Thursday, 31 December 2015

Found on Facebook - Happy New Year

So, loosen your seat belts, jingle and mingle.
The stop-overs will be :
Refueling will be at
The following menu is offered and will be served during the flight.......
✅ Cocktail of Friendship,
✅ Supreme of Health,
✅ Grating of Prosperity,
✅ Bowl of Excellent News
✅ Salad of Success,
✅ Cake of Happiness,
All accompanied by bursts of laughter...
But remember, you will enjoy these meals and the journey better if you talk, share, smile and laugh together. Sitting silent will make the flight seem longer.
Wishing you and your families 👪 an enjoyable trip on board flight 2016.....
Before Flight 2015 ends,
Allow me to Thank All my Amazing Friends
Who Made my 2015 Beautiful ,
May you be Blessed With an Awesome Year Ahead 2016.

When Dog Owners Are Off the Leash

he actress Amber Heard with one of the two Yorkshire terriers she sneaked into Australia in May. CreditSplash NewsI don’t identify with celebrities, especially ones with superstar husbands. But when Amber Heard, the actress, got caught last spring, I felt her pain. She has been ordered to appear in court next year, the BBC recently reported, for smuggling two Yorkshire terriers into Australia.

Ms. Heard, the wife of Johnny Depp (who was in Australia to film another “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie), neglected to declare the couple’s two dogs upon arrival by private jet at Brisbane. Unlike actors and tourists, dogs traveling from the United States must spend 10 days in quarantine.

The incident gained attention when Australia’s agriculture minister threatened to put down the dogs (named Pistol and Boo) if they were not removed from the country. He had seen them when a groomer posted a photo on Facebook, and in a TV interview said he did not care that Mr. Depp had been voted the sexiest man alive; he still had to follow quarantine rules.

The tabloids have dubbed the ongoing canine kerfuffle “the war on terrier.”

I deem it newsworthy only because a nervy dog owner finally was caught. These days half the people I know, myself included, are sneaking their dogs everywhere.

I know one couple who take their undeclared Norwich terrier into France with as much thought as they would give carrying a loaf of bread out of a boulangerie, and another who sneak their Brussels griffon into Mexico, where I’ve seen them frolicking on the beach in Tulum.

In this world of the privileged who won’t take no for an answer and will take pets everywhere, we sneak them onto flights to avoid steep fees and into hotels to do the same. And sometimes we sneak them into hotels that don’t allow dogs at all.

We sneak them into restaurants, too, often by providing questionable letters from therapists or Internet outfits saying the animals offer us emotional support for anxiety disorders. And we keep getting away with it because laws are just unclear enough to intimidate anyone who questions a disability. Never mind that misrepresenting our pets as service animals (when, like mine, they don’t always behave like them) makes life more difficult for those who really need them.

“Is that a service animal?” I heard a hostess ask a very healthy-looking young couple the other night as they entered a TriBeCa pub with a big black dog. They pulled out a letter, showed it, got the O.K. and proceeded to walk the dog through the restaurant as if they were on a sidewalk. I marveled at the nerve, although I myself have a letter from a psychologist that says I have a panic disorder and suffer from fear of crowds, and that my dog allays my symptoms.

Making matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view), United Airlines recently placed “comfort dogs” in seven airports “to help take some of the stress out of holiday travel for our customers.” (Another way to do that would be to stop charging $150 each way to have a small dog in a carrier bag under the seat.)

It’s no wonder passengers like me are playing the emotional-support-animal game, although I’m not sure that entitles us to shamelessly walk our dogs around the airport as if they were no different than children with interesting haircuts.

All of this is nothing new, even as it has become more common. To avoid having their four dogs set foot on English soil, which required a six-month quarantine, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lived on a yacht while he was filming a movie in the 1970s. Several decades later, the quarantine in Britain was lifted in time for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.Photo

The actors and twice-married couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor with their pet dogs, a Pekingese and two Yorkshire terriers, aboard the yacht Beatriz on the River Thames to avoid British quarantine regulations. CreditBob Aylott/Keystone, via Getty Images

As goes the British government, so go all kinds of luxury hotels. After a recent premiere of his short film celebrating the new “open pet policy” at the W Hotel Times Square, Alan Cumming told The New York Post he can now sit at the bar with his dog.

