Sunday, December 30, 2007


New Year Resolutions
The custom of New Year resolutions originated with early Babylonians who took the beginning of a New Year as a resolve to return borrowed farm equipments and buy new ones for themselves. When the year starts, we are refreshed after long holidays and vacations and being energetic and rejuvenated, we feel ready to glide over all the stresses and work loads of the coming year easily and make big promises to ourselves.

We plan goals that we will try to achieve during the year whether it is to lose weight or quit smoking. New Year Resolutions are nothing but short-term annual goals that help us to improve and break out of bad habits. However, most people forget about it the very next day and get on with their jobs and lives as usual. Mark Twain had very aptly commented, 'Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.'

Here are some tips that you can keep in mind while making your list of New Year Resolutions 2008, so that you actually keep them:

Evaluate the price in terms of sacrifice, risk, time, efforts, money, perseverance and willpower that you will need to fulfill your New Year resolution and be ready to pay it.

Give yourself a prize or a gift whenever you complete a New Year Resolution so that you are encouraged to fulfill others too.

If you have not completed your last year's resolution, include it again in your list for 2008 and make sure that you keep it this time. Also examine the points that made you fail and try to overcome them.

Keep only one or few resolutions that you can actually follow. Too many resolutions will discourage you from approaching the list. So choose whether you want to learn dancing this year or learn paragliding.

Place reminders that keep popping up weekly or every third day throughout the year so that you do not chuck out your New year Resolution list once the euphoria celebration wears off.

These reminders can be kept in your daily diary, set online or be from your close friends. You can also keep resolution journals for the purpose that you go through regularly.

Remember New Year Resolutions do not include such things, as I will not call my ex-boyfriend for three days. The resolutions here are meant for the entire year.
Set only realistic goals. Some things may actually seem stylish and trendy but may not be your cup of tea. Opt them out already.

While you want to go for rock climbing like all your friends, you may not feel like it actually. Thus, cross out such resolutions beforehand.

Tell someone close about your resolutions so he or she can shake you up a little whenever you are losing your track.

God bless, and Have a Safe, Secure, Sexy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


B2K's Raz B Accuses Chris Stokes Of Molestation; Stokes RespondsPublished: Monday - December 24, 2007Words by Allen Starbury

B2K member Raz B and his brother Ricardo recently leaked some disturbing footage of them both on multiple calls with several people in which they accuse former B2K manager Chris Stokes of molesting him, his brother and possibly other members of the group when they were in their early teens.With the internet talking, Stokes has come forward, releasing a statement, denying the accusations in their entirety.

He claims that he had been supporting both Raz (real name: Demario Thorton) and his brother Ricardo Thorton, financially, for years, and when he stopped, they dropped this bogus story.

"The accusations that Demario 'Raz B' Thorton and Ricardo Thorton have made are vehemently false and hold no merit," Stokes said in a statement. "I have recently stopped financially supporting both individuals along with assisting them with their criminal and legal matters, which leads me to believe they are resentful and looking to benefit financially from this.

"My family is my first priority and the reason why I have been so supportive of them. In bringing these false claims, they have not only slandered me, they have also put me in a position to ensure that the truth is known and I will take all legal routes to protect myself, my family and my four children," he continued.

During the calls, Raz is heard saying that Stokes "touched" him when he was a child, then later Ricardo is on the phone with who they claim to be Stokes who says that he "just don't do that in my life no more."

Also during the call, Ricardo is heard mentioning a recent event, held by Stokes, where they were denied entrance. Stokes confirmed this, further explaining, this may have cause the public accusations brought on by the pair.

"It's also quite ironic that these statements were made only two weeks after they were denied admittance by a venue for an event I hosted in Beverly Hills," Stokes said.The Thorton brothers also say singer Marques Houston was also molested. At press time, Houston has not responded to the accusations.The videos referenced above can be viewed here and here.



Friday, December 14, 2007



MY FAVORITE SONG IS "FADE AWAY".. NE-YO WROTE THE SONG BASED ON A POEM MARY J BLIGE WROTE... WITH LINES LIKE "sometimes i wish i could just stand here and fade away, so nobody could see the tears running down my face..invisibility would be great." is so sad, so real and so GREAT!!!



No 'Pains,' No Gains: Mary J. Blige

"I'm probably in the best shape that I've ever been in in my life."

-- Mary J. Blige

(Excerpted and expanded from an article that ran in the December 8, 2007 issue of Billboard magazine. Subscribers can read the issue's content online via

Single copies of the issue can be ordered via

Bringing out a new Mary J. Blige album is a big challenge. That's because Blige, anointed "the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" in 1992, is on a 15-year multiplatinum run as one of the most electric performers in the urban world, with a wide-ranging crossover base that straddles the R&B, hip-hop, pop and even AC markets.

