Facebook app helps you (stalk…) monitor your relationship.

I saw this on CNN and had to pass it on…
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Talk much?

Facebook Breakup Notifier, a new app for the site, is super simple — and will probably be super popular.

It lets users pick certain friends whose relationship status they’d like to monitor. If one of those relationships changes, the user gets notified by e-mail.

“You like someone. They’re in a relationship. Be the first to know when they’re out of it,” promises the app’s website.

So, if that old high school flame suddenly becomes “single” or the receptionist you’ve pined for decides that her on-again, off-again relationship is now “complicated,” you can swoop right in.

Created by developer Dan Loewenherz, the app, at least in concept, definitely has a stalkerish vibe. But among single-and-interested folks, who can deny that the social-networking mega-site is used to keep up with the romantic doings of others?

“Sure, it’s a little creepy but I imagine that it will be hugely popular,” wrote Martin Bryant for the tech blog TheNextWeb. “[A]nd hey, if you’re worried about being stalked maybe you should be more careful about who you approve as a Facebook friend?”

Theoretically, the app could be used by friends who just want to keep up with the love lives of their buddies so they can be there with a pint of ice cream and a shoulder to cry on when things go sour.

Theoretically.

As of last week, there could be more relationship statuses changing than usual. Facebook added “in a civil union” and “in a domestic partnership” to its list of options.

Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council forbids Muslims to celebrate Valentine’s Day

I lived in Kuala Lumpur for years and always found the country to be very tolerant of all religions but I was a bit shocked to read about this news. I know from past experience however they mean business.
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A number of local governments in Malaysia forbids residents to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They will dispatch a team to check whether there are unscrupulous events on the day of celebration of love, which takes place every February 14.

According to the daily pages of The Star, Wednesday, February 9, 2011, the policy was put in place the state government of Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Selangor. Chairman of the Youth Party of Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi, said officers will arrest people caught engaging in immoral acts on the basis of Islamic law.

“We have identified the points in these states that will be used by couples and we also will lower the official from the ministry of religion and party members to stop the sinful action, such as free sex, in violation of Islamic law,” said Nasrudin, as quoted by The Star.

Nasrudin said those who commit immoral acts would be arrested, the organizers who organized the event in violation of Islamic law will also be dealt with firmly. Such events, said Nasrudin, spread among the young these days in Malaysia.

For example, last year there were campaigns that promoted a “day without any panties” on Valentine. Several years ago, a hotel in Kuala Terengganu offered a free room for the first 100 couples who came in. Carumba, that may have even been banned here in the deep South in the USA.

Nasrudin said that according to the policies issued by the National Fatwa Council of Malaysia, Muslims in the country should not celebrate Valentine’s Day because it contains elements of sin and Christian. PAS, said Nasrudin, will also be distributing pamphlets and leaflets lecturing on Valentine deviation.

Now I have to worry about “Low T”?

Is Andropause or LowT a disorder? No, but I just saw on TV there is a pill from Abbott for that…or more specifically a gel.
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It is however a simple consequence of living for a long time. Testosterone levels decline 1% every year after the age of 30, so if you have been lucky enough to live until 60 years old, your testosterone level will on average be 30% lower than it was at aged 30.

Here’s the 21st century kicker in all of this. In addition to the natural testosterone decline that you will suffer, there is also a pronounced decline taking place in the overall testosterone levels of the general population. Heck just watch TV…we are just less macho and with American women seeking sensitive men we are obliging them by decreasing our T levels generation after generation.

The ‘Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism’ published a study showing that testosterone levels have, on average, declined 1.2% per year for the past 25 years. This was a huge, well designed study – and nobody seems to be able to explain why this is happening.

So, we find ourselves in the 21st century with an increasingly elderly population, with significantly lower testosterone levels than they had in their prime, as well as some kind of environmental factors at work that are compounding the problem even further.

So, is Andropause a disorder? No, it’s just a normal consequence of living for a long time in a developed country.

So, why treat andropause? Well, that’s the part that some people don’t like – treating andropause allows men to make the decision to reject ‘normal’ and aim for something a little better than that.
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We are entering the age of ‘personal enhancement’ – people are not just using medicine to treat diseases, they are also using every tactic possible to improve the quality of their extended lifespan. It’s not just enough to live, people want to live ‘optimally’.

