Monday, June 13, 2016

39 Arrested in Mexican Drug Bust

Voice of America ( is reporting that United States police have arrested 39 people in a Mexican gang in connection with a drug bust.

In the article “US Police Bust Mexican Drug Gang, Arrest 39,” it goes on to say that the gang has been smuggling up to 200 tons of marijuana to Arizona from Mexico.

In addition to the 39 people arrested, an additional 60 have been indicted.

This is a major drug bust however what gives it a little additional flavor is that Laura Zuniga, 23, was among those arrested.

For most people identifying Laura Zuniga means little.

Laura Zuniga is a beauty queen from Sinaloa where she holds the title of Miss Sinaloa. She had just been named “Queen of Hispanic America 2008.”

Zuniga was riding in the captured vehicles along with seven others. Among other hardware, pistols and rifles were evident.

At this time it is thought that Zuniga may have been kidnapped by her boyfriend.

The article further reports that the network functioned by moving the drugs through Phoenix for distribution in the United States. Cocaine and amphetamines are also part of the “products” hawked.

The area that Zuniga represents, Sinaloa, is ravaged by drug wars. Drug kingpins battle for control of the friendly drug routes.

This effort is part of an overall crackdown to attempt and minimize the gangs’ effect on the environment. Their fighting is hurting almost as much as the drugs.

The Attorney General of Mexico, Eduardo Mora, indicated that the drug-related murders in Mexico stand at 5,400; that is a 117% increase over last year.

While I applaud the effort and the results, I have reported before that friends of mine on the local police force say it isn’t just a matter of knowing where the drugs are, it takes people to work on the cases and still take care of mundane police issues. In other words, we could probably be even more successful if we made it a true priority; law enforcement often knows where the drugs are.

Considering the toll in human lives and life quality, let’s hope we do soon.

Incidentally I’ve linked to Ms. Zuniga’s arrest picture which is right beside her modeling picture. Somehow it has an impact although I can’t exactly say why.


Tags:39 Arrested in Mexican Drug Bust

360 Degrees with U2

A week search for a good ticket at a reasonable price paid off. Although, I was at the topmost row at the nearest stand to the stage, it turned out to be a great spot. My newly found rock-concert buddies and I got the space we need to rock and roll. And there was nothing more to enjoy the summer than getting to Hippodrome de Montreal three hours earlier with the sun setting behind our shoulders. And the beer set the right mood to blow our minds.

The circular screen flashed the arrival of Bono and his band members accompanied by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” to match the space-themed stage. A launching pad, an offshore oil rig or giant insect, or whatever the stage was, it was avant-garde design with 360-degree unhindered viewing of the performance.

“This is Major Tom to Ground Control, I’m stepping through the door.”

And that set off the shrieking of young fans, and perhaps, caterwauling of older generation who remained die-hard fans of U2 since 1970s. With uncontrollable elation, ironically, I felt melancholic for a brief moment. Perhaps, it was those missed-out opportunities in Europe that it seemed like d©j vu. Only this time, the dream came true.

The light went off. The crowd roared and camera flashes appeared randomly like a throng of fireflies. “Even Better Than The Real Thing” opened the night to shake off a bit of the heightened excitement.

Frolicking at the topmost row with the ground deep down below us, what would be better to happen next than “The Fly”.

Then smoke sprang into the air, the pad turned red and fans reverberated “Mysterious Ways”.

With U2’s activism and concerns on poverty and social injustice, how great it was to “Tryin To Throw Your Arms Around The World”.

When U2 cancelled its North American leg of 360-degree tour to allow Bono’s recovery from emergency spinal surgery, fans felt sorry for him but also disappointed. Yet they held on to their tickets “Until the End of the World”.

Walk away. Walk away. “I Will Follow”. And the rest of the songs in the set list is as follows:

Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven’t Found – Promised Land
Beautiful Day – Space Oddity
Miss Sarajevo
City of Blinding Lights
I’ll Go Crazy (remix) ‘” Discotheque
Psycho Killer
Life During Wartime
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On – You’ll Never Walk Alone

And of course, fans won’t let U2 go without an encore.

Will You Love Me Tomorrow
Where the Streets Have No Name
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

Back on January 8, 2011, Democrat House member Gabrielle Giffords sustained a gunshot wound in her head. She chose “Beautiful Day” as a wake up song for the final flight of the space shuttle “Endeavour”. Interestingly, her husband, Mark Kelly, the commander of that flight introduced that song from International Space Station and dedicated it to his wife. Borrowed from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, he said,

“Please tell my wife, I love her. She knows it.”

