To do tonight: Watch ‘America’s Got Talent’

On TV: ‘America’s Got Talent’ on NBC at 8 p.m. EDT/ 7 p.m. CDT

A new episode of “America’s Got Talent” airs tonight, with Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan serving as judges while Nick Cannon hosts. Watch as the best of America’s best compete for a grand prize of $1 million.

Fun website: Mombo,

Twitter is full of 140-character movie reviews, but it can be tedious to wade through all the movie mentions. This site analyzes all tweets about popular movies and provides users with a rating based on the crowd’s opinion.

Dinner idea: Greek Potato Salad

  • 1 1⁄2 pounds round red potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 1⁄2 cup red onion rings
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1⁄4 cup Greek yogurt, plain, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 large Kalamata olives, seeded
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 sliced radishes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill

Slice boiled potatoes, and chill one hour. Combine with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least three hours. Excellent with grilled seafood. Serves 4-6.

— GateHouse News Service

Novak Djokovic is the dominant force in men’s tennis

Novak Djokovic proved he is the dominant force in men’s tennis by outplaying defending champion Rafa Nadal to win Wimbledon for the first time with an emphatic 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 victory in the final on Sunday.

The Serbian second seed was already assured of leap-frogging Nadal at the top of the world rankings and he continued his spectacular year by claiming the trophy he has always dreamed of lifting above his head.

Top seed Nadal had not lost at the grasscourt grand slam since the 2007 final against Roger Federer, a 20-match streak, but could not live with Djokovic in the grand finale to the 125th Wimbledon championships.

It was not the classic final widely expected but that was largely to do with the staggering quality of Djokovic’s play as he claimed his third grand slam title.

Despite winning 47 of his 48 matches this year and beating Nadal in four consecutive finals, the 24-year-old started as the underdog having never got the better of the Spaniard in a grand slam match.

Despite a lapse in the third set he was always in control, clinching victory on his first match point when Nadal fired a backhand over the baseline to spark emotional scenes in the players’ box where his father Srdjan and mother Dijana hugged and danced.

After consoling a crestfallen Nadal at the net, Djokovic bent down, yanked a tuft of grass from the famous court and put it in his mouth.

He then threw three rackets into the crowd before closing his eyes to absorb the enormity of his achievement in breaking the Roger Federer/Nadal domination of the tournament stretching back to 2003.

“This is the best day of my life, this is the tournament I always dreamed of winning,” Djokovic said following the presentation ceremony. “When you are playing the best player in the world, Rafa Nadal, I had to play at the top of my game and I think I played my best match on grass.”


Nadal began the match as he finished against British hope Andy Murray in the semi-finals, scorching two forehands past Djokovic to threaten an immediate break of serve.

Djokovic, though, took a deep breath and repelled Nadal’s early attack before the match settled into a ryhthm with neither player showing any weakness on serve until the 10th game.

At 30-30 Nadal hooked a forehand into the net and followed that with another loose stroke into the tramlines as Djokovic seized the opening set from out of the blue.

With his confidence soaring Djokovic pounced early in the second to gain a break. Showing the kind of court coverage that has become such a big part of his armoury this year he reached a Nadal drop shot and flicked the ball behind the net-rushing Spaniard, greeting the winner with a Serbian roar.

Two pinpoint aces made it five games in a row and a stranglehold of the final that was rapidly slipping away from Nadal. In the sixth game Djokovic produced a stunning drop shot, then a topspin lob and a wrong-footing forehand to earn another break on the way to taking the set in 33 minutes.

Suddenly the crowd’s support swung to Nadal and the fighback they wanted began almost immediately when the Spaniard seized on a few Djokovic errors to race through the third set.

For a while it looked as though Nadal could become the first man to win the Wimbledon title from two sets behind since 1927 as the momentum changed.

But Djokovic was not about to choke.

Even when Nadal got a huge slice of luck to break back in the third game of the fourth set with a backhand that dribbled off the netcord and died on Djokovic’s side, the Serb remained steadfast, his self-belief unshaken.

Djokovic continued to match Nadal from the baseline and he broke the Spaniard’s serve again in the eighth game before clinching victory on his first match point.

Syria: Protesters Undeterred By Deadlock


9:03am UK, Monday July 04, 2011

Robert Nisbet, Sky News correspondent, in Aleppo

Sky News has got unprecedented access to Aleppo – and has seen support for the president, but also the lengths the regime goes to silence dissent.

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We thought we had evaded our government escort by boarding the train for Aleppo at 6.30am.

