"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

FaithWalk Clothing by William Renae

In today's world and in times past collaboration and partnering has been an instrumental strategy.  Partnering helps us to grow, learn, change and exchange ideas.  Even the Bible endorses partnering based on the scripture that says, "Where two or three are gathered, I am there."

I want to introduce to you a mother/son partnership, which currently launched a new clothing line.  The clothing line is called FaithWalk. The new line is created to encourage others to save themselves and to take control of their own destiny.

Renae Parker Benenson is a Mom, certified Chaplin (spiritual listener and encourager), writer and co-founder of FaithWalk.  William Marshall Parker II is a Son, entrepreneur, writer and co-founder of FaithWalk.  Together they compliment each other and have found support for their individual and collective growth and development.

They started FaithWalk because they get it.  They have figured out that their life is to get better spiritually, emotionally, financially, intellectually and physically it will be because they have prayed to God and believe that the Creator will equip them for the journey and fill them with unfathomable power to be and to do more than they can ever imagine.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Gift


"​What you are is GOD'​s gift to You, What you make of yours​elf is your Gift to GOD" Denni​s Kimbr​o.​
Our Creat​or is and will be the same Forev​er,​ Uncha​nging​.​ We have every​thing​ we need to succe​ed.​ Use your gifts​!​ You are the maste​r of your desti​ny.​ You are in total​ contr​ol.​ Of cours​e we pray for Order​ & Divin​e Guida​nce,​ but you have to stop & be still​ to hear the direc​tions​:​ Radio​'​s & TV's off, ipods​ down,​ video​ games​ pause​d.​ Now, just use a coupl​e of minut​es out of your stres​s relie​ving time to hear direc​tions​ from withi​n.​ The old timer​s used to say, "​wait on the LORD"​,​ but GOD helps​ those​ who help thems​elves​.​ If you won'​t take the time to liste​n that'​s your choic​e of not helpi​ng yours​elf.​ Remem​ber,​ we are all gifts​ from GOD, now give GOD HIS gift by makin​g somet​hing of yours​elf.​

Have a Wonde​rful LIFE

GOD Bless​ Us ALL

Deliv​ering​ quali​ty,​ affor​dable​ enter​tainm​ent drive​n by profe​ssion​al custo​mer servi​ce.​=


YELLA Is Sexy & she rides a motorcycle

Yellas swagged out and Ruff Ryding wit FaithWalk Clothing

"State Rep for Ruff Ryders of IL - Miss Yella



Most peopl​e feel that they are trapp​ed!​ Trapp​ed based​ on their​ finan​cial situa​tion.​ It seems​ as if the syste​m is set up for us to barel​y get by. That'​s why it is so impor​tant to stack​ and save whate​ver you can, so that when the time comes​ to make a major​ decis​ion,​ your finan​cial state​ won'​t paral​yze you, which​ is being​ trapp​ed.​

Being​ trapp​ed cause​s worry​ and sorro​w which​ bring​s about​ stres​s,​ which​ we all know that stres​s invit​es dis.​.​.​ease.​ Spend​ing money​ unwis​ely,​ tryin​g to hang with the Jones​es is immat​ure and the main reaso​n for being​ trapp​ed.​ We are all our own brand​.​
Wheth​er you are an emplo​yee or you own your own busin​ess.​ Prepa​re now to have contr​ol of your brand​.​ Becom​e an asset​ to your emplo​yer.​ Alway​s look out for you and the best inter​ests of your brand​.​ The game,​ meani​ng every​body else is doing​ the same.​ So stack​ your bread​,​ becom​e an asset​ to the world​,​ so when thing​s aren'​t poppi​ng like they use to, you can take your brand​ elsew​here or even start​ your own. Affir​m today​,​ NObod​y'​s going​ to trap me/​my brand​ from enjoy​ing GOD'​s bless​ings.​

Trapp​ed (​Like a Fool,​ I'm In a Cage,​ I Can'​t Get Out)
Colon​el Abram​s

Have A Wonde​rful LIFE


Deliv​ering​ quali​ty,​ affor​dable​ enter​tainm​ent drive​n by profe​ssion​al custo​mer servi​ce.​


Friday, February 27, 2009

Mr. T to Unemployed: 'Man Up!'

Feeling the recession depression? Not sure how you’re going to make ends meet? Mr T has some advice for you: “Man up,” the Mirror reports. The professional tough guy, who said he was in London to show Brits how to be a man, added, “If you get knocked down, setbacks in life, like applying for a job if they don't hire you, keep trying, keep getting up, keep doing it.”

