Reflecions of Worldwide Cruises

As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has always been a significant and an integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to every portion of the globe, by means of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article focuses on my worldwide cruises and crossings.

My lifetime Cruise Program, which spanned the 18-year period from 1991 to 2009, entailed 27 voyages on 24 ships operated by 11 cruise lines to 17 regions, 49 countries, and 114 ports-of-call. During 205 days at sea, I sailed almost 60,000 nautical miles. The journeys themselves have been subdivided into geographical region.

The east coast of the United States, for instance, was covered with both northerly and southerly itineraries.

The first, with Holland America’s Rotterdam, departed New York on a ten-day cruise that took it to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine, and then to Canada, specifically Noa Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec, plying the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City and Montreal. The second, with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, paralleled the eastern seaboard on its seven-day sailing to Orlando and Miami in Florida, and then amended its course to a more easterly one to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas, before returning to its port-or-origin.

The West Coast was also thoroughly covered by sea. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, for example, threaded its way from San Diego to Vancouver, with ports-of-call in San Francisco and Astoria, Oregon, before charting Canadian waters to British Columbia, while Princess Cruise Line’s Regal Princess undertook its seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway, Yakutat Bay, and Sitka.

Hawaii, in the Pacific, was covered with a multiple-island circuit on the Norwegian Star, specifically Oahu, the big island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kuai, before assuming a southerly heading to the almost equator-equivalent, three-degree north latitude location of Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati, its mandatory foreign port-of-call.

Other than the Bahamas, Bermuda counted as an Atlantic Island destination-in this case, on Carnival’s Pride for a seven-day sailing that included three nights at port for daily sightseeing of an equal number of the British island’s areas.

Three Caribbean island cruises-one to the Eastern and two to the Southern Caribbean-provided considerable coverage there.

The first, with the Grand Princess, departed Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades and touched bases in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Princess Cays, its private island.

The second, with Celebrity’s Constellation, set sail from San Juan and traveled to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua, and St. Thomas.

The third, with the Caribbean Princess, once again had a San Juan origin, but sailed to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, and, for a third time, St. Thomas.

Two Mexican itineraries entailed a single-day one from San Diego to Ensenada on Starlite Cruise Line’s Pacific Star, and the more traditional single-week one with the Sea Princess-in this case, from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, reminiscent of the one weekly plied in The Love Boat television series, which sparked considerable cruise interest.

South America was circumnavigated with three 14-day journeys.

The first, on the Royal Princess, departed Ft. Lauderdale and hopscotched its way to St. Barthelemy, St. Lucia, and Barbados in the Caribbean, before venturing to Devil’s Island in French Guiana, crossing the equator, and penetrating the Amazon River in Brazil to Santana, Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Parintins, and Manaus, covering 3,236 miles.

The second, originating in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and operated by Celebrity’s Infinity, ultimately arched its way around the tip of the continent at Cape Horn, which provided northerly access to the Beagle Channel of Darwin fame and the southerly entrance to the Drake Passage. Its ports-of-calls included Montevideo in Uruguay, Puerto Madryn in Argentina, Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia in Argentina, and Punta Arenas in Chile. Continuing its trek up the west coast, it plied the Strait of Magellan and the Chilean Fjords, offering close inspection of Skua Glacier, before sailing to Puerto Mont and terminating in Valparaiso, both in Chile, completing a 4,070-mile cruise.

The third, of equal duration and on the same ship some two years later, departed Valparaiso, but alighted in La Serena and Arica, both in Chile, before continuing to Callao, Peru, and Manta, Ecuador, in the process crossing the equator. An easterly transit through the Panama Canal took it through the Miraflores Locks, Gatun Lake, the Gaillard Cut, and the Gatun Locks, during which time it was subjected to an 85-foot change in water level. The final four days of its journey took it to Cartagena, Colombia; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Ft. Lauderdale, its terminus, ending a 4,505-mile journey.

An earlier, partial Panama Canal crossing, on the Coral Princess, had also departed Ft. Lauderdale, but called on Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman in the Caribbean, Limon in Costa Rica, and Cozumel in Mexico. It only entered the Gatun Locks and plied the lake of the same name.

Off of South America’s west coast-specifically Ecuador-a five-day, four-night Galapagos Island cruise on the smaller Corinthian entailed ports-of-call in San Cristobal, Tower, Bartolomé, Santiago, Santa Fe, and Santa Crux, its two daily shore expeditions requiring a barefoot plunge into the warm, crystal water from tenders and a subsequent walk-and-wade to the beach to bridge.

The North American and European continents were connected with three transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton on Cunard’s famous Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 ocean liners, one in an easterly direction and the other two in a westerly one for ultimate travel opulence. They all passed the Statue of Liberty, penetrated the choppy Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and sailed their way down the Solent to Southampton, sometimes in reverse order, depending upon the travel; direction.

Europe was extensively cruise-covered from the north to the south.

A British Isles circumnavigation on the Golden Princess, for instance, proceeded from Southampton to Dublin in Ireland, Hollyhead in Wales, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Greenock in Scotland, Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, South Queensferry, serving Edinburgh in Scotland, and back to Southampton, England.

The Norwegian Fjords, on Celebrity’s Century, were accessed through Olden, Flam, Alesund, and Bergen, an itinerary that included the breathtaking North Fjord, Jostedal Glacier, Europe’s largest, and the Sognefjorden, the continent’s longest, after a departure from Amsterdam.

An excerpt from my Cruise Log captured the experience.

«The Century exited the Sognefjorden, once again turning north and plying the North Sea throughout the night. Approaching Alesund, its third port-of-call during the early-morning hours, it docked to starboard in the silver-mirror-reflective harbor at 0730 between the low, deep green hills on its left side, above which dirty-white clouds, like ethereal mist, hovered, and the gabled, turreted Norwegian row houses of the town on its right, characterized area architecture. Located at the mouth of the Storfjord, Alesund proudly sported Mount Aksla, which prominently rose above it.»

Scandinavia was also covered with a cruise from Copenhagen on the Crown Princess, calling at Nyshaven in Sweden and Helsinki in Finland, before continuing to St. Petersburg in Russia. Although it docked in Oslo, Norway, at the end of its sailing, it returned via the Baltic countries of Estonia and Poland.

An Iberian sailing from Southampton on the Sea Princess paralleled Europe’s west coast after docking in the Isle of Guernsey, and then proceeded to La Rochelle in France and Vigo in Spain.

The Eastern and Western sides of the Mediterranean were also cruise-covered.

The former, on Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas, departed Barcelona and touched bases in Marseilles and Nice in France, Monaco, and Florence, Pisa, Capri and Sorrento in Italy.

The latter, with Celebrity’s Galaxy, sailed to Greece and Turkey, and the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos from Rome.

Finally, a 3,374-mile sailing on the Costa Fortuna entailed ports-of-call in Barcelona before proceeding through the Straits of Gibraltar, bridge between the European and African continents, to Casablanca in Morocco, where after it plied the South Atlantic to Santa Cruz on Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Funchal in Madeira. Its return brought it to Malaga on Spain’s sun-drenched Costa del Sol.

These cruises and crossings offered new approaches to destinations already visited, along with many new ones. As self-contained, floating cities, their megaships, sometimes housing populations of 7,000 passengers and crew members, brought multi-colored sunsets, tranquility to the soul, and islands, cities, and countries that appeared outside of my stateroom’s window or balcony almost every morning. During days at sea, I took advantage of some one hundred lectures and courses, an equal number of live performances at night, and just as many shore excursions when they were in port. The countless buffet and sit-down meals are almost unfathomable, but three examples have been citied.

«Breakfast in the Splendour of the Seas’ King and I Dining Room included orange juice, fried eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes, hash-browned potatoes, and croissants.»

