Fiction: Surviving AIDS, but at What Cost?

Rebecca Makkai’s novel “The Great Believers” ricochets between an era when AIDS was a death sentence and the present, when its shadow still looms.
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Rikke Schmidt Kjaergaard on surviving being ‘locked’ inside her body.

Rikke Schmidt Kjaergaard’s heart stopped for 40 seconds – and then she became ‘locked’ inside her body.
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Magazines: How print is surviving the digital age

The latest magazine sales figures are out – and they aren’t as bleak as you might think.
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Demi Lovato Reveals the Key to Surviving ‘Bad Body Image Issue Days’

Demi Lovato has been an outspoken advocate for body confidence after her years of battling an eating disorder. And though the 24-year-old star recently said she’s “feeling better than I’ve ever felt,” even she has her down days.

So what does the “Cool for the Summer” singer do to stay “Confident“?

Lovato revealed her no. 1 tip on Twitter Tuesday night.

“Sometimes when I’m having bad body image issue days, I remind myself that I’d rather live in freedom from my eating disorder than worry about what people think about my body,” she wrote.

“I am more than a number and a jean size,” Lovato continued. “F— yeah!”

The inspiring words came as Lovato spent the day on set of the music video for her new song with Cheat Codes, “No Promises.”

She showed off her looks for the video on Snapchat.

FROM COINAGE: 5 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

On Monday, Lovato  — who is happily dating MMA Bellator fighter Guilherme “Bomba” Vasconcelos and hitting the boxing ring for her own workouts — shared a few words of advice on Instagram.

“Feeling better than I’ve ever felt. It’s all about self love,” she wrote. “Tell yourself you’re beautiful daily. Be gentle with yourself. Eat carbs without guilt and remember that life is too short to worry about what others think!!”

The star has been vocal about her mental health and her struggles with addiction, cutting and eating disorders since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder while receiving inpatient treatment in 2011.

She celebrated five years of sobriety in March, and talked to Ellen about how much she’s loving her life these days.

RELATED VIDEO: Demi Lovato Feels ‘Confident’ Without Makeup

“It means so much to me because I feel like the day that I got sober was the day that I actually started living and so I like to call myself five years old,” Lovato explained. “I’ve decided to be open about my story and share everything that I’ve been through because it helps others.”

The former Disney channel star grew up with body image struggles after watching her mother and grandmother deal with bulimia — which Lovato developed at age 12, along with addictions to alcohol, cocaine and OxyContin. Now, after five years of clean living, she prioritizes living healthfully (with plenty of guilt-free carbs) and working out regularly at L.A.’s Unbreakable Performance Center.

“This is her safe haven,” the gym’s founder, Jay Glazer, told PEOPLE. “Demi will be here for four hours a day. It’s her one place where she doesn’t have to be a pop star. She’s talked a lot about her addictions, and this has become her healthy addiction. She lights up when she comes in here.”


PEOPLE.com

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Radio DJ Mark Goodier praises wife’s action after surviving a stroke

Mark Goodier survived thanks to quick thinking, but not everyone is so lucky, health officials warn.
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Critic’s Notebook: Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books

In an interview seven days before leaving office, Mr. Obama talked about the role books have played during his presidency and throughout his life.
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Working and Surviving in Organisations: A Trainers Guide to Developing Organisational Skills

Working and Surviving in Organisations: A Trainers Guide to Developing Organisational Skills


Working and Surviving in Organisations A Trainer''s Guide to Developing Organisational Skills Sheila Dainow, London, UK At best, our jobs provide us with the opportunity for useful activity that helps to happily fulfil our lives, as well as providing an income. This book is aimed at trainers, counsellors and psychologists who work with managers and staff to help them be ''the best they can be''. It offers frameworks and resources which help people to understand and enjoy their work in its organisational context, to work effectively and avoid stress, and to relate their work to the rest of their lives. Sheila Dainow is an experienced trainer, counsellor and author. Her book provides* Frameworks and structures for effective training programmes that increase well-being and efficiency at work* Practical exercises, with trainer ''inputs'' suggested and helpful hints and commentary based on successful experience* Resources for training presented in a ''How to do it'' way, which represent a recipe book for organisational training based on tried and tested materialTraining specialists and managers will find this book a useful, interesting and practical tool in their task of counselling and developing people in effective, humane and modern organisations. A straightforward, no-nonsense book . An excellent combination of theory and practical exercises. Stephen Palmer, PhD Director of the Centre for Stress Management, London, UK
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Comedian Who Lied About Surviving 9/11 Opens Up For The First Time

Comedian Steve Rannazzisi, in his first public comments since he was exposed for lying he was in the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks, explained how he believed his deception protected him from “cruel” fellow comedians and defined his career.

