Desert Car Kings Debuts Tonight; Filming Takes Place in Phoenix This Weekend

The following paragraphs summarize the work of experts who are completely familiar with all the aspects of . Heed their advice to avoid any surprises.

It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of is no exception. Keep reading to get more fresh news about .

The Arizona-based reality show Desert Car Kings debuts tonight on the Discovery Channel. Soon thereafter, you can be in the spotlight when cameras roll in north Phoenix.

As was previously reported, the McClure family, who own Desert Valley Auto Parts, will be the main characters in Desert Car Kings. The cable television series, which premiers tonight at 11 p.m. local time, follows the family as they scour junkyards, backyards, and random sites for classical autos and rare car parts.

On Saturday, a Discovery Channel camera crew will be filming at the Five Star Auto Auction, 22454 North 21st Avenue, when more than 250 rides, including a 1968 Dodge Charger and a 1950 Cadillac, are sold to dealers during the open-to-the-public event. The gates open at 7 a.m. for the auction that takes place from 8 a.m. to noon.

The day will come when you can use something you read about here to have a beneficial impact. Then you'll be glad you took the time to learn more about .

TV best bets: Wed., Jan. 26

The following article includes pertinent information that may cause you to reconsider what you thought you understood. The most important thing is to study with an open mind and be willing to revise your understanding if necessary.

Truthfully, the only difference between you and experts is time. If you'll invest a little more time in reading, you'll be that much nearer to expert status when it comes to .

8 p.m., PBS: Nova scienceNOW — Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts an hour that explores why human bodies break down over time and whether that process could be stopped, as well as improving artificial body parts and organs to replace those that are irreparably damaged, in the new episode "Can We Live Forever?"

9 p.m., NBC: Chase — Annie (Kelli Giddish) serves as bait in an attempt to reel in a corrupt cop (guest star Eric Mabius) who preys on single mothers to get close to their daughters, but the case reawakens raw emotions for Daisy (Rose Rollins).

9:31 p.m., ABC: Cougar Town — As Valentine's Day approaches, Jules (Courteney Cox) wishes Grayson (Josh Hopkins) would open up and share his feelings with her. Ellie (Christa Miller) insists she doesn't want to do anything for the romantic holiday, so Andy (Ian Gomez) makes a date with Bobby (Brian Van Holt).

10 p.m., DISCOVERY: Desert Car Kings — This new reality series revolves around Ron and Jason McClure, the father-and-son owners of Desert Valley Auto Parts, who provide original parts — drawn from more than 10,000 rust-free vehicles sitting on their 100-acre Arizona property — to collectors across the country as well as restoring classic cars to be sold at their monthly auction.

10 p.m., TBS: Are We There Yet? — Nick's (Terry Crews) colleagues encourage him and Suzanne (Essence Atkins) to send Lindsey and Kevin (Teala Dunn and Coy Stewart) to a private school, but the admissions process proves to be a real turnoff.

Don't limit yourself by refusing to learn the details about . The more you know, the easier it will be to focus on what's important.


Fla. officer deaths cap deadly 24 hours for police

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The slaying of two police officers as they helped serve a warrant stunned a state already mourning police deaths in Miami and capped a bloody 24 hours nationwide that saw 11 officers shot in five states.

"That's not normal," said Steven Groeninger, a spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police deaths. Two of the 11 shot between Sunday and Monday have died.

They were St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, gunned down Monday while helping other officers serve a warrant on a man with a long criminal history.

When it was over, Baitinger and Yaslowitz were dead and Lacy — the brother of Jeff Lacy, former International Boxing Federation super middleweight champion — lay dead as well, either by his own hand or police bullets. A U.S. marshal whose name was not released was shot twice but was doing fine, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Tom Figmik said.

Officials said Lacy had a long record, with convictions for armed robbery and sexual battery. That suspect was killed by another detective.

Those officers were remembered Monday at a funeral where news of the St. Petersburg shootings added to the grief already palpable among the thousands gathered at AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said the 14 January deaths came after a "devastating spike" in law enforcement deaths last year, when 162 officers were killed in the line of duty, up from 117 in 2009. Of the 162 officers, 61 were shot, an increase of 24 percent from 2009.

On Sunday, a man opened fire inside a Detroit police precinct, wounding four officers including a commander before he was shot and killed by police. The officers' injuries were not considered life-threatening, Police Chief Ralph Godbee said.

Police officers in both Indianapolis and Lincoln City, Ore., were critically injured in shootings during traffic stops.

Ex-Minn. governor sues over body scans, pat-downs

MINNEAPOLIS – Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, alleging full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints violate his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Ventura is asking a federal judge in Minnesota to issue an injunction ordering officials to stop subjecting him to "warrantless and suspicionless" scans and body searches.

The lawsuit, which also names Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole as defendants, argues the searches are "unwarranted and unreasonable intrusions on Governor Ventura's personal privacy and dignity . and are a justifiable cause for him to be concerned for his personal health and well-being."

According to the lawsuit, Ventura received a hip replacement in 2008, and since then, his titanium implant has set off metal detectors at airport security checkpoints. The lawsuit said that prior to last November officials had used a non-invasive hand-held wand to scan his body as a secondary security measure.

But when Ventura set off the metal detector in November, he was instead subjected to a body pat-down and was not given the option of a scan with a hand-held wand or an exemption for being a frequent traveler, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said the pat-down "exposed him to humiliation and degradation through unwanted touching, gripping and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body."

It claims that under TSA's policy, Ventura will be required to either go through a full-body scanner or submit to a pat-down every time he travels because he will always set off the metal detector.

Ventura, who was Minnesota governor from 1999 through 2002 and is now the host of the television program "Conspiracy Theory," did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Napolitano said in December that the new technology and the pat-downs were "objectively safer for our traveling public."

The U.S. Attorney's Office did not immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment Monday.

The TSA's website says there are nearly 500 full-body scanners in use at 78 airports. The scanners show a traveler's physical contours on a computer screen that's viewed in a private room. Faces aren't shown, and the person's identity is supposedly not known to the screener reviewing the images.

Not all travelers are selected to go through the scanners, but the TSA requires people who decline to submit to pat-downs that include checks of the inside of their thighs and buttocks.

Stealth Mode: Making Yourself Nearly Invisible on Facebook

A: Facebook, as you're well aware by this point, has a history of privacy scandals. By early Monday morning the Facebook team had dialed back the change until further notice.

Some of the privacy issues have been just too much for users, resulting in cancelled accounts. But more and more organizations are joining the Facebook Connect network and incorporating the site's development tools into their own. If you're ready to move into Facebook stealth mode, follow these simple steps:

• Visit Facebook.com, log in to your profile and click 'Account' in the top-right corner. From there, choose 'Privacy Settings.'

• From the 'Privacy Settings' page, click on 'View Settings' to see who can search for you, send messages to your account, see your education and work settings and more. • Return to the 'Privacy Settings' page and choose 'Customize Settings' near the bottom of the page. This new page will load a number of different privacy options, but you'll want to click through each one and change the setting to 'Only Me' so that nobody else can see your Facebook activity.

• Return to the 'Privacy Settings' page and, under 'Apps and Websites' in the bottom-left corner, select 'Edit Your Settings.' This page shows all of the third-party websites and applications that you have given access to some of your Facebook information. • Stay on the 'Apps and Websites' page, scroll down to 'Instant Personalization' and select 'Edit Settings.' Uncheck the box at the bottom of this page to block other websites from accessing your Facebook interests. • Return to the 'Apps and Websites' page, scroll down to 'Public Search' and select 'Edit Settings.' To keep search engines from finding your Facebook profile, uncheck the box on this new screen.

Climber's history-making Denali quest turns life-threatening

Time is running out and conditions have turned life-threatening for Lonnie Dupre, who is attempting to become the first person to solo-climb Alaska's Mt. Denali, North America's tallest peak, during the brutally harsh month of January.

Dupre spent the past seven days holed up in a narrow snow cave at 17,200 feet -- Denali stands at 20,320 feet -- as 50-mph winds raged across the frozen landscape and temperatures reached 40 below.

On Tuesday afternoon, according to expedition manager Tom Surprenant, the climber took advantage of a brief favorable weather window -- a storm cleared and winds had subsided to 25 mph -- and descended to a larger cave that serves as a makeshift camp at 14,200 feet. Surprenant, who is headquartered in Talkeetna, Alaska, said during a phone interview that Dupre had been experiencing headaches and was in danger of developing mountain sickness and hypothermia because of prolonged exposure to high altitude and frigid temperatures.

In his latest audio report, posted Monday on his website via satellite phone, Dupre said he was growing weary because the air was so thin, and that he was having trouble keeping warm.

I can't climb up, and I can't climb down," said the renowned polar explorer from Grand Marais, Minnesota. Denali, also known as Mt. McKinley, is dangerous even in the summer because of unpredictable weather and vast crevasse fields. The danger level increases exponentially once winter sets in. Only nine expeditions have reached the summit during the winter; six deaths occurred during those trips.

Only four people have made solo-ascents during the winter but none accomplished this in January. One of them -- Japan's Naomi Uemura -- disappeared after planting a flag at the summit. Winds can exceed 100 mph and temperatures can plummet to 50 below.

Dupre began his journey Jan. 7 from the Kahiltna Glacier, at 7,200 feet, with enough supplies to last 38 days. Dupre, however, is no stranger to adversity or the frozen high-polar universe, through which he has traveled about 15,000 miles, including a kayaking expedition around Greenland and a dog-sled journey across the North Pole.

