Could Gaming Be Good For You? [via Rosemary McKenna]

What if games could help solve, rather than exacerbate, real-world problems? Jane McGonigal, author of the new book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, thinks they can. She explains how games fulfill needs that reality doesn't, and how to make real life more like a game.

Lewinsky and Kaczynski [via David Adashek]

The Washington Post runs a weekly contest in its Style section called
the 'Style Invitational'.

The requirements this week were to use the two words 'Lewinsky' (the
Intern) and 'Kaczynski' (the Unabomber) in the same limerick.

Now, remember, the following winning entries were actually printed
verbatim in the newspaper, no bleeps or xxxs:

Third place:

There once was a girl named Lewinsky
Who played on a flute like Stravinsky
'Twas 'Hail to the Chief'
On this flute made of beef
That stole the front page from Kaczynski.

Second place:

Said Clinton to young Ms. Lewinsky,
We don't want to leave clues like Kaczynski,
Since you made such a mess,
Use the hem of your dress
And please wipe that stuff off your chinsky.

And the winning entry:

Lewinsky and Clinton have shown
What Kaczynski must surely have known,
That an intern is better
Than a bomb in a letter,
When deciding how best to be blown.

Brett Battles Debuts New Novel Book Soup March 26th 4 pm!

Brett Battles presents and signs The Silenced: A Novel

Date: Saturday March 26, 2011 - 4:00pm


Professional “cleaner” Jonathan Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty years ago inside the walls of a London building, before the building is demolished.

But Quinn and his team are being watched. Suddenly caught in the cross fire between two dangerous rivals, Quinn must unravel the identity of the body and why it still poses so great a threat even in death. Because a plot stretching from the former Soviet Union to Hong Kong, from Paris to London, from Los Angeles to Maine, is rapidly falling apart. And Quinn hasn’t been hired just to tie up loose ends—he is one.

About the Author:
Brett Battles lives in Los Angeles and is the author of four novels in the acclaimed Jonathan Quinn series: The Cleaner, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller and a Shamus Award for Best First Novel; The Deceived, which won the 2009 Barry Award for Best Thriller; Shadow of Betrayal; and The Silenced. He is currently at work on his fifth novel.

Brett Battles Debuts New Novel Book Soup March 26th!

Brett Battles presents and signs The Silenced: A Novel

Date: Saturday March 26, 2011 - 4:00pm


Professional “cleaner” Jonathan Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty years ago inside the walls of a London building, before the building is demolished.

But Quinn and his team are being watched. Suddenly caught in the cross fire between two dangerous rivals, Quinn must unravel the identity of the body and why it still poses so great a threat even in death. Because a plot stretching from the former Soviet Union to Hong Kong, from Paris to London, from Los Angeles to Maine, is rapidly falling apart. And Quinn hasn’t been hired just to tie up loose ends—he is one.

About the Author:
Brett Battles lives in Los Angeles and is the author of four novels in the acclaimed Jonathan Quinn series: The Cleaner, which was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller and a Shamus Award for Best First Novel; The Deceived, which won the 2009 Barry Award for Best Thriller; Shadow of Betrayal; and The Silenced. He is currently at work on his fifth novel.

Yoga Gives Back - E-Newsletter - March 2011

-Newsletter - March 2011
Yoga Gives Back
For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life.

SUCCESS STORY, Chamarajanagar, Karnataka, India

Thanks to your support, YGB's direct funding project "Sister Aid" is providing funds for single mothers, their children and orphaned girls, supporting their education and economic independence.

Deenabandhu Green Home for GirlsLast November, we visited Deenabandhu, a home for destitute and orphaned children in the rural district of Chamarajanagar, Karnataka, South India. More than 45 boys and 22 girls live here, ranging from 3 to 19 years of age. Deenabandhu was founded in 1992 by a zoologist professor Dr. G.S. Jayadev as a small home for eight orphaned boys. In 2010, with the help of foreign donations, they built a home for orphaned girls. This environmentally friendly "Green Home for Girls" now accommodates orphaned girls as well as rescued single mothers with their children. They eventually hope to accommodate up to 40 girls.