When “Zooropa” was played, the $15M launch pad structure began to perform a trick that was never seen before. The screen monitor which consisted of elongated hexagonal segments disintegrated downward. Then as “City of Blinding Lights” played next, each segment appeared like mirror reflecting Bono walking around the circular stage.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a political prisoner in Burma, whom Bono labeled as the Nelson Mandela of Asia, urged the crowd to support Burmese for their fight for freedom and democracy. As the crowd cheered for their support, Bono seconded with “Walk On”, a song written about and dedicated to Kyi.

With a sold-out 2-day concert, a packed red zone which auctioned tickets reached to almost $3000 and ebullient mood of the crowd, U2 thanked and left the fans with “Moment of Surrender” from their latest album “No Line on the Horizon”.

And heavy downpour followed.

Tags:360 Degrees with U2

35 Affordable and Fun Date Ideas

Just because you are low on cash does not mean you need to be low on fun. Try some of these affordable date ideas. All will give you memories for a lifetime.

1. Enjoy a picnic in the park

Sandwiches, lemonade, and fresh fruit from the local market under a sunny sky – always romantic and wonderful for an afternoon of conversation and fun.

2. Matinee movies

Matinee movies often cost a few dollars less than the nighttime shows. Go in a little early, and instead of dinner and a movie, make it lunch and a movie.

3. A BBQ potluck

Bring out the grill, buy some cut choices of meat, and enjoy a wonderful afternoon of grilling and good times.

4. Visiting the local museum

Many local museums cost little or even nothing to visit. Find out more about your area by visiting history, art, and science museums throughout your region. Some may include shows, planetarium shows, or tours.

5. Camping

If your sweetheart loves the outdoors, this may be the perfect date.

6. Visit the local pet store

Really lacking cash? For a quick date activity, visit the local pet store and check out the puppies, pets, and fish. Think of it as a one-stop petting zoo.

7. Walk at night under the moonlight

Always a romantic treat!

8. An original moonlight serenade

Are you musically inclined? Compose an original song for your love, and serenade them under the moonlight.

9. Share a banana split at the local diner

Can’t afford to buy a full dinner? Have dinner at home and just opt to share a romantic dessert.

10. Make your own banana split sundae

Can’t even afford the diner? Use ingredients already in your fridge to make your own sundae surprise for your sweetie.

11. Make pizza from scratch

Another fun cooking together idea – making pizza. Buy toppings that each of you love, or be adventurous and go crazy with zany toppings. This is also a great idea if your date’s children will be around.

12. Have a video game date, complete with microwavable popcorn

A personal favorite for my husband and myself. An afternoon of video game madness and yummy popcorn.

13. Film your own music video on Youtube

Craziness and music – a fun date combination if your date has a diva flair.

14. Visit the local library

Many local libraries have free film clubs, local art displayed, and a variety of fun programs. Look up your local library and see if they have any interesting events coming up.

15. Attend a community concert event

The local theater, university, or church may have upcoming plays, choral concerts, and other events that might be free or low cost.

16. Help out at a local soup kitchen

If your date is a charitable soul, helping out regularly at a local soup kitchen may be a great way to bond with them while helping those in need.

17. Volunteer at the nursing home

Another great idea if you and your date like to help the needy. During the holidays, local churches and schools often carol around the local nursing homes. If you or your date play an instrument, an impromptu concert may also be a great way to combine good times with helping others.

18. Make your own band and have a jam session

For the musically inclined, an intense jam session can lead to serious passion.

19. Visit the county fair

Always fun, the county fair and local carnivals offer a variety of rides, shopping, and yummy treats like candied apples and elephant ears.

20. Visit the local zoo

Some zoos have special discount rates during non-peak seasons. Call ahead and find out when they have specials.

21. Set up a modeling session for your date and paint a portrait of her/him.

If you are artistically inclined, set up a room as a modeling session and create a memorable (or maybe not so memorable) portrait of that moment in time.

22. Have a fun photo shoot at an outside location

For the less artistically inclined, a fun candid photo shoot will yield a reel of great memories.

23. Cheese and fruit at the beach

Pack a little basket of cheeses and fruit and feed them to your date on the beach. Romantic.

24. Watch the sunrise

25. Watch the sunset

26. Dance under the stars to music pumping from your car

If you cannot afford to visit the local club or dance hall, take your car to a secluded spot and crank up the music. Dance with your love under the stars in the music hall of your own making.