Rannazzisi, star of “The League,” apologized Tuesday during a 40-minute interview on Howard Stern’s radio show and addressed last months’ New York Times story that revealed he wasn’t working in the Merrill Lynch office on the 54th floor of the World Trade Center south tower when the north tower was hit. Rannazzisi recounted the fake experience to interviewers for years and claimed the ordeal motivated him to follow his dreams of being an entertainer.

“Do you think of yourself as psychologically disturbed? How do you view yourself after doing this thing?” Stern asked.

“Psychologically disturbed — I don’t know if that’s the way to put it,” Rannazzisi said. “I do see someone and am starting to figure out more about myself: codependency and wanting people to like me and to make people happy.”

The “why” is still unclear, he said.

“It wasn’t calculated at all,” he said. “It was as simple as sitting at the Comedy Store and everyone being like, ‘Hey, you’re from New York?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Were you just there? You were around?’ ‘Yeah, I was downtown.’ ‘You worked there?’ ‘Yeah, I did.’”

Within seconds, Rannazzisi said he felt he couldn’t set the record straight.  

“You have like 15 seconds, I think, to kind of go, ‘Wait, hold on. Stop. I’m sorry. That’s not true.'” he said. “If you pass that 15 seconds … now, it becomes a thing where you’re like, ‘Now, I have to be the guy that’s very strange and weird and just said I lied about 9/11.’”

Once the fake story gained traction, Rannazzisi said the resulting sympathy gave him security in the brutal comedy community.

“I think it might have been like, comedians are cruel people, especially in the beginning,” he said. “And I kind of was like, well maybe people will not be as mean to me or not make as many jokes about me because they think that this is what I went through.”

When the Times confronted him last month with conflicting versions of his 9/11 story, Rannazzisi responded with a statement confirming that he had lied. The confession may be damning to his career, but he said he feels relief and is glad he can finally apologize.

“I know what I did was terrible, and I know that I hurt a lot of people — people that lost people, people that helped people survive — and those people, those are the people that I truly am sorry,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to come on here.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Comedian Tracy Morgan Weds 14 Months After Surviving Car Wreck

Tracy Morgan, a star of comedy series “30 Rock” and cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” married his long-time fiancee on Sunday, 14 months after suffering life-threatening injuries in a deadly car wreck, People magazine reported on its web site.

Morgan, 46, sustained a brain injury and broken bones when a Walmart tractor-trailer hit his limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike as he returned from a gig in Atlantic City in June last year.

The comedian’s wedding to Megan Wollover on Sunday night was attended by close friends and family, the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Maven.

“After almost losing Tracy last year, I am so grateful to finally be married to the love of my life,” Wollover told People.

“We have been through so much and our love is stronger for it,” Wollover was quoted as saying.

 

The magazine reported that Morgan’s representatives also confirmed the marriage.

Morgan has not performed since the crash, in which a close friend died, but will host an episode of sketch show “Saturday Night Live” on Oct. 17, NBC said earlier this month. He was once a regular cast member of the long-running show.

In a television interview two months ago, Morgan wad seen wiping away tears and holding a black cane, saying he needed to heal.

His friend, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed and nine other people were injured in the wreck.

The National Transportation Safety Board held a speeding Wal-Mart truck driver who had been awake for 28 hours responsible for the accident.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Related on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Comedian Tracy Morgan Weds 14 Months After Surviving Car Wreck

Tracy Morgan, a star of comedy series “30 Rock” and cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” married his long-time fiancee on Sunday, 14 months after suffering life-threatening injuries in a deadly car wreck, People magazine reported on its web site.

Morgan, 46, sustained a brain injury and broken bones when a Walmart tractor-trailer hit his limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike as he returned from a gig in Atlantic City in June last year.

