Mardi Gras

Although your first thoughts when you hear “Mardi Gras” may be parades, beads, parties, and elaborate masks, there is much more to this Christian holiday than meets the eye. In fact, its origins can be traced all the way back to medieval Europe, though it didn’t arrive in the US until 1699, when two French explorers hosted a small celebration after landing around 60 miles from present-day New Orleans, near Mobile, AL. The explorers named the area Point du Mardi Gras in honor of the holiday that had been celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages. This same day happened to be Fat Tuesday in their homeland.

The History and Meaning of Mardi Gras

Within a few years of the initial celebration, French travelers started to make their way specifically to this area to celebrate Fat Tuesday. So, what’s so important about Fat Tuesday? Always celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is the final day before Lent, a six-week period that leads up to Easter. Lent is meant to be a period of reflection and a time for Christians to duplicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and descent into the desert, while carrying the Cross.

Lasting for 40 days, observers of Lent practice fasting and abstinence by giving up certain luxuries. In the 1700s and 1800s, this primarily consisted of eliminating meat and other foods from animals, such as cheese, eggs, and milk from their diet. However, all of these foods had to be used up before Lent, so they would not go to waste. To do this, observers would eat elaborate meals on Fat Tuesday. The following morning their fast would begin.

In the next century Spain would take control of the area and ban the holiday marked by good food, masked balls, and street parties. It would be banned until 1812 when the state of Louisiana was formed and Fat Tuesday was once again celebrated. By 1827, parades of people dancing in colorful costumes had been introduced to emulate a similar tradition in Paris. In 1837, the first official Mardi Gras parade was held. Obviously, this continues today.

Where is Mardi Gras Celebrated?

Today, Mardi Gras is celebrated all over the world, from New Orleans to Venice, Italy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Binche, Belgium. All four of these cities are known for hosting jubilant celebrations to mark the day. You’ll also see Mardi Gras celebrated in Spain, France, Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, Canada, and Mexico, among others. It is particularly popular in areas with a high population of Anglican and Catholic followers.

What are your Mardi Gras plans?

Easter Sunday History

When is Easter?

This year, Easter Sunday is on April 21, 2019. Since there is no fixed date for this holiday, it always occurs on a different date each year. The celebration of Easter is actually based upon the lunar calendar, therefore Easter Sunday always falls on the Sunday following the full moon. This generally occurs on or after March 21st, which is commonly known as the Spring Equinox. That being said, Easter Sunday always falls anywhere from March 22nd to April 25th.

The History of Easter

Easter (aka Resurrection Sunday as well as Pascha) is an annual holiday that celebrates Our Lord Jesus resurrection from the dead. It has been chronicled in the New Testament as occurring on the third day following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary and his subsequent burial.

How Easter Sunday is Celebrated

Easter is celebrated as the culmination of the Passion of Jesus. It is preceded by Lent, which is a forty-day period that includes prayer, penance, and fasting. It usually includes going to church, followed by family gatherings. Many families have a traditional Easter turkey or Easter ham to celebrate the occasion along with an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Some Unique Easter Traditions Around the World

  • Greece: Easter eggs are painted red.
  • Australia: They have an “Easter Bilby” to bring awareness to the nearly extinct little critter.
  • Switzerland: The Swiss decorate fountains and wells before Easter.
  • Brazil: They make straw Judas dolls and beat them up in the streets.
  • Scotland: The Scots roll brightly-decorated eggs down steep hills.
  • Germany: They celebrate by decorating the trees with hand-painted Easter eggs.

Where the Easter Bunny Came From

Some sources say that the Easter Bunny came to America for the first time in the 1700s and was introduced by German immigrants settling in Pennsylvania, bringing with them the tradition. Their folklore involved an egg-laying rabbit called “Oschter Haws” or “Osterhase”. The children there made little nests for the rabbit to lay colored eggs. Scientists, in fact, have put the Easter Bunny’s age at 400 to 500 years old, which means that he was born between 1515 and 1615. The Easter Bunny is considered to be comforting, courteous, sympathetic, loyal, benevolent, compassionate, and always honorable.

What and When is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is an annual celebration that occurs on the Sunday prior to Easter Sunday. It’s a Christian feast commemorating Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem. It’s also commemorated in all four of the canonical Gospels. In Episcopal and Catholic denominations, as well as several others including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, there is a worship service on Palm Sunday complete with a procession of faithful followers who carry palm leaves. They represent the palm branches that the crowd in Jerusalem was scattering in front of Christ as he was riding into the city.

