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             MY Content Zone

Articles on Artists, Interior Design, Luxury Watches

from Impressionists Series

 An Artist for All Seasons

Perhaps one of the most prolific and influential artists whose work epitomizes what “modern” art encompassed was Henri Matisse (1869-1964).  

In the 1890s he was influenced by the impressionist and post-impressionist painters Pisarro, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Paul Signac. But, by 1905, Matisse had found his characteristic style of painting in daring, bright colors executed in broad brush strokes. His work was acclaimed at that time as being part of a movement of artists, including Andre Derain and others, referred to as Les Fauves. 

One of the few artists of that period who acquired international recognition and financial success, Matisse moved to the south of France in 1917 where he essentially went his own way, resisting any label except “modern” until his death in 1964. 

Working in flat, brilliant colors and fluid lines, his subjects were mainly women, interiors, and still lives. His work was first shown in New York in 1913, and was included in what was considered to the best of ‘modern’ art throughout the next 40 years and more. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he worked on paintings, sculptures, lithographs, and etchings, as well as on murals, devising techniques using paper cutouts and stencils.



Where is the Omega Speedmaster, the First Watch Worn on the Moon?

The 40-year old mystery that every watch collector wants to solve

On March 28th at the Baselworld Trade Fair in Basel, Switzerland, Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, along with a few fellow “moonwalkers”, was presented with a Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Apollo 11 "40th Anniversary" Limited Edition by the watch’s makers.

July 21st of this year will mark the 40th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon’s surface and Omega was taking the opportunity to remind the world that their Speedmaster chronograph was the first watch in space and the first on the moon. The Omega Speedmaster was the only watch ever designated "Flight Qualified by NASA for all Manned Space Missions" and was consistently used during Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz, and Space Shuttle missions.

It was undoubtedly a poignant moment for Aldrin, but might have been even more so if he had brought with him the original Omega Speedmaster he wore strapped to the arm of his spacesuit on a Velcro band during that historic walk on the moon in 1969. Unfortunately, that was not possible as his moon walking Speedy went missing under mysterious circumstances back in 1971 during shipment to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Missing on Planet Earth

Regarding the fate of his Speedmaster, Aldrin related in his 1973 autobiography “Return From Space” that the watch had been in his possession following the 1969 moon landing as per the tradition at that time although it was technically NASA equipment. When the Smithsonian expressed an interest in exhibiting the watch along with several other objects he had taken on the moon mission he readily agreed and NASA hired special packers to ship them to the museum. The Omega Speedmaster and several other medals never arrived. An investigation was made but no clues as to its whereabouts ever turned up.

Which Speedmaster Was It?

There have been conflicting accounts of exactly what kind of Speedmaster chronograph was first on the moon, confused by publicity photos of astronauts wearing styles not in existence at the time of Apollo 11 and Omega’s sometimes misleading marketing rhetoric. There have also been numerous claims over the years by people certain they found the missing watch. So far none have been substantiated, but the search continues.

In early 2005, when directly questioned about the Speedmaster by someone who knew him well, Aldrin stated that as far as he could remember he wore the same Omega watch on the moon that he had worn on his previous space walk (Gemini 12, November 1966) and he was quite certain that NASA had not cleaned or upgraded the watch’s movement between that mission and the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. That would mean that the watch had a c.321 movement and was from among the Speedmasters purchased by NASA in 1966 or earlier. Omega added the word “Professional” to the name in 1965 and made the switch over to the c .861 movement only in 1969.

If we make a short visit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, we can by process of elimination and a little common sense come up with a pretty exact picture of the first Speedmaster worn on the first moon walk. Since all equipment used in the space programs was government property NASA assigned inventory numbers to the watches. The Speedmaster issued to Aldrin was #043.

It was the informal custom at the time to allow the astronauts to keep the watches assigned to them on “permanent loan from NASA”, but most of the Speedmasters were later displayed in museums around the US on “permanent loan from the astronauts”. The Speedmasters worn by the other two astronauts who participated in Apollo 11 are both on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, ID#046 that had been issued to Neil Armstrong and ID#073 issued to Michael Collins who joined the program later than Armstrong and Aldrin.

Since both of these Speedmasters have the word Professional on the face they must have been purchased after 1965 (when the word Professional was added). Since #043 and #046 were issued to Aldrin and Armstrong prior to Armstrong’s walk in space in December 1966, we can safely assume the Aldrin watch was a c.321 movement marked “Omega Speedmaster Professional” (purchased between 1965-1966 by NASA) worn on a Velcro band (see photo).

