Inspired to find your niche – chocolatier, hotelier – Rick Steves in Bruges, Belgium

 

Chocolate Lady

It’s so clear: A fundamental part of the joy of travel is to simply be in the presence of people who’ve found their niche. We only live once on this beautiful planet, and we have the personal challenge of doing with our lives what God intended — of finding our niche. I think that when you’re blessed enough to find a livelihood that fits your spirit, it gives you energy — and you, in turn, give the world a positive radiance. In Bruges, Belgium, Madame Dumon makes and sells chocolate. Keeping her little brown world cool in a heat wave, she makes sure everyone who enters gets a rich and creamy sample of their choice.

 

Continue reading Inspired to find your niche – chocolatier, hotelier – Rick Steves in Bruges, Belgium

The 10 best elements of a Tim Burton movie

1) The Skittish Outcast – Burton has built his entire career on the twitchy outcast.

  • Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands
  • Beetlejuice & Lydia – Beetlejuice
  • Pee Wee – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Mad Hatter – Alice in Wonderland
  • Ichabod Crane – Sleepy Hollow
  • Willy Wonka – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Ed Wood – Ed Wood
  • Sweeney Todd – Sweeney Todd

2) The Blonde Ingenue – The other side of the lady coin in Burton’s world. This director’s obsession with the innocent, blonde ingenue is so strong he’s be-wigged countless brunettes to get that perfect bleached from all sins look.

  • Sandra Bloom – Big Fish
  • Katrina Van Tassel – Sleepy Hollow
  • Kim – Edward Scissorhands
  • Johanna – Sweeney Todd
  • Vicki Vale – Batman
  • Daena – Planet of the Apes
  • The White Queen – Alice In Wonderland
My Favorite - Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale in Batman.

3) The Punky Rebellious Young Lady – The misunderstood ladies trapped in a world of their own. These rebels are often the voice of reason in Burton’s mad, mad world.

  • Lydia Deetz – Beetlejuice
  • Ari – Planet of the Apes
  • Carolyn Stoddard – Dark Shadows
  • Alice – Alice in Wonderland
  • Sally – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Emily – Corpse Bride

4) Nightmare Face – Horrific, bug-eyed scare jumps that make the audience jump out of their chairs.

  • Large Marge – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Max Shreck’s Kiss with Catwoman – Batman Returns
  • The bug-eyed witch in the woods – Sleepy Hollow
  • Barbara’s rips off her face! – Beetlejuice

 

keep reading10 Things You’ll See in Almost Every Tim Burton Movie

 

// Thx – Raoul Pop

A lesson on patience

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly…

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

 

// Thx – Kristoffer Sorensen

We all pay taxes – Barack & Michelle made $800k, donated $170k, & paid $160k in taxes

As we all get finished with our taxes so do the President and First Lady. It turns out that the Obama’s came in with a 20.5% tax rate on income of $789,674 (married filing jointly), including donations worth $172,130.

The bulk of that income came from presidential salaries, $394,821, and book sales, $441,369.

In 2010, their income was $1.7 million with the increase due to book sales, and in 2009, it was more than $5.5 million from book sales and Barack’s Nobel Peace Prize award money.

In comparison, Mitt Romney pulled in an estimated $20.9 million in 2011, and is paying a %15.3 tax rate on that. It seems that both our politicians are paying lower rates than average Americans.

Continue reading We all pay taxes – Barack & Michelle made $800k, donated $170k, & paid $160k in taxes