Thursday, March 31, 2011

There's an ocean of careers for those who love the sea

Jacques Cousteau

In my impressionable youth, when time allowed for lemonade stands and save-the-whale campaigns, I imagined that one day I would become an oceanographer.

I grew up about as far away from saltwater as one could get, but I was born with a passion for the water. Swimming, sailing, fishing, diving, it all appealed to me. Still, it wasn't until I watched a TV special on Jacques Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso that I began to entertain notions of one day combining my love of the water with a rewarding career. I knew Costeau as the captain with the red cap and gaunt silhouette, but he was known around the world as the young co-inventor (only 33 at the time) of the aqualung, a device that enabled divers to explore ocean depths for extended periods, unearthing a place which, up until that time, was virtually unknown to humankind.

According to the Cousteau Society, he went on to pioneer many areas including documenting the sonar-like capabilities of dolphins, public demonstrations to protect the oceans from radioactive dumping and over-exploitation and profound wildlife cinematography. Before the Cousteau team explored the Antarctica in 1972, one could only imagine what the ocean was like below the icebergs and ice shelf. Just as the astronauts risked their lives to show us the dark sides of the moon, Cousteau and his crew braved deadly conditions to reveal the darkest depths of the ocean. 

On Jan. 11, 1996, Cousteau lost the Calypso. It was rammed and sunk in Singapore harbor by a barge.

On June 25, 1997, the world lost Cousteau.

It has been many years since this renowned ambassador for the seas and oceans last sailed, but his passion for creatures of the sea was inherited by his son, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, who, through the support of the Cousteau Society has been able to continue his father's work. 

In June, as part of the society's year-long centennial celebration of Cousteau's birth and lifelong achievements, it will re-launch the newly restored Calypso for a marine education tour and new Cousteau Divers program. 

AP Photos/Hawaii Dept. of Natural Resources
Saving sea turtles
In this photo, from left, Aquatic biologist Skippy Hau of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources works with Dennis O'Donnell; state wildlife technician Stephanie Franklin; and state habitat- and fish-monitoring technician Linda Castro to return a stranded sea turtle to the ocean in Kanaha Beach Park in Maui, Hawaii.

Off to the sea!
A sea turtle at Kanaha Beach Park in Maui, Hawaii heads for the sea. This sea turtle, weighing about 200 pounds, and tilapia are among the marine life that survived becoming casualties of the tsunami that hit Maui earlier this month.

"If he were alive today, my father would surely be awed by the technology and skill behind the work of his cinematic successors, who share my father's philosophy that 'people protect what they love and we love what enchants us,'" said Pierre-Yves Cousteau, in a media advisory. "He would be gratified by the creation of marine protected areas in many countries and by the growing community of scientists working to advance understanding and conservation of ocean biodiversity such as those completing the first census of marine life and its inventory of ocean species."

I wanted to be an oceanographer because it was the one job that I knew would combine my love of the water with a rewarding career. Over the years, my lemonade stand closed and I discovered a passion for storytelling that surpassed my desire to be an oceanographer. And through my writings I have since learned that there is an ocean of careers for those enchanted by the sea.

To find out more about the "Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" visit the Cousteau Society What can you do if you love the water? Find out more at Sea Grants Marine Careers

Today's muse
One of the biggest challenges of the future may be simply to understand what should be the relationship between the sea and humans - Jacques Cousteau.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A good night's sleep is all about setting the stage

Photo courtesy of Family Features

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is food for the brain and vital to a child's health and growth. But like vegetables just because it's good for you does not mean children will like it.

Metro Newspaper Services
Babies cry.

Toddlers fuss.

Preschoolers run.

Tweens tweet.

So, what can a parent do to maintain a sleep-friendly environment?