The comedian’s wedding to Megan Wollover on Sunday night was attended by close friends and family, the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Maven.

“After almost losing Tracy last year, I am so grateful to finally be married to the love of my life,” Wollover told People.

“We have been through so much and our love is stronger for it,” Wollover was quoted as saying.

 

The magazine reported that Morgan’s representatives also confirmed the marriage.

Morgan has not performed since the crash, in which a close friend died, but will host an episode of sketch show “Saturday Night Live” on Oct. 17, NBC said earlier this month. He was once a regular cast member of the long-running show.

In a television interview two months ago, Morgan wad seen wiping away tears and holding a black cane, saying he needed to heal.

His friend, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed and nine other people were injured in the wreck.

The National Transportation Safety Board held a speeding Wal-Mart truck driver who had been awake for 28 hours responsible for the accident.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Related on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Comedy – The Huffington Post
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Mobile Playboy today for the hottest adult entertainment online!

Comedian Tracy Morgan Weds 14 Months After Surviving Car Wreck

Tracy Morgan, a star of comedy series “30 Rock” and cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” married his long-time fiancee on Sunday, 14 months after suffering life-threatening injuries in a deadly car wreck, People magazine reported on its web site.

Morgan, 46, sustained a brain injury and broken bones when a Walmart tractor-trailer hit his limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike as he returned from a gig in Atlantic City in June last year.

The comedian’s wedding to Megan Wollover on Sunday night was attended by close friends and family, the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Maven.

“After almost losing Tracy last year, I am so grateful to finally be married to the love of my life,” Wollover told People.

“We have been through so much and our love is stronger for it,” Wollover was quoted as saying.

 

The magazine reported that Morgan’s representatives also confirmed the marriage.

Morgan has not performed since the crash, in which a close friend died, but will host an episode of sketch show “Saturday Night Live” on Oct. 17, NBC said earlier this month. He was once a regular cast member of the long-running show.

In a television interview two months ago, Morgan wad seen wiping away tears and holding a black cane, saying he needed to heal.

His friend, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed and nine other people were injured in the wreck.

The National Transportation Safety Board held a speeding Wal-Mart truck driver who had been awake for 28 hours responsible for the accident.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Related on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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The 4-1-1 on Surviving Teenhood: Essential Tips for Parents: Teenage Temptations; Teachable Moments; and More!

The 4-1-1 on Surviving Teenhood: Essential Tips for Parents: Teenage Temptations; Teachable Moments; and More!


When I say the word teenager what comes to mind? If you are like most people, the words rebellion, trouble, and stubborn come to mind. You might also think: drugs, crime, pregnancy, peer pressure, sex, puberty, driving, attitudes, relationships, irresponsible, and messy. Those about to go through the teen years might think: independence, first job, fun, sports, adventure, dating, invincible, and driving. It is time to change the way adults see teenagers. Teens today are faced with drugs, teen pregnancy, texting or sexting, alcohol, peer pressure, bullying, and other dangers. Why do our teens use drugs and alcohol, gamble, or fall prey to other destructive behaviors such as eating disorders or cutting? We will walk through these and other scenarios, and I will offer guidance on how to get through it. We take our children through childhood, into teenhood, and then onto adulthood. Remember: if you go into the adventure together, you will come out of it together.

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The Guide to Surviving Christmas Using the Internet

The Guide to Surviving Christmas Using the Internet


‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping on your nose’. How many Christmases have you had like that? Exactly! ‘The Guide to Surviving Christmas using the Internet’ aims to help you do just that. Unique, handy & highly practical, this guide is aimed at helping real people use the internet to solve their Christmas nightmares. Produced by SeeK.net, the people behind the UK’s largest circulated internet guides, it contains features written by leading industry experts and 100’s of useful websites, cleverly categorised at your fingertips to help you plan, shop and travel online. You can source the perfect gift from quality websites without breaking the bank or killing your feet. We’ll show you when and how to win at auction sites. The preparation and celebration section allows you to track down some real hidden food and drink gems, and the travel section helps those for whom the only way to survive the Christmas chaos is to get away from it all! And at home, when the whole world seems to have closed down, we’ll point you in the right direction to sort those emergencies such as a blocked drain or sprained ankle.