'Jersey Shore' Will Spend Season 4 in Italy

MTV's reality show "Jersey Shore" has become a true pop cultural phenomenon in this country, setting ratings records and creating tie-in merchandising opportunities — from iPhone apps to one (to date) bestselling novel — for its memorable stars. Now that these living cartoons have had their antics documented both in their native Jersey Shore and in Miami, network executives are thinking bigger: The cast will spend the show's just-greenlit fourth season in Italy.

Why Italy? MTV's press statement explained the move by saying "The cast is headed to the birthplace of the culture they love and live by," and indeed some of the cast members -- such as Vinny Guadagnino, whose family adheres to many Italian traditions -- have roots in Italy. (At least, I assume that's what his mostly literate tweet refers to.)

Moving the cast to Europe makes sense for much the same reasons Fox, back in the day, brought the second season of its phony reality competition "Joe Millionaire" to Europe. "Joe" producers couldn't count on finding a new group of American women who hadn't heard about Evan Marriott's Season 1 deception, so they rounded up some credulous European ladies to be wooed by alleged millionaire David Smith. So too must it be getting tougher for "Shore" producers to find people to interact normally with the cast of their alleged reality show; presumably, Italians will be able to respond naturally to Snooki's or J-WOWW's behavior, without tempering their actions according to their familiarity with the ladies' televised backstories.

James Garner to be featured Tuesday on PBS’ “Pioneers of Television”

Oklahoma native James Garner will be featured on Tuesday’s episode of the PBS series “Pioneers of Television,” according to NewsOK TV blogger Melissa Hayer. The Norman native, now 82, broke out with his portrayal of the charming gambler Bret Maverick on the 1957-60 Western TV series “Maverick.”

Here is the description of Tuesday’s episode on Westerns:

Known everywhere as the quintessential American cultural identity,
 Westerns filled small screens across the country night after night and
were some of the most successful television shows in history. Fess 
Parker’s portrayal of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett channeled the
 bravery, independence, honesty and rugged individualism of a young
 nation — and made Walt Disney enough money to build an empire. Westerns
 introduced James Garner, who starred in the television hit “Maverick,”
where he developed the reluctant hero character that would cement his
 successful TV and film career. This episode also examines the success of Robert
 Conrad in “The Wild Wild West,” the popularity of “Bonanza” and the 
creation of the classic series “Gunsmoke” with James Arness — one of
the longest-running television series of all time.

• Tonight’s new installment of the PBS series “Pioneers of Television” focuses on “Westerns.” Among those featured during the hour-long episode are Fess Parker, actor James Garner and Linda Evans who discusses strong female characters in “The Big Valley,” “The Wild Wild West,” Bonanza’,’ and Gunsmoke.’’

The speech will be carried on the networks, cable news channels and PBS.

• If you’re more interested in cupcakes than the State of the Union, tune to the Food Network (cable Channel 46) at 9 for a new episode of “Cupcake Wars.” Tonight, the bakers compete to have their delicious displays featured at the world renowned LA Auto Show.

• You can stick with the Food Network (cable Channel 46) at 10 for a new episode of “Chopped.” On tonight’s show, the chefs open their basket for the appetizer round to find a deckle of beef. Here’s the scoop: Rib-eye steak actually comes in two parts: The loin and the cap, or deckle. • There’s even more food available at 9 on the Travel Channel (cable Channel 41). On tonight’s new episode of “Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern,” Andrew samples Pennsylvania cuisine some may consider a little bizarre.

Television 'Pioneers' reflect again

James Arness, TV's biggest Western star, is in town for a grand event. Arness starred as Marshal Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" for 20 years.

Arness is in Green Bay for the dedication weekend of New City Stadium, today Lambeau Field.

The rest of the fascinating episode taps into numerous stars of the genre, including Arness, James Garner, Robert Culp, Robert Conrad, Fess Parker, Linda Evans and Rosey Grier.

Over time, more than 100 Western series ran on TV, the program says. The genre was part of America.

· Special screening: The award-winning TV documentary "The Hidden Homeless" will have a public showing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Neville Public Museum of Brown County.

Made in Green Bay, the documentary features four homeless Wisconsin teenagers.

If there weren't, Nick at Nite and TV Land likely wouldn't exist, nor would have the 2008 PBS miniseries "Pioneers of Television." -- "Star Trek."

On Jan. 25, "Westerns" recalls, among others, James Arness' long-running "Gunsmoke" and James Garner's "Maverick" and has Johnny Crawford waxing nostalgic about playing Chuck Connors' son on "The Rifleman."

"Finally, "Local Kids' TV" on Feb. 8 salutes children's shows including "Romper Room" and "Bozo's Circus" -- with "Today" staple Willard Scott having been one portrayer of the clown.

That said, "Pioneers of Television" is an informative and affectionate capsule of many moments in showbiz history, reaffirming the value of remembering the past.

Troy Aikman and wife separate

Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy says quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder is sore after he was hit during Sunday’s NFC championship game victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Packers quarterback appeared to take a shot on his right shoulder from Bears defensive back Danieal Manning during his 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.

Rodgers has had two concussions this season.

BIG RATINGS FOR LEAGUE TITLE GAMES: The AFC championship game earned its highest television rating in 14 years, while the NFC game also drew the best rating for the early conference championship game in the same span.

AGUILERA TO SING ANTHEM AT SUPER BOWL: Christina Aguilera will sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 6 in Texas.

The five-time Grammy award winning singer will be making an encore at the NFL championship. The previously announced halftime show will feature The Black Eyed Peas.

ROOF WILL BE CLOSED FOR BIG GAME: The retractable roof at $1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium will be closed for the Super Bowl.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said yesterday the decision was made well in advance of the Feb. 6 game so the league could have a “singular focus” on logistics.

NEWTON WORKING OUT WITH QB COACH: Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton is working with quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr. leading up to the NFL combine.

One of Newton’s agents, Bus Cook, said yesterday that Newton is in San Diego, Calif., with Whitfield, who worked with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his four-game suspension.

BENGALS WON’T TRADE QB PALMER: The Bengals aren’t willing to trade Carson Palmer, who wants to leave one of the NFL’s least-successful franchises while he’s still in his prime.

Palmer hasn’t talked to the media since making his trade request. SEARCH FOR REED’S BROTHER HALTED: A private search team called in by Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed and family members suspended a search of the Mississippi River late yesterday but planned to return “no matter the weather” at first light to continue looking for the body of Reed’s missing 28-year-old brother.

CROMARTIE GOES OFF ON UNION, NFL: Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie used an expletive to describe union and NFL leaders yesterday in his latest profanity-filled rant.

Cromartie is a free agent after his first season with the Jets.

AIKMAN, WIFE SEPARATE: Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and his wife have separated after more than a decade of marriage.

BRONCOS LAND NEW D-COORDINATOR: The Denver Broncos are turning to Dennis Allen to fix the league’s worst defense.

Allen served as New Orleans’ secondary coach the past five seasons.

DALLAS (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and his wife have separated after more than a decade of marriage.

Rhonda Aikman had a daughter from a previous marriage. Property records indicate Rhonda Aikman in November bought a five-bedroom home in a nearby neighborhood.

Aikman, on Feb. 6, is scheduled to be part of the Fox broadcast team for the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, with the Packers facing the Steelers.

Messages left Tuesday for Aikman were not immediately returned to The Associated Press.

The Game' Season 4, Episode 3 BET TV Show - 'The Wing King' Recap

Are you loving BET’s “The Game” season 4? Tonight’s episode was entitled “The Wing King.” Want to watch “The Game” season 4 episode 3 online? Here’s a link to BET’s “The Game” site, where video of “The Game” s04e03 will be posted after the show airs.

BET aired its sitcom "The Game" season 4, episode 3 on Tuesday, January 25, 2011. The latest episode was called "The Wing King" and focused on Malik's continuing problems as well as Melanie hosting an important charity event.
Malik hires a new assistant since "Tee Tee" isn't working for him any longer. Meanwhile, Malik's mother Tasha suggests he bring Tee Tee back to teach her the way things work around Malik's place. Malik continues to berate his former assistant, but Tee Tee just isn't having it. Melanie hosts a big charity benefit for young at-risk girls. Melanie volunteers Tasha and Erica to give talks to the girls. Melanie pulls Jasmine aside to confront her about encouraging the girls to be music video stars who sleep around. Jasmine snaps back, saying Melanie is no better for the way she married a football player.

Once the dust has settled and the event's over, Melanie talks about the success of the charity event. None of the other women want to volunteer, so Melanie asks Jasmine to show them all some music video dance moves.

Later on while out driving, a police officer pulls Malik over. The show ends with images of Malik's mugshot!

Obama's SOTU, Ryan's response, Bachmann's banality

Bachmann delivered her secondary response to the State of the Union speech into the camera of the Tea Party Express, which had invited her to speak and streamed the comments live. It continued during the responses, as CNN – the only news network that had made the decision to air the second, tea party response from Bachmann (R-Minn.) – put a big clock counting down the minutes until her response and then removed it when she got stuck behind the president’s motorcade, thus delaying the speech.

CNN had already made itself the talk of the political world when it announced its decision on Tuesday to air Bachmann’s tea party response, in addition to the official Republican response from Rep. Paul Ryan.

“Every network in the pool had the rights to the signal,” Feist said. One of the more interesting aspects of the night was Fox News’s decision not to air Bachmann’s speech live, but rather run it delayed on “On the Record with Greta van Susteren.” While Fox News was the cable news network most closely aligned with the tea party in the early days (aside from, perhaps, CNBC, who aired Rick Santelli’s original tea party-creating rant), CNN has aggressively moved to both cover and align itself with the tea party over the past year.

Both that decision and Tuesday’s decision to air Bachmann’s response have drawn flak from both the left and the right.

