This picture was taken in downtown LA few months ago when I was visiting Baba. In the background you can see couple of tall skyscrapers. A building can be referred to as a skyscraper if it has over 40 floors, is habitable and it protrudes well above its built environment and changes the overall skyline. Currently the tallest building in the world is Burj Khalifa in Dubai which is 828 m tall. It was built in 2010 and it has 163 floors. The tallest building in Los Angeles is US Bank Tower at 310.3 m and 73 floors. The tallest building in London is The Shard, which has 95 floors and is 309.6 m tall. The Shard incorporates retail, offices, hotel, apartments, restaurants and a public viewing gallery. The Shard was designed by Renzo Piano and was inspired by the spires of London churches and the masts of tall ships depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto. When you are next time in London look around you can' miss The Shard - spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames.
I used AA recently when I went to Iran for Maman's memorial ceremony. The main advantage of Azerbaijan Airlines over the airlines I used in the past for my travels to Iran are their new, well equipped, comfortable planes. I think the one I flu with was Boeing 787. The chairs were wide, very comfortable, had quite a good leg space and there was a little leg rest. There was a screen with in-flight entertainment on every chair (I watched again 'Inside-out' animated movie :-) ). All the passengers were provided with earphones, earplugs, eye cover for people who wanted to sleep, a little blanket. There was one hot meal served during the flight, one sandwich snack and couple of rounds of drinks. On both my flights to and from Baku to London, there were many empty sits, there was no one sitting next to me, so it added to extra comfort - more leg room. All these services were included in a standard ticket price and as far as I remember my return ticket was just little over £300 - that's a very good price.
The only disadvantage of flying with AA (for some people - for me it didn't matter) could be that there is no direct flight from London to Tehran. You have to change in Baku (Azerbaijan). The flight from London Heathrow to Baku takes about 5 hours 30 minutes (that's the one with Boeing) and then the flight from Baku to Tehran is only 45-60 minutes (it is with the small plane, but also modern and comfortable and even on that short flight they serve tea and coffee). I didn't have to wait long in Baku on my way to Tehran, I think it was just about over an hour, which was enough to go through security etc. On my way back I had a longer stay in Baku - few hours, but again, it wasn't bad. The Heydar Aliyev airport in Baku is very modern (the terminal was built for the Olympics last year), comfortable and I also found couple of other people who were waiting for their flights, so we spent all the time chatting, had something to eat and we just entertained ourselves. All in all I can certainly recommend Azerbaijan Airline, so check it out for your next travel to Iran :-)
Dear Atria, do you know the meaning of anticipation? I am pretty sure you do, I think everyone does. Anticipating is waiting for something exciting to happen, expecting, predicting. For example you may anticipate your next holidays, thinking of it and imagining how wonderful and exciting it's going to be, how much you are going to enjoy it, how much fun you are going to have, you may plan and rethink your activities, etc. This time of anticipation while awaiting for holidays can be most enjoyable and very rewarding; it actually adds a value to your upcoming holidays, it builds up excitement and tickles your imagination. As with most life's pleasures, it's not so much the experience itself as the anticipation that is most enjoyable. When your holiday comes it's just a week or two and it passes very fast, but anticipation leading to these holidays may last for months, months filled with excitement, plans, imagination and joy. I think anticipation is often the best part of an experience. What do you think dear Atria?
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~
A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her poodle along for company. One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a hungry-looking leopard heading rapidly in his direction.
The poodle thinks, "Oh, oh!"
Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the poodle exclaims loudly,
"Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?"
Hearing this, the leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.
"Whew!", says the leopard, "That was close! That poodle nearly had me!"
Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says,
"Here, monkey, hop on my back so you can watch me chew that poodle to bits!"
Now, the poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks,
"What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and waits until they get just close enough to hear.
