Friday, August 10, 2012

Trainer Pete's Blog by Peter Samberg, Expert Personal Trainer

To lose weight and body fat you MUST creat a calorie defecit.

Two of the major players to create that defecit are:

1. Cutting out excess calories in your diet, and

2. Burning calories through exercise.

Much respect to the blog post a couple week's ago about 7 Simple Ways to Cut 850 Calories.

Now I give you 7 ways to burn an extra 100 calories a day... on top of your workouts! Do one of these seven things each day (along with your regular workouts) combined with cutting out the excess calories in your diet and you will be on your way to weight loss!

Remember 3,500 calories = 1lb, so if you create a 500 calories deficit a day, combined with cutting and burning calories, you will lose 1lb a week!

1. Hit a punching bag for 45 seconds, break for 15 seconds for 10 minutes (99 calories burned)

2. Go out for a casual bike ride with the kids after work for 20 minutes (110 calories burned)

3. Jumping jacks 50 seconds, then rest 10 seconds for 10 minutes (102 calories burned)

4. Walk on the t-mill for an extra 10 minutes at a 10 minute mile per hour pace (105 calories burned)

5. Jump Rope for 9 minutes (100 Calories burned)

6. Dance for 25 minutes!....I'm not a dancer, is that a long time to dance? (101 calories burned)

7. Extra 10 minutes on the elliptical (99 calories burned)

Have fun and for more ways to burn a ton of calories in 15 minutes or less check out my site!


Ready to lose weight? Then you need to follow a healthy diet! Whether you're looking to drop 5 lbs or 105 lbs, you've got to have the right combination of diet, nutrition, fitness and motivation to achieve weight loss success. Learn how to lose weight and diet with blogs written by experts, and track your meal and exercise with our tracking tools. Browse through easy tips or watch healthy diet and weight loss videos. Follow along with your Premium Diet Plan or learn about other popular diet programs in our Diets A-Z section.

Weight loss doesn't have to be difficult. Prepare yourself for success with's extensive diet tools and resources.

Why We Need Fat!

You will not get fat by eating fat!!!

For the longest time, I did not believe this. I refused to use olive oil and measured out my reduced fat Skippy peanut butter by the teaspoonful... not okay!

Fats are good for our bodies; they are our second most-used source of energy and they're what we use when our energy from carbohydrates runs out. If you ran a marathon fueled on carbohydrates alone you would burn out... your carbohydrate stores would be depleted and your body would need to start oxidizing fat to continue providing energy. Fats actually provide us with more condensed energy than proteins or carbohydrates, providing us with 9 calories per gram as compared to 4 calories per gram of protein and carbs. Another great thing about fats: they do not absorb water so the body will not store excess water with fats as it will carbohydrates and protein, i.e. less bloating!

In addition to being great for our energy, fats also provide us with important vitamins and minerals and will give you healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Be cautious with your fat intake - Here are some examples of good fats and not-so-healthy fats:


-Olive Oil
-Coconut Oil
-Fish Oil
-Vegetable Oils

Not so healthy:

-Butter (okay in moderation)
-Trans Fats (partially hydrogenated oils often found in baked goods and packaged or heavily processed foods)

Remember you will not get fat by eating fat. We gain weight when we consume an excess of calories over what we are burning. These calories do not come exclusively from fats. It is possible to gain weight on a 100% carbohydrate diet so long as you are eating more calories than you are burning! I wouldn't recommend trying it though!

Avocados are a great source of healthy fats! I love them sprinkled with sunflower seeds too! Don't fear fats!

What is your favorite source of fats?

So, Why Go Organic?

There's so much fuss about organic foods. The questions beg: what is organic... and why should you and I go organic?

In general, any food that is labeled "organic" must be produced without artificial fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, bioengineering, or radiation (used to kill bacteria).

Prior to labeling a product as "organic," a government-approved certifier must first inspect the farm and ensure that the farmer adheres to specific standards that are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Furthermore, organic crops are produced with earth-friendly processes using renewable resources to protect the environment for our future generations. Just as important, animals on organic farms are raised without antibiotics, genetic modification, or growth hormones.

