Monday, 31 March 2014

Put Your Tap Shoes On

I watched the Oscar winning animated film "HAPPY FEET" and thoroughly enjoyed it and the director George Miller was incited to make a sequel and "HAPPY FEET TWO" and I anticipate seeing this with great pleasure. The first was a resounding success and carried the usual Hollywood voices to ensure popularity. Plenty of very real-sounding characters and a good story, made the film a happy watch and hopefully the sequel will too.
However, it did make my mind wander to my feet, or the feet of great tap dancers such as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and not let's forget Ginger Rogers, who danced in high heels backwards thank you, one can only be in awe. I have nearly all the Fred and Ginger films and some of Gene Kelly's too as I love tap dance. It doesn't really matter who is doing the tapping, I just love the sound and am fascinated by the movement of all dance, tap dance in particular.
There are tap dancing classes all across the British Isles and probably over the globe and age is not a limit. Grandmothers and grandfathers along with toddlers and teens all tapping along, some in silver shoes with huge bows, others in less eye-catching footwear, there are no boundaries, tap away for a couple of hours a week and the fat will roll. You could even put taps on hobnail boots and make it look good. That's what the Australian group "Tap Dogs" did and they are great fun and amazing dancers. Fortunately every now and then they arrive in London to do a show for a couple of weeks.
I must admit tap dancing is something I could never take to, although I can dance and love to dance with a professional dancer as they lift you along without effort and with great enjoyment - no wonder "Strictly Come Dancing" is so popular. I'm just not tap footed enough. That doesn't stop me enjoying it to the full. Some of the most unlikely stars came from a "Hoofer" background, they had to start somewhere I suppose, and that background was probably one that gave them much scope in their future acting careers because if you've ever tried tap dancing and haven't slipped onto your rear end at some point, you've never learnt one of life's lessons: to fall is to rise again.
Bob Hope could tap dance, as could Donald O'Connor, James Cagney, Rita Hayworth, Shirley McClaine, Sammy Davis Junior and many other stars. Today tap dancing doesn't get enough air time as I would like although "Dancing with the Stars" proved popular. The spectacular "Lord of the Dance" has re-emerged and that was very popular worldwide. They should invest in new shows where tap dancers could strut their stuff and perhaps even have contests, people love contests. I'm sure it would prove successful and probably discover more stars of the future.
Some of the American tap dancers, especially of the forties and fifties, such as the Nicholas Brothers were stupendous. A natural sense of rhythm coupled with fast feet and a sense of fun, made them memorable. This was street dancing at its best and it fortunately transferred to film so there is a history going back decades. This vernacular culture still continues thankfully, from this I await future stars.
In San Francisco a few years ago, a group of seemingly impromptu Break Dancers appeared out of nowhere and performed a "routine" that went on for about twenty minutes. The crowd grew and grew and the dancers were a wonder to see. I don't recall their name or if they had one, but they were all skillful dancers and acrobats even, all smiles and friendliness and good to watch. The crowd thought so too.
Impromptu anything can be great fun and as the "Happenings" of the past few years at large London train terminals have proven, huge crowds can gather just for fun, the more the merrier. Not fun if you're trying to get somewhere at the time of their happening, but fun anyway to brighten the gloom, which according to the proclamations of our politicians, won't get better any time soon. Perhaps we should start up a dance-a-thon in Trafalgar Square where there's space.
So dancing is fun, any age group can take it up and if they feel like Fred, Ginger or Gene, or even little Shirley Temple, it doesn't matter, all that matters is tap. Put on your dancing shoes and get with it, get moving, get wise, because by doing something healthy such as movement, and enjoying it in the process, can only be good for you. Keep your feet happy and you should be too.
Any form of dance is exciting but tap is the one where everyone can do it, well enough to keep moving at least. From my sister's silver shoes with big floppy bows, to being enchanted with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, I will always be a lifelong fan. When I get a little older I may just take it up.