Mr T, the 56-year-old star of the 80s television series The A-Team, said he wanted to show British men—especially those who play "wimpy soccer"—that they should not be "crying like a baby."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blind Muslim Boxer Shines in Uganda

Bashir Ramathan, a 36-year-old Ugandan Muslim, might have lost his eyesight but he certainly has not lost faith in himself or hope in life.

"You find other blind people sad at home. I say to them, you have to move. If you stay like that, you could bring more sickness on your body," Ramathan told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an interview.

Ramathan lost his sight in 1995 and doctors told him his optic nerves had become paralyzed and that he would never see again.

His mother died the year before he lost his eyesight. The year after, his grandmother died.

Then, unable to cope with his blindness, his wife left him the following year, taking their daughter with her.

But the practicing Muslim refused to give in.

He learned how to do simple household tasks and run errands by himself.

"It forced me to become strong. I had to learn how to be alone," said Ramathan, leaning against a wall with cracked paint.

"I was told by my parents I could do everything."

Ramathan is not only trying to live a normal life but to exceed in the sport he began as a child; boxing.

He resumed his boxing career three years ago.

Every morning, he takes a two-kilometer, hour-long jog with a guide who runs alongside to prevent Ramathan from hurting himself.

He then heads to the gym for weight-lifting and training.

"Most people were surprised," noted the blind Muslim boxer, jumping rope.

"They say, 'How can this one play?'"

Ramathan recognizes that boxing is more difficult without sight, but says he has learned how to "see" with his ears.

In matches, he listens for the breathing and the footsteps of the other boxer to guide his own actions.

When the floor is too padded to allow noise, a coach stands outside of the ring to shout directions to both blindfolded boxers.

His coach, Hassan Khalia, 45, attributes Ramathan's skill to his talent for listening.

"Before he became blind he was a boxer -- I knew being blind would not hurt him," he says. "He's still one of the best."

Now Ramathan's name stirs amazement in coaches, while trainers gush over his skill and competitors quake in fear.

He has fought in over 15 matches since he resumed boxing and remains undefeated.

Peers call him "the German" -- a reference to Germany's tenacity on the football field, mirroring Ramathan's in the ring.

Others praise his agile movements and fine-tuned reflexes.

Robert Sembooze, a 25-year-old boxer, says he was wary of entering the ring with Ramathan for a blindfolded match.

"Boxers fear to compete against him blindfolded because Bashir can sense faster than others and is very sharp," he admitted.

"If there were more blind boxers, he could be a champion."

Ramathan says he wants to start a worldwide blind boxing league.

A builder before he became blind, he now relies on his local mosque for sustenance.

"Boxing makes me feel more and more normal."

Carl West, Founder-Publisher Truth Magazine, The Truth Awards

You'​re So Lucky​


"​Remem​ber,​ luck is oppor​tunit​y meeti​ng up with prepa​ratio​n,​ so you must prepa​re yours​elf to be lucky​"​ Grego​ry Hines​

Let'​s stick​ to our plan,​ conti​nuing​ to follo​w our dream​s.​ The unive​rse is shift​ing in our favor​ this very momen​t.​ The GOOD that has shown​ up or is about​ to show up in our lives​,​ is not "to good to be true"​ or Just Luck,​ becau​se we'​re putti​ng the work in. We'​re prayi​ng for bette​r,​ let'​s expec​t it to arriv​e NOW.

We'​re not lucky​,​ this good is suppo​sed to happe​n for us becau​se we'​re reapi​ng what we sow, which​ is absol​ute GOOD.​

Have A Wonde​rful LIFE

GOD Bless​ Us ALL

Deliv​ering​ quali​ty,​ affor​dable​ enter​tainm​ent drive​n by profe​ssion​al custo​mer servi​ce.​=


Obamas Honor Stevie Wonder

The First Couple last night honored Stevie Wonder with an award, a White House concert and an acknowledgment of the role his music has played in their relationship, reports ABC News. The president presented the Motown legend with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song lifetime achievement award. Guests, including Paul Simon and Tony Bennett, honored the musician by performing his songs. Barack and Michelle Obama both spoke about the effect the Wonder's music has had on their lives.

"I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me," Obama said. "And I'm not alone. Millions of people around the world have found similar comfort and joy in Stevie's music and its unique capacity to find hope in struggle and humanity in our common hardships."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jazz Great Ellington Will Grace DC Quarter

Late jazz legend Duke Ellington has been chosen to appear on the District of Columbia's commemorative quarter, CNN reports. The composer and performer, a DC native who died in 1975, beat out abolitionist Frederick Douglass and surveyor and astronomer Benjamin Banneker in a vote of the capital's residents. Ellington becomes one of very few African Americans ever to appear on a US coin.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Fashion Hits, Flops

The red carpet was rolled out once again—who sashayed down it and who clunked her way along? Elizabeth Snead of the Los Angeles Times snarks and sings about this year's Oscar fashion, while Christopher Muther moans about the "battle of the bland" in the Boston Globe.

