Friday, June 28, 2019

Red Sox vs Yankees

With the Red Sox and Yankees both fighting to win the division for the 2019 season I think we are in for some great baseball this Summer. If both teams make it into the play off's, with one winning the division and the other winning the wild card, we should be set for another division ALCS play off series.

This rivalry has reached new heights over the last 10 years. With the Red Sox winning the world series last year and beating the Yankee's to get there they seem to have a new fire, while the Yankee's seem to be struggling with injuries all season long but still able to build a nice lead.

October is just the best time of the year and baseball playoffs make it that way.
So sit back and enjoy this summer of great baseball and great rivalries, I know thats what I am going to do!

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Jigsaw Puzzles: An Old Pastime for the Modern Family

The jigsaw has been part of family fun time as well as a challenging hobby for intrepid individuals since the mid-1700's when John Spilsbury took a break from making maps in his shop in London to try his hand at a new adaptation for his map making skills, the jigsaw puzzle. At that time, jigsaw puzzles were painted images on wooden planks that were then cut into odd shaped pieces by a jigsaw; thus the name jigsaw puzzle.

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Fast-forward a couple hundred years and the puzzles are more complex, made from cardboard, and feature images from nature and art, to photographs and computer generated matrixes. However, the fascination with assembling the finished image remains, despite all of the many other pastimes and distractions offered by the modern world. The puzzle is still a mainstay in any toy or hobby shop in America and other countries around the world and interest in jumbling and then re-assembling their many designs shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Why? What is it about the jigsaw puzzle, so simple in concept yet so challenging to master, that continues to garner so much attention from jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts everywhere?

Well, for one thing, putting together a jigsaw puzzle is a subtly therapeutic exercise that draws you in without you even realizing why. In much the same way that children are drawn to puddles and mud holes, where they can spend endless hours playing, a puzzle has a similar allure for people of all ages. It is a soothing though stimulating activity that subtly eggs you on; luring you into the desire to find the next piece that will be the key to putting the rest of the puzzle together once and for all. Each piece gives the puzzle maker a small sense of accomplishment that feeds on itself and builds until the final tile is placed.

Puzzle making is also a terrific family activity and that has been the case through the ages. While many other activities are also popular with families and friends, puzzle making requires little more than a big table and a little patience. And it is something that the entire family can participate in at the same time. While other games and activities are either exclusively for youngsters or adults, everyone can help build a puzzle with the youngest members of the family helping to find the edges, while the more elderly can also work at their own pace and still contribute to the final assembly. Puzzle making is truly a family fun activity.

Puzzle making is also a good way to develop problem solving skills, especially for youngsters. With so many of their other activities focused on mass stimulation to the senses, their ability to reason and work through a complex problem to a final, satisfying solution is not always challenged in the same way that it is with trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle. In addition, putting together a puzzle can be a great way for very young children to develop their dexterity as they try to fit pieces together to complete the image. Whether a puzzle is four pieces or forty pieces, they all require some degree of manual and mental skill to pull together, skills that can last a lifetime.

Jigsaw puzzles continue to be a popular pastime even in the modern era of puzzles because they also help to stimulate the brain. Just as other activities such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku puzzles are considered to be good food for the brain, so are jigsaw puzzles. This is especially true for older adults that might be concerned about debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's.

To know more about Jigsaw Puzzles please browse Jigsaw Puzzles

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Depressed Rabbit Attempts Suicide

A male rabbit named Furball had lost all hope. The female rabbit he had lived with for an entire year had left him for another rabbit. The owner of the garden he usually dined at had just put a fence around it. A fox had nipped one of his ears. And, at his most depressed, it seemed to him that all life is mere ephemera in the eye of time.

The only thing to do was bring an end to his sorrow, hunger, pain, and inability to find meaning even in a moment. He would take his own life. The question became, how?

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The first thing he did is look for a cliff to jump off of, but, alas, he lived on farmland that was pretty flat. He did find one high rock beside the pond the cows waded into each day. Up he scampered.

The challenge was to jump and hit the ground, not the pond. He resolved to end his troubled existence and off he leaped. But when he hit the ground, unfortunately, he landed on his feet. He just stood there, regretting the rock wasn’t higher.

Next, he decided to back up and run at the rock as fast as he could, head first. He hopped back far enough to give himself a good running distance and then headed for the hard immensity. He banged into at full speed and knew nothing else, because the force knocked him out.

