Monday, December 26, 2011

Most Expensive Wines in the World

The word wine has its root from the ancient Greek word for vines, vinos. Grapevines produces lush grapes which are then fermented to create the popular yet sophisticated alcoholic drink we know as wine. In many areas, the English word wine and its synonyms in different languages are protected by law, as other beverages similar to wine can be produced from fruits, rice, flowers and honey.At the highest end, rare, super-expensive wines are often the costliest item on the menu, and exceptional vintages from the best vineyards may sell for thousands of dollars per bottle. Expensive red wines with their complex subtleties are traditionally more costly than other expensive wines.
Here are the most expensive wines in the world.
World's Most Expensive Wines - Screaming Eagle
1992 Screaming Eagle
around $80,000
At Auction Napa Valley 2008, a charity event, a lot of six magnums of Screaming Eagle were sold for $500,000. In addition to the wine, the lot included a dinner at the winery. The lucky purchaser was Chase Bailey, an executive at Cisco Systems.
World's Most Expensive Wines - Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam
Sold to an anonymous buyer at a Christie’s auction in 1997, this bottle comes from what is considered by wine enthusiasts to be one of the finest vintages of the 20th century.
World's Most Expensive Wines - Th.J 1787 Chateau Lafitte
“Th.J” 1787 Chateau Lafitte
A bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafitte which sold at Christie’s London in December of 1985, this wine was originally reported to be from the cellar of Thomas Jefferson, the former US President, and this most expensive bottle of wine had the initials Th.J etched into the glass bottle. It made its way into the hands of American tycoon Bill Koch, who became suspicious of the origins of the four bottles he had purchased. Eventually, he instigated the investigation that debunked the supposed origin of what was, at the time of purchase, the most expensive wine in the world.
World's Most Expensive Wines - Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck
Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck
These hundred year old bottles of Champagne from the Heidsieck vineyard in Champagne took over eighty years to reach their destination. Shipped to the Russian Imperial family in 1916, a shipwreck off the coast of Finland caused this champagne to be lost at sea until divers discovered over 200 bottles in 1997. Now they’re finally being sold—to wealthy guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow, at least. Of course, the wine’s extraordinary tale and incredible age are what makes it the world’s most expensive wine.

World’s Most Expensive Scotch Whiskies

Scotch whisky is produced and aged, as the name suggest, in Scotland. By law, Scotch must be made from malted grain, must be matured in oak casks for at least three years and must have an alcoholic strength of less than 94.8% by volume. The age statement on a bottle of Scotch is determined by the youngest stock used in its production. The most expensive scotch whiskies in the world were each produced in one of the regions traditionally considered part of the Highlands region.
World's Most Expensive Scotch Whiskies - The Macallan
The Macallan 1926 – $54,000
This whisky, bottled in 1986 and rebottled in 2002, was auctioned in 2007 at Christie’s in New York. The auction was the first liquor auction allowed in New York state since the prohibition in 1920, and the Macallan was only expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. The Macallan was produced in Speyside, formerly considered part of the Highlands region.
Dalmore 62 – $58,000
World's Most Expensive Scotch Whiskies - Dalmore 62
This single Highland malt Scotch whisky from the Dalmore Distillery in Inverness, Scotland, was one of only twelve bottles produced in 1943 from four single malts dating from 1868, 1876, 1926 and 1939. Each was labeled with its own unique name, this one being called Matheson after the Dalmore Estate’s owner, Alexander Matheson. It was purchased for £32,000 at the Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey, where the anonymous buyer reportedly shared it with five of his friends. It has been speculated that the buyer and his friends are the only people to have actually enjoyed a bottle of the expensive vintage.
Dalmore 64 Trinitas – $160,100
World's Most Expensive Scotch Whiskies - Dalmore 64 Trinitas
Yet another product of the Dalmore Distillery, Trinitas is so named because only three bottles of this expensive whisky have been made. The whisky is a blend of rare stocks, including some that have been maturing at the distillery for more than 140 years. Two bottles were sold in Glasgow in 2010, one to a US-based collector and one to a UK-based investor. It is the first Scotch to sell for six figures.
The Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique – $460,000
World's Most Expensive Scotch Whiskies - The Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique
A bottle of 64-year-old Macallan, the oldest whisky ever bottled by the Macallan distillery, became the most expensive whisky in the world when it sold at a charity auction in November, 2010. The catch, however, is that the auction also included a one-of-a-kind crystal decanter.The decanter was created by Lalique using lost-wax casting, called “cire perdue” in French. The decanter was created to celebrate the anniversary of master glassmaker RenĂ© Lalique’s birth. It is based on a decanter from the 1920s, when The Macallan distillery was founded. The crystal decanter and its expensive cargo have toured twelve cities to raise awareness for charity: water, including Paris, London, Hong Kong and its final stop at Sotheby’s in New York.The entirety of the sale price of this expensive whisky was donated to charity: water. In addition, US $145,000 were raised for charity: water during the Macallan’s “tour du monde“.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Joy and Sadness