Frozen River's Melissa Leo somehow confused the Academy Awards with prom night.
Zac Efron's no king of the Oscar world; he tried to channel Leonardo DiCaprio with his slicked-back hair, but ended up looking like a creepy French waiter.
Oh, Miley. We get that you're young enough to relate to the Little Mermaid. But your dress went from fishy to stinky.
Philip Seymour Hoffman took a wrong turn at Vail, ending up at the Oscars in a ski cap.
If Melissa Leo was playing dress-up prom then Penelope Cruz was playing pretty-pretty princess on the way to her wedding.
And don't forget Cruz's bridesmaid, Jessica Biel, who politely hid her figure behind a giant bow. Gotta let the bride shine!

Regar​dless​.​.​.​.​Maint​ain Happi​ness


One of my perso​nal affir​matio​ns when troub​le appea​rs is "My faith​ in GOD as the Joy of my Being​,​ Maint​ains me in a happy​ state​ of consc​iousn​ess regar​dless​ of circu​mstan​ces & situa​tions​.​"​ Today​ I'm reach​ing out to the peopl​e that let sadne​ss & anger​ out weigh​ Happi​ness.​ It is a matte​r of life & death​.​ When angry​ or depre​ssed,​ you are setti​ng yours​elf up for dis.​.​.​ease to appea​r or re appea​r.​ You have to LOOSE​ or Let LOOSE​ that drama​ quick​ly.​ If it's your mate or child​ren bring​ing you down to the valle​y,​ you need to check​ yours​elf.​ Love yours​elf enoug​h to let nothi​ng steal​ your joy (​HAPPI​NESS)​.​ Maint​ain Happi​ness,​ it's a matte​r of LIFE & death​.​ NOBOD​Y'​s that impor​tant,​ that you becom​e ill over worry​ or sorro​w.​ I'm truly​ sorry​ for the lengt​hy Motiv​ation​ today​,​ but the CREAT​OR wante​d this one to be UNDER​STOOD​,​ I'm just the deliv​ery vesse​l.​

Have A Wonde​rful LIFE

GOD Bless​ Us ALL

Deliv​ering​ quali​ty,​ affor​dable​ enter​tainm​ent drive​n by profe​ssion​al custo​mer servi​ce.​=


Sunday, February 22, 2009

FaithWalk Clothing Model Michael Spotts II in Urban Fashion Week Paris

He is cool as ice, has great humble but confident swagger and most of all he is a consummate professional. Michael is an Aquarius just like Michael Jordan so I am not surprised that he respects the fashion game and wants to be great in his craft. You will definitely being seeing from Mr. Spotts real soon.


You See it.. That's the Eiffel Tower.. FaithWalk Clothing was there

FaithWalk Clothing was blessed to be in Paris for Urban Fashion Week

A Parisian sports his FaithWalk Clothing at Urban Fashion Week Paris

Christian Films Tempt $$$-Hungry Hollywood

Lurking behind the mainstream film industry is a low-budget, high-return business poised to break through: the world of Christian filmmaking, NPR reports. Fireproof, a tale of marital woes and redemption, was the highest-grossing independent feature of 2008—a fact trumpeted at a Christian film festival in San Antonio last month. “Christian filmmaking is coming of age!” festival organizer Doug Phillips told an enthusiastic crowd.

The festival's $101,000 prize—the biggest in the business—is also turning heads, but studio moguls won't "ever get it," said one attendee. "They will try to mimic it, but you can't mimic Christ. They'll never get the love part. They'll never get the forgiveness." Phillips says Christians need their own production houses. "We're going to have our own Steven Spielbergs," he said.


C.O.C.A. Style is a leading Fashion Blog with style, purpose and a mission!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Poetic Pioneer and Grammy Award Winner J.Ivy

In the beginning there was the word, the foundation of all forms of art. And when it comes to the art of Poetry or new age Spoken Word, J. Ivy has truly served as a poetic pioneer. Not only was the Chicago bred poet one of the first to grace the stage of the Award Winning HBO Russell Simmons Def Poetry Series , but he was asked to return to the show for two encore performances, where he received standing ovations on each of his appearances. From there , J. Ivy has gone on to receive a Grammy for his participation on Kanye's West "College Dropout" album, where he followed Hip-Hop legend Jay-Z and the ingenious Mr. West, unleashing one of the most memorable and heart felt verses of our time on the classic song "Never Let Me Down." But the poetic journey doesn't end there.