And this year, guests at the Standard no longer have to be sneaks to avoid a pet fee. An article on the hotel’s website featuring Anjelica Huston posing on a bed with several dogs announces that two per guest are welcome free. Children, on the other hand, are (without irony) prohibited. “They don’t ask questions,” Ms. Huston says of dogs in her interview. “They just understand the answers.”

In other news, Amtrak, after a decades-long pets ban, has started allowing small cats and dogs on trains. Representative Jeff Denham, a California Republican, set things in motion when he realized he couldn’t ride with his French bulldog, Lily. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the passenger experience,” an Amtrak spokesperson told The Washington Post.

If only they had thought of that for the two years my husband and I were shuttling back and forth between New York and Washington for his job. Our options were either sneaking our longhaired miniature dachshund onto an insufferably slow bus, which was harrowing given her tendency to want to get out of her bag. Or we had to sneak her onto flights to avoid the outrageous fees that cost as much as our airfare.

At least we had the perfect accessory for the crime: a small perforated black shoulder bag that looked more like a Chanel knockoff than a pet carrier.

For a person who was annoyed by the entitlement of dog owners up until the moment I got one myself, I’ve become more cavalier than a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. I’ve taken my dog to restaurants, concerts, barbershops, tailors and therapy, where it is always noted that the dog’s name, Zoloft, is metaphorically, if not clinically, appropriate.

Recently, when invited at the last minute to participate in a group reading in Miami, I brought Zoloft onto the stage and offended both audience and participants by inadvertently distracting the viewers from the readers.

“It’s a well-known rule,” one participant said, “that dogs and children always upstage adults in performances.” It was a smack on the snout but also a wake-up call.

Those with objections are biting back more, it seems. When The New York Times published an article about pet travel, there was a barrage of comments from allergy sufferers and people who did not want to share space with someone’s “fur child” as we who are obsessed call them.

And now organizations like the Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind, a California group, and Canine Companions for Independence are taking up the issue of dubious service-dog designations by pushing the Department of Justice to regulate the sale of service animal equipment and IDs.

As for Amber Heard, when she was caught last spring, she vowed never to return to Australia. That’s not possible because she is expected at her trial next year.

Every dog has its day. And sometimes sneaky celebrities get their due.

A version of this article appears in print on December 31, 2015, on page D2 of the New York edition with the headline: When Dog Owners Are Off the Leash. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Warm Chocolate Melting Cups Recipe

Warm Chocolate Melting Cups Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min.


  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 10 fresh strawberry halves, optional


  1. In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in the chocolate chips, coffee and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, beat eggs and egg white until slightly thickened. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until thick and lemon-colored. Fold into chocolate mixture.
  3. Transfer to ten 4-oz. ramekins coated with cooking spray. Place ramekins in a baking pan; add 1 in. of boiling water to pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or just until centers are set. Garnish with strawberry halves if desired. Serve immediately.Yield: 10 servings.
Originally published as Warm Chocolate Melting Cups in Healthy Cooking December/January 2009, p29

15 Quotes About Writers & Their Cats. ~ Laura Ashworth

Via Laura Ashworthon Nov 26, 2013

“One cat just leads to another.”