Is organic food really more expensive than regular food?

Yes... but. By comparing the price of organic food to "regular" food, in general, you will see a price difference of 30–50% or more at first. But when you take a minute to think of the side-effects of the 14 Common Foods To Cut Down Or Cut Out (such as, Artificial Food Colorings, BHT and BHA or other chemical preservatives, MSG, aspartame, and pesticides), organic foods ...
may not seem expensive after all.

The bottom line is:

1) Choose organic foods if available and possible.

2) Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or cooking.

You could try the following, especially for non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables:

• Squeeze half a lime or lemon into clean water and soak your fruits or vegetables for five minutes. Then wash or scrub your fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or cooking.

• Or use 100% natural fruits and vegetables wash.


Try exploring your local "Mom and Pop" grocery stores. Some of them have already started carrying fresh and packaged organic foods. If you are lucky, those stores may price their organic foods very competitively with their conventional foods. As for your favorite chain grocery stores, they may offer discounts on different organic items on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Cut down on your junk food purchases and save some money for organic food.

If you are eating out, save the money you were spending on soft drinks and desserts, and use it for organic foods instead.

At least three positive things can happen if you substitute soda with water and cut down on desserts:

1. You will have saved enough money to buy organic foods.

2. You can cut down on sugar, salt, MSG, saturated fat and trans fats, naturally.

3. Your self-esteem and confidence will go up because you are able to control your thoughts and resist those unhealthy foods' temptations.

Alex Ong has experience in the food industry as a marketing executive. He conquered his obesity and high cholesterol at age 30, when he developed his own natural weight-loss system, the 5 Color Belts Eating Formula.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2013 Audi RS4 Avant

The wildest A4 returns only as a wagon. 

Audi's high-performance wagons are icons. The mid-1980s saw the 100/200 Turbo Wagon, and things got really wild with the RS2 launched in 1994. It was an over-the-top variation of the Audi 80 Avant created with assistance from Porsche, powered by a 315-hp version of Audi's 2.2-liter turbo five-cylinder and wearing wheels from the 964-gen Porsche 911. (Its side mirrors and front turn signals were from the 993, too.) The RS2 was followed in 1999 by the first RS4, which packed a 380-hp, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6. Audi launched the second-gen RS4 in 2005 with a naturally aspirated, extremely high-revving 4.2-liter V-8; this powerplant was engineered by Wolfgang Hatz, now head of Porsche R&D. For the first time, Audi offered a sedan and a convertible in addition to the station wagon. The previous-gen RS4 was sold until 2009. One year later, the RS5 coupe was launched on a platform shared with the current A4, as a sort of RS4 stand-in.
2013 Audi RS4 Avant

But now the RS4 returns—but only as a station wagon, to be launched at the Geneva auto show next month. The engine remains true to its immediate predecessor, as the car is powered by a 4.2-liter direct-injected V-8 that produces 450 hp at 8250 rpm. Maximum torque stands at 317 lb-ft and is available from 4000 to 6000 rpm. The performance is more than adequate: Audi claims a 0-to-62-mph sprint of 4.7 seconds; we’re guessing that’s at least a few ticks on the conservative side. Top speed is limited to 155 mph unless you pay to relax the governor, at which point the fun ends at 174 mph.
The torque delivery is rear-biased, at 40/60-percent; the self-locking crown-wheel center differential can adjust this ratio almost instantly between 70/30 and 15/85 according to road conditions and driver input. A sports differential that can distribute the torque between the rear wheels is optional. While the last-gen RS4 was available only with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, the new model comes only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The driver can use paddles or leave the shifting up to the car entirely. In the standard Drive Select system’s more-aggressive settings, the car will blip the throttle to provide rev-matched downshifts.