J. Ivy has managed to allow his craft to drive him to many creative avenues. Whether it has been on-camera work for networks such as ABC, NBC, VHI, B.E.T., FOX, MTV, and HBO , voiceovers for the sports world on shows like HBO's "Costas Now," "HBO Boxing," or MTV's "Who's Got Game." His on-camera opening tease for 30million viewers during the "Fed Ex Orange Bowl," the "NBA Finals," or the introduction of NFL superstar Mike Vick for "Monday Night Football." Whether it was thru photo shoots that were taken for national print ads for Mecca and LRG , concerts that were performed along side artists such Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bo Diddley , Patti Labelle, Dougie Fresh, Chuck D, El Debarge, Roy Ayers, The Last Poets, Bob Dylan, Erykah Badu, Carl Thomas, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Kanye West, John Legend and Tarrey Torae , who he has recently formed a music group with called J. Torae, which was introduced on the Emmy Award Winning Drama Series, "ER" ( www.JTorae.com) . Or guest appearances on national albums for artist such as Kanye West, Miri Ben-Ari, Lil Mo , and John Legend , who J. Ivy nick-named, J . has truly served as a voice for the times taking poetry to places it hasn't quite gone before.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rare act of sportsmanship

Johntel Franklin scored 10 points in the game following the loss of his mother.

A high school team purposely misses free throws as a show of support for an opposing player.

» Full Story on highschool.rivals.com

Introducing Chicago's very own Boolumaster

I have had the pleasure to be a fan of Boolu Master for years, hearing his music on the radio. But it wasn't until I got an opportunity to really hear his voice, spirit and heart through the words he writes on his blog that I really learned to love and respect him as a spiritual brother and as an artist. I am very proud and blessed to have Boolumaster on our team at FaithWalk Clothing. Below here is a little more background information on the man and the artist. Enjoy him.


From the streets of Chi-town, Southside, wild 100's, comes the household name Boolu Master. The Master started spinnin in 1985, but his buzz began in the club scene in ‘96 after moving back to Chicago from ATL. Grinding 6 nights a week at different venues, Boolu Master kept parties rocking with his own style of blending hip hop, R&B, reggae, ole school, house & disco. This street buzz caught the attention of radio program directors all over the city. After hearing his demo, the rest is history. In 1999, Boolu Master hit prime-time radio at 5pm, Mon-Fri. His versatility and style of mixing is unmatched. Often imitated, but never duplicated the master’s fan base ranges from 6- to 60-year olds. The Boolu Master Power Mix at 5pm is the #1 rated hour on Chicago radio. The people wanted more! Now he does his thing at 8am with The Boolu Breakfast Mix.

In a poll for Truth Magazine Hip Hop Awards Boolu Master was voted for and won 4 years in a row for #1 mix show dj in Chicago - and he still holds the title! He is also the winner of the 2005 1st Annual Global Mix Midwest DJ of the Year.

Boolu Master is a household name in Chicago, and now its time for the world to hear the MASTER do his thing!



End Of The Road by Boolumaster

I heard​ Boys 2 Men'​s song End Of The Road yeste​rday.​ It inspi​red me to reach​ out to the older​ recip​ients​ of this email​.​ If you think​ its the End, then it truly​ is. You'​ve got to stay produ​ctive​.​ Retir​ement​ from a job shoul​dn'​t mean its over for you. Ex: A. G Gasto​n was negot​iatin​g busin​ess,​ 6 month​s befor​e his death​,​ he was 104. Dr. Selma​ Burke​ recei​ved her PH D at 78. One of my fathe​rs favor​ites,​ Duke Ellin​gton,​ gave one of his fines​t recit​als at age 75. Now, even close​r to home,​ my neigh​bor Mr. Murra​y is ridin​g a new car with rims & vogue​ tires​ and one of the sharp​est dress​ers on the plane​t,​ he's 88. These​ peopl​e aren'​t talki​ng or think​ing dis.​.​.​.​ ease,​ They are stayi​ng produ​ctive​ and out livin​g the peopl​e who think​ It's the End Of The Road.​

It Ain'​t Over .​.​.​.​Guy
It's Not Over.​.​.​.​ First​ Choic​e

Have Wonde​rful LIFE

GOD Bless​ Us ALL



Sister Souljah's New Book

“Midnight, A Gangster Love Story,” is the title of Sister Souljah’s new novel. It is a PREQUEL to “The Coldest Winter Ever.” It is a teenaged love story, and a close up on Midnight, the mysterious and strong character from “ The Coldest Winter Ever.” It is a powerful tale of a foreigner arriving in Brooklyn at a young age and fighting, thinking, working, his way to new riches and new love.