«Afternoon tea, on the Queen Mary 2, was a British tradition and a delightful intermittence between lunch and dinner served on every Cunard crossing. Served today in the Queen’s Room, which was the largest ballroom at sea with an arched ceiling, twin crystal chandeliers, a velvet blue and gold curtain over the orchestra stage, a 1,225-square-foot dance floor, a live harpist, and small, round tables, it consisted of egg, ham and cheese, cucumber, tomato, beef, and seafood finger-sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and strawberry cream tarts.»

«Dinner was served in the Infinity’s SS United States Restaurant just after exiting the Panama Canal, an elegant dining venue inspired by the SS United States liner with an actual, etched glass panel from the ship, formally-adorned tables, and porthole windows. The chosen «Menu Exeptionel,» a six-course degustation of its signature dishes, included Riesling white wine from Germany; chicken roulade with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts; a light, creamy tomato, red pepper, and mozzarella soup with pesto; a twice-baked goat cheese soufflé served with red pepper coulis and an olive toast triangle; a granite of passion fruit and white rum; grilled fillet of sea bass served with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, pistachio, and olive oil over grilled Mediterranean vegetables; a selection of cheeses with walnut bread, celery, sliced apples, nuts, and grapes; chocolate soufflé with vanilla anglaise sauce; coffee; and petit fours»

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Using Short Paragraph Stories to Teach Simple Past in English – Part 1

Whenever I have to teach the Simple Past tense in English, one activity I always use is speaking and writing practice using some short «stories» that I made up. Writing them was a lot more difficult than I’d originally imagined since use of only regular verbs in a narrative is not really authentic language. Native speakers simply don’t talk that way. But, to give my EFL English students some practice in writing the forms of regular verbs in past and especially in pronouncing them, I came up with a couple of shorts using only this form. They’re harder to read and pronounce than «normal», but the intensive practice seems to be quite helpful. So, I continue to use them even though I know this speech pattern is not going to occur in natural English speech.

Since my learners are all from a Spanish-speaking country in South America, Colombia, they typically exhibit a problem in pronouncing the -ed verb ending in its various forms. I’d noticed the same propensity towards pronunciation problems with -ed regular verb endings in other Spanish-speaking areas, so I prepared exercises to help with this early on. Students in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama and Ecuador have all benefited from these simple «stories» I hope that perhaps your EFL / ESL students will too.

TEFL Learners can read the story paragraphs aloud, focusing on the correct pronunciation of the verb ending forms. They can fill-in the blanked out endings in the paragraph to practice adding -ed or just -d as required. Also they’ll practice with when to change «y» to an «i» before adding -ed. For example, Play becomes played, and stay becomes stayed, but try and cry become tried or cried. The stories could be cut into strips and re-ordered, acted out as a «skit», pantomimed, or a variety of written exercises and comprehension activities could be added. As an added feature, I boldface the verbs in the paragraphs.

I attempted to create short paragraph stories that would be of some interest as well. One is set in the Old West and is called, «The Sheriff of Calico County». The others take place during a visit to the zoo, and during a bank robbery, respectively. They’re entitled, «The Zoo» (169 words) and «The State Bank» (131 words). Kinda catchy titles, ain’t they? There was just a bit of «writing license» taken in the creation of these short paragraph stories. Hey, it worked for Shakespeare, didn’t it?

Here are two as examples for you to try out.

The Zoo

Last Wednesday we decided to visit the zoo. We arrived the next morning after we breakfasted, cashed in our passes and entered. We walked toward the first exhibits. I looked up at a giraffe as it stared back at me. I stepped nervously to the next area. One of the lions gazed at me as he lazed in the shade while the others napped. One of my friends first knocked then banged on the tempered glass in front of the monkey’s cage. They howled and screamed at us as we hurried to another exhibit where we stopped and gawked at plumed birds. After we rested, we headed for the petting zoo where we petted wooly sheep who only glanced at us but the goats butted each other and nipped our clothes when we ventured too near their closed pen. Later, our tired group nudged their way through the crowded paths and exited the turnstiled gate. Our car bumped, jerked and swayed as we dozed during the relaxed ride home.

The State Bank

This morning at 8:33, someone robbed the State Bank downtown. The thief entered the bank and stated that he wanted all their money. The thief smiled but looked very tired. The tellers seemed worried. The thief received the money he requested, asked to be excused, then stormed out quickly as the door revolved. He dashed down the street and screeched away in a damaged car that rattled, squeaked and smoked. It appeared that he really needed the money. The police soon arrived. They barreled and chased down the street. They searched and questioned bystanders, but the thief vanished. The police failed to catch him. Investigators abandoned the case and neglected to do anything else. The money was never recovered and the thief was never identified the report of the incident ended.

In part two of this article series, I demonstrate the use of a similar style, but much longer piece for practicing simple past of regular verbs. If you’re successful and want to try another of my «stories» or two, just e-mail me for more. Better yet try your hand at coming up with a couple of your own. Either way, I’m happy to be able to share these with you and I’d be happy to hear how these worked for you and your EFL / ESL English learners. So, feel free to let me know how well these worked (or didn’t) for you.

Good Luck

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Lolo Fernandez: A Footballing Genius – A Biography

Lolo Fernandez: One of Latin America’s Most Popular Footballers

Throughout his 12-year career with the Peruvian side, between 1935 and 1947, Lolo Fernández was not a World Cup player such as Obdulio Varela of Uruguay and Brazil’s Leonidas da Silva. Despite all this, he is still an inspirational leader in the history of Peru’s soccer. On the field, he did a lot to stimulate the men’s football in all of the country, one of the most soccer-crazed places on the planet. He was very popular in the outback of Peru, from Trujillo and Ica to Puno and Cajamarca. His passion for his homeland was reflected in all facets of his life.

He began to play soccer before it was a professional sport on Peruvian soil. Football — the world’s most popular sport— was imported by Britain’s expatriates in the second half of the 19th century and is known as Peru’s national pastime.

The oldest and most powerful of three soccer-playing Fernández brothers, he — known affectionately as «Lolo»— is considered as one of the country’s greatest athletes of all time, along with Edwin Vásquez Cam (Olympic gold medalist at the 1948 London Summer Games), Cecilia Tait Villacorta (among the world’s top volleyball players in the past century), Juan Carlos «Johnny» Bello (winner of 12 Bolivarian titles in the early 1970s), and Gabriela «Gaby» Pérez del Solar (silver medal in women’s volleyball at the 1988 South Korea Games).

During Fernández’s tenure with the national side, the Andean republic gained one South American Cup (1939) and one Bolivarian Championship (1938). At the club level, he earned the Peruvian League Cup — nationwide competition— six times with his club Universitario de Deportes, having scored a club-record of 157 goals — a record that remains unique. Also, he was the top goal-scorer in the country’s top division of football teams in 1932 (11 goals), 1933 (9), 1934 (9), 1939 (15), 1940 (15), 1942 (11), and 1945 (16). Additionally, he is one of best-known Peruvians Olympians of all time. He holds the distinction of being the first (and only) top player from that nation to compete in the modern Olympiad.

Peru’s First Genuine Top-Class Athlete

Since then, the apex of his career came in the late 1930s when he was the hero of Peru’s South American Football Confederation Cup win, putting the Peruvian flag on the sporting map and making him one of the most exciting players in the game. A Lolo Fernández-inspired Peru defeated Uruguay in the gold-medal match, a surprise to most fans and sportswriters on the American mainland (Campomar, 2014, Penguin). He had been called up by England’s coach Jack Greenwell. Before the championship, Peru’s sportsmen had never won a continental trophy (equivalent of the European Cup). Previously, this Cañete-born footballer was a member of the 1936 Peruvian Olympic football team, which competed in the Berlin Olympics. Curiously, Western Europe was the first continent to recognize Fernández’s talent. Although his homeland’s squad succumbed in a controversial game against Austria (a match they should have won) during the Men’s Olympic Games Soccer Tournament— the unofficial world cup of soccer at that time— he was regarded as one of the South America’s most celebrated sportsmen (Hilton, 2011).