By Jeanne Valentine

Thursday, 20 March 2014

World Cup 2014 at Porto Alegre

One of the most anticipated events in the sporting world happens to be the FIFA World Cup, which is having its 20th edition this year. It is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world and is held once every four years. Fans of the game across the globe follow the gaming action live, watch their favorite players vie for glory on the field and witness new records being set.
Brazil, which has won the title five times and are the only team to have qualified for every tournament since its start, will play host this year to the FIFA World Cup which begins on 12th June, 2014. Porto Alegre has been gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup 2014 ever since Brazil was declared as the host nation. From revamping its stadiums to upgrading its public utility services, they are leaving no stone unturned to give football fans a once in a lifetime experience.
The city has worn a festive look and going all out to impress one and all. The Estadio Beira-Rio stadium, which will be will be hosting five games, has undergone a complete makeover in preparation of the FIFA World Cup. Not only has the overall infrastructure of the stadium has been revamped to accommodate the teeming multitude of soccer fans, but an extra and creative metal roof has also been installed to cover the stands, ramps and the turnstile areas.
Live action station
The place where all the live action will take place starting 12th June, 2014, is the Estadio Beira-Rio. The stadium is located on the banks of the River Guaiba, and has a picture-postcard setting to it. Estadio Beira-Rio, which has saw many a scintillating derby matches and has also hosted four Copa Libertadores finals, is slated to host five games in the FIFA World Cup. The match that has excited everybody is the Round-of-16 tie. Beira-Rio has a seating capacity of 50,287, a number that was largely boosted due to the construction project that the stadium authorities undertook as a part of the revamping process. Being the largest football ground in southern Brazil, the Beira-Rio has some eye-catching support features as well. Furthermore, it has superb connectivity to ease smooth inflow and outflow of spectators at the time of the matches.
Weather during the World Cup
Porto Alegre has four very defined seasons and generally has a warm, humid temperate climate with hot summers and no dry season. Summer months have average temperatures ranging from 27ºC to 35ºC, with temperatures sometimes exceeding the 35ºC mark as well. Winters here are quite cold with records of subzero temperatures as well as heavy snow. But compared to the other capitals of Brazil, Porto Alegre has a milder climate with an annual average temperature of 19.5ºC. In the months of June-July (at the time of the World Cup), Porto Alegre is expected to have cool weather with temperatures hovering between 20-23ºC accompanied by calm to gentle breeze. Such weather conditions will not only be enjoyable for the live spectators at the stadium, but also for the players who will benefit from the absence of sweltering heat and humidity.
Games and their Dates for this city
Porto Alegre will play host to nine teams who will play a total of five matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Although the details are not known yet, what is known is that of the nine teams, one team will certainly play more than once. Even though Brazil is hosting this edition of the World Cup, the host team will not get a chance to play at the Estadio Beira-Rio at Porto Alegre.