Neil Armstrong’s Speedmaster, Apollo 11, July 1969 (NASA ID#046)

On display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC

It was left inside the Lunar Landing Module as backup for a malfunctioning timing instrument so this watch didn’t actually go walking on the moon’s surface.

This Omega Speedmaster Chronograph was issued to astronaut Michael Collins for use during the Apollo 11 mission of July 1969 (NASA ID#073). Since Collins stayed in the space capsule during the mission this watch did not make it to the moon’s surface.

The Omega Speedmaster Professional became and remains an icon among watch collectors and enthusiasts as a symbol of excellence and reliability and as a reminder of mankind’s romance with space travel.

There’s even a good chance that somebody right now is actually wearing what was truly the first watch on the moon.

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Lichtenstein: From Cartoons to Oil Paintings to Photos to Canvas

Profile of Roy Lichtenstein, American Pop Artists, 1923-1997

Drowning Girl, by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963

(New York Museum of Modern Art)

His best-known works are close (but, significantly, never exact) copies of comic book panels, complete with speech balloons and captions. His themes were, in fact, sophisticated treatments of stereotypes and popular icons of modern life and their exaggerated influence on society. He later created ironic parodies of painting styles such as Pointillism, Cubism, and Surrealism.

He painted in oil and acrylics and was one of the first artists to use Magna paints (the first artist acrylic paints introduced commercially in the Sixties). He rarely gave credit to the cartoonist who created the comic book images, and claimed that his paintings were “critically transformed” with changes in scale, color, treatment, and in their implications.

His work features the thick outlines and bold colors typical of illustrated comics, but where he departed, artistically speaking, was in how he created his colors by hand painting enlarged and exaggerated dots in a parody of the cheaply printed pulp comic books of 1950s and 1960s.

Comic books and newspapers were at that time printed using a four-color Ben-Day dots process (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to inexpensively create shading and secondary colors such as green, purple, orange and flesh tones. The pre-printed dots were applied to the drawings and then photographically reproduced for letterpress printing. Lichtenstein’s irony lay in hand painting sometimes very large dots which when viewed from a distance gave the same effect that Pointillist artists had achieved in the 1880s. 

Art Lies in the Transformation of a Photo to Canvas

With Lichtenstein’s distinctive technique, there is also an unavoidable comparison to the pixels of modern digital photography. By combining processes it is now easy to take a simple digital photograph and transform it into a “Lichtenstein style” digital image which can then be enlarged as a photo to canvas print.

The Lichtenstein style is immediately recognizable, so if you upload a portrait of someone you care about to Paint Your Life’s Your Photos on Canvas online gallery website, you can order a photo to canvas print that transforms your family member or significant other to a vintage comic book character.

A Lichtenstein photo portrait makes a witty and charming gift and a modern Pop Art design feature when hung at home or in an office.

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Key phrases: photo(s) on canvas, photo(s) to canvas, picture(s) on canvas, picture(s) to canvas

Leonardo da Vinci Came to Supper Last Night at My House

Art Lovers: You, too, can get one of the world’s greatest artists to come to your house

Almost everyone has a favorite oil painting masterpiece; one that stands out among all the most familiar famous oil paintings left to us – the simple art lovers of the modern world - as the legacy of the great master painters of the last, say, three centuries, or since oil paints were applied to canvas.

For some it’s the Mona Lisa (who personally isn’t my cup of tea) or Blue Boy (my mother’s favorite), and for others Starry Night (my brother’s) or Sunflowers (half the population’s fvorite). You see, I don’t even have to tell you who painted these four great oil paintings; you know who I’m talking about.

Some oil paintings fire your imagination and just simply stay with you for a lifetime, whether it’s because you were taken to see one of them in a museum as a young child at a formative moment, or whether you saw art reproductions in a library or studied art in school.

You’ve always been able to view oil paintings in books, as art reproduction posters, and now even on the Internet in extremely high resolution full color, but nothing surpasses standing in front of Vincent van Gogh’s Irises and experiencing live the texture, light, and movement of that greatest of great oil paintings.

Years ago, a friend of my parents owned an original Cezanne and I can remember as a child being taken with my brothers to pay homage to this rather small oil painting hanging in the study of his stately home. We tried to be casually dismissive of this privilege later when we were out of earshot of the grownups, but in spite of ourselves we were impressed. Maybe it was because we weren’t used to seeing real oil paintings, even amateur paintings, in our rather provincial small town.