Her last two studio albums, 2003's "Love & Life" and 2005's "The Breakthrough," debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. Even last year's "Reflections—A Retrospective" opened in the top 10.

For "Growing Pains," due Dec. 18 via Geffen, it started in late September with the online release of the single "Just Fine." In October and November, Blige completed a whirlwind international promo tour to get audiences ready, and just before Thanksgiving, another new song began appearing in an Apple ad for iTunes and iPod.

The Bronx-born singer/songwriter's ninth album is already stirring things up with the uptempo "Just Fine." But as far as Blige is concerned, the music is the key component in maintaining that success. She says, "I started out with this concept of growing pains because that's how I was feeling during the [2007] Grammys: 'Am I good enough for this; do I really deserve all this in my life?' But something in my head said, 'Yes, you are. Now you're forced to rapidly grow up in this area in order to achieve and get the things you want.' "

Featuring collaborations with Ne-Yo (who wrote the track "Fade Away" from a poem by Blige), Timbaland, Akon, the Dream and Tricky Stewart (the team behind Rihanna's "Umbrella"), Bryan-Michael Cox and the Clutch, among others, "Growing Pains" finds Blige coming to terms with her success, particularly in the wake of the last album's three Grammy Award wins.

It's been a hard-fought battle, through well-chronicled personal travails in romance and substance addictions, and coming out victorious has been an adjustment. As she sings in "Just Fine": "No time for moping around, are you kidding?/No time for negative vibes, 'cause I'm winning."

This is just the work to get to that part—where nothing bothers you and nothing is stressing you out," says Blige, who also gets help from rapper Ludacris on "Grown Woman" and adopts her strident Brook-Lynn alter ego on the track "Nowhere Fast." "That's where I'm headed and that's where I am, but there's a whole other level of that that I have to get to. That might take a lifetime, but that's where I'm headed."

Collaborating with Stewart, the Dream and Jazze Pha on "Just Fine" helped set the tone. "When I heard the beat, I was like, 'OK, this is hot. This is making my body move, and I'm having fun,' " says Blige. "It sounded like something that needed to be more uplifting than, 'Woe is me' [laughs]. So I tried to make the song about how I appreciate the good days I do have and where I'm at right now, even though I still have challenges."

Geffen's GM Jeff Harleston says bringing out an album as anxiously awaited as "Growing Pains" can be just fine for the label, too—but this year it faces some unexpected obstacles in marketing the release.

Usually, Harleston says, the strategy for Blige revolves around a combination of strong radio and personal appearances performing on TV. But the writers' strike has put the talk and variety shows Blige would perform on in dry-dock, limiting those TV opportunities for her, although Harleston says Geffen still plans on an aggressive campaign once the strike is settled.

The label is exploring several other avenues. Radio remains a major component, with "Just Fine" already No. 36 on The Billboard Hot 100 after six weeks. The song's Chris Applebaum-directed video had the rare distinction of debuting simultaneously on BET, iTunes, MTV and VH1 Oct. 25. Blige performed Nov. 18 at the American Music Awards and Nov. 20 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, which Harleston describes as "a celebration of the completion of her album."

Some partnerships will also help Blige and Geffen launch "Growing Pains." The singer is continuing her relationship with Chevrolet that will include broadcast and Internet ads and at least one print campaign for the new version of the carmaker's Malibu—which incorporates a lyric from "Just Fine" ("I like what I see when I'm looking at me when I'm walking past the mirror").

Blige also plans to maintain her relationship with the NFL, which will place her music, and possibly the singer herself, into game broadcasts during December and January.

The Apple campaign, which features "Work That," should drive sales from the get-go. By comparison, digital downloads of Feist's "1, 2, 3, 4," which appeared in an early-fall iPod ad, soared from 6,800 to 128,000 in its first three weeks of exposure, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Blige will also embark on a short promotional tour starting the second week of December, visiting Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and possibly San Francisco. She'll visit radio stations and "try to have a special event," such as an appearance or performance, "in each of the markets," according to Harleston.

Blige's Web site has been redesigned to support "Growing Pains," and Geffen is lining up some online promotions, including programming with AOL and Yahoo that Harleston says will be "a little sexier than a standard 'Sessions' kind of performance . . . We'll make sure she's very present in the digital retail space." Geffen is also working on plans for "exclusive content for various retailers," both terrestrial and Internet-based.

There's also a "huge international component" in the "Growing Pains" marketing strategy, Harleston says. Blige went to Africa in mid-October for a series of dates, having gone to South Africa last year to help open the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls there and being "really taken by the experience." She also went to Europe and briefly returned to the United States before a two-week tour of Japan in early November.

In Europe, "The Breakthrough" went top 10 in Switzerland, while the single "Be Without You" achieved the same distinction in Switzerland and Holland.