27. Visit an art gallery

Visit local artist galleries. Even if you cannot afford to purchase any of the artwork, most artists are happy to show your their work with the hopes that you will spread the word of their gallery to others.

28. Share a sandwich at a local cafe

If you are not famished, you and your date can share a sandwich at a local outdoor cafe’ then stroll on in happy merriment.

29. Share a cappuccino at the local coffee hot spot

30. Make a snowman together

Rediscovering childhood joys is a great experience for most couples.

31. A romantic evening by the fire

Romantic music playing, the crackling of a fire, and the warm embrace of the one you love makes for a wonderful date indeed.

32. A campfire and s’mores

Who can resist the yummy gooeyness of marshmallows and chocolate smashed between two graham crackers?

33. Horse-riding

34. Get in your car and drive to nowhere

Without any thought to destination (though keeping an eye on the gas gauge), just enjoy a drive in the country, city, night, or day, with your date, and stop spontaneously at any place along the way.

35. The swingset

Swinging in a swing set reclaims a more carefree time.

Tags:35 Affordable and Fun Date Ideas

33rd Annual Putney Craft Tour Thanksgiving Weekend 2011

Putney, Vermont was settled in 1753. Among the early settlers were owners of grist and sawmills who took advantage of Sacketts Brook as it flows through Putney’s center and other surrounding bodies of water. In 1978 woodcut artist, Margot Torrey, organized the first craft tour. The Putney area has long been the home of artists and craftspeople and Torrey wanted to draw local attention to the artists and their works.

This year, 27 artists who create botanical prints, ceramic sculpture and pottery, hand blown glass, hand dyed cotton fabric and quilts, handmade cheese, hand wrought ironwork, metalworking and jewelry, oil painting, sculptured handmade tiles, stained glass, woodworking, and wood carvings welcome visitors into their studios and galleries. They are all happy to answer questions, and many of them work on pieces during the event, explaining and demonstrating their craft.

A printable version of a map of studios taking part in the tour is available on the Putney Craft Tour website. Maps can also be picked up at any studio on the tour and various locations in town. Since the tour is self-guided, you decide whether you want to visit each studio in numerical order or focus on those of artists whose work most appeals to you. The tour draws about 2,000 visitors.

The meal offered for all three days of the tour at the Westminister West church in the center of Westminister, a big bowl of soup and a roll or piece of cornbread, is an institutution. There are several soups on the menu including a vegetarian soup. A variety of homemade desserts are also available for sale.

For the past several years, we have enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal with friends on Friday. They visit us for the weekend and on Saturday we take a leisurely drive from studio to studio. We make a point of visiting our favorite artists, including John Ewald and Peggy O’Toole and their sculptured handmade tiles, Ken Pick and his pottery, Vermont Shepherd Cheese, David Mischke and his pottery, and Maggie Lake and her exquisite botanical prints.

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33 Tips for a Happy Life

List of 33 things I personally follow to make each day a dream and each dream a reality. Please adapt what vibrates with you and share with others.

  1. Start each day with a smile and say or think: “Today is going to be a beautiful day!”
  2. When you wake up try to recall what you dreamed about and write down what you remember. The more you do this, the more you will recall.
  3. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a Pauper.
  4. Know that love is the answer.
  5. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  6. Take more care of your body by getting proper sleep and exercise
  7. Relax and read more than you did the year prior.
  8. Practice meditation daily, at the beginning of the day if possible. You find clarity in your mind body and soul.
  9. Listen to people, pay attention to what they say and try to see the God in them. Smile.
  10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less that is manufactured in plants. Avoid red meats and cut back on other meats.
  11. Drink a lot of water. The body is 70% water. Water flushes and detoxifies the body and much more. Aim for a gallon a day.
  12. Remove the clutter from your house, car, desk, and allow the new flowing energy in your life.
  13. Don’t react to life’s drama. Observe, decide, choose then act from your higher self as a mature human being.
  14. Fall in love with what IS. All suffering comes from not accepting what reality is showing you. Accept, allow and trust the power that has made the present what it is.
  15. Know that you are a spirit having a human experience and that physical reality is just an illusion. One that you have had many lives in.
  16. Know that you can be happy at anytime just by smiling and thinking of a happy place or thing.
  17. Know that when you leave joy and happiness to feel angry and sad, it is a choice and you did not have to choose to do so. No one made you. Accept ownership.
  18. Suffering arises from seeking happiness outside of you. Seek it from inside always.
  19. Forgive yourself and others.
  20. Love unconditionally, like a mother loves her baby. Treat everyone like your baby.
  21. Don’t judge others, all choices are valid. All beliefs are true.
  22. Know that you are always OK. You always were and always will be. So why worry.
  23. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  24. Remember that God is love.
  25. However good or bad a situation is it will change. It always has and always will. Change is the only constant in creation.
  26. Life has no meaning other than that of being happy.
  27. What you put out is what you get back. Put out only love, truth and joy and watch your world change.
  28. If something does not serve you, then remove it or stop doing it.
  29. Always tell the truth and act from a Christ like consciousness of goodness and know that whatever you want to do, the universe will support you.
  30. Each night before you go to bed be grateful for the day and ask to be shown in your dreams, whatever you want to know or see.
  31. Go to bed in a clear and happy state of mind and ask to remember your dreams.
  32. Remember that you are connected to creation and loved unconditionally.
  33. Enjoy your life and make it count so as you return back into spirit world each night you can be proud of your latest greatest self. Smile and happy dreams.

