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  1. Brian Klein
    Latest Entry

    By Brian Klein,

    The reigning monarch has three powerful constitutional rights: the right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn. These rights, however, do not necessarily give the monarch any such power. So, what power does the Queen have? The royal prerogative. The royal prerogative is, in a nutshell, a collection of executive powers and privileges held by a reigning (not ruling) monarch. Most of these powers are now exercised by Her Maj’s ministers in government, who implement the law of the day under the power of the Crown, hence the phrase ‘Her Majesty’s Government’.

    Over the last century, these executive powers have been scarcely used, making many people question why they still exist at all (and yes, it’s the Republicans asking these questions). The answer to this question is simple. Prerogative powers remain a way to protect British democracy and ensure that nobody, including the monarch and ruling government (in practice), can seize power.

    The Queen’s prerogative powers vary greatly and fall into a plethora of long definitions and practices. Here’s the condensed version:

    Political Power:

    • Summoning/suspending parliament: 
      • The Queen has the power to suspend and summon the elected parliament.
    • Declaring war:
      • She can declare war against another country, but really, nowadays, this falls on the ruling prime minister, who can exercise the royal prerogative without council from the government of the day.
    • Appointing the elected prime minister:
      • The Queen is responsible for appointing the prime minister after a general election or resignation. She does this by choosing the candidate with the most support from the House of Commons. If a prime minister resigns, she will seek advice before naming a successor. If she does it without advice, uproar would ensue.
    • The issue and control of passports: 
      • Issuing and withdrawing passports falls under the royal prerogative, which means every British passport being issued in the Queen’s name. This power is used by ministers on behalf of Her Majesty. Oh, and because of this the Queen herself, does not need a passport.
    • Above the Law:
      • As Queen, Elizabeth II cannot be prosecuted as the law is carried out in her name.
    • Appoint/remove ministers: 
      • Her Majesty has the power to appoint and remove ministers representing the Crown (i.e. her).
    • Royal assent: 
      • It is the Queen’s responsibility to the nation and her peoples to approve bills from parliament by signing them into law. She can also refuse a bill if she believes it will harm the country.

    Military power: 

    • Head of the armed forces:
      • The Queen is head of the British armed forces – all that join the military must swear an oath of allegiance to her.
    • Commissioning officers:
      • Elizabeth II can commission officers into the armed forces and also remove them.

    Honors:

    • Peerages: 
      • The Queen may create a life or hereditary peerage for anyone.
        • All honors are given under the authority of the Crown. Because of this, the Queen has the last word on all knighthoods, peerages etc.

    Other Interesting Facts:

    • Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s 40th monarch since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.
      • Her real birthday is April 21, but it is celebrated officially on the second Saturday of June.
    • The Queen has given royal assent to 3,671 Acts of Parliament.
    • Speaking of numbers, she and the Duke of Edinburgh have sent tens of thousands of Christmas cards since the accession.
    • The Queen has 30 godchildren.
    • She’s been to the FA Cup Final.
    • The Queen knows how to use and fire a gun at will.
    • The Monarch is also allergic to cats.
      • But she loves dogs.
    • Elizabeth has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign.
      • The first was Susan, followed by current tail waggers Emma, Linnet, Monty, Holly and Willow to name a few.
      • About furry beasts, the Queen has received countless live animals as gifts, including jaguars and sloths from Brazil and two black beavers from Canada.
        • They were all given to London Zoo.
    • Bizarrely, the Queen collects pepper grinders.
    • Her Majesty visited a mosque in the UK for the first time in July 2002, in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.
    • Someone tried to shoot her during the 1981 Trooping the Color ceremony, but she just continued down The Mall, on her horse.
    • She has a top-secret Facebook (as in her actual Facebook) that she uses to keep in contact with senior members of the Royal Family.
    • Her Maj has been to Australia 16 times, Canada 22 times, Jamaica six times and New Zealand 10 times.
    • The Queen has received over 3.5 million items of correspondence during her reign.
    • She once demoted a naughty footman for giving her corgis whisky.

    Sources:

    Discussion Topics:

  2. Brian Klein
    Latest Entry

    By Brian Klein,

    We are constantly trying to find ways to better enrich our lives at Humanastory. One of those key ingredients, in our opinion, is how to be a happy person in a world where most people act and speak so negatively. Most of this information might be common sense to you; but, how often to you assert happiness into your daily lives to try and enrich not only who you are, but how you live.