By Sarbani Bhattacharjee

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

An Introduction to Classical Indian Dances

Dancing may seem like your average hobby, but it takes a passionate, informed dancer to realise that this activity is actually deeply rooted in the culture of a country and that through physical moves, you understand the cultural values and spirituality that that country possesses. If there is a country whose national folk dance is synonymous with spirituality, that would definitely be India. Most people associate it with Bollywood dances, which are more like a simplified, pop culture version of the real, complex dancing culture in India. The reality is that Indian dances are much more complex than what we see on TV. Unlike other countries, which have one or two variations of dancing, India has no less than eight folk dances. This is due to the fact that there are numerous subcultures, each one with its own language and traditions. As an integrated part of cultural life, dancing is strongly connected with the place it originated from. Therefore, each dance move is more can be interpreted in a certain way, being charged with various meanings. Of course, a beginner dancer might want to know less about philosophy and more about the actual dancing technique, as well as where to take Indian dance classes.
Indian dances can be seen as a form of theatre, because the dancers use many hand gestures and, throughout the dance routine, they actually tell a story. No matter where they originate from, the dances are almost always based on Hindu mythology, re-enacting stories with gods and goddesses. If you want to go to an Indian dance school, first you will have to choose the type of dance you want to learn: classical or modern. If you want to understand Indian culture and take up classical dancing lessons, then again you'll have to make a choice between the eight types. No matter what you choose, you will definitely have a lot of fun, because there is so much more than dance to these lessons. For example, the classical Kathakali dance requires the dancer to wear a vibrant costume, as well as heavy make-up, and play mythology roles accompanied by the sound of drums. In another kind of classic dance, Oddisi, the body had to be bent in three points and facial expressions are extremely important. Your mind has to be very present in the dance, you have to detach yourself from your problems and, to a certain extent, it can even be said that Indian dance is a profoundly spiritual experience.
Classical Indian dance is a beautiful art, but those are looking for something that is more up to date or that can be performed outsides stages and festivals, should take up modern Indian dances, which are a combination between classic moves and modern elements, such as ballet and Bollywood movies. Learning Indian dances can be a bit difficult at first, because they are different from the dances that we are all accustomed to. However, if you go to a professional school where the teachers are native and they know how to explain the origins and meanings of dance moves, then you will definitely learn faster.

By Groshan Fabiola

Why Picking The Best Mountain Bike for The Money Does Not Have to Be Difficult

The reason that picking the best mountain bike for the money seems so difficult for so many people is that they fail to do the necessary steps when they want to purchase their bike. The biggest problem people run into when buying a bike is that they think any bike will be the right bike for them. They seem to take a one size fits all mentality when deciding on a bike, so they do very little, to no research on which bike to buy. Selecting the best mountain bike for the money does take research, but you do not have to be a rocket scientist to be able to find the right one for you.
So the first thing to remember is that the bike you choose has to fit you like a pair of pants or a shirt fits you. Having a bike that fits you properly will do two very important things. First, it will make sure that you have the best control and handling which will therefore reduce the number of potential accidents and injuries that you may sustain. The second thing deals with comfort and feel. Having a bike not fit you is like wearing clothes that do not fit you. If they are too tight or too big, you don't feel right. Having both the correct feel and handling in a bike is key to making sure that you have both a safe and enjoyable ride.
So what do we have to do to find the one that will both be comfortable and allow you to have the best control? That is, what are the things we have to make sure our bike has to accomplish in order to make sure you are getting the best mountain bike? Note, it doesn't mean you have to have a specialized bike and it doesn't even have to be a new one, a used will do as well.
1. Make sure that the height of the bike is correct. A bike is supposed to have at least 2-inch clearance between your inseam (crotch) and the top horizontal bar of your bike's frame when you stride it with your feet on the ground. Having a larger gap will make it much harder to control and having it shorter will lead to potentially more injuries if you know what I mean.
2. Obviously when you go biking, most of the riding you do will be off-road. This means that the frame of your bike should be strong and sturdy to sustain the stress and pressure of riding and to avoid fatal accidents. Good solid construction, good welds and the weight of the bike will all contribute to a strong and sturdy frame of your bike.
3. In order to have a comfortable ride, you want to make sure that you have the correct suspension. Because mountain bikes have to deal with more difficult terrains they need to have a suspension that can handle these tough environments. The different types of suspension are rigid, hard-tail, soft-tail or dual suspension. This is a very critical part of the bike choice, and while some prefer full suspension, most mountain bikers normally choose a hard-tail suspension.
4. The last thing to consider is the braking system of the bike. There are two different types of brakes, the standard v-brakes and the newer disc brakes. When looking at the brake system, it is important to make sure that the brake system is the more up to date disc brakes. Disc brakes are much easier to maintain and will help keep your bike in much better shape.
Keeping these items in mind will go a long ways towards getting yourself the best mountain bike for the money that will not only be safe to ride, but will also make sure that it is a comfortable ride.