Back in Peru, he led his own «soccer revolution» in Universitario de Deportes, winning many top division cups, setting off a wave of explosive emotion in Lima, the nation’s capital. In fact, he was one of the first superstars of that club. The national squad and his club had been his first loves. He could have played abroad, but decided to play for the Peruvian side and the Limean club, one of the nation’s premier clubs (Newton, 2011).

In fact, Lolo Fernández was Peru’s first genuine top-class sportsman in the world of sports in a time when some Spanish-speaking republics began to produce world-famous competitors. Already, in 1928, Argentina’s fighter Victorio Avendaño had caught the public’s attention with his Olympic gold medal in the Games of the IX Olympiad in Holland’s capital city of Amsterdam (Grasso, 2013). Two years later, the Soccer World Cup was won by the host country Uruguay— called the Celeste. Meanwhile, the men’s shooting contingent of Brazil picked up a total of three medals at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics in tiny Belgium (Almanaque Mundial, 1976). On the other hand, on March 19, 1938, four Ecuadorans — Ricardo Planas, Carlos Luis Gilbert, Luis Alcivar Elizalde and Abel Gilbert— swept the gold medals at the Swimming South American Tournament (Almanaque Guayaquil, 2003).

The Life and Times of Lolo Fernández

Teodoro Oswaldo Fernández Meyzán was born on May 20, 1913 in San Vicente, Cañete, near Lima, Peru’s capital. He was the seventh of eight children born to Tomas Fernández Cisneros, a farm administrator, and his wife, the former Raymunda Meyzan.

Cañete covers an area of 4,577 km2 — the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It lies around 140 km from Lima. This Connecticut-size territory is blessed with a fertile land and is well-recognized for its African-Peruvian culture, cuisine, fruits and birthplace of notable people such as Héctor Chumpitaz (footballer), Caitro Soto (musician), Enrique Verastegui (writer), and Rolando Campos (singer).

Fernández spent his early childhood on a farm in Cañete. Like many Peruvian children, he became fascinated with the game of soccer at an early age. But not everyone applauded that passion, among them his father.

He invested his life in this sport since he played for his hometown club Huracán of Hualcará in the early 1920s. The then little-known player was the first to arrive to the stadium and the last to leave. In his land, he trained with a lot of intensity. The exercise and fresh air made him feel better.

During his first appearance, he led his club to a victory over Alianza San Vicente in a local event in his native Cañete. His debut could not have been better: he scored the winning goal. The date was August 30, 1923. On that occasion, his play (without being paid a salary) impressed his team-mates early on. He was celebrated throughout Cañete, whose people are addicted to football and other Olympic sports as canoeing, boxing, and track-and-field.

Toward the end of the 1920s, he was allowed to leave his home and went to Lima to live with his elder brother, Arturo Fernández, who had played for Universitario de Deportes after being a member of Ciclista Lima. In this context, Lolo, as he was more often known, was introduced to Universitario by Arturo.

In the Peruvian place, his personal life underwent some significant changes. Unanimously elected player by the club’s chairman Placido Galindo, Fernández signed a contract for 120 soles a month. Relations between he and his new club were excellent and friendly since that day.

He kicked off his career with the Lima-based club when he made his official debut on November 29, 1931 during a friendly match against Deportes Magallanes of Chile. Some young athletes would have been intimidated in such situation, but not Lolo. The Lima-based club, with a young side, was the winner. The Peruvian victory was due largely to Fernández’s leadership. He scored the winner against Magallanes in a 1-0 win. Gradually, his talent was recognized by experts, coaches, and sportswriters in his homeland country. As a player, he was without peer in his generation.

An Athlete In Troubled Times

Like many Latino champions such as Alberto Spencer of Ecuador (football),Mateo Flores of Guatemala (track-and-field) and Chino Meléndez of Nicaragua (baseball), Lolo Fernández lived in a country plagued by political violence, poverty, and economic difficulties. Despite these hurdles, he emerged as one of Latin America’s top athletes in the first half of the 20th century.

In the 1930s, his native country had a record of short-lived governments and eight conservative rulers. By 1933, Peru’s military warlord Luis Sánchez Cerro was killed. At the same time, opposition-led demonstrations broke out in Lima in response to an electoral defeat (Loveman, 1999).

During the global financial crisis, the economy fell into chaos, which was vulnerable due to the nation’s dependence on minerals and agricultural products.

Due to these and other reasons, the country’s sport activities had been all but ignored by the governments. Under this atmosphere, Peru was one of the last countries to make its international debut in the Football South American Championship (known as the Copa America later), having competed for the first in the XI Cup in 1927.Similarly, their athletes could not attend the Summer Olympics between 1900 and 1932. But that wasn’t all. Upon competing in Great Britain in 1948, this Spanish-speaking republic did not have Olympic representation until 1956, despite having Pan American gold medalists —among them Julia Sánchez Deza and Edwin Vásquez— and continental champs.

Western Europe: From Spain to Great Britain

As guests of honor, Fernández and other players from Universitario played for Alianza Lima during a tour of Chile in 1933, accumulating wins over Colo Colo, Audax Italiano, Magallanes, and Wanderers. Lolo also played as a special guest for some foreign clubs such Racing Club,Club Atlético Banfield, and Colo Colo.

Between 1933 and 1934, Fernández went as a member of a Peruvian-Chilean contingent —composed of sportsmen from Alianza Lima, Colo Colo, Atlético Chalaco and Universitario– to Western Europe, where he played 33 men’s football matches (compiling 11 wins, 11 draws and 11 losses) against first-class squads from Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, including Bayern Munich, Newcastle and Barcelona— his first time outside of Latin America (Witzig, 2006). Here, he earned the respect of fans and rivals. Lolo’s performance on the European tour was spectacular: despite his lack of international experience, he accumulated a record of 48 goals!

Berlin: 1936 Summer Olympics

After many obstacles, the Peruvian Olympic team, that included future South American champion Lolo, made a brief but historic trip to Germany to attend the 1936 Summer Games. It was the first time in Olympic history that Peru had sent an athletic contingent to the Summer Games. The nation’s sports officials brought an all-male team to Berlin, with Peruvians competing in aquatics, athletics, diving, basketball, cycling, fencing, modern pentathlon, shooting, and soccer.

There were 22 soccer players and they were Juan Valdivieso Padilla, Alejandro Villanueva, José Morales, Adelfo Magallanes, Víctor Lavalle, Enrique Landa, Eulogio García, Carlos Tovar, Orestes Jordán, Teodoro Fernández, Arturo Fernández, Andrés Alvarez, Arturo Paredes, Segundo Castillo, Teodoro Alcalde, Jorge Alcalde, Miguel Pacheco, Carlos Portal, Raúl Chappel, Pedro Ibañez, Guillermo Pardo, and Víctor Marchena. These players made up the country’s largest delegation in Berlin.

The Lolo’s squad was the first Peruvian team in the Olympic team sports history. Scoring five goals in a 7-2 victory over the Nordic nation of Finland, Fernández played one of his most memorable matches (Campomar, 2014). Without a doubt, he was a genius on the field. Subsequently, they beat Austria (it expected to finish in the top four in these Games). But it wasn’t a clear-cut victory for the Latin American republic (Witzig, 2006).