As a teenage I had a large poster of da Vinci’s The Last Supper hanging on my bedroom wall and often studied the faded figures and wondered at the natural casualness of the disciples and speculated as to which one was which.

Now I have a genuine oil painting reproduction of The Last Supper hanging on my dining room wall and I never cease to be amazed at the emotion it inspires in me on an almost daily basis. I don’t have to stand in line to see it, and I can even touch it whenever I wish.

So, how did I happen to get Leonardo over to my house to paint me another copy of The Last Supper? And in a size more appropriate to the dimensions of my small dining room?

Well, I didn’t really; I simply commissioned a copy. Professional artists who specialize in recreating accurate oil paintings reproductions made a new Last Supper just for me. Don’t worry; it’s legal to copy the Masters, and fast becoming a trend. (Sorry, Leonardo, your copyright expired a long time ago…)

If you have a favorite masterpiece and would like to own one of a large selection of genuine oil paintings reproductions all you have to do is go to a website art gallery called and take a tour of their galleries of masterpieces until you find the one you want to invite to your house. Oil reproductions are what they specialize in and you are sure to find your favorite oil painting.

It’s remarkably affordable too, so go find your own master painter and invite him to supper at your house today.

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[Add standard resource box at the end]

Key words: oil paintings reproductions, oil reproductions, art reproductions, oil paintings

Mona Lisa, Blue Boy, Starry Night, Sunflowers, The Last Supper, Irises, Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci

Articles on Beauty, Health, Dating, Gambling, etc.

Your Practical Guide to Feeling and Looking Better

Beauty is a Way of Life

Do you sometimes envy a friend or co-worker who is always perfectly made up and invariably looks fit, rested and attractive?

Admit it; we all have at one time or another.

Do you tell yourself that you’d look that good too if you spent as much money on cosmetics as she does? Or, maybe you tell yourself that she must spend hours on herself, and if you had more time to spend pampering yourself you could look like that too?

Well, both your assumptions would be incorrect.

It doesn’t take a lot of money for expensive cosmetics and it doesn’t take a lot of time to spend on yourself to start looking your best and feeling your best too.

Beauty is a way of life. It’s a matter of setting priorities and easing yourself gradually into a daily schedule that will start making you look and feel better immediately. 

Suggestions to Get Started

Pick two or three suggestions from the following list and incorporate them into your daily routine:

Drink more clean water. Simple as that. Forget what physicians recommend (quantities vary widely anyway) and just drink more than you usually do. If your tap water is clean, always keep a closed half- gallon bottle in the fridge. Add a sprig or two of fresh mint or slice of lemon. If you prefer bottled water, keep one in the fridge and one in the bedroom and one in the kid’s bedroom too (get them to drink more water, too).

Teach yourself three or four simple exercises that you can do while you’re doing something else. Do back, neck, leg and foot exercises while you’re sitting at a computer or sorting laundry. Do facial exercises while you’re walking the dog, or in the shower. An ideal time to exercise is while you’re watching TV. Buy an inexpensive exercise mat and have it handy near the TV. Let your family or roommates laugh at first, but ignore them and there’s a good chance they’ll eventually join you. You can find exercise routines in books, on line, on DVD or on video. It’s vital to pinpoint only a few exercises for the parts of your body you’d like to see improve, commit them to memory, and incorporate them into your daily activities.

Evaluate the household cleaning products that touch your skin every day: soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, deodorant, dish soap, laundry detergent (yes, it touches your skin every day!). When you’re shopping, read labels and list of ingredients and gradually replace all your cleaning supplies with products that are more natural and have fewer harsh chemicals. Your whole family will benefit.

Evaluate all the cosmetics you currently use. Throw away anything you haven’t used in the last three months. This is a tough one; we’re all addicted to that drawer full of stuff we spent too much money on and think we’re going to use one day. You won’t…and you shouldn’t anyway. Cosmetics go stale, dry out and collect germs. Especially mascara, compacts and lipstick. Dump them!

Evaluate what you eat. Don’t go on a crash diet. If you know that you eat too much (let’s face it….it’s the single, most common reason for overweight), simply eat a tiny bit less of everything. When you get used to that, eat another tiny bit less, and so on. Don’t deny yourself things you love; just eat smaller quantities. 

Read labels when you’re food shopping and check lists of contents and nutritional information. Gradually, replace the junk food with nutritional food. Do you want a shock? Add just the sodium content in one load of packaged and /or processed groceries and translate it into teaspoons of salt. That should put you off snack foods pretty fast!