But as we settled into our seats for the five-hour trip, we saw the smiling face of our official shadow walk up the carriage towards us.

We had given little indication of our plans, but nothing much happens in this country without the regime knowing.

The handlers, part of the condition of our visas to enter the country, have been nothing but polite since we arrived in Damascus, but we both have jobs to do.

They are paid to present the Ba’ath party government in the best possible light while our task is to reflect the views of their critics as well. That’s not easy.

Support remains for Mr Assad in the troubled city of Aleppo

After a man approached us filming in a suburb of Damascus to accuse the regime of putting on a “play” for our cameras, he was arrested. It’s understandable that people are wary.

After arriving in Aleppo, we met a student activist who was helping to plan the following day’s “volcano” of protest.

Sami (not his real name) thought we would be safer in plain sight, so we sat in the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque, our small camera recording his voice.

“We cannot stand here doing nothing, seeing everything happen around us even though we are afraid,” he said.

‘Sami’ told Sky News the protests would continue

“We are really afraid and the government is just doing anything which might stop these things happening.”

I asked him about President Bashar al Assad’s promise to institute reforms and to start dialogue with opposition groups.

“Yes, but nothing is being applied on the land. He said that (there would be) no more killing and yet there is a lot of killing.”

Activists say at least 1,400 people have died in pro-democracy protests around the country.

The government disputes those figures, claiming soldiers were defending themselves from armed gangs and religious extremists, who want to depose the government and establish an Islamic state in Syria.

We need to make some reforms…but not change (Syria). Any country in the world, if you ask all citizens, they have concerns and they’re not quite happy.

Ali Moaaen, an architect in Aleppo

As were talking to Sami, a mosque official spotted us and asked whether we had permission to film. All three of us were escorted to the manager’s office.

Fortunately Sami’s explanation, that he was merely practising his English, was accepted. Without official papers allowing us to report, we left hastily.

The next day, Sami texted us to go to Bab al Hadid, near Aleppo’s famed Citadel, where he hinted something was happening.

It was where we captured the first verifiable footage of violence in the country since the unrest began.

Organisers had hoped three groups of protesters would gather in the north, the west and the east of the town, but the turnout was low.

Robert Nisbet is the only western journalist in Aleppo

Was it just fear of reprisals, or do the anti-government campaigners lack the support in affluent Aleppo they attract elsewhere?

I put that to several professionals in a nearby cafe. They believed they represented the silent majority: holding a deep respect for Mr Assad, but aware he must reform government and tackle the corruption which is endemic in Syria.

Ali Moaaen, an architect, told me: “We need to make some reforms…but not change (Syria). Any country in the world, if you ask all citizens, they have concerns and they’re not quite happy.

“The platonic city only exists in Greek mythology. It does not exist in reality.”

They all thought Syria was constantly under external pressure: from the US, Israel and the Gulf states – which was adding to the tension in a complex mix of competing religions and ethnicities.

Many in Aleppo appear to hold their president in high esteem

Change too fast, they argued, and you could face civil war.

Later we met Sami again in a park. He was clearly crestfallen that the protests had failed to gel – prevented, he said, by a massive and organised security operation.

Sami told us the electricity had been cut to the halls of residence at the city’s main university, preventing them from keeping in contact via electronic devices.

Since arriving in Syria we have witnessed impatience among activists, anxiety pervading the middle classes, and a heavy-handed government machinery trying to maintain control.

It’s a chaotic blend, but protesters such as Sami seem undeterred.

“I will keep pushing till I get my freedom, until I get the thing I want,” he said. “Not just for me but all the people around.”

:: Syrian tanks ‘at the gates’ of trouble town Hama.

:: Mass funerals follow anti-government protests.

Top 10 Most Expensive Pet Health Conditions


Posted on: Tuesday, 28 June 2011, 08:00 CDT

BREA, Calif., June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Few pet owners imagine they will ever have to spend more than $1,000 for treatment of a single pet health incident or condition. Unfortunately, data from Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, reveals that $1,000 veterinary bills may be more common than expected. In 2010, VPI policyholders submitted nearly 14,000 claims with an average treatment cost exceeding $1,000. VPI analyzed its database to find that the majority of its most expensive claims were the result of just 10 conditions. Following are the top 10 conditions–ranked by frequency–to cost pet owners more than $1,000 in 2010:

