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Forbidden Love in Hamlet, The Scarlet Letter, and To Kill a Mockingbird

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When we think of stories about forbidden love, the first thing to jump to mind is usually Romeo and Juliet (or lately, Twilight). However, since you probably aren’t going to fall in love at first sight with someone who turns out to be a sworn enemy (or undead) any time soon, these stories aren’t all that culturally relevant as far as forbidden love goes.

A more realistic barrier between two unlucky lovers would be a discrepancy in class, religion, or (despite what Dr. Laura might say… over and over again) race. For a quick fix of that good ol’ literary feasibility, here are three classic tales about forbidden love spanning the last five hundred years.

Realistic Obstacle Number One: Class. You’re a smart and exceptionally beautiful young woman who happens to be in love with the Prince of Denmark. Too bad your dad is only a counselor to the throne and not any actual form of royalty. That’s right: you’re Ophelia of Hamlet fame and, much to your dismay, dad’s called off your romance with Prince Hamlet for fear that the guy’s not after any of your, shall we say, more queenly qualities.

The thinking behind this intervention is that if Hamlet is serious about the relationship, he’ll have the power to marry you (or anyone he wants, really) once he actually becomes king. This would be a smart move if it weren’t for two things: 1) Uncle Claudius has killed Hamlet, Sr., thereby cutting Hamlet, Jr., in line for the throne; 2) There’s a good chance that you and Hamlet have already swapped more than just love notes, making you particularly eager NOT to dump Hamlet at this particular moment. The stress of this situation – compounded by Hamlet’s accidental murder of your father – finally causes you to go insane and, ahem, accidentally fall into a river.

Realistic Obstacle Number Two: Religion. You’re a beautiful young woman with mad embroidery skills and you’ve just been blessed with your first child. In prison. By the way, you’re Puritan and your husband hasn’t been seen in two years. You’re Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter and you’ve had the great misfortune of being born in seventeenth-century New England. But wait, it gets better.

You refuse to tell anyone who the baby-daddy is because: 1) You feel it’s best that he come forward on his own; 2) You’re twelve different kinds of dignified; and 3) He happens to be the reverend, which, in Puritan society, means no swapping of ANYTHING – including love notes. To your credit, you eventually overcome the stigma of your indiscretion by accepting your punishment unflinchingly… even after people forget what it is you actually did. On the other hand, if achieving social redemption means bending to the will of an unjust patriarchy for the rest of your long life, we’ll settle for pulling up stakes and heading West, thank you very much.

Realistic Obstacle Number Three: Race. You’re the troubled, nineteen-year-old daughter of white trash and you’ve made the huge mistake of falling in love with a married man. Who’s black. In 1930’s Alabama. You’re Mayella Ewell from To Kill A Mockingbird, and Daddy Drinks a lot just caught you making the moves on someone he considers to be an inferior.

After taking a savage beating, you claim that your crush, Tom Robinson, actually raped you. Whether to convince your father or simply to obey him, you then make a court case of the incident; after all, no one in 1930’s Alabama would dare acquit Tom regardless of the groundlessness of your accusation. As expected, Tom is given the death sentence only to be shot no less than seventeen times in the process of attempting to then escape from prison. Tom’s wife and children must live off of the charity of their community while you figure out a way to live with yourself.

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Onions – To Cry For

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What would a recipe be like if we did not have onions? The distinctively pungent smell and taste of onions rounds out the flavours of almost any type of cuisine. For centuries, onions have added value to our cuisine and have also been thought of as having therapeutic properties.

The word onion comes from the Latin word unio for “single” or “one” because the onion produces a single bulb. The name also suggests the union of the many separate concentrically arranged layers of the onion. Onions are native to Asia and the Middle East and have thought to be cultivated for over five thousand years-they were highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians. Often the ancient Egyptians used them as currency to pay the workers who built the pyramids, and also placed them in the tombs of kings (Tutankhamen) so that the kings could carry them as gifts in the afterlife. In India in the 6th century onions were used as a medicine. The ancient Greeks and Romans often dressed up onions with extra seasonings in their cooking because they did not find them spicy enough. Many European countries during the Middle Ages served onions as a classic healthy breakfast food. It should be noted that Christopher Columbus brought onions with him to the West Indies and spread their cultivation from there throughout the Western Hemisphere. Today the leading producers of onions are China, the United States, Russia and Spain, among others.