My nerd card was firmly in hand when I raced back to my hotel room to catch my favorite part of the State of the Union address: "Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States!" And then, well, the speech started. Not President Obama's best. Besides, he delivered a boffo speech earlier this month in Tucson.
Still, Obama delivered a decent, albeit non-rousing address while Speaker John Boehner hovered behind him looking like he was either late for a tee time, craving a cigarette (as many on Twitter suspected) or thirsty for a Merlot. Some African Americans have complained bitterly that the president always saves his lectures on parental responsibility for them. In speaking about the deficit commission he created -- and has kind of ignored since it produced a set of recommendations he didn't quite like -- Obama noted that it concluded that "the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it - in domestic spending, defense spending, health-care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes." Catch that? Spending through tax breaks and loopholes. Ending tax breaks and closing loopholes is raising taxes. Before I sign off, let me give props to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who delivered the Republican response to Obama's speech. Bachmann slammed President Obama's policies over the last two years and their failure to drop unemployment below 8 percent as promised. For instance, Bachmann ignored the fiscal calamity that began on Sept. 15, 2008.


Mary Harvey

This article explains a few things about , and if you're interested, then this is worth reading, because you can never tell what you don't know.

Sometimes the most important aspects of a subject are not immediately obvious. Keep reading to get the complete picture.

HARVEY, Mary A., 90, of Wellsburg, WV, passed away on January 20, 2011 in Wheeling Medical Park Hospital.

Mary was born on April 21, 1920 in Wellsburg, WV, a daughter of the late Harry A. and Margaret West Davis. She is also, preceded in death by her husband, William A. Harvey on February 8, 1975, and three brothers, and one sister.

Mary was a member of St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church in Wellsburg. She was a retired Site Manager of the Brooke Senior Nutrition Program, and member of the Altar and Rosary Society. Mary was devoted to St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church, and was also devoted to WVU and the Steelers.

Surviving are: Son, William C. Harvey and wife Mary Beth of Wellsburg, WV; Daughter, Christina Hollis and husband, Regis of Hopewell Township, PA; six Grandchildren: Bob Hollis, Mary Beth Cordeiro, Suzanne Hollis Hernandez, Mike Hollis, Zak and Zane Harvey; nine Great-Grandchildren; Beloved friend, and caregiver, Debby Leonard and longtime friend, Rose Stone, her beautician.

Friends will be received on Sunday, January 23, 2011 from 1-5 p.m.. and on Monday, January 24, 2011 from 1-2 p.m. at the Chambers Funeral Home, 1030 Main St. Wellsburg, WV.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, January 24, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church with Father Vincent Joseph as celebrant.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church, 1300 Charles St. Wellsburg, WV 26070.

You can't predict when knowing something extra about will come in handy. If you learned anything new about &keyword% in this article, you should file the article where you can find it again.

Oprah Secret in Family: Did Her 'Ilegitimate' Baby Really Die?

If you have even a passing interest in the topic of , then you should take a look at the following information. This enlightening article presents some of the latest news on the subject of .

Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there's more to than you may have first thought.

Is the Oprah secret in her family she is revealing today about being reunited with an illegitimate baby she thought was dead when she delivered it at 14? Perhaps, Winfrey's recent interview with Piers Morgan holds the key to today's announcement.

She was once a reporter, who lived in a life of obscurity, but would one day become one of the wealthiest and most respected human beings in the world.

From her humble beginnings, Oprah Winfrey understood the importance of family, and her recent revelation about a family secret has the world on edge, waiting for the "shot that could be heard from around the world". What is the Oprah secret in her family?

According to CBS News, correspondent Michelle Miller offers some insight into what the talk-show queen could have in store for television viewers on Monday. She reminded readers what Oprah said about recent news she received that “shook her to her core”.

Oprah, on her family secret said that she "was given some news that literally shook me to my core. … I've been keeping a family secret for months, and you're gonna hear it straight from me.” She went on to say that she would be "reunited" with someone. But who is this person?

Could it be that her father Vernon Winfrey is not really her blood dad? Perhaps the answer in the Oprah secret about her family lies in the Piers Morgan interview she gave recently.

When she sat down with the CNN host, she told Morgan about some "Color Purple" type of things that happened in her life off screen. Winfrey is the victim of child sexual abuse and an early pregnancy.

At 14, Oprah Winfrey became pregnant. Fearing shame and punishment from her strict father, she decided to conceal the pregnancy; especially after hearing her father lay down the laws of the land in the household. Unaware of Oprah's secret, her father said:

"I would rather see a daughter of mine floating down the Cumberland River than to bring shame on this family and the indecency of an illegitimate child."

She tried to hide her growing belly, but was hospitalized when her ankles became so swollen, it made walking almost unbearable. That's when she lost her child. Or did she?

Could the baby have been born, and for the greater good of her life and society's, she was not told about the child, who was placed in protective custody or up for adoption? That appears to be the likely scenario, given the fact that anything else would not be that big of a bombshell. Laws and the times were much different during that time.

That's how things stand right now. Keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest news.

Oprah was pregnant at 14

Have you ever wondered if what you know about is accurate? Consider the following paragraphs and compare what you know to the latest info on .

If your facts are out-of-date, how will that affect your actions and decisions? Make certain you don't let important information slip by you.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey talks to Piers Morgan on his new primetime evening show "Piers Morgan Tonight" on CNN International. Excerpts from the interview...

Do you ever get surreal moments when you wake up and you go – 'Bloody hell, I'm Oprah Winfrey!'
I don't do "Bloody hell, I'm Oprah Winfrey." But I had a surreal moment when my new network launched. I had been working and working to make it happen. And while having brunch on January 1st, I saw my show on TV and I saw the logo and I'm standing there looking at myself. And I was like – 'What is that? That is a network!' It's not just a logo. It's not just an idea. It's not just all the planning sessions we've had. Oh, my gosh. Then I started to cry.

Everything Oprah touches turns to gold. A top talk show for 25 years, millions reading her magazine, and now her own network. What is your 'brand'?
I'm the love brand. Ultimately everything I am saying whether it's in my magazine, whether it's on the radio, whether it's the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and everything now about the channel OWN is about opening your space, your heart space, so that you can love more. That's really all money is for. Money is worth nothing if it can't buy you the opportunity to love more.

And how many times have you been properly in love?
That's a good question. You know what's good about it?
'Properly.' Three.

Who are they?
I'm not naming them, so they can call me up tomorrow and say 'Are you kidding? I broke Oprah's heart?' When I look back at the relationship that I thought really broke my heart was when I was keeping a journal. Keeping a journal is – you get to see yourself and how you are evolving as a human being. I remember having a ceremony in my head for that woman. When I look back now, I hold no remorse or bitterness toward that person even though I was like, 'You didn't call and you don't love me and I can't believe.' And I still have all those crazy letters. I should burn them. I don't know. I just kept them. I haven't read them in years. They're in a safety deposit box somewhere. I should burn them now.

Do you never hanker for the wedding dress and the church and bells and the big cake?
And that's why everybody's getting married because you get the hankering for the cake and the wedding dress, throw yourself a big party and a really nice gown. But I am a different kind of woman – I am pretty assured that had I married, I wouldn't have remained married because it takes a very different kind of a person to put up with all of that. I want to make you a meal when I want to make you a meal. And I don't want it to be my responsibility to make you a meal.

At 14 years of age you lost a baby. Now, do you ever wonder what would have happened if you had that child?
No. I knew that me getting pregnant was the result of bad choices, and not having boundaries, and the abuse – sexual abuse from the time I was 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. And also, becoming a promiscuous teenager running the streets and be put in the detention home and all of that. So I knew that when I lost that baby, for whom I had no connection to whatsoever, I would have to say – I was 14-years old and felt nothing but relief because I thought before the baby was born I'm going to have to kill myself. My mother had said, 'You can't stay here.' So I had to move to live with my father in Nashville.

And I hid the whole thing from my father. And I was able to do it because I was coming from a different state and I hadn't been there since I was nine years old.

Some say without your backing perhaps Barack Obama wouldn't have become president. It was a hugely significant moment for his campaign. And it showed the power of your influence...
I don't know what impact or influence I had. From the time I saw him at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, I felt something. Something inside of me was struck. What I felt was that – This man is going to be the President of the United States one day, and I hope I'm alive to see it. And if I am alive to see it, I want to be a part of that.

A lot of people would say, if you ran for president, you'd win...
It's not true. If you are living in the ego of yourself, it's flattering to hear that. But I cannot for one single second. But I know where my lane is and I know how to stay in my lane. My lane is evolving the consciousness of people, getting people to see the best of themselves and, therefore, the best in other people. I might be in a position to talk to – to be an adviser. But I'm not in any position or qualified to run a country, a city, a town hall meeting.

Of course, it's impossible to put everything about into just one article. But you can't deny that you've just added to your understanding about , and that's time well spent.

Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2011 Winter Press Tour Wrap-Up: Kneel Before Oprah!

If you're seriously interested in knowing about , you need to think beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at things you need to know about .

Those of you not familiar with the latest on now have at least a basic understanding. But there's more to come.