Here are a few tips recommended by the NSF and Better Sleep Council:
* Reduce noise -- Noisy televisions, stereos and even Bowser barking can interrupt one's sleep. Nobody needs complete silence to sleep but minimizing excess sound will help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Live near a highway? Carpet, upholstery and blackout curtains can absorb some of the ambient noises and make the room quieter. The white noise of an aquarium or fan can help block unwanted noise.
* Ideal temperatures -- will vary from one individual to the next. However, as a rule, the NSF says that temperatures above 75 F and below 54 F will disrupt sleep. "A slightly cooler room contributes to good sleep because it mimics what happens when the body's internal temperature drops to its lowest level during the night," according to the NSF. Gauge the temperature in your child's room and make adjustments accordingly. Rooms with more sun exposure tend to be warmer and may need a ceiling fan.
* Let there not be light -- Even when sleeping the human body is sensitive to light. The Better Sleep Council said that light, such as the rising sun, is a powerful cue to the body and can wake up the brain well before the alarm clock sounds. "Keeping the room as dark as possible helps the body fall asleep naturally," according to the BSC. It's for this reason both the NSF and BSC recommend the use of light blocking curtains.
Remember the heavy, rubber-back curtains your grandmother had in her house? They not only blocked the light but kept the room warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Today, companies such as LightCatcher are making curtains with technology designed to make them energy and sound efficient. Look for them in specialty stores and online at sites such as Buy Buy Baby

How much sleep is enough?
Every child and adult for that matter will vary with regard to how much sleep is enough. However, these are the guidelines recommended by the NSF for specific age groups:
Newborns (0-2 months): 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months): 14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 years): 12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours
School-Age Children (5-10 years): 10-11 hours
Teens (10-17): 8.5-9.25 hours
Find out more at www.sleepfoundation.org.

Create a healthy routine
Even in the perfect environment, children need to develop sleep-time routines to make it a habit. Below are a few tips from Sleepforkids.org in relation to age:

* Establish weekly daytime and bedtime schedules.
* Create an enjoyable bedtime tradition such as reading a story.
* Rocking chairs are great but it's important to raise infants to become self soothers who can fall asleep independently.

* Establish weekly daytime and bedtime schedules.
* Carry on the traditions of reading a story.
* Set limits and be consistent but allow for the use of a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal.

* Establish a weekly sleep schedule and be consistent.
* Encourage them to read you a story.
* Set up a routine that always ends in the room where the child sleeps.
* Keep the room free of distractions such as toys and radios.

School-age children
* Establish a weekly sleep schedule and be consistent.
* Explain why sleep is important.
* As they get older, make adjustments. Do not stray too far from the schedule unless it’s a weekend or special occasion.
* Continue to encourage reading before bedtime as a way to wind down.
* Establish rules regarding technology before bed such as TVs, cell phones and computers.
* Set rules about no sweets or caffeine before bed.

Today's Muse
Any kid will run any errand for you, if you ask at bedtime  ~ Red Skelton

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Homeworks: Getting your gardening affairs in order

Scrub your containers and fill them up with pansies.

With one week into spring, now would be a good time to get your gardening affairs in order.

“Most important is the debris in the yard needs to be cleaned up,” said Jan Ornsten, whose family business, American Lawn Corp., has been servicing commercial and residential lawns since 1961.

If you’re a pet owner, that means a couple of hours of poop scooping.

“Once that’s done, I would proceed to pick up any big branches that may have fallen off the tree, so you’re not tripping over them, for safety’s sake,” Ornsten said.
Cleanup in the yard would entail raking the leaves off the lawn and out of the flowerbeds. After April 1, you should be able to start setting the yard waste bags at the road for pickup.

“This is also the time to trim broken branches or shrubs,” Ornsten said. “Get a pair of pruners and walk around the yard with a bucket, pruning any branches (down to the trunk) that might have been damaged by wind or snow. This will promote new growth.”
Now is a good time to get the lawnmower ready for the season and, provided it is dry enough, give the lawn its first cut.

“You want to get that brown layer of grass off the top,” Ornsten said. At this point, homeowners can apply a combo organic pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer to prevent the spreading of crab grass. It’s too early to apply any deterrents for clover and creeping Charlie. That needs to be done in May.

Keep in mind while clearing the debris from the yard that over the winter plenty of junk found its way into the bird feeders and baths.

Clean them out thoroughly before filling them up with fresh seed and water. Ornsten recommended using a brush to get rid of the algae that collected in the birdbath.

Today is supposed to be cold, but any breaks in the clouds could be used for
removing Christmas lights and holiday décor. If it’s too chilly to be outdoors, turn on the radio in the garage and work on your spring lights, pots and other yard décor.  
If you have mulch, take a rake and give it a mix. You’ll be surprised at how fresh it will look afterward.

This would be the time to apply grass seed to the bare spots in the lawn. Yellow spots created by dogs should be raked thoroughly to remove the dead grass before applying any seed. Once that is done, Ornsten suggested adding a layer of sphagnum peat moss. This will deter birds from eating the seed and help to keep the wind from blowing it away.
Once all of the cleanup work is done, it is possible to do some planting.