Tags:33 Tips for a Happy Life

3D Graphics for the Web

In the mid-1990’s, 3D graphics exploded in popularity in animation, video games, and multimedia roles. Quake was one of the first 3D and network capable games released in 1996. In 1995, Toy Story was one of the first full-length motion pictures where the animation was computer generated. Toy Story would go on to gross over $150 million. As 3D became more popular in general, and the web as we know it today emerged, this naturally led to attempts for use of 3D Graphics for the Web.

Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML)

The first attempts at defining a standard 3D Graphics standard for the web was with VRML. VRML and VRML 2.0(97) is an ISO standardized file format that describes interactive 3D worlds and objects. The goals for VRML were to be used in various applications field to include engineering and scientific visualization, multimedia, entertainment, education, web pages, and shared virtual worlds. Some additional goals of the VRML standard were for it to be extensible (i.e. to be able to add new object types not explicitly defined in the core language), capable of implementation across platforms and systems, and scalable across arbitrarily large dynamic 3D worlds.

The use of VRML eventually failed in widespread commercial application and adoption outside of niche markets. Many theories abound on the true treason. Commercially, the decision by the browser plug-in producers (a plug-in was necessary to view 3D on the consumers computer) to not target the Macintosh market-share due to the small volume of Mac users may have contributed to the demise. Over-looked at the time, was the number of the initial web surfers and education users who used Macs as compared to Windows machines. Additionally, the lack of standardized implementation across browser plug-in companies made 3D for the Web hard for the casual web user to be able to fully enjoy the intended 3D experience. In 1998 the Web 3D consortium initiated efforts to define the successor standard, X3D while continuing to do great work in the existing VRML 2.0 standard.

Web3D Consortium

The Web3D Consortium is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and drive programs to advance an open standards based free 3D interchange format grounded in XML. Hand in hand with this goal is to support and develop the necessary tools to represent and communicate 3D scenes across hardware platforms to include mobile devices. To learn from the mistakes make with the VRML markup language, the charter was changed to use the industry standard XML markup definition to make the format of the language independent of the existence of any one organization (i.e. companies that could go out of business).

X3D, the Industry Standard for Web 3D

At Siggraph 2004, the Web3D Consortium announced the adoption of the X3D Specification as an ISO standard in the culmination of many years work by the Consortium and other volunteers making X3D the new international standard for Web3D graphics. X3D is the XML-based successor to the legacy VRML standard for Web 3D Graphics. It is considered a more mature and refined standard than exists for VRML.

Not just for making 3D worlds for home use, X3D has been designed with industry in mind as well with capabilities of being used across a broad range of applications to include CAD, medical visualization, GIS, and other areas of interest with several major working groups pursuing work in a lot of exciting areas of research. Besides just being a newer version of VRML, the Web3D Consortium also took great pains to improve upon VRML with new features such as advanced API’s, additional encoding formats, harder line on conformance compliance, and a modular or componentized structure to allow backwards compatibility with legacy work completed previously in VRML. A few of the other nice features with X3D are: 1 – It is open source so there are no licensing issues, 2 – It is officially incorporated within MPEG-4, and 3 – 3D Objects can be manipulated by other programming languages such as C, C++, or Java.

Basic X3D Shape Definition

To give you a basic understanding of what the contents of an X3D file actually look like, below is an example of how an author would define a long, flat, grey box in X3D. In this case, the student was using this shape object as the base shape for a road in the X3D scene. (Use courtesy of Dr. Don Brutzman. Note that X3D follows the same rules as any other XML markup. In this example, we have a shape node, which is further defined as a box with a comment node before the box definition to tell us what the author is attempting to define. Under the box, the author is defining a color for the box, which is a function of combinations of the primary colors. In this case grey.