The TCA Winter Press Tour is an event which never quite seems to live up to the TCA Summer Press Tour…but, then, that stands to reason, as the mid-season series rarely match the ones which hit the airwaves in the fall, right? Still, the experience never fails to be one which I enjoy, mostly because you never know what's going to be around the corner, and Day 1 really set the stage for that: during the course of 12 hours, I interviewed Betty White, Henry Rollins, and Bruce Jenner, and, thanks to National Geographic, I wore a giant snake around my neck. I suppose it's a testament to how many famous people I've met over the years, though, that one of the biggest reasons I look forward to the tour is not because of who I might interview but, rather, because I'll get the chance to hang out with the friends I've made within the TCA. Swear to God.
Most entertaining panel by a broadcast network: "Made in Spain" (PBS)
Most entertaining panel by a cable network: "An Idiot Abroad" (Science Channel)
In retrospect, there's no way they could've been funnier if they'd actually been onsite. Most annoying panel: "Platinum Hit" (Bravo)
Between Kara DioGuardi handling a question about "American Idol" about as poorly as she possibly could have – read more about that here – and Jewel dropping names like they were hot potatoes ("I was talking to Steven Spielberg), I'm hard pressed to think of any panel that left a worse taste in my mouth.
Panel which had the least need for an audience: "The Best of Laugh-In" (PBS)
It wasn't entirely surprising that a panel consisting of Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens and George Schlatter would be able keep things moving along without any of the critics in attendance actually needing to ask a question, but they kept passing the conversational ball back and forth until someone in the crowd finally had to stand up and ask if it was okay to ask a question. Schlatter instantly shot back, "We're trying to talk here!" Laughter ensued, as did plenty of questions about the history of "Laugh-In." "Are you guys having fun?" Funniest panel that you probably had to be there to appreciate: "Community" (NBC)
If I tried to tell you about it, though, you'd probably just stare blankly at me. Greatest Moment of Complete Honesty During the Tour: When I approached Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock") to ask him a question, he agreed, but then he looked down at my recorder and said, "Oh, my! Most common recurring question during the panels: "Who's the moral center of your show?"
Most promising new cable program that I didn't know much about before going into the tour: "Too Big to Fail" (HBO)
Least promising new broadcast network program that I didn't know anything about before going into the tour: "America's Next Great Restaurant" (NBC)
One of the critics asked, "Do you remember Rocco's DiSpirito's TV show, 'The Restaurant'?" Who cares?
My best opening salvo for an interview: telling Malcolm McDowell that I really loved his audio commentary for "Caligula."
Favorite moment during a one-on-one interview: Phil Morris channeling the spirit of Lord Buckley.
We were talking about the character of Jackie Chiles, which Morris played on "Seinfeld" and has recently revived for FunnyOrDie.com. Morris – now on TV One's "Love That Girl!" Morris burst out laughing and offered a fist bump, praising me for "digging deep," but I dare say the same praise could be lavished on him as well.
Favorite one-on-one interview overall: Tyler Labine, "Mad Love" (CBS)
I met him during my first TCA tour in 2007, back when he was pimping the premiere of "Reaper," and between Facebook, phoners, and further TCA events…well, I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to say we're friends, but we've definitely built a comfortable rapport when it comes to our conversations. Most intimidating roundtable interview: Tommy Lee Jones, "The Sunset Limited" (HBO)
How do you turn down the chance to sit in the presence of that guy? I've already answered that question." Least successful one-on-one interview: Mike Tyson, "Taking on Tyson" (Animal Planet)
When he swaggered into the evening event which was held by the OWN Network but encompassed all members of the Discovery Channel family, I thought, "Okay, I work for a guys' website: I have to talk to Mike Tyson." I approached him and asked him a question revolving around how he's suddenly a media presence again, first with "The Hangover" and now with this new series. My 7 Favorite Cheap Thrills of the Tour:
1. Meeting the Fonz. I'm thrilled for him, though, that the work offers are coming in fast and furious: he was at the tour as a cast member for both Adult Swim's "Childrens Hospital" and USA's "Royal Pains."
I'm pretty sure this means I'll never get cancer!

3. Calling Elijah Wood on **** up my shopping at Amoeba Music last tour. Wood was at the Fox party to promote his new FX series, "Wilfred," and when I found a chance to chat with him, I said, "First, I've got a photo I want to show you." "Yeah," I replied, "and you were also totally blocking the bargain bin. That totally sucked." 4. Interviewing Paris Hilton. 5. Successfully asking Jerry Rice a question about football, despite the fact that I don't know anything about football, let alone Jerry Rice. The only time his family's TV series came up was when one of his daughters called to tell him that they'd won the People's Choice Award for Guilty Pleasure…and it didn't even occur to me to ask which daughter!
Most awesome visit to the set of a network show: "Parks & Recreation" (NBC)
Sweet! That dude is awesome!" Most awesome visit to the set of a basic cable show: "Conan," TBS
Best piece of swag: If you were to ask my daughter, it'd probably be the game of Jenga that was offered up during Fox's "Raising Hope" breakfast, which, although she'd never played it before I brought it home, has taken to it like a duck to water. I've been a member of the TCA since 2007, and I think I've been able to fit into maybe two of the 50+ promotional shirts I've gotten in that time. Thank God I was given advance warning that it was waiting in the room for me…
Best off-site visit that wasn't connected to the tour: to The Vanguard for the taping of two episodes of "The Green Room with Paul Provenza."
Let's do other stuff." What an incredible evening: free food, an open bar (I don't mind telling you that the Newcastle was going down smoooooooth), and some seriously funny people, including Lewis Black, Ron White, Kathleen Madigan, Jamie Kilstein, Richard Lewis, Margaret Cho, Jeffrey Ross, and Kumail Nanjiani. Other comedians, including Rick Overton, Doug Stanhope, and David Feldman, were in the house, as were Sugar Ray Leonard and Ron Jeremy.
I think my personal favorite one-liner came when Ron White denied being an alcoholic, explaining, "I only drink when I work," then adding, "But I am a workaholic." ("Hey, look, Ron Jeremy must have an erection! Good times, to be sure.
Most awesome live performance of the tour: David Foster, promoting "Great Performances: Hitman Returns – David Foster and Friends" for PBS.
PBS really did right by us on this tour. Best party: Fox
Most pleasantly surprising party: Hallmark Channel
Worst party: ABC / CBS (tie)
I understand that the networks don't feel the need to go quite as all-out with their winter tour functions as they do during the summer, but the ABC and CBS network families took cost-cutting to a depressing low. Okay, I understand why ABC would only offer up talent from their mid-season shows, but given that most TCA members only get out to the west coast twice a year, it was depressing not to have the chance to interview cast members from their other series. Meanwhile, CBS didn't even have a party. Most annoying moment of the tour: having Sara Rue's personal publicist start tapping her watch at about 90 seconds into my attempt to interview her client.
I love Sara Rue. Having little choice in the matter, I wrapped the interview and thanked Rue, who seemed to have enjoyed our short time together, but my plans to do a full-length piece offering a look at "Shedding for the Wedding" as well as an exploration of Rue's earlier career had been shot all to hell.
Next TCA tour, though, I'm thinking about wearing a t-shirt to all press events which reads, "Just because you don't know me doesn't mean I suck."
Okay, last time I ended on my most annoying moment of the tour, and it felt woefully anticlimactic, so this time I'm going to end with a few laughs and offer up…
The Top 11 Quotes from the TCA Tour (one for each day of the tour):
I knew I was coming here to share time at PBS, but all of a sudden it's, like, 'The room is going to be full of TV critics.' Great: all my life dealing with food critics one by one, and now I'm going to have to be dealing with an entire room of TV critics…?" – Jose Andres, "Made in Spain" (PBS)
2. "What is this Betty White business? – Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land)
3. "Betty White is in the building. – Ed Asner, "Working Class" (CMT)
– Rob Corddry, "Children's Hospital" (Adult Swim)
I'm here to talk about pigeons and stuff. – Mike Tyson, "Taking on Tyson" (Animal Planet)
6. "If Oprah would have asked me to ride a unicycle naked and backwards at night, I would have asked her, 'Where do I sign up?' It's Oprah." – Mark Burnett, Your OWN Show (OWN)
They've already got Bryant Gumbel. – Oprah Winfrey, Owner of OWN
– Julie Bowen, "Modern Family" (ABC)
Steven Tyler: Fuck no. (Pauses) I question whether I should have done that just now.
– Robert King, "The Good Wife" (CBS)
11. "Do you guys ask questions for a profession? You're pretty good. You don't look like much as a group, but…good questions." – Steve Young, "Year of the Quarterback" (ESPN)

It never hurts to be well-informed with the latest on . Compare what you've learned here to future articles so that you can stay alert to changes in the area of .

Oprah Winfrey reveals she has a long-lost half-sister

In today's world, it seems that almost any topic is open for debate. While I was gathering facts for this article, I was quite surprised to find some of the issues I thought were settled are actually still being openly discussed.

If you find yourself confused by what you've read to this point, don't despair. Everything should be crystal clear by the time you finish.

In what she called a “beloved moment,” Oprah tearfully introduced a half sister she learned about last October to the world yesterday on her TV show.

“I was shocked to find out that I have another sister living 90 minutes away,” Oprah, 56, said. “My mother never told anyone of us that she had given up a baby for adoption” in 1963.

Patricia was born to Vernita Lee when Oprah was nine and living with her father. Lee said she left her newborn at a Milwaukee hospital because she “wasn’t able to take care of her.”

Patricia was in foster care until age seven, when she was adopted, but she said life was “difficult.” She said “it hurt” that Lee rejected two requests to meet her.

The world’s first female black billionaire’s eyes welled up when she noted that Patricia and her adult children, Aquarius, and Andre, had known they were related to her since 2007, but never went public. It is rare indeed, said Oprah, to be in the public eye and not have people “betray you and take advantage of you.”

“It’s family business and needs to be handled by family,” said her soft-spoken half-sister.

In a bizarre coincidence, Oprah had another half-sister, also named Patricia (Lloyd) who also lived in Milwaukee, but who died of a drug overdose in 2003. Patricia Lloyd had taken money from tabloids to dish details of Oprah’s childhood, revealing that Oprah had a baby at age 14, who died within days. Oprah’s half-brother Jeffrey Lee died of AIDS in 1988, and Oprah believed she had no surviving siblings.