Christmas may be a time when you get together with family and friends. If you have lost someone significant whom you loved particularly in the past year, you will be reminded that they are not around.  The loss may be through a death, a divorce or some other loss experience. This may be hard for you and everyone reacts differently to this.  It may mean that it causes people to react more sensitively to things that are said and done.  
Everyone has their own way of coping.  It is important to look after yourself and find your own way of getting through the hard times. 
Here are some ideas that may help you to better manage the Christmas holiday celebrations .
Allow yourself to feel sad 
At times like Christmas when families frequently get together it reminds us of the loved one(s) missing from the Christmas table this year. It is normal to feel sad that they are not with you. It may help you to take time out, to remember the person you love. 
You may want to: 
• Find a  quiet spot to remember all the good things about that person 
• Go and do something you used to enjoy together 
• Revisit favourites spots you both enjoyed 
• Share the memories with family and friends 
It’s OK to enjoy yourself 
It may feel hard to celebrate when you are grieving someone you love. It is not 
uncommon to have a whole lot of different feelings such as sadness, guilt or excitement. 
Getting together with family and friends is an opportunity to share the good times and it’s ok to relax and have a good laugh. Laughter is a good medicine. Having fun is not a sign that you grieve the missing person any less. 
Look after yourself 
Remembering that this may be a tough time for you is important. This may mean you might need to treat yourself with a bit of extra care. Avoid making major decisions over Christmas, and treat yourself to something you enjoy doing. 
Talk to someone 
Have someone you trust to talk about how you are feeling. If there isn’t a family member or friend around remember the EAP service is a 24 hour service so give us a call. 
Avoid bottling it up 
Getting stuff off your chest is important.  Keeping things to yourself may mean the stress and tension builds up. Finding a way to get out what you feel will help you to lessen the stress. 
On the other hand with all celebratory drinks that are offered in the Christmas season it is good to limit the amount of alcohol you consume. This is where you keep the lid on the bottle. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

What is a Real Man?

I’ve seen a recurring theme in my Life Coaching sessions, and conversations in general. It turns out a lot of people don’t understand masculinity.
When most of us hear the phrase “real man,” what comes to mind is something like the Marlboro Man . He’s rugged (and usually outdoors), displaying strength and toughness. He’s knowledgeable about “guy things” like cars and tools and sports.
When we think of the character of this “real man,” we think of a guy who is loud, opinionated, intimidating, harsh, and could often be described as a bully.
I don’t think that’s what being a real man looks like at all. In fact, this description is just another kind of guy. He’s the exact opposite of the passive, never-gonna-grow-up sort I talked about in the last post.
Let’s take a few minutes and explore what separates the guys from the real men.