When braking on surfaces with different friction coefficients, the speed-sensitive electromechanical power setup will provide additional input beyond that of the driver to maintain stability. The car naturally sits lower than its lesser siblings, and rolls on 19-inch forged-aluminum wheels and 265/35 rubber as standard; 20-inch wheels fitted with 265/30 tires are optional. The standard front brake rotors are squeezed by eight-piston calipers, but the piston count goes down by two should you spec the optional carbon-ceramic discs. The options list also includes dynamic steering with a speed-sensitive steering ratio and an electronic damper system. There is at least one nod to those who prefer a more pure driving experience: The stability-control system can be switched off entirely.
Audi has modified the exterior with a wider body that ever-so-slightly recalls the Ur-Quattro of 1980, and the rear end is punctuated by two large, oval exhaust tips. The front and rear bumpers and the roof spoiler are unique; the front is characterized by large, functional air intakes and a silver-painted splitter. The interior is fitted with sports seats; the standard interior trim is carbon fiber, but it can be replaced by piano black, stainless-steel mesh, or aluminum in one of two finishes (brushed matte and something called “Race”). Finally, there’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
The price is a cool €76,600 in Germany, which includes a 19 percent tax. That's just about as much as the RS5 coupe. Its competition includes the Cadillac CTS-V wagon and the Euro-only Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG wagon. Will we get the RS4 Avant in the U.S.? Probably not. Even the regular A4 Avant will take a back seat in favor of the A4 Allroad. Bummer

2011 Audi RS5 vs. 2010 BMW M3, 2011 Cadillac CTS-V

2011 Audi RS5 vs. 2010 BMW M3, 2011 Cadillac CTS-V
Comparison Tests

Achtung Heroes: To get the very most out of three scorching coupes, we find it necessary to cross the border.

Magical things can happen when crossing borders: What is illegal on one side can suddenly become legal on the other. Cross into Holland, for example, and cough away in a hazy “café” without worrying about posting bail. Head into Germany, and go every bit as fast as you want, legally. Or  you can drive on Europe’s most famous racetrack. Just head west out of Frankfurt for a two-hour drive to the village of Nürburg, home to the 12.9-mile long Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. It’s most often rented by big-time race teams and automakers, but the public is allowed to play on certain days for 23 euros per lap (about $28—plus you get a discount for buying multiple laps).
What’s more, German drivers are for the most part alert, educated, and courteous, and every car has to pass a rigorous roadworthiness inspection to keep rusted-out hulks off the autobahns. In many ways, it feels like the complete opposite of the American driving experience—in Germany, you can go 180 mph without fear of an arrest, but flip someone the bird, and you might end up in jail.
So, to test the latest challengers to our comparison-test champ, the BMW M3, we flew across the Atlantic, from the land of speed traps to the land of unlimited speed.
Facing the M3 for the first time is Audi’s new RS5. Looking to avenge the RS4’s loss to an M3 in a December 2007 comparison test, the RS5 is the latest car to emerge from Audi’s Quattro GmbH skunkworks. Based on the elegantly sleek A5/S5, the RS5 has its fenders punched out and its snout stuffed full with a 450-hp, 4.2-liter V-8. All-wheel drive distributes the power to the 275/30R-20 Pirelli P Zero tires while a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox provides quick shifts and an amusing launch-control function.
Cadillac has never built a car more perfectly suited to the libertarian nature of the German autobahn than the CTS-V. Now available with two doors, everything ahead of the windshield is shared with the sedan, including the 556-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic (a manual is standard). All of the creased sheetmetal from the steeply raked windshield back to the pointy rump and functional spoiler/third brake light is unique to the coupe. Other coupe exclusives—a retuned chassis, a wider rear track (by 0.8 inch), and reworked steering—give the latest CTS-V an extra shot of alertness.
Now in its fourth year of production, the M3 gets BMW’s newly created, M3-specific Competition package ($2500) that adds wider 19-inch wheels (which increases both front and rear tracks by a half-inch), plus revised tuning for the adaptive shocks and a 0.4-inch-lower suspension. Otherwise, the 414-hp M3 is unaltered for its latest smackdown with the Audi and the Cadillac.
It took $2000-plus in premium fuel, more than 1000 miles driven, and a lot of nights spent guzzling pilsners before the mist cleared and we were able to decide whether Cadillac or Deutschland is truly über alles.