As luck would have it, after a while, he woke up, with a thundering headache. He rubbed his aching head with his paw and decided to drown himself. He leapt toward the pond and did a belly smacker. He waited to drown. The terrible thing is, he couldn’t stop swimming. Much as he tried, there was a reflex in him that he couldn’t control. So, filled with regret, along with water that had splashed into his mouth, he paddled out and sat down by the bank to dry off.

He thought about human beings and how many ways they had to commit suicide. Why didn’t rabbits have even one? In fact, why didn’t he ever hear of a rabbit, or any other animal, committing suicide?
No, it seemed that only humans knew how to do that. What was wrong with other animals? he wondered. He signed, realizing there were just no examples in the rabbit world or the entire animal kingdom he could follow.
He felt more miserable than ever and his vision blurred, because tears welled up in his eyes. He tried to wipe them away but his paw was still wet, so the clumpy fur only irritated them and made him blink. Oh, how hopeless his life was! He could see no reason to go on. Nothing good, he was certain, would ever happen to him.

But just then something good did happen. An exceptionally cute female rabbit hopped around the corner of the rock. He saw her and just the site of her made his sullen spirits leap up.

She hopped over to him, and said, “You look very sad. What’s wrong?”
“I want to kill myself but I don’t know how,” he confessed.
“Now, why would a handsome rabbit like you want to kill himself?” she asked.
“Because nothing is going right. My girl friend left me. My favorite garden has been fenced off. A fox bit my ear. And I feel insignificant.”
He leaned forward to show her the bite mark.
“My, oh, my,” she said. “Let me lick it.”
“You’d do that for me?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said. “If a fox bit my ear, I’d want somebody to lick it for me.”
“OK,” he said, “but take it easy. It hurts a lot.”
So the female rabbit licked his ear. He felt good.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“I like that,” she said. “Very cute.”
“What’s yours?” he asked.
“Sweet Thing.”
“Me?” he wanted to know.
“Yes, you’re very sweet,” she told him. “But that’s also my name.”
“Oh,” he said, and tested it with is own lips. “Sweet Thing. I like that.
“Good,” she said. “And I like the way you taste.”
“You do?” he asked.
“Great,” he exclaimed, and continued to enjoy her soothing licks. He couldn’t believe it, but what felt like a new life was swirling all through is body.
“How’s that?” she asked, finishing her TLC of his ear.
“Much better,” he told her.
“You know,” she said, sitting down beside him, “I live by a great garden. There’s no fence, and you’re welcome to come there and eat.”
“I am?” he asked.
“Don’t you have a male rabbit who loves you?”
“No,” she said, “he left me for another rabbit.”
“I’m sorry,” Furball said.
“Don’t worry,” I’ll get over it,” Sweet Thing sort of sighed. “But I wish I could meet another male rabbit, one I really like.”
By now our suicidal rabbit was thinking, Hey, who would have believed it just a few minutes ago? My life just might work out! And, even if life is just ephemera in the eye of time, I might be able to fit in enough happiness to be glad I'm alive.
“How about me?” he asked.
“Well, I like you a lot, but I’m not sure I could be happy with a rabbit who is so depressed he would take his own life.”
“Oh, I’m all over that now,” he told her. “And, if you were my girl friend, I’d be all over it forever.” “You would?”
“Yes,” he said, and snuggled up to her. "I'd have so much to live for!"
“Wow,” she said, “and so would I. Would you like to come to my garden and eat something?”
“Love it,” he told her.
“Great. Then off we go!” she replied.
And so off they hopped, to live happily ever after.

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About the Author: Tom Attea, humorist and creator of, has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing "delightfully funny," "witty," with "great humor and ebullience" and "good, genuine laughs. Source:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

An Introduction to Optical Illusions

Optical illusions are considered as malfunction of the visual system. This phenomenon is also viewed as bringing out particular good adaptations of visual system to particularly standard viewing situations. These adaptations are considered to be hard-wired in brain's system. Consequently, inappropriate interpretations of visuals scene are causes. Teuber (1960) defined it as illusions of the senses tell us the truth about perception. Further, an optical illusion which is also called a visual illusion is characterized by visually perceived images. These images differ from objective reality. In optical illusions, the information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a percept. This perception does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source.

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Types of Optical Illusions
There are basically three types of optical illusions literal, physiological and cognitive.

