Not the Smokey Eyes You're Looking For

I quit smoking when I found out I was going to be a dad. This was the catalyst that made me want to change my life for the better. After twenty years of trying different ways to quit, it was the thought of not being with her that helped me quit. I thought of my life, her life, without me in it. I want to be there for her every moment I can, for as long as I can. Roughly a month or so before I found out she was going to be in my life, I started working at an online contact lens retailer. It was here that I learned about contact lenses, the eye care industry, and overall eye health. I knew smoking was bad for my lungs, my heart, and my overall long-term well-being; and I guess it just never crossed my mind, but I also learned just how bad smoking was for my eyes. Not only do I want to be alive with my daughter in the long term, I also want to be able to see her grow and become the amazing woman I know she will be.

Working in the contact lens industry I've read a lot of horror stories about people who don't follow proper contact lens care directions and end up with gruesome results. Your eyes are the only organs that get their oxygen from their surroundings rather than from your body. When you smoke you pollute your environment and cause your eyes problems from the lack of oxygen. Every smoker has felt the sting of smoke in their eyes. When you wear contacts it compounds the inflammation, soreness, dry eyes and irritability. Plus when you smoke it not only leaves tar and nicotine on your fingers, but also on your contact lenses themselves causing a litany of issues which I will lay out below.

The CDC estimates the United States alone has roughly 480,000 deaths a year attributed to smoking. That's half a million people that die each year from a preventable habit! The health risks associated with smoking are well known and numerous: Lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, a reduction in my overall life expectancy are just several of the dozens of concerns detrimental to my long term liveliness. This number does not take into account those people who are still alive and suffering from the adverse effects of smoking. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking another 30 live with a serious smoking related illness.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) starts as a loss of central vision and makes it harder to read or see fine details in things. Smoking increases the severity and triples the risk of this disease, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. There are two types of AMD, "dry" and "wet", with dry being the most common. Dry AMD causes fatty deposits to form in the back of the eye behind your retina, with vision getting worse slowly over time. Wet AMD causes tiny blood vessels to leak or break open, which in turn causes scar tissue to develop. Wet AMD is less common, but more quickly to produce harmful vision results.

Glaucoma is the gradual breakdown of the optic nerve cells that sends visual information to your brain. As the cells die, your vision slowly begins to deteriorate, usually starting with your peripheral vision. This is often not noticeable until a significant amount of nerve damage has occurred. Due to this, almost half the people who have glaucoma may not be aware they have it. There are two types of Glaucoma: Primary open-angle Glaucoma and acute angle closure Glaucoma. The former is the most common type, which by the time you are aware of it, can have already caused significant vision loss. The latter form of Glaucoma is less common, but can come on more rapidly due to increased pressure on the inside of the eye. Symptoms can include: eye pain, nausea, red eye, seeing colored rings around lights and blurry vision. Smoking can significantly increase the risk of developing open-angle Glaucoma, which can lead to blindness. Unfortunately, presently there is no cure for this horrible disease.

Smoking thins your blood, not allowing enough oxygen to flow to the parts of your body that need to breath; like your eyes. Smoking enhances your risks for developing diabetes and the potentially blinding complications that come with it; one of them being Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy causes tiny blood vessels in your eye to become blocked, leak or break down completely. When new blood vessels begin to grow they can cover your retina, which can cause extreme vision complications and even blindness. There are four stages of Diabetic Retinopathy: mild, moderate, severe non-proliferative Retinopathy and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy; the last of which leads to permanent vision loss. People with all types of Diabetes are at risk for this additional complication. Roughly 40-45% of people with Diabetes have some stage of Diabetic Retinopathy, yet only half are even aware of it.