Onions are available in fresh, frozen, canned and dehydrated forms. They can be used in almost any type of food, cooked, in fresh salads or as a garnish, and are usually chopped or sliced. Onions are mainly used as an accompaniment to a main course and are rarely eaten on their own. There are many different types of onions ranging from sharp and pungent to mild and sweet.

Depending on the variety, onions range in size, colour and taste. There are generally two types of large, globe-shaped onions, classified as spring/summer or storage onions. The spring/summer class includes onions that are grown in warm weather climates and have characteristic mild or sweet tastes. This group includes the Maui Sweet Onion (in season April through June), Vidalia (in season May through June) and Walla Walla (in season July and August). Storage onions are grown in colder weather climates and, after harvesting, can be dried out for a period of several months. They generally have a more pungent flavour and are named by their color: white, yellow or red. Spanish onions are classified as storage onions. There are also smaller varieties of onions, such as the green onion (also called scallions) and the pearl onion.

Onions are members of the Allium family and are rich in powerful sulphur-containing compounds which are responsible for their pungent odours and for their many health-promoting effects. When an onion is sliced the cells are broken, which allows enzymes called alliinases to break down sulphides and generate sulphenic acids (amino acid sulfoxides). The Sulphenic acids are unstable and decompose to produce a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. Then this gas reaches the eye it reacts with the water in the eye to form a diluted solution of sulphuric acid which irritated the nerve endings in the eye. Your eye then produces tears to dilute and flush out the irritating substance. This is what makes your eyes sting and water when slicing onions.

Eye irritation can be reduced by supplying an ample amount of water to the reaction, which prevents the gas from reaching your eye. This is why it is thought to be helpful to cut onions under running water or submerged in a bowl of water. Rinsing the onion and leaving it wet while slicing may also be helpful. Other tips to help reduce eye irritation are by freezing onions, which prevents the enzymes from activating, limiting the amount of gas generated. Also, using a very sharp knife while chopping will limit the cell damage thereby reducing the amount of enzymes released. Lemon will help to remove the characteristic odour of the onion.

As mentioned, onions are thought to produce many health benefits. Onions are a good source of chromium, the mineral component in glucose tolerance factor, a molecule that helps cells respond to insulin. Diabetic clinical studies have shown that the chromium produced by onions can decrease fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels and decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as increase good HDL-cholesterol levels.

One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the daily value for chromium. Since chromium levels are depleted by the consumption of refined sugars, white flour products and the lack of exercise, marginal chromium deficiency is common in the United States.

A case-control study from Southern European populations suggests that making onions and garlic a staple in your diet may greatly lower your risk of several common cancers. Eating onions two or more times per week is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing colon cancer. As well, the regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both of which help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Onions may also help maintain healthy bones. A newly identified compound in onions, gamma-L-glutamyl-trans-S-1-propenyl-cysteine sulphoxide (GPCS) inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bones). This may be especially beneficial for women who are at increased risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.

Other potential health benefits of onions include several anti-inflammatory agents that reduce the severity of symptoms associated with the pain and swelling of osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, the allergic inflammatory response of asthma, and the respiratory congestion associated with the common cold. Also, quercitin and other flavonoids found in onions work with vitamin C to help kill harmful bacteria and are helpful when added to soups and stews during cold and flu season.

In many parts of the undeveloped world, onions are also helpful in healing blisters and boils. Onion extract (Mederma) is used in the United States in the treatment of topical scars.

When choosing onions, choose onions that are clean, have no opening at the neck and have crisp, dry outer skins. Avoid onions that have sprouted, have signs of mold, or once that have soft spots, moisture at the neck, and dark patches which may indicate signs of decay. When choosing scallions, choose those that have green, fresh-looking tops which are crisp and tender. They should be white in colour for 2-3″ along the base. Avoid scallions that look wilted or have yellowed tops.