"Where's that monkey?" the poodle says, "I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"
Today our Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 90th birthday. She was born in London to the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and was the elder of their two daughters. Since her accession in 1952 she has been Queen of United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and a Head of the Commonwealth. She is the world's oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain's longest-lived. I think we all love our Queen and we feel proud of her. To me she conveys a sense of calm, dignity and peace. She is a patron of numerous charities and she does a fantastic work supporting good causes all over the world. At age of 90 she still can be considered as a style icon - she always looks immaculate and she has never had a single fashion disaster. She is aging very gracefully. She is really down to earth. She could be spoilt if she wanted to, but she is not. Do you remember the short James Bond movie produced for the London Olympics? Our Queen was in it and it was fun - she is one cool Lady.
Today, to mark Queen's 90th Birthday the Royal Family shared a series of official photographs taken by a famous photographer Annie Leibovitz at Windsor Castle just after Easter. I especially like the photograph (below) of the Queen with her five great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren. I think it's a wonderful and very British family portrait.
Happy Birthday to Her Majesty!
This weird looking fruit is called cactus pear. I had a chance to try it for the first time in my life while I was in America. I didn't really like it that much; it's some sort of sweet and juicy but without any distinguished taste. The fruit must be peeled carefully to remove the small spines on the outer skin before eating. If the outer layer is not properly removed, glochids can be ingested, causing discomfort of the throat, lips, and tongue, as the small spines are easily lodged in the skin. Cactus pear has modest content of essential nutrients - fiber, vitamin C, minerals and magnesium. I am glad I've tried it, but I don't think I will buy it again.
Do you like experimenting with food and trying new kinds of food dear Atria?
Look at the picture I copied here from the Internet - it's quite a common situation, The dinner table, once the stronghold of family discussion, has been invaded by the mobile devices which saturate society. Teenagers have one eye on Facebook while parents try and fail to strike up a conversation. Texting in class is common, despite attempts by teachers to ban or integrate mobile technology into their lessons. I've seen it myself many times. Rather than talking to a human being next to us, we choose texting/tweeting/FB on our phone. It's all ok, but there need to be a balance in order for us not to lose our social skills and be able to talk and interact with other people. In the end our relationships with other people make our life fulfilled and worth living.
I truly believe that all this technology has a place in today’s world. But, we cannot use it as a crutch to withdraw ourselves from personal conversations. There are still many people who enjoy and need some good old conversation. Keep the balance dear Atria.
Well... it's actually very ordinary picture of sleeping Whiskey. Perhaps I should be posting pictures of him when he is awake as this is more rare occasion. The creature sleeps a lot... and I mean a lot. He is exceptionally good at it :-) It's nothing unusual for cats however (although I dare to claim that Whiskey is a lazy cat and he probably is less active than his other furry friends). Apparently sleeping takes up about two-third of cat's life. That sleeping habit is a result of the cat’s evolution, nutritional habits, and physiology. In the wild, cats have to hunt in order to eat, and the stalking, chasing, and killing of prey burns a lot of energy. Sleeping helps cats conserve energy between meals. House cats, like Whiskey, don't need to chase down their dinner. They are, on the contrary, served their meals (well... Whiskey is getting often gourmet meals! I wish I was fed like that!), in a timely fashion. But the instincts haven’t changed; house cats have the same genetic programming as feral cats. Not bad to be a cat, don't you think so? :-)
Hello Atria, I am just being silly today and here is my happy spring face for you. Let you head be filled this spring with positive thoughts, beautiful moments, colourful memories, love and joy. You don't necessary need to 'wear' them on your face (well... surely I wouldn't advise painting your face :-) ), but have them in your heart and they will show in your eyes and your smile. Happy spring dear Atria!
The above pictures show a mice nest throughout the ages. As you can see 12,000 years ago the nest was purely made from dry grass, wood pieces and all sorts of organic material. Today's nest is a totally different story - it's full of rubbish, anything we humans throw away mice find and bring to their nest. It's a sad message how the times have changed and how much we destroy our beautiful planet and disturb the wildlife.