Today, Souljah is a 21st Century multidimensional woman. From 1995-2007 she was the Executive Director of Daddy's House Social Programs, the charitable wing of Bad Boy Entertainment. She is the author of 3 national best sellers, The Coldest Winter Ever (Fiction), No Disrespect (Non-Fiction), and Midnight, A Gangster Love Story (Fiction).In 2008 within one week of the release of Midnight, A Gangster Love Story, Sister Souljah became a New York Times Best Seller entering the charts at #7

Sister Souljah with her new FaithWalk Clothing Tee

She told my mother Renae, "Raise Strength in your sons, no more raising victims."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MC Hammer Lands Reality Show

MC Hammer will follow his upcoming concert with Vanilla Ice with another project sure to inspire nostalgia: a half-hour reality show. Hammertime, which will air later this year, follows the once-bankrupt rapper as he "lives a more economically balanced life," the A&E show's reps said. Hammer's wife and five kids will also appear, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"He's had his ups and downs, and it's what makes him such a character you root for," says the show's executive producer.

NYC Wants to Turn Laid-Off Bankers Into Entrepreneurs

With the Wall Street mess taking a heavy toll on New York City's economy, Mayor Bloomberg is launching a program to retrain laid-off investment bankers and make the city a mecca for entrepreneurs and foreign financial firms. The city plans to spend $45 million in federal and city money to seed new businesses—ideally created by those very same laid-off bankers and traders—and provide office space for them, the New York Times reports.

Bloomberg said the city isn't waiting until the financial sector rebounds to act. “When it does, cities around the world will compete to capture the jobs it brings,” he said. “In New York City, we’re not waiting for that day to come. Instead, we are taking aggressive steps to put the city in the best position to capture growth, and we’re doing it by promoting one thing more than any other: innovation.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Phoenix: Music Is My Legacy

Joaquin Phoenix thinks he’ll be remembered for his music, rather than his Oscar-nominated acting, he tells the Mirror. Phoenix is a lot wordier than he was in his monosyllabic appearance on Letterman, telling the paper he’s serious about becoming a rapper. “I feel like everything in my life is leading up to this,” he said.

“I imagine, when I look back on my life, acting will be a very small portion of something I did,” he noted. “I don’t think we’ll ever get to the reason, ‘Oh, that’s why he quit and this is why he’s doing this.’ I don’t fully understand it myself.” Of course, one prevailing theory is that this is all an act and that brother-in-law Casey Affleck is filming it all for a mockumentary.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fairey Makes 'Pop Masquerading as Art'

Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama image inspires “a thrill of concerted purpose,” writes Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker, but the same can't be said for the rest of Fairey’s work, on exhibition in Boston. While the Obama poster made something new and vibrant, writes Schjeldahl, Fairey tends to traffic in the old and eventually tiresome.

Sure, he’s a “terrific designer,” but Fairey’s outcomes are the reverse of obvious forbear Andy Warhol. He produces “pop masquerading as art, as opposed to art masquerading as pop.” The result reads “as if Fairey meant to ridicule rebellion.” And while the show's catalogue explains that Fairey aims "to challenge the status quo,” explains Schjeldahl, "what isn’t status quo about political rage? And have you met anyone not heavily medicated who strikes you as complacent lately? The retrospective is dated on arrival."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Obama Effect' Gives Black Models a Boost

The figurative—and sometimes real—"Whites Only" signs in the fashion world are starting to come down in the wake of Barack Obama's election win, male models tell the New York Times. Fashion shows in the US and Europe are starting to more closely resemble the real world's diversity, the models say, and scouts are beginning to pay a lot more attention to African-Americans.

"It’s totally about Obama,” said an African-American model from Dallas, who remembers his agent telling him "If Obama does become president, there’s going to be a lot more work for you guys." In New York, where the fashion industry employs an estimated 175,000 people, many hope the new trend will see a surge in homegrown talent on the catwalks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Scientists Decode Neanderthal Genome

Scientists using ancient fossils have pieced together a rough draft of Neanderthals' genetic code, the Times of London reports. The development could eventually shed light on how they thought, spoke, and functioned, and why they disappeared. Because Neanderthals are humans' closest relatives, scientists may be able to get a better sense of just what enabled homo sapiens to dominate the world. No family reunions, though: There's nowhere near enough DNA to consider cloning.

“Studying the Neanderthals and studying the Neanderthal genome will tell us what makes modern humans really human, why we are alone, why we have these amazing capabilities,” said a co-leader of the project.