In the second time, Peru came back and won its match 4-2 after losing to Austria 2-0 in the first time in one of the most controversial games in the history of football (Mandell, 1971). Nonetheless, the Austrian delegation refused to recognize this triumph (Risolo, 2010). They said that Europe’s footballers were threatened by Peru’s attackers during the Olympic match (Murray & Murray, 1998).

Under pressure from Austria, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) pledged to hold other match (Campomar, 2014).

But the Peruvian dictatorship didn’t allow their countrymen to compete again. In an attempt to try to gain popularity within Peru, the nation’s strongman Oscar Raimundo Benavides forced the Peruvian Olympic Committee to agree to withdraw its delegation from the 1936 Berlin Games (Walters, 2012). Despite everything, Fernández was the second top scorer in the Olympic tournament with five goals, alongside Norway’s sportsman Arne Brustad. A year earlier, Lolo earned his first cap for Peru.

The tournament was won by Italy and was followed by Austria (silver medal), Poland (bronze), Norway (4th), Great Britain (5th),Germany (6th), Peru (7th), Japan (8th), Sweden (9th), USA (10th), Taiwan (11th), Egypt (12th), Hungary (13th), Turkey (14th), Finland (15th) and Luxembourg (last).

When the Olympian delegation arrived back in Lima, they were declared «national heroes» (El Comercio, 2009). In the next year, he married Elvira Fernández Meyer and had two children: Marina and Teodoro.

Lolo and the First Bolivarian Games

Despite missing the XI Olympiad in the German capital of Berlin, Fernández worked relentlessly to take part in the Olympic-type Bolivarian Games. The First Bolivarian Sports Games (one of the oldest multi-sport games of its kind) were held in Colombia’s capital of Bogota in 1938. At that year, all Limeans were anxious to see a national victory. Fortunately, there were good news. Fernández captained the Bolivarian winners by capturing the gold medal, providing a moment of enjoy for Peru’s population.

The 1938 men’s squad was the heavy gold medal favorite on Colombian soil. The victory was scored over squads from Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the host nation. This accomplishment was greater than any previously achieved by the national squads. Ecuador was bronze and Bolivia won the silver medal.

Before and after the event, Fernández —his first international title outside his own land— brought his energy and passion to the national team.

Peru kicked off its campaign at Bogota’s Universitario Stadium,on August 8, when they beat Colombia 4-2 with goals of Pedro Ibañez (2), Lolo (1) and Teodoro Alcalde (1). In its second Bolivarian match, the Andean country slaughtered Ecuador 9-1 in a spectacular show of football— biggest margin of victory in the history of Peru’s soccer team. The best player was Alcalde (4 goals). On August 14, Peru blanked Bolivia 3-0. Lolo was the pivot of that game with two goals. This remarkable athlete knew what he needed to do to win the match.

On August 17,Venezuela was eliminated from the Games after losing to Peru 2-1. Before the Peruvian delegation left the stadium, they received a standing ovation.

Why one of Latin America’s Greatest Players Never Play in the FIFA World Cup?

Among Latin America’s greatest players during the first half of the 20th century, Fernández was the only one never to have appeared in a World Cup. There are different reasons why he could not compete in the global sporting event in the late 1930s and the 1940s. In 1938, the III World Cup was overshadowed by an Argentina-led boycott that was followed by almost all South American republics ( Reyna & Woitalla,2004). Officially, Peru did not participate in the international boycott, but it declined to send a delegation. SA boycotted that Cup in response to «Eurocentric policy» of FIFA. Europeans had hosted the last event and the next was scheduled to be held in France in that year. In the following decade, the world of sports was hard hit by World War II and the international events were canceled.

Lima: 1939 South American Championship

The year of 1939 saw a new hero in Latin America’s sport. A son of Cañete attracted admiration when he led Peru to win the (XV) South American Championship for the first time following a win against Uruguay, one of the powerhouses in the world of football since the 1910s. Four years ago, the national side failed to make the semis in the regional event at home. In 1937, Peru finished at the bottom of the six-team tournament.

The 1939 national side claimed the first place to defeat Uruguay 2-1 in the finals. It was a proud day for Peru. The country, under British coach Greenwell was a home grown champion (Campomar, 2014, Penguin). On paper, Uruguay’s background made it a strong opponent —three World Championships from 1924 to 1930, including two golds in the modern Olympics.

It was gratifying to see the progress that had made the national side, who were underdogs from the start. Thanks to this win, Peru became the four nation in the continent to win that event (after Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina), well ahead of Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

Fernández was the hero in the Continental Cup on his home soil— his second major international trophy. As well as winning the Most Valuable Player trophy, the Cañete-born striker was the top scorer.

The continental winners were Juan Humberto Valdivieso, Jorge Alcalde, Carlos Tovar, Teodoro Alcalde, César Socarraz, Alberto Baldovino, Pedro Reyes, Víctor Bielich, Juan Quispe, Segundo Castillo, Enrique Perales, Raúl Chapel, Pablo Pasache, Lolo Fernández, Adolfo Magallanes, Jorge Parró, Juan Honores, Pedro Ibañez, Arturo Fernández, Arturo Paredes, Rafael León and Feder Larios.

South American Championships

Back in the 1940s, Fernández, who was nicknamed «the Cannoneer» by the local media due to his aggressive style of play, was member of Peru’s national squad that competed in three South American championships. But he was less successful in these competitions.

Between February 2 and March 4, 1941, the Peruvian contingent participated in the international competition in Santiago (Chile). It was recognized as the unofficial SA Cup. Peru’s 22-man roster included: Gerardo Arce, Manuel Vallejos, Vicente Arce, César Socarraz, Teodoro Fernández, Juan Quispe, Alejandro González, Leopoldo Quiñones, Juan Honores, Carlos Portal, Marcial Hurtado, Enrique Perales, Guillermo Janneau, Roberto Morales, Orestes Jordán, Pedro Magán, Adolfo Magallanes, Máximo Lobatón, and Pedro Luna.

The men’s football tournament was marked by the presence of top-class athletes such as Lolo of Peru, Obdulio Varela of Uruguay, Sergio Livingstone from Chile, and Juan Andrés Marvezzi of Argentina.

The Bolivarian champions didn’t bring home any medals, but Fernández scored three goals and was ranked second to Marvezzi as the tournament’s most prolific scorer (sharing the honor with José Manuel Moreno from Argentina). His homeland’s squad placed fourth in the overall classification, ahead of Ecuador,in the five-team tournament, an event sponsored by the Chilean rule.

On February 9, the Peruvians were defeated by the host nation by a narrow margin (1-0). Shortly thereafter, Argentina won its match against Peru 2-1. The Argentine team was a powerful squad in the Americas and had gained two awards in 1937: The Soccer Pan American Cup in Dallas, Texas (U.S) and SA tournament (as a host country). On February 23, the squad’s star striker Lolo eliminated Ecuador 4-0 and obtained their first points. Fernández scored three goals. Three days later, his homeland’s team, however, could not win their last game. Uruguay won 2-0.The win helped avenge Uruguay’s 1939 loss to Peru.

By 1942, Fernández departed for Uruguay to attend the Latin American tournament (between January 10 and February 7), a year where Brazil was awarded the 1942 World Cup, but the event was cancelled. The men’s soccer of Peru placed a disappointing fifth on Uruguayan soil. The national side was represented by 22 players: Juan Quispe, Antonio Zegarra, Diego Agurto, Juan Soriano, Antonio Biffi, Leopoldo Quiñones, Alberto Delgado, Carlos Portal, Lolo Fernández, Enrique Perales, Luis Guzmán, Pablo Pasache, Teobaldo Guzmán, Tulio Obando, Juan Honores, Roberto Morales, Marcial Hurtado, Pedro Magán, Orestes Jordán, Adolfo Magallanes, Máximo Lobatón, and Pedro Luna.

