equipment as a fermentor, hydrometer, sterilizer, airlock, and siphon hoses. Fomenters are 6-7 gallon, white or clear buckets that the wine stays in during the process of fermentation. A hydrometer measures the amount of alcohol. The sterilizer is used to kill bacteria that can ruin your batch. An airlock is used to seal the fermentation process from any bacteria or foreign material that can also spoil your wine. Siphon hoses are used to drain the finished product into the bottles for storage. You don't have to have specific wine bottles. However dark bottles are usually preferred. Most any glass bottle with a cap or stopper will do. However you want to make sure the seal is tight to prevent it from turning to vinegar. You will be given specific ingredients to add to the juice such as acid blend, pectin enzymes, yeast, and tannin to name a few.

These are used to give your wine the body and taste you are looking for. There are various types of yeasts used. Please note various yeasts will enhance the taste of the wine, there is Port yeast, Tokay yeast that Japanese wine makers use for their rice wine along with at least another 30 types of yeasts. Therefore get as much information as you can regarding the yeast you will be using. There are dry yeasts or liquid yeasts. The yeast you choose will depend on the recipe you use including the amount and type of grape you have chosen for the ultimate wine of your choice. Some are good for blush wines while others are for Sherry’s and are used in the primary and secondary stages of the fermentation period.

Once you have your space and material organized you will need the most essential part of the process, the grape. Technically you do not have to use only the revered grape. Any fruit or non-toxic plant material is suitable for making wine. By all means be brave and try various flavors. Some more popular fruit wines are Apple, Cherry, Blackberry, Elderberry, Strawberry, and Peach. Japanese people know the enjoyment of Sake, or rice wine. You are not bound to using just grapes. When selecting any fruit test for sweetness, and ripeness. The deeper the color of the grape you select will determine the color and flavor of your wine. Ask your local wine vendor if they know where to buy specific varieties of grapes such as Cabernet, Merlot, Muscat, but don't be afraid to try the grapes at your local market.

Now that your interest is peaked you can decide if homemade winemaking is for you. It does take up space and it does take time to ferment, but the end result is your own product, inexpensively made, to share with your family and friends. Even if you only make one batch the experience is worth it.

How to Speak Wine

The art of drinking wine has a language of it's own. As with any art form we look for elements, qualities, to describe it vividly. If we were scrutinizing or analyzing a Monet we would look at the highlights used, the balance of color, the lines of the painting, the form of each character etc. Wine looks at 3 basic elements, looks, smell, and taste. Therefore a certain vocabulary, or “speak” was used for those elements that derived from years of experience through wine makers and wine connoisseurs. This language if you will became the norm. It is also fair to say as American wine makers began getting notoriety and win awards for their wines they have in turn added a plethora of adjectives used today. Here is a small collection of definitions to describe a wine and it’s effects or experience. Some may even say its Nirvana.

Acid: A natural preservative of the wine that gives it flavor.
Aggressive: A wine with a bite to it. This usually will define a wine when it is acidic.)
Appearance: Refers to whether a wine is light dark, cloudy clear, rich or transparent.
Astringent: A taste that lingers in your mouth from an aggressive wine.
Backbone: A wine that is well balanced. This would describe a wine that has a full flavor, or has been aged in a wood barrel.
Body: The structure of a wine to your palette.
Bouquet: The aroma of a wine. This will become more apparent with age.
Chewy: A full body, heavily tanned wine.
Cloudiness: A look attributed to either old wines or young wines. In an old wine it may be sediment therefore “decanting” a wine would be a suggestion. In young wines it just may be a bad batch.
Delicate: A lighter wine on the palette.
Dry: A wine that has little residual sugar on the palette.
Elegant: A well balanced wine
Finish: The lingering flavor left on your palette. The longer the flavor lasts the richer and the savory the wine.
Hearty: A robust red wine.
Heady: Higher alcohol content.
Nose: Refers to the aroma and bouquet of a wine.
Oaky: A residual taste of wines being aged in oak barrels.
Off dry: A wine that is a little sweeter than a dry wine.
Rich: A full body, with a deep lingering taste that envelopes all sense.
Soft: A lighter bodied wine with less acidity.

This is far from a complete list of terms and definitions for the wine enthusiast, but it is a good working vocabulary for the average wine drinker. As you learn to speak about what you are seeing, tasting, and smelling in a glass of wine you will pick up other terms from other connoisseurs who will help to expand your vocabulary.

Types of wine

Wine is one of the most popular and recognizable drinks in the world. It’s been around for centuries and hasn’t changed much. Sure there are more wines now than 20 years ago but the popularity and health benefits have given this nectar of the Gods a new boost in today’s household. Only the ingredients and the method of wine making have changed. Many people are still under the impression that a good wine is only made of grapes. Well I am here to tell you that isn’t so. Have you tried wines that have hints of Apples, Wild Berries, or Dandelions in their bouquet? Well more and more vineyards including home wine makers are picking and choosing their own secret signatures.

Classic wine making is synonymous with grapes. But now with everyone in the world getting into wine making I have seen flowers like lavenders, plums, lemons, limes, including oranges being added to batches of wine giving them unique tastes. With the proper equipment and ingredients you can make wine at your home, making it an addictive hobby once you can perfect the process. But we can discuss this in a later article therefore I shan’t digress. Traditionally wine is classified into 4 categories:
1. Red
2. White
3. Rose
4. Port

Red wines are made from a variety of red, black and purple grapes. This is one of the many reasons you get various shades of red when looking at a glass of wine. Some grapes are more purple in color than red or with a black blue hue depending on how much sun or rain that crop has received throughout the season.

Wines made from certain grapes will adopt the name of the grape as the namesake. Such as Merlot, or a Cabernet. You will notice they each have a certain color smell and hue that can be attributed to the containers they were fermenting in. They may have a stronger smell and a richer color if aged more than 10 years. Or they may be a light in color due to the young age of the wine. As a result the final liquid will exhibit various shades smells and ultimately tastes of reds, dark reds or Chianti with its signature ruby red colors. Some wine makers will store their wine batch in oak barrels while others in spicy woods or aged woods. Therefore you will hear wine connoisseurs describe wines as oaky, or fruity. But the most important effect you can have on the taste of a wine is by the aging process. Any Sommelier [a waiter in a restaurant who has charge of wines and their service: a wine steward] will tell you that the great taste in wine comes from the age and years of fermentation in specific barrels. Commonly you will find the following hints in red and some white wines.

1. Strawberry
2. Cherry
3. Coffee
4. Pepper
5. Black berry
6. Plum
7. Violet

White wine classically was enjoyed with poultry and fish. Some countries even drank white wines with the change of seasons. For example white wine was only drunk in the summer and red only in the winter. But so much has changed in our drinking habits that now white wines are enjoyed year round. It depends on ones taste. The other difference is the process of the grape. In white wine the grapes are peeled. Making it an arduous process for the wine maker. I am sure you have heard of Chardonnay, needless to say it is a popular white wine. Next time you have a glass of Chardonnay see if you notice a hint of vanilla in it’s taste. Other popular and recognizable white wines are the Italian Pinot Grigio, the German Riesling and of course the Zinfandel.