The Male Spectrum

There is a common misunderstanding that manhood is like a spectrum. On one side you have the macho guy barking orders from his garage, demanding another beer. He thinks his family exists to serve him. He takes the first and best in every situation because he thinks he’s entitled. He demands respect while refusing to earn it. His children despise him and his wife fears him. That’s not a man.
On the other end of this distorted spectrum is the cowardly guy who won’t take responsibility for his life. He waits for others to do things for him. His failures and shortcomings are someone else’s fault. He won’t step up, stand up, man up, and grow up. He’s not a man.
chauvinist, guy, man spectrum
Somewhere in between these two distorted views, we have a real man. He avoids both extremes. He works a steady job, but it’s a safe and boring existence. He doesn’t make waves, because he’s not moving. He’s considered pleasant because he isn’t hot or cold about anything. He sits in the mushy middle, which is right where he’s told to be. He doesn’t offend or inspire. He doesn’t thrive or wither. He just sort of… exists.
This idea that a real man is someone who falls in the mushy middle is simply wrong. A man is not a hybrid; a passive ogre. He’s a different thing entirely.

chauvinists, guys, and real men

Characteristics of a Real Man

Real men are hard to come by, but easy to identify. Here are a few things that separate the guys from the men.
Real Men Create Margin
Real men create margins in their lives and the lives of others around them. They don’t weigh people down, but lift them up. This extends to all areas of life. They make more money than they spend. They accomplish more work than they create. They encourage more than they discourage. Others are better for knowing them. That’s a man.

Real Men Are Tough

There is a toughness that we instinctively identify with masculinity. Men don’t cry at the drop of a hat, don’t limp because of a little pain, and don’t back down from conflict because it’s uncomfortable. Men absorb punishment and keep going. They can carry burdens without breaking down. It’s just how they’re wired.
Real Men Are Tender
When a man’s three year old daughter gives him an I Love You valentine — in September — it affects him. Deeply. He realizes there are times to be tough, and there are times when toughness would be out of place. He gives her the biggest hug he can muster, and he may even shed a tear, because that’s part of manhood, too.

Real Men Are Always Improving

Men keep pushing themselves in all areas of life, striving to improve. They have a stack of books they’re waiting to read, and a larger stack they’ve already tackled. They can run farther this year than last. They are more knowledgeable now than ever before. They are more skilled in their trade than in any point in their life. Improvement doesn’t stop until their heartbeat does.
Real Men Know What to Fight For
We’ve all known a guy who will fight anyone, any time, for any reason. Bump into his shoulder in passing and you’ll have a fight on your hands. Real men know some things are worth defending, while other things are trivial. They don’t confuse the two.

Real Men Fight For It

That may involve throwing a punch. More than likely it will involve throwing words. Words are the weapon of our modern culture, and men know how to use them to defend these they’ve sworn to protect. They use this weapon in unjust situations against abusive people. They wield their weapons with patience, cunning, and great skill acquired through practice.

Real Men Do Hard Things

This includes a whole host of things. They control their desires, work hard, sacrifice, demonstrate honesty, and take correction. They do the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing (which it usually is). They don’t shy away from discomfort, but embrace it and are all the better for it.
Real Men Mentor
That doesn’t mean identifying a younger guy and telling him you’ll make him into a man if he does everything you tell him. Real men are already mentors, whether they know it or not. Future men are drawn to these men, and these men don’t shy away from the responsibility. It’s an honor, and it’s not taken lightly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

History of Marriage

Most ancient societies needed a secure environment for the perpetuation of the species,a system of rules to handle the granting of property rights, and the protection of bloodlines. The institution of marriage handled these needs. For instance, ancient Hebrew law required a man to become the husband of a deceased brother's widow.
Some varieties of marriage are
Different periods of time and different cultures have very different histories when it comes to women. Ancient Egypt, in theory, gave women equal rights, but it wasn't always practiced. Medieval women faced dual responsibilities to religion and marriage.
Throughout history, and even today, familiesarranged marriages for couples. The people involved didn't and don't have much to say about the decision. Most couples didn't marry because they were in love but for economic liasons.
Some marriages were by proxy, some involved a dowry (bride's family giving money or presents to the groom or his family), some required a bride price (the groom or his family giving money or a present to the bride's family), few had any sort of courtship or dating, but most had traditions.
One nearly universal tradition is that of the engagement ring. This custom can be dated back to the ancient Romans. It is believed that the roundness of the ring represents eternity. Therefore, the wearing of wedding rings symbolizes a union that is to last forever. It was once thought that a vein or nerve ran directly from the "ring" finger of the left hand to the heart.