Do your bit dear Atria - try to live your life as eco-friendly as you can, sort out your rubbish, recycle, don't waste water and energy. You may think that you cannot make any difference, but believe me, every little helps.
Dear Atria, looking at the pictures you may think they show some sort of middle-ages torture machine, but surprisingly not - it's actually the Max Factor beauty calibration machine.
In 1932, makeup legend Max Factor came up with an ingenious invention combining phrenology, cosmetics and a pseudo-scientific analysis of a woman's physical flaws. Max Factor's 'Beauty Calibrator' enabled Hollywood makeup artists to pinpoint where facial corrections needed to be made. This machine, also known to the trades as the Beauty Micrometer, revealed that a natural 'Perfect Face' was a myth.
Flaws almost invisible to the ordinary eye become glaring distortions when thrown upon the screen in high, magnified images... the device, remotely resembling a baseball mask, fits over the head and face with flexible metal strips which conform closely to the various features. The strips are held in place by set screws, allowing for 325 possible adjustments. If, for instance, the subject's nose is slightly crooked - so slightly, in fact, that it escapes ordinary observation - the flaw is promptly detected by the instrument and corrective makeup is applied by an experienced makeup artist.
We have seen the Beauty Calibrator made by Max Factor at Hollywood Museum when visiting with Baba. It is the only one in existence. The concept is that the human face has 'flaws' which can be detected by the wire cage wrapped around the head and can then be 'corrected' with pancake shading makeup applied precisely in strategic areas to achieve the 'perfect face'.
Dear Atria, I am sure you have heard of an iconic Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. I had a chance to see an extensive exhibition at the Max Factor house in Hollywood focused on the life and a mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe. I became quite interested in various theories as what actually has happened to this beautiful, young, talented actress on the night of her death. I read all the information provided and have seen original police report from that night, death certificate, pill bottles and other exhibits that raised my curiosity. I think however it is one of these occasions that we will never find out the true and we will always have doubts. Marilyn's death remains one of Hollywood's most compelling, and unforgettable, mysteries. So what has happened?
On August 5, 1962, the body of Marilyn Monroe was found in the bedroom of her Brentwood home. The 36-year-old movie star was naked and facedown on her bed. An autopsy conducted by Dr. Thomas Noguchi, then deputy medical examiner, concluded that death was due to acute barbiturate poisoning, and a psychiatric team tied to the investigation termed it a ‘probable suicide.’
That night, Marilyn’s housekeeper, Mrs. Murray stayed at Marilyn’s Brentwood house at the request of Marilyn’s psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson. The remainder of the story, though, has been altered so many times over the years that it is difficult to determine what to really believe…
According to the first and second police report, Mrs. Murray became alarmed in the middle of the night when she spotted a light on in Marilyn’s bedroom. Later, at 3.30am, Mrs. Murray noticed that the light was still on. She then proceeded to go outside, where through the bedroom window she saw Marilyn’s body lying on the bed in an ‘unnatural’ position. Mrs. Murray then Dr. Greenson, who promptly rushed to Marilyn’s home.
However, according to Jack Clemmons, the first Los Angeles police officer on the scene, Mrs. Murray initially told him that she had had discovered Marilyn’s body shortly after midnight and that both Drs. Greenson and Engelberg (Marilyn’s internist) had been at the Brentwood home since 12.30am! This information is even more interesting when it is coupled with the fact that the police were not notified until 4.25am.
Years later Mrs. Murray confirmed to Bob Slatzer that she had discovered Marilyn’s body at around midnight and that rigor mortis had already set in – meaning, of course, that Marilyn had died the night of August 4, not the morning of August 5, 1962, which is generally accepted as Marilyn’s death date. What compounds the confusion further is that, according to Jack Clemmons, Mrs. Murray was washing clothes, cleaning out the refrigerator, and packing away items when he arrived at the death scene at 4.40am.