What and When is Good Friday?

This is a Christian holiday (also known as Great Friday or Holy Friday) that commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. This holiday is observed with prayer, fasting, almsgiving, worship services, and vigil services on the Friday before Easter Sunday and is part of the Paschal Triduum during Holy Week. Some years, it actually coincides with the Jewish Passover.

Understanding the National Debt

The national debt is the debt that is carried by the federal government, usually measured using treasury securities. This debt, however, fluctuates from time to time as it’s affected by the payment of taxes which reduces the debt while financing a deficient budget ends up increasing the debt. There hence is need to regulate the amount so as not to go beyond a certain point as to cripple the economy, the United States debt ceiling, for instance, creates a limit upon which the national treasury ought not to incur further debt. The debt may also be held by the public, or in other government accounts.

Factors affecting the national debt

To adequately measure the national debt, it’s expressed as a ratio of the gross domestic product. Nonetheless, different political regimes usually have a different impact on the debt more so resulting from the strategies that the government seeks to establish or establishes at their helm of power. Take, for instance, an increase in military spending and a reduction in tax rates. This will increase debt, first since most of the money is being spent without expecting a flow of money says through taxes that would rescue the national debt. Hence different strategies have a significant impact on the national debt. Therefore, there’s need to evaluate them appropriately before taking up the strategies or voting to power a political regime.

Over the years a great fluctuation has been experienced in national debt, which lowers or increases the debt. However, with the debt ceiling, a limit has been put in place to minimize expenditure once the limit is reached which is strategically a great regulative measure. Nonetheless, there is further need to reduce the debt such that given a chance the country could operate at zero national debt. Which strategy should be best adapted to facilitate this?

Crystals: A Beginners Guide

For centuries, crystals have been believed to have healing properties. From releasing spiritual, mental, and physical blocks to ensuring users’ health and safety, gems, such as clear quartz, amethyst, and turquoise, still remain an alternative medicine technique that some people swear by. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know to gain a better understanding of these healing stones, including a brief look at their history and the beliefs associated with specific gems.

The History of Crystals

There is evidence that using crystals for their healing powers dates back to at least ancient Mesopotamia, when the ancient Egyptians are believed to have adorned themselves with crystals to get rid of negative energy, fight off illness, and bring wearers certain gifts from the Gods. In addition to using them during life, crystals were often buried with the dead, guiding them safely to the afterlife.

Over time, the use of crystals spread all over the world, becoming particularly popular among the ancient Chinese, Japanese, and Greeks, as well as those practicing Hinduism. Today, crystal healing spas can be found throughout the world.

How do Crystals Get their Powers?

According to tradition, the act of holding crystals or putting them on your body allows their natural vibration to interact with your own body’s chakra, or energy fields. By doing this, the crystals are able to absorb, diffuse, direct, and focus energy within your body, enabling it to find its own natural rhythm. In changing your chakra, negativity is cleared out of the body, allowing it to function at its optimal capacity and benefit for a restored balance.

Popular Healing Crystals and their Properties

It’s been reported a stone’s vibrant color is linked to its specific healing properties. Some of the most popular crystals used today include:
  • Amethyst: Known for its gorgeous purple hue, amethyst is believed to help purify the mind, uplift your mood, and strengthen your spiritual connections.
  • Rose Pink: This pale pink hue is thought to help attract and secure unconditional love.
  • Citrine: Citrine’s deep shade of golden yellow is said to be linked to luck, positivity, and success.
  • Clear quartz: Thanks to its clear coloring, quartz is ideal for cleansing negative energy and helping to calm the mind.
  • Ruby and Garnet: Easily recognized by their fiery shades of red, both ruby and garnet are associated with sudden boosts of energy.
  • Copper: Reddish-brown in hue, copper has the ability to soothe and energize by getting rid of negative energy that is dragging you down.
  • Jade and emerald: Mesmerizing shades of green, jade and emerald are believed to help your body regain its overall balance by redirecting and harmonizing your energy flows.
  • Sapphire: A deep, intense, almost velvety blue, sapphire promotes communication and openness, making it perfect for helping you reveal your inner truths and ensuring the truth is revealed to you.
  • Indigo: A brilliant combination of blue and violet, indigo is known for its calming properties. It can help relax even the most chaotic and overstressed person.