 ~ Ernest Hemingway

What’s the deal with cats and their writers?
Cats and their humans.
Cats and anyone they can boss around.
Anyone who’s ever had a feline companion knows what’s up—our cats are the puppetmasters and we, the humans, are simply the puppets.
Cats pull our strings.
We fetch their organic wet food (the pricey stuff) when they say fetch.
They wake us at 4 am, tapping on our closed eyelids (claws retracted, thank goodness), asking us to serve them breakfast—to serve them, always, and we do.
We fashion a toy mouse (when their favorite cloth mouse goes missing) from a piece of paper we’re currently taking notes on for a story, and forget said story—sacrificing all for cat.
The faux paper mouse (with its scribbled story notes, with its writer’s sacrifice) scuttles across the floor and is swatted by cat’s claws, crinkling just like cat likes it, and finds its way underneath a piece of heavy mahogany furniture, and is lost to the dark corners of immovable antiques.
When I went to graduate school for creative writing I had zero cats. I awoke with no mysterious cat scratches (sometimes even on my face now) from where a cat jumped over me in the night, or merely sparred with the other cat too close to my slumber. (Yes, this happens. Yes, I’m amazed I have not lost an eye yet.)
Yet, when I left graduate school for creative writing, I had three cats. Three cats whose presence made themselves known in my life much like the height that creeps up upon a child.
“Oh my, how did I grow so much in the past year?”
“Oh my, how did I aquire three cats in the past two years?”
It just happens, naturally. 
So in ode to cats and their writers, I’ve compiled a list of writers musings on these fuzzy, little cat-astrophes:
1. “I said something which gave you to think I hated cats. But gad, sir, I am one of the most fanatical cat lovers in the business. If you hate them, I may learn to hate you. If your allergies hate them, I will tolerate the situation to the best of my ability.” ~ Raymond Chandler (in a letter to a friend)
2. “If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” ~ Mark Twain
3. “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
4. “Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets.” ~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust
5. “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” ~ Colette
6. “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ~ Jean Cocteau
7. “Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw.” ~ Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms
8. “I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” ~ Jules Verne
9. “One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.” ~ Gwendolyn Brooks, In the Mecca
10. “when I am feeling
all i have to do is
watch my cats
and my
~ Charles Bukowski
11. “If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding.” ~ Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington
12. “Books, Cats, Life is Good.” ~ Edward Gorey
13. “I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates
14. “Of all our sunny world
I wish only for a garden sofa
where a cat is sunning itself.
There I should sit
with a letter at my breast,
a single small letter.
That is what my dream looks like.”
~ Edith Södergran, A Wish
15. “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” ~  Edgar Allan Poe

Evanescence - Bring Me To Life

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Rob Thomas

Squash & nigella seed soup


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • onion
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • pinch chilli powder
  • 800g squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • potato , cubed
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • small bunch flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, then fry until lightly coloured. Add the nigella seeds and chilli, then fry for 1 min. Tip in the squash, potato and stock, then bring to the boil. Stir well, cover, then simmer for 20 mins, or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Purée the soup in batches, adding a handful of parsley with each batch. Return the soup to the pan, then reheat. The soup can be frozen for up to 1 month.

10 Rudyard Kipling Quotes for Any Occasion

150 years ago today, 30th December Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay India. This idyllic start in life was to end abruptly when as was customary, he and his siblings were sent to England to be receive their education.
The couple who boarded him were intolerably cruel and in his autobiography Kipling reminisces about the years spent living under Mrs Holloway’s harshness saying “If you cross-examine a child of seven or eight on his day’s doings (specially when he wants to go to sleep) he will contradict himself very satisfactorily. If each contradiction be set down as a lie and retailed at breakfast, life is not easy. I have known a certain amount of bullying, but this was calculated torture—religious as well as scientific. Yet it made me give attention to the lies I soon found it necessary to tell: and this, I presume, is the foundation of literary effort” and crediting those lies for his early literary leanings. It seems wrong to be thankful for such cruelties but I cannot help but be strangely grateful for anything that lengthened Kipling’s writing career.
With that in mind, what else could we do to celebrate this wonderful author’s birthday than to pick out 10 wonderful quotes that could just as easily be used today.

“I never made a mistake in my life; at least, never one that I couldn’t explain away afterwards.”
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”
“A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.”
“A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition”
“Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves.”
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
“The world is very lovely, and it’s very horrible–and it doesn’t care about your life or mine or anything else.”
“This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.”
“There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.”
Such a lovely turn of phrase and such an insight into the ways of the world; it is no wonder that Rudyard Kipling is as loved today as he was during his lifetime.