The last categories for wines are Ports and dessert wines. Most are enjoyed either with a desert or just as a "digestivo" (a digestive after eating a nice meal). These wines have a rather sweet taste. The Ports are broken into 2 categories, from a Ruby to a Tawny. The Ruby being a richer sweeter taste while the Tawny is lighter in taste and dryer. This is the result of the aging process.

How to make strawberry wine at home

There really is no secret to making Strawberry wine. You can find a plethora of information on this topic from home made recipes to a Goggle search. It’s a matter of preference including your taste buds as far as ingredients are concerned. You may find several variations for this wine but I have found these next 2 methods as the most popular and widely used.

Strawberry wine is a popular “101” as the first-time wine. Since they are easy to find and most of us know what they taste like it’s a good “basic” wine to make. Really who doesn’t like strawberries?

The following 2 variations are both simple and will result in 18 gallons of this fruit nectar. The ingredients needed are almost the same in both methods, the only difference is the process of making it and time spent waiting for consumption. The first method of making strawberry wine at home involves the following ingredients added each time with both batches:

• 7 gallons cold, soft water.
• 6 gallons cider.
• 6 gallons strawberries. (Cleaned and crushed)
• 16 lbs. of raw sugar.
• 3 oz. of finely powdered red tartar
• 1 peel and juice of two lemons
• 2 to 3 quarts of brandy. (Depending on your tastes)

These are the basic ingredients you need to create quality strawberry wine. The methods are easy. First you mix warm (approximately 4 gallons) water with the cider, and then you add your strawberries concentrate (This mixtures is easily prepared by cleaning then crushing the strawberries into a thick concentrate). You may want to use cheesecloth in order to prevent the strawberry seeds from mixing or eventually sitting at the bottom of your batch. It’s imperative you keep an eye on what goes inside your liquid. Regardless of how many ways we try to keep this liquid clean of foreign objects, checking it often during this process will assure a better batch. Therefore all peels or fruit you use make sure it passes through a fine strain or use the cheesecloth like a tea bag.

Use your paddle or a large mixer in order for the concoction to merge. Leave this liquid alone in a dark cool area allowing the fermentation process to occur. This process should take no longer than 2-3 days. Once this step begins you will notice some bubbles on the top don’t fear that’s a good sign it just means your wine is fermenting properly and at the right temperature. The problem would be if you didn’t see any bubbles on the top.

It may take up to three to four days. After this is properly done you mix in the raw sugar, red tartar and lemon juice or peel. This should be done after a week or two that the fruit was added. The last step is adding the brandy. This will give your strawberry wine a unique and distinguishable taste. The brandy will merge and give the wine extra flavor and an original taste. The second method includes the following ingredients following the above steps:

• 10 gallons cold water,
• 9 gallons of strawberries (cleaned and pureed)
• 25 lbs. of brown sugar
• 3 oz. of finely powdered red tartar.
• 1 tbs. juice
• 1 peel of two lemons,
• 2 oranges peel and juiced.
• 1 gallon of brandy. (Depending on your tastes)

Once you have gathered all these ingredients follow this second method. Place the cold soft water and strawberries into a fermenting tub. After a week or two of fermenting you need to mix in raw sugar, red tartar, lemons and oranges. The final steps add the brandy. With the unique tastes of brandy this could be an added bonus. Keep in mind you may not get this right the first time out, but what a way to spend a week. Who knows you may be the next Gallo of wine making. If you do get a decent batch send me some. Now you may indulge in your strawberry wine.

Simple Steps to a Quick and Easy Wine

If you have are a wine enthusiast, then it’s easy to assume you may be well suited to making wine at home. It’s becomes a hobby to many people worldwide. And in today’s technology of light speed information exchanging hands there are many options offered through the Internet. Your dream of wearing a beret while whistling an Aria making wine may very well become a reality. Most uninformed people will shy away from making their own wine due to research involved investments and space available. It may even sound complicated and out of reach. After all, most of us don’t own a vineyard, or a fruit grove. Where would one get the equipment? How would one set it up in a house? The truth of the matter is making wine is simple, straightforward, and the equipment easy to find. With enough tenacity and creativity the equipment is inexpensive and easy to find. As far as room I have seen home wine makers use a microwave cart in their house. It is not a pastime for the impatient, however. Wine can take anywhere from a month to several years to enjoy the fruits of their labor. However once the bottle is uncorked the enjoyment and taste can fulfill anyone’s doubts. Imagine the joy of popping the cork on a bottle you made, and tasting it for the first time. Nothing could compare to sharing your very own vintage with friends and family.

Before you begin you will need to purchase a list of equipment and products. The best resource for this is a wine making supply store, which should be listed in your yellow pages or from any online supplier. Generally some of these online wine shops will also supply their users with blogs articles including links to buy the required equipment. Following is a list of equipment you will need:
• Primary fermentation container (4-5-gallon food grade quality heavy plastic container with a lid)
• Secondary fermentation container (2 or 3 1-gallon glass jugs)
• Bung (rubber cork for the airlock to fit in. Should fit into the opening on the secondary fermentation container)
• Airlock
• Large nylon mesh straining bag
• 6 feet of clear plastic 1/2" tubing
• 5 wine bottles for one gallon of wine
• Corks (size #9 fits standard wine bottle)
• Hand corker
• Hydrometer (which measures the alcohol content)

Other items you may want to purchase, but are not essential are:
• Thermometer
• Acid titration kit (measures the acid level)
• Grape press (essential if you are making wine from fresh grapes)
All of these items can be found at a winemaking supply store where you will also find these ingredients that you will add to your wine. Keep in mind there are also “Wine Kits” these will generally have all the required equipment for any beginner
• Campden tablets
• Wine yeast
• Yeast nutrient
• Pectic enzyme
• Grape tannin
• Acid blend

Now that you have all your equipment you need to prep everything by first sanitizing you area and euipment well. You want your preparation area to be as sanitary as possible. Be sure to clean and sterilize the bottles you intend to store your wine in. The last thing you want after investing your time and money is a bottle of vinegar. You will need to clear a cool, dark place to place your secondary fermentation jugs at the end of your process.

The next step, if you have not already done so, is choose a recipe. Most people stick to the different grape varieties, however you can make wine from many fruits. It is fairly easy to find good grapes, apples, plums, berries etc. or concentrate of the various fruits to use in the recipe. If using whole fruit wash it thoroughly, check for debris or rotten spots and discard. Make sure to remove stems, which could make your wine taste bitter.

You are now ready to prep the fruit or juice for the remaining ingredients to be added. This entails crushing, chopping, soaking, pressing, or boiling. The extracted fruit is called "must". Make sure to follow the recipe's instructions carefully with this procedure. Once extracted place the must in the primary fermentation container. (If you are using juice concentrate prepare it per instructions on the can or bottle and put this in the primary fermentation container.)