1. Literal Illusions
Literal optical illusions that create images that are different from the objects that make them. 

2. Physiological Illusions
Physiological ones are the effects on the eyes and brain of excessive stimulation of a specific type (brightness, tilt, color, movement). Such as the afterimages following bright lights, or adapting stimuli of excessively longer alternating patterns, theses illusions are contingent perceptual aftereffect which are presumed to be the effects on the eyes or brain of excessive stimulation of a specific type - brightness, tilt, color, movement, etc. The theory behind these illusions is that stimuli have individual dedicated neural paths in the early stages of visual processing, and that repetitive stimulation of only one or a few channels causes a physiological imbalance that alters perception.

3. Cognitive
Cognitive illusions are those where the eye and brain make unconscious inferences. Cognitive illusions are assumed to arise by interaction with assumptions about the world, leading to "unconscious inferences", an idea first suggested in the 19th century by Hermann Helmholtz. Cognitive illusions are commonly divided into ambiguous illusions, distorting illusions, paradox illusions, or fiction illusions.

- Ambiguous illusions are pictures or objects that are suppose to elicit a perceptual switch between the alternative interpretations. The Necker cube is a well known example; another instance is the Rubin vase.

- Distorting illusions are characterized by distortions of size, length, or curvature. A striking example is the Cafe wall illusion. Another example is the famous Muller-Lyer illusion.

- Paradox illusions are generated by objects that are paradoxical or impossible, such as the Penrose triangle or impossible staircases seen, for example, in M. C. Escher's Ascending and Descending and Waterfall. The triangle is an illusion dependent on a cognitive misunderstanding that adjacent edges must join.

- Fictional illusions are defined as the perception of objects that are genuinely not there to all but a single observer, such as those induced by schizophrenia or a hallucinogen. These are more properly called hallucinations.

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by Tauqeer Hassan
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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Solve Sudoku

People work out at the gym, train at the track and jog every morning to keep their bodies in tip-top condition. But, what about their brains? Even though it’s not a muscle, the brain can get sloppy if it doesn’t get a regular workout. When brains aren’t challenged and entertained, they get bored and lazy.

One way to keep your brain happy and alert is by taking up a hobby or, better yet, solving puzzles.
A puzzle is a problem-solving game that’s meant to challenge your different mind strategies. Some puzzles are easy, some are quite difficult, however none sharpen your brain quite as well as logic and math puzzles.

If It's Sudoku You Love Check This Out!
One example of a fun brain-busting puzzle is "Number Place", more commonly known as Sudoku.
The purpose of is to complete a nine by nine (9 x 9) grid from three by three (3 x 3) regions, by entering the numbers 1 to 9 in each cell of the grid. The tricky part is that no single digit can be repeated in the 9 x 9 grid.

At first glance, the Sudoku seems like a fun and easy way to entertain your brain. However, the game begins to twist the mind into deep thought, finding strategies and devising formulations to solve Sudoku.

There are three suggested ways to solve Sudoku: scanning, marking up and analysis.
Scanning is a method used to solve Sudoku wherein the process of elimination reigns. The player may choose either counting or cross-hatching when using this method. Cross-hatching requires a systematic course of action in which the player scans rows and columns in a particular region to determine where numbers can or cannot be repeated. Counting, on the other hand, requires the player to count numerals 1 to 9 in rows, columns, and regions to find the missing numeral.

The marking up method is used to solve Sudoku when all possibilities have been exhausted in the scanning stage. To mark, you’ll use notations such as dots or subscript. Whenever possible, use notations you’re comfortable with, such as lines, shapes or codes. It is also advised to assign which notations are used for candidate numerals that will likely repeat, and which notations are likely to be in the particular grid. One drawback of using notations is when the Sudoku grids are quite small, as on magazine or newspaper pages.

Analysis is another suggested way to solve Sudoku puzzles. There are two main tactics to using analysis: the "candidate elimination" method, and the "what if" method. Candidate elimination is just that: you do away with candidate numerals from the grids, until just one option is left. Scanning can effectively be combined with the candidate elimination. Another way to solve Sudoku with the analysis method is by asking "What If?" In this approach, the player will guess which is the correct choice of two numbers.

These are the basic steps to solve a manual Sudoku puzzle, but solving a two-player computerized game can be a little different. With a computer game, you are able to set the level of difficulty for each game, and the games can get very difficult. Try to solve the puzzle using the methods outlined above. The computer may give you extra hints or strategies. Plan or search for a good computation that will help you solve the puzzle more rapidly.