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More Extreme Preemies Are Surviving, Study Finds

But 25 percent still die, pointing to need for better pregnancy interventions, doctors say
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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Playing Along to Stay Alive: Surviving Molestation

This story was written and performed by Darrin Larson for the live, personal storytelling series Oral Fixation (An Obsession With True Life Tales) at The Winspear Opera House in Dallas, on March 17, 2014.

The theme of the show was “Elephant in the Room.”

Trigger warning

“Darrin boldly describes the fateful New Year’s Eve when, at age 14, he is forced to deter a molester and then struggles to deal with the shame that follows,” says Oral Fixation creator and director Nicole Stewart. “What a brave move it was for him to stand on stage and recall that terrible night and then share how it shaped his life and informs his parenting. Read his story here and don’t miss his performance in the video below.”

An hour after ringing in the new year with my first full can of beer, I no longer feel the pleasant numbness that crept over my 14-year-old body and made me laugh and talk too much. There’s now a big, walrus-bearded man lying in bed next to me, his stale breath sailing into my face as his fingers circle uninvited beneath my T-shirt. His hand has found an area unprotected by clothing, bones, hair, or solid muscle, and he traces rings that radiate outward from my belly button like a target.

“This will help your stomach,” Sid whispers.

It’s a softer voice than the one that booms over the counter when he’s selling burgers and cokes to us at the lodge near our weekend cabin, where he jokes with the crowd of kids in wet bathing suits while the moms read books on lawn chairs down by the lake.

Earlier in the night, when we were sitting around his family room drinking beer, I told him I didn’t want to get sick. My older brother spent the night hunched over a toilet the first time he got drunk, and as my own buzz was kicking in, I suddenly worried that I would lose it also.

But my stomach is fine. I stopped after one beer — apparently I’m a lightweight — and I wasn’t worried about throwing up by the time I walked into the bedroom to go to sleep.

When he got he got into the bed with me, I thought it was a joke, like he was pretending to not know that he was in the wrong room, but then he inched in next to me, placed his hand on top of my T-shirt, and started rubbing my stomach.

His fingers began tentatively, with small side-to-side motions that barely went up or down. My heart began to pound, but I remained motionless, as if my stillness could stop him from doing whatever a grown man does when he crawls into bed with a 14-year-old boy. Then his arm slid under my T-shirt, and I felt cold air on my skin as he placed his hand directly on my belly.

Oh God, no.

We’re in his son’s room — Nick, a guy I barely know. He’s a year or two older than me, smells like cigarettes, and looks half-wasted a lot of the time. He invited my older brother over for New Year’s Eve, and I tagged along when I found out there would be beer. We’ve known Sid for a while, and we like him because he’s always saying funny, sarcastic things out of earshot of our parents. We only met Nick a few months ago, when Sid adopted him.

“Man, you’re so lucky,” I told Nick when we got to his cabin. “Your dad is cool with you drinking.” He nodded and gave a short laugh. I hadn’t said anything about the beer to my parents. “We’re going to watch TV and hang out,” I told them. Unlike Nick, I normally played by the rules.

Now Nick is passed out in a bed on the other side of the room. My older brother is in the same condition in the other bedroom, and my parents are miles away, beyond the snow, trees, and darkness surrounding this cabin. That’s where I should be, in my own bedroom, on the top bunk with my younger brother snoring below and our dogs sleeping on the floor by the heater.

It’s quiet except for Sid’s heavy breathing and the things he says in a hushed voice to make me think this is normal. His hairy, beer-bellied wall of a body stretches from the foot of the bed to headboard. He’s at least a half a foot taller than me and three times as heavy, and though I could outrun him on the track or soccer field, I feel trapped and powerless here.

I can’t push his hand away or tell him to stop rubbing me — that would make him mad. I hide my repulsion, my fear, my knowledge that what he’s doing is wrong. See, no problem — I won’t tell anyone. You won’t have to kill me.

“Does it feel better?”

“Yeah,” I say, hoping it will make him take his hand off me and get the hell out of the bed.

His hand keeps moving, though, and my boxers, which I wear around my house at night like pajamas because they cover up what is private, now feel so thin and unprotective.

Maybe he’s not trying to do anything.

No, he’s going lower. Oh God, please make him stop.

