Dinosaur Skeleton Up for Auction in the U.K.

Unusual items often appear in auctions all over the world. Last year, some of the strangest objects to go under the hammer included a stained pair of Elvis Presley’s underwear, a well-dressed skeleton, menus from the Titanic, the piano from Casablanca and Albert Einstein’s ‘God Letter’.

Now, a rare, nearly complete dinosaur skeleton is on display and up for auction in the U.K. The Diplodocus bones were discovered in America. Sharon Reich from Reuters reports:


Grief From The One We All Grieve

jfk letter
Letter at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation written by JFK

As we approach the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, the country reflects on its grief and memory. It is interesting, while so many reflect on their grief over the death of a great president, to look at his grief during his own life.

On August 7, 1963, the Kennedys gave birth to a baby boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy. He was born premature and died just 39 hours later. He had a lung condition that blocked the oxygen from his bloodstream, but JFK recounted after his death that he “put up quite a fight.”

While Kennedy did not usually show emotion, he was seen crying three times during that week. He was seen crying by himself after the death, when he told his bedridden wife about it and at the funeral when he was “overwhelmed with grief.”

The Shapell Manuscript Foundation has, in its possession, a letter that JFK wrote and signed during that time. Written on August 14, 1963, he thanked his sister-in-law’s brother, George, and his wife Pat for their message of condolence. As he wrote in the letter, “You were kind indeed to think of us at this very difficult time. Your message was a comfort to me and my family and we are very grateful to you.”

And the nation will, again, be thinking of JFK at this “difficult time” as we approach the anniversary tomorrow of his death.

Harry Potter Visits NY’s Penn Station

Yesterday, Improv Everywhere struck again with another Movies in Real Life clip, this time featuring a young Harry Potter searching far and wide for Platform 9 3/4 at New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Fully equipped with luggage, wizard gear, and a stuffed white owl, the young Harry Potter lookalike turned to friendly strangers and transit employees for help.

What do you think of Improv Everywhere’s latest stunt?

See the group’s official webpage for more information and a peek behind the scenes of Harry Potter in Real Life.

Skiing in Switzerland

Experience the dream of skiing the Alps
Experience the dream of skiing the Alps

If you have the time and the money and you enjoy skiing, few locations are more enjoyable than Switzerland. The options are vast when you start searching for the perfect location. Here we offer a rundown of a few of the best ski locations and home rentals that will make the stay that much more enjoyable.

Grindelwald: One of the unique opportunities this location affords is that it’s not isolated from civilization. In addition to the skiing that you can enjoy, you can also have fun with the nightlife, the restaurants, the discos and more. You can enjoy the resorts of Wingen and Murren by cog railway without even taking a car.

Saas-Fee: Here, you’ll find the Alpine Express ski slopes and also the many village stores and restaurants. Among the many choices for lodging is the 4-star 4-bedroom chalet-apartment owned by Marnin Michaels. The Saas-Fee Luxury Apartment is only 50 meters from the ski slopes and offers a great location.

Gstaad/Saanenland: This is a posh location for lodging and also offered music festivals, shopping and people-watching. The slopes here aren’t as challenging as in other locations so it’s a place that is best for beginners and intermediate skiers.

Verbier: This is the premier ski spot for French-speaking Swiss skiers with restaurants that serve creative food and a great eclectic ambiance. If you don’t feel French, however, you won’t feel uncomfortable here. The area also caters to those from England with English-style pubs and French cafes around.

Whether you’re interested in staying at Marnin Michael’s chalet-apartment or at a chalet in Grindelwald, you’re sure to have an amazing experience skiing in Switzerland.

Link Between Physical and Mental Health: Depression and Aging

elderlyIt has long been claimed that there is a definite link between mental and physical well-being, that our mental state has a heavy impact on our physical welfare.  Now, a new study has possibly actually proven it, vis-à-vis the effect of depression on the aging process.  In a study of over 2,000 individuals documented in Molecular Psychiatry, it seemed that cells looked biologically order in those who were severely depressed, or even those who had dealt with deep depression in their past.  Such visible distinctions could not be attributed to other facts (like smoking, obesity, etc.)

Even though it has long been determined that severe depression can lead to an increase in various diseases (often due to the unhealthy lifestyle that often goes hand-in-hand with depression such as poor diet, alcohol/drug abuse etc.).  But until now it has not been proven that the cells actually look biologically older.

The way the study was conducted was through the measurement of telomeres (cell structures) which are the “caps” at the end of chromosomes that protect DNA during cell division.  What usually happens is that telomeres get a little shorter each time cells divide.  It is thought that their length is an index of a cell’s aging.  It was found that telomeres were shorter in those who had encountered more depression, indicating cellular aging in those with depression is accelerated by several years.

Still, if one is already on the road to aging due to depression, there are things that can be done.  Since people over 50 are more prone to cases of clinical depression. Time and again, studies have shown that depression can actually be prevented with regular physical activity.  The problem is, as people age, it is harder to get moving, thus they don’t, and this leads to potential depression.  It is indeed a potentially vicious cycle.  Still, start moving and keep pushing it.

In addition, other studies have shown that adopting a Mediterranean diet can prevent – or slow down – the aging brain.  Indeed, according to a study undertaken by Annals of Neurology, such a diet could highly benefit the central nervous system-related axes – and is inversely associated with depression.

So for those suffering from depression, realize the seriousness of the matter but then take actions to change it – it is probably affecting a lot more than you realize.


Ireland: A Country to Behold Then and Now

If you’re looking forward to some fall travel, now may be the perfect time before the real harsh weather of the winter sets in. Prices are relatively good for hotels and airlines now, as it’s not the high season of the summer or Christmas break.

One great travel spot before the winter really sets in is Ireland. With beautiful scenery, friendly people and romantic accommodations, it’s the perfect spot for anyone, even the President of the United States. As we approach the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, it’s interesting to look at the president’s experience in this beautiful location.

When he visited in the summer of 1963, he made history for many reasons. He was the first Irish-American President, the first Catholic President and the first sitting President to visit Ireland. He visited relatives in New Ross, toured the ancestral homestead and more. As JKF proclaimed during his trip, “They love me in Ireland!”  Upon his return home, he penned a letter to Dot Tubridy. Housed with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, the letter said,

jfk ireland
Letter by JFK with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation

Now that I have returned to the United States and I look back on my visit to Ireland I find that I have nothing but pleasant memories. My visit there was nothing but pleasant memories. My visit there was definitely the highlight of my trip…Dot: It couldn’t have been better. We loved it – All of your countrymen were wonderful to us and so were you.

Certainly, if a President of the United States enjoyed his stay this much, the rest of us would undoubtedly have a lovely visit there as well.