“I went to the Eastern Market (recently) and bought a couple flats of purple, white and yellow pansies,” Ornsten said. “I put them in a pot with some pussy willows and
already 95 percent of the pansies are blooming.”

Send your comments or home and garden tips to Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, 100 Macomb Daily Drive, Mount Clemens, MI 48043, or email them to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

Today's muse

Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms -- Zen Master, Ikkyu Sojun

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kung Fu masters from China to perform at the Masonic Temple Theater

A performance during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The "2011 Chinese Kungfu Gala," presented April 16 at the Masonic Temple Theatre by Onelink International and Confucius Institute at Wayne State University, is a golden opportunity to see China's most amazing Kung fu masters.

"We are really excited about this," said Jennifer Guan, general manager of Onelink International, a service company that promotes US-China business, culture and education exchanges and collaborations.

Remember the Beijing Olympics?

Were you in awe during the opening ceremonies? Among the amazing dancers and athletes who performed during the show was a troupe of Kung fu masters from China's prestigious martial arts school, Sonshan Shaolin Wushu Vocational College.

"Twenty-nine of them are coming," Guan said. "They are really good. They perform all over the world."

Fans of mixed martial arts will especially be pleased by the Chinese Kungfu masters, but Guan said the event is family oriented and will include a special performance of music, performed by musicians using traditional Chinese instruments.

"The kids will like it because of the martial arts, but also because there is audience participation. The musicians will show the kids how the instruments work. I'm sure the children will love it."

The show also is sponsored by the Headquarters of Confucius Institute, a group at WSU that promotes Chinese language and culture in southeastern Michigan, and the Education Department of Henan Province, China.

"It is my passion and dream to bring Chinese culture to the U.S. and especially Detroit," Guan said. "This is what I am doing."
 500 Temple Ave, Detroit.

Tickets are $18 and available online at Onelink International The Masonic Temple Theater is located at

What else can a family do? Check out our listing of things to do in the Metro Detroit area:

Women's luncheon
The Crocker House Musuem will present a luncheon featuring the Petticoat Ladies farewell performance of "The First Ladies," plus a wonderful lunch at 11:30 a.m., April 2, at First Presbyterian Church, 168 Cass Avenue, Mount Clemens. Tickets: $40 non-members; $30 Macomb County Historical Society members. For reservations call the museum, (586) 465-2488.

Classical brunch
The Community House "Spring Concert" featuring pianist Kathryn Goodson, collaborative pianist-coach at the University of Michigan School of music and mezzo soprano Leah Dexter of the Michigan Opera Theatre, March 27. Brunch begins at noon followed by performances at 1 p.m. Tickets: $50 VIP, $25 (includes brunch), $10 concert only. Call for reservations, (248) 644-5832.

Cancer fundraiser
Pasta dinner to benefit cancer patients Bob and Joyce Jeffers of Fraser served 2-5:30 p.m. March 27 at Fern Hill Country Club on Clinton River Road in Clinton Township. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children, includes pasta, salad, dessert, soft drinks and coffee; event also features raffles, bake sale, door prizes. Tickets: at the door or in advance by calling (586) 783-5234 or emailing jeffersbenefitdinner@yahoo.com. Event sponsored by Christian Lighthouse Church in Mount Clemens. 

Romeo Theatre
Romeo Theatre Company at Romeo High School presents "Beauty and the Beast," 2 and 7 p.m. March 26 and 2 p.m. March 27, at the high school, 11091 W. 32 Mile Road. Reserved-seat tickets $10, Show TIckets or (586) 281-1154.

South Lake play
South Lake High School Drama Club presents "Footloose: The Musical," 7 p.m. March 26 in the school auditorium, 21900 Nine Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Tickets, $10 adults, $7 senior citizens, $5 children and students, available at door. Call (586) 435-1400.

'Cinderella' at Lakeview
MEA/NEA Local 1, Lakeview and Lakeview Public Schools present "Cinderella (Enchanted Edition)," 7:30 p.m. March 26, at Lakeview High School's Schaublin Auditorium, 21100 11 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Tickets, $12 adults, $9 students/seniors, $8 all matinee seats; proceeds to Student K-12 Enrichment Scholarship Program. For tickets, (586) 771-2587 or pvandellen@scslakeview-k12.com, or at the door.