We want our viagra so that we can continue to have sex, we want lasik so that we can continue to see optimally, we want human growth hormones for anti-aging, and now want testosterone so that we don’t feel like an old man, when in fact we really are an old men. Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that if you lived to see andropause then you really were old – in the early 20th century the average lifespan was only 40!

Drive-in Movies

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Tonight I passed an empty lot where my childhood drive-in theater used to be….I am visiting my old home town and the whole experience brought back lots of great memories.

The drive-in theater was the creation of Camden, New Jersey, chemical company magnate Richard Holiingshead Jr. whose family owned and operated the R.M. Hollingshead Corporation chemical plant in Camden.

In 1932, Hollingshead conducted outdoor theater tests in his driveway at 212 Thomas Avenue in Riverton. After nailing a screen to trees in his backyard, he set a 1928 Kodak Projector on the hood of his car and put a radio behind the screen, testing different sound levels with his car windows down and up. Blocks under vehicles in the driveway enabled him to determine the size and spacing of ramps so all automobiles could have a clear view of the screen.

Following these experiments, he applied August 6, 1932, for a patent of his invention, and he was given U.S. Patent 1,909,537 on May 16, 1933. That patent was declared invalid 17 years later by the Delaware District Court.

Hollingshead’s drive-in opened in New Jersey June 6, 1933, on Admiral Wilson Boulevard. He advertised his drive-in theater with the slogan, “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.” The facility only operated three years, but during that time the concept caught on in other states.

Early drive-in theaters had to deal with noise pollution issues. The original Hollingshead drive-in had speakers installed on the tower itself which caused a sound delay affecting patrons at the rear of the drive-in’s field. Attempts at outdoor speakers next to the vehicle did not produce satisfactory results.

In 1941, RCA introduced in-car speakers with individual volume controls which solved the noise pollution issue and provided satisfactory sound to drive-in patrons.

The drive-in’s peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in rural areas, with some 4,000 drive-ins spreading across the United States. Among its advantages was the fact that a family with a baby could take care of their child while watching a movie, while teenagers with access to autos found drive-ins ideal for dates…some of my best dates of all time were at the drive-in…I won’t mention any names but you know who you are.

During their height, some drive-ins used attention-grabbing gimmicks to boost attendance. They ranged from small airplane runways, unusual attractions such as a small petting zoo or cage of monkeys, actors to open their movies, or musical groups to play before the show. Some drive-ins held religious services on Sunday morning and evening, or charged a flat price per car on slow nights like Wednesday. The price was a dollar per car during “buck” nights in the 1950s and 1960s.
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In the UK a pseudo-drive-in has been launched where the cars are provided by the theater. It’s sponsored by Volvo. The urban Starlite Drive-in is inside the Truman Brewery in hip East London where the urban population will get the chance to watch classic films in a fleet of convertibles served by roller-skating waitresses.

Love it…maybe it will catch on…

iPhone Confession App!

I read an article by Sandra Zummo and it made me queasy, she writes. “Even after all this time, these seven little words still have the power to make me break out in a cold sweat: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” “
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It has been many years since my last confession too, but the memory of the weekly trip to the penalty box las a child still ingers.

No meat on Fridays? No problem. Fasting for 12 hours before receiving Holy Communion? Piece of cake…anyone can do these.

But entering a darkened booth, perching on a kneeler and shaking until the door slides open and the priest’s face appears in shadow, waiting for me to spill my guts? Terrifying.

I just hear about the newly released “Confessions: A Roman Catholic App” at IHOP talking about whether we would skip Mass tomorrow.

I knew the Church had come a long way since my days memorizing the “Act of Contrition” as a 7-year-old, but I didn’t think it had gotten to the point of allowing sinners to bypass the confessional.

Further investigation revealed that it hasn’t. For $1.99, the “Confessions iPhone App” only helps you prepare for the Rite of Penance. As a Vatican spokesman has made very clear, “Penance cannot be replaced by a computer application.” Although that may be just a hop, skip and a jump away.

From the sound of it, the App does pretty much everything but give you absolution. Once you enter basic information about yourself, you either can create customized categories or be guided through an “examination of conscience” based solely on the Ten Commandments.

Tap on a particular commandment and you’ll be prompted to answer questions around a range of issues connected with it. Once you’ve got your sins in order, you’re ready to proceed to confession mode, where, armed with your checklist of offenses, the App provides the words to the “Sign of the Cross” and leads you into the familiar, “Bless me, Father …” Test run complete, you’re ready to head to church. Heck at that point why not just Tweet the sins?!