Puttamma and RadhaToday, YGB sponsors two single mothers at Deenabandhu—Puttamma and Radha, and their children. Puttamma is a victim of domestic violence, and Radha is a widow whose husband died with HIV last year. Radha and her two children are HIV free. With the support of YGB, they have bought sewing machines and have started earning an income. Their children are all at school.

Deenabandhu Green Home for GirlsIn February, YGB Ambassador Sophie Herbert hosted two events and raised enough money to sponsor one orphan girl, Gayatri, 4 years old. An affectionate, happy and positive girl who used to live in an orphanage where personal care was absent, she is now in full swing at the Deenabandhu Children's home, studying hard with other children. An annual cost of $500 (Rs. 22,500) per child pays for all housing, food, education (school and tuition), clothing, extracurricular activities, and other entertainment (such as day and overnight trips and summer camp).

Please follow "Sister Aid" program updates on our web site and Facebook page. Also check out our new "Sister Aid" video on our YouTube Channel.

Exciting News!

Welcome two incredible YGB Ambassadors!!!

Aparna Khanolkar: Inviting the Ayurvedic community and more to YGB

Aparna Khanolkar"Yoga Gives Back is a cause that is dear to me as an Indian woman. To empower a woman with skills and loans to encourage sustainable financial independence is exciting for me as a single mother. To know that women in India can receive this level of support gives me a sense of satisfaction."

Aparna Khanolkar, also known as The Mistress of Spice, is a private chef and caterer in Santa Barbara. A former chef at the Chopra Center, Aparna is the author of "Happy Belly Happy Soul" a vegetarian cookbook. Aparna believes that cooking is a great act of self-nurturance and teaches cooking classes in Santa Barbara and L.A.

Hali Reid McQuillan: Bringing Canada and Costa Rica's yoga communities

Hali Reid McQuillan"An attitude for gratitude is what I have when I think of yoga. To be a part of the Yoga Gives Back global community, with the focus to empower and inspire women of India to beat poverty is a chance for me to give back to my practice which has given me so much. I am proud to be part of the YGB team and look forward to promoting and coordinating YGB fund raiser events both in Canada and on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica."

Hali has been a practitioner of yoga since she was 18. She obtained her Baptiste Certification – the first in Costa Rica, Second in Canada as well as Assistant Training, became certified as an SR® Counselor, Holistic Life Coach and Ayurveda Practitioner. Today, she and her husband offer Yoga Alliance Approved trainings, courses and retreats in Costa Rica and Canada.

Karma Warrrior Clothes is donating their sales proceeds to YGB!!

Karma Warrior Clothes"Our clothes are made with eco-friendly materials and are inspired by the idea that yoga should be lived, and not just practiced in the studio. With each purchase, we also donate 12% of the sale to charity. You can support their efforts by choosing to donate 12% of your Karma Warrior Clothes sale to YGB, one of our incredible Karma Causes."

YGB Donation Class Relay Update

The YGB virtual torches are passing through New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Nashville, Moline, Illinois, Boulder, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, connecting the global yoga community. Want to start a relay from your city? Check out the YGB Donation Class Relay page for more details.

Long Beach event flyer"Serve the World through Serving the Self"

Nicole Inglish, YGB Ambassador Aparna, and Sudama/Vince will host an amazing evening with asana, gourmet dinner, live music, and more!

SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 5:30-9:00PM

Source Yoga Studio

1911 De La Vina "G", Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Yoga VivaDonation Class at Yoga Viva Studio

with Myriam Baker, Aparna, and Thierry Prem Darshan


Yoga Viva Studio

124 Seeman Dr. Encinitas, CA 92024

Yoga WorksDonation Class at Yoga Works Tarzana

"Yoga Gives Back Night!" All level yoga with Chaz and music by the Cosmic Kirtan Connection. More information:

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 7:00-10:00PM

Yoga Works Tarzana

18700 Ventura Blvd., 2nd Fl., Tarzana, CA 91356

View updates and more upcoming events on our Facebook page and web site!



Family Yoga Jam
with Kerstin Eskeli

From Kerstin: "Words can not say how great the event was…we had a great turn out. …And thank you to all the people who came out to support the cause of Yoga Gives Back!! Sat Nam."

Thank you Kerstin, Veronica, Mantra Grooves and the Key Biscayne community for your support!!


Lila of Nyasa, The Sacred Root of Vinyasa, Placing Your Attention in The Meaningful Moments of the Flow of Nyasa
with Shannon Paige Schneider

Shannon is planning another event there to raise more funds for YGB. Thank you for your commitment.


2 Special Community Classes
with Sophie Herbert and Kumiko Buckman

Sophie Herbert and Kumiko Buckman taught this special series to raise funds for Deenabandhu orphanage. Hari Nam Singh Khalsa supported this event with his meditation session. They raised $500 to sponsor one orphan girl from this series!!


Leading the Heart Toward the Seat of the Soul
with Ramona Tamulinas, Kim Wolff, and Michelle Libeu

Ramona Tamulinas, Kim Wolff, and Michelle Libeu taught a wonderfully soulful vinyasa class, accompanied by the most soothing Marti Walker's live music. Thank you to all who came or donated to YGB. We are also thankful for the generous lunch donated by Open Sesame Long Beach and sweets by Sconeage Bakery. Great raffle prizes were also donated by many and NISHTHA arts and crafts were sold. Truly an inspiring event by a most supportive community, who raised $1230!!


Special Workshop "Inner Universe"
with Karl Straub

Thanks to Karl Straub for hosting this last minute workshop to support YGB. This was our debut in Hawaii. We hope to return there many more times!!

Thank you for these very successful events!!

View more event photos on our Facebook page!

Room for Rent in Pool House

Fully furnished bedroom with pool view and all new furniture including queen-size Sealy Posturepedic mattress. Living/dining room has cathedral ceilings, picture windows and fireplace. Recently renovated house has all new paint, new plush carpeting and new granite countertops in kitchen and bathrooms. New appliances include stainless steel fridge, Bosch stove, microwave, dishwasher and washer/dryer. House has central air, heat, wireless internet, HD TV, basic cable, DVD Player, Roku and PS3. Large kitchen has picture windows facing landscaped garden and pool that is perfect for entertaining. House is in the West Valley on a quiet residential street near Woodland Hills, Warner Center, Northridge Fashion Mall, CSUN...

Available immediately for short or long term lease. References, security deposit and credit check required. $1000/month plus utilities for one bedroom and private bath. Unfurnished room is also available. No smoking and no pets.

Please feel free to contact me at (310) 383-5563 or

Additional photos available on request.

Whatever You Do, Don't Buy an Airline Ticket On ... [via Nina Reznick]

by Scott McCartney

When's the best time to buy? Travel experts have long said Tuesday is when sales are most often in place, which is true. An analysis of domestic fares shows that Wednesday also has good -- and occasionally better -- ticket prices.

Though prices fluctuate frequently and the ups and downs of airline prices can frustrate and anger consumers, airline pricing actually does follow a cycle during the week. Many sales, in which some seats are discounted by 15% to 25% typically, are launched Monday night. That was true again this week when AirTran Airways launched a sale to all its destinations. Competitors typically match the lower prices Tuesday morning. By Thursday or Friday, many sales have already expired.

Two weeks ago, a Chicago-Atlanta round-trip ticket for April travel dates cost $209 on Tuesday and Wednesday on American and Delta, but then $301 for the next four days. When Tuesday rolled around last week, the fare dropped to $219 at both airlines for the April 8-15 itinerary. By Friday it was up to $307 at both American and Delta. Come Tuesday this week, the fare was down to $229.