His hand finally brushes against the top of my underwear, and I feel the waistband give. A bolt of panic shoots through me and words spill out of my mouth before I can stop them.

“I’m fine. My stomach is fine.” I try to say it gratefully, sleepily, in a way that won’t provoke him.

I roll over on my side toward the wall, and my abrupt shift causes his hand to fall back. I brace myself for him to follow, to ignore my words, but he doesn’t. He sinks back into his side of the bed and after a few minutes of shifting and settling, he becomes still.

I’m not going to fall asleep. I can’t or else his hand will be on my body again, tugging at the elastic boundary that separates inappropriate from criminal. He seems like he’s asleep, but I won’t look and risk stirring him.

After a while, he begins to snore, and my heart descends back into my chest and slows to a resting rabbit pace.

I drift in and out of sleep waiting for morning to come — and for my brother and Nick to wake up so I’m not all alone with him. Staring into the darkness all around me, I’m hounded by the thought that I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t wanted so badly to see what it felt like to get drunk. I try to pray, but it doesn’t work the way it did when I used to ask the small framed picture of Jesus I made in Sunday school to please keep me from getting leukemia like that kid at school. I seem too old for that God, and he seems far away.

By the time the morning light pierces the room’s darkness and secrecy, my muscles are drained from hours of trying to stay alert. I hear my brother get up to go to the bathroom, and when he’s done, Nick follows. I quietly slide to the foot of the bed, careful not to wake up Sid, climb out, and go to the hallway to wait for my turn.

I will not go back in the bedroom or any place alone with that man ever again.

Sid takes us back to our cabin and I pretend like nothing happened as we say goodbye. When my parents ask how things went, I say nothing about the fingers tugging at my boxers. Or the beer. They all go together at this point — things that shouldn’t have happened — and I’m keeping them all a secret.

A couple of days later, we leave our cabin and make the four-hour drive home, farther and farther from Sid. School starts and life gets back on a schedule, and I eventually start to feel like my old self. But underneath it all, in the place where my voice lives, I’ve changed. I don’t trust grown-ups the way I used to, and I’ve lost some of my sense that bad things won’t happen to me.

Several years passed before I told my parents about that night. And when I did, I didn’t even call it what it was. He didn’t cross the line and touch me there, so I said, “I was almost molested.” My mom sounded so devastated that I just left it at that.

But he did cross the line. I was too old to have someone rubbing my tummy to make me feel better and too young to consent to what he wanted to do that night.

For the longest time, I felt weak for not telling him to stop. I didn’t understand why I just lay there. But as I went back to that night in my mind, on the page, and in a therapist’s office, I came to see that what I was doing was trying to survive. I didn’t want to be one of those kids they find buried somewhere after they’ve been molested. If I acted like there was no problem, there should be no reason to kill me.

That night and for years afterward, what he did to me somehow became something I was ashamed of. But it was his actions that were repulsive, not mine. There was nothing for me to feel guilt or shame about.

I don’t know what became of Sid, but I know what became of me. I worked hard at shedding my innocent, good-kid skin — it protects you only when you live in the shadow of mom and dad, not when you have to hold your own with other kids or men who want try to crawl into bed with you. Beer, pot, and anything I could pour into a Coke seemed to be the ticket out of childhood for a while, but eventually I didn’t need them to feel like I was living life on my own terms, standing on my own.

And standing on my own has put me in the position to stand up for others, whether it’s in my career as a public servant, the classes I teach on resolving conflict, the causes I support that combat child and animal abuse, or the stories I tell in front of a microphone.

When I became a father, I made sure my daughter would know how to stand up for herself — and how to listen to the voice inside her that will protect her.

“I didn’t tell anyone about what happened to me, and I should have,” I told her. “If anyone ever tries to do anything to you, tell them they can’t. Tell them no. And don’t be afraid to tell me. I’ll believe you.”