The penance in my youth for my “garden variety” sins generally was a very do-able three “Our Fathers” and three “Hail Mary’s.”

Every once in a while, I’d try to change things up by adding a new sin, usually something like, “I was late for Mass,” which might add three “Glory Be’s” to my penance. I clearly remember the time I also confessed to having “impure thoughts”! I was truly afraid to confess that one.

To me, a sinner is someone who takes something he or she has no right to take. Murderers are sinners. Thieves on the order of Bernie Madoff are sinners. Parents who abuse their children are sinners. Pedophiles and the people who protect them are sinners. Not sure to this day a simple act of contrition truly erases those sins…only God knows what is in their hearts.

It has been many years since my last confession. The last time was to a 90 year old Italian priest in Tokyo…that pretty well may have been the last time I will go…it took over an hour and he told me perhaps we should discuss the confession over an espresso…you can guess what those discretions may have been.

But I do think the creators of “Confessions: A Roman Catholic App” are on to something. If the Vatican is looking to draw more lapsed Catholics back into the fold, it might consider developing a confession App of its own that could somehow measure whether a penitent was truly sincere and then confer absolution.

Guitar Hero Flame Out

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The premiere plastic guitar game just flamed out. Activision, beset by falling sales, has decided to shutter the division that created “Guitar Hero” and its sequels.

It’s an ignominious exit for a title that was once touted as the first great game franchise of the 21st century. “Guitar Hero” was created in 2005 by indie studio RedOctane, in collaboration with Harmonix, which had previously found success with the “Karaoke Revolution” franchise.

“Karaoke Revolution,” where players plugged microphones into their consoles and were scored on the accuracy of their singing, was the first game to show a significant number of videogamers were interested in making “music.” RedOctane’s “Guitar Hero” proved they were equally interested in shredding a plastic guitar.

Activision purchased the franchise in 2006 for $100 million; to date it has shipped more than 25 million units for a roughly $2 billion ROI. “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” made $1 billion on its own. Harmonix went on to publish the highly successful “Rock Band” franchise, which added drums, microphones and keyboards to the plastic guitar mix.

How the mighty have fallen. The holiday season was a disastrous one for the music game genre. First Harmonix was sold by Viacom to a consortium of shareholders; the terms were undisclosed, but it was reported to be a fire sale. MTV Games, which collaborated with Harmonix on “Rock Band,” was shut down. “Guitar Heroes: Warriors of Rock,” the sixth title in the series, received lackluster reviews and even more lackluster sales.

Hard to believe after 25 million sold.

Pope Calls Organ Donation “An Act of Love”

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Can the Pope be an organ donor?

The question was raised this week after Vatican Radio revealed the contents of a letter written by the Pope’s private secretary, Msgr George Gaenswein, stating that Pope Benedict’s 1970s issued organ donor card had become “de facto invalid with Cardinal Ratzinger’s election to the papacy”.

In 1999, the then Cardinal Ratzinger revealed he always carried an organ donor card with him, expressing his approval for organ donation which he called “an act of love”. I always felt the same and I too became an organ donor.

An unnamed German doctor reportedly used the fact the Pope possessed an organ donor card as a way of promoting the practice. This prompted Msgr Gaenswein to write to the doctor, saying: “It’s true that the Pope owns an organ donor card . . . but contrary to public opinion, the card issued back in the 1970s became de facto invalid with Cardinal Ratzinger’s election to the papacy.”

This was no sooner said than various experts were offering to explain this particular invalidity. Church teaching argues that a pope’s body belongs to the entire church and therefore he must be buried intact, said some.

Others argued if papal organs were donated, then they might become relics, de facto “parked” in other bodies, if the pope were eventually made a saint.

Contacted last night to explain this apparently obscure area of church teaching, senior Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi dismissed the notion of relics and intact burial. “The point is that the Pope offered to become a donor more than 40 years ago . . . having become Pope, his situation has changed – he is no longer any ordinary private citizen . . .

“There are things that you can do as a normal, private person that do not apply when you are a sort of public official or spiritual leader like the Pope”, he said.

“On top of that, I am not sure how much interest there would be in the organs of a 90-year-old man . . . as for talk of relics and things like that, frankly that just seems a silly joke to me.”

I am not nearly that old but my organs may resemble those of someone 90 plus!