Black History Month

This is an annual observance in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada that is celebrated in recognition of important events and people in the history of the African diaspora. It is also known as the African-American History Month. In February, it is celebrated in Canada and the United States while in the United Kingdom, it is celebrated in October.

When did it start?

The Black History Month was created in 1926. This was after Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History made an announcement that the second week of February would be a “Negro History Week”. They coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln that happens to be on 12th and Fredrick Douglass whose birthday happens on February 14th.

How Black History Month is celebrated

Since this is a celebration that goes for a whole month, there is a lot that goes on in the entire month. Here is how some people celebrate it:

The most famous type of food most people prepare to celebrate the month are sweet potato biscuits. They are regarded as traditional soul food treat. Some families also conduct a read-aloud speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other great African American leaders.

You can also view an interactive timeline chronicling historical events such as “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.” Seeing historical photos like James Karales’ photographs of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches will also complete your Black History Month. Other things people do include:

  • Examining oral histories
  • Sharing excerpts from Push, a novel by Sapphire, and clips from the film Precious
  • Watching student-made digital stories on important African Americans
  • Teaching the young the songs of the civil rights movement
  • Taking loved ones through artists’ interpretations of freedom and equality

Where to find info about Black History Month

There are several venues you can find all the information you need about Black History Month. Auburn Avenue is one of the places you can hangout to see the parade celebration. You can also be part of the celebration with television networks such as UMKC which celebrates Black History Month with a film series. You can get more information from the PBS Black Culture Connection which is a resource and guide to films, stories and voices across public television centered around Black history & culture.

Months that celebrate other cultures

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and Older Americans Month

This is a May observance that began in 1979 as Asian Heritage Week that was established by congressional proclamation. This month was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese immigrants to the US and the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)

This is an event that honors the culture, heritage and contributions of Hispanic Americans each year. It began in 1968 and is celebrated every September.

National American Indian Heritage Month

Celebrated in November, it celebrates an effort by many to gain a day of recognition for the great influence American Indians have had on the U.S. The celebration began in 1976.

Stocks and Bonds

What is a Stock Market?

A stock market refers to a collection of exchanges and markets where the trading and issuing of bonds, equities (of mainly publicly held companies) and other types of securities is done, either through the formal exchanges or the less popular over-the-counter markets. A stock market can also be referred to as an equity market.

To understand the Stock Market, think of yourself as a person who has an interest in a company and knows its line of business and the economic climate. So if you think you can make a profit from that company, you buy shares (or equities) using your funds and the company gives a percentage ownership that particular company.

The stock market is among the essential components of any free-market economy, since it provides firms with an easy access to capital, resulting in an exchange which gives investors a given slice of ownership.

Stock Market index

This refers to the measurement of a given section of the larger stock market. It is often computed a selected list of stock’s prices. A stock market index is an essential tool used by financial managers and investors to describe the performance of the market. There are two types of indexes. A national index is used to describe the stock market in a country as S&P 500 is for America and Nikkei 225 is for Japan. A regional index represents a geographical region much larger than a country as FTSE is for Europe.

The workings of a Stock Market

The stock market comprises of two main sections which work closely:
  • The primary market
  • Secondary market

The primary market offers a platform where new issues can be sold for the first time through the initial public offerings (IPO). Institutional investors often purchase a bulk of these shares from the investment banks; the total worth of the firm “going public” and the corresponding amount of shares that are being issued determine the eventual opening stock price of an IPO. All subsequent trading activities take place on a secondary market, in which participants include individual investors and institutions. A company tends to use the capital raised from the IPO to grow itself, but once the stock starts trading, the company does not get funds from the selling and buying of its shares.

Stock Trading

There are two types of frequently traded securities on the stock markets: over-the-counter (OTC) securities and the listed securities. Listed securities are stocks that are traded purely on exchanges. For this reason, these securities must meet the set reporting regulations and rules of the SEC in addition to the requirements of respective exchanges they are listed on.

You can trade Over-the-counter securities directly with the buyer or seller and the process is usually done on a dealer network, but they aren’t listed on any physical exchange, although those securities can be listed on the pink sheets (stock prices and bids list compiled by the quotation bureau). Since Pink sheet securities seldom meet the set requirements for being represented and listed on the exchange, they often come with a low float (money counted twice due to a delay), such as thinly traded stocks (assets that can’t easily be sold for cash without significant change in price) or closely held companies. Also, companies struggling with bankruptcy tend to be listed here, as well as penny stocks which are loosely referred to as those stocks that trade below US$5 a share.