Because of what happened to me that night, I understand why people who’ve been molested are sometimes afraid to speak up. And that’s why I tell this story — for me and for them.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Ultimate Basic Training: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Surviving Boot Camp

Ultimate Basic Training: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Surviving Boot Camp


As anyone who has undergone the transition from civilian to soldier will tell you, basic training is a lot tougher and more challenging than any recruit can imagine. Michael Volkin discovered that fact soon after 9-11, when his personal vow to serve my country convinced him to enlist in the U.S. Army. As Volkin quickly discovered, he was utterly unprepared for the new world of the military, a completely different environment full of unknown exercises and acronyms, where cant eat or talk without permission. Volkin began taking notes on everything and anything with the hope that no one else would have to go through basic training like I did completely unarmed with knowledge that would have eased my transition into the military and allowed me to be more successful. During Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom, Volkin organized his notes, interviewed hundreds of other soldiers, and began to write. The result is The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, a unique and utterly indispensable guide to successfully coping with and thriving in todays military. The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook is a comprehensive, practical, and easy-to-follow survival guide written specifically for every new or prospective recruit about to enter any branch of the armed forces. Volkins book offers step-by-step instructions and solutions, including helpful charts and graphics, for how to prepare both physically and mentally for boot camp. It includes a special eight-week fitness program specifically designed to improve your fitness test scores, specific study guides, an instructional How tochapter, a list of what to bring (and not to bring) to basic training, tips for success, and much more. The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook was written by a soldier for men and women who want to become soldiers. No one should enter boot camp without having read this book.

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Surviving Apple

An apple is the perfect logo for Mac products: A biblical symbol representing irresistible temptation, sin, and the fall of humanity… there’s even a bite out of it.

I approach the monolithic Apple storefront which has more glass and steel than Christian Grey’s apartment and a glowing, white Apple the size of a Mini Cooper. A dude stands in front of the sign celebrating his new iPhone by taking the first of eight million selfies. He will no doubt Tweet, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook this historic moment. #whogivesashit

I’m here because Siri has lost her mind. She’s been talking incessantly without any prompting or button pushing. Plus, she’s adopting my words into her dictionary so now every time I misspell something Siri thinks she’s getting an edukation. My messages sound like they were composed by a caveman and yet I can’t curse in a text to save my ducking life.

I have an iPhone 5C — C stands for Can’t Afford a Real iPhone. Its brightly colored, shiny plastic attracts the less sophisticated demographic to which I belong. iPhone 5C doesn’t resemble a product made by Apple so much as Fisher Price; Steve Jobs would roll over in his grave. Between the neon colors of iOS 7 and the glow-in-the-dark plastic casing, I’m genuinely surprised when I dial a number and somebody picks up.

I cross the Oz-like threshold and wedge my way into the Apple store. There’s less standing room in here than a Taylor Swift concert and it’s equally loud. I spy a little kid playing with my same model of phone and now it’s dawning on me that the reason it looks like a toy is because it was designed for deranged rich people to buy their 5-year-olds. It seems to be working because that kid is glued to the screen like a molar to a Milk Dud. She’s a classic member of Generation ADD: A group of precocious preschoolers who master the iPad long before they can navigate the potty, googling the Wiggles as they crap their pants. One day I’ll be telling my grandkids about boredom like my grandparents told me about the Great Depression.

I resisted joining the Apple cult for years, but grew tired of friends forwarding me contacts that I couldn’t open, and then realizing they were better than me. Surely Apple possesses the technology to converse with Androids but they don’t use it because they want non-Apple users to stand out like an uncircumcised penis in a Jewish orgy. Texts from non-iPhone users come in green, not blue! They label you an uglier color, like a scarlet letter of poverty demarcating the unfortunate souls not wielding an Apple device; Don Draper couldn’t come up with that shit.

Quite possibly a gift from God Himself, the iPhone puts all of the power of the universe into the palm of our hand. What do we do with it? Solve world hunger? Create a unified, peaceful global community? No. We take pictures — of ourselves. At such a rate that we’ve had to pollute the Oxford English Dictionary with the word ‘selfie,’ which sounds like a euphemism for jerking off… and basically is.

I’m forced to awkwardly rub myself on strangers as I chafe my way to the Genius Bar. They offer me a seat at the miniature kids table — the one that has a Mac on it with children’s games designed to bond pre-verbal toddlers to their brand. I take the last chair, joining a group of adults holding broken Apple devices, looking lost. This intimate arrangement makes us all uncomfortable; we feel completely naked and afraid in this foreign social situation without iPhones to pretend to be working on. The very devices designed to connect us with all of humanity now prevent us from communicating with the person in front of our face; we are much more comfortable making iContact than eye contact.

