Today’s Funny: Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall
Do you have to tell it all?
Where do you get the glaring right
To make my clothes look too darn tight?
I think I’m fine but I can see
You won’t cooperate with me,
The way you let the shadows play
You’d think my hair was getting gray.
What’s that, you say? A double chin?
No, that’s the way the light comes in,
If you persist in peering so
You’ll confiscate my facial glow,
And then if you’re not hanging straight
You’ll tell me next I’m gaining weight,
I’m really quite upset with you
For giving this distorted view;
I hate you being smug and wise
O, look what’s happened to my thighs!
I warn you now, O mirrored wall,
Since we’re not on speaking terms at all,
If I look like this in my new jeans
You’ll find yourself in smithereens!!

Turok’s Cabana


Today’s Extra for Jan. 9: 10 Simple 14-Day Challenges to Try This New Year

10 Simple 14-Day Challenges to Try This New Year

Making a list of New Year’s resolutions come January 1st is a tradition that feels as old as time. Unfortunately, many of us (half to be exact) fall off the wagon within a matter of weeks as motivation wains and old habits reappear.

One of the reasons New Year’s goals are so easy to break is that, even with the best intentions, committing to a year-long endeavor is pretty monumental. We also have a tendency to make our intentions far too vague (for example: “lose weight” or “drink more water”), which only bites us in the you-know-what later on.

Sick of committing to wishy washy New Year’s resolutions? Why not go against the grain and take on something a little more manageable: a 14-day challenge! Each of these ideas below are meaningful but lighthearted, and will help spur the positive habits you’ve been trying to cultivate since…2003. Enjoy!

1. Keep your phone out of the bedroom for 14 days.

Keeping your bedroom a phone-free zone is actually really beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Also, social media is a major time suck…now might be a good time to throw off the chains for a bit.

2. Make a to-do list every morning for 14 days.

This one’s easy. Cut the overwhelm by writing out your goals every morning for two weeks. Getting into the habit will help you keep your head on straight and actually achieve your goals.

3. Eat a serving of vegetables with every meal for 14 days.

Whether you’re slimming down or just trying to stay healthy, veggies are your friends. Plus, they’re delish. Need to get those wheels turning? Check our recipes section for some inspiration!

4. Call your representative or sign a petition every day for 14 days.

Telephoning your legislator’s office is a great way to communicate your opinions on everything from climate change to protection of local lands. Just follow this step-by-step guide from the Union of Concerned Scientists if you’ve never called your representatives before.

5. Pay someone a compliment every day for 14 days.

Some days there’s nothing better than hearing “You’re doing a great job” or “I love your taste in music.” Share a compliment or two and spread the love!

6. Cook breakfast for yourself every morning for 14 days.

Breakfast may not necessarily be the most important meal of the day, but it sure can start your morning off on the right foot! Commit to making breakfast for yourself every day, even if it’s just a bowl of oatmeal or a quick smoothie you can eat on your way out the door.

7. Add more citrus to your grocery cart every time you shop for 14 days.

When you wander by the citrus display in your grocery store, indulge! Grab up those clementines, grapefruits and pomelos and enjoy how they brighten up your fruit bowl and your belly.

8. Spend time with your hobby each day for 14 days.

Are you a painter? Do you crochet? Enjoy recording music? Whether it’s five minutes or an hour, spend a little time with your hobby every single day for 14 days.

9. Don’t buy a single piece of plastic for 14 days.

Plastic is killing our planet, contaminating our water and overwhelming our lives. Skip it for a while. See how it feels. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that going plastic free isn’t so bad after all.

10. Find something to let go of every day for 14 days.

This can be either a physical item (old books or clothing that doesn’t fit) or something internal (guilt or an addiction to busyness). Whatever it is, let something go day by day for 14 days. You’ll feel lighter by the end of it!




By The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Keep the following supplies in your emergency survival kit, and you will be prepared for any adverse situation!