The 'rockin' moms of the Candy Band.
 Kids concert!
"Lettuce Rock" presented by the Royal Oak Farmer's Market, March 26 as a fundraiser for the fabulous Royal Oak Community Farm will feature an amazing lineup of bands including the Candy Band.

Charity basketball
Utica Community Schools take on Troy School District in Relay for Life Charity Basketball Game, 7 p.m. March 31 at Troy High School. Admission $3 adults, $2 students, free 6 and younger. Proceeds go to American Cancer Society. Refreshments available.

Mom 2 Mom sale
Sequoyah Elementary School PTO Mom 2 Mom sale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. March 26 at the school, 18500 24 Mile Road, Macomb Township. Admission $1, strollers allowed, refreshments available.

Richmond Theatre
"Brighton Beach Memoirs" by Richmond Community Theatre, 8 p.m. March 26, April 1-2, 8-9, and 2 p.m. March 27 and April 3, at the theater, 69619 Parker St. at Churchill. Portion of proceeds go to Lois Wagner Memorial Library in Richmond. For tickets, (586) 727-9518.

Yard, pool, spa show
Annual Novi Backyard, Pool & Spa Show, at Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River between Novi and Beck roads, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. March 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 27. Admission $8, ages 6-14 $4, free for those younger; fee for parking. Information: Novi Pool Show or (800) 328-6550.

Children's Chorus
Michigan Opera Theatre Children's Chorus performs "The Maker of Illusions," 2:30 p.m. March 26, at Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit. Tickets $15 children, $30 adults; call (313) 237-7464 or Detroit Opera House

Magenta Giraffe
"Last of the Boys" by Magenta Giraffe Theatre, 8 p.m. March 26, March 31, April 1-2, and 4 p.m. April 2, at the theater, 1515 Broadway, Detroit. Visit Magenta Giraffe Theatre
Bob Saget
Warren art display
Artist of the month Nancy Curnow displays watercolors, acrylics and prints through April, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday on first floor of Warren City Hall, 12 Mile and Van Dyke.

Comedy Festival
Fourth Annual Garden Fresh Laugh Detroit Comedy Festival, March 27-28, 31 and April 2 at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, lineup includes David Alan Grier, Auggie Smith, Brian McKim/Traci Skene, Karen Rontowski, Lynne Koplitz, and Bob Saget (April 2). For tickets, Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle or (248) 542-9900.

Cookie Gala
Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Cookie Gala, 6-8:30 p.m. March 30, at Atheneum Suite Hotel in Detroit, features local chefs competing by creating desserts and appetizers using Girl Scouts cookies. Tickets, $75 each or $130 for two until March 23, $100 each or $170 per pair after that date; visit www.gssem.org. 

Classical guitar
Free performance by classical guitarist Peter Fletcher, 2 p.m. March 27, at Clinton Macomb Public Library, 40900 Romeo Plank Road. Features selections from Fletcher's 2008 CD "Music of the Baroque," and works by Bach and Ravel. Details: (586) 226-5020 or Clinton Macomb Library

Children's Film Festival
MJR Digital Cinemas Free Spring Children's Film Festival: March 26-27, "Yogi Bear," and April 2-3, "Megamind." All films rated PG. Participating theaters include MJR Marketplace Sterling Heights Digital Cinema 20, 35400 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights; MJR Partridge Creek Digital Cinema 14, 17400 Hall Road, Clinton Township; MJR Chesterfield Crossing Digital Cinema 16, 50675 Gratiot, Chesterfield Township. Free admission ages 12 and younger, parents $1; tickets first-come, first-served basis; no advance purchases. For times

"Yogi Bear" showing as part of MJR's Spring Children's Film Festival.

Toastmasters' club
Toastmasters Speak Easy Club of Shelby meets 10-11:30 a.m. second and fourth Saturdays monthly at Shelby Community Center, 51670 Van Dyke, north of 23 Mile Road. Call (586) 623-9987 or (586) 531-1289.

Heart fundraiser
Benefit for the Darmofal family affected by heart disease, starts 3 p.m. March 27 at the Rec Bowl, 40 Crocker Blvd., Mount Clemens. Event includes live entertainment by Brass Knuckles, 4 p.m., gifts, games, cash bar, food available, Gift of Life representative onsite to provide information on organ donor program. For details, (586) 468-7746 or www.RecBowl.com

Pizza pie benefit
Festival of Pizza fundraiser for American Cancer Society, 3-6 p.m. March 27 at Chippewa Valley High School, offers tastes of pizzas from local restaurants; beverages available for purchase. Tickets: $10 per person. Visit http://www.festivalofpizza.com/.