This is where you add the other ingredients you purchased with your equipment. Pay close attention to your recipe since the order is imperative to the quality of wine you are making. First you will add the Campden tablet. This is a sulfite that prevents oxidation and growth of wild yeast and promotes the growth of the cultured yeast. Second you will add pectic enzyme. This helps promote the flavor, aroma, and acid extraction from the fruit. Next is tannin if called for. Tannin sometimes needs to be added to white wines to give it more bite. Yeast and sugar are necessary to produce the wine's alcoholic content. Use granulated sugar for this, do not use powdered or brown sugar.
Once all these ingredients have been added the fermentation process begins. This part of the process takes 3-10 days. Make sure the primary fermentation container is covered lightly with a cloth secured with a rubber band.
Once the initial process is over it is time to transfer this to a secondary glass jug. Begin by straining the pulp from the liquid in the primary container. Pour the remaining liquid through a funnel into the gallon jugs. Once the jugs are filled fit the openings with an airlock. This traps the fermentation as you let the jugs sit for several weeks in a cool, dark place. Over the weeks check your wine to see how clear it is. It may be necessary to siphon the wine from this gallon jug to another clean jug. This may take several times until the liquid is clear and not cloudy. This procedure is called racking the wine.

Finally, when this fermentation process has ended, it will be time to bottle your wine. Using the same tubing you used to siphon during the racking procedure, transfer the wine from the secondary containers into the individual bottles. Do not overfill. Be sure to leave room for the corks. Now cork each bottle tightly and store upright for at least 3 days. Then you can store your bottles on their sides in a 55 degrees Fahrenheit storage closet. The rule of thumb is white wines are aged at least 6 months, before sampling, while the red wine should be aged for a year or more.

You explored the idea, educated yourself and produced your first vintage wine. Now, be patient and wait for the day you can open a bottle with pride and pour the first glass of this nectar to swish on your palette. Savor the ultimate flavor and aroma, as you taste for the first time your harmonious creation.

Recipes for Homemade wine

Below are several recipes for different wines to make at home. Be sure to research the equipment and ingredients needed and follow the instructions carefully. Winemaking is a simple but involved process. All your equipment should be clean and sanitized in order to avoid contamination and an inferior wine.

Dandelion Wine

• 3 qt. dandelion flowers
• 1 lb golden raisins
• 1 gallon water
• 3 lbs granulated sugar
• 2 lemons
• 1 orange
• Yeast and nutrient
Pick the flowers just before starting, so they're fresh. You do not need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the remainder to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time. Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel thin and avoid any white pits) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, and then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days. Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Strain and rack after wine clears, adding reserved the reserved pint of water if you are required to top it off. Leave until fermentation ceases completely, (this will be obvious when no more foam or bubbling is apparent. Set aside 2 months then pour the liquid into the bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year.
Blackberry wine (medium bodied)
• 4 lb. blackberries
• 2-1/4 lb. granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
• 1/2 tsp. acid blend
• Crushed Campden tablet
• 7 pts. Water
• Wine yeast and nutrient
Pick fully ripe, best quality berries. Wash thoroughly and place in a cheesecloth. Mash and squeeze out all juice into primary fermentation vessel. Tie jelly-bag and place in primary fermentation vessel with all ingredients except yeast. Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover well, and set aside for 24 hours. Add yeast, cover, and set aside 5 days, stirring daily. Strain juice from jelly-bag and siphon off sediments into secondary fermentation vessel or dark glass (some people wrap clear glass with brown paper bags), adding water to bring to the top, and fit airlock. Place in cool (60-65 degrees F.) dark place for three weeks. Rack, allow another two months to finish the process, then rack again and bottle in dark glass. Allow a year to mature. [Adapted from Raymond Massaccesi's Winemaker's Recipe Handbook]
Grape Wine
• 7-1/2 pts grape juice
• Granulated sugar to taste
• 1 tsp pectic enzyme
• 1 finely crushed and dissolved Campden tablet
• 1 tsp yeast nutrient
• 1 sachet Red Star Montrachet or Premier Curvee wine yeast
Using the hydrometer, check specific gravity of juice and adjust to 1.088 by adding sugar (if too low) or water (if too high) or additional juice (if just right). Put juice in primary. Add Campden tablet (finely crushed and dissolved in some of the juice), cover primary with sanitized cloth, and set aside for 10-12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, recover the primary, and set aside another 8- 10 hours. Stir in yeast nutrient and add activated yeast. Recover primary. When specific gravity drops to 1.015 or lower, transfer to secondary fermentation vessel and attach airlock. Wait until all fermentation ceases and airlock is still for two weeks, then rack into clean secondary, top up and refit airlock. Wait additional 4-6 weeks and add another finely crushed and dissolved Campden tablet and 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate to clean secondary, rack wine onto it, top up and refit airlock. Wait 30 days; sweeten to taste, and bottle. Wait two months before tasting.
Peach and Raisin Wine
• 3 lbs of peaches
• 1/2 cup chopped raisins
• 2-1/2 lbs granulated sugar
• 1 large lemon
• 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
• 1 qt boiling water
• 1 crushed Campden tablet
• 1 tsp yeast nutrient
• Sauterne wine yeast
Wash peaches in cool water. Do not peel. Slice thinly into primary, discarding the pits. Mash the peaches and add chopped raisins and half the sugar. Pour in the boiling water and stir to dissolve sugar. Cover primary with sterile cloth and set-aside until it reaches room temperature; add cool water to equal one gallon. Add juice of large lemon and crushed Campden tablet. Recover and set aside 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme and set aside another 12 hours. Stir in yeast nutrient and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to ferment 5 days, stirring twice daily. Pour this concoction into a finely meshed strainer, squeezing firmly to extract juice. Add remainder of sugar; stir well to dissolve, and then pour into secondary without topping and fit airlock. At this point top off when fermentation stops. Rack every three weeks until wine clears. Allow another two weeks, rack final time and bottle. This can be drunk right away, but will mellow considerably in six months. [Adapted from Dorothy Alatorre's Home Wines of North America]

The History of Wine

The history of civilization is believed to have flourished during the Neolithic Period in an area we call the Fertile Crescent, a large region that takes in parts of Asia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. Fed by the Nile River, Euphrates, and the Tigress River and warmed by the desert sun, the land became a virtual greenhouse.

Once man became somewhat civilized approximately 5000 B.C, he began cultivating wild fruits and grains and also had to invent ways to preserve the quantities of food now available. Processes from seeding the ground to sowing the harvests, preserving the bounty, storing it and serving it for food were tried and either repeated or eliminated. If it were good they tried it again.... if it spoiled then they put their heads together to come up with other means of keeping it.

Ironically, however, some foods were discovered to change for the better during the spoiling process. It was found that water added to grain would activate the wild yeast microorganisms in the grain and ferment. The fermented grain was accidentally found to make leaven bread, and if added to water made an intoxicating beverage we now call beer. At the same time it was discovered that fruits would break down in storage and the juices and sugars in them activated wild yeasts that fermented over time and created another beverage that we now call wine.