The notion of marriage as a sacrament and not just a contract can be traced St. Paul who compared the relationship of a husband and wife to that of Christ and his church (Eph. v, 23-32).
Joseph Campbell, in the Power of Myth, mentions that the Twelfth century troubadours were the first ones who thought of courtly love in the same way we do now. The whole notion of romance apparently didn't exist until medieval times, and the troubadours.
The statement of Pope Nicholas I in which he declared in 866, "If the consent be lacking in a marriage, all other celebrations, even should the union be consummated, are rendered void", shows the importance of a couple's consent to marriage. It has remained an important part of church teaching through the years.

There appeared to be many marriages taking place without witness or ceremony in the 1500's. The Council of Trent was so disturbed by this, that they decreed in 1563 that marriages should be celebrated in the presence of a priest and at least two witnesses. Marriage took on a new role of saving men and women from being sinful, and of procreation. Love wasn't a necessary ingredient for marriage during this era.
Years later, the Puritans viewed marriage as a very blessed relationship that gave marital partners an opportunity to not only love, but also to forgive.

Many people hold the view that regardless of how people enter into matrimony, marriage is a bond between two people that involves responsibility and legalities, as well as commitment and challenge. That concept of marriage hasn't changed through the ages.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Greek Name of Santa Claus is Agios Vassilis

What do you know about the Greek Name of Santa Claus?
Is the Greek Santa Claus the same as in the rest of the world?
Santa Claus is the quintessential persona of Christmas and New Year. He is that legendary figure that brings gifts, an imaginary person who is well associated with the Western culture as Father Christmas.Santa Claus in Greece is though a different person than in the rest of Europe.

Santa Claus in Europe – The Names of Santa Claus

The legend of Santa Claus – or St Nicholas – varies depending on the geographical regions and their particular customs. Saint Nicholas has been – for the majority of Western countries – the gift giver saint, who has been bringing gifts to the families on Christmas Eve. According to the tradition, the European Santa Claus comes from a Finish village, called Korvatunturi in Lapland Province.Father Christmas or Santa Claus, dates back in the 16th century and is associated with several historical figures, depending on the region. In most cases, the figure of Saint Nicholas is the predominant, because of his common presence in many popular myths and legends.
Santa Claus by Tomas Nast
Santa Claus by Tomas Nast
He is Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, St Basil or Agios Vassilis ( the Greek name for Santa Claus), or simply the beloved “Santa”.The variations are many, but due to commercial reasons, Santa Claus is nowadays presented as a chubby and well-hearted man dressed in red who brings gifts, lives with Mrs. Santa Claus and a few flying reindeers that help him carry his presents all over the world.
The modern image of Santa Claus was created in 1881 by an American Artist, Thomas Nast, who created a caricature of Santa, mostly as we know it today. Later, in 1931, Coca Cola decided to use this figure and caricature and make Santa, or Father Christmas in the US, the most known and recognizable figure of the Christmas holidays.