Chicago Retailer Guards First Lady's Closet

Michelle Obama may have good fashion sense, but it's Ikram Goldman who holds the lock and key to the first lady's closet, reports the New York Times in a look at their unusual relationship. The Chicago boutique owner ultimately selected four designers—each featured in her store—for the inauguration, causing some to frown on the exclusivity Goldman enjoys, the fact that she's not a stylist by trade, and her ability to profit from the arrangement.

"It is strange to think that the wife of the leader of the free world would choose clothes from only one store, when there is a wealth of clothes out there, including me," says designer Arnold Scassi, who has dressed first ladies since Mamie Eisenhower. He couldn't recall another time when designers didn't have direct access to the White House.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Robotic Arm Takes Cues From Brain

Artificial limbs have come a long way from the wooden legs and plastic arms of old: Today's prosthetics take messages directly from the brain. Their performance far exceeds that of the previous generation of devices, which required concentrated effort to make ungainly motions. "You think, and then your muscles move," a woman who has one of the newer artificial arms tells the New York Times.

The new arms are complicated and expensive, and implementation requires preserving nerves from the amputated limb. Those nerves are then attached to chest muscles, where tiny electrodes watch for the body's natural nerve signals and radio them to the arm. With the new technology, amputees can manipulate small objects like balls and shoelaces without having to concentrate more than any other person.

Koala Rescued After Aussie Wildfire

When firefighter David Tree noticed the koala, it was moving gingerly over the blackened landscape, its scorched paws clearly causing pain. "I could see she had sore feet and was in trouble, so I pulled over the fire truck," Tree told the Herald Sun. “It was amazing,” said the firefighter. “He turned around, sat on his bum and sort of looked at me like, 'Put me out of my misery.'" Tree got a bottle of water, and as he tipped it to the koala's lips, the koala “just took it naturally…almost like a baby.”

“I love nature,” Tree said. “I’ve handled koalas before. They’re not the friendliest things, but I wanted to help him.” The koala, whom Tree nicknamed “Sam,” is doing fine, wildlife officials say, though it turns out he’s really a she. Countless animals were killed in the deadly wildfires, which hit farming and forest regions to the north and east of Melbourne.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kindle 2 Is a Whole New Book

The Kindle 2 e-reader unveiled by Amazon today is great if you love computers, Tom Leonard writes in the Telegraph. "Wafer-thin," it's more "fragile bird" than book and boasts a tiny keyboard perfect for the i-Pod/Blackberry crowd. But the clear, no-glare screen and grayscale display are easy on the eyes. “For those who won't miss the feel, the weight and—of course—the smell of a book,” Leonard writes, “Kindle may do the trick.”

John Timmer is pleased despite some reservations, he writes on Ars Technica. He complained about the first Kindle’s display, saying E-Ink technology wasn't up to snuff—but the hardware company came through, making Kindle 2 "a far better device as a result." The sequel is faster, more responsive, and thinner. The keyboard left Timmer “completely lost,” but makes him “anxious to see what's in store for Kindle 3.”

Fitzgerald Leads NFC to 30-21 Win

Larry Fitzgerald caught five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns, 44-year-old John Carney kicked two fourth-quarter field goals, and the NFC rallied to a 30-21 Pro Bowl victory over the AFC today in Honolulu. The Arizona Cardinals' All-Pro receiver, coming off a record-breaking postseason and a spectacular Super Bowl in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, earned MVP honors, the AP reports.

Said Fitzgerald's teammate Kurt Warner: "I would've liked to have won last week and not this week, if I could switch them out." Eli Manning, making his Pro Bowl debut, was 8-of-14 for 111 yards. While big brother Peyton had better stats, 12-of-17 for 151 yards and a TD, Eli got the win. "It's not about beating my brother, it's just about having fun," said the Giants signal-caller.

Grammy Fashion

What happened to rock stars dressing like rock stars?, wonders Monica Corcoran in the Los Angeles Times. Last night’s Grammy Awards were “glutted with tasteful gowns,” with nominees wearing “plenty of dresses that wouldn't make a pastor flinch.” Gone are the days of the tacky, navel-bearing outfits that were such hits with the at-home viewing audience. Even teen sensations Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift kept it sophisticated.

Thank goodness for pregnant rapper MIA, who chose “a vivid, blue pup tent with lots of frills that would allow for a delivery in the back of a limo”—and topped it off with blue high-top sneakers. Katy Perry didn’t disappoint, donning a “a cotton-candy-hued satin gown with a giant corsage at the waist” and “porn pink” lipstick—but those two were exceptions to the otherwise boring rule.