The most popular grains were wheat and barley, while the fruit of choice for the wine was the sumptuous grape. Stored in pottery jars and layered with Olive oil to keep out the oxidants, the wines were used to cook with, served at meals, used during rituals, given to visiting royalty, bartered for other goods, and placed in the graves of the dead to be taken with them in the afterlife. Wine, not beer, was considered the drink of the civilized, the refined, and the cultured. Socially and economically it was becoming one of the biggest resources civilization had. The wild grape vine, Vitis Vinifera growing wild in the Caucasus Mountains is responsible for over 3000 modern varieties of wine grapes. Eventually through travel and trade the grape vine was introduced to other regions. Wine making became an art form as vineyard after vineyard sprouted across Greece, Italy and Europe.

Wines became named for the regions where they developed, such as Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, Soave in Italy, and Rhine wines in Germany. Regions developed in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Germany are still popular today for producing fine wines. Eventually vineyards named the grapes and the wines were also known by the variety of grape it came from. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir were just three of the most popular red varieties, while Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling were some of the popular white grape variety. Today the regions have expanded to include wines from California, Argentine, New Zealand, and Australia to name a few.

Is Wine Healthy or Not?

To drink, or not to drink, that is the question. Conflicting reports from doctors and scientist confuse us on the health benefits associated with wine. How can something so intoxicating be good for you? The truth is there are more reports available suggesting the healthy side effects over the unhealthy ones. Of course, anything done in excess is not good for you, and may in fact have a reverse effect on your body and wellbeing. Maintaining moderation of the consumption of wine is one of the answers to reaping the rewards of this "Nectar of the Gods".

Take note that it is not just any wine that is healthy either. White wines are beneficial as well as reds however, studies have shown that red wines are higher in antioxidants than white wines, making it more beneficial to fight heart disease, lower high cholesterol, and preventing arteriosclerosis. Wine has also been shown to kill bacteria that cause ulcers, prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, aid in digestion, and lower the risk of ovarian cancer in women. Several reports even said the studies revealed that people lived longer and stayed younger by consuming moderate amounts of wine.

It has also been discovered that red grape juice has some of the same effects on the body, Therefore if you'd rather not partake of the alcohol kind of grape drinking you could still get health benefits found in them. You surely don't have to take up drinking alcohol to get healthy. But, if you are already a lover of wines and were concerned about its affect on you have no fear. A glass or two a day of your favorite red may help you sustain a healthier and longer life.

Equipment needed for Home wine making.

Here is an easy to follow article on what you need to make wine from the comfort of your own home. Call it the 101 of wine making. Making wine in your home can become an addictive hobby. This is not tough job; it’s inexpensive and fun. All you need is the desire, ingredients and a basic recipe for a particular wine. The supplies are easy to come by. Whether you purchase them from a local retailer or an online store that caters to the needs of wine makers, it’s just a matter of determination.

Here is a list of equipment you need to make homemade wine.

1. An airlock and Metabisulphite
2. Plastic funnel
3. A siphon tube
4. A container (glass or white plastic tub)
5. Bottles (dark in color)
6. Measuring devises
7. Thermometer
8. Large spoon or paddle
9. Thermometer
10. Clean Water 4/5 gallons
11. Recipe

Metabisulfite is a chemical sold as an alternative to Campden tablets. This solution is used to keep your bottles and all agents clean when using your winemaking equipment. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. Keeping your bottles sanitized and your work area clean is MIDAS in making wine at home. This chemical is a sanitizing agent used due to its bacterial inhibitor. Since there are no active materials in this figure (unlike when using Campden tablets, with all the fillers added), you won’t find it necessary to add crystals for the sanitizing solution. The Metabisulfite is usually sold in bottles that are 4 oz. 1lb. bag. In simple terms this solution when used properly will stop material that may pass through the liquid and harm the ultimate outcome. The airlock is used to keep the wine while fermenting into its first stage. Just make sure the airlock is completely sealed so that no bacteria will mix with the liquid.

The plastic funnel and siphon tube are used to transfer the wine between the containers you are using. These tubes allow you to transfer the wine without spilling it. As far as the containers they should be made of plastic or glass when used during fermentation process. Wine making pros say it is best to use materials made up of plastic and white in color. Reasons vary but most will tell you that any color in the plastic gives out chemicals that can mix with your wine and spoil its taste. Once the fermentation process begins then there is the waiting time and the patience one must endure before diving into their liquid gold.

Bottles made up of glass are always preferred. Dark colored bottles can be used to protect your wine against light exposure. You can use different sizes bottles, depending on the amount of wine you have made. Once you start making wine you will become a bottle collector happens every time.

The thermometer will be used to make sure your yeast is at the right temperature during the fermentation process and that your batch is not too warm or too cold.

The next and most important factor is the recipe you choose. There is a plethora of information on the Internet. However don’t let their recipes dissuade you from adding a variety of spices you may pick up along the way. Sometimes mistakes can make a regular wine taste like a great wine. Next you will need to gather all the necessary ingredients for the recipe including some extra spices like Oak Wood chips if you want your wine to have an oaky taste to it. You can buy books or search the Internet for different recipes available.

The recipe you select for your wine will give you clear instructions on the amount and ingredients needed including the amounts needed to mix them. Once you have made the wine and have waited anywhere from 30 days to 1 year (depending on the process and recipe you have chosen) pour the liquid into “Clean” bottles grab a glass pour .. Enjoy.