Following an opening draw with Paraguay (1-1) at the XVIII South American Cup on January 18, Peru suffered defeats against Brazil (2-1) and Argentina (3-1).Over that time, the Brazilian side was a strong rival with a bronze medal in the 1938 global event after his international star Leonidas da Silva (known as the «Black Diamond») led Brazil to its first wins in a World Cup.

On January 28, the Peruvians dispatched Ecuador 2-1 at Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium, which is the nation’s symbol of sport. In the next days, they had drawn 0-0 with Chile after a 3-0 loss to Uruguay in the 65,000-seater Centenario Stadium, one of the most famous of all soccer stadiums around the globe. The Celeste Spanish for sky blue due to the color of squad’s shirt— was all but unbeatable and it was seven-time winner of the SA Cup (1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926 & 1935) (Guevara & Chaname, 1998).

Lolo and his fellow sportsmen did not return to the regional championships until 1947. The Andean republic missed the next two international competitions (1945 & 1946).

In 1947, the Peruvian Soccer Federation sent a Lolo Fernández-led team to Guayaquil (Ecuador) to participate in the international meet. He and his fellow countrymen had drawn with Paraguay (2-2) and Ecuador (0-0), but there were two losses to Chile (2-1) and Argentina (3-2).

In front of over 20,000 persons, on December 20, 1947, Fernández played his last match on foreign soil at Guayaquil’s George Capwell when Peru made a tie of 0-0 with the host nation. He was on Peru’s South American Cup roster at the age of 34. Later on, Colombia —gold in men’s football at the 1946 Central American and Caribbean Games— was outclassed by a Peruvian side without its star Lolo (5-1).

In the 8-team tournament, the men’s side ranked fifth, behind Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay,and Chile. The country’s roster included 22 athletes: Guillermo Valdivieso, Rafael Asca, Carlos Torres, Guillermo Barbadillo, Luis Suárez, Félix Castillo, René Rosasco, Juan Castillo, Marín Reyna, Andrés da Silva, Domingo Raffo, Lolo Fernández, Enrique Perales, Carlos Gómez Sánchez, Lorenzo Pacheco, Máximo Mosquera, Alejandro González, Ernesto Morales, Luis Guzmán, Eliseo Morales, Cornelio Heredia, and Valeriano López.

In the wake of participating on Ecuadoran soil, Fernández no longer competed in the continental events.

Six National Championships From 1934 to 1949

Before embarking on a seven-month tour of Europe, Fernández was the most outstanding player in the 1932 National Cup with 11 goals. But that wasn’t enough to win the event. A total of eight clubs sent delegations: Alianza Lima, Sports Tabaco, Ciclista Lima, Sportive Union, Sport Progreso, Tarapacá Ferrocarril, Circolo Sportivo Italiano and Universitario.

Soccer became a national level when the domestic tournament began in the 1920s, making it one of the oldest events in the history of Peruvian sport.

By 1933, Universitario’s amateur side again made the final, but was runner-up and their star was top scorer for the second time in a row. Despite the loss, he had captured the attention of the spectators as no other sportsman when he produced nine goals in the men’s football national league.

After winning experience in European countries, Fernández and his fellow Peruvian athletes moved back to Lima to attend the 1934 domestic league. The youthful Universitario side reached the podium in the country’s top soccer division (Almanaque Mundial, 1977). Alianza Lima was extraordinary beaten by the Limean squad, beginning one of South America’s greatest derbies. AL and Lolo’s club are arch rivals and matches between two clubs are referred to as «El Clásico» (Newton, 2011). During that year, Fernández began to make a name for himself in the history of Peru’s football as he was the tournament’s top scorer.

The 1935 event was an event with five soccer clubs. It produced a surprise winner: Sport Boys. Fernández’s squad placed third.

By 1938, Universitario won the bronze medal. In the next year, the Limean side became one of the first clubs of Peru to appoint a foreign manager: Jack Greenwell of the United Kingdom. Under Geenwel’s guidance, Fernández and his fellow mates earned the national football league title with nine wins, three draws and two losses —improving on their third place finish in the past cup (Almanaque Mundial, 1977). Extraordinary, the Cañete-born athlete was the tournament’s dominant player in 1939 (Witzig, 2006).

In the wake of Fernández’s participation in the South American Cup, Universitario came close to a second successive tournament in 1940.

In 1941, the Lima-based club obtained the Peruvian trophy, after a series of home-and-home soccer matches. The Limean squad showed why it was one of the most powerful clubs on home soil. In the finals, there were wins over Atlético Chalaco (1-0) and Alianza Lima (3-1). The championship had been postponed for a while because of Peru’s participation in the South American Cup.

In the mid-1940s, Universitario came the attention when they won back-to-back national championships (Witzig, 2006). After breaking his own personal record of 15 goals in 1939, Lolo picked up a total of 16 goals in 1945. Curiously, these titles can be attributed to the Fernández family: Arturo, Eduardo and Lolo were members of that team.

Assembling one of the most powerful teams in the history of Peru’s football, Lima’s club earned the trophy in 1946. The key to the Peruvian club was the trio of Victor Espinoza, Eduardo and Lolo Fernández. Under a new system of qualifying matches, the Limean side obtained 11 wins.

Toward the end of his career, Lolo and his club recaptured the trophy: it defeated Atlético Chalaco 4-3 to claim the first place in the Peruvian Championship in 1949 (Almanaque Mundial, 1977). In that year, the club celebrated its 25th anniversary.

A Universitario Icon

In contrast to players from other parts of the world, Fernández was not an international player, being one of the few footballers who had stayed with one club (Universitario) his entire athletic career despite several offers from top clubs (including Racing club of Argentina, Peñarol of Uruguay and Colo Colo of Chile). He refused, citing his strong connections to Universitario. This club is one of the most-supported squads in Peru. Curiously, Lolo remains Universitario’s all-time goalscorer with 157 goals.

Fernández, at the age of 40, retired from the world of soccer in the early 1950s during a series of exhibition matches in a stadium built by the country’s head of state Manuel Odría. On August, 30, 1953, his team had a sensational victory over his traditional rival Alianza Lima (4-2). Here, Lolo scored a hat-trick, among the most notable of his more than 157 goals during his career with the Lima-based club.

Before an audience of some 30,000 spectators, Fernández played only six minutes with Universitario during a game against Centro Iqueño, the darkest day for Peru’s football. His presence was symbolic in a memorable event at Lima’s national stadium. He left the national stadium to a roaring ovation.

After retiring from soccer, he worked mostly with top junior soccer teams from Universitario.

After a battle with Alzheimer, on September 17, 1996, Lolo Fernández died in a Lima hospital at the age of 83. It was a great loss to South America’s sport.

Rivaled only by Teófilo Cubillas, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards both within and outside Peru, including a museum. The country’s legendary Olympian was immortalized by Lorenzo Humberto Soto Mayor, who wrote a song entitle «Lolo Fernández», a tribute to the Peruvian footballer. On October 27, 1952, the country’s ruler Odría conferred him the Sports Laurels, the highest sports award of Peru. In the early 1950s, the Universitario stadium was renamed in his honor (Witzig, 2006). Within Latin America, several sports-oriented magazines and Spanish-language newspapers have devoted many pages to Lolo.

Lolo Fernández died in the mid-1990s, but the legacy of this Olympic carries on. He was so advanced for his time and place. A man that always worked with love for his homeland country of Peru and a personal hero of mine.