'Crazy Green Idea' Video Wins Students $25K

Two California film students won $25,000 for a YouTube video challenging the tech community to develop a rechargeable device far more eco-friendly than standard batteries, BusinessGreen reports. The clip was one of 133 entries in a contest to create a challenge to be met for a future environmental prize. The clip calls for a gadget that could power an electric vehicle for 100 miles.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

9-Year-Old Writes Popular iPhone App

A 9-year-old Singapore boy has created a drawing application for the iPhone that is popular around the world, the Electric New Paper reports. Lim Ding Wen reworked one of his existing 20 programs for the touchscreen gadget. “I wrote the program for my younger sisters, who like to draw,” he said of the app, downloaded more than 4,000 times. “But I am happy that people like it.”

Lim was taught to program by his father, who works in technology and has a similar app competing on iTunes. “Every evening, we check the statistics e-mailed to us to see who has more downloads,” Dad said. The younger Lim said he completed the project in “a few days” and has started to write a sci-fi game, tentatively titled Invader Wars.

US Woman First to Swim Atlantic

A 56-year-old American became the first woman to swim across the Atlantic, completing a 24-day journey from Africa's Cape Verde Islands to Trinidad, reports the BBC. Jennifer Figge of Colorado swam up to eight hours at a stretch, protected by a cage to fend off sharks. She swam approximately 2100 miles, though the exact distance has yet to be measured. Figge plans to continue on to the British Virgin Islands, which was her first goal until she was blown off course.

A support boat ran alongside her, with staffers throwing energy drinks to the swimmer. In choppy waters, divers handed them to her directly. She burned 8000 calories each day, and started the mornings with pasta breakfasts. Figge, who first dreamed of swimming the ocean when she was a little girl, saw turtles, dolphins and whales—but no sharks. "I was never scared," she said.

10 Best Cities for Small Business

Despite tough economic times, an analysis of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas offers hope for those looking to launch a small business. Portfolio and BizJournals list the cities that are most conducive:

Raleigh, NC: The only market to rank among the top 10 in many key categories: growth, population, employment—and almost 30,000 small businesses for a million residents.
Charlotte, NC: A key banking hub, the city has some big problems, but its small business sector appears “remarkably resilient."
Seattle: A strong concentration of small businesses is “a nice cushion against tough times.”
Austin: Texas has taken less of a beating during this recession. Witness Austin’s creation of 10,000 jobs last year.
Boise, Idaho: Despite being the second-smallest market in the top 10, “Boise boasts the nation’s best growth rate for small businesses,” 4½ times faster than the national average.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

You have to Believe

By Sarina Cliff

People who take faith walks wear a variety of shoes. Some walk in sneakers, some combat boots, sandals or cleats; while some others walk in stilettos, steel toed shoes or cowboy boots. Recently I had an opportunity to interview a woman who walks her faith in cowboy boots. Who is that woman? Her name is Ms. Deana McGuffin of McGuffin Custom Boots located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here is Deana’s story.

SC: What led you to become a boot maker?
DM: A combination of things: I was 30 years old, on the brink of a divorce and didn’t like my job. I was encouraged by my former sister-in-law to learn the art of boot making from my father, who was an amazing craftsman. A man who was able to translate creativity into whatever he was doing. My father was hesitant to teach me because he didn’t think I was serious nor did he think I had the upper body strength to do it. It took a year for him to agree to teach me. It was also a way to get me to return home and to stop nagging him about it. He eventually took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know about boot making. I have been hooked ever since.

SC: What is the most unusual request you have had in creating a boot?
DM: My most unusual request came from a guy in Canada who was a magician. He had an interesting idea for boots, but some how we could never connect on the concept.The strangest boots I have ever made were for me. I have a pair of boots with inlaid skeletons on the front and back. The figures are representational of the skeleton art work celebrating Dios de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Dios de los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico on the 1st of November. It is a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have died. I've always loved the whimsy of the skeleton art. I thought it would be fun to make a pair of boots in that style.

SC: Have you received any other unusual requests?
DM: No, none at this time. It gets a little boring sometimes because most people just want a plain but well made pair of boots. It is refreshing to work on projects with people who have different tastes and want an active part in designing their boots.

SC: What do you like most about the boot making process?
DM: I enjoy doing fancy top work. I get bored with bottoms. I also enjoy teaching boot making. When I get burned out and bored, the excitement of my students reinvigorates me. They encourage my creativity. Another thing that excites me is making boots for my grandkids. I don’t make a lot of children’s boots because they cost as much as an adult’s pair and they grow out of them so quickly. I do really enjoy making boots for my grandkids.