When you smoke it leaves a sticky brownish black residue on your fingers which you can wash off; imagine the gunk it is leaving on your eyes, this cannot be rinsed away. This gunk over time accelerates the erosion of the lens in your eye, which can lead to Cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and smoking doubles your chances of getting them. Cataracts are a build-up of protein in the lens of the eye which causes cloudy or blurry vision. Generally cataracts take years to develop and can be undetectable in the early stages of growth. This is why cataracts for the most part start being noticeable in people age forty and older, although you can develop them when you are young or even be born with them. Symptoms may include double vision, cloudy, blurry vision, faded colors or a stark glare around light sources. Cataracts are estimated to affect roughly twenty million plus people in the United States over the age of forty; with this number set to double in the next twenty years. Strangely enough, out of this number, 61% of those affected by Cataracts are women. Cataracts can be classified by their location in the eye and length of time they have been present. There are a few types of cataracts: Subcapsular Cataracts develop in the back of the lens, Nuclear Cataracts develop in the center of the eye, and Cortical Cataracts form along the edges of the lens and point inward. The only solution to cure Cataracts is through surgery. This is an expensive and uncomfortable in and out procedure. Luckily for the majority of patients, the Cataracts don't return after they're removed. Only in about 10% of patients does a film begin to develop over the lens again. Beyond smoking and aging other causes of Cataracts can include: Excessive alcohol consumption, overt exposure to the sun and other UV rays, Diabetes, certain medications and injury to the eye itself.

Smoking ruins lives. Not only does it affect you, but the lives of those around you and the lives of those you love. I love my daughter more than I've ever loved anything else in my life. I want to live for her as long as I can, see her grow and see her experience life. I can't do that if smoking takes away my vision or worse yet my life. Whether it's your eyes, your lungs, your heart or any other part of your body; smoking is just not worth it.

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Using Spinnerbaits – The Best Versatile Bait Ever Created

Using spinnerbaits in your arsenal will put more fish in your boat and a fantastic all-season lure. The first patented spinnerbait was in 1950 and one year later fishermen started using spinnerbaits that had a weed guard added to make it weedless, little did they know at that time that they had the best versatile bait ever created. Shad are the primary source of readily available food for crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, stripper and walleye. This is why using spinnerbaits are a primary go to bait. A survey was conducted on tournament fishermen and pro’s to what type of bait did they use as their primary bait, the number one answer was that 80% were using spinnerbaits, 12% said they favored the jig and pig, and 8% went for swim baits like rattletraps or billed type crank baits.

When shad’s seasonal pattern’s change you will know that crappie and bass are not far behind. In the fall to winter transition, baitfish will migrate to deeper waters to stay for the winter and the fish will follow and gorge themselves on the way to their wintertime haunts as the waters get colder, all fishes metabolism slows down to conserve energy. Spring time comes you will find that shad will start migrating from deeper water to making their way back to shallow creeks as the water warms up to feed on small crustaceans and plankton. You will know that your primary goal is to find the baitfish because crappie and bass are not far behind and that’s why using spinnerbaits are the ultimate weapon.

Now that you know that crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass feed on shad comes the task of what types of spinnerbaits do you need to have in your arsenal. When you are fishing for crappie, try using spinnerbaits with a small single blade. Add a small grub as a trailer on 8 to 10lb line, or find crappie spinners that look like baitfish with several different color choices, don’t be surprised when you are in the shallows in springtime and you are bass fishing off a moss bed and a large crappie slams your spinnerbait.

Crappie spawn at the same time bass do, they literally share the same shallow waters so you always want to match the colors of baitfish, always remember that fishing deeper waters in most cases baitfish are darker in color so a good choice would be to use more silver/black, or gold /silver type spinnerbaits. When you are following baitfish to warmer clearer water using spinnerbaits the ticket is white shad colors. Early morning or murky water or even cloudy days one of the most productive spinnerbaits to use is the chartreuse/white or fire tiger colored spinnerbaits.