In working to solve Sudoku, you can use a combination of methods, or can even formulate new solutions that will work best for you. Learn the basics of the game and take each puzzle one step at a time. If certain lines of attack are boggling your mind, let them go. Pick up pieces of information where you think you have succeeded, and learn from those times where you fail. As with any game, you need to learn to take risks.

Face it; your brain could use a good workout. Chances are, just thinking about a Sudoku puzzle has already cleared some of the cobwebs away. Now, pick up a puzzle magazine or newspaper, grab a pencil and solve Sudoku for a full-brain workout.
Robert Jones contributes to several web sites, on recreation and hobbies and family recreation themes. Article Source:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Quick History of Comics

Anyone looking at the number of much-hyped superhero films at the box office could stake the claim comics have never been bigger, but a quick view of comic book history, however, reveals while comics have never soared to higher heights in the movie gross, this fantastic foundation has never been more unstable.
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Comic books were an easy fit for 1930’s America. They were cheap, easy to produce, and even easier to sell. With large booms in pulp, radio shows and comic strips, comic books were the next logical step. It was the arrival of Superman in 1938 and Batman roughly a year later that heralded not only the rise of superheroes, but the Golden Age of Comics.
The entry of the United States into World War II didn’t halt comic book reading – if anything it accelerated it, with heroes were throwing down with the likes the Nazis and dictators even before the bombs fell upon Pearl Harbor. Once the war began, comics weren’t just morale boosters – they were part of the war effort like any other industry. Patriotic heroes like Captain America urged the purchase of war bonds, and entire runs of comics were bough from the stands and scrapped for recycling to help overseas troops. Though such sacrifices played their part in the “Greatest Generation”, they would have far-reaching ramifications on the comic industry in later generations – nearly forty years later.

The 1950’s dramatically altered the superhero landscape. Noted psychiatrist Frederic Wertham published “Seduction of the Innocent”, a book which pinned much of society’s ills on comics. He alleged Batman and Robin were homosexuals, and Wonder Woman was not only a lesbian, but also a threat to the woman’s place in the American household. Wertham’s scathing criticism caused comic book sales to plummet. Grisly horror and crime comics like Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror were left crippled. The entire incident culminated in a Comics Code Authority that oversaw comic book content, and as a result, comic books for the next decade were largely sanitized.
 But comics retained their youthful streak in the 1960’s. During this time of increased counter-culture, Marvel Comics rose to go head-to-head DC’s traditional line-up, emphasizing heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men, who appealed to young teenage readers as opposed to ideal citizens like Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. Many experts believed the Silver Age kicked off with the publication of Fantastic Four in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Spider-Man creator Stan Lee did run inadvertently into a stand-off with the Code in 1971, when the Department of Health, Education and Welfare wanted the webslinger to tackle drug use. The Code objected to even an anti-drug issue, but Lee, backed by Marvel publisher Martin Goodman, ran the issue without the Comic Code, whose authority was more or less broken, and continued to diminish in the decades to follow
DC wouldn’t stay out of this naturalistic approach to superheroes for long. Though Marvel made its everymen a virtual trademark for years to come, DC would also release “Hard-Travelling Heroes”, a socially conscious run on Green Arrow/Green Lantern which found the two fighting racism, corruption and even the drug addiction of Green Arrow’s sidekick, Roy Harper during the early seventies. Leaving Marvel, “Fantastic Four” creator Jack Kirby would also create the compelling space fantasy The Fourth World” for DC, whose titles laid a similar foundation to “Star Wars”. In addition, DC would also pitch many of their once-campy sidekicks into serious superheroes with “Teen Titans”, which competed directly with Marvel’s juggernaut X-Men in the 1980’s.
Just as there is some disagreement about when the Silver Age began, there is also contention over when it ended. Some argue for a Bronze Age of Comics for the 1970’s and 80’s, while others recognize the Silver Age as still in effect during this period. One thing is for sure though – the start date for the Modern Age, whether proceeded by Bronze or Silver, was thoroughly cemented as 1986 – a year that would revolutionize comic books forever.
Demon Tweak is a rock n' roll anthem mixing everything from Easy Rider to Tall Tales about Hard Driving Heroes. Visit
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Monday, June 10, 2019