Ridgedale auditions
Audtions for Teen Actors of Ridgedale (Players) performances of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Colosseum," 2 p.m. March 26, at the playhouse, 205 W. Long Lake Road, Troy. Performance dates June 24-26. Call (248) 961-1444 or www.ridgedaleplayers.com.

Rochester museum
Exhibit of hand-hooked rugs through June 18 at Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, 1005 Van Hoosen Road, a mile north of downtown Rochester. Romeo-based Great Lakes Rug Hooking Guild demonstrations 1-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, during museum hours. Call (248) 656-4663 or visit www.rochesterhills.org.

UDM Theatre
University of Detroit Mercy Theatre Company presents Shakespeare's "The Tempest," weekends starting March 25 through April 10, at Marygrove Theatre, 8425 W. McNichols, Detroit. Adult admission $18, students $9; additional $3 service fee for non-subscribers other than students. Call (313) 993-3270 or visit www.theatre.udmercy.edu.

Euchre and steak
St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Richmond hosting euchre tournament/steak dinner, 6:30 p.m. April 1, at Memphis Youth Center, 34758 Pratt Road. Tickets, $20 per person, include tournament and steak dinner, cash prizes and door prizes. For tickets, (586) 727-9693.

Macomb art
Works of Deborah Orloff and Eric Troftkin in "Puzzles of Expectation" exhibit through April 13, in The Art Gallery at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Gallery hours 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 90 minutes prior to MCPA weekend events. Free admission and parking. Call (586) 286-2089 or MacombCenter.com/AboutUs/ArtGallery.

Andiamo Theatre
"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," March 23-April 10 at Andiamo Novi Theatre, 42705 Grand River Ave. Dinner and show packages available for both. For reservations, (248) 348-4448.

Go Comedy!
Boy band Mellenium through March at Go Comedy! Improve Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. For showtimes and ticket information, (248) 327-0575 or www.gocomedy.net. Also, new improved "Sunday Source" 7 p.m. Sundays.

Music Hall
"Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites," 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. March 26, Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit. Tickets: $10 children, $20 adults, family 4-pack $35. Visit www.ticketmaster.com or Music Hall box office.

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

Taste of Hope
Taste of Hope annual Auction and Tastefest to benefit Liberty Family Outreach's Summerfest, 6-9 p.m. April 2, Warren City Hall Atrium, on Van Dyke between Martin and 12 Mile roads. Tickets $10 in advance, $20 at the door; minimum age 12 for admission. Free parking in garage. Call (586) 754-2400.

Chrysler Museum
Unique Vehicle Pairs Spotlight Series and Collector's Curb specialty exhibits throughout the year at Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills. For schedule, visit wpchryslermuseum.org. Admission $8 adults, $7 ages 62 and older, $4 ages 6-12.

Holocaust Center
New traveling exhibit "Barsamian: 20 Years-Searing for the Answer," March 27-July 10, explores questions about Armenian genocide through art, at Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. Hours 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday; (248) 553-2400 or www.holocaustcenter.org.  Grand opening 7 p.m. March 27 with Ara Sanjian, director of Armenian Research Center at University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Ford House
Bird walks, offered by Ford House and Wild Birds Unlimited in Grosse Pointe, 7:30 a.m. April 16, at the historic home, 1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores. Fee $7 per person; participants should bring binoculars, wear layered clothing and waterproof footwear. Reservations required, (313) 884-4222 or Ford House

DIA exhibits
The Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit "Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries," through April 10, a behind-the-scenes look at how art experts and scientists determine if a work of art of art is genuine, fake or if the evidence is inconclusive. Tickets are $12, $6 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. Tickets include general museum admission.

Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this listing

Today's muse
Success is a great deodorant. It takes away all your past smells – Elizabeth Taylor

AP Photo

In a 1944 file photo, young actress Elizabeth Taylor is seen during the time that she was filming "National Velvet". The legendary actress died Wednesday, March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure at age 79.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shoe repair shop taking donations for Japan

AP Photo/Kyodo News
Relief for Japan
An evacuee holds her baby at a shelter in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.


Soles4Souls and Dave’s Shoe Repair of Warren are stepping up to bring comfort to the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in the way of new sneakers, leather and rubber boots or gently used shoes. 
Whatever you feel that you want to donate is fine, said David Campbell, owner of Dave’s Shoe Repair and one of several retailers in Michigan collecting footwear that will be delivered by Soles4Souls to affected areas in Southeast Asia.