I observe the Genius Bar as I wait. There are several Geniuses here today, it’s pretty much the same combination of guys you see at any Apple store, in fact I think they’ve franchised this combination: Hipster prodigy kid wearing skinny jeans and Keds; cool, sophisticated black dude with a halfro; hugely beardy questionable hygiene guy; and a middle-aged square.

I get the square. He’s a genius in that if you drop a box of toothpicks he can tell you exactly how many, but not a genius in that he can have a simple, human exchange — and he definitely doesn’t speak blonde. I hand him my phone; he studies the cracked screen with zero emotion. I tell him all about Siri talking out of turn, and right on queue she randomly ejaculates “I’m really sorry but I can’t take any requests right now.” He fiddles around with it and she volunteers the local weather. His brow furrows and I’m pleased to see Genius Guy feeling a small amount of the bewilderment I experience on an ongoing basis in all areas of my life.

“Have you backed this up onto your MacBook?” No. I haven’t. I don’t have a Macbook, I have one of those tiny, pretend laptops by ASUS. The name is literally ‘eee.’ That’s it. I’m not fucking kidding you — its name is the noise that Mini-Me makes when you toss him. This wondrous machine belonged to my mother but she got so frustrated with it that she gave it to my niece…who is two. Apparently she also got frustrated with its uselessness and thus it came to be mine. What I’m trying to tell you is that my computer is literally a hand-me-down from a baby. When you write more than 30 WPM eee goes into shock and restarts itself so the only thing I can hope to back up onto it is my Pontiac. I don’t want to tell him this so I just say “Yes.” He shoots me a look of untempered disbelief because Vulcans can read minds and blondes don’t back up computers. I also lie by omitting the fact that maybe Siri is having a hard time because my running pants don’t have pockets in them so I jog with my phone in my sweaty bra. He probably could use this information but I just can’t bring myself to tell Spock that I boob-drowned Siri.

He turns the phone off and then back on again. We wait… and wait… and wait. “No Siri,” the Genius announces loudly. He looks so pleased with himself that he may have to go take a selfie in the break room.

Seriously?? That’s all my phone needed was to be turned off and then back on?!

Hipster kid and beard guy shake with silent laughter. Wonderful. I just wasted an hour and a half, molested several strangers and now these appholes are laughing at me.

I shame-walk back through the crowd and onto the street. “Duck you, Apple!” I exclaim. To which a strangely robotic female voice spontaneously responds “There is an Apple store not far from you.” She instructs me to walk 0.1 miles and turn left back into the store. I obey.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Maria Von Trapp Dead: Last Surviving Member Of Famous Musical Family Dies At 99

STOWE, Vt. (AP) — Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member and second-eldest daughter of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music,” has died. She was 99.

Von Trapp died at her home in Vermont on Tuesday, according to her brother Johannes von Trapp. “She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people,” he said. “There wasn’t a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that.”

Maria von Trapp was the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers made famous in “The Sound of Music.” She was portrayed as Louisa in the 1959 Broadway musical and a 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture.

She was the third child and second-oldest daughter of Austrian Naval Capt. Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp. Their seven children were the basis for the singing family in the musical and film.

“The Sound of Music” was based loosely on a 1949 book by von Trapp’s second wife, also Maria von Trapp, who died in 1987. It tells the story of an Austrian woman who married a widower with seven children and teaches them music.

In 1938, the family escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria and performed concert tours throughout Europe and then a three-month tour in America. The family settled in Vermont in the early 1940s and opened a ski lodge in Stowe.

Von Trapp played accordion and taught Austrian dance with sister Rosmarie at the lodge.

She wrote in a biography posted on the Trapp Family’s website that she was born in the Austrian Alps after her family fled fighting from World War I and that she was surrounded by music growing up.

“Father played the violin, accordion and mandolin. Mother played piano and violin,” she wrote. “I have fond memories of our grandmother playing the piano for us after meals.”

Her biography on the website also said that she worked as a lay missionary in Papua, New Guinea.

Rosmarie von Trapp, Johannes von Trapp and Eleonore Von Trapp Campbell were born to Georg von Trapp and Maria von Trapp.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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