OTC securities don’t need to adhere to SEC’s reporting requirements. For this reason, finding reliable information on these securities can be hard. The lack of proper information makes investing in the pink sheet securities to be similar to investing in the private companies. The total number of stocks that exchanges deals with in daily basis is called volume. The market makers are often required to sell or buy stocks that do not interest other investors.

How do you trade in stocks?

The first thing you are required to is to establish an account in which you will deposit cash or stocks. You do this through a brokerage company which will avail your account online with a broker behind it. Once the account is established, you will inform your broker (assigned by the brokerage firm) about the types of stocks bonds of your interest. Thereafter, your broker will be executing the trading on your behalf. You will return this favor by paying your broker a tiny commission per share.

You can opt to trade electronically. Regardless, you have two options on the table while buying and selling stock: making a market order or making a limit order. In the market order, you request the purchase of stock at the markets prevailing price. In the limit order, you request your broker to buy a given stock a given limited price. For instance, if you are interested buying a particular stock at US$60 but the stock is at US70, your broker will have to wait until the price dips to US$60.

True or False: Determining the Reliability of What You’re Reading

From Morgan Freeman, Jon Bon Jovi, and Eminem’s “deaths” to numerous reports that Barack Obama isn’t a US citizen, false stories constantly circulate on the internet, where they often spread like the wildfire that reportedly caused James Earl Ray’s 2015 death. So, can you really trust anything you read on the internet? Here are several ways to be certain that what you are reading is the truth.

1. Look at the source.

If you come across a story that you are unsure about, start with the source. If it is earth shattering news, chances are good that it is not going to be first reported by a source you have never heard of. While it isn’t always possible to tell by the URL whether or not a site is reputable, it is a good place to start. However, be aware that even reputable sites, such as Forbes, allow random people to post blog posts without checking the facts. If you are in doubt, head to a leading site with a good reputation, such as CNN or The Wall Street Journal and do your research.

2. Examine the headline closely.

When you encounter a headline that begins with “MIRACLE” or touts an answer for obesity, world peace, or any other miraculous event, approach it with skepticism. If the article isn’t an outright lie, then there is a good chance the title is highly misleading. Again, do your research (with a reputable site) before believing anything.

3. Do a fact check.

There are a number of sites that are dedicated to letting you know the truth. For example, Snopes has a database of current and past false stories, along with the actual facts of the story and a bibliography that cites reliable sources. If you don’t see the story you are looking for, but still are unsure about the truth behind it, you can submit it to the site for the moderators to research. For political stories, head to Politifact for a full breakdown of what is fact and what is fiction.

4. Perform a Google image search.

If you see a photo that is questionable, do a reverse Google image search. You’ll be able to see where this image has appeared on the internet in the past. FotoForensics is another good option for evaluating photos.

5. Don’t forget to check out videos.

If you see a video and question whether or not it is as current as the author suggests, YouTube DataViewer will tell you the truth, including when the video was first uploaded and whether or not several versions of the video are making the internet rounds.

Unfortunately, you can’t always count on a story to be true. Fortunately, you now have the tools to verify it for yourself.

History of Reggae

With a slow, relaxed tempo and a rhythmic beat, reggae music has a distinct sound that is easily recognized throughout the world.  Made popular by artists including Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and The Wailers, and Peter Tosh, reggae originated in Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1960s.  Over the years, it has had a significant influence on the world that is viewed as both negative and positive.

Reggae Gets Its Start:
Reggae’s beginnings can be traced back to traditional Caribbean and African music, as well as jazz and rhythm and blues.  It is also heavily based on ska, an early form of Jamaican music that included a four beat rhythm with a bass and electric guitar, drums, and a scraper, a corrugated stick rubbed by a plain stick.  The earliest recorded example of reggae, “Long Shot (Bus’ Me Bet)” by The Pioneers was completed in 1968.  Almost immediately, reggae began to dominate Jamaica’s music scene.  During the same year, reggae was introduced to the United States by Johnny Cash in his hit “Hold Me Tight”.  By the 1970’s, it was being played worldwide and was especially popular in Africa, Britain, and the United States.