By no means an all-inclusive overview, this article has touched on the basics of what X3D is and why it is the 3D standard for the Web. For more information, the reader is referred to the web3d consortiums website,

Tags:3D Graphics for the Web

3D Cameras, Camcorders & Laptops for 2011: Superseding 3D Failure in Movies

Hollywood has always taken a moneymaking gimmick and run with it, beat it to death and subsequently milked it drier than an emptied cow udder. While many of those adamantly pushed gimmicks were successful (70mm widescreen and surround sound), 3D was one that brought a sense of amnesia to the movie executive gene pool. If the 1950’s had harsh lessons learned about the downfall of the studio system, the failure of 3D in the same decade and a hit-and-fail renaissance in the 60’s should have been heeded and taken into subsequent decades.

It was heeded in movies for a long time, save a renaissance again through a number of 1980’s movies and a 3D craze for television during the same decade. During that era, you could watch an old 3D movie in syndication from your own living room–with the disclaimer that you needed to go pick up your cardboard anaglyph 3D glasses at a local convenience store for a dollar.

By the time 3D stumbled its way back into mainstream movie theaters in 2003, you could see an evolutionary pattern developing: 3D was living and dying about every 20 years. It may as well have been deemed a scientific principle for degeneration and rebirth.

That rebirth for theaters was the innovative Real D process, and it was asking for a lot of questions as to why it was brought into existence. From the outset, the new 3D process for movie theaters sounded promising based on better-designed glasses that could give the illusion of more natural movement. Yet the troublesome aspect of the 3D glasses darkening the movie as you watched was never criticized until critics and audiences started carping about it in 2010.

Then there was the convenient method of converting a 2D movie into 3D that the American people finally caught on to as a major Hollywood cheat. 2010 turned out to be the year when the public started lashing out at 3D once again, despite Hollywood making a strong investment commitment at least several years ahead.

While Hollywood continues to sweat out that business conundrum as these words go to print, an interesting development took place: Test reactions of the public to 3D products in the home. For reasons unknown, the idea of watching a 3D movie in one’s home is starting to appeal over going to a theater, yet using the same technology.

But it doesn’t stop there. Throughout 2011 and beyond, you’ll be seeing more than just 3D HDTV’s and 3D Blu-Ray players for the home. Beginning now are 3D cameras, camcorders, 3D computers and 3D computer monitors.


3D Cameras and Camcorders

If you have to search for one part of an answer as to why 3D may be a big deal in the American home, it could start here. Watching a 3D movie in our abodes seems to be partially appealing based on avoiding the usual theater seat kickers, candy wrapper crinklers and loud popcorn chewers. Seeing yourself, family or friends, though, in 3D is a whole other experience that might border on surreal for some. Nevertheless, it’s a potentially exciting appeal that you can already do now thanks to several different digital camera brands that are out on the market.

As much as you might want the big names like Nikon or Canon to put out a 3D camera, you’ll have to wait a while beyond the time of this article. Sony, however, has already put out a relatively inexpensive digital 3D camera at around $550. Their NEX-3 14.2 Megapixel digital camera has an interchangeable lens that can go up to 55mm. It’s also lightweight and only half the size of a usual DSLR camera. As with 3D HDTV’s, you’re not stuck using 3D all the time. It can be used only when you want it and can also do 3D panoramic shots that should be enough of a selling point for outdoor photographers.

A slightly cheaper model is one from Fujifilm at $500. Their FinePix W3 Real 3D 10.0 Megapixel digital camera is similar to a Nikon Coolpix digital camera in its compactness. The zoom lens isn’t great either at only 5.7X, but the 3D photo results are reportedly good.

And then you have one of the first 3D camcorders on the market: Panasonic’s High-Def 3D 9.2MP camcorder. It sells at Best Buy for $1,400. The camcorder also has a 3-inch LCD monitor that doesn’t require you to wear those obtrusive 3D shades in public in order to record in 3D. With a zoom lens that goes up 700x, 3D recording is only an option.

Once TMZ gets this, you can decide for yourself whether a celebrity attacking the camera in 3D is worth the wait.

These cameras can be seen in more detail in Resource 1.