When you start using spinnerbaits more often you will see how incredible these baits are to use in the right situation, you can burn them, slow roll, bounce them off the bottom, crash them into trees,  rip them out of moss or rock structures, also let’s not forget humps, points and creeks. Now, with literally thousands of colors, sizes, skirt sizes, blade choices such as Colorado (more vibration in murky water) or willow leaf blades (speed and flash in clearer water) and there are hundreds of choices you can make that can be changed out right there on the lake. In most cases stick to the basic shad colors and keep it simple, you will catch more fish using spinnerbaits.

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Replica Football Shirts – A Potted History

A replica football shirt is defined as an (official) copy of a kit. In the UK it is a huge business. According to a BBC report from August 1999 about price fixing in the replica shirt market, it was then worth £210m – I’ve not found anything more recent apart from a report by a German company Sport+Markt (www.sportundmarkt.de) which found that at Summer 2008, the top 116 teams in Europe earned 615m euro from marketing. Quite what ‘marketing’ includes alongside replica shirts isn’t stated (I only looked at the free summary of the report), however it’s interesting to note that the report also states that English fans spend the most (an average of 65 euro each per annum) and that Nike and Adidas account for 80% of the total number of replica football shirts manufactured. The recent take-overs by Adidas of Reebok and then by Nike of Umbro should further serve to underline just what a huge market it is.

Of course it wasn’t ever so. In the good old days any old red shirt could indicate that you were a Liverpool or a United fan. A dark blue would indicate either Everton or Chelsea. There were only certain teams which deviated – Arsenal had those white sleeves and Blackburn Rovers played in their blue and white halved shirts. But then things began to change. At Coventry City, Jimmy Hill realised the kit was something more than just a uniform to wear on the pitch and he introduced the first ever kit of just one colour (other than white) as they changed from their hitherto mostly dark blue shirts with white shorts to a kit of all sky-blue. Bill Shankly only adopted all red for his Liverpool side in 1966-66 – 3 years after Coventry’s all sky-blue affair.

Moving into the 1970’s Leeds United, who’d changed from their traditional colours of blue and gold to all white in the early 1960’s, were the first club to offer their fans the chance to buy replica kits in 1975 as part of their deal with kit supplier Admiral. When Don Revie left Leeds to take over as England Manager the national team entered into a similar arrangement with Admiral. Things really took off when Liverpool became the first club to wear a sponsor’s name on their shirts following their 1979 deal with Japanese electronics manufacturer Hitachi. Here’s a list of prominent English clubs and their first identifiable kit manufacturer and sponsor:

Arsenal

Umbro (1978/79)

1981/82 (JVC)

England

Admiral (1974/75)

n/a

Leeds

Umbro (Aug – Dec 1973) then Admiral

1981/82 (RFW)

Liverpool

Umbro (1973/74)

1979/80 (Hitachi)

Man Utd

Umbro from 1955

1982/83 (Sharp)

Newcastle Utd

Bukta (1974/75)

1980/81 (Scottish & Newcastle)

The purchase of a replica football shirt nowadays represents no small investment for the average fan. Of that 65 euros spent on average by an English football fan on merchandising, a fair chunk is devoted to that all important replica shirt. Whether there’s a better way of supporting your team of course is a moot point – in fact it always (well since 1975) has been.

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An Insight Into Bundesliga

Bundesliga refers to a professional and top-tier football league in Germany. The league is also claimed to enjoy the highest number of stadium attendees throughout the globe. Bundesliga is also considered the primary football competition in Germany and participated by 18 clubs. The league is based on promotion and relegation, which further hinges on performance of a side in question. The competition commences in August and ends in May. Most of the games are played on the weekends i.e. Saturdays and Sundays whereas a few matches are held on the weekdays.

All of the participants in Bundesliga earn qualification for DFB-Pokal. The Bundesliga champion qualifies for DFL-Supercup.

Bayern Munich have been the most successful side in Bundesliga, claiming the titles 23 times till date. They are the defending champions during the current 2014-15 season and have also clung to the leading spot on the league table so far this campaign. Other clubs that have won the Bundesliga titles include Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfB Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV.