    It is not always easy being a positive person, to look at the light off in the distance and call it what it is, a light that is seemingly to far adrift. But does it really hurt you to try? We completely understand it, negativity sells, which is why it is so much more popular, and we've always lived by the rule, if it is popular, go the other way. Besides do you honestly think your life is fulfilled with this, your current way of thinking before you even attempting to be positive?

    Happiness

    While the issue of happiness is a complicated one, too many people report being unhappy with their lives. A study of American adults, for example, showed that their Happiness Index number is a mere 31 out of 100. Of course, several stressors come into play: money worries, work problems, health concerns, political anxiety, among many other issues that might keep us from being happy. The truth is, none of that is what’s holding us back from our happiest lives.

    According to psychologist Shawn Achor, even when we are successful and things are going well, we aren’t happy. Instead, we believe we always need more to be happy. As he puts it,

    Quote

    You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change it.

    And the end result?

    Quote

    We’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon, as a society.

    If we continue with this way of thinking, nothing we do will ever be enough to make us happy.

    Don’t worry, though—happiness is within your reach. You don’t have to be stuck in this pattern of thinking, although creating change and a new way of being does require some effort. One key component is the power of positive thinking.

    Positive Thinking

    It’s not what you’re thinking about—it’s how you’re thinking about it. Or, in Achor’s words,

    Quote

    90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.

    The way you think about things matters, and it can change how you feel about your life. Take your stressful job, for example. You might think that your circumstances make it difficult, but Anchor found that 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat. Those are all things within your power to modify. Thinking about your job with optimism and initiative can change how happy you are.

    Positive thinking can do more than help you hate your job less. Research shows that positive thinking helps you see more possibilities in your life. That means you can see your potential, you can build new skillsets, and you can create the life you want to live. If you adopt a mindset of positive thinking, you’ll be able to apply this to all areas of your life. Even if your job isn’t ideal or if money is tight, positive thinking will help you identify the parts of your life that are indeed good and working for you.

    It might appear that this is easier said than done. It’s one thing to say you want to think positively, but it’s another thing entirely to put it into practice when you get a flat tire, your heel snaps off in the street, and you get splashed by a car driving by. So how do you cultivate positive thinking?

    Gratitude

    It turns out that simply expressing gratitude daily can make a big difference in the way you perceive the world. Achor goes so far as to say you can

    Quote

    actually rewire your brain

    in as little as 21 - 27 days, if you’re training it correctly. His method is simple: each day, record three things you’re grateful for. Do this for 27 days. It might not sound like much, but Achor reports that the results are impressive: participants do this for 27 days, and

    Quote

    their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.

    They train themselves to think positively—in other words, they train their way to happiness.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that gratitude can have that kind of effect. Research has shown incredible benefits from expressing thanks, including better sleep, improved physical health, and stronger self-esteem. When you’re thinking positively, happiness is bound to follow. There are plenty of other ways to express gratitude. What matters is that you’re doing it consistently and daily. Try setting a reminder on your phone if you need to. In fact, try incorporating gratitude into your morning routine, before you ever get out of bed. 

    Do whatever it takes to express gratitude—you might be surprised at how different you feel in three weeks.

    --- Miscellaneous Information ---

    Editorial Commentary:

    • Happiness won’t just happen to you, and no one can give it to you—that power lies within you alone. If you’re ready to love your life, then start today! Express gratitude, change the way you think, and live happily.

    Sources:

    Discussion Topics:

  3. Kristina Klein
    Latest Entry

    By Kristina Klein,

    We had to admit, while this one will never be the Chinese delight we all have grown to love and respect; we feel you will not be disappointed. This recepie was found while looking up show ideas, a completely random process. We've learned doing this line of work that some of the best things in life are completely unexpected. Tell us what you think.

    Ingredients:

      • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
      • 1 lb. Flank Steak, thinly sliced
      • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
      • 1 small Onion, chopped
      • 4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
      • 4 cups Broccoli Florets
      • 2 Tbsp. Flour (or Cornstarch)
      • 3/4 cup Water
      • 1/3 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
      • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
      • 1 Tsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
      • 1/8 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

      Equipment Needed:

      • Large Skillet

      Preparation:

      • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned (6-8 minutes), remove from the pan when done and set aside.
      • In the same pan add garlic and both kinds of onions to the beef drippings. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add broccoli and cover for 5 minutes.
      • In a small mixing bowl, combine water and flour and mix until no longer lumpy. Combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
      • Remove cover from pan and add sauce. Cook until sauce starts to thicken (3-5 minutes).
      • Add beef back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
      • Serve over Brown Rice or Quinoa if desired.
      • Enjoy! 
    1. Official Blog

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      Recent Entries

      Brian Klein
      Latest Entry

      By Brian Klein,

      The Understanding:

      Thought Process

      • As you begin your journey into this fascinating event that changed your life forever, we want to see what you saw, we want to feel how you felt. Be descriptive, share that pain, that joy, and share the senses (taste, touch, sight, smell and sound). Paint this vivid 3D image as if we are standing inside your shoes.