"Like bread, fares get sort of stale toward the end of the week," said Bob Harrell, a fare consultant who has tracked airline pricing for years.

For this analysis, Mr. Harrell studied all fares filed by airlines over the past 90 days and found Monday was the busiest day for fare changes, followed by Thursday.

When airlines want to push through a fare increase, marking up their basic prices across the board usually by $5 or $10, they often do that on Thursday night, then watch to see if competitors match and if the higher rates stick over the weekend. If competitors balk, prices can be rolled back by Monday morning.

[More from Flight Canceled? How to Get a Cot, Food and the Fastest Flight Out]

In addition, airlines don't manage their inventory as actively on weekends, so if cheap seats sell on some flights, prices automatically jump higher. Fare analysts may decide later to offer more seats at cheaper prices, but not until they come back to work on Monday, according to airline pricing executives.

So a ticket can be $199 certain days and $499 other days even months ahead of a flight. "There's a lot of method behind the madness, a lot of rationality behind the moves for airlines," said Ike Anand, Expedia's director of airline strategy. "But for consumers, it does seem crazy."

More Shopping Strategies

Other factors that affect ticket prices:

• The day you depart can more heavily influence the fare than the day you buy. If your plans are flexible, travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday and you typically find prices far below Monday, Friday or Sunday flights. Sale discounts are bigger on offpeak days than peak days as well. Higher demand for peak days leads to higher prices.

• Computers track booking patterns and can add seats to the cheapest fare level if sales are slow, or yank seats out of the cheapest price level if business is picking up for the airline. That can happen automatically, sometimes while you are shopping around. One minute a good price is offered, and before you buy, it's gone, infuriating customers.

• How far in advance you buy still impacts pricing. While few domestic fares require purchase 21 days before departure, the cheapest tickets often still require 14-day advance purchase. To get tickets before the cheapest seats sell out, buy a month or two in advance.

• Travelers, especially business travelers, still buy airline tickets most frequently 9-to-5 Monday through Friday. And airlines offer their best prices when people are more actively shopping.

-- Scott McCartney

Rick Seaney, chief executive of, studied three years worth of airline prices and concluded that 3 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday was the best time to buy. "That's when the maximum number of cheapest seats are in the marketplace," he said.

A daily check of fares in 10 different markets for the past two weeks showed that the average of the lowest prices offered in those markets was often mid-week, while weekends were higher priced. In the days studied, there were no "mistake fares" at ridiculously low prices that could skew results.

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, the average of the cheapest price in the 10 markets sampled on was $324, but the following Saturday it was $332. By Tuesday, Jan. 18, prices for the same dates in the same markets averaged $320, but the average hit $339 the following Saturday and $347 on Sunday.

To be sure, prices in many markets don't follow the pattern and can bounce wildly. But many do seem to chart a weekly cycle.

Last Sunday, for example, the lowest fare offered on, which searches airline websites, was $418 for a Miami-New York, round-trip leaving April 8 and returning April 15. On Tuesday, the same trip on the same dates was offered at only $323. A round-trip between Phoenix and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., was $429 on Sunday and $390 on Tuesday.

Airlines say weekends are their slowest bookings days, and ticket-sellers say they are the most expensive. said its average ticket sold on Saturday was $791 last year, based on all domestic and international air tickets it sold. That was 7% higher than Friday's average price.

Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz, the three big online ticket-sellers, all say their busiest day for bookings is Tuesday and the slowest day is Saturday. Expedia says Saturdays have about half the volume of Tuesdays.

Airline pricing took on its weekly cadence many years ago, when sales were announced in daily newspaper ads and most travelers bought tickets when travel agencies were open for business Monday-Friday. On Monday, pricing executives looked at inventory and booking trends and decided whether to offer a sale, putting together big newspaper ads for Tuesday editions. Airlines wanted sales out early in the week to generate buzz while customers could buy from travel agencies. Sales launched on Friday may not get noticed.