Dos and Don’ts about Wine

If you are a seasoned wine lover then I’m sure you know the proper etiquette that is involved, drinking and serving wines. But if you are like many of wine drinkers there is confusion or “insecurities” about how much we do know. No need to feel stumped as fast as this industry has grown, wine making can be taught through the Internet.
For those who are new to this age-old courtship then allow me to impart some of my 6th generation wisdom in this article. I hail from a long line of wine makers in a southern region of Italy called the “Campagnia”. Our soils are rich with volcanic ash and hundred year old vines. The grapes are plumb and juicy during harvest time. And yes in case you are wondering it wasn’t until the last 40 years that my family has modernized its technique. I recall the smiles on everyone’s toothy and sometimes not toothy grins announcing to anyone who would listen they are now using a mule to pull the crusher rather than crushing it by foot.
Therefore a rule of thumb in order to understand wine in its most basic form is a wine is rated through “categories” but for the sake of this article I will keep things simple. There is Color, Smell, and last but not least Taste. Simply put these are the 3 general categories when discussing wines.
Keep in mind throughout the years wine has been a drink that brought people together, giving them a sense of friendship and family. Although this was something that rang true in years past it is still apparent in today’s society. People drink wine on special occasions. Some may serve it at a dinner party, a birthday, holidays while others drink it daily. For many, sharing a great bottle of wine is like sharing a piece of their heart.
First lesson never fill a wine glass. You need to leave about a quarter to a half inch of empty space in the glass. By doing this you allow the wine to breath including unlocking any flavors this nectar may hold. Some wines have such a strong flavor that in order to smell their bouquet one should swirl the glass and allow the scent to fill their nostrils.
Another misconception or “Faux Pas” I have seen in restaurants are people cupping the glass by its body…. Tsk! Please don’t do that. A wine glass has a stem for a reason... Use it. This is not a pretentious statement as some may think. Any wine connoisseur or “Sommelier” [a waiter in a restaurant who has charge of wines and their service: a wine steward] will tell you there are valid reasons for this. When holding the glass by its body it can affect the flavor and temperature of a wine. Keep in mind wine has a delicate balance that adds to a bouquet its temperature can alter the flavor. Therefore by holding the glass properly you can really savor the true bold tastes. Furthermore this allows the Sommelier or wine taster to truly enjoy the vibrant colors that age has offered. Some wine connoisseurs will go as far as decanting an older wine. This usually is done for wines that are at least 10 to 20 years old. The process is simple; you pour the open bottle into a clean decanting bottle made of fine crystal. This will allow the wine to adapt to the room temperature gradually. This also will eliminate any sediment to get through. For the younger wine (less then 10 years old) this process will give the wine ample oxygen and loosen any acidic flavor it may have.
Now that we have discussed the proper way of holding a glass including the reasons, let me mention that in my country red including white wine is served at room temperature. However, keep in mind we have cellars therefore wines are always cool in temperature when served. In this country white wine is usually served chilled. Some professional wine tasters may frown at this. The ideal temperature is usually about 55 degrees. It is said to affect the flavor and bouquet. What distinguishes the wines however is how they are stored. Some are stored in oak barrels while others in steel drums. The variety of storages will affect the wine. Some use special oaks that have been aged for centuries while others add spices to their containers giving some wines exotic flavors. But we are not going to discuss this for the moment. Let me say what I have seen in the last 20 years of wine making I applaud the new American wine makers; the new frontier is finally going back to its roots. Making a family wine.

Types of Wines

Walk through any liquor department in the grocery store, and you will find rows and rows of wines. White wines, red wines, rose wines, dry wines, sweet wines, vintage wines, and kosher wines. The labels will say Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Zinfandel, Gamay, and Sauvignon Blanc. They will come from Bordeaux or Chablis, France; Rhine, Germany; Chianti, Italy; or Napa Valley, California. The choices are overwhelming enough to make you as dizzy as the wine. However, it is not impossible to learn about them and make a choice that is right for you.

Regional wines are named for the areas where they are grown. Most of these cultivated regions are as old as civilization itself since the development of alcohol and civilization kind of go hand in hand. These are the Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chablis, and Champagne regions in France; and Chianti, Tuscany, Veneto, and Alto Adige regions of Italy; along with regions in Germany, Spain, and more recently added regions in the United States and Australia. Each region contributes its own climate and soil condition to the grapes grown there, thus making wines from each region unique and an art form to the wine connoisseur

Varietal wines are named for the grapes used in them. Each variety has it's own flavor, color, and clarity. Some red grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, with bold flavors and rich bouquets. Lighter red wine varieties are Pinot Noir, Syrah and Gamay. White grape varieties are the Rieslings of Germany, which can be dry, crisp or sweet depending on where they are grown; Chardonnay that is generally very crisp in taste, and Muscat that can be spicy and fruity.

Wines can also be made from most any variety of fruit. The most popular fruit wines are Apple, Blackberry, Elderberry, Strawberry, and Plum and are usually sweeter than the regional or varietals wines. Champagne and sparkling wines are carbonated either by a process induced in the bottle, or by natural fermentation. Sherry and Port are strong sweet wines that are fortified during fermentation by adding brandy to the process. Brandy is distilled wine. Vintage wines are made from grapes grown within that year.

In a day and age when there is a winery in nearly every state in the United States, and wineries all through Europe and the Mediterranean there are more choices than ever. Take the time to explore each one and enjoy one of the most ancient pastimes of the civilized world. Find the type that is right for you. Cheers!

The 2D's

What is the right way to serve wine? How do you hold the glass? Are there different glasses for different wines? Do I bring wine to a dinner party? What temperature do you serve wine? How do I order wine in a restaurant?

These are just a choice few questions raised by wine enthusiasts during a discourse on wine. Wine is surrounded by history of etiquette, ritual, and culture so it only stands to reason that you would want to lessen the chances of making a “Faux Pas” that would make you look uniformed.

There are correct ways to serve wine, and there are certain glasses for different varieties of wines. If you are a “Sommelier” (a waiter in a restaurant who has charge of wines and their service: a wine steward) then there are accepted procedures on how to hold a wine glass, pour the wine, and store the wine. Keep in mind these “procedures” have been the norm for years. However there may be variations due to the various regions the Sommelier was trained at. Suffice it to say there is also an unspoken rule along with traditions that surround taking wine to a party or ordering from a restaurant. Most of us don't realize the stigma that goes with being a wine enthusiast. Here is a list of Do's and Don'ts to consider. What I call the 2D’s. They will hopefully refine your style along with giving you a basic education of proper etiquette in the wine world: The 2D’s
• DO select a wine that goes with the host or hostesses meal. (Call ahead and ask if you don't know.)
• DON'T expect to drink that wine at the party. Your host may already have a wine planned to use.
• DO fill a glass half way so you can swirl the wine to release the aroma.
• DON'T guzzle your wine.... SIP it!
• DON'T store your wine above the refrigerator, by the hot water heater, or in the trunk of your car. (It is too hot)
• DO store the wine at the recommended temperature. (55 degrees Fahrenheit)
• DON'T leave the cork out of the bottle. This will cause your wine to oxidize and lose its flavor.
• DO pour wine with the label toward your guest so they can see what they are getting.
• DON'T hold the glass in your hand. This will heat your wine as you drink it.
• DO hold the glass by the stem.
• DON'T over indulge. Know when to quit. You won't show refinement or class when drunk.
• DO be enthusiastic to try new varieties
• DON'T accept inferior wines at a restaurant
• DO smell the cork when your waiter uncorks your wine at the table. This tradition has been ignored by since most corks now are made of plastic. However if it is a “cork” the lines and color at the end of the cork will give tell tale signs of the quality and the care taken by the wine maker. For example if a cork has only 2 diagonal lines this reveals the wine has not been disturbed while in the bottle (shaken) it will also reveal the quality of cork used. Obviously a cheaper cork will have more lines therefore one can assume the wine was not of high quality.
• DON'T order wine by the price. Expensive wines can be inferior and cheaper wines can be divine.

Wine Equipment

Wine is enjoyed through out the world. The common denominator that exists among wine lovers is the tastes of new wines. These days a new trend has emerged for wine lovers worldwide. Making wine at home. It’s not difficult and with some trials and errors some people have been known to make superb delicious wines. All that is needed is proper equipment, instructions, patience and time.