3D Computers and Monitors

Don’t think 3D will stop with just cameras and camcorders. 3D computers are around the corner, and Toshiba already has two satellite laptops on the market that are 3D compatible. Best Buy has advertised 3D desktops, but aren’t available yet at the time of this writing.

The Toshiba laptops might sounds appealing, considering they have Blu-Ray DVD drives on them. A downside is that they only run Windows 7, which may turn off those wishing on a star that Apple will get into the 3D computer fray soon. If you’re still interested, Best Buy’s Geek Squad is selling these Toshibas with a 3D kit that includes an inevitable backpack and useful security software. Retail is anywhere from $1,100 to $1,500.

If you do have a desktop, a 3D computer monitor can already bring the 3D experience along with a 3D graphics card (see Resource 4). Three well-known names of Acer, Asus and Samsung are already selling 22 to 23-inch LCD 3D monitors for only several hundred dollars apiece. They all have 1080p resolution, so buying a 3D HDTV starts to feel somewhat superfluous.

Don’t even bother to imagine social networking in 3D, especially if it makes us see things that could put Facebook into Chapter 11.

Take a closer look at the 3D laptops and monitors in Resources 2 and 3.


For those taking the plunge into Blu-Ray 3D, your options of brand names are unlimited. But as I’ve written about before and if you want a trouble-free player, Oppo is the brand to consider. They now have a 3D Blu-Ray player on the market. (See Resource 5)


If all of this seems to be too much too soon and not worthy of investment, the signs are there that seeing our own world in 3D should have been a selling point years ago. Also, with 3D cable channels now arriving, seeing the real world around us (or let’s just say sporting events) seems more appealing than viewing CGI worlds in the format.

The only thing that needs refining now is the heavy and expensive 3D glasses that can run you over $100 a pair. Once we can go pick up a pair of 3D glasses at a local electronics store for under $20, the scientific principle of 3D degeneration may go into remission.


Tags:3D Cameras, Camcorders & Laptops for 2011: Superseding 3D Failure in Movies

38th Annual Lithuanian Festival in Catonsville, Maryland

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 38th annual Lithuanian Festival in Catonsville, Maryland. I recently discovered that a graduate classmate shares a Lithuanian heritage. She belongs to a Lithuanian folk dance group and has sung the Lithuanian national anthem alongside the U.S. anthem at events. My own knowledge of my heritage, on the other hand, is limited to the fact that my last name means “pearls” in Lithuanian and to a few facts I picked up from creating family shields for grade school projects. So when I heard her dance troop was going to be performing in a festival outside of Baltimore, I was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the tiny yet fascinating country from which my ancestors hail.

The festival ran both Saturday and Sunday between 11 am and 6pm. I arrived on Sunday at 1, just in time for the opening ceremony. While I have to admit that I found it a little strange for an “opening ceremony” to take place in the middle of the second day of the festival, it was a touching tribute to both the Lithuanian-American and Baltimore communities. The Maryland state delegates and Lithuanian ambassador were recognized, and my classmate sang the Star-Spangled Banner followed by Lithuania: Our Homeland. A priest closed the ceremony with a pastoral blessing, recognizing the historic importance of Roman Catholicism to Lithuania.

After the opening ceremony it was difficult to decide what to check out first of the numerous food, craft, jewelry, and other vendors. Lithuanian food seems to be similar to the food of neighboring Poland: heavy but hearty and delicious comfort food like sausages and potato pancakes. Also featured were Lithuanian beer, pastries, and chocolate. On the non-edible side, vendors sold everything from books and decals to handmade wood and glass crafts to Baltic amber jewelry. Some of my favorites included intricately carved wooden Christmas ornaments gently accented with amber.

After exploring all the goods for sale, I was able to relax and enjoy the music and dance performances. The Malunas adult folk dance ensemble performed in the afternoon, but before that dancers from K. Donelaitis Lithuanian Saturday school took the floor-all wearing traditional Lithuanian dress, of course! These dancers ranged in age from preschool to late elementary school, and I was impressed with their remarkable confidence and the joy they displayed in their dancing.

One of the unique elements of the festival was a mini-museum devoted to the Lithuanian militia from the Middle Ages to the present day. This was an especially timely exhibit because, as I learned, 2010 marks the 600-year anniversary of the Lithuanian and Polish victory in the Battle of Zalgiris.

The Lithuanian Festival was both entertaining and informative, and it left me more appreciative of my heritage and looking forward to next year’s festival. I would encourage you to explore the ethnic festivals in your own neighborhood this spring. Learn more about your family’s heritage or explore the sights, sounds, and tastes of a culture you know little about. And if you happen to be in the Baltimore area next spring, stop in for the Lithuanian Festival’s 39th year!