By Shaari Abdullah

Whose Fault Is It Really?

The driver market was more surprising this year than any other year that I can remember. The biggest name to lose his drive for the season was Paul Di Resta. This article will try to examine whose fault it really is in why so many drivers moved teams for the 2014 season.
Firstly, looking at Paul Di Resta, we had a young talented driver who at the start of the season showed great promise. This was due to car being much softer on the tyres compared to the other teams. This allowed Di Resta to beat the teams around him such as the Sauber's and the Toro Rosso's. Di Resta was fighting with the top teams at Bahrain where he held third for most of the race until Romain Grosjean on newer tyres overtook him with a few laps to go. Di Resta was also fighting with a recovering Lewis Hamilton after his tyre exploded during the British Grand Prix. The reaction to the numerous amount of tyre blow outs we had in Silverstone was probably the catalyst which cost Paul his 2014 seat.
After Silverstone, Pirelli reverted their tyres back to the 2012 composition. This really affected Force India because they had designed their car to work with the 2013 composition of Pirelli tyres. Therefore, from Germany on-wards Force India found it very difficult to break into the top ten; thus leaving Paul Di Resta in places were mistakes and accidents can happen such as in Belgium when he was taken out by Pastor Maldonado.
After a large amount of good results at the beginning of the season, Paul's confidence seemed to diminish after the change in tyres after Silverstone. This lead Paul into a case of trying to hard which opened him up to mistakes like in Singapore and Korea. However, if the tyres did not change halfway through the season could Paul Di Resta be on the grid this season?
On the other end of the scale was Sergio Perez. We all know that Sergio Perez will perform if he is given a car to do so, like at Sauber in 2012. This was one of the main reasons why McLaren signed him in 2013. However, Perez found himself with one of the most underperforming McLaren cars in 30 years.
At the beginning of the season Perez found it hard to find his feet within the team. However, towards the back end of the season Perez began to out race Jenson Button in the other McLaren, but Perez was unable to keep his seat because McLaren felt that he did not challenge Button enough during the season. This is because Button is about 0.2 tenths of a second behind the fastest drivers on the grid; but he can make up that time if he has a team mate who can push him.
If McLaren provided Perez with a car that could push for wins then Perez could of given Button a run for his money. However, due to McLaren's poor form in 2013 that did not happen. Most people in the paddock felt that McLaren were a little bit guilty about letting Perez go, because they tried hard to find Perez a new team for 2014 which they did with Force India.
To conclude, most people will say that it is the drivers fault because they need to perform and that is what they are paid to do. However, sometimes there are external factors that may cause the driver to look like he is having a poor season when there is not too much they can do about, which comes across in the examples of Perez and Di Resta because they both have proven themselves, but their equipment has let them down and for Paul cost his F1 seat and for Perez it cost him his job at McLaren.