A Sudoku Strategy Or Just A Puzzle

I never realized that I had a Sudoku Strategy until I looked around the Internet. It is surprising to think how such a simple game has built up such a huge following and is taken so seriously. Just a 9 square grid, where you place the numbers 1-9 without repeating them horizontally, vertically or in any of the 9 squares. It sounds easy but the puzzles come with varying difficulties.
Apparently I use more than one Sudoku Strategy. I start out by looking for the 3 x 3 grids or lines with the most numbers already entered and then find the missing numbers by a process of elimination across the grids or lines. That is called 'scanning' and works well for the easier Sudoku puzzles. When I reach a dead end with the more difficult games I use a strategy called 'marking up'. If I have a choice of more than one number I pencil in the numbers in a corner and delete them as used. That works well for the easier and medium difficulty Sudoku puzzles. The hard ones I do not attempt unless I am feeling particularly masochistic.
Howard Gamms from the US who sold the rights to Dell Publishing in 1979 developed the modern Sudoku puzzle. Howard Gamms called the puzzle 'Number Game' and the 'Sudoku' title came about because it became popular in Japan before it rose in popularity worldwide. If you go back further into history you find that 'Magical Squares' were around in the eighth century and figured to be a strong medical talisman. As with modern day Sudoku diagonals, rows and columns all have to add up to the same amount and no single number can be repeated.
If you do puzzles on or offline it is said to help with anti-aging. The theory is that games and puzzles exercise your brain and help to slow down the normal aging process of loss of memory and other age associated declines. The theory is not scientifically backed but I can see the reasoning behind it. I know that I have always felt sharper after doing any type of puzzle and as I am now into middle age I would like to think that I can do something to help myself to stay sharp and it has got to be a good thing if you enjoy doing it.
There is even lots of money to be made from Sudoku. Our newsagents now carry several different publications for Sudoku puzzlers, and unlike most magazines and newspapers they are not funded to any great extent by paid advertising. There are Sudoku products including electronic games and you can win money in contests on and offline.

Recently the first ever US National Sudoku championship was held in Philadelphia. The winner of the most difficult level Dr. Thomas Snyder from California won $10,000 and will represent the US in the 3rd annual world championship in India next year. $10,000 seems an awful lot to win for such a simple game but I doubt I would have a chance. Dr. Snyder completed the advanced number puzzle in just 7 minutes 9 seconds. I think that I would have to practice an awful lot to get anywhere near that speed for an easy puzzle never mind an advanced one.
You can now get Sudoku games for your iphone, Palm Smartphones and handheld PDAs. Online games are plentiful, ranging from basic puzzles of ranging difficulty to flash games. I have come across different variations such as Top Hat Sudoku, Magic, Sumdoku, Addoku, Kakuro, Samurai, Wordoku and Killer. The last one was self explanatory and I doubt I would be up to it.
My Sudoku Strategy techniques would be severely tested if I attempted all of the possible 5,472,730,538 uniquely different Sudoku puzzle grids mathematicians Frazer Jarvis and Ed Russell have counted. It does not seem much but if you just do one puzzle a day it would take you just over 14,993,782 years to complete all of them. Not possible of course, but I wonder if the huge amount of variations has something to do with the growing popularity of Sudoku.
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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Exercise Your Brain: Quick Brain Teasers to Test Your Memory and Thinking Skills

Here's a quick quiz to test your memory and thinking skills, which should work out important parts of your brain. See how you do! (Answers are below).

1. - Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. - What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
3. - Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. - What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
5. - In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
6. - Only three words in Standard English begin with the letters "dw" and they are all common words. Name two of them.
7. - There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
8. - Name the one vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
9. - Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter "S."

Answers To Quiz:

1. The one sport in which neither the spectators, nor the participants, know the score or the leader until the contest ends: boxing
2. The North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls (the rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)
3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: asparagus and rhubarb.
4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: strawberry.
5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. (The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.)
6. Three English words beginning with "dw": dwarf, dwell, and dwindle.
7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.
8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: lettuce.
9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with "s": shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

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Alvaro Fernandez is the CEO and Co-Founder of, which covers the brain games and brain health fields. SharpBrains has been recognized by Scientific American Mind, Newsweek, Forbes. Alvaro holds MA in Education and MBA from Stanford University, and teaches The Science of Brain Health at UC-Berkeley Lifelong Learning Institute. You can learn more at
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