2011 BMW 1-series M Coupe

We’ve already driven BMW’s upcoming 1-series M coupe and spoken at length with those responsible for its development; about the only thing we haven’t done is seen the car sans camouflage. Put that complaint to rest, oh ye faithful.
Even the appearance of the 1-series M coupe seen here holds few surprises, as the cars we drove previously wore only light camo. Multiple massive intakes in the front fascia ensure that the engine will never hunger for more air, and the gnarly fender flares look even more menacing in paint than they did covered in paisley-print vinyl. Tucked inside those flares are M3 Competition package wheels, and behind those wheels are M3 brakes. Supporting all of that is M3 suspension with an M3 diff in the rear—noticing a trend? Sadly, there’s no carbon-fiber roof like that on the M3, but the 1-series M will make up for it by not offering a sunroof, as it would add weight and raise the vehicle’s center of gravity. Only three colors will be available: black, white, and orange.
Turbos Instead of RPM
Under the hood, which notably lacks the signature power bump sported by all other M vehicles, from the M3 to the 5400-pound X5 M, is the great differentiator. Where the M3 packs its screaming 8400-rpm V-8—and where screaming, high-rpm engines are supposed to be an M trademark—the 1-series M coupe is powered by the twin-turbo inline-six of yore. Don’t be too disappointed, though, as output has been ratcheted up to 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of nominal torque. As in the 335is, an overboost function makes 369 lb-ft available for brief spurts. Zero-to-60-mph sprints should take about 4.3 seconds.
Inside, black leather is trimmed with Alcantara, orange stitching gives the car an appropriately sporty look, and the leather steering wheel boasts an M button that is programmable to the driver’s preferred chassis, powertrain, and nanny-system settings. The only transmission is a six-speed manual.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
First Drive Review

An oddity gets more power but remains true to its nature, whatever that is.

Instead, Hyundai wisely leaves the suspension starching to the aftermarket. So, for once, you can opt for the high-horsepower model without being forced onto the bone-crusher suspension. Hyundai did speed up the Turbo’s steering ratio, from 14.2:1 to 13.9, which sends the Turbo veering into corners with more vehemence. We are informed that Hyundai is launching a major campaign to improve the generally mediocre dynamics of its vehicles, up to and possibly including building a new test track. Until then, the Veloster Turbo makes the best of the current situation.
It has plenty of grip for semi-enthusiastic corner chasing, and the wide stance and the relatively modest curb weight mean the roll isn’t excessive anyway. Hyundai’s automatic isn’t crafty about rev matching like some other autoboxes, and if the Turbo’s steering is more kinetic, it is no more communicative. Step up a few grand into the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ or even a Honda Civic Si or VW Golf GTI if you demand better controls.
Hyundai dresses the Turbo in street-punk clothes. The grille loses the base Veloster’s color band to become one big King Kong scream. Projector headlamps with LED eyeliner sit above pinpoint fog lamps. Rocker extensions and 18-inch razor-blade wheels flash the “Turbo” motif from the sides.
Things look best from the back, where two large, flush-fit exhaust chutes poke from the center of a faux undertray and below a body-color spoiler. However, the full reprobate look isn’t realized until you opt for the $1000 matte-gray finish, the company’s first ever glossless-paint option.
It’s expensive because the matte-finish cars must take an extra trip through the paint booth at Hyundai’s plant in Ulsan, South Korea, thus displacing another car on an assembly line that is already running flat-out, says Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik. In effect, you are paying to paint two cars, and availability will be tight, Krafcik warns.
Inside, heated leather seats with gray or blue accents and an embroidered “Turbo” logo join pushbutton start and a 450-watt stereo as standard. So are other items off the base Veloster’s options sheet, making the Turbo decently equipped at its $22,725 starting price. The fully frosted Turbo Ultimate with navigation—you can’t get nav without the $2500 sunroof, for some reason—will be $25,225. The automatic transmission adds $1000.
With the Turbo, Hyundai recognizes and celebrates the Veloster as a sporty car, not a sports car. If that sounds like damnation with faint praise, it’s not