By Jack M Giordmaina

Firestone Grand Prix

Racing is one of the biggest attractions in sports today. Nascar, Formula One, IndyCar, they are all varieties of car races throughout the US. One of the biggest events is coming to Florida and it's the Firestone Grand Prix! Racers from all over the world will come to compete in various races from the main IndyCar race, to the IndyCar light to Stadium Super Trucks. It's a weeklong event that's not to be missed!
A little history about the Grand Prix. It has taken place off and on through the years starting in the early 1990s. It was just a one or two race event at that point but slowly grew over time. Initially, it was discontinued due to noise complaints but would return a couple years later. It's been going very strong since 2003 and has been televised on ESPN, ESPN2, Versus, NBC and several other stations. It's had a few sponsors, the most recent being Honda but Firestone has stepped in this year to ensure the race continues.
There will be all kinds of racing fun to be had at the event. The aforementioned Stadium Super Trucks pits high powered off-road trucks against each other in jumps, crossovers and super tight turns. The Pirelli World Challenge utilizes GT class cars such as Corvettes, GT-Rs, Audi R8s and more! And of course there's the main event, the IndyCar Series. It's the premier open-wheel racing in both the US and Canada. It uses short oval tracks, road courses and temporary street tracks. Truly one of racing's varied and enjoyable institutions.
The fun isn't just on the track either! There will be chances for driver autographs and photo ops. There will be Beer Gardens, interactive games and racing exhibits and some live music to boot! It's not just what you do when you watch the race but from where you do it from. Currently there are viewing packages of all kinds offered right now! If you have an office full of racing enthusiast you'll want to purchase the Pit Lane Suite. Overlooking the final turn, it holds up to 40 people and you can rent it for three full days of racing fun. It comes with souvenir programs and a customizable catering menu. If you would prefer a more aerial view, they also offer the Rooftop Hospitality Chalets. These hold 50 people and are located in the Mahaffey Theater Parking Garage. You can dine while looking over the IndyCar Paddock and you can watch the racing from a Grandstand! Lastly, they also provide yacht room as well. You can dock at the slip and cash in a great vantage point and fantastic deals. You can also simply sit track side or partake in the VIP club. There are several seating and viewing options!
Regardless of whether you'd like to take several friends or co-workers, view it from the air, land or even the sea. The Firestone Grand Prix is a racing event you don't want to miss! Make sure and check the website for all pricing, events, racers and dates. Start your engines!