Have these items prepared in survival bags—portable bags, such as duffels or backpacks, that are used solely for holding emergency supplies. Store survival bags in an easily accessible place. If evacuation is necessary, be sure to follow the directions of local authorities.



  • You should have a three-day supply of non-perishable food, including ready-to-eat canned goods. Try to choose high energy foods, such as granola, dried fruit, nuts, protein bars, and jerky. Avoid overly salty foods, like chips and pretzels, as they will make you thirsty.
  • Be sure to have a manual can opener on hand, as well as eating utensils.
  • Prepare for any special dietary needs of your family.
  • It’s also possible to buy freeze-dried foods or meal kits in bulk, which are specially made and packaged for use in emergency situations.
  • Review your food supplies occasionally and eliminate anything that has exceeded its “use by” date.


  • Keep on hand a three-day supply of water. You should have one gallon of water for each person, per day. To ensure safe drinking water, it is recommended to buy commercially bottled water.


  • First Aid Kit, including non-prescription medication and antibacterial gel.
  • Be sure to stock extra prescription medication and any other special medical or sanitary needs, such as extra diapers and formula for babies.
  • Tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper can also come in handy.
  • Be sure to check out our tips for health emergencies as well.


  • Plan accordingly for the climate you live in. Layered clothing can help you stay warm and dry.
  • Include at least one complete change of clothes for each person.


  • Flashlights, with extra batteries (or mechanical, squeeze-type flashlights)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Paper and pencil
  • Signal flares
  • Extra cell phone battery or battery packs
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Pocket knife
  • Nylon rope
  • Duct tape
  • Cash


Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.

  • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Photo IDs, passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards



Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Old Farmer’s Almanac: WINTER CAR EMERGENCY KIT



By The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Keep the following supplies in your winter car emergency kit. In fact, we always say to prepare for the worst case scenario, especially in wintertime!

Emergencies can happen to anyone. Whether you run out of fuel, puncture a tire, or slip off a snowy road, keep a car emergency kit on-hand to help you get back on the road safely and quickly.

In addition to the items listed below, a cell phone is highly advised. Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car and keep a cell phone charger in your car.


Keep the below items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, we’d suggest a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to see and locate everything. You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own.

Minimum Supplies:

  • Flashlight, plus extra batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight)
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap).
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife)
  • Road flares or reflective warning triangles

Other Essentials:

  • Small fire extinguisher (5-lb., Class B and Class C type) in case of a car fire
  • Tire gauge to check inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire
  • Jack and lug wrench to change a tire
  • Gloves, rags, hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
  • Duct tape
  • Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
  • Rain poncho
  • Nonperishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, raisins, and peanut butter
  • Battery– or hand-crank–powered radio
  • Lighter and box of matches
  • Spare change and cash
  • Paper maps

Additional Items for Winter Driving:

For those in wintry areas, add the below items to your emergency kit. (If it’s balmy all winter where you live, be thankful that you don’t need all of this stuff!)

  • Blankets, gloves, hats
  • Ice scraper
  • Collapsible or folding snow shovel
  • A bag of sand to help with traction (or bag of kitty litter)
  • Blanket
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Hand warmers
  • Winter boots for longer trips
  • Sleeping bag for longer trips


  • Keep your gas tank filled above halfway to avoid a gas line freeze-up.
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated.
  • Beware of black ice. Roads may look clear, but they may still be slippery.
  • Stuck on the ice without sand or cat litter? In a pinch, you can take the floor mats out of your car, place them next to the tires, and slowly inch the car onto and across the mats.
  • Make sure windows are defrosted and clear. And be sure to clear snow and ice from the top of the vehicle! Gently rub a small, moistened, cloth bag of iodized salt on the outside of your windshield to prevent the ice and snow from sticking.
  • To restore proper windshield wiper blade action, smooth the rubber blades with fine sandpaper to remove any grit and pits.
  • Fog-proof your mirrors and the inside of your windshields with shaving cream. Spray and wipe it off with paper towels.
  • Avoid driving when you have the flu, which can reduce your reaction time almost six times as much as moderate alcohol intake.