Further Reading

(1)- Almanaque Deportivo Mundial 1977, Editorial América, Ciudad de Panamá, 1976 (Spanish)

(2)- Almanaque Deportivo Mundial 1976, Editorial América, Ciudad de Panamá, 1975 (Spanish)

(3)- Almanaque Guayaquil Total 2003, Editarsa, Guayaquil, 2002 (Spanish)

(4)- Campomar, Andreas. ¡Golazo!: A History of Latin American Football, Quercus, 2014

(5)- —————- Golazo!: The Beautiful Game From the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America, Penguin, 2014

(6)- Dunmore, Tom. Historical Dictionary of Soccer, Scarecrow Press, 2011

(7)- «Fuimos Heroes». 170 Años Suplemento Especial, El Comercio, 4 de mayo del 2009 (Spanish)

(8)- Grasso, John. Historical Dictionary of Boxing, Scarecrow Press, 2013

(9)- Guevara Onofre, Alejandro & Chaname Orbe, Raúl. Enciclopedia Mundototal 1999, Editorial San Marcos, 1998 (Spanish)

(10)- Hill, Christopher. Hitler’s Olympics: The Berlin Olympic Games,The History Press, 2011

(11)- Loveman, Brian. For la Patria: Politics and the Armed Forces in Latin America, Rowman & Littlefield, 1999

(12)- Mandell, Richard D. The Nazi Olympics, University of Illinois Press, 1971

(13)- Murray, Bill & Murray, William. The World’s Game. A History of Soccer, University of Illinois Press, 1998

(14)- Newton, Paula. Viva Travel Guides Machu Picchu and Cusco, Viva Publishing Network, 2011

(15)- Parrish, Charles & Nauright, John. Soccer Around the World, ABC-CLIO, 2014

(16)- Risolo, Donn. Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats, University of Nebraska, 2010

(17)- Reyna, Claudio & Woitalla, Michael. More Than Goals: The Journey From Backyard Games To World Cup Competition, Human Kinetics, 2004

(18)- Walters, Guy. Berlin Games: How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream, Hachette UK, 2012

(19)- Witzig, Richard. The Global Art of Soccer, CusiBoy Publishing, 2006

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Should We Be Concerned When Using Electronic Payment Systems?

The world now operates largely through the World Wide Web. New internet based companies are springing up all the time to offer consumers products for less and without the hassle of having to pop down to the shops to pick the item up.

All of these websites need to have some form of electronic payment system to allow the customers to securely pay their money to the company in question and possibly the biggest single issue with shopping on the internet is the threat of your bank details being hacked by some online virus or tracker.

Obviously there will always be people that will attempt to hack peoples bank details, just like there will always be people who attempt to rob banks or perform muggings. But thankfully there are a number of individuals that have the task of constantly coming up with new ways to make the electronic payment systems more secure.

There have been several variations of the online electronic payment system, but the standard version that most people use today is PayPal. This service works as a go between for the client and the company selling products. The money is transferred securely to PayPal who then hold the money before passing it on to the company. Because of this there is no exchanging of bank details between the two individuals. All the bank details are stored on PayPal’s secure servers.

Other variations of the electronic payment system involve using a series of security number and passwords. For instance VISA’s latest version of their online electronic payment system includes using the three digit security code from the back of the card and also uses a specified password that the owner sets to verify that the card hasn’t been stolen.

Obviously you will never really eliminate all card crime, because as quickly as these companies can manufacturer new methods of keeping us all safe, someone is coming up with a way to crack the code and give the advantage back to the thieves.

If you really want to make sure that you stay safe when ordering your products online, then there are a number of rules that you should follow. Firstly, online shop on sites that you know are genuine and you trust, secondly ensure that you machine is updated with the latest security patches from your software manufacturer, and thirdly ensure when purchasing that the web address starts with https. As long as you follow these steps you should have a happy and safe online purchasing experience.

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A Guide to Fair Trade, Organic Chocolate Companies

Knowing Fair Trade and Certified Organic chocolate companies

Today, there are more fair trade chocolate companies and brands specializing in organic chocolate ingredients than ever. Whether you’re looking for chocolate gifts for a special occasion or a quick snack for the road, your eco-shopping trip will be much less hassle today that it would have been even five years ago.

So breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you no longer have to struggle over where to buy earth friendly chocolate products. We’ve collected a long list of the highest quality, most ethically-sound, and most popular chocolate companies and organic chocolate brands. Give them a gander, share them with your friends, and above all, celebrate your choice to live a greener, more socially-aware life!

Alter Eco

Using only Certified Organic and Certified Fair Trade chocolate, as well as fair trade, organic sugar, nuts, raisins, and coffee beans, Alter Eco’s chocolates are also free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, chemical additives, and emulsifiers.

Dagoba Organic

Dagoba Organic Chocolate’s belief in chocolate as a sacred food (dagoba means temple in Sanskrit) is made from organic cocoa beans from a variety of countries, including Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Peru.

Divine Chocolate

Organized by farmers, the Divine Chocolate company works with small cocoa producers primarily in West Africa, to stimulate ethical trade practices. The company invests in building schools, sinking wells, providing mobile clinics, and fostering women’s income generation projects.

Endangered Species

Endangered Species Chocolate stresses principles such as reverence for life and ethical trade. Their wrappers increase awareness of species that are currently threatened or endangered. Ten percent of all net profits are given to support species, habitat, and humanity.

Equal Exchange

Working with three different farmer cooperatives in the Dominican Republic, Equal Exchange organic chocolate products are both organic and fair trade. The company also produces teas, snacks, and coffee.

Green & Black’s

Merging the «green» of organic chocolate production principles with the «black» of a decadent life, Green & Black’s is both delicious and sustainable. They choose only organic and fairly traded chocolate ingredients.

Grenada Chocolate Company

For Granada Chocolate Company, it’s not enough to purchase Certified Organic cocoa beans-they must grow the beans themselves. Working with organic farmers’ cooperatives, they grow the beans and then use solar-powered machines to make the chocolate.

Ithaca Fine Chocolates

At Ithaca Fine Chocolates, the aim is to produce exquisite chocolate (using Swiss chocolatier methods) that’s also Fair Trade Certified. They also only purchase USDA Certified Organic ingredients. Their wrappers, art cards, and display boxes are made from recycled paper as well.

Newman’s Own Organics

A company founded by Paul Newman, Newman’s Own Organics carries Signature Series Chocolate which is USDA Certified Organic and made from ingredients grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

Seeds of Change

Working to keep organic, open-pollinated seeds available for farmers and gardeners worldwide, Seeds of Change also produces some organic food and has recently developed a line of chocolate made from organically-grown cocoa, fruits, nuts, and spices from around the world.

Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates

Based in California, Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates are Certified Organic by the Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) organization.

Terra Nostra Organic

A Vancouver, Canada company, Terra Nostra Organic Chocolate is Certified Organic and known for its magnificent taste and luxuriant finish. The company is also a founding member of Equitable Trade which strives to encourage ethically traded and organic chocolate farming methods for their suppliers.

Vintage Plantations

With the Rainforest Alliance stamp of approval, Vintage Plantations chocolate is made from Ecuadorian cocoa so you know that it’s both eco-friendly and ethically traded.

Knowing where to buy fair trade chocolate

Now that you know what fair trade chocolate brands and organic chocolate companies to look for, you may also need some help knowing where to buy organic and fair trade chocolates (some artisans and producers don’t sell their wares online). To help you out, here are some tools to help you know where to buy eco-friendly and ethical chocolates:

  • Global Exchange carries a wide range of Fair Trade Certified products, including chocolate, coffee, tea, crafts, clothing, jewelry, and more.
  • TransFair USA maintains a list of national cafes, restaurants, and retailers carrying their Fair Trade Certified food products.
  • The Chocolate Room carries some fair trade and organic chocolate bars.
  • You can find Vintage Plantations fair trade chocolates at World Wide Chocolate online.