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3D Video and Film Production in Israel

Camera Crews in Israel can be easily availed from the various production houses that are operational in Israel. If you are looking forward to make a feature film or a documentary in Israel, then you must be well aware of the various difficulties that you might be facing once you start shooting in Israel. The various production houses will offer you their assistance in making your film a success.

3D productions in Israel

With the improvement in the filming equipments and other movie technologies, even movie viewing has undergone a sea change. Two decades back, the spectators at the movie theaters were happy with the two dimensional projections that they saw on the screen. But with the improvement in the filming equipments, the spectators at the movie theaters and multiplex began watching three dimensional projections on the screen using a 3D glass.

In the 3D projections, the images and videos on the screen appear to come out of the screen. This larger than life movie viewing experience became extremely popular with the movie goers and thus compelled the film makers to start making more and more 3D video and film productions. As such many film makers now visit Israel with the aim of making a 3D video or film.

Leading name in 3D productions in Israel

One such production services in Israel that focuses mainly on 3D video and film productions is Highlight Films Ltd. whether you are shooting in Israel or in West Bank, the professional staffs at the Highlight Films Ltd. will guide you through your 3D video and film shoots. The Highlight Services even offer some of the best production equipment in Israel. The production equipments from Highlight Services Ltd. include top quality HD camera sets and stereoscopic 3D rigs. The staffs at the Highlight Services are even experienced in stereoscopic filming.

The equipments provided by this production service in Israel include Panasonic AG3DA1 camera and Panasonic Varicam 3700 P2 cameras along with P+S Technik 3D rig. The mirror design of this rig allows overlapping of the images and can be easily handled by the camera crews. The reasons behind why only the Highlight Services is being highlighted are the facts that they employ the best camera crews in Israel and that they are the biggest 3D production house in Israel. They are also credited for the making of Jerusalem 3D IMAX, the most expensive and the first ever IMAX project to be filmed in Israel.

Advantages of taking the help of production services in Israel

When you look for camera crews in Israel you can be pretty sure that these production houses will be to the rescue by offering their camera men for your filming project. You also get to hire their equipments and therefore you need not worry about the safety or the transportation of the filming equipments. If you face any trouble communicating with the local residents or authorities, the production services will come to your rescue. They have indeed made filming in Israel a smooth process

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3-D Holiday and Special Occasion Cookie Cutters

If you are looking for a way to make unique holiday cookies this season there are some pretty cool 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters that are perfect. Whether you will be baking cookies for a holiday or special occasion the 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters will give your gust something to talk about in addition to being a big hit with children.

During the Christmas season of course the most popular choice from the 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters are the Holiday Series 3-D Cookies. Create life like Christmas scenes with these whimsical cookie cutters that include a Christmas tree, snowman, gingerbread man, reindeer, bell, and a Christmas star. Made from food safe plastic the 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters measure approximately 9″ x 5″ x 3.75″. This is a great addition to any kitchen but particularly fun for a family with kids. The 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters retails for $13.00 (

Another great addition to your kitchen from the collection of 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters is the Halloween Series 3-D Cookie Cutter. Use these annually during the harvest season leading up to the holidays. The 3-D pumpkin is always a great choice for Thanksgiving Day cookies. The Halloween Series from the collection of 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters features six shapes which include a jack-o-lantern, black cat, witch, ghost, scarecrow and haunted house. Add these unique 3-D cookies to your collection to ensure you are prepared for every holiday and special occasion. The Halloween Series from the collection of 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters retail for $13.00.

Some shapes of 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters may be harder to find than others but if you look at various sources they can be found. Christmas stockings are among the hardest cutter to find. Aunt’ Chick’s brand has made cookie cutters since 1948 and though many of the design are classic the collation includes a Christmas stocking. In fact a set of four 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters were found that feature great detailing. The set consist of a holiday stocking, a Santa face, a Christmas star and a Christmas tree. The 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters are made from plastic with pebbled interior and measure 3 ½ “to 5”. The unique set of cookie cutters from Aunt Chick’s are available from the Vermont Country Store and retail for approximately $21.95. For more information on the 3-D holiday and special occasion cookie cutters visit the web sites for the referenced retailers (

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3D Fast Bus Could Revolutionize Public Transportation

Some countries have problems these days about having more and more traffic and it is also evident in some well known U.S. cities. For this reason traffic jams are frequent and accents and pile ups are more likely to happen as a result of such a pile up of traffic. The other major issue here is that underground subways don’t work at every location like they do in New York City. As a result of this problematic situation a Chinese company by the name of Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co. has come up with a revolutionary new concept that could eliminate the need for underground subways systems as transportation in congested cities.