These days, the Internet makes ticket-buying available any time, and announcements of sales can be zapped to potential buyers electronically. Nonetheless, the pattern still remains in place.

But the dynamic may change. Some airlines say that social-media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, are beginning to disrupt the cycle. Some airlines are sending sales out directly to customers at all hours, making pricing far less predictable each day. Or carriers may tweet an hour-long sale. As a result, airlines can match competitors more nimbly, sneak sales under the radar of competitors and send deeply discounted offers anytime to customers who sign up for fare alerts.

So far, social-media sales still account for a small number of seats actually sold, but give it time.

"The tools we have make it a lot more dynamic," said Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Southwest Airlines.

HEROIC GHURKA TAKES ON 40 MEN [via guest blogger David Angsten]

The Stuff of Legends

So goes the motto of the renowned Nepalese Gurkhas. Recently a retired Gurkha soldier named Bishnu Shrestha demonstrated their legendary reputation for courage when he single-handedly took on forty armed bandits pillaging a train in northeast India. His only weapon: the Gurkhas' trademark kuhkuri blade.
The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were traveling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight.

“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.
He killed three of the brigands, injured eight more, and chased off all the rest. Read the full account here.

Check out :

Fitzgerald's Gatsby house is doomed

Fitzgerald_zeldascottie The house that some say inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write "The Great Gatsby" is doomed. It's slated to be razed and its property parceled up into new developments.

The once-grand home called Lands End has fallen into disrepair. But back in the day, the 25-room, 20,000-square-foot Colonial Revival mansion was home to parties attended by Winston Churchill, the Marx brothers, Dorothy Parker and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. According to local lore, Fitzgerald drank there too, Newsday reports.

The home was built in 1902 and came to be owned by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, one of the first recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and editor of the New York World. It was Swope's parties that Fitzgerald was said to have attended. The history of the house -- and its legendary influence on Fitzgerald -- was reported by Forbes when the house was for sale in 2005.

Located on 13 acres in Sands Point, N.Y., on Long Island Sound, the property has a private beach, a grand pool and wide patio (where, according to legend, Fitzgerald was spotted.) In January, Sands Point Village approved plans to raze the house and divide the property into lots for five custom homes, to be sold for $10 million each.

When the house was sold in the mid-2000s, it still had, according to the New York Times, "banana-yellow laminate countertops in the kitchen... neon flower-power 1970's-style carpeting in some of the bedrooms" and other design offenses that called for a full renovation.

Seems to me that an inspired eye could make that work -- although it would have to be an inspired eye with deep pockets -- upkeep was said to be $5,000 a day.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: F. Scott Fitzgerald with his wife, Zelda, and daughter, Scottie, in their Paris apartment in 1925, the year "The Great Gatsby" was published. Credit: Associated Press

'Crop circle' in Indonesian rice paddy [via Nina Reznick]

JAKARTA, Indonesia –

Thousands of curious onlookers are flocking to central Indonesia to look at a "crop circle" in a rice field following rumors it was formed by a UFO.

Though clearly sculptured by humans — it looks like an intricately designed flower — the 70-yard-wide (70-meter-wide) circle has drawn so much attention that police have blocked off the area with yellow tape.

Villagers have started charging entrance fees.

Guntur Purwanto, chief of Jogotirto village in Sleman district, said the circle appeared in the middle of the green rice paddies over the weekend.

Among those turning out Tuesday and offering opinions were officials from Indonesia's space agency, well-respected astronomers and nuclear agency officials. All agree it was not left by an UFO.

Here's Your Hat. What's Your Hurry? [via Marilyn Horowitz]

An interview that I did with my mother shortly before she fell ill. She was a wonderful woman and I will miss her