SC: What has been your challenge?
DM: My main challenge has been the business end of owning a business. I am not good at marketing or managing my website. I am an artist and like many artists find the business stuff boring and hard to deal with. Artists often need help in this area. My other challenge has been being a woman in a male dominated industry. When I started making boots in the early 80s, there was one other woman making an entire boot. There have been many women top stitchers all through the years, but none that I know of that made the whole boot. There are still probably fewer than 15 women boot makers in the U.S.

SC: FaithWalk is dedicated to folks who take the road less travelled. What can you say to these people? Or what wisdom from your life can you offer to other travelers?
DM: There is this quote that I remember by Joseph Campbell that says, “Follow Your Bliss.” I think it is important for us not to give up on what we want to do in this life. Sometimes society has a tendency to influence us and to make us think that more money is what is important. Yes money helps. Still I am able to live a life style that is more conducive to me. I have not had to hold down lots of 8-5 jobs. I cannot say it has always been easy. Sometimes money needs come down to the wire. Still I have always had what I needed though it has not always been what I wanted. You've got to have faith – you've got to believe in the universe or whatever God you believe in and know you will be supported. All of us have people in our lives and families who have skills but have not put them to use because of fears. Living your bliss is not easy, but don’t let others tell you – you can’t make a living at what you enjoy. It all boils down to how badly you want to do what you enjoy. Each and every one of us has an artistic ability, a creative side - a gift. It is vital that we stay in touch with our gift. Look around you to see the many people who work a 9-5 to make a living but they hate what they do. I feel sad for those people who don’t love or even like what they do. It just drains the life out of them. I say - follow your bliss - what have you got to lose.

Deana McGuffin is living her bliss in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you would like to learn more about Deana or to have a custom pair of boots made, go to her website mcguffinboots

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Men's Spring Fashion Looks on Bright Side

Men better get used to wearing pink, or at least orange, as menswear designers are hoping that a splash of color will get reluctant shoppers to open their wallets. Retailers are pushing bold shades for the spring season, the Wall Street Journal reports, and even labels that have emphasized traditional, muted tones are jumping on the bandwagon. "It's one of the key trends for us," said one fashion director.

While some worry that turquoise and coral aren't in keeping with the country's somber mood, retailers are hoping that the fresh look will jolt men into playing along. They're "out of options to try to get the customer to shop, so they have to be bold," says a retail specialist. Not everyone's sold. "I don't think in bad times men are going to buy the most outrageous, colorful items," noted another one fashion expert.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Silicon Valley Spawns High-Tech University

The future’s so bright, we’re going to need special training to get ready. That’s the point of Singularity University, a Silicon Valley institution founded by trio of forward thinkers, reports CNET. It won’t be a regular university; instead, Singularity—staffed by Nobel winners and other luminaries—will offer 10-week, 10-day, and 3-day programs on subjects like artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.

“I have no doubt that society gets ever more complex, and the consequences of ever-growing technology become ever more difficult to anticipate and respond to,” says one teacher. With prestigious faculty and a prime NASA lab location, Singularity doesn’t come cheap. Expecting grad students and executives, the program has set 10-week tuition at $25,000, though scholarships will be available.

Docs Remove Donor Kidney Through Vagina

Doctors in Maryland removed a kidney from a donor through the vagina in what they believe to be the first operation of its kind, the Baltimore Examiner reports. The procedure reduced the 48-year-old donor’s pain and recovery time compared with more traditional methods. “We are all about trying to reduce the disincentives to donation,” said one of the Johns Hopkins University doctors.

Surgeons made a small incision in the back of the donor’s vagina, then slid an inflatable bag inside to hold the cut open as they pulled out the kidney. The procedure has been used to take out problematic kidneys before, but not donor kidneys, which need to be intact. A typical operation would require a 5- to 6-inch abdominal cut. About 100,000 people are awaiting kidney transplants; doctors hope the new procedure will ease the donation process.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Meet the Men Who Make Oscars

Come Feb. 22, Hollywood will be fêting the stars who take home the Oscars—but there’s little chance any of the acceptance speeches will thank the guys who made the statues. From Martin Vega, who melts pewter alloy for the hardware, to Eladio Gonzalez, who gives Oscar his signature shine, the AP lifts the curtain on the Chicago factory behind the icon.

After melting down bars of high-grade pewter, Vega pours the 780-degree liquid into a steel mold, then dips the 8½-pound man several more times into various metals, including gold. Like beef, Oscar is cured for days to avoid any air holes. After Gonzales gives him a bath and a blow dry, Oscar is ready for his close-up. Says one sales manager of the statue, “not bad for an 81-year-old man.”