Bundesliga is one of the most competitive and popular national leagues in the world and rank third in Europe as per the league coefficient of UEFA. The league matches are broadcasted in more than 200 nations.

History of Bundesliga

Bundesliga was established in Dortmund in the year of 1962 and its first season began in 1963. Both organization and structure of Bundesliga as well as other football leagues in the country have undergone frequent and massive changes to become what they are right now. Deutscher Fußball-Bund first founded Bundesliga but now it is regulated by Deutsche Fußball Liga.

Structure & Competition

Structure of Budesliga resembles to the same of other major leagues like English Premier League and La Liga or Spain Premier League. Every team takes on each of other sides once at their home ground and once in an away match. Previously, the winning side of a match was awarded two points and a draw earned each of both sides one point whereas the loser gained nothing. However, according to changes of rules and regulations during 1995-96 season, the winning side gets three points (max points).

The club, which collects maximum points at the end of the ongoing season, is crowned with the Bundesliga title. The first three clubs on the Bundesliga table directly qualify for the Champions League group phase whereas the fourth-spotted side enters into the third-qualifying round of the same competition. The two teams at the root of the league table are relegated into the 2nd division whereas the two leading sides of 2nd Bundesliga get promotion. A two-leg play-off match is played between the third-last team and the 3rd spotted side of the 2nd Bundesliga.

The winner plays in the Bundesliga for the next season while the loser plies their trade in the 2nd division.

The method of tie-breakers plays a role if more than one team has collection of same points. The method is in line with the following order:

  • Goal difference in the season
  • Total goals netted by a team in question for the season
  • Head-to-Head goals in outings
  • Number of head-to-head scores

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EPL 2011-12: Manchester City Vs Arsenal Match Time

Table toppers Manchester City take on Arsenal in match week 16 of the Premier League when the teams clash on Sunday, December 18, 2011.

Man City suffered their first loss of the league season when they went down 2-1 away at Chelsea, in match week 15. Lampard became an instant hero for the home side when he came off the bench to score the match winner seven minutes before time. The sides were locked at 1-1 after Balotelli’s early lead for City was neutralised shortly before the interval on the back of Raul Meireles’ strike. City began explosively with waves of attack in the first half hour to exploit Chelsea’s porous defence. It culminated in Balotelli’s goal, when Aguero cut in from the right to relay the ball past Terry to Aguero who in turn passed it to Balotelli to do the rest. At the end of the day, City would have rued their many missed scoring opportunities in the first half when the home side’s defence was all at sea, trying to cope with the marauding City attack.

In match week 15, Arsenal registered a 1-0 victory over Everton, in a match hosted by Gunners at the Emirates. Robin Van Persie – who else – scored the only goal of the game to give Arsenal something to celebrate their 125th anniversary by. Van Persie’s spectacular volley on 71 minutes brought relief to home fans who were frustrated by the home side’s many missed chances.

Head to head, in the last 10 years, Man City and Arsenal have met in 20 league games, with Arsenal winning on 14 occasions and City on 3, with the remaining games ending in stalemates. The last time these teams met was in January 2011; that match played at the Emirates ended in a goalless stalemate.

Man City have won 8, and drawn and lost 1 each of their last 10 league matches, while Arsenal have identically won 8 and drawn and lost 1 each of their last 10 games.

Currently at the top of the table, City have hosted 7 home games, this season, winning all 7; the Gunners who are 5th placed on the league table have had 3 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses, in their 7 away games.

With Chelsea causing City’s title bid a mild jolt in match week 15, the Manchester squad will have a point or more to prove against the Gunners whose ramshackle defence could be put to its stiffest test yet.

Man City’s starting eleven against Chelsea: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, Vincent Kompany, Gael Clichy, James Milner, Gnegneri Toure Yaya, Gareth Barry, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli.

Arsenal’s starting eleven against Everton: Wojciech Szczesny, Johan Djourou, Per Metresacker, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Alex Song, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Yao Gervinho, Robin Van Persie.

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