Oprah said she met her newly revealed half sister for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. As Patricia Lloyd forced Oprah to release shame over her teenage pregnancy, Patricia released Lee from the shame of being an unwed mother in 1963, Oprah said. “Freedom to all – that’s what you brought into our lives,” Oprah told her new found sister.

Take time to consider the points presented above. What you learn may help you overcome your hesitation to take action.

What's Oprah Winfrey's Life-Changing Family Secret?

The best course of action to take sometimes isn't clear until you've listed and considered your alternatives. The following paragraphs should help clue you in to what the experts think is significant.

If you don't have accurate details regarding , then you might make a bad choice on the subject. Don't let that happen: keep reading.

Oprah Winfrey may be in the homestretch of her final season on air, but she proved today that she's still got the power to send shockwaves through not only her audience, but the country, revealing her family's long-kept (and shocking) secret.

So what is it?

VIDEO: What did Oprah reveal to Piers Morgan?

Oprah's got a sister!

The bombshell, which Winfrey herself only learned about in November, was disclosed this morning.

A Milwaukee woman named Patricia was revealed to be Oprah's half-sister—through mother Vernita Lee, not father Vernon Winfrey, Oprah was keen to point out—after her mother gave the woman up for adoption shortly after her birth in 1963.

"I thought I'd heard everything," Winfrey said at the show's start. "I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. Just before Thanksgiving, I was given some news that literally shook me to my core.

"There is no way a story like this wouldn't get out in the press and wouldn't get exploited," she said, explaining why she chose to reveal the news on her show. "It is true. I wanted you to hear it from me first."

Patricia's story unspooled like a mystery. She lived in foster homes until the age of 7, and eventually discovered that she had three other siblings. On her adoption documents, it said that her oldest sister lived with her father in Tennessee.

Going through her adoption agency, she sought out her birth mother, whose identity she did not know at the time. After multiple attempts at contact, she was informed that the birth mother did not want to meet her.

Just moments after her second rejection, Patricia was watching television and (talk about your aha moments) at that very minute, an interview with Winfrey's mother Vernita came on. In it, Vernita revealed details about her other two children, Jeffrey and Pat, both of whom had since passed, which matched up with details on Patricia's adoption records. (Bizarrely, Vernita later said that she did not name Patricia before giving her up for adoption...the naming similarity was simply a coincidence.)

"I said, no," Patricia recalled. "I said, that can't be...We realized that Oprah could be my sister."

True it was, however, and after that moment in 2007, Patricia sought out one of Oprah's nieces who ran a nearby restaurant. A DNA test was taken and it came out a positive match.

"Here's how I was told," Oprah said. "They say there's something in the family you need to know about."

After countless back-and-forths on email and numerous rounds of phone tag, "Finally I said to my assistant Libby, what is going on in this family? She says, 'You have a sister.' And I'm like, what? That is how I found out.

"I call my mother, literally confront my mother with this story. 'Is this true, is this true?' She said, 'Oh, yes.' "

So Oprah and her longtime partner Stedman Graham drove up to Milwaukee to spend Thanksgiving dinner with Patricia and her family.

"It was a beloved moment, if you know what I mean," she said. "I'll tell you what is so remarkable about you...it's gonna make me cry, so be patient.

"Since I have been a person known in the public, there have been few times when I've been anywhere and not been sold out…What is so extraordinary is they have known this secret since 2007...She never once thought to go to the press. She never once thought to sell this story."

When word gets around about your command of facts, others who need to know about will start to actively seek you out.

Oprah s Sister: Yet Another Secret Pregnancy??

Are you looking for some inside information on ? Here's an up-to-date report from experts who should know.

You can see that there's practical value in learning more about . Can you think of ways to apply what's been covered so far?

I have sometimes wondered why Oprah Winfrey never had children. She seems so warm, so generous, buying her audience cars and trips to Australia. It’s like she’s the whole world’s mother. For an hour a day. Minus commercial breaks. Yet Oprah has always seemed turned off by the idea of motherhood. And the last week has given us some seriously disturbing insight into Oprah’s secret past and let’s just say I kind of understand why this woman might not have been in a huge hurry to go and start her own family. First Oprah’s secret teen pregnancy. Now Oprah’s secret half sister?

Oprah’s own teen pregnancy was hidden from her father when she was sent to live with him after being raised by her mother up to the age of 9. It’s not clear whether what Oprah revealed today was unrelated to her change in custody or if it may give us a little insight into why she was sent away in the first place.

Apparently Oprah’s mother, Vernita Lee, was pregnant and gave birth to a sister when Oprah was 9. The sister was given up for adoption, and Oprah never knew that she existed. In fact, she never even knew her mother was pregnant. Oprah became aware of her half sister only recently, and she, her mother and her half sister were reunited today on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The TV appearance implies that Oprah is willing to forgive her mother for concealing her pregnancy, but I can’t even imagine how it would feel to experience this degree of deception. It’s truly like a plot from a soap opera, where someone is sent away and comes back with a fully grown child! I am glad to see that Oprah has been reunited with her sister Patricia and seems to be happy about it.

If you've picked some pointers about that you can put into action, then by all means, do so. You won't really be able to gain any benefits from your new knowledge if you don't use it.

Take the State of the Union 2011 Trivia Quiz

Have you ever wondered if what you know about is accurate? Consider the following paragraphs and compare what you know to the latest info on .

How can you put a limit on learning more? The next section may contain that one little bit of wisdom that changes everything.

So you think you know everything there is to know about the State of the Union? Well, here's an opportunity to test your knowledge on the message from the President that the Constitution says must be given "from time to time."

This article's coverage of the information is as complete as it can be today. But you should always leave open the possibility that future research could uncover new facts.


Bitter cold hits Northeast, woman dies in driveway

When you're learning about something new, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of relevant information available. This informative article should help you focus on the central points.

Those of you not familiar with the latest on now have at least a basic understanding. But there's more to come.

NEW YORK – An arctic blast from Canada is responsible for some of the frigid temperatures in the northern U.S. and some of the coldest air to hit the Northeast in two years.

The cold was linked to at least two deaths in the Northeast, including that of a woman whose frozen body was found in a driveway.

Temperatures were projected to fall well below zero across New England on Sunday night as a high-pressure area builds over the region. The coldest spots will dip to less than 30 degrees below zero, with the wind chill expected to drop to 51 below zero in some places, the National Weather Service said.

"This is the coldest air we've had in about two years," said Michael Hill, a weather service meteorologist in Caribou, Maine.

Emergency management agencies were urging residents to bundle up and heat their homes safely. Shelters were preparing for an increase in the number of people wanting to get out of the cold, and authorities in Maine and Pennsylvania waived restrictions on heating oil delivery.

Northern New England is used to cold winters; a remote site in northern Maine recorded a minus 50 reading on Jan. 16, 2009, that tied a 1933 record set in Vermont for the coldest temperature recorded in New England.

But last year's relatively warm winter provided a respite from the dangerously cold temperatures that are being forecast for early this week. Temperatures are expected to rise somewhat Tuesday before reaching seasonable levels Wednesday.

Though a high of 24 was forecast for New York's Central Park on Sunday, wind chills made daytime temperatures feel more like 3 to 7.

The National Weather Service predicted a high of 19 on Monday, meteorologist Joe Pollina said. That's the coldest it's been in New York City since Jan. 16, 2009, when the high was 16.

In Philadelphia, the city extended an alert issued Thursday that gives officials the power to go out onto the streets and bring in homeless people to shelters because the weather conditions pose a threat of serious harm or death.

About 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia, a man died after spending the night in his car in frigid temperatures in Lansford, and his wife found him Saturday morning. Temperatures had dropped into the single digits overnight, Lansford police Detective Jack Soberick said, but it's unclear why 49-year-old Alan Kurtz had slept in his car.

In North Haven, Conn., a woman's frozen body was found in a home's driveway Sunday morning after a neighbor called police. Denise O'Hara apparently fell in a driveway and froze to death Saturday night, when temperatures were close to zero, police said.

In Pittsburgh, where the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the New York Jets in the NFL playoffs Sunday evening, the temperature was about 13 degrees at game time.

That's the latest from the authorities. Once you're familiar with these ideas, you'll be ready to move to the next level.

4 Renovations That Will Devalue Your Home

If you're seriously interested in knowing about , you need to think beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at things you need to know about .

Sometimes the most important aspects of a subject are not immediately obvious. Keep reading to get the complete picture.

Most homeowners think that all renovations or home improvement project ideas will increase the value of their property. After all, who wouldn't love a super-deluxe kitchen, or a bathroom fancy enough to be in a five-star spa? Sure, we'd all love that. But the problem is that most people don't want to pay extra for someone else's pet project when it comes to buying a home.

[Click here to check home equity rates in your area.]

Homeowners should of course invest in renovations that are going to make them happy and improve quality of life. It is "home" after all! But if you're going to be putting your home on the market any time soon or are in the business of flipping houses, certain upgrades could end up doing you more harm than good.

If you think you might be selling your home sooner than later, here are four improvements to avoid:

1. Over-the-Top Kitchen Renovations

You may love gourmet cooking, so a $30,000 kitchen upgrade might be just to your liking. But this could be a turnoff for potential buyers who aren't crazy about cooking. To them, the restaurant-sized stainless-steel stove, kitchen island and fridge just seem excessive, and they're not going to want to pay for them. Instead, they'll pass on your home and end up buying one with a regular kitchen.

[See Remodeling Projects that Will Increase the Value of Your Home]

Take a look at some kitchen remodeling ideas on a budget. You can still enjoy an upgraded kitchen without going overboard and compromising the value of your home. In fact, remodeling a kitchen for less than $1,000 is definitely a possibility.