Substitute one bad habit for a good one. If you give up cigarettes for a week, treat yourself to a movie or a night out, or buy a small gift for yourself. You’ll find you feel better emotionally because you’ve earned your reward. The more often you do this the cleaner and brighter your smile will be, the more alert you will feel, and the better your food will taste. As you mentally and physically improve you’ll find a cigarette-free life is its own reward, especially when you see your facial skin becomes smoother and those fine lip and eye wrinkles lessen. This system works for other bad habits too, such as watching too much TV, nail biting, or drinking too much soda and sugar-loaded soft drinks. 

Some Things You Should Avoid

Skip the impulse to have a makeover. You will most likely initially feel unnatural and overdone, and then you will slip back almost immediately into your usual habits. Money wasted.

Don’t adopt a radical exercise plan or sign up for classes you know you don’t really have time to fit into your current schedule. Taking on more than you can reasonably accomplish will just be demoralizing in the long run.

Don’t buy any health or beauty product because it worked for somebody else. Do listen to expert recommendations, but try the product on yourself before you buy. What works wonders for somebody else might not suit you at all.

Don’t involve anybody else in your “beauty way of life”. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll do some exercises when the kids go to bed, or you’ll jog with a friend. It’s too easy to cop out if they don’t cooperate. Don’t plan to start after the holidays or as soon as you finish a work project. Just start now and improve gradually towards your better way of living.

Don’t look for overnight results. You’ll start noticing after a few weeks that you are looking better and feeling better. That reward by itself will give you the incentive to take another step. It will become a natural process, and a permanent improvement!

Remember, beauty is a way of life.

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So, What Does Dating Have To Do With Gambling?

Nobody can dispute that internet dating has changed the customs of social intercourse for millions of people. Of course, the internet method of meeting potential mates has also been totally rejected, ignored or overlooked by many more. It has, however, in no way replaced that old magic of “boy meets girl” at the drinking fountain…and probably never will.

So too, the introduction of internet gambling has had a profound affect on the way many people gamble, and has unquestionably drawn in people who never placed a bet before…just as internet dating has attracted people who were reticent about meeting new people. 

But, is internet gambling going to prevent people from supporting their local team or drive people away from attending horse races, soccer matches, or regular visits to the local bingo club? 

Recent surveys say absolutely no!

Attendance is up in the UK, Europe, and the US at sports matches, racing, and bingo and poker clubs. Casinos may be evolving in character to accommodate the new reality, but new casinos are being built every day. Satellite and cable TV have spawned greater interest in a broader spectrum of sports and games of chance.

The Internet has simply made more entertainment and more gambling opportunities more readily available to more people. 

So, if you haven’t yet explored the world of online gambling, it’s time to check it out.

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“Diabetes in the US is a runaway train, which has to

be slowed down before it can be stopped.”

The above is a quote from a researcher who presented the latest statistics on the increased prevalence of diabetes in the US to the American Diabetes Association 67th Annual Scientific Sessions in June 2007.

She went on to warn that already overstressed health resources should go into early detection and prevention before the cost of treating diabetes bankrupts the system. 

Diabetes is on the rise throughout the world, but especially in the large urban areas of developed countries. In New York City an estimated 800,000 adults have diabetes which is considered to be at epidemic levels. It is estimated that around 16 million, or about 6% of the US population, suffer from diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association estimates that 8 million of those people have not yet been diagnosed.

The World Health Organisation has recognized that there is a "global epidemic of obesity and the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing in parallel”. 

Diabetes currently affects over 150 million people throughout the world, a number expected to rise to 224 million by 2010. Medical and scientific research offer no cure to date although great strides have been made in controlling Type 1 diabetes and in detecting and preventing Type 2 diabetes.


Diabetes Mellitus is a disease in which the body fails to properly convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes develops because the pancreas stops making insulin or makes only a small amount; and Type 2 non-insulin-dependent (also called adult-onset) diabetes in which the pancreas produces some insulin, but it is not used effectively by the body. A third type of diabetes, called gestational diabetes, occurs in about 3-5% of pregnant women in the developed world and is temporary, disappearing after the birth.

A medical diagnosis of diabetes is made when an individual’s blood analysis test results show fasting blood sugars over 125 mg/dl (5.6–6.9 mmol/l) or elevated "casual" or two-hour postprandial blood sugars of 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) or more.

Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of early death, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness. Overweight people, or people whose body fat is mostly in the abdominal area, are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as people who are not overweight.

Type 2 diabetes is often associated with a strong genetic predisposition, more so than is Type 1 diabetes; however, the genetics of diabetes are complex and not clearly defined.  