Condition Number of Claims Average Cost per Claim
Torn Knee Ligament/
1. Cartilage 6,831 $1,578
Intestinal -Foreign
2. Object 1,005 $1,967
3. Stomach – Foreign Object 954 $1,502
Intervertebral Disc
4. Disease 879 $3,282
5. Stomach Torsion/Bloat 372 $2,509
6. Broken Leg (Plate) 350 $1,586
7. Laryngeal Paralysis 126 $2,042
8. Tumor of the Throat 124 $1,677
Ear Canal Surgery
9. -Ablation 104 $1,285
— —————— — ——
10. Ruptured Bile Duct 102 $2,245
— —————— — ——

While surgical treatment for a torn knee ligament/cartilage occurred with the greatest frequency, the condition with the highest average cost per claim was intervertebral disc disease, for which pet owners paid an average of $3,282 in 2010. According to DVM Newsmagazine’s 2009 State of the Profession survey, veterinarians estimate the average dollar amount at which most clients would opt to stop treatment of a sick or injured animal at $1,451. Of the top 10 most common costly claims, only ear canal surgery falls beneath the average survey limit, thus illustrating the value of pet health insurance as a way to manage unexpected pet health expenses.

“Pet owners should be aware that these $1,000 accidents and illnesses can happen to just about any pet–indoor, outdoor, young or old,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Though the cost of care for these conditions may be high, the prognosis is usually positive, and many of the pets that are treated will recover.”

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the No. 1 veterinarian-recommended pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional CareGuard(®) coverage is available for routine care.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance

Source: PR Newswire

More News in this Category

Vatican to launch Internet news portal

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is taking a leap into the world of new media next week with the launch of a news information portal that Pope Benedict XVI himself may put online with a papal click.

Vatican officials said Saturday that Benedict has been following the development of the portal — — which will for the first time aggregate information from the Vatican’s various print, radio and television media in a one-stop-shop for Holy See news.

The portal is being launched Wednesday, the 60th anniversary of Benedict’s ordination as a priest. Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican office that developed the portal, said Benedict may put the site online himself with a click from the Apostolic Palace.

To do tonight: Watch ‘Titanic,’ make Red, White and Blue Smoothie


On TV: ‘Titanic’ on AMC at 8 p.m. EDT/ 7 p.m. CDT

James Cameron directed this box-office hit that won 11 Oscars. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, two star-crossed lovers who meet on a luxury liner are kept apart because of different social classes. But in the end, love conquers all. 

Twitter handle of the day: Jimmy Kimmel, @jimmykimmel

The host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” he has 545,186 followers. His profile says, “I ask strangers to answer personal questions on television.” A recent tweet reads, “This final Glenn Beck show is hilarious. His new venture is “Mercury One” –– and yes! They misspelled “Murcury”!

Dinner idea: Red, White and Blue smoothie

  • 1/2 large banana, cut into pieces and frozen
  • 2 large fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
  • 2 ice cubes

Place the banana pieces, strawberries, blueberries, milk, vanilla extract, yogurt and ice cubes in a blender. Blend until smooth.

GateHouse News Service

Remembering our Vets

Memorial Day
It’s Memorial Day and I’m remembering my Uncle Tom. He was a Marine and served in the Vietnam war and survived 3 tours of duty. He received the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, a Humanitarian Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation and Meritorious Mast.

He went on to server 26 years in the Corps and retired honorably. The retirement ceremony was very impressive.

For the next 20 years, he worked at several intelligence agencies including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. He was involved with all the intelligence gathering on Osama Bin Laden after September 11, 2001. He was not a happy man when President Bush decided to go to war with Iraq.

I remember asking him when he was planning on retiring. He said he wouldn’t retire until they catch Bin Laden.

My Uncle Tom did not get to enjoy the taking down of Bin Laden. Cancer got the best of him 2 years ago. I still think about him often…especially today.

Remember our hero veterans on this Memorial Day.

New Rock Music That Sounds Retro

New rock and roll music by Joey D - The Apple

There is a new rock and roll music CD available at that is very refreshing to listen to. The songs have interesting hooks and beautiful melodies. Lots of great sounding guitar work, too.

Remember the 60’s, 70’s and parts of the 80’s where songs sounded like that? Well, Joey D has captured the sound and feeling of this era in his new rock and roll CD called The Apple.

No over producing here. No auto tune. No monotonous drum beats. Just honest to goodness real instruments with real people playing them. How refreshing!

Most of the great rock and roll stars are getting old and not writing any new stuff. There are so many of us that are craving new rock and roll music that sounds like they were written in the rock and roll era. Well, here it is! Get The Apple and enjoy some great rock and roll in the tradition we all grew up with.