10 Best Military Vehicles 2012

The HMMWV is so last conflict. Take a look at the latest wheeled ordnance—from here and abroad—that some of the world’s militaries are using. Beige never looked so bad-ass.
The DPV is basically a Volkswagen-powered dune buggy with guns. What’s not to love? Oh, yeah, Navy SEALs kick ass in these, too. Built by Chenowth Racing Products, which has previously constructed Class 1 Baja buggies, the DPV will go 80 mph with two soldiers strapped into its buckets. There are newer buggy-type attack vehicles, but this is the original.
The Dingo’s manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, of Munich, Germany, calls this Unimog-based truck an “all-rounder,” but there’s barely a round thing anywhere on it. It can carry up to eight soldiers for missions ranging from patrol to ambulance. Germany is the Dingo’s largest adopter (possibly because of that nation’s love of sultry styling). And no, it will not eat your baby.
The hateful, fork-armed alien robot in Transformers, code-named “Bonecrusher,” was based on this minesweeping six-wheeler. In reality, the sifting fork of the Buffalo A2 is much smaller than that of the fictional Decepticon. With the Buffalo’s remote-control 30-foot arm, its crew stays safe behind tons of armor while clearing mines. It weighs 75,000 pounds and has a 12.5-liter Caterpillar diesel engine.
“MGS” stands for “mobile gun system,” aptly named because one of this eight-wheeler’s three-man crew has a finger on the trigger of a 105-mm autoloading cannon that is not that different from the original armament of the M1 Abrams tank. And he can fire one of those monster shells every six seconds. A 7.62-mm machine gun and a 50-caliber machine gun handle less fortified threats. The Stryker is capable of 60 mph and shooting on the move. Other variants include an infantry carrier capable of transporting a nine-man squad.
When the Army or Marine Corps need to move a 67-plus-ton M1 Abrams tank, they call upon the HET (Heavy Equipment Transporter) to get the job done. With a 700-hp, 18.1-liter diesel, this beast can reach 50 mph. One version, the M1070A1, has two steering axles to aid maneuverability. The HET is the vehicle Sylvester Stallone’s character from Over the Top wishes he drove.
The LVSR is what’s known in the business as a heavy tactical vehicle. “Heavy” because, in wrecker form, this 35.5-footer weighs 67,600 pounds; “tactical” because of its integrated armor and fully independent suspension. If you’re counting, that’s 10 independently suspended wheels. Jeep Wranglers weep in its presence.
Picking up where the HMMWV left off, this go-anywhere, multi-mission-capable, 13-plus-ton behemoth is the new face of U.S. forces. Since 2009, the Pentagon has awarded Oshkosh contracts valued at $4.5 billion for 8800 M-ATVs. Powered by a 370-hp, inline-six Caterpillar diesel, the M-ATV comes in one of six configurations ranging from a tactical ambulance to a special-forces vehicle equipped with infrared driving lights so that night-vision–equipped operators can advance undetected.
If you can get over all the obvious French-car jokes, the VAB is pretty cool. This troop transporter can be fitted with two impellers (the pods at the rear corners) that turn it into an amphibious assault vehicle, albeit a slow one, even if it’s capable of a quite-respectable 65 mph on dry land. Its ZF transmission is in the same family as the automatic in Hyundai’s Genesis coupe.
“RT-2UTTKh Topol-M” is actually the designation for a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), but the 16-wheeled mobile-launching platform carrying it is made by Belarus-based MZKT. Just one of these ICBM warheads has roughly 38 times the destructive force of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II.
Capable of fording water three feet deep, the HMT 400 trades full-enclosure protection from small-arms fire for maximum visibility and all-terrain performance. It’s used by the U.K.’s army, and while we’re not military strategists, the idea seems “at sixes and sevens” to us.