"I'm probably in the best shape that I've ever been in in my life," says Blige, whose stamina will surely be tested in the run-up to the new album. "I'm really healthy. I make sure I'm not stressed out over a lot of things."

Blige is also expected to hit Europe in December, and Andrea Nelson Meigs, her talent agent at ICM, says she's looking to fit in feature film work in first-quarter 2008. Blige has appeared on such TV shows as "The Jamie Foxx Show," "Ghost Whisperer," "Entourage" and "America's Next Top Model," and she's long been linked to a Nina Simone biopic.

On top of all this, Blige is also operating her own label, Matriarch Records. R&B singer Dave Young—who co-wrote "No One Will Do," "Baggage" and "MJB Da MVP" on "The Breakthrough"—is slated to be the imprint's first release, though a date has not yet been set. "He's got a voice that's been missing in R&B," Blige says. "It's incredibly soulful: He's like our Donny [Hathaway] that we don't have, our Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Tyrone Davis."

More than anything, however, she's anxious to get her "Growing Pains" out to the public and continue what Blige says has been a career-long dialogue with her audience.

"My fans are like shrinks for me," Blige says. "Any time a person listens to you, they're helping you, and there's 5 million people out there listening to me. I'm like, 'Wow, thank y'all for listening.'"

Saturday, December 8, 2007



Friday, December 7, 2007


Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Law Of KARMA


The concept of Karma plays a very important role throughout Asia. Asian religions in general have established the famous universal moral code based upon this law, that good deeds produce good effects and bad deeds produce bad effects. However, it should be pointed out that Buddhism places additional qualifications on this code:

I. The Good or Bad Effect Is Neither Reward Nor Punishment
The so-called good effect or bad effect is not a judgement nor is it given as a reward or punishment by a supramundane authority such as God. The good or bad effect produced by good or bad Karma is purely and simply a natural phenomenon governed by natural laws that act automatically, with complete justice. If God has anything to do with it, then God must also act according to this natural law. This cause produces this effect. That cause produces that effect. God would not change this natural path because of his like or dislike of a particular person.

II. Good and Bad Are Not Defined By A Human Code of Law.
The good and bad referred to here are not defined by any code or law created by human being unless such a code or law follows the natural path. For example, when democracy was first established in the United States, women did not have the right to vote. At that time, women who complied with that status were considered good and those who fought against it were considered bad.
The judgement was incorrect, however. The natural path is that human beings are all equal, and thus the system which gives women equal voting rights with men is truly the just one. Therefore, those who opposed the unequal voting system were actually the good ones.

This law of Karma, or cause and effect, is so powerful that it governs everything in the universe except, according to Buddhism, the one who is Enlightened or who recognizes basic nature. Upon Enlightenment, the round of cause and effect loses its significance, just as Samsara, or the round of birth and death, ceases with Enlightenment.
Since basic nature transcends all duality and is ultimate, there is no one to receive the effect, whether it is good or bad, and no one to whom any effect can apply.

This unique explanation by Buddha of the nullification of the law of Karma is very important. I will discuss it below.
With this brief explanation of Karma as a background, let us now go a step further to see how Karma works.

In one of the Buddhist texts it is recorded that someone asked Buddha:
Why are some women ugly but rich?
Why are some women beautiful but poor?
Why are some people poor but with good health and a long life?
Why are some rich yet ill and short-lived?

The Buddha's answers were:
One who is ugly but rich was short-tempered in past lives easily irritated and angered but was also very generous and gave offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and made contributions to many sentient beings.

One who is beautiful but poor was, in past lives, very kind, always smiling and soft spoken, but was stingy and reluctant to make offerings or help other people.

The person who is poor but in good health and enjoying a long life was, in his or her past lives, very stingy or reluctant to make donations, but was kind to all sentient beings, did not harm or kill others, and also saved many sentient beings lives.

The person who is rich but often ill, or who is short-lived, was, in his or her past lives, very generous in helping others but loved hunting and killing and caused sentient beings to feel worried, insecure, and frightened.

The above examples give us some idea of why people on earth, although all human beings, vary so much in appearance, character, lifespan, health, mental ability and fate. It is even more interesting to note how much the circumstances in which a person is born can influence his or her destiny. Which race, which nation, which skin color, which era all these factors make a great difference.
Would it not be more logical to think that something was going on before one birth that caused all those effects than to say that it is purely accidental or even to say that it is God's will? If a baby has no past life, then on what grounds does God judge whether to reward or to punish that baby by causing him or her to be born under different circumstances? Intent, thought and action should always be taken into consideration. Remember:


"Karmic effect is the incomprehensible!" This statement of Buddha suggests not only the complexity of karmic effects but also the difficulty of predicting when a karmic effect will mature.