The following day, August 6, Eunice Murray held a press conference at her Santa Monica apartment. At that time, Mrs. Murray told the press the story that on the night of August 4, Marilyn had received a mysterious, disturbing phone call. But, she said: ‘in the past few weeks, Marilyn had everything to live for. The plans we made were so wonderful.’
Following Marilyn’s death, Eunice Murray went away to Europe. It has been reported that she remained abroad for six months. However Mrs. Murray has claimed that she was away for only six weeks. Marilyn’s adoring fans have always wondered who sent Eunice Murray on this ‘extended vacation’?
Since Marilyn’s death, one question has been brought up repeatedly…
How could Eunice Murray have seen an alarming light on in Marilyn’s bedroom when there was no gap between the door and the carpeting on the floor for the light beam to escape? In her 1975 book, Mrs. Murray attempted to silence those questions by claiming it was not a light at all that had initially alarmed her – it was the sight of a telephone cord that ran under Marilyn’s door that caused alarm.
An interesting addendum to never solved mystery, is the following quote from ‘Legend: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe’ (1984), in which author Fred Lawrence Guiles states:
‘By the end of July, Marilyn was taking tentative steps toward replacing Mrs. Murray. She had gone to the home of her former housekeeper, Florence Thomas, and asked her to come back to work for her. Florence believed that she was to take the place of Eunice Murray.’
Also of interest is the 1962 police report made by Sgt. Robert E. Byron. Byron’s report read, in part:
‘It is this officer’s opinion that Mrs. Murray was vague and possibly evasive in answering questions pertaining to the activities of Miss Monroe during this time period. It is not known whether this was or was not intentional.’
There have been numerous theories about what really happened to Marilyn Monroe, many of them placing the blame on the Kennedy brothers or Dr. Ralph Greenson. I guess we will never know the true...
Different colours have different meanings, they are associated with different feelings & moods and you can convey different messages with different colours. Here are the meanings of some most common colors:
RED - love, energy, power, strength, passion, heat, immediacy, anger, warning, danger, sale
BLUE - tranquility, loyalty, trust, intelligence, calm, smart, faith, stable, coldness, masculinity
GREEN - growth, peace, healing, freshness, soothing, eco-friendly, balance, envy, jealousy, guilt
YELLOW - energy, sun, bright, creativity, happy, intellect, cheer, attention, warmth, optimism
ORANGE - courage, health, attraction, wealth, confidence, success, friendliness, ignorance
PINK - feminine, sweet, sensitive, tenderness, caring, emotional, compassion, immaturity, weak
PURPLE - royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, ambition, mystery, arrogant, creative, sadness
BLACK - classy, formality, protection, elegance, dramatic, bold, rich, power, mystery, evil, strength
What is your favourite colour dear Atria? I personally like red, white and blue.
“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Image from Fathers4Justice campaign, copyrights to Fathers4Justice.
Fathers4Juistice stand for the human rights of mothers, fathers and children.
Fatherlessness is an obscenity. No child should be denied their human right to a father yet nearly 1 in 3 children now lives without a father in the UK – that’s nearly 4 million fatherless children. Every day 200 children will lose contact with their father & other family members in secret family courts.
To end fatherlessness and the cancer of family breakdown.
To ensure all children having a meaningful, loving relationship with their fathers.
To ensure fathers have a legal presumption of 50/50 shared parenting after separation.
To protect children, fathers, grandparents and other family members from cruel and degrading treatment which can result in their forced separation in secret courts.
To open the door on closed courts and secure open justice for all with the introduction of a ‘duty of candour’, scrutiny, transparency and regulation of the courts.
To end Child Support discrimination against fathers on the basis of their gender.
Child support should mean emotional and financial support.
To end the demonisation and denigration of men and boys in society.
To launch a Public Enquiry into the Family Justice system headed by Sir Bob Geldof.
To engage in immediate, radical reform of the entire family justice system including a new Bill of Rights & Responsibilites for Families, based upon our Blueprint for Family Law.
I am your dad Atria.