During this time period, popular artists included  Don Drummond and The Skatalites, The Wailers (Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh), Millie Small, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Joe Perry.  In 1972, Jimmy Cliff, another reggae superstar starred in the movie The Harder They Come.  This film gained international fame, largely because of its soundtrack that celebrated the bold human spirit that refused to be suppressed.  As a result, this genre of music continued its worldwide gain in popularity well into the 1980’s and 1990’s.

The Message of Reggae:
Reggae has a longstanding tradition of incorporating social criticism into its lyrics.  In the beginning, lyrics often centered on the need for freedom from political oppression and a call for the world to come together for a new tomorrow despite our different beliefs.  It was not unusual for human rights, segregation, oppression, slavery, poverty, and a glimpse at the struggles experienced by the poor to be the focus of the lyrics.  Reggae music also focused on brotherhood, love, peace, unity, and religion.  Religious lyrics often pay tribute to Jah, the Rastafari God.

Reggae Music and Marijuana:
Although many socially conscious reggae artists have used their music as a way to spread powerful social messages, it is also greatly associated with marijuana and a Rastafarian lifestyle.  The pioneers of reggae, such as Marley, were primarily Rastafari.  Marijuana use is an essential feature of the Rastafari movement.  Therefore, marijuana is not actually a feature of reggae music itself, but a part of the lifestyle most reggae singers live.

According to Lutan Fyah, one of today’s top reggae artists, “It’s not the music that we should associate with weed, it’s the people who do the music. The music is pure and original. As a reggae artiste, I cannot say that weed is essential in what I’m doing. The originators, the ones who pioneered reggae music, those were the ones that used the herb to gain enlightenment and inspiration. That’s why the music was so powerful back then.”

While many of today’s most popular reggae musicians have attempted to disentangle reggae music from marijuana and the culture associated with it, they haven’t been successful.

Today, the Jamaican Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has declared the month of February to be Reggae Month.  In addition, the first week of the month is known as Bob Marley Week, a week long celebration that pays homage to the  great reggae artist.  Throughout the entire month numerous concerts and cultural events are scheduled all over the island.

If you are not familiar with reggae, it is time to get acquainted with this musical form of art.

History of Hip Hop Past Present and Future

“Rap is something you do, but hip hop is something you live.”

The History of Rap and Hip Hop Music:
It is believed that the hip hop movement was started in the early 1970’s by a Jamaican DJ living in the Bronx.  Named Kool DJ Herc, he originally recited rhymes (raps) over reggae music, but he quickly realized that this type of music did not appeal to the masses.  He, soon, adopted a style that involved him chanting (usually about something happening in his life) over the instrumental section of popular songs.  Using an audio mixer, he was able to play the same segment of a song repeatedly.

Before long, this style has spread throughout NYC and DJs began to incorporate rhymes, such as “Throw your hands in the air and raise ‘em like you just don’t care” into the rhymes, as well.  Considered to be a street art, it was especially popular among young African Americans.  Today, it is enjoyed by by all races, socioeconomic groups, and nationalities.

The Rules of Rap:
The only real rule of hip hop is to be original and rhyme to the beat of the music.  Rap was simply a way for people to express themselves without boundaries.  Rappers rap about everything from significant issues they are dealing with to something as simple as a girl they met and even worldwide issues including violence, politics, death, and prejudice.  In fact, rappers such as Lupe Fiasco and Common frequently use their lyrics as a way to push social changes.

Big Names in Hip Hop:
It would be virtually impossible to list every one of the big names in hip hop, so the following is just a small look at those who made this genre what it is today.

Within the world of hip hop, there are some top rappers whose names are instantly recognizable to those not familiar with this type of music, such as LL Cool J, Will Smith, Ice T, and Ice Cube.  Of course, this is most likely due to their TV and movie careers, while there are others, such as Tupac Shakur, Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., and T.I., who names are familiar due to the controversy that surrounds them.

However, there are plenty of rappers who have had a huge impact on rap music.  Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, a member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, who received credit for the terminology “hip hop”, although it is believed that Kool DJ Herc first used the term.  In addition, Run DMC, Dr. Dre, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, Snoop Dog, Eazy E, Big Pun, KRS1, Slick Rick, Lil Wayne, and Chuck D are just a few more memorable names in hip hop.  The list really is endless.

For the millions of people who love hip hop and rap music, it is simply an effective way of self expression set to a cool beat.  For those who don’t understand the world of hip hop and rap, it may be time to try something new.  You may just find that you actually like it and that it is nothing like what you thought it was.