See more cold-weather tips provided by AAA.


Old Farmers Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac: HOW TO KEEP WARM IN WINTER



By The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Where I live, winter temperatures are often in the single digits, but no matter where you live, keeping warm is a basic need that we all share.

Here are some tips—from both Almanac editors and readers—about how to stay warm. These aren’t “big” projects like buying a new heating system—just inexpensive, resourceful ways to help you warm up now!


1. Dress in layers

Bundle up. Wear long underwear, sweaters, and even hats indoors. Remember the days of “sleeping caps”? They make sense! Yes, wear a cap or hat to keep your head warm. If you’re headed outside, cover your face with a scarf.

To avoid getting overheated inside, wear layers. I recommend a “wicking” polyester (or silk) undershirt next to your skin versus cotton. I gave a polyester t-shirt to my father and he keeps talking about the amazing difference as if I had invented sliced bread! Just don’t layer yourself so much that you’re pouring sweat.  The idea is to keep your body warm AND dry.

One reader adds, “I can’t imagine surviving cold weather, inside or out, without a stretchy fleece neck warmer. I have several and I put one on when watching television or reading to avoid turning up the thermostat. Just think about summertime when you are feeling too hot—if you can, you try to cool down by opening your collar. We are using the reverse of that principle here.”

Another idea: Try flannel-lined pants.

2. Keep Your Feet Warm

I highly recommend “house slippers” indoors. I know that it sounds a bit old-fashioned, but having the rubber sole really makes a difference.

And warm socks! One reader says, “I’m from Florida. But when it’s cold, like when we got down to 23 last week, socks are my best friends. A soft, cozy pair worn to bed keeps my feet toasty warm, and as long as my feet are warm, I’m comfortable with the thermostat turned down.”

“Keep changing your socks! Everybody forgets that your feet sweat, and THAT can make you cold even though you are layered up.” Wool socks or “smartwool” keeps your feet from sweating.

For the outdoors, it really helps to insert foam liners in your boots or hiking shoes to give your toes an extra layer of insulation again the cold earth.

3. Heat Up Your Bed

Don’t turn up the heat for the entire house. Use an electric blanket. An even cheaper and safer option may be a hot water bottle with a wool or fleece cover. Here’s what other readers say:

  • “Fill your bottle with hot water from the faucet before going to bed and slip it into the foot of the bed between the sheets. By the time you’re ready for bed it’s all nice and toasty at your feet. Believe it or not the water bottle stays warm all night long.”
  • “Use rice! Put the rice in a fleece cover, then warm in the microwave. It will stay warm half the night and keep your toes comfortable.”
  • “I have a water bottle, but better and quicker is to use a large heating pad with an automatic shut-off. Mine shuts off after 30 minutes. I lay the heating pad in the bed and turn it on about 15 minutes before retiring. I turn it off and then on again if I still need a little more heat, but it is usually adequate just turning it on once.”’

4. Harness the Sun

During the day, open the blinds and curtains on the south-facing windows—and let the Sun warm you. At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home.

One reader adds, “We use roller blinds every night for all windows. Saves a lot of energy in a cheap and easy way.”

5. Keep the Kitchen Cozy

Many readers keep the kitchen humming!

  • “I put a cast iron pot of water with liquid potpourri on the top of our cast iron stove. This increases the humidity in the room and puts a lovely smell in the air.”
  • “Drink lots of yummy hot chocolate!!!!”
  • “Bake something in the oven, either dinner or a dessert (doesn’t have to be fattening but even better if it is).”
  • “A hot cup of tea is great… If you are sick, a hot toddy works wonders. Also, I always have a crock pot of soup going during the cold months.”
  • “Use matches not lighters. It seems silly but if your pilot goes out, your lighter will not work.”