By Joseph Joffo

Johnson Chases For Checkered Flag: An Interview With Petaluma's Chase Johnson

Chase Johnson from Petaluma is a 4th generation race car driver. He started his racing career at the early age of 5 and won six championships racing Outlaw Karts. Today, thirteen years later, he has 150 feature main event wins and 7 championships. Today he competes in high level sprint car racing and in 2012 was crowned Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Champion at Petaluma Speedway. A 2013 graduate of Petaluma High School, his peers named him "Most Likely to Go Pro" in Student Standouts section of his senior yearbook. However his racing and life came to an abrupt halt on the night of March 16, 2013 during a practice session when his sprint car's steering wheel malfunctioned causing him to lose control of his vehicle. This terrible accident resulted in the death of his fourteen year old cousin, who also raced and was like a brother to him, and a 68 year old car owner who loved being at the track. In this interview you will learn about how Chase is doing today and how he has a changed view as a person and a competitor. Just this weekend Johnson charged to his first Podium of the Season at Petaluma Speedway placing third in the featured race.
Wayne: How does it feel to start your season off with two straight top 5's?
Chase: It feels great, it has just pushed me even harder to improve and get closer to a win.
Wayne: Your car number is 24 - is there any significance to that number?
Chase: Yes I chose that number because I looked up to Jeff Gordon. He drove the number 24 when I was growing up and still is today in NASCAR. I look up to Jeff for many of reasons but the major one was that his career path was a lot similar to mine today. He started racing quarter midgets young in California and progressed into sprint cars and midgets which then took him to the stock car world to be a NASCAR driver. My path was I started running Outlaw Karts at age 5, then moved into the Sprint Car at age 14.
Wayne: It appears in the coming months you will be starting to race in national events. What are you doing to prepare for them?
Chase: Yes I will be driving for Van Dyke Motorsports and going to Oregon to for a ASCS National race. Seat time, I believe is the best way you can prepare for any event and these last months I have been extremely lucky on how much we have raced. I also spend time looking on the internet for videos and photos from other races on the same track. This will give me more knowledge as of to where exactly is the preferred line during a night of racing.
Wayne: You bio says you are a 4th generation race car driver, tell us about your family history of racing?
Chase: My family has a long line of race history. My family's racing career started with my great grandfather, Frank Johnson. Frank is in the BCRA Hall of Fame. His son, my grandfather, Bob Johnson is a Champion Midget racer. My Uncle Rob has raced sprint cars for many years and has won a handful of races. Don, my father has raced sprint cars and a pavement modified. I am very proud to carry on my family's tradition in this great sport.
Wayne: I see that you are studying mechanical engineering at SRJC. What are your plans for the future with this line of study?
Chase: I am currently attending the Santa Rosa Junior College and am studying mechanical engineering. After 2-3 years at the SRJC my plan is to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to finish my study. Currently I am taking 14 units.
Wayne: How do you balance racing with your education?
Chase: Well it defiantly keeps me very busy but I enjoy every second of it and wouldn't have it any other way. M-Th I focus on school for the majority of the day and spend the nights in the shop preparing the cars for the races on the weekend. Friday-Sunday I basically spend all my time traveling to the track and at the track racing. Racing from helping getting the car ready to getting myself prepared takes up the majority of the weekend. Then my Sundays consist of driving back home or washing the car and trailer, updating my website, doing an interview for a press release, and hopefully I can sneak some time in my day to do some homework.
Wayne: In addition to driving do you also do mechanical work on your car?
Chase: Yes, I grew up as not only a driver but a mechanic as well. My family has taught me that being a driver takes being a mechanic as well. When driving my family car I spend a great amount of time helping my Dad get the car ready to race. I believe that knowing the mechanical side of auto racing has helped me become a better driver.
Wayne: Of course we were all very sorry for the tragic loss of Marcus and Dale. After you had some time off you felt an inspiration to race in their honor. How has this changed you as a person on and off the track?
Chase: The accident has changed a lot of things in my life and some that I wish hadn't changed. My whole view of life was changed, I see people in a totally different way than I did before with every human being having a direct reason and purpose in their life. On the track I'm still not the same as I was before the accident. Getting back in the seat was the best thing I could possibly do for myself. The more time you spend away from it the harder it is to come back especially after a horrible accident. I couldn't heel staying away from racing. I felt that I needed to go back and race for not only myself but Marcus and Dale. Since then I want to help and inspire others to overcome adversity.
Wayne: What are your goals for racing? Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Chase: One of my goals in racing is to have my story be heard throughout the world and have myself become an inspiration to overcoming adversity. Another one of my goals is that I want racing to become my job. Unlike a lot of other drivers I don't have a specific direction on where I want to go, as long as I'm racing a car at a professional level I will love it.
Wayne: You are a bit of a veteran at racing even at the age of 18. You have hundreds of wins and 7 championships under your belt. Does your experience at such a young age give you a competitive advantage?
Chase: Yes I think it does. Even though the majority of wins and championships have come from the Outlaw Kart racing years of my life it still gives me advantage due to my experience behind the wheel of a race car. I believe any type of experience in anytime of auto racing definitely gives you a competitive advantage over someone with less experience.
Wayne: I see you have a little brother Colby "Colbster" - is he racing and will he follow the family tradition of racing?
Chase: He is following the family tradition and is doing very well! With the off weekends I have, I spend those days at the track helping my little brother at his races. His improvement over the last couple years has been tremendous. I think one of the greatest things is teaching him all my skills and tricks I have learned over my years and seeing him progress and improve using them.
Wayne: What would you say the average age is of the racers you compete against?
Chase: The average age would be 30 years old
Wayne: Is there anyone that you give credit to, any person or people, for your success in racing?
Chase: My family has been the reason why I'm where I'm at today. My mom and dad have been so supportive and spent so much time, money and effort on helping me chase my dream. The support backing from my whole family is really incredible and I'm so thankful for that.
Wayne: Racing requires a lot of support from sponsors, family and pit teams. What does your support system look like?
Chase: I am extremely blessed with all the great people that surround me with support. I wouldn't be able to do all the things I do without my sponsors. All my sponsors are some of the greatest, nicest and caring people you could know. I am very thankful for the partnerships I have with Johnny Franklin Mufflers, Newman Freeman Racing, Pit Stop USA, Napa Auto Parts, Flowmaster, Shifty Illusions, I Wear Motorsports, VanLare Steering Repair, Oroville Cycle and Dons Truck Repair. My family and friends have always been great supporters of my racing with most of them making it to every one of my races! What really amazes me is hearing the crowds cheer for me at not only our home track in Petaluma but every track I visit across the west coast. It really is great to have such a huge support group of amazing fans. All the race teams I have driven for and teams I am currently driving for are all very supportive and I can't thank them all for giving me a chance.
Wayne: Chase, thank you very much for your time and for the interview
Chase: You're welcome, and thank you for interviewing me.
Chase Johnson turned adversity into a cause to not only honor Marcus and Dale but instill in him a spirit of competition to win in their memory. Positively Petaluma will be following and reporting on Chase's career in the future.