Choose Earth Friendly Chocolate for Gift Giving

Holidays throughout the year are popular occasions for buying chocolate as gifts. But this year, as you shop the isles or search online, keep earth friendly chocolate gifts in mind, especially when you come to the events here:


Treat your sweetheart to a box of chocolates that are Certified Organic or that have the Fair Trade Certification seal.


Stock up with Hanukkah Gelt that’s Certified Organic and look for advent calendars and stocking stuffers for Christmas that are Fair Trade Certified.

Mother’s Day

Surprise your Mom with a bouquet of chocolates that are healthier for her and that ensured women around the world were treated with dignity and respect. Fair Trade is the only way to go for this occasion.

Father’s Day

If your Father has a sweet tooth, give him a real treat by purchasing organic chocolates that were produced using cocoa beans raised on farms that are pesticide and fertilizer-free. These will hit the spot without hurting the farmers.


Don’t let the Easter bunny bring your children chocolates that were made using child slave labor! Choose Fair Trade Certified chocolates instead.


Send trick-or-treaters home with sweets that won’t create health problems for them later. Organic chocolates that are toxin-free are a great alternative to conventional treats.


If it’s your time to plan a spectacular day to celebrate your love, do so with favors that are ethical to add a green, socially-conscious flare to your day. Look for the fair trade and organic seals for your cake, too!

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A Biography – Christina Aguilera

When discussing about Christina Aguilera’s biography, we should start describing from her first television appearance on the Star Search when she was 9. Later on she starred in a Disney’s Channel series named «Mickey Mouse Club» for two years before proceeded to record the hit song «All I Wanna Do» with a Japan pop singer Keizo Nakanishi.

In 1998, Aguilera was signed to RCA Records after she recorded «Reflection», the soundtrack for «Mulan». A year later, she published her self-titled album with three singles, «Genie in a Bottle», «Come on Over Baby» and «What a Girl Wants» appearing as number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

She won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1999 and the release of «Mi Reflejo», a Latin pop album made her gained more popularity. Then she separated herself from her management and focused on her second album, «Stripped». The release of this album in 2002 with the second single «Beautiful» was a total success. However the album triggered some controversies over her sexually charged image.

Aguilera released her third studio album, «Back to Basics» in 2006, appearing in a more subdued image. This album was comprised of jazz, soul and blues music between the 1920s and 1940s. Most Christina Aguilera’s Biography stated about the swirling of rumors about her pregnancy. The news was revealed by Paris Hilton in September 2007 by congratulating her to be the most beautiful pregnant woman. Despite Paris Hilton exposing her so-called secret, Christina remained silent about her pregnancy. She later confirmed the news in November that she and her husband, Jordan Bratman were going to have their first child. Her son came to birth on 12th January 2008.

Aguilera is now one of the most successful recording artists with more than 43 million copies of records being sold worldwide. However, apart from being so successful in her music career, she has also dedicated her time to being a philanthropist involving human rights, charities and world issues. Her fourth studio album is expected to be released in June 2010.

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The Voice Behind the Music

Music is popularly termed as «The Universal Language» which is not limited by any borders or boundaries. It is invented in various forms and played with various instruments like Guitar, Piano, Violin, Drums, Sitar, Tabla, Chello, Etc. And there are various types of music created using these instruments like, Pop, Rock, Metal, Jazz, Trance, Classical, Folk, Western, etc.

Music is used for various purposes in the Entertainment Industry, like Songs in a Movie, Background Scores in a Movie, Individual Artiste Albums, etc. Besides being a mode of entertainment, music is also used for various other purposes like, Meditation, Healing, Relaxing, etc.

Every form of music has its experts and the people who master their art of music have become Legends in their Respective Fields. These Experts and Legends became what they are because they had the Dedication and Determination to Excel in their respective field of music. To name a few, Antonio Vivaldi was one of the Biggest Names in the Field of Violin Music, in-fact he was the first to hold a series of Violin Concerts across different places with the preview of promoting the art.

Elvis Presley, the Undisputed King of Rock and Roll, he was a person who changed the music preferences of people with his Music and performances. He rose from humble circumstances to bring about a Revolution with his Charismatic Voice and Stage Presence. In the words of a Historical Marker, that stands outside the house where he was born, «Presley’s Career as a Singer and Entertainer Redefined Popular Music».

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made the Sufi Music known to the world. He was Known as the Elvis of The East. He was one of the first artist’s who gave a background score in a Hollywood movie and also did a lot of Fusion work artist’s from western music world.

No Legends named above are with us anymore. Yet, they are a part of our lives through the music made by them and through the Music which they passed on to their students, who are carrying their legacy ahead, besides being Legends in their fields, they were also Great Music Teachers, who passed on their art to the students who they felt had a passion for learning. Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is one of the living Examples of the same, who is successfully taking The Sufi Music ahead, from where his Teacher and Uncle, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan had left it.

The Beautiful Music that a musician makes is a result of the knowledge that he/she was imparted with from his/her Music Teacher. The Music Teacher is addressed by various names across the globe such as, «The Guru», «Ustad», etc, but the fact remains, irrespective however they are addressed, they are «THE VOICE BEHIND THE MUSIC» which eventually creates the impact that it does on the world.

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Raise Your Testosterone Levels With These Superfoods

Primarily considered a male hormone, testosterone is actually common to both male and female. 

However, testosterone is the principal male hormone, which not only affects your libido and penile erection frequency but also your whole body.  This hormone gives men larger hearts, lungs and other organs, builds muscle mass and controls stomach fat, while regulating mood, aggression and mental focus.  Therefore, steady and adequate levels of this hormone are essential for your overall well being.

Since testosterone levels start to drop in mid-to-late 20s, at a yearly rate of 0.3%, a man can experience a significant decline in his testosterone levels by age 40.  By age 50, most men will have substantially lower levels causing a series of sexual difficulties. 

Therefore, it is imperative that men do everything they can to build and sustain balanced levels of this hormone.  And you can raise your testosterone with these superfoods.

Essential Protein

Protein plays a key role in keeping production of the male hormone, testosterone, at optimal levels.  However, it is important to stick to leaner cuts of meat and low fat sources of protein since too much saturated fats can induce estrogen, which has a negative effect on your sexual activity because it essentially ‘softens’ testosterone.

Include these sources of high quality protein in your diet:

  • lean cuts of red meat and skinless poultry (forget the lamb chops and Buffalo chicken wings)
  • fish such as salmon, tuna, grouper and orange roughy (grilled or baked, not deep fried)
  • beans, including baked beans, lima beans, garbanzo and kidney beans (all pack an additional punch of zinc and fibre)
  • whole eggs ( I know they contain cholesterol but it is the ‘good’ kind -HDL),
  • cottage cheese (1-2% fat content is preferred) with a serving of fresh fruit, &
  • natural crunchy peanut butter

Just a further note about cholesterol:

Since testosterone is actually synthesized from cholesterol, a dietary supply is necessary, and whole eggs supply it in a ‘good’ form with low caloric effect.  Including vitamin C from fresh fruits and veggies on a daily basis will keep the ‘bad’ form of cholesterol LDL in check.  But if you have a severe case of cholesterol woes, best confirm with your healthcare provider to be safe.

Fats Needed for Hormone Production

A combination of fats are absolutely necessary for great testosterone production.  Omega-3s (EFAS) and monounsaturated fats (MUFAS) should be the prime fats in your diet along with a moderate amount of saturated fats (SFAS). 