Soles4Souls collects, recycles and reuses shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and closets of individuals. The charity was founded by Wayne Elsey, who was moved by the image of a single shoe left on the beach in Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami. Since its inception, the shoe charity has responded to natural disasters, such as the one in Thailand, with shoes that protect victims against foot-borne diseases and the nails, steel, wood pieces and other debris that flooding strews in their path.

AP Photo/Wally Santana
An elderly woman is screened at an evacuee center
for leaked radiation from the damaged Fukushima
nuclear facilities, March 22, 2011.
“It’s one less thing for the people of Japan to worry about,” said Campbell, who started his shoe repair business to support his leather craftwork.

“I learned leather tooling as a Boy Scout. Not everyone can afford a custom-tooled leather belt or purse, but most people can afford shoes. So I had a friend of mine in Florida teach me shoe repair work so I could earn a living.”

The success of his business and never having had to worry about not having shoes contributed to Campbell’s decision to support a charity that helps people in need.

“Japan, Haiti or wherever the shoes are headed, I feel good about it,” Campbell said.

“As we continue to realize the magnitude of this disaster for our friends in Japan, we cannot forget how important basic necessities such as shoes will be in the ongoing rescue and rebuilding efforts,” Elsey said. “We deeply appreciate the support of Dave’s Shoe Repair and their customers in helping us provide shoes to survivors.”

Dave’s Shoe Repair is at 8276 E. 12 Mile Road in Warren, (586) 575-9213. To donate new or gently used shoes to Soles4Souls, visit Dave’s Shoe Repair from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

To find other shoe drop-off locations in the Detroit area (Birmingham, Milford and Southfield) and information on Soles4Souls’ relief efforts, visit www.giveshoes.org. You also can text the word “SHOES” to 20222 to donate $5 immediately.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is it about dirt that brings out the best in kids?

The Hill trio from left to right, Hunter, 8, Amanda, 10, and Heather, 6., who attend Green Elementary in Chesterfield Township lassoed first prize for their creative poses and sweet version of the dirt dessert.

To celebrate the new release of "Rango" starring Johnny Depp and to give our younger readers a chance to coral some free movie tickets, we launched a contest inviting children and their parents to make their best version of a dirt dessert. Dirt is the name of the gritty, gun-toting town where Rango, the less-than-courageous pet chameleon, becomes sheriff and the last hope against the bullies.

Amanda Hill.
Say howdy to our contest winners. 

Not only did the Hill trio of Chesterfield Township, including Hunter, 8, and his sisters, Heather, 6, and Amanda, 10, make the dirt dessert, but sent amazing proofs of the pudding.

Heather Hill loved the topping of worms.

"The kids are big Johnny Depps fans," said Carol Hill, mom and official photographer. "They had an idea of what the movie would be like and they thought the cowboy outfits would be perfect."
They were right, and for their creative efforts they won movie tickets for the entire family -- including dad, James Hill -- along with a prize package featuring  Rango T-shirts, posters, water bottles and nifty little fans (in case Michigan gets as hot as Dirt), courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Allied Integrated Marketing of Bloomfield Hills.
"We had so much fun making our dirt treats," said Hunter, who was designated spokesman for the Hill trio. "They were gooey, messy and tasty. The worms were a lot of fun. My sister Heather said, 'It would be pretty gross if they were real worms in real dirt, but these are candy.' I am excited to see the movie. We have seen previews and it looks like a great story. Amanda said, 'Johnny Depp always gives his characters a special life of their own, and I am sure Rango will be no exception.’"

Hunter Hill.

"Most of us just go about our day-to-day work without thinking about it, but our kids really are working hard at school," said Carol. "This is a great reward. It's a way to say thank-you for being good kids. It was a good together project, too. They were smiling and laughing the whole time."

As an added bonus, and because Hunter, Amanda and Heather are such devoted Johnny Depp fans, shown below are the latest images from "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," which will sail into theaters May 20.

Peter Mountain (c) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Young missionary Philip Swift (Sam Claflin) and enigmatic mermaid Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) are mysteriously drawn to each other despite the fact that they should be natural enemies in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." 
Peter Mountain (c) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin R. McNally) are unpleasantly surprised to find themselves at the gates of St. James Palace rather than freedom as they exit a paddy wagon.