Generally speaking, however, Karma is like the action of lighting a candle. The candle will light the whole room immediately and will last until it is consumed. Similarly, Karma has the following characteristics:

Karma not only affects the doer but also affects others. The magnitude of the Karma determines the sphere of its effect.

Most Karma produces an immediate effect which will last until it is consumed. The nature and magnitude of a karmic action determine the duration of the effect, which may remain many years, or may not even be felt until some other karmic conditions mature.

Karmic effects can combine and accumulate.

These three points are rather condensed. I do not have time to give you a detailed description of them. The following examples however, might help you to understand these points a bit more:
The discovery of electricity by Benjamin Franklin and the conversion of electricity into light by
Thomas Edison changed the lives of human beings tremendously, and the effect is still growing.
An action taken by the U.S. Congress to change the tax law will immediately affect millions of American pockets. The effect can be seen by many Americans in their lifetime, and it will also be felt by future generations of Americans.

The combined and cumulative karma of the system of slavery used by many Americans over a long period of time has produced effects which constitute a major domestic problem in the U.S.
The theoretical discovery of atomic energy by Albert Einstein and the joint effort of all the participants in the Manhattan Project produced such complicated effects, good and bad, that we are probably just beginning to realize the significance of these developments.

III. A comparison can be made of the magnitude of effects of various kinds of Karma.
Such comparisons are recorded in many Buddhist scriptures. I would like to give you some examples to enable you to form your own ideas on how you may create karmic effects of greater magnitude.

One day, while walking on the street, Buddha met a beggar who was a so-called untouchable in the strict caste society of India during his time. Not only was Buddha friendly with him, but he accepted the beggar as a disciple in his order of the Sangha. This action had an effect which was infinitely greater than the acceptance of a prince as his disciple.

When the monk Bodhidharma went from India to China he was welcomed by the Emperor Liang. The emperor asked him, "What merit have I gained since I built so many temples, erected so many pagodas, made so many offerings to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and did numerous other virtuous deed?" Bodhidharma's reply greatly disappointed Emperor Liang. Bodhidharma said, "Your Majesty, there is none whatsoever. You have gained no merit. What you have done produces only worldly rewards, that is, good fortune, great power, or great wealth in your future lives, but you will still be wandering around in Samsara."

Buddha often emphasized that to study and explain to others even a few sentences of the teachings that show how to be rid of samsara creates infinitely greater merit than making tremendous offerings to as many Buddhas all over the universe as there are grains of sand in the great Ganges River.

Buddha also taught these principles:
One who makes numerous offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, helps sentient being, and does many good deeds, and yet dedicates all the merit accumulated thereby to one's own or one's relatives interest such as making more money or enjoying a longer or better present or future life produces limited effects.

One who does those same good deeds but dedicates all the merit to saving sentient beings from suffering in Samsara receives much greater merit than the one with selfish purposes.
Finally, one who does the same good deeds with no specific purpose or desire at all receives infinitely greater merit than the two cases mentioned above.

In a further elaboration to the above regarding the Buddha's words as well as the meeting between Bodhidharma and Emperor Liang, regardless of what action one takes in regards to deeds or any merits or non-merits that may or may not follow thereof, the following should underscore both:

Emperor Liang invited Bodhidharma to his capital in Nanjing. The emperor was very fond of Buddhism and often wore Buddhist garments and recited Buddhist prayers. He was, however, most proud of his unbending and unqualified support for Buddhism throughout his entire kingdom.

Proud of his knowledge and the contributions towards Buddhism, he asked Bodhidharma, "Since I came to the throne, I have built many temples, published numerous scriptures and supported countless monks and nuns. How great is the merit in all these?"

"No merit whatsoever" was his shocking reply.
Now, the emperor thought, he had often heard teachings from renowned masters who said, "Do good, and you will receive good; do bad and you will receive bad. The Law of Cause and Effect is unchangeable, effects follow causes as shadows follow figures." But now, this sage declared that he had earned no merit at all. Thus, the emperor was thoroughly perplexed.

The emperor had failed to understand Bodhidharma's words which means that one is not really practising the Buddhadharma if one does good with the desire to gain merit for oneself. It will be more like satisfying one's own ego, or promoting one's own welfare, or even for the sake of being recognized and appreciated by the public.

However, Karma operates more closely with the Buddhist view as formulated by the Buddha, acting more or less in feedback loops, with the present moment being shaped both by past and by present actions; present actions shape not only the future but also the present. This constant opening for present input into the causal process makes free will possible.

This freedom is symbolized in the imagery that Buddhists use to explain the process: flowing water:

Sometimes the flow from the past is so strong that little can be done except to stand fast, but there are also times when the flow can be diverted in almost any direction. (source)