6. Block Drafts

Beyond weather-stripping, which is difficult with old houses, consider these reader tips:

  • “I hang blankets to close off the open stair well going to the second floor, since heat raises it keeps the warm air down stairs when we spend most of our time. I noticed it saves a lot of heating dollars.”
  • “Don’t forget to put something at the bottom of outside doors—you can just feel the cold air pour in. You can buy a fancy roll or just use a blanket or towel.”
  • “I made long round pillows to place against my doors and window sills. I found some scrap pieces of upholstery fabric that are nice and heavy and help keep the drafts out.”
  • “Just like layers of clothing, I put layers at the windows. Between the window and the thermal-backed drapes are the closed venetian blinds and a flannel-backed table cloth. And we hang a blanket over the entire exterior door cause air doesn’t just come in at the bottom.”

7. Stay Active

Get your body moving. At the Almanac, we joke that “one log can heat a house.” Just run up the stairs with the log, throw it out the top window, and repeat three times. You’ll be warm!

Our readers add:

  • “Keep active, this is a good time to clean out closets, garages, etc. Anything to keep active.”
  • “If I get a chill just sitting, I get up and stir around, the movement not only warms me up but also stirs the heat in the house. Children are great when playing, they stir the air around.”
  • “Don’t just sit around. Stay active to keep your blood from ‘thickinin.’ Exercise is good for ya.”

8. Humidify Your Home

Not only does a humidifier keep your house warmer, it also eliminates drying indoor air. As our readers say:

  • “I discovered that when I run my vaporizer (humidifier) in the bedroom, I can turn the heat down a couple extra degrees overnight. In the morning, I raise the heat by about 2 degrees at a time instead of making the furnace work hard to raise it all at once.”
  • “I keep coffee cans lined with large baggies with water in them, around the vents to add humidity to the house, and this works great. I lined the coffee cans so they would not rust.”
  • “I put a waterbath canner full of water on the stove (lasts all night).”

If you don’t have a humidifier, here’s another idea: When you take a bath in winter, leave the water in the tub after you get out. If you let it sit until it reaches room temperature, it will add a little warmth to the house and help humidify it, too!

9. More Ideas

Here’s a new one! “I live five miles from the Canadian border in the St Lawrence region—icebox country! To stay warm INEXPENSIVELY, recycle old panty hose that have runs or snags. This layer next to the bottom, legs, and toes—with slacks over top—keeps me toasty. For guys like Joe Namath too!!”


Holidays Around The World for Jan. 9: Agonalia


January 9

In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and of doorways. The worship of Janus is believed to have been startedby Romulus, one of the legendary founders of Rome. Usually depicted with two faces, one looking forward to the future andthe other looking back to the past, his image appeared on an early Roman coin with a ship’s prow on the reverse side.Roman boys used to toss these coins, calling out “heads or ships” just as youngsters today play “heads or tails.” During thefestival in honor of Janus known as the Agonalia, the rex sacrorum or officiating priest sacrificed a ram. Offerings of barley,incense, wine, and cakes called Januae were also common.
Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome, honored Janus by dedicating the famous Ianus geminus, the arcade atthe northeast end of the Roman Forum, to him. It was believed that passing through this arcade brought luck to soldiers ontheir way to war.
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 1
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 539
DictRomRel-1996, p. 4
FestRom-1981, p. 60
OxYear-1999, p. 29

This Day In History: Martyrs’ Day: Riots over Sovereignty of Panama Canal Zone (1964)

Martyrs’ Day: Riots over Sovereignty of Panama Canal Zone (1964)

Martyrs’ Day (Spanish: Día de los Mártires) is a Panamanian day of national mourning which commemorates the January 9, 1964 anti-American riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone. The riot started after a Panamanian flag was torn and Panamanian students were killed during a conflict with Canal Zone Police officers and Canal Zone residents. It is also known as the Flag Incident or Flag Protests.

U.S. Army units became involved in suppressing the violence after Canal Zone police were overwhelmed, and after three days of fighting, about 22 Panamanians and four U.S. soldiers were killed. The incident is considered to be a significant factor in the U.S. decision to transfer control of the Canal Zone to Panama through the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.