Foods supplying EFAS:

  • salmon (wild-harvested only), albacore tuna, and sardines
  • vocados (the Aztecs called them ‘ahuacatl’ meaning «testicle», perhaps because of their shape and that they grow on the tree in pairs)
  • nuts and seeds, including walnuts, brazil and almonds, pumpkin and flaxseeds, &
  • oils such as flax seed, canola and wheatgerm oils

Foods supplying MUFAS:

  • olives,
  • oils, including extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed and flaxseed,
  • avocados (definitely a double plus for this fruit),
  • nuts and seeds, especially peanuts and almonds (including ‘butter’ form) &
  • chocolate (dark only, at least 70% cocoa content – yes it is good for you and full of antioxidants)

Finally, cruciferous vegetables

These veggies are a ‘must’ have in your regular diet since they contain IC3s (indole-3-carbinol), which essentially controls estrogen levels, and as previously mentioned estrogen in effect ‘softens’ your testosterone!

To supply IC3s, Include these foods 3-4 times a week:

  • cabbage, raw or cooked (including Chinese and Napa cabbages)
  • bok choy
  • brussel sprouts (2 servings of these can greatly effect your testosterone levels)
  • broccoli, again raw or cooked, &
  • kale
  • radish, horseradish, daikon and wasabi are also included in this group (great if you like roast beef or sushi)

Most of the basic food groups are covered in the above lists and can be balanced with an intake of moderate low-glycemic carbs including fruits, veggies and wholegrain breads, pastas and cereals. 

If your hormone levels are currently low, raise your testosterone with these superfoods and you will see a marked difference over the next few weeks and months.

Start eating these superfoods while your testosterone levels are optimal and your hormone supplies will remain robust for many years, prolonging your sexual activities and health.

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From Finning to Shark Fin Soup

For centuries, and even in several countries nowadays, sharks are considered as useless fish so shark finning was or still is not considered to be a big issue for them. The truth of the matter is that such cruelty is responsible for endangering species, being a good example of animal cruelty and affects the natural equilibrium of the ecological system. And these are only some of the problems related to sharks.

Did you know that while about 56 people’s lives are taken during shark attacks on a yearly basis, during the same period; 100 million sharks are killed in the name of shark fin soup? While the tragedies endured by families and the horror of the shark attack on the victim are horrible and you pray that nobody ever go through such a horrific ordeal, humans tend to forget the cruelty they force on these predators themselves. In fact, while most shark attacks are due to confusion with preys such as seals, the finning and fishing of sharks are far from being caused by confusion. In fact, they hunt them on purpose.

What is shark finning? Well, to be honest, if it involved using the whole carcass of a shark by simply cutting it out so most body parts could be commercially used, that would be one thing but the matter of a fact, it is much worst. You see, while finning techniques vary according to the regulations imposed by various countries. While Australia, United States of America, New Zealand and Mexico are banning shark finning, most other countries permitted either by imposing a series of regulations or not regulating it at all in which case the fate of the poor animal is worst then sudden death.

In countries such as in Indonesia, no regulations affect shark finning and fishing, which will allow fishermen to use a wasteful practice of shark finning by allowing them to catch a shark, fin it while it is still alive than throw its finless body overboard, sometimes even tying a heavy load of coral to ensure that it will sink not to be seen. Then, the poor animal tries to swim in vain, eventually drowning, bleed to death or being attacked by other predators. In either case, sudden death would have been a blessing to them compared to that unspeakable suffering and dragging waiting period that has no hope to offer the poor victim.

In other countries such as South Africa, shark fins must be attached to the carcasses. In Brazil, shark fins and carcasses may be landed separately but the shark fins may not exceed 5% of the whole body weight.

Another problem of shark finning is that it is not selective, which is responsible for endangering shark species such as the great white and is gradually affecting the main species targeted for finning, which are: the longfin mako, the shortfin mako, the porbeagle, the dusky, the silky and the blue sharks.

While DNA samples can be used to identify most species victim of finning, even if they were directly taken from the bowl of a shark fin soup, this process is very expensive and seldom practiced as a result of this factor.

Several countries will ask brides and grooms not to serve shark fin soup at their wedding and will even provide their guests with written facts on finning to explain the absence of this culinary delicacy on their menu. The same is done for business dinners as serving shark fin soup is a sign of affluence and sophistication. It is comparable to the use of caviar by their Western neighbors.

Why was shark finning used in several Eastern Asian countries? Well, the major cause of its use then and nowadays is mainly: profit. You see, each pound of shark meat can earn from pennies to a few dollars to fishermen, while shark fins can be worth as much as $200 a pound. And for restaurants serving this culinary delicacy, which is not only available at wedding and important business dinners but also to the public, their patrons will pay as much as $100 a bowl. Now you do the math!

Now that cartilage is also in demand, not only for shark fin soup but also for cartilage pills which supposedly has the power of healing cancer, which has not been proven yet, you understand that the demand for shark finning is rising even more.

Let’s help protect shark species and their future as it becomes more precarious everyday. After all, by finning sharks, their future is affected in another way. You see, sharks have a low reproductive level. If you take the sandbar sharks, they do not become mature before 13 years old and they deliver a litter of 10 pups every year. The sand tigers will reach their maturity at 12 years old and produce a litter of twins only every other year. And dusky sharks reach their maturity between 20 and 25 years old and produce small litters every 3 years.

As you can see, these poor animals cannot meet both the demand of shark fins and the survival of their specie.

This is why I think people must help sharks by protecting them and banning shark finning much like Mexico and New Zealand did recently. Let’s say no to finning by refusing to eat shark fin soup, traditions or no traditions, their survival is at stake and with that, the balance of their ecological system.

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What Is Electronic Conveyancing and What Are Its Benefits?

Real estate transactions often involve a large volume of paperwork. Contracts alone can already have hundreds of pages and each contract needs to be provided in two copies. This often results in a high cost of printing, scanning, filing and archiving of documents.

Fortunately, paperwork today can be avoided by homebuyers and investors through electronic conveyancing. Thanks to digital technology, it’s now possible to complete certain real estate documents with less paper.

Electronic conveyancing refers to real estate conveyancing done through an electronic platform specifically provided by the Property Exchange Australia Limited (PEXA). In this type of transaction, the parties involved (homebuyers and investors or their representatives, practitioners or conveyancers and financiers) transact in an electronic workspace.

It should be noted, however, that electronic conveyancing only covers the preparation and execution of settlement and registration of property documents and not the entire conveyancing process.

Processes Involved

A very important part of electronic conveyancing is the client authorisation. A client needs to issue a written authorisation first to allow a practitioner or conveyancer to use the electronic platform. A prescribed form is available for this purpose.

Through this client authorisation document, the client allows his conveyancer to sign documents on his or her behalf. Other tasks the client can authorise are the lodgment of documents covering the transfer for registration, the financial settlement of the conveyance and other tasks needed to complete the transaction.

A client’s signature, on the other hand, is done digitally through the use of a digital certificate. This certificate will have to be secured by a legal practitioner who should be appointed first by a subscriber administrator before he or she can sign electronic documents on behalf of his client.

Effective December last year, clients who opt for electronic conveyancing will no longer sign the Land Titles Office forms. The forms will instead be signed by the client’s conveyancer for faster processing of documents. The only document that a client will need to provide for the transaction is the client authorisation.

This move by the National Electronic Conveyancing Office to develop a national online conveyancing system is considered very important in Australia. This is because almost all Australians engage in property transactions, both residential and commercial, at some point in their lives. With the national electronic conveyancing system (NECS) in place, conveyancers, legal practitioners, financial institutions, mortgage processors and other players involved in the process of conveyancing will have access to the NECS online with an electronic workspace provided for each property transaction.

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