Beastie Boys Co-Founder Adam Yauch Dead at 47

By Rolling Stone
May 4, 2012 12:55 PM ET
adam yauch
Adam Yauch a.k.a. 'MCA' performs with the Beastie Boys in Irvine, California in 2004.
Chris Polk/FilmMagic
Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone has learned. Yauch, also known as MCA, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009. The rapper was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.
"It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam 'MCA' Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer," reads an official statement from the Beastie Boys. "He was 47 years old."
Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys' induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, and his treatments delayed the release of the group's most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. The Beastie Boys had not performed live since the summer of 2009, and Yauch's illness prevented the group from appearing in music videos for Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.
Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys with Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz in 1979. The band started off as a hardcore punk group, but soon began experimenting with hip-hop. The band broke huge with their first proper album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986; it was the biggest-selling rap album of the decade and the first to reach Number One on the Billboard chart. Further albums Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication cemented the Beasties as a true superstar act.
In addition to his career with the Beastie Boys, Yauch was heavily involved in the movement to free Tibet. A founder of the Milarepa Fund, Yauch was instrumental in the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park 1996, which drew 100,000 people – the largest U.S. benefit concert since 1985's Live Aid. After 9/11, Yauch and the Beastie Boys organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a concert benefit for some of the victims least likely to receive help from elsewhere.
Yauch also directed many of the Beastie Boys' music videos under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower. In 2002, he launched the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories. As a filmmaker, he directed the 2006 Beastie Boys concert film Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That! and the 2008 basketball  documentary Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, and his production company released the acclaimed Banksy movie Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stereographic Drawings by Dain Fagerholm

Sometimes you just stumble across something that is so odd and peculiar that you must, nay, you are compelled to share it with the world. That is how I felt when I saw these strange, yet, adorable illustrations by Dain Fagerholm. These drawings give the impression that they are in 3D with subtle movements back and forth. You wouldn’t think such energy could be found in these animated gifs with such a small movement and you might be right if these characters (creatures) weren’t so wonderful. You can imagine a story being told about each creature that appears to be coming off the computer screen. Much like the cinemagraphs we showed you, these pictures can be admired for quite some time (Internet time) and leave you thoughtful for a bit longer

Top 10 Memorable Days of the 20th Century

Eleven years into the new millennium and it’s still interesting (and fun) to look back and remember the history of the previous hundred years.  Our current circumstances, both good and bad, find a foundation that was laid in the 20th century.  From tragedy to triumph, the 20th century offers up a wealth of timeless memories that helped shape the future.  Here are ten of the most memorable days from the 20th century.

December 7, 1941 (Attack on Pearl Harbor)

In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 7 is a “date that will live in infamy.”  70 years later, these words are as true as they were when they were first uttered.  The world of 1941 was engulfed, or on the verge of being engulfed, in war.  The armies of Adolf Hitler had conquered the vast majority of Europe, and the armed forces of Imperial Japan had done much of the same in Asia and the Pacific.  America, attempting mightily to maintain its neutrality, felt safe in the knowledge that two oceans separated it from the Axis powers.
Japan had other notions, however.  At about 8:00 am on Sunday morning, planes from Japanese carriers struck the naval base at Pearl Harbor – home of the American Pacific fleet.  The attack lasted less than two hours, during which the Japanese sank eight American battle ships, damaged to various degrees at least 13 other sips, and destroyed a number of planes.  The impact of the attack was swift and immediate.  America was in shock and angry, and all thoughts of being neutral vanished from the national consciousness.  America declared war on Japan the next day (December 8) and the rest, as they say, is history.