Computer Music

“The history of the music industry is inevitably also the story of the development of technology. From the player piano to the vinyl disc, from reel-to-reel tape to the cassette, from the CD to the digital download, these formats and devices changed not only the way music was consumed, but the very way artists created it.”
-Edgar Bronfman, Jr., CEO Warner Music Group

From creating and recording, and even listening to music, the invention of the computer has drastically changed the world of music.  While there is no denying that there have been significant benefits related to the evolving technology, it has also created problems, primarily for those working within the industry.

Introducing the MIDI:
The introduction of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) in 1983 provided musicians with minimal musical notation experience with the ability to create elaborate arrangements.  The uniting of computers and synthesizers completely transformed the music industry.  Essentially, singers no longer needed a band or had to play live.  The MIDI gave artists access to a vast array of musical instruments, as well as the ability to sequence and playback.

A New Genre:
By the mid 1980’s an entirely new genre of music, techno or electronic dance music, had been created with the use of computers.  Known for a cutting edge sound and fast dance beats, it incorporated bits of reggae, soul, and hip hop to form a unique sound that quickly became a favorite in nightclubs all over the world.  Contrary to popular believe, techno music started in Detroit and not Europe.

The Difference Between What is Recorded and What You Hear:
Prior to the invention of computers, what a singer recorded was what you actually heard.  Today, there are numerous voice enhancement computer programs that are often used to make improvements.  For example, Auto-Tune was created to correct tone and pitch problems with a singer’s voice.  Unfortunately, it is now frequently overused in every genre, from rap and rock to country and hip hop, and is often used to completely change the singer’s voice.  Who can forget when one of Britney Spears’ unedited tracks was released?  Before Auto-Tune, it was horrific.  After Auto-Tune was used, you could at least listen to it.

Sound Quality:

Perhaps the biggest impact the computer has had on the music world involves sound quality.  The simple act of recording a song was a long and thankless process.  Plus, there was the issue of how it sounded when replayed. While there are plenty of people who will argue that vinyl music is more “real”, it is not unusual for the sound to be somewhat distorted.  For example, the sound waves could easily become jagged on a record player resulting in annoying cracks and pops.

There are people who argue that there is minimal sound difference between vinyl records and cassette tapes/ CDs.  However, it is hard to deny that today’s sound quality hasn’t been greatly enhanced over the years.  As the availability of Hi-Res Audio technology increases, sound quality will only get better.

The Computer Takes a Huge Chunk of the Music Industry’s Profit :
From 2000 to 2010, the total revenue generated from music sales and licensing fell from $14.6 billion to $6.3 billion, or almost 60 percent.  Why?  Piracy, made possible by computers, made it easy for people to access the music they wanted to hear without having to pay for it.  Now, artists simply cannot make the money off traditional music sales, or even downloads, that they did in the past.  Essentially, if an artist wants to make serious money, they have to head out on tour.

The invention of the computer changed every aspect of our lives, including the quality of the music we listen to and how we listen to it.


Fun Things To Do Indoors When It Is Cold Out

Everyone loves the feel of the summer months. The warm weather means lots of outdoor fun for people of all ages. Swimming, camping, biking, playing basketball, hiking, playing football, and going to camp, are just a few of the activities to participate in. The sky is definitely the limit on what you can do when the weather is just right. The same, however, can not be said during the winter months. The cold temperatures affect the amount of outdoor activities that can be done and the activities drastically change from those that can be done during the summer months. Some outdoor winter activities include:

– skiing

– sledding

– ice skating

– snowball fights

– snowboarding

– building a snowman

Not all regions will be lucky enough to see any snow but that does not mean that fun can not be had indoors. There are many fun indoor activities to participate in, without having to be out in the cold and they will help pass the time by. Some fun indoor winter activities include:

– playing cards or board games

– curling up with a good book

– watching a good movie

– listening to some music

– trying a new recipe

– playing a video game or online game

Fun can also be had by inviting family or friends over. Sometimes, just looking at old photos, old home movies, or just reminiscing about the past, can lead to hours of fun. Another thing to consider is that just because it is cold out, does not mean you can not go anywhere and have a good time. Indoor ice skating, indoor arcades, a nice restaurant, bowling, or going to a cabin, are all great ways to enjoy yourself, regardless of the weather.

No matter whether it is hot or cold out, there is always some form of fun to be had, even if it means making your own.