Store onions are room temperature, away from bright light and in a well-ventilated area. Hanging them in a wire basket or perforated bowl for ventilation is ideal. Onions that are more pungent in flavour, such as yellow onions, can be stored for longer periods that the sweeter variety of onions, such as white onions. Scallions should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and will keep well for about a week. Store all onions away from potatoes as the onions will absorb the moisture from the potatoes and cause them to spoil more easily. Cut onions should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or sealed in a container, and should be used within a couple of days since they tend to oxidize and lose their nutrient value quickly. To maintain the best taste of cooked onions, they should be stored in an airtight container and used within a few days. Never place cooked onions in a metal container since this will cause discoloration. Peeled and chopped onions may be frozen raw, but this can cause them to lose some of their flavour.

Onions can be eaten raw or cooked in almost any way imaginable-broiled, boiled, baked, creamed, fried, deep-fried, or pickled. They are great in soups, stews and combined with meats and vegetables. They add a versatility to your dishes that is hard to beat.

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Anger Management Tips For Parents

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Do you sometimes get angry with your kids and feel it escalate by losing control? We all get angry, even at our kids, anger is a normal emotion. It’s what we do with it that’s important, and how we cope with the consequences. “Angry parents breed hostile children”. Anger management for parents is crucial because if you learn to control your anger towards your children you are also teaching your children how to control theirs.

Anger management for parents is most important to avoid various teenage behaviour problems in the future. In the book “Solving Teenage Problems”, various ways in which parents can control their anger and have reasonable conversation with their teenager have been discussed. Along with this the book also provides a very effective model called “Communication Enhancement Model”, which can help parents to structure difficult discussions with their teenagers. However it all starts with your ability as parents to control your anger and below are some of the tricks you need to practice right from the time your child is a young kid, so that you can master the art of anger management:

First and most importantly, anger management starts with being honest with your kids! Tell them you are angry, without necessarily giving them all the details. You can say you are angry but you are working through it and finding a solution. This teaches them that being angry is normal, they won’t be punished for it – since mom or dad feels it too – and they can express it the same way.

Avoid anger triggers. The room is a mess? Close the door. It’s not the end of the world. There’s spilt milk on the table? It’s okay; your kid can pick it up after the meal. It’s not life threatening. Ignoring small mishaps is crucial for anger management.

If your anger is caused by your kids’ bad attitudes, try the 1-2-3-Magic method, well known for diffusing potential anger situations. The parent only says “one” to the kids to stop the unacceptable behaviour, until the parent reaches “three”. The kids have already been told that by three, if they haven’t stopped the unacceptable behaviour, there’s a consequence. It also lets the parent calm down before exploding, just by saying “one”. The parent stays composed and the kids know what’s going to happen ahead of time. This method has saved many situations from escalating into parents’ angry fits towards their children. When consequences are explained to the kids and they know that they need to clean their act in certain period of time, anger management becomes easier as you know that you need to have patience and give your kids the time to clean their act and if they do not do it, you exactly know how you are going to react. This itself has a calming effect on you.

Whatever we do, our kids will imitate. Anger, when not properly expressed and dealt with, hurts everyone, including the angry person. For a better atmosphere when the family is together, everyone gains through proper anger management.

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Fruit and Weight Loss

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Did you know that grapefruits, melons, berries papayas and peach can actually help you lose weight? Fruit has zero cholesterol, serves as a good source of fiber and reduces blood pressure and the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Everybody wants a diet plan that lets them eat as much as they want without feeling hunger and reducing weight. The trick is to choose foods with fewer calories per gram weight of the food. The more water and fiber in food, the lower its energy density, and the more it helps you stay full while you reduce your weight.

So eating fruit is good for us and it helps us to loose weight and not feel hungry while dieting. But will any fruit do the job? What about canned fruit or dried fruit? Actually the best choice is fresh fruit, canned and dried fruit contain a much higher amount of calories.

The top fruits for weight loss include grapefruit, melons, berries, papayas and peach. Fruit serves as a great snack substitute instead of cakes, fries and doughnuts. Try berries grapes and apple slices include red and green grapes, pineapple chunks, strawberries, sliced bananas and pears in your daily diet and you will definitely loose your weight while improving your health. And do not forget fruit canned also serve as part of your breakfast lunch or dinner not only as snack substitute, try making a fruity dessert, eat it with yogurt and low-fat granola add fruit to your cereal or oatmeal and you will have a great low calorie meal.

Fruit can be a dieters best choice to reduce weight use it as a meal or a snack and enjoy natures gift for dieters fresh fruit…

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