9.  November 22, 1963 (Assassination of JFK)

The Kennedy family has been referred to as “America’s Royal Family”, because of the special affinity that these iconic figures have in the hearts of many Americans.  No Kennedy has been more beloved than John F. Kennedy.  A former naval officer during World War II, US congressman, and US Senator, JFK was elected to the office of President of the United States in 1960.  His leadership would be instrumental in America’s initial involvement in Vietnam, the handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and aiding the Civil Rights Movement.
His time in office would tragically end during a campaign trip to Dallas, Texas.  As he and his wife were being carried to a luncheon in an open convertible, three shots were fired.  Two of the shots hit the President (one in the neck and another in the head).  JFK was pronounced dead a few hours later.  The country was in shock at such a brazen attack on the leader of the free world.  Scenes of the assassination were captured in video.  The assassin was believed to be Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested and subsequently murdered while in custody, before any trial was held.  Conspiracy theories still abound concerning this assassination.

8.  April 4, 1968 (Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.)

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States defined an entire generation of Americans.  In the struggle for equality, the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands above the rest.  Indeed, Dr. King’s tireless efforts on behalf of the people of color are legendary and are a tribute to the ability of selfless sacrifice for a noble cause.  While not everyone agreed with Dr. King and his non-violent approach, he nevertheless succeeded in bringing the plight of injustice and inequality to the forefront of the national consciousness.
At the height of his work, Dr. King’s life came to a tragic end at the hands of an assassin. While standing on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, it is believed that James Earl Ray took aim at Dr. King with a high powered, scoped rifle, and ended his life.  Ray was eventually convicted of the assassination and sentenced to 99 years in prison.  The immediate impact of the death of Dr. King, however, was tragically played out, as angry Americans took to the streets, rioting in over 100 cities around the country.  Today, America honors the great service and life of Dr. King with a national holiday.

7.  July 20, 1969 (Moon Landing)

When the Eagle landed on the moon, an entire nation rejoiced.  The idea of space travel has captured the imagination of every child (and quite a few adults) since the first person looked up and gazed at the stars.  For the generation of Americans that were coming to age in the 1950s, the possibility of space exploration became very real with the arrival of Sputnik (the first orbital satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957).
Indeed, from this point, a national race to space was being carried out between the United States and the Soviet Union.  In 1960, President Kennedy boldly announced that America would land on the moon within a decade.  He wasn’t wrong.  As millions of Americans (and really folks from around the world, as well) watched their televisions, astronaut Neil Armstrong exited the lunar module that had landed on the surface of the moon a few hours prior.  America had made it to the moon first and, during a time of social upheaval and uncertainty, the injection of the national pride was a welcome relief.  Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” continue to ring true, as the world looks towards the heavens for continued exploration.

6.  January 28, 1986 (Challenger Disaster)

With success, there is also failure, and this is certainly the case with the American space program. While the program has had a number of fatal disasters, none was more graphically tragic than the fate that befell the space shuttle Challenger.  When the Challenger launched on the fateful day of January 28, there was not much fanfare or coverage of the event.  Space shuttle launches had become commonplace in the minds of both Americans and newscasters alike.  Nevertheless, the cameras were rolling and captured, 73 seconds into Challenger’s takeoff, the space shuttle exploding.  All seven crewpersons were killed, including a “civilian” (school teacher Christa McAuliffe) that had been trained to ride along.
With space travel becoming a commonplace occurrence, many couldn’t understand how such tragedy could take place.  Investigations and finger-pointing ensued, and the space shuttle program was shut down for two years.

5.  October 29, 1929 (Stock Market Crash)

With today’s economy being what it is, many may feel that it’s as bad as it ever has been.  And while conditions today are certainly worrisome to many, it pales in comparison to the years of the Depression the nation faced in the late 1920s and 30s.  Those years were set in motion as a result of the stock market crash in 1929.
During the period between 1927 and 1929, wealthy Americans began investing heavily in the stock market, and realizing very lucrative returns.  This set off a flurry of activity, as many believed that anyone could get rich by investing in the stock market.  Soon, stocks were becoming highly inflated beyond the actual worth of the companies they represented.  Further, many investors began to invest on “margin”, which meant they were borrowing the money to pay for stocks, in the hope that they would be able to sell those stocks at a high enough price to repay the loan.
The speculation bubble burst in October of 1929, and the sell-off began.  On October 29, the value of stocks fell an estimated $10 to $15 billion.  The value that the market had accumulated in the previous two years was wiped out, and total losses were over $30 billion.  It would take over a decade, and a World War, for the nation to recover.