2. Over-the-Top Bathroom Renovations

That ultra-deep jacuzzi tub and custom Kohler 360-degree shower you just installed might make your mornings a blast. But to budget or eco-minded buyers, all that water use is going to be a serious drawback. As with your kitchen, keep your bathroom remodeling ideas modest if you think you'll be putting your home on the market any time soon.

3. A Pool or Hot Tub

Yes, a pool addition can add significant value to your home (11 percent on average in the Southwest, but only 6 percent in the Midwest where the swimming season is much shorter). If it's above-ground, though, then knock 2 percent of your home's purchase price, since they're less appealing than in-ground pools. The problem is that pools are polarizing. There are constant swimming pool costs ($1,500 on average per year) and they require a lot of maintenance.

They're also a liability, especially for families with young children, and could affect your homeowners insurance coverage. Pools will limit how many people want to buy your home, so keep that in mind before you have one installed (or consider buying a home with an existing pool).

[See the New Rules of Remodeling]

4. Overly Specialized Rooms

So, you just tore down the garage (which you never used) and built a four-season sunroom which resembles an English manor conservatory. You're thrilled, but your potential buyers are going to be rolling their eyes. Where are they going to park the car and store the lawn mower and all their kids' sport equipment? Installing nontraditional customized rooms (like indoor basketball courts or a basement music studio) is great if you're going to be in your home for awhile. But potential buyers are likely to see this as a waste of space, and a project (and expense) they'll have to deal with if they buy your home.

Final Word

We all want to live in a home that reflects our tastes and interests, and our homes should be exactly how we want them to be. Just keep in mind that if you plan to sell your home in the near future, those upgrades and expensive renovations might end up devaluing the home you're trying to sell for top dollar.

It never hurts to be well-informed with the latest on . Compare what you've learned here to future articles so that you can stay alert to changes in the area of .

8 Surprising Energy Sappers

Are you looking for some inside information on ? Here's an up-to-date report from experts who should know.

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you're fully informed about , keep reading.

Low energy is a common complaint among SELF readers and women in general, and it seems like our energy lags more than usual in January. Which makes sense for a number of reasons: The hectic holiday fun is over and it’s cold and gray outside, so we stay cooped up indoors, getting less exercise and likely eating more of the hearty comfort food that leaves us too full and groggy. But if you feel like you’re dragging more than you should be and the usual pick-me-ups aren’t working—a better night’s sleep, extra cup of coffee, brisk outdoor jog (if you haven’t tried this, you should—one study at the University of Rochester found that students who spent a mere 20 minutes a day outside felt much more energetic)—there might be something else going on with your health or daily habits that deserves your attention. Pick up your pace today with these fast fixes from top experts that shift you out of slow-mo.

Energy sapper: your breakfast menu
Missing a morning meal slows metabolism and depletes your body of the fuel it needs to function optimally, explains nutrition expert Joy Bauer, R.D. But what you eat matters as much as the fact that you eat something. Bauer suggests starting each day with a breakfast that contains at least 5 grams of protein. This nutrient activates the production of norepinephrine, a neurochemical that increases heart rate and alertness. It also digests slowly so blood sugar and energy levels stay stable. Some tasty recipes: a cup of cereal (with 3 g or more of fiber, no more than 120 calories per serving) topped with skim milk, 1/2 cup of blueberries and 1 tablespoon of chopped walnuts (10 g of protein per serving), or an omelet made with 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup chopped broccoli, 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1 ounce lowfat shredded cheese (22 g of protein per serving).

Energy sapper: your outfit
Those killer heels and pencil skirts may look polished and professional, but if you’re sacrificing comfort for fashion, they can also turn you into the office sloth. Workers took an average of 491 fewer steps on days they wore more formal business attire compared with dress-down days, according to research commissioned by the American Council on Exercise in San Diego. And using less energy leads to having less energy, says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer with ACE: “Sitting at your desk all day slows circulation, so less energizing oxygen is delivered to cells throughout your body.” Wear clothes that allow for movement and cushy footwear instead of uncomfortable heels to the office so you’ll be more likely to walk around. If you can’t part with your stilettos, keep them on at work, then slip into flats or low-heeled shoes for a lunch-break walk outdoors and your commute.

Energy sapper: your worrying
Credit card debt, a micromanaging boss—long-term stressors such as these can leave you spent. “Chronic stress increases heart rate and blood pressure, making your body work overtime,” explains Nieca Goldberg, M.D., director of the New York University Langone Medical Center Women’s Heart Program in New York City. “When you’re on edge, you also tend to tighten your muscles, which sets you up for aches and fatigue.” What’s more, worriers often take shallow breaths, so they don’t take in enough oxygen, Dr. Goldberg says. “You’re essentially hyperventilating and building up carbon dioxide in your blood, a waste product that can make you feel tired and dizzy.” When anxiety strikes, take three slow, deep breaths to give your body a big dose of energizing oxygen while slowing down a rapid heart rate. Then, as soon as you have a few minutes of downtime, do something distracting that feels good, like talking to a friend or watching a funny movie.

Energy sapper: your messy desk
Digging through piles of unorganized paperwork is a time and energy stealer in and of itself, but merely the sight of those stacks can stress you out, decrease efficiency and drain your brain, says Carol Landau, Ph.D., clinical professor of psychiatry and medicine at Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island. While a little disarray is OK, in general, your desk should hold only items that you use very frequently—your computer or stapler—and the paperwork you’re working on that day,” notes Laura Stack, author of The Exhaustion Cure (Random House). Nonessential items—a labeler and a three-hole punch—can go in a drawer. To keep your desk clear, spend five minutes at the end of each day putting documents you’re working on in a neat pile and filing away the rest.

Energy sapper: your Saturday sleep-ins
“Bingeing on sleep on weekends to catch up on missed zzz’s throws off your circadian rhythm, your body’s 24-hour clock that plays a key role in sleep and wakefulness,” says Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., author of The Woman’s Book of Sleep (New Harbinger Publications). Sleeping in—and hitting the hay that night later than usual as a result—also makes it hard to readjust to your workweek routine, so you start Mondays in a fog. Strive to get up within the same 60-minute range both days: Oversleeping by more than one hour significantly disrupts your body clock. Still wake up with a case of the groggies? Open your bedroom shades as soon as your alarm goes off. The sunlight sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to get up.

Energy sapper: your lack of vitamin C
About 30 percent of women don’t get enough vitamin C, and too-low levels can zap your energy. That’s because vitamin C helps produce carnitine, a molecule that shuttles fatty acids into cells where they’re burned for energy, says Carol Johnston, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Arizona State University at Mesa. “Lack of carnitine forces the body to use carbs or protein for energy instead. That can cause your body to produce lactic acid, a waste product that builds up in tissue and fatigues muscles.” Aim to get the recommended daily allowance of 75 mg of C daily by noshing on naturally rich sources such as an orange or a kiwifruit (both have about 70 mg per fruit), broccoli (1 cup chopped: 74 mg) or strawberries (1 cup: 89 mg).

Energy sapper: your stuck-in-a-rut routine
Grandma was right: Variety is the spice of life. “We all crave diversity and challenge,” Steven Berglas, Ph.D and author of Reclaiming the Fire: How Successful People Overcome Burnout says. “When there’s no challenge in completing a task, you go on autopilot—it’s mind-numbing.” If job monotony is dragging you down, ask your boss for more or different responsibilities, or have lunch with someone in another department to find out if her type of job is something you’d like to explore, Berglas suggests. Blasé about your daily regimen? Simple change-ups can deliver some rut-busting benefits. For instance, find an alternate route home (and stop at a park or shop that grabs your eye along the way); sign up for a language, pottery or photography class to get your brain chomping on something new; or trade the treadmill for a fun circuit training class.

Energy sapper: your sluggish thyroid
Found at the base of the throat, this gland secretes hormones that help control metabolism, heart rate and more. “The less active your thyroid is in producing hormones, the slower your metabolism and the less energy you have,” says Stephen Richardson, M.D., an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. Other telltale signs of an underactive thyroid include constipation, menstrual irregularities and dry skin, hair and nails. A blood test can reveal whether your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone are high—a sign that the thyroid isn’t working up to speed. If they are, your M.D. can help pinpoint and treat whatever is elevating them; a viral infection or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) are potential culprits. If your gland can’t do its job, you may need to take a daily synthetic thyroid hormone pill. Fortunately, once those hormones are back in balance, your lethargy will disappear. In the meantime, try relaxation exercises (deep breathing or yoga). “If you have a thyroid problem, stress might add to the drain on your energy levels,” Dr. Richardson says. That’s one more good excuse to take it easy—and save your energy for something fun.

That's how things stand right now. Keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest news.

As edgy NYC disappears, does its character go too?

The following article covers a topic that has recently moved to center stage--at least it seems that way. If you've been thinking you need to know more about it, here's your opportunity.

If you find yourself confused by what you've read to this point, don't despair. Everything should be crystal clear by the time you finish.

NEW YORK – CBGB, the birthplace of punk rock, is gone. No longer can visitors to Coney Island plunk down a few coins to play the unsettling attraction called "Shoot the Freak." And seedy, edgy, anything-might-happen Times Square? These days, it's all but childproof.

It continues: That diner on the corner for decades — closed. The beer garden down the street — now a Starbucks. The block once home to clusters of independent businesses — thriving as a big-box store.

And last month, another piece of the old New York slipped away with the demise of the city's Off-Track Betting parlors. It's enough to make old-school New Yorkers bristle.

Around countless corners, the weird, unexpected, edgy, grimy New York — the town that so many looked to for so long as a relief from cookie-cutter America — has evolved into something else entirely: tamed, prepackaged, even predictable.

"What draws people to New York is its uniqueness. So when something goes, people feel sad about it," says Suzanne Wasserman, director of the Gotham Center for New York City History at the City University of New York.