Around 90%-95% of diagnosed diabetes is Type 2, which - unlike Type 1 – is both preventable and reversible.


Some of the most common early warning signs of diabetes are:

  1. Excessive thirst that cannot be attributed to exercise, hot weather, short-term illness, or as the side effect of food or medication.
  2. Excessive and frequent feelings of hunger even though you’ve eaten appropriate amounts at normal intervals.
  3. Frequent urination throughout the day and being awakened repeatedly during the night by the need to urinate.
  4. Bouts of tiredness and fatigue at inappropriate times. Fatigue severe enough to cause you to fall asleep after eating a meal is one of the most obvious symptoms of diabetes.
  5. Rapid and/or sudden weight loss. Any dramatic change in weight up or down is a sign of a possible health problem.

Everyone has experienced one or more of these symptoms at one time or another, and none of them alone is cause for alarm. However, two or more of these symptoms occurring frequently over an extended period of time is cause for alarm…and for action.

When diabetes is suspected, tested for, and diagnosed as soon as the early symptoms begin to appear, other more serious symptoms of advanced diabetes can often be prevented or have their onset significantly delayed. 

Not recognizing - or ignoring - the common early warning signs of diabetes can lead to long-term serious health risks and complications from untreated diabetes.


Symptoms of unrecognized diabetes which occur as a result of physical and neurological changes caused by the disease should be red flag alerts which demand immediate medical attention:

  1. Blurred vision. Advanced diabetes can lead to macular degeneration resulting in blindness.
  2. Numbness and/or tingling in the hands and feet, or peripheral neuropathy. Progressive diabetes causes nerve damage in the extremities.
  3. Dry and/or itchy skin. Peripheral neuropathy also affects circulation and proper sweat gland function.
  4. Slow healing of minor cuts and scratches due to impaired immune system function which is a result of the diabetes.
  5. Recurrent and persistent yeast infections. This is another sign of impaired immune function, most commonly seen in women.

If you just found out that you have Type 2 diabetes, you are very lucky! Because you can control and even reverse the progression of the disease and restore your health and even save your own life. A change in your diet and lifestyle can eliminate the symptoms and return you to full and healthy life.

Self testing and early diagnosis are the keys to controlling the diabetes epidemic.


Anyone suffering from the early warning symptoms of diabetes (or suspects that he or she may have diabetes due to family or health history) should be tested without delay. Anyone with a family history of Type 2 diabetes who is over the age of 45 and overweight should be screened annually.

The following are tests used to measure blood sugar to diagnose diabetes and to monitor blood sugar levels for treatment and maintenance:

  • Casual blood glucose test: This test may be done at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A test result of 200 mg/dl (11.0mmol/L) or greater together with symptoms of diabetes indicates diabetes.
  • FPG (Fasting Blood Glucose) test: This test is given after fasting for 8 hours. According to American Diabetes Association guidelines, normal FPG is defined as <110 mg/dl (6.1mmol/l). A blood glucose of 126 mg/dl (7.0 mmol/L) or greater indicates diabetes.
  • OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test): A special sweetened liquid is drunk prior to testing. A blood glucose test result of 200 mg/dl (11.1mmol/L) or more two hours after this test indicates diabetes. A second test should always be performed (except in the case of acute signs and symptoms).
  • Hemoglobin A1c test: The Hemoglobin A1c test measures the amount of sugar attached to the hemoglobin (the part of the cell that carries oxygen) in red blood cells. Once sugar is attached, it remains for the life of the red blood cell – or about 4 months. The higher the level of blood sugar, the more sugar attaches to red blood cells. The hemoglobin A1c test thus shows the average blood sugar over the past several months. Results are reported in percentages, with below 7% normal and 8% or more a cause for concern. When you test your hemoglobin A1c routinely, you can compare new results to previous results. If the most recent value is lower, you are making progress; if the recent value is higher, a change in treatment may be needed.


The good news is definitely yes. With a planned diet and weight maintenance, regular exercise, and proper blood sugar management, the debilitating symptoms of diabetes can be reversed and health restored to normal. For most people this means a lifestyle changes, self discipline, and setting health goals.


Not yet. Type 1 diabetes requires regular insulin injections and careful monitoring. Type 2 diabetes requires maintaining a normal weight, a healthy diet, a regular exercise program, sufficient rest, and periodic testing.

If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, in addition to following a regime of controlled maintenance or management and regular testing, you should stay up to date on what’s being done in the field of medical research on the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Information is power, and it’s never too late to learn something new that could make a vital difference to your health.