Different wine vendors and websites offer winemaking kits. There is a difference in price, quality, including wares, among wine kits. They start from $85.00 to $200 per kit. Some kits will give you the works. They will include the juice, the yeast, even the oak wood chips to add for flavor. However, for the sake of this article we will keep things simple and divide them into two sections:

A Basic kit: This is a great kit for a beginner. It will make smaller batches, and will often time than not supply you with enough grape juice to make a batch. These are available in different sizes depending on your requirement. The kit will give you the basics in “101 of Wine Making” and be on your way to experiment with various recipes. They will include but are not limited to:

A Basic Kit
• Triple scale hydrometer
• Italian double lever corker
• 8-gallon fermenting bucket with lid
• 3-gallon Glass Bottle
• # 10 stopper
• 25 #8 x 1.5" corks
• Bottle brush
• A Recipe Handbook
• Siphon unit (5' tubing, racking cane)
• 3-piece airlock
• Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
• 30 #8 x 1.5" corks

The complete kit is for people who know how to use the equipment, have made wine previously, wear a beret whistling an Aria when making wine hidden somewhere.
1. Air lock: this is used to seal then ferment from any bacteria or foreign material that can spoil the wine.
2. Ferments: these are used in the wine
3. Water: used to clean the equipment
4. Sterilizer: this is used to kill bacteria already present.
5. Hydrometer: this is used to measure the amount of alcohol

Another note to keep in mind it is best to get equipment that is made up of white plastic. Colored plastics have a habit of leaving color and odd flavors in the mixture therefore can spoil the wine. The complete wine kit consists pretty much the same as the Basic Kit they do however provide larger buckets, more corks, grape juice and concentrate, yeast, more stoppers etc.

A Complete Kit:
• Grape Juice and concentrate
• A Recipe Handbook
• Triple scale hydrometer
• 8-gallon fermenting bucket with lid
• 3-gallon Glass Bottle
• Italian double lever corker
• # 10 stopper
• 25 #8 x 1.5" corks
• Bottle brush
• Siphon unit (5' tubing, racking cane)
• 3-piece airlock
• Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
• 25 #8 x 1.5" cork

I am sure there are plenty of wine making kits out there, and someone will even add or switch a couple of the items I listed above. But coming from the old country I can tell you once the hobby becomes a passion you may become the next Julio Gallo of home made wines.


Did you know that at least 20 million Americans suffer from depression? This is according to the National Institute of Mental Health, including this disease is more common in women than it is in men. It’s more than the blues, nor is it something you can just "snap out of.” It is a serious problem that is curable.
Keep in mind you cannot see or hear depression. It’s not something that can be diagnosed by a doctor unless you speak of certain moods or feelings you have. A lot of us worry about the stigma that word may have. However, keep in mind you are not alone.
The list below can be viewed as a precursor to depression. Keep in mind if you have at least five or more of the symptoms for longer than 2 weeks ten maybe you should consider talking to your doctor.
• If you are sad, feel anxious, or maybe even feel empty.
• Hopelessness, or constantly feeling of pessimism
• Feelings of helplessness, or guilt.
• If you loose interest in sex or hobbies that you once enjoyed.
• A feeling of being run down, fatigue, or loss of energy.
• You cannot concentrate or remember decisions you made
• You cannot sleep through the night, or you oversleep.
• You overeat therefore, gain weight or you don’t eat enough and loose weight rapidly
• Suicide attempts, or thoughts of death and dying.
• You are irritable at the slightest noise.
• Headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain that don't respond to treatment.
If you think you or anyone you know may be depressed, see a doctor as soon as possible.


Too often it seems, many health professional make no serious attempt to identify skin lesions promptly, although accurate recognition is usually possible; asymptomatic skin lesions are considered trivial and are overlooked. Undiagnosed asymptomatic lesions are treated for months with topical or oral corticosteroids and or antibiotics; this postponement of appropriate treatment prolongs, discomfort, aids and abets disfigurement, not uncommonly leads to irreversible generalization of the disorder, or, most critically, to a delay in diagnosis, which can result in multisystem illness and death.

One must be aware that robust well people can have asymptomatic skin lesions that are signs of serious multisystem diseases, and these lesions cannot be overlooked without endangering the patient’s health. Certain skin changes may be encountered during routine physical examination are just as important to detect as are enlarged lymph nodes, such as, for example, early malignant melanoma in a curable stage of evolution, or the small yellow papules of hyperlipoproteinemic xanthomas, a treatable potential fatal disease.

An Entire Generation of So-Called “Pirates”:

Why Do So Many People Download Free Music And Free Movies?

Let’s face it, the music industry is in a state of panic these days. Why? Because people download free music from P2P sites like Kazaa, Limewire, and now torrent sites. The RIAA is bringing lawsuits against random people in an effort to “make an example” of people who illegally download free music, and as a result, teaching a lesson to everyone downloading free music.
The problem is that the so-called “pirates” out there are not just people without a conscience who want to break the laws. There are many who believe that the music industry is not making the buying and selling of music in the new millennium fair and user-friendly to consumers. So some people are fighting back in their own small way. They download free music, sometimes legally from sites like and, other times from P2P programs like Kazaa and Limewire.

In the new millennium, it seems that there are almost more questions than answers. We are at a crossroads, a pivotal moment in the history of not only technology, but in the way we interact and communicate as individuals, and as groups. The problem with corporations and major groups like the MPAA and the RIAA are that they are run by “suits,” people with very little (if any) real-world, hands-on street knowledge of what today’s young adults are looking for! As a result, their business model is “so last millennium!” you could say.

This brings light to the reasoning behind the “pirates.” Bear in mind, essentially an entire generation is dubbed pirates and regarded as criminals by Big Business. If the MPAA and RIAA would take the time to get to know this generation and how they tick (like the folks at Real Networks obviously thought of when they created the excellent business model known as Rhapsody), the new generation would embrace the legal way of doing things. In America, history has shown that “We The People” is a powerful concept.

The common wisdom of the masses can really have a positive impact in the way that we do things, and the systems that enable us to do them. I think this generation has spoken. Sure, they would “like” to continue to download free music and free movies. But would they compromise and go through with purchasing movies and music the legal way? Absolultey, if the means to do so were convenient and the content reasonably priced. iTunes is a start, but if the MPAA want to prevent people from illegally downloading free music, they have a lot of thinking to do. Perhaps it’s time to hire some people under 30 (even under 20) to help innovate the music and movie industries. Real Networks’ Rhapsody shows that it IS possible to simultaneously control the use of content in a fair and reasonable manner, while making it “feel” as if you can download free music. The same could be done for the movie industry. There could be a Movie Rhapsody (or perhaps the existing rhapsody could have an updated tab containing movies and TV shows)! How cool would that be? Bottom line: the means and the pricing need improvement. No question! And the industry needs to take the time to hire younger people, and open a dialog with this generation (and the upcoming generations) if they want to stay alive in the new millennium.