"I think that's also part of the New York character," she says, "that 'Things were better when ...'"

Change is constant, and few cities change faster than New York. But at what cost? Where is the line between progress and lost distinctiveness?

Raul Alvarado, a 70-year-old retired accountant, recently lost a piece of what made New York City special to him when the Off-Track Betting parlors closed.

No more smoke-filled entryways. No more Racing Forms blowing around the sidewalk. No more eruptions of cheers to make passers-by jump.

Launched in 1971, OTB was meant to undercut illegal bookies. It became the nation's largest betting operation, but was derided as dingy and seedy and drew loitering and littering complaints. The management gained a reputation for loose oversight and political patronage, and OTB was shut down last month after years of financial troubles.

"I've been playing horses for what, 30 years, maybe? It's part of your day," Alvarado said, closing out his account at a Manhattan parlor. "It's a little piece of the Apple."

The debate, of course, is a legitimate and basic one — edgy vs. safe, energizing vs. prepackaged. For every argument about New York's lost pizazz, there's another about how now you can take your toddler's stroller around most of Manhattan and not be afraid of what might happen.

Still, many say there's just something about the energy of New York City — about more than 8 million people crowded into a few cramped patches of land — that will always make it something special.

"There's a pace that exists here," says Paul Birkett, a tourist from Darby, England, visiting the city with his wife. For him, it's about the people: "You can change the surroundings, the infrastructure, but what I've always liked about New York is the New Yorker, and that's always pretty much going to be the same."

The couple was standing amid the hustle and bustle of Times Square, the most visible example of how New York City has changed in the recent past — particularly under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s.

Now filled with massive signs of backlit plastic, big-name stores and casual dining, Times Square has come a long way from its days as a "GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!" haven for peep shows, sex shops, drug dealers and squeegee men.

So has the once dank home of defunct rock club CBGB, closed after the owner lost a rent fight with his landlord. Last year, a men's fashion boutique opened there.

Some may long for that edgier atmosphere, but it hasn't disappeared entirely, says Kenneth T. Jackson, a Columbia University historian and editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City.

"The people looking for strip shows can always find it," he says.

In comparison to other places, Jackson says, New York City has changed less and managed to hold onto more of what makes it unique — like small mom-and-pop stores that can't be found anywhere else.

"New York City has done a good job of saving some of its treasures and holding on to its character and allowing change," Jackson says.

If there's one thing that doesn't change in New York City, it's nostalgia. Consider Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. After his election in 1934, he worked to remove the pushcart peddlers clogging the streets of the Lower East Side, viewed by many as a problem.

Once they were gone, people missed them.

"It drove him crazy that people were just bemoaning the loss of the peddlers," Wasserman says.

Anthony Berlingieri understands that sentiment. The man who brought Shoot the Freak and Beer Island to the Coney Island boardwalk was outraged when he was told to leave by the new developers — and even more so when his attraction was taken down.

Zamperla USA, Coney Island's new developer, has lofty plans — new rides and roller coasters, a year-round sit-down restaurant and a sports bar. Berlingieri doesn't deny the need to improve Coney Island but laments the demise of its wild and wacky flavor.

"The things that Coney Island presented, no other amusement park in the world presented that," he says. "The reason we were able to compete was our uniqueness."

Wasserman is hopeful New York will remain unique even as the places of the world start looking more alike.

"New York," she says, "will have a kind of individuality that isn't going to completely replicate anywhere else."

This article's coverage of the information is as complete as it can be today. But you should always leave open the possibility that future research could uncover new facts.

Crucial characteristics of lasting love

So what is really all about? The following report includes some fascinating information about --info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.

It's really a good idea to probe a little deeper into the subject of . What you learn may give you the confidence you need to venture into new areas.

First comes that split second of physical attraction. Next, that thrilling feeling of chemistry. But when the veil of romance starts to lift, what’s life really like off the dance floor?

Too often, love is blind
When Jenny and Michael met, they were instantly attracted to each other. Those electrifying sparks started flying. In an exciting whirlwind of parties and romantic dates, they swept each other off their feet. They decided to get married and live happily ever after. Years later the hormones had calmed down (and so had the fireworks). When the smoke cleared, the mismatches started to emerge. Her passion to shop and his questionable money decisions created constant financial stress. He liked to hang with the guys and play sports. She loved to go to the theater with friends. They disagreed on children and family values, especially religion. Communication broke down. Eventually, they grew apart.

Sound familiar? A physical match is essential at the start, but the excitement of a budding new romance eventually wears off. Making thoughtful dating decisions can mean the difference between revolving relationships and finding lasting love.

Is there really any information about that is nonessential? We all see things from different angles, so something relatively insignificant to one may be crucial to another.

First Person: How We're Spending Less, Saving More

The following article includes pertinent information that may cause you to reconsider what you thought you understood. The most important thing is to study with an open mind and be willing to revise your understanding if necessary.

It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of is no exception. Keep reading to get more fresh news about .

When it comes to tweaking the household budget to free up cash for unexpected bills, my husband and I have always discovered that the easiest plan is simply to stop spending money.

Sure, there's always household bills that a family can't avoid such as housing costs, transportation, groceries, and other essentials. But there is also a whole other tier of household spending that can and should be trimmed, especially in this fickle economy. The money saved should help reduce your debt and build up a savings fund. These two goals will put you in a better financial position for 2011.

Cutting your household spending starts with evaluating all your expenses and breaking them down into "wants" versus "needs." Needs are the things your family absolutely must have to survive. Wants are things you would like to have, but really don't need. Once all these household costs have been identified, figuring where to slash costs is easy.

What changes should you make to your family spending trends in 2011? The answer depends on your current debt and what you are willing to give up. If you need some ideas, here is how our family's 2011 budget is measuring up:

Groceries cut by 40% from 2009. Last year, I started shopping aggressively at discount grocery stores plus expanded the size of our orchard and vegetable gardens to drop this household expense.

Apparel costs cut by 75%. "Use it up, wear it out" is our motto for 2011. For our teen daughter the fashionista, we shop the thrifts and outlet stores for her wardrobe needs.

Beauty Care dropped by 90%. Instead of buying department store beauty aids, we're now shopping the dollar stores for name brand cosmetics and VO5 hair products.

Travel costs are down by 20% which has been attributed to carpooling and consolidating errands.

Vacation costs for 2011 are being trimmed by 75%. Instead of a road trip, we plan on visiting our relatives in the Puget Sound this year for a low cost vacation.

Credit cards, medical bills, and credit line payments were eliminated from the budget since these were paid off in 2010.

Entertainment and dining out have also been eliminated from the budget. If we want to see a movie, we'll raid the coin jar for 50 cent Tuesday Movies at our favorite discount movie theater.

Household repairs are back in the budget for 2011. Now that most of our consumer debt is paid off, we can afford to tackle home maintenance issues again.

Home decor & landscaping needs has been eliminated from the budget since they fall in the category of a "want" instead of a necessity.

Piano payments are a new budget item for 2011. While some families may regard this as a "want" versus a "need", we've got eight years of music lessons invested in a child who had finally outgrown her old practice piano. With the money saved in other areas however, the goal is to get this debt paid off by summer.

Emergency savings fund. This is also a new budget item for our family. Like may other families living on a shoestring, we are having to borrow instead of cash flowing emergencies as they come up. My goal is to have $5000 in this fund by the end of the year.

These are just a few examples of our household spending has changed to reflect the current state of the economy. Spend less, save more really is the key to weathering tough economic times both in this year and the years ahead.

That's the latest from the authorities. Once you're familiar with these ideas, you'll be ready to move to the next level.

Law-breaking photographer saves the life of Maverick's surfer

When you think about , what do you think of first? Which aspects of are important, which are essential, and which ones can you take or leave? You be the judge.

I trust that what you've read so far has been informative. The following section should go a long way toward clearing up any uncertainty that may remain.

Luckily that didn't stop him from heading out on his PWC to shoot photos of surfers braving a clean late January swell.

While his presence may have miffed some, it's clear now that his quick action saved the life of surfer Jacob Trette when disaster struck in the morning. Ord's life-saving action is exactly why many surfers opposed the ban in the first place, citing the lack of life-saving apparatus allowed near the break on big days as a danger.

The incident occurred at approximately 9:45 am Saturday morning, when a huge set of waves caught a number of surfers by surprise. Many of them had been lured closer to shore where cleaner waves were breaking more consistently on the higher tide. Then suddenly a huge 25-foot cleanup set approached, heaving way outside of where the pack was sitting. Surfers scrambled and scratched for the horizon to avoid being pummeled in the impact zone. Trette was one of the unlucky ones.

The 30-year-old surfer was sucked over the falls by the first wave after failing to make it over. (He's visible in in the middle of the shot above, paddling the green board.) When he finally resurfaced Trette was staring straight at another 20-foot wave crashing down on him. He endured two two-wave hold downs before being washed through the rocks inside.

When the set approached Ord was sitting safely in the channel on his ski, but sprang into action as soon as the 20-foot set cleared. In the commotion, he nabbed Alex Bottello, another victim, and pulled him out of the impact zone. He was zipping Bottello toward shore when the two spotted Trette's lifeless body floating face-up in the frothy whitewater way inside.

Ord jumped in the water and pulled him onto the rescue sled attached to his ski. Bottello then held Trette's body in place on the sled while Ord raced to shore, where an EMT and another surfer skilled in CPR went to work on Trette. They continued until Firefighters arrived and managed to get a pulse.

Knowing enough about to make solid, informed choices cuts down on the fear factor. If you apply what you've just learned about , you should have nothing to worry about.

At Obama's midpoint, an altered State of the Union

Would you like to find out what those-in-the-know have to say about ? The information in the article below comes straight from well-informed experts with special knowledge about .