By Wayne Dunbar 

Monday, 17 March 2014

The 5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Formula 1 Tickets

'ANGRY F1 FANS LEFT HIGH AND DRY AS TICKET COMPANY FAILS', 'SPA TICKET CONFUSION FOR THOUSANDS OF F1 FANS'. This is what can happen when innocent Formula 1 fans fall victim to fake ticket selling shops offering Formula 1 tickets that never arrive.
During the Formula 1 race year, a number of ticket selling scams typically pop up as online ticket selling shops. The most common ways F1 fans are scammed through these ticket shops is by paying in advance for tickets that never arrive. This is after paying a hefty amount for the ticket which includes paying for service charges and additional shipping fees.
Fake Formula 1 ticket selling scams can take many forms. Many of these scams look like legitimate companies that offer Formula 1 tickets but after the fans make the purchase, they never receive their tickets and later learn that the company was a scam. This is exactly what happened in June of 2012, when many F1 fans found themselves without tickets after they purchased tickets from a ticket shop known as 'Simply The Ticket' for the British GP at Silverstone. Many F1 fans that had intended to travel to Valencia for the European GP were scammed as tickets did not arrive despite paying for them. For example, Hayley Pearson who lives in Great Moulton, South Norfolk, had a few days off and had planned to go to the European Grand Prix. She decided to purchase her tickets from 'Simply the Ticket'. She booked tickets on the site and then never received them. Another example was Ben Miller, who was set to take his girlfriend to Valencia for the F1 race but did not receive his tickets from the company either. Ben tried contacting 'Simply The Ticket' but was not able to be reached and there was news that the website had been taken down and the company had gone bust. What happened to Mrs. Pearson and Mr. Miller can also happen to you.
In another similar incident in August of 2012, the Dutch media reported that around 6,000 F1 fans who bought tickets for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps were not able to attend the event because their tickets did not arrive despite paying for them. If this was not enough, at the Indian GP event several F1 fans were duped by online ticketing vendors. The modus operandi of these fake F1 ticket vendors was simple. They claimed themselves as authorized ticketing partners, sending SMS messages saying "You have won a free Forumla-1 ticket in the India Grand Prix mobile draw promo". This even led the organizers of the Indian GP to issue a warning to F1 fans to be aware of the scamsters selling F1 tickets at a lower price. These scams could have been easily avoided if the fans were aware of all the official ticketing partners or could have checked the details behind the ticket sellers carefully. Unfortunately, not many F1 enthusiasts have the ability to perform background checks on ticket selling shops and thus could possibly be left outside the gates on race day either without tickets or with fake tickets. Not a good situation.

By Mike Coraluzzi

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Is It Safe to Buy Knee Braces Online?

