Monday, December 12, 2011

Help for Tennis Elbow

With the weather turning colder, some people have been saying that their tennis elbow is acting up.  Some players look into tennis rackets (weight and vibration damping) as well as string tension (lower tension, perhaps by 2-3 pounds, and as much as 5 lbs).  Here's some information:

Technique First, Gear Second  If the way you’re hitting the ball is the cause of your arm problem, no amount of equipment changes will save you.   

Make the Sweet Spot Bigger  Bigger sweet spot = hitting more balls in the sweet spot = less vibration. Try using a lower string tension. A 2 – 3 pound reduction in tension noticeably enlarges the sweet spot. If you’re looking at making a racquet switch, remember that racquets with a larger head size will have a larger sweet spot too. Consider moving up a size. 

In addition, there are several products that people say have been helpful.  One product is very useful for strengthening the arm and forearm:

Some people like this type of product because it gives relief from tennis elbow pain:

Read more here:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Humor and Parenting

Line of the day (from a parent on motivating children to take ownership and be responsible / proactive):

"Do you think Christopher Columbus' parents nagged him to discover America?"  

from the TV Show "The Middle."

On parenting: it's always good to keep your sense of humor!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kindle Fire - #2 to the IPAD

We love the Kindle Fire -- and so do a lot of others.  According to a Bloomberg article (see below), the 7-inch tablet (smaller than the Apple I-Pad) is taking over the #2 spot in the tablet wars.  Amazon actually loses a bit on each Kindle Fire sold, but expects to make up for that with increased sales/revenues. Inc. (AMZN)’s share of the tablet computer market will surge to 14 percent this quarter as consumer demand catapults the Kindle Fire to the No. 2 spot after Apple Inc.’s iPad, according to research firm IHS Inc. (IHS)
Amazon will probably ship 3.9 million units of the Fire in the final three months of the year, IHS said today in a report. After hitting store shelves on Nov. 14, the Kindle Fire has surpassed more established products from Samsung Electronics (005930) Co. and Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) in vying with the iPad, which will ship an estimated 18.6 million units, IHS said.

Read more here:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Parenting: The Trouble with Bright Kids

Here's an excerpt from a good article at Business Week (bolding below by

It’s not easy to live up to your fullest potential. There are so many obstacles that can get in the way: bosses that don’t appreciate what you have to offer, tedious projects that take up too much of your time, economies where job opportunities are scarce, the difficulty of juggling career, family, and personal goals.
But smart, talented people rarely realize that one of the toughest hurdles they’ll have to overcome lies within.
When I was a graduate student at Columbia, my mentor Carol Dweck and another student, Claudia Mueller, conducted a study looking at the effects of different kinds of praise on fifth-graders. Every student got a relatively easy first set of problems to solve and were praised for their performance. Half of them were given praise that emphasized their high ability (“You did really well. You must be really smart!”). The other half were praised instead for their strong effort (“You did really well. You must have worked really hard!”).
Next, each student was given a very difficult set of problems — so difficult, in fact, that few students got even one answer correct. All were told that this time they had “done a lot worse.” Finally, each student was given a third set of easy problems — as easy as the first set had been — in order to see how having a failure experience would affect their performance.
Dweck and Mueller found that children who were praised for their “smartness” did roughly 25% worse on the final set of problems compared to the first. They were more likely to blame their poor performance on the difficult problems to a lack of ability, and consequently they enjoyed working on the problems less and gave up on them sooner.
Children praised for the effort, on the other hand, performed roughly 25% better on the final set of problems compared to the first. They blamed their difficulty on not having tried hard enough, persisted longer on the final set of problems, and enjoyed the experience more.

Read more here:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Violin Shoulder Rests

Here is a look at the most popular shoulder rests for string instruments:

The KUN is one of the most popular; and good quality.

The Bonmusica is more expensive but some people like the fact that you can bend the shoulder rest a bit.

Everest is less expensive, and is a best-seller at Amazon:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Humor: Check this video out...

"The best medicine is laughter..."  It's always good to have a sense of humor!

Check this out...  

Tom Mabe: Eavesdropping
Tags: Tom Mabe: Eavesdropping, CMT

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Traditions and Origins

Think about the traditions associated with Halloween -- trick or treating, dressing in costume, bobbing for apples ...
Have you ever wondered where did that come from?
Wonder no more. Here's the history on some of Halloween's customs:
* Centuries ago, Halloween was a two-day celebration. Ancient Celtics marked Oct. 31 as Samhain (sow-win), signaling the end of harvest time, and then the start of a new year on Nov. 1.
* At night, people put food on the doorstep outside to appease evil spirits who might otherwise play a trick on them or try to come inside.
* Because it was believed that ghosts came back to earth on Halloween, people would wear masks and costumes when they left their homes so the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.
* Once upon a time "witch" meant "wise one." People thought that witches told fortunes and flew out of chimneys on broomsticks.
* Ancient Romans bobbed for apples, believing that the first person to catch an apple with his or her teeth would be the first to marry in the new year.
* In the Middle Ages people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats.
* In ancient Ireland, people carved faces in turnips and potatoes and beets -- not pumpkins.
* People used to carve turnips into lanterns to remember the souls held in purgatory.
* In the early 1800s, American carved pumpkins to celebrate the harvest. It was not until decades later that pumpkin carving became part of Halloween festivities.
* Trick or treating dates back to the Middle Ages, when rich people gave poor people "soul cakes" (baked goods) if they promised to pray for the giver's dead family members.
* The origin of jack-o-lanterns is linked to Irish folklore in which a notorious drunkard and trickster named Jack tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree trunk, trapping the devil in the tree. They made a deal: Jack would let him down if the devil promised to never tempt him again. When Jack died he was denied entrance into heaven because of his evil ways, and the devil denied him entrance to hell because of the trick he played, forcing him to forever roam in the frigid darkness. According to the folk tale, the devil gave Jack a single ember to light his way, and the ember was placed in a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

Read more:

Friday, October 21, 2011

TV Ratings: What's Hot & What's Not?

Some shows have already been cancelled.  Here's a look at the top 25 shows for the week ending October 16, 2011.  This includes ratings for the all-important 18-49 age range.

Good info from: 

RankShowsR=Repeat S=Special P=PremiereNet18-49 Rating18-49 Viewers (000)
1NBC Sunday Night FootballNBC6.68,379
2Two and a Half MenCBS5.97,537
3Modern FamilyABC5.97,481
5OT, THEFOX5.06,423
6Big Bang Theory, THECBS4.65,890
72 Broke GirlsCBS4.35,514
9How I Met Your MotherCBS4.05,071
10MIKE & MollyCBS3.95,006
12Criminal MindsCBS3.84,828
13Big Bang Theory, THE:SP(S)SRCBS3.74,779
15Last Man StandingPABC3.64,607
17X-FACTOR-SUN SP-10/16(S)SFOX3.44,306
22Happy EndingsABC3.24,050
24Dancing with the StarsABC3.03,825
25MIDDLE, THEABC2.93,652