So, you’re probably thinking to yourself that underground subway systems work and that even in certain areas where they don’t people could just take a train or a bus right? Well this is all well and good, but in certain cities and areas using either isn’t really practical or cost effective in certain areas and as a result most companies won’t even bother to bring their services. As a result this Chinese company has decided to take the bus transit system a step further by creating a bus that will basically run on roadways, but at the same time form a bridge that will allow traffic to pass underneath it. This will allow buses to carry passengers from one location to the next without actually impeding or slowing down traffic.

Alright, so this bus will have an empty bottom that works like a bridge, but how cost effective is it and how many people can it carry? Well the 3D Fast Bus; as the company has code named it can carry 1,200 passengers and can travel at upwards of forty miles per hour. This seems like it would be better served for inter city travel and in highly congested areas, but at the same time they have to be sure that an invention such as this can be cheaply made and work right with traffic. Even though the 3D Fast Bus takes up no section of the roadway, it still presents the problem of redoing the roadways and the cost that that would produce to the cities where it is implemented, never mind the fact that they have to retrain the public.

At any rate, this new invention could allow for less emissions due to less cars being on the road and will also provide passengers with more room and allow them to travel farther distances then before at a faster rate in the inner city. The best part is that considering the fact that even if there is a traffic jam, the 3D Fast Bus can get to the head of traffic and then when the light changes continue on its rout never being impended by traffic jams. The problems with this invention would include the cost as well as the retraining of the public as well as accidents happening underneath it, but there is already a safety procedure implemented which will allow the passengers to exit the bus quickly and safely. Regardless this is a step in the right direction and could provide exciting changes for the future of public transportation.

Sources Used

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3D CAD Design - Using Slow Economic Times to Speed Up Your Business

When the economy is gloomy and slow, it may be the best time to grow your 3D CAD design business. Life goes on in these tough economic times, and it’s imperative that some take advantage of the laggings of other businesses to build up their own. Businesses grow, bloom and fade in one season, while others return year after year. Consumers still have needs and your 3D CAD design business can meet those needs. Now it’s time to invest time and money into a greater design process.

3D CAD methods have been around for a while now. Earlier on, the huge cost of this software didn’t allow for smaller companies to take advantage of it, but the bigger businesses invested immediately and reaped their rewards over the past few years.

Through rapid advancements in technology, pioneers like Solidworks and Autodesk have offered 3D CAD systems at reduced costs that are now affordable to even the small business owner. However, despite the practicality and availability of today’s advanced 3D CAD software, too many companies fail to take advantage of it.
So if the technology is there, and the time is right, what prevents more widespread use?

3D CAD technology has been perfected over the course of nearly two decades, with practices proven and productivity boosted. The question, then, is not regarding the effectiveness of the methodologies employed by the software. Rather, most businesses have become acquainted with 2D design processes, thereby birthing doubt about this “new” technology. Business owners wonder if 3D CAD technology will work for them.

Granted, attempting to adopt 3D CAD technology into your business can prove to be a headache, and usually the concern lies in the temporarily reduced levels of productivity. Yet, what businesses fail to realize is that their adoptive methods for making the transition are what cause productive slow-down. It’s time to update your tools and implementation approach!

The playing field has changed, and no longer can a business afford to cope with archaic design models. As the consumer demands a less expensive product to be delivered in less time, advanced tools and processes are the key to a competitive edge. Considering 3D CAD software should be a high priority, otherwise the fate of a company may be bleak, as they are surpassed by others who do utilize the power of 3D CAD technology.

All is not lost, though. During slow productive cycles when the pressure is reduced, this becomes a great time to invest in 3D CAD technology. You’ll have the opportunity to release key personnel to start training and improving your internal processes. Upon their return, they will have the capacity to take full advantage of your 3D CAD software systems. This “down time” also gives your staff the chance to plow through the steep learning curves that come with the adoption process.

It would be wise not to cut corners on the training, because professionals have confirmed time and time again that a lack of 3D CAD training directly contributes to slower implementation and wait time for your return on investment.

With some economic slow-down, it’s time to prepare for a transition that will secure your business for the long haul. Jumping on the 3D CAD train is a financially wise decision that can put you into a strong position to soar when the economy recovers.

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