Agios Vassilis – The Greek Santa Claus

agios-vassiliosSanta Claus in Greece is not the same person; according to the Greek tradition, the equivalent of the Western Santa Claus is Agios Vassilis or Vassilios, St Basil, who comes from Caesarea in Asia Minor.  The story of St Basil is quite similar to the one of St Nicholas; he was a kind-hearted and helpful man, who was aiding the poor and needy ones while he was bishop in Caesarea.
Agios Vassilios was far from chubby though; he was a tall, thin man with a black beard and black penetrating eyes. He died on January 1st 379 AD. and the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates his memory on January 1st. This is why in Greece Agios Vassilis brings presents on New Year’s Eve and not at Christmas, as it happens elsewhere in the world.
According to the Greek tradition, the Greek Santa Claus was associated with bringing practical aid to the poor, so he was considered as someone who brings “gifts”. For the Greeks in Asia Minor, Agios Vassilis was something like the European Santa Claus.It is not exactly clear how St Basil became the Greek Santa Claus, but the most predominant version of the story is that the Greeks of Turkey and Asia Minor brought the legend with them when forced to leave their homeland and move to Greece. This is why the main sweet bread of the New Year’s Eve in Greece bears his name: Vassilopita.
Since then, the Greek name of Santa Claus is Agios Vassilis, and all Greeks, children and adults, expect him to come on New Year’s Eve and bring his gifts to the families, leaving them under the Christmas Tree.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

AGATHA CHRISTIE - Famous Bipolar Writer

Agatha Christie was a British novelist and playwrite. She has over 80 detective novels to her credit. She became one of the best crime writers of all time and earned her the title Queen of Crime. She rubs shoulders with bestselling authors of all time like William Shakespeare. According to UNESCO, Agatha Christy is the most translated writer of all time, her books being translated into over 103 different languages. Agatha was born on 15th September 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England. Christie also has a collection of romantic stories under the name Mary Westmacott. One of her plays, The Mousetrap is known to be the longest running play in the world and has run more than 23,000 performances at 2010.

Agatha Christie and her works received many awards. She was awarded the Grand Master Award, the highest honor of the Mystery Writers of America and one of her books, Witness for the Prosecution was awarded an Edgar Award for Best Play in the same year. Many of her books have been translated into films and many more have been adapted for radio, television, comics and also video games.
Almost all of Christie's novels focus on the upper and middle classes of society. The slow pace of the novels appeal gives them the strong psychological suspense and the tense atmosphere. Usually, the detective in the story comes across the murder by himself, but is occasionally called by an old friend to help solve the crime.
Christie was believed to have suffered bipolar disorder, which eventually led to her disappearance. Two doctors diagnosed her with amnesia, which is a psychological ailment. Another school of thought thinks that, she might have suffered a nervous breakdown brought about by severe depression. Her depression was believed to have been caused by the death of her mother that year and also the unfaithfulness of her husband. Christie was found eleven days later as a guest in a hotel, under a different name.

Christie married twice; first to Archibald Christie and had a daughter by him. However, Archibald's extra marital affairs led to the breakdown of the marriage. Agatha later married Max Mallowan. Their marriage remained a happy one until the death of Christie.
Many of Christie's unpublished works were published even after her death. In 2004, The Incedent of the Dog's Ball, a 5,000 word short story was found in the attic of her daughter and was later published in 2009 in Britain. Agatha's stories are still on the top of reading lists. They have continued to receive reviews by critics and allies alike.
BornAgatha Mary Clarissa Miller
15 September 1890
Torquay, Devon, England
Died12 January 1976 (aged 85)
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England
Pen nameMary Westmacott
OccupationNovelist/Short story writer/Playwright/Poet
GenresMurder mysteryThrillerCrime fictionDetectiveRomances
Literary movementGolden Age of Detective Fiction
Spouse(s)Archibald Christie (1914–1928)
Max Mallowan (1930–1976; her death)
ChildrenRosalind Hicks (1919–2004) Father: Archibald Christie

Agatha Christie's gravestone in Cholsey.

Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple

Agatha Christie's first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1920 and introduced the long-running character detective Hercule Poirot, who appeared in 33 of Christie's novels and 54 short stories.
Her other well known character, Miss Marple, was introduced in The Tuesday Night Club in 1927 (short story) and was based on women like Christie's grandmother and her "cronies"
Agatha Christie's room at the Pera Palace Hotel, where she wrote Murder on the Orient Express.