How to build a water-wise waterfall

The delightful sight, sound and feel of water, so refreshing and desirable when heat and drought dominate. These elements can easily be integrated into a water wise garden without being incongruous- when done on a modest scale. Yet a serene setting with a trickling sound of water is to some very Zen. A garden is a very personal aspect of the homeowner. It's as personal as the clothes you wear. The way you dress your garden is a statement. So why not build a waterfall that will transform it into a beckoning room. Some might think filling a small pond or pool with gallons of water is wasteful, yet next to an entire landscape that is integrated efficiently and is filled with water greedy plants, it compares most favorably. Plant your water feature with water lilies and other aquatic plants for interest and to cut down on surface evaporation. Water circulation is the key.

There are a few things you should consider prior to starting this project.

Look into the covenants of your neighborhood and make sure you are not looking at a battle with your local neighborhood. Read the town ordinances.
Contact an electrician to place a GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet near the pond in order to plug your water pump.
Contact your electrical companies to make sure you are not digging up any electrical wiring.
Sit down and design your garden including the plants you will use down to the material you will need to make this happen.

Things you will need:

Rocks (preferably more flat than not)
A sump pump.
Stiff pond liner.
Carpenter's level.
Tubing (preferably black) to run from the pump to the pot that will cascade into the stones.
A large planter or ceramic pot to hide the tubing.

Once you have an idea of where you want your waterfall to be (closer to your windows or patio the better you will enjoy it) make sure the area is cleared out of any weeds branches or unnecessary rocks. Make sure it's a level area if you need you can use the sand in order to level the ground. Dig a hole (depth will depend on the depth of your pond liner) where you will be placing your pond liner and make sure the area around this pond has manageable room for your aquatic plants. If you cannot eye the dimension then place the pond liner in the area and score the soil around it about 2 to 3 feet away with your shovel.

Now you have your hole dug up to the right size, get your rocks largest to smallest ready. Start building a wall on one side of your pond. Start from large to smaller in order to have the trickling effect. As I have mentioned the flatter the rocks the easier they will stabilize. (You may need to perfect this with some shims) Make sure you have room behind these rocks in order for your sump pump to be well hidden. You should have extra rocks (either large and flat or small and round) to lie around your pond liner in order to hide the unsightly plastic. This will give your pond/waterfall an accent. The height you want for this waterfall is up to you however, make sure there is a slight slant, with your flat rocks in order to form a continuous chute down into your pond. Now you can place your tubing inside you planter in order for the water to spill onto the rocks. Make sure you measure the amount of tubing you are going to use and then cut off any extra tubing. I have seen ceramic pots that could not be used for plants due to cracks as the accent to a waterfall. You can place it at the edge of your cascading rocks with the tubing well hidden inside.

DVD Audio Ripper And Get The Sound From DVDs?

I have a lot of DVD’s (I’m a huge movie person, as are a lot of people out there). I love to watch DVD’s because the video quality is outstanding (much better than VHS back in the day, or even the standard definition TV quality of today). Not only that, but the sound quality is amazing. I have my DVD player hooked up through my big screen TV and my surround sound system—and man, when there is an explosion, you can literally feel it from the subwoofer. From the lowest of rumbling lows (like the aforementioned explosion, or say, an earthquake) to the highest of twinkling highs (like the crisp sound of an ‘s’ in a person’s voice, or the sound of shattering glass), DVD’s produce clear sound like no other (in particular, if you have a home theatre sound system).

What makes DVD’s sound so great is that their sound is superior to that of CD’s. CD’s can store less information (as I’m sure you can imagine), so their quality is limited. To me, CD’s sound great, though—don’t get me wrong. But I was thinking recently about how cool it would be to get just the soundtrack from a DVD. It would be awesome! Think about it: emailing a friend your favorite Seinfeld standup joke as an mp3, or saving an mp3 of the Empire Strikes Back theme to play at parties or in the car.

So I thought about going online and trying to find a DVD Audio Ripper—ah, but where to begin??? When it comes to finding software, there are a lot of sites I don’t trust. But there are a few that I do. The main one is (There are many others, such as and, but they’re not quite as trustworthy—it’s kind of a “here-and-there” situation with those two.) But major geeks dot com has never led me astray. I find a lot of free programs, as well as ones that are reasonably priced.

Naturally, bear in mind: you do have to be careful to pay attention to the details when you download anything—especially free software! Make sure you read the description to find out if it’s a “free trial” or whether it’s just plain free. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve downloaded something which I thought to be free… And then after using it for a day or so a prompt popped up, said the trial had expired, and said I needed to pay around a hundred bucks to keep using it. What a rip! In this case, I’m thinking, “Yeah, I wanna rip audio from DVD’s but not pay a fortune, here, people! Hello!!!”

So yeah, be careful. There are three different descriptions to watch for when you download something like a free DVD audio ripper. Demo versions: pretty self-explanatory, they allow you to try before you buy, usually for a limited time. Shareware: this is usually basically free, but it encourages you to actually purchase the program if you like it and think you’ll use it. And finally, Freeware: this one is my favorite, and it’s what I encourage you to look at first. Freeware is totally free, nothing to buy ever. But again, remember to use precautions when downloading anything that’s supposed to be “free,” and uncheck toolbars and other things that might try to install in the process. And hey, if the free ones don’t work out, perhaps it’s worth shelling out a few, if you’ve got ‘em, you know?

I hope you find a great DVD audio ripper, and any other software you’re looking for, and I hope this helps!

Free Music Video Downloads

Thanks to the variety of tools, and as the Internet has become an integral part of our life, just as the early morning coffee; it has also opened new worlds. Not only can you research other articles or enrich your knowledge, you can download for free Music Video! The Internet has spawned a variety of innovative programs written, that can be used to enrich the content on the Net, as well as downloads.

In looking up Free Music Video downloads – a variety of websites exist - you will find that there are paid sites, which give you authentic downloads, and others, which give it out free, with one or two conditions attached, such as a minor purchase, or giving out your personal information. This personal information, when given out by you in downloading, helps the site owner create lists of users, which in turn he passes it on to other companies which are seeking names, addresses and ids, to send out their own mailers. Some of them are spam writers, and some are genuine to send you free offers.

This free music video downloads are presently being debated by the society in general, and the music and video companies in particular. How to protect their content from being used for free? There are copyright issues, because every time you download “free music video” content, you are depriving the owner/writer/creator of the music or video, of the royalty they receive based on the number of CD's or authentic websites from which they receive their royalties. Some of these content providers use a set of tools that finely changes the sound and lyrics. In other words they create clones, and therefore there is “no violation” of copyright, speaking legally. But, generally speaking, this is a moral question.

The above is true for new music video downloads, involving as mentioned earlier, copyright issues. There are free music video download sites that offer the user music on which copyright has been extinguished by the lapse of time. Thus, if a country has a 15-year copyright law (i.e. the copyright is for 15 years), it becomes free content after the expiry of that period. Downloading those is perfectly all right.

The question is what you are looking for. If you are looking old music, go ahead and download! It appears from current thinking and research that people are now stretching out for old music with less noise, more words, and better expressions.