It's really a good idea to probe a little deeper into the subject of . What you learn may give you the confidence you need to venture into new areas.

WASHINGTON – Nearly two years ago on a cold February day, President Barack Obama stood for the first time before a joint session of Congress and spoke of a national day of reckoning.

It was time not just to stabilize the shaken economy, he declared, but to reach for lasting prosperity.

His goals were expansive: overhauling health care, cutting the deficit, improving schools, finding a way out of Iraq and a way ahead in Afghanistan. Most of all, creating jobs. Jobs by the millions.

He had big plans and a Democratic majority in Congress to help him carry them out.

"We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," Obama said to rousing applause.

Grim as the economic news was at the time, the nation — and Obama — didn't know how bad it was going to get before things started to turn around. The economy hemorrhaged nearly 4 million jobs in 2009, Obama's first year as president.

Two years in to his term, as Obama prepares to stand before Congress once again on Tuesday, he will size up an altered State of the Union.

The economy undisputedly is on stronger footing, though far from robust. There's a new health care law. U.S. troops have come out of Iraq and gone into Afghanistan.

"The most productive two years that we've had in generations," the president pronounces it.

Yet he will speak to a radically reshaped Congress. His party's ranks have been thinned by voters who delivered a harsh verdict in November on two years of collaboration between Obama and the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

He faces Republicans who are sworn to slash spending by as much as $100 billion as the government comes off an economic rescue effort that has put the country on track for a third consecutive year of $1 trillion-plus deficits.

Ask people whether Obama has delivered on his broad-brush promise of change, and 42 percent — the biggest share — say it's still too soon to tell, according to an AP-GfK poll. One-third say he's failed to deliver; one-quarter think he's kept his promise.

The public is divided, too, on whether Obama is attempting to change things at the right pace, according to the poll. About one-third think he's moving too fast, and almost equal shares think his pace is just right or too slow.

Where do we stand? "I think I'd use the word transitional," says Rutgers political scientist Ross Baker. "There's a sense of expectation on the part of the public. I think it's tinged with hopefulness."

The nation may have weathered its economic crisis, but the same cannot be said for many people.

The unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in February 2009, when Obama first addressed Congress. It hit double digits by that October and was 9.4 percent at last report. While the administration is quick to point out that 1.1 million jobs were created last year, there are 2.8 million fewer jobs now than when Obama took office.

Housing is a particular sore spot. Foreclosures hit a record 1 million in 2010, and this year's figures are likely to be worse.

"I don't think they ever fully got their arms around the factors that were contributing to such an appalling rate of foreclosures and I don't think they've done it yet," says the Brookings Institution's Bill Galston, a former Clinton administration official who gives the president good marks overall for stabilizing the economy.

In Obama's first address to Congress, the president spoke passionately about the inequities and "crushing costs" of the health care system, of families denied treatment or forced into bankruptcy because of medical bills.

Last March 23, after a long and fierce battle, Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aimed at expanding coverage to virtually all in this country and preventing insurers from denying coverage to those with health problems.

The political repercussions were immediate and intense. Republicans campaigned against "Obamacare" in the fall elections; Democrats mostly tried to avoid the subject.

On Tuesday, Obama will stand before Congress in the same chamber where House Republicans voted just days ago to scrap the law (knowing their repeal effort would founder in the Senate.)

While the economy commanded Obama's attention, the two wars he inherited tested his resolve as commander in chief. Obama sought an exit strategy in Iraq, the war he had opposed from the start, and an escalation in Afghanistan, the war he thought was just.

The U.S. had about 138,000 troops in Iraq when he took office and 36,000 in Afghanistan.

Two years later, the situation has flipped: There are 47,000 in Iraq, 97,000 in Afghanistan.

All in all, Obama made an astonishing array of promises in his campaign and rededicated himself to them in the early days of his presidency. They ranged from small-bore ones such as his pledge to open American cultural centers in Islamic cities abroad (a promise being kept) to his vow to repeal the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy (a promise broken).

To the Heritage Foundation's Brian Darling, Obama has emerged as the "over-promiser in chief."

"Walking into another State of the Union speech," says Darling, "the American people will look at his statements skeptically."

To Galston, Obama's efforts on the economy are the overarching achievement of the first half of his term — and the key to a successful second half.

There's no doubt that the topic of can be fascinating. If you still have unanswered questions about , you may find what you're looking for in the next article.

China sports brand tries to break into US market

Do you ever feel like you know just enough about to be dangerous? Let's see if we can fill in some of the gaps with the latest info from experts.

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you're fully informed about , keep reading.

BEIJING – Chinese athletic shoemaker Li-Ning knew it couldn't "out-Nike" Nike, especially in the sporting giant's own backyard. So the company is going low-budget edgy in its expansion to the U.S, using an irreverent YouTube video to play up its heritage while taking a lighthearted dig at the company name shared with its high-profile founder.

Li-Ning is among the first Chinese consumer product brands trying to build a following in the U.S., seeking to grab a slice of its saturated but highly coveted market. As China's economic might increases — it last year overtook Japan as the second-biggest economy after the U.S. — its companies are increasingly confident about expansion overseas. But corporate China has yet to produce a brand with the global name recognition of the likes of Apple, Sony or Google.

"It's a process of finding out — while staying true to our heritage, our brand — what side of our DNA is going to resonate with the American consumer," said Jay Li, general manager for Li-Ning International. "We're still searching, to be perfectly honest with you. And we're not in a hurry."

Americans might remember Li Ning (pronounced lee-NING) as the final torchbearer during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics — the former gymnastics gold medalist who "ran" along the opening in the stadium roof while suspended by wires.

His namesake company is a top domestic brand in China's lucrative athletic shoe and apparel industry, with more than 7,900 stores across the country. Though it has forecast slumping sales and a one percentage point decline in gross profit margin in 2011, CEO Zhang Zhiyong recently told the Wall Street Journal that Li-Ning plans to invest $10 million in U.S. operations this year.

"Our founder Mr. Li Ning has always said his vision was never about building China's Nike, it's about building the world's Li-Ning," Li said. "You can't be global without having a legitimate claim of market share in the most mature sporting goods market."

There are significant hurdles to overcome: Americans are still smarting from the recession and spending less. Chinese goods are widely regarded as shoddily made, knockoffs or even dangerous. Li-Ning's logo recently underwent a redesign, but many consumers may still see a strong resemblance with the Nike "swoosh."

"The way to fight the perception is to continue rolling out your own world-class products and that perception will go away," Li said.

He would not provide sales figures for the U.S., where Li-Ning products are sold online and through a few select retailers, but said international operations made up only 2 percent of the company's total revenue.

Expansion into the U.S. is "important for them because if they show they have retail presence in the U.S. it helps them not only sell there but it helps them sell in their home market in China and wherever else they go," said Ben Cavender, associate principal at Shanghai-based China Market Research Group which has studied Li-Ning. "They can say, 'Look, we really are an international brand.'"

The U.S. expansion began in earnest in 2007 with the opening of a R&D center and design studio in the Portland, Oregon, area, heart of the U.S. athletic shoe industry where Nike is headquartered and Adidas has a regional office.

Li-Ning's U.S. staff includes about 30 people, veterans of companies like Nike, Adidas, Converse and Columbia. In comparison, more than 6,000 work at Nike's headquarters just outside town.

Products sold in the U.S. include equipment and apparel for Asian-dominated sports like pingpong and badminton, niche areas where Li-Ning is an established leader. Its running shoes have debuted in specialty shops, with the aim of attracting avid runners who are concerned more about performance than brand name.

But it's with street culture-influenced basketball shoes that Li-Ning may be able to score its breakthrough. Endorsement deals with NBA players like Shaquille O'Neal, Baron Davis and Evan Turner have so far been key to building awareness among image-conscious consumers.

Li-Ning has a quality product but "we need to bring in the cool factor, the street legitimacy, the street cred. Bring all these elements together and fuse them into the product. It's a systemic project and we are working on it," Li said.

That's the thinking behind the YouTube video, featuring a Chinese Li-Ning import agent who has to convince two suspicious U.S. customs officials that the new F2 sneaker is a real shoe. It is a humorous take on real events involving a shipment of F2s that got stuck in U.S. customs because of questions over how to declare the components of a shoe made almost entirely of rubber-like foam material.

The YouTube import agent protests, "They're shoes! Li-Ning!" prompting one officer to snarl, "I'm Li-Ning toward kicking your ass!"

Created by L.A. ad agency Zambezi, the video has received about 40,000 views since December and is a way of getting some attention with limited resources.

There probably won't be a sequel — the Portland customs office called to complain about being in the video and Li's office pledged not to revisit the topic again.

For now, Li-Ning's baby steps are showing encouraging results. Cavender pointed out that one industry insider has found some Li-Ning products to be better quality than Adidas products. And the colorful, sometimes cartoon-like designs are turning heads, even if they haven't yet translated into massive sales.

"People are actively asking about it every time they walk in and see it," said Frank Pacifio, manager of a Champs Sports shoe store in Wayne, New Jersey, which sells two to 10 pairs of Li-Nings a week. In that time the store sells 10 to 25 pairs of its most popular shoe, the Nike Air Max 2010.

"A lot of people try the (Li-Ning) shoe on to see how it feels but people are just accustomed to the Nikes, the Jordans," Pacifio said. "People are so used to what they've had, you never want to take the leap to the other side."

Li remains confident, pointing to the mainstream acceptance of other Asian companies in the U.S.

"A few brands are attempting it, but no one has come out as a dominant Chinese brand in any industry yet," he said. "I always optimistically look back on the Japanese brands in the '50s and '60s and the Korean brands in the '80s and '90s. It's our turn. We'll get there."

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