The Internet is constantly evolving as a dynamic source for all types of products. It seems you can find anything and everything online, with hundreds of thousands of websites to choose from, including eBay, Amazon, Nextag and other retail portals.
There is however a big difference when searching and researching health care products, especially durable medical products such as off-the-shelf type orthopedic braces and supports.
Knee braces, especially the more rigid type of braces typically have been sold directly through the physician's office, local medical supply company or through specialty sources such as Orthotist's and Prosthetic device companies.
These sources provide direct continuity of care, ensuring the patient gets the proper brace, fitting and follow-up. The patient benefits in having their insurance company assist in the costs of these sometimes expensive devices.
There is however, a growing demand for other sales channels for these types of knee braces. Changes in the healthcare industry have made many of these braces non-reimbursable. Increasing deductibles have also placed many of these products out of the reach of the consumer.
The internet provides a wealth of information about knee braces, ankle braces and back braces, with thousands of websites to choose from. Consumers are looking online to save money on these expensive devices, and there is much confusion as to where to purchase these braces, and is it safe to buy them online.
Remember, that these are medical devices, and have a medical purpose. Choosing a knee brace without your doctor's input, or advise from your therapist or other health care professional can put you at risk for injury, or just getting the wrong brace.
There is nothing wrong with purchasing a knee brace online, and for that matter, ankle braces, wrist braces and back braces. Although companies that sell these products online can't and should not recommend a brace for you, they should have the basic knowledge to assist you in finding the right brace for your condition.
There are a couple of do's and don'ts when searching online for these types of specialty braces.
1) If you can't speak with someone on the other end, stay away. If you get an answering machine, you can be sure that company has neither the time or resources to assist you.
2) If you can't find an address or phone number, stay away. If there is a PO Box to respond to you can be sure this is not a real company, but an individual selling online.
3) Check the website credentials. How long they have been in business, BBB rating, Google Trusted Store and other awards that tell the consumer that this company has a good history of customer service.
4) Check the website structure. Is it organized for easy navigation, or does it look like it was thrown up in a day, with poor images, no product information and no customer feedback.
These do's and don'ts can also apply to other online businesses, but when dealing with medical products like knee braces, neck collars and back supports, it is wise to seek out companies that can help you choose the proper knee brace, given the number of products found online.
Looking for the best price works sometimes, but remember that if most of the online companies are selling it for the same price, and you find someone much cheaper, there usually is a reason, and you will pay for it later. Is it worth it when it comes to your health?
One of the premiere websites that sell Knee Braces for ACL tears, Meniscus injuries and provides a wealth of information on other functional knee braces is The Brace Shop/Knee Braces.

By Dr. Kenneth Shapiro

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Getting The Right Balance

With exercise, as with most other things in life, getting the right balance is important. Typically when we go overboard or to the extremes on something we end up paying for it in some way or perhaps other areas of our life suffer because of it. Too many of us get so caught up in our work or home front responsibilities that we fair to get in the exercise that we so desperately need. Our intentions are good but there are just too many things that call our attention away from our plan to get our workout in.
It is important to remember that getting the proper amount of exercise will actually serve to alleviate some of our other pressures and concerns or at least to make us better able to deal with them. Studies have shown that those who include exercise into their daily routines are better able to handle stress and to deal with problems that arise than those who do not exercise.
Everyone is busy but there are still ways to fit in some form of physical activity. It is not necessary to put on a pair of boxing gloves and participate in a lengthy workout or to bike ten miles or run for two hours. Those activities are great for days when there is plenty of time to have a heavy duty workout but for the typical workday something less time consuming is probably preferable. Doing something that won eat up hours that you do not have to spare and that is easier to fit into your schedule will still reap the benefits that you desire and that you need. A brisk walk will often be just the thing that will relieve your mind of concerns and allow you to regroup and be better able to tackle the challenges of the day.
Taking a few minutes out of a hectic morning or afternoon to stretch or life hand weights or hit the stairs for a mini-workout will do wonders for your energy level. The important thing is to plan ahead. If you do not commit to taking time each day to fit in some physical activity the overwhelming evidence shows that it just won't happen. Maybe throw your tennis shoes in your gym bag and keep them in your car so that you are ready when those few free moments present themselves. Making exercise a part of your daily activities will have a profoundly positive effect on the rest of your day.

By Nancy Kelsey Smith