Air travel or driving

Air travel or driving that is the dilemma I face. The last time I checked on the infrastructure in Europe or the Middle East it was a hit or miss. There usually are no problems finding trains, cabs, or even buses. Nine times out of ten they are the cheapest way to go. Although Flying in this country is cheaper and less time consuming you are taking chances with the smaller planes. I call them the island jumpers. In Europe however, it is wiser to drive or take a train. It has to be said that when traveling by bus in some countries it can take you directly to your location. Not a bad deal if you are not familiar with your surrounding. However keep in mind that sometimes when flying you could be stuck sitting next to the woman you avoided at the terminal that had 3 kids in tow. On a bus you just politely grab your bag and iPhone and move to another seat, (if available). However on a plane the assigned seating make it difficult to move.

For some reason I kept flashing back on that woman that was asked to give her baby some Baby Benadryl. I am still not sure how I would have reacted. To think you finally make it through security in one piece including all the bags you tow around only to be scrutinized as an unfit mother. Good thing I don’t have kids, I would probably get a couple of bloody Mary’s down as I watched the kids fighting over the window seat or playing with the drop down table. My luck I would be arrested for being drunk and disorderly and my children would be taken by child protective custody.

I have always been the one that flags the flight attendant if I get stuck sitting next to children on a flight. Hopefully you can smile politely move to another seat as you mention how cute the baby is. It’s not like you can save the seat and say someone is sitting here. In other words, flying is annoying most people are tense and don’t want to be there, so you may as well get hammered.

Another trick I have used on busy flights is to pretend I am sleeping as the passengers get on and if you are lucky the person next to you won’t feel compelled to chat you up.

Air flights in some countries only work between major cities, and are expensive. You can expect to pay 15 to 25% more than your local bus or train. Last time I traveled I had a choice between driving and flying. You tell me what you would have done. A 24-hour drive or a 3-hour flight. Okay genius, guess what I did, I drove since I was driving across several countries. Now that is far better than flying.

Since I am discussing flying I do not want to regress. As I have mentioned flying is a stressful situation regardless of your circumstances. Therefore here is my suggestion start saving your miles, you can always upgrade to business class where the seats are more comfortable and you rarely see children seated in that section.

The Removal and Blocking of Software Spam Ad, and Spyware blocking

Last time I had a discussion about Software Spam Ad, and Spyware blocking was a heated discussion to say the least. I’m sure that the people who know me would say, “Yeah, I’ve heard your shpeal on this before.” But as I always say: it bears repeating. First of all: computers aren’t rocket-science. More... I regularly remind people I know, “You’re over-thinking it, man!” And believe me, I’m guilty as charged, as far as that goes, too. I over-think things all the time. It’s probably what causes most of the trouble in the world, over-thinking. People just need to chill. There would probably be a lot less war and fighting going on, perhaps more peace and less poverty. But, alas, I digress. (Speaking of over-thinking, right?) So now that we’ve solved all the world’s problems, let’s talk about the removal and blocking of ads, adware, and Spyware for a moment. Or, perhaps more importantly, let’s talk about the prevention of those things as well.

We’ve all been bombarded lately with Yahoo Toolbars and Goggle Toolbars, and then we go into the Control Panel (in XP) to Add/Remove Programs, only to find out that quadrillion programs seemed to have “appeared” out of thin air, that we (and no one in our household or office) have knowingly installed. What the heck? Right?

First of all, they don’t appear out of thin air. They appear out of hot air. That’s right, you heard me, the hot air in your head, idiot! I was that idiot, so this is definitely the pot calling the kettle black now. But I say this, not to patronize you or make you develop some low IQ complex. It’s like a healthy spanking. You know, the good kind with the belt or the paddle. The sort of spanking that your folks coupled with the useless saying, “I do this because I love you.” Or was it useless? Maybe not. Maybe the world needs more spankings?

I digress again, but hey—you like it! You know you do! But yeah, here we go. I say you’re an idiot because I care. I say this because this isn’t the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s anymore. It’s the 21st century, and we should be used to the idea of computers by now. How does this relate? Well, if you are trying to remove or block ads, adware, Spyware, etc. you need to apply some common sense, to prevent these things from getting into your system in the first place. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The main issue is not removal, but prevention. (Yes, I’m being redundant for effect.)

If you are on a fresh install of XP or Vista, you’re in luck. There’s hope. Start paying attention when you download stuff, uncheck boxes (it only takes a few seconds to pay attention when you’re installing something), and for the sake of all that is good in this world—DO NOT download all kinds of random “free” things all willy-nilly. It’s NOT good for your computer! Now, on the other hand, if you don’t care about the health or performance of your computer, and use it for nothing more than surfing the net or checking email (online using a web mail program like Yahoo mail), then fine. Do whatever you want with your computer. Otherwise, all I ask is that you pay attention.

If your system does get bogged down with random toolbars, ads, Spyware and stuff… Either reinstall Windows (if you can) or install some AntiSpyware or Adware blocking and removal tools. But again—cut it out with the over-thinking and stop thinking of maintaining your computer as brain surgery.And if you write a blog, about Software spam ad Spyware blocking and removal And if you write a blog, stay on topic, will ya?

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Ontario - Golf

Come and explore the golf courses in Ontario, Canada. This province boasts one of the most concentrated areas of natural golfing. Ontario Province offers over 800 golf courses, however, golfing is not the only reason you should make the trip to Ontario. Canada is fast becoming a favorite vacation spot for many reasons. Surrounded by three Great Lakes, the natural terrain of this province comes to life as a popular tourist destination. You can fly into Wasaga Beach, National Park and Niagara Falls they are all at your fingertips.

Deer Run Golf Course is said to be a demanding and challenging course. From long rolling fairways, to numerous water hazards this course is sure to make any golfers day memorable. This 300 acre 27 hole championship course is nestled in the Carolinian Natural Forest with 3 levels of golfing. The Buck, the Doe and the Fawn. For more information, on the course layout you can go here

The Thames Valley Golf Course is situated in west London, across the Thames River from Spring Bank Park. This 27-hole golf course was opened in 1924 and has what every challenging golfer wants. Rolling terrains with tree lined fairways. Their smoke free club and banquet facilities are available to the public for weddings meeting or seminars for a small fee. To book your event they can be reached at 519 661-4450 once you arrive in the region or check out there site at

Mill Run Golf club has a championship course with 27 holes. Challenge your golfing skills on a 6,800 yard play. Their golf courses have been rated some of the best in this region. If you would rather a shorter course they can accommodate you with an 18 hole Highland Course. View their road link at

We welcome any questions you may have about your golfing accommodations.
Golfers will be thrilled by the variety of golfing rental properties we have available. All you have to do is imagine your stress dissolving as you make that shot to the green. We can provide you with luxurious homes, secluded cabins and elegant apartments; all this while captivated by the angles and impeccable contoured course. You will be pampered with a variety of homes that have Saunas, Jacuzzi, pools, hot tubs including maid service for a small additional fee.

The only thing keeping you from this golfing paradise is a phone call or completing our online reservation form.

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