4.  November 9, 1989 (Tearing Down Of The Berlin Wall)

The Berlin Wall had stood as a chilling reminder to the world of the brewing “cold war” that was being carried out, primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union.  Nuclear devastation was a constant reality as the world’s two superpowers faced off with one another.  The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 as a means to prevent citizens of East Germany escaping to the west.  This continuing exodus was draining East Germany (a puppet regime of the Soviet Union) of human resources, as well as being an embarrassment to Communist-oriented governments.
As the economic weight of maintain vast armed forces began to have a dire effect on the Soviet Union, political instability among Communist nations made the wall irrelevant.  The Cold War was over, and so was the “life” of its most visible symbol.  It began with average citizens of East Germany starting to pull down whole sections of the wall (without interference from government forces – which was on the verge of political collapse anyway).  What started as a demonstration of sorts, morphed into an all-out effort to take the wall down.  The next year, Germany was reunified as a single nation.

3.  April 18, 1906 (San Francisco Earthquake)

The “Big One” has been the subject of more than a few big-budget disaster movies.  While Hollywood has taken full advantage of the movie-going public’s taste for the dramatic, scientists and other concerned officials have long been concerned when the next disaster will strike.  The question is not “if”, but rather “when” the next Big One will occur.
In this light, the devastating earthquake that struck San Francisco over 100 years ago still keeps the residents along the major fault lines on the American West Coast wary.  For its part, the San Francisco quake seems like a scene taken right out a modern disaster movie.  Registering an incredible 7.9 on the Richter scale, it is among the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded.  Well over 3000 people lost their lives, and several thousands more were injured.
The property damage was vast (an estimated 28,000 buildings were destroyed).  Not only did the quake itself destroy buildings and other structures, but the resulting fires caused widespread carnage.  To make matters worse, large tidal waves formed by the quake struck the city, causing further devastation.  The San Francisco quake remains one of the deadliest disasters in American history.

2.  August 6, 1945 (Hiroshima)

The dawn of the Atomic Age began with the deaths of 60,000+ residents of the city of Hiroshima, Japan.  America (and its allies), having already defeated Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, now faced the very daunting task of bringing final defeat to Imperial Japan.  The task would not be an easy one, as the Japanese had proved formidable in defending their home islands.  It was estimated that well over 1 million American service men would lose their lives in an invasion of Japan.
As a result, it was decided to use a nuclear device in order to force Japan into total surrender.  The first device (a second bomb was dropped in the city of Nagasaki) was dropped from an American Army Air Force bomber (the Enola Gay).  Most of the city was destroyed, and many of those not killed outright would either succumb to injuries later or become homeless.  To this day, thousands gather at the site where the bomb exploded for an annual interfaith memorial service.  The destruction of Hiroshima stands as a vivid reminder of the terrible cost of the use of nuclear weapons.

1.  January 1, 2000 (The New Millennium)

The first day of the 21st century wasn’t ushered in with quite the panic that many had imagined. Conspiracy theorist, cult leaders, and even to a certain degree, the general public; all were predicting…something to happen when the clock struck 12:01 am.  There was widespread concern, for example, of the so-called Y2K bug that was supposed to incapacitate computers that were running Microsoft-operating systems.  Others were predicting an expecting apocalyptic disasters, the end of the world, the return of Jesus Christ, and other phenomenon.
None of these things panned out, and the New Year came and went without any significant change to life on Earth.  The cable music channel MTV2, however, did play Prince’s music video “1999” non-stop for 24 hours.  That was pretty amazing!  Still, everyone remembers where they were when they welcomed a new century, and that’s pretty cool, too!