      Compilation

      • Give us the detailing situations leading up to and during the event.
      • Share with us what you feel and see:
      • Before.
      • During.
      • After.

      Some tips to remember while compiling your story to us.

      • Never Gossip (It's just rude to do.)
      • Never Judge (When you do this, you discredit your story.)
      • Try to refrain from making this about negativity, (We are trying to think positive. Your here telling your story so you must have done something right)
      • Never Complain. (When you complain, you really make your points invalid)
      • Never make excuses. (Don't be that guy/gal, remember your points are strong, you have no reason to excuse them)
      • Never Lie. (Lying just makes your whole story look bad. After all, remember the only person you really need to convince is, well...YOU! Stand proud of your accomplishments.)

      Ending

      • Share with us what you’ve learned, how this experience made you grow into a better person for it.
      • What made you share it?
      • How did this experience inspire you, remember even the bad ones shape us.
      • Important Reminder:

      We want you to walk us through this event (no matter how long it takes) as if we were there on the journey with you. Share it completely, from feelings to scenery. This can be several events leading up to the challenge and then the final realization and how it all ended.

      Below are some helpful files we have put together to help you better understand the format of your life changing event, your story. 

    2. I am reminded of that momentariness of the journey, that lonely walk; we all will take at some point in our lives. I am reminded of this perversion of life, on a daily basis. Most people will never experience the daily reminder of how precious they really are, or how life really is - this amazing journey through what can only be described as the cavern of time and space.

      Today we send our love and respect to Helen Taft, the loss of a monument of experience, and life; an elderly woman not known to many, but she affected everyone who had the pleasure to meet and get to know her intimately, in some way. To me, she was a pillar of life; I will remember her laugh most of all. The laugh of an angel who endured life and kept on, keeping on, rest well Helen.

      Not two days ago her son came to me requesting I speak with my connections in getting her into Hospice. I knew, at that point, it was only days. She was well aware of her cancer, and by now, this being the fourth fight with, her demon, cancer; by now she was exhausted from the fight, having gone to her house to make sure the request asked of me, was indeed, the one she wanted, I watched as she had a hard time gasping between breaths. I won't claim to understand her thoughts, but I do understand her plight, having had this monster twice myself by 18, and don't get me wrong; I question why i am even alive on a daily basis, because even I should not be here.

      If I could relay just one message to anyone who hears or sees the daily content we provide it would be that while you sit here reading this entry - Think on the positive nature of life and remember that life is to be cherished. And for the love of all that is alive; Live, love, laugh (A lot) and, know you are loved. This life is short, and you are here only the blink of an eye, understand this well.

      Remember to reflect on your own timeline. What have you done to improve yourself in the eyes of others? It is their memories of you that will endure the passage of time. It is how you lived that will reflect on how people remember you.

      Helen you will be missed, but may Mark escort you to peace, the relaxing adventure awaits. You both are greatly missed.

      On a small side note I would like to throw in the Suicide Prevention information in the Sources, having only heard of this today, a gentleman a few days back, shot himself in desperation and had no one to talk to. Remember these feelings are only temporary. George, may your soul find peace.

      Sources and Discussion Topics:

    3. Kristina Klein
      Latest Entry

      By Kristina Klein,

      Day 5 - Sedona Arizona

          We loved the town of Sedona so much that we decided to stay another day and enjoy the scenery and relaxation of the red rock town. We woke up in the morning to all the rooftops covered in snow and the brisk chill throughout the air. There is a certain feel about the town and its people that leave you with a permanent smile on your face as you walk through the shops and enjoy the views. Of course because we are all coffee lovers and on vacation we could not start our last day without a good cup of Joe. Our boy was so excited that he grabbed my coffee as well and we snapped a shot of him in his coffee lover moment...

      day5 (2).png

          With our caffeine in hand we decided to take a little drive through the town. Back behind the shops and eateries there are some beautiful little houses tucked away throughout the trees that still get the best views of the amazing red rocks. There is a wide variety of homes to big and fancy all the way to a quaint little trailer park. The air is quiet and the people truly seem to enjoy the spirit of Sedona as they keep everything nice and tidy and all the places have that sense of "home".

      day4 (9