Today's Muse
Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply ~ Jane Austen

Monday, March 21, 2011

A really sweet caricature of Prince William and Kate

AP Photo/Akira Suemori
Cake caricature of Prince William and Middleton made by the winner of Ideal Cake Decorator of the Year 2011 Michelle Wibowo from Burgess Hill, England.

Fine bone china and tea towels, comic books and graffiti on the wall of an alley in London, just when you thought nothing else could commemorate the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, out pops the cake.

A very creative cake decorator in England has fashioned a lovely cake in the likeness of the royal-couple-to-be.

"Michelle Wibowo of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, spent a whopping 80 hours sculpting the fruit cake into busts of the prince and Miss Middleton," according to a BBC report. 

It is sweet, considering it is covered with a layering of apricot jam and 44 pounds of marzipan and sugar icing. What's most impressive is that the commemorative gateau has been airbrushed with colors to make the royal couple's features more realistic. 

A much better likeness, I might add, than the commemorative coins created by Britain's Royal Mint, which dropped the royal-rugby-ball in its attempt at fashioning the couple's likeness out of silver and gold. Middleton appears plump in the face and lips and critics say William looks like Al Gore.
AP Photo/Akira Suemori
The Prince William and Kate Middleton cake by Wibowo will be the centerpiece of a royal themed wedding cake competition at the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court in west London. 

Wibowo, who operates a business called Sugarart, said that she used the contest as an opportunity to do something different, other than the usual traditional decorated round tiered cake people normally expect to for a wedding cake. 

"It was really a challenge for me to do this cake," she said, in the BBC report. "It was hard work, but I really enjoyed making it."

Today's muse
Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception, and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful -- Alice Walker, African American writer and poet.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Protect your home and family from nature’s destructive force

Metro Newspaper Services

Images of the disaster in Japan are a cruel reminder that our planet can be beautiful and wicked at the same time. Most of us in Michigan are not likely to experience an earthquake or tsunami unless traveling outside of the state or country. What we will face in the next couple of months is spring.

“Powerful spring storms can unleash some of nature’s most destructive forces: tornadoes and floods,” said Douglas Moore, a spokesman for American Medical Response, a provider of medical transportation and personnel including EMTs, paramedics and RNs. 

To prepare and protect residents in the event of severe weather, AMR suggests the following Federal Emergency Management Agency safety tips:
There’s a reason for the sirens. If you hear a tornado siren or see a tornado warning issued for your area on television, go to the basement or lowest level of your house and take shelter in an inner hallway or room without windows, such as a closet or bathroom.

Do not count on the tornado missing your mobile home or that any tie-downs will prevent high winds from damaging it. Seek shelter in a building with a strong foundation or take cover in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance from the mobile home. Lie face down and cover your head and neck with your hands.

If you’re in a vehicle, seek shelter immediately. Do not try to drive out of the path or outrun it. Tornadoes can change direction instantly and can/will lift a vehicle into the air. Pull the vehicle over and take shelter in a nearby building or low-lying area away from the vehicle.

Spring storms, no matter where you live, can create flooding conditions. Small creeks or streams and even low-lying ground can flood. Also be aware that not all conditions have to be the same. Some floods happen slowly after an extended period of rain, while others can happen in a matter of minutes, without any visible rainfall.

Try to avoid driving, hiking or walking in areas that are prone to flooding such as drainage channels or the Clinton River, if you see signs of heavy clouds or rain.

Never try to wade through moving water: 6 inches of moving water can cause a person to fall. Also avoid driving through a flooded area: again, 6 inches of water can make it difficult to control a car and a foot of water will cause even a truck to float, taking control of the vehicle away completely.

Send your comments or home and garden tips to Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, 100 Macomb Daily Drive, Mount Clemens, MI 48043, or e-mail them to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

Will the crime drama shot in the D survive?

The final episode of the first ever made-in-Detroit prime-time network series airs at 10 p.m. tonight on ABC (WXYZ-TV Channel 7). Despite rumors of its death fans of the gritty cop show have not given up hope for a second season. Listed below are several campaigns fired off by viewers looking to save the show.

* Online petition: Renew "Detroit 1-8-7"

* On Facebook: Keep "Detroit 1-8-7" on ABC

* Save "Detroit 1-8-7" letter campaign
  Paul Lee, ABC
  Entertainment President
  500 S. Buena Vista St.
  Burbank, CA 91521

Today's Muse
All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them -- Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)