After Panama gained independence from Colombia in 1903, with the assistance of the U.S., there was resentment amongst some Panamanians as a result of the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which ceded control of the Panama Canal Zone to the U.S. “in perpetuity” in exchange for a 10 million dollar initial payment and yearly 250 thousand dollar payments thereafter. In addition, the United States Government purchased title to all the lands in the Canal Zone from the private owners. The Canal Zone, primarily consisting of the Panama Canal, was a strip of land running from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean and had its own police, schools, ports and post offices. The Canal Zone became U.S. territory (de facto if not de jure).

In January 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy agreed to fly Panama’s flag alongside the U.S. flag at all non-military sites in the Canal Zone where the U.S. flag was flown. However, Kennedy was assassinated before his orders were carried out. One month after Kennedy’s death, Panama Canal Zone Governor Robert J. Fleming, Jr. issued a decree limiting Kennedy’s order. The U.S. flag would no longer be flown outside Canal Zone schools, police stations, post offices or other civilian locations where it had been flown, but Panama’s flag would not be flown either. The governor’s order infuriated many Zonians, who interpreted it as a U.S. renunciation of sovereignty over the Canal Zone.[1]

In response, outraged Zonians began flying the U.S. flag anywhere they could. After the first U.S. flag to be raised at Balboa High School (a public high school in the Canal Zone) was taken down by school officials, the students walked out of class, raised another flag, and posted guards to prevent its removal. Most Zonian adults sympathized with the student demonstrators.

In what was to prove a miscalculation of the volatility of the situation, Governor Fleming departed for a meeting in Washington, D.C. on the afternoon of January 9, 1964. For him and many others, the U.S.-Panama relationship was at its peak. The exploding situation caught up with the Governor while he was still en route to the U.S. over the Caribbean.

While a Panamanian response to the flag raisings by the Zonians was expected, the crisis took most Americans by surprise. Several years later, Lyndon B. Johnson wrote in his memoirs that: “When I heard about the students’ action, I was certain we were in for trouble.”

The news of the actions of the Balboa High School reached the students at the Instituto Nacional, Panama’s top public high school. Led by 17-year-old Guillermo Guevara Paz, 150 to 200 demonstrating students from the institute, crossed the street into the Canal Zone and marched through the neighborhoods to Balboa High School, carrying their school’s Panamanian flag and a sign proclaiming their country’s sovereignty over the U.S. Canal Zone. They had first informed their school principal and the Canal Zone authorities of their plans before setting out on their march. Their intention was to raise the Panamanian flag on the Balboa High School flagpole and remove the U.S. flag.[1]

At Balboa High, the Panamanian students were met by Canal Zone police and a crowd of Zonian students and adults. After negotiations between the Panamanian students and the police, a small group was allowed to approach the flagpole, while police kept the main group back.[citation needed]

A half-dozen Panamanian students, carrying their flag, approached the flagpole. In response, the Zonians surrounded the flagpole, sang the Star Spangled Banner, and rejected the deal between the police and the Panamanian students. Scuffling broke out. The Panamanians were driven back by the Zonian civilians and police. In the course of the scuffle, Panama’s flag was torn.

The flag in question had historical significance. In 1947, students from the Instituto Nacional had carried it in demonstrations opposing the Filos-Hines Treaty and demanding the withdrawal of U.S. military bases. Independent investigators of the events of January 9, 1964 later noted that the flag was made of flimsy silk, this is not historical fact though.[1]

There are conflicting claims about how the flag was torn. Canal Zone Police Captain Gaddis Wall, who was in charge of the police at the scene, denies any American culpability. He claims that the Panamanian students stumbled and accidentally tore their own flag. David M. White, an apprentice telephone technician with the Panama Canal Company, stated that “the police gripped the students, who were four or five abreast, under the shoulders in the armpits and edged them forward. One of the students fell or tripped and I believe when he went down the old flag was torn.” However we must take into account that this is all hearsay.

One of the Panamanian flag bearers, Eligio Carranza, said that “they started shoving us and trying to wrest the flag from us, all the while insulting us. A policeman wielded his club which ripped our flag. The captain tried to take us where the others Panamanian students were. On the way through the mob, pulled and tore our flag.”

To this day, the issue remains highly contentious, with both sides saying the other instigated the conflict.

Read more….

Inspiration for the Day for January 9th: Releasing Guilt




Releasing Guilt


Dwelling in guilt is like living your life with an anchor tied to your ankles, dragging you down.

Learning to accept the things that we perceive as wrong can be a difficult task for many of us. Often we have been brought up to accept that it is normal to feel guilty about our actions and that by doing so we will make everything seem alright within ourselves. Even though we might feel that we have a reason to make up for the choices we have made, it is much more important for us to learn how to deal with them in a healthy and positive way, such as through forgiveness and understanding.

When we can look back at our past and really assess what has happened, we begin to realize that there are many dimensions to our actions. While feeling guilty might assuage our feelings at first, it is really only a short-term solution. It is all too ironic that being hard on ourselves is the easy way out. If we truly are able to gaze upon our lives through the lens of compassion, however, we will be able to see that there is much more to what we do and have done than we realize. Perhaps we were simply trying to protect ourselves or others and did the best we could at the time, or maybe we thought we had no other recourse and chose a solution in the heat of the moment. Once we can understand that dwelling in our negative feelings will only make us feel worse, we will come to recognize that it is really only through forgiving ourselves that we can transform our feelings and truly heal any resentment we have about our past.

Giving ourselves permission to feel at peace with our past actions is one of the most positive steps we can take toward living a life free from regrets, disappointments, and guilt. The more we are able to remind ourselves that the true path to a peaceful mind and heart is through acceptance of every part of our lives and actions, the more harmony and inner joy we will experience in all aspects of our lives.


Daily OM



A year can be measured in a multitude of ways. In terms of the Tarot, 2019 will be the year of The Hanged Man or The Empress.

Tarot and astrology both involve a blend of intuition and mathematics, and as such, annual thematic cards are divined through very basic means: just add up the digits of the year in question. So, for 2019, determining the year’s ruling cards is as simple as adding 2+0+1+9 = 12 (The Hanged Man), and then furthering that equation by adding 1+2 = 3 (The Empress). If helpful, consider the double-digit card a baseline for the collective mindset and the single-digit card a more individual mode.

2018 was marked by theJustice and High Priestess cards, and it was impossible to ignore their influences on the zeitgeist. Using the approach of the double-digit card as the collective, it’s easy to see how themes of law and order loomed large in the cultural consciousness. Legal issues abounded in the government in the U.S. — think the Russia investigation and numerous skirmishes surrounding the border — and were accompanied by ample debate in regard to trans rights and the fates of those whose abuses were brought to light by the #MeToo movement. Justice is a card that speaks of karmic righteousness, and many of us seemed to wrangle with cosmic rights versus wrongs, shadow-boxing with complicated ethics and moral dilemmas. Ultimately, each of us came to understand that we must rely only on our own voice of internal knowing (The High Priestess) to make decisions and lead the way to the future.

The Tarot-centric themes of 2019 only serve to continue this developing narrative. The Hanged Man speaks of surrender, release, and sacrifice, and often comes up when querents need to make choices around personal discipline and the relinquishing of bad habits. This is a crucial time for letting go of anything that is not serving us, for stepping into the embodiment of our higher selves. On a cultural level, it is a clarion call to surrender the comforts of our various privileges and unearned advantages. We will be forced to see things through new eyes, and The Empress will guide us on an individual level, assisting in making this process of letting go a thing of grace and beauty. She will accomplish this by asking what we are creating, what we are nurturing, where our energy can be softer and more loving, and how we can mirror or mimic the unconditional love of the divine.

With this guidance in mind, it’s best to welcome whatever the New Year brings with open arms. And should you find yourself in need of a bit of guidance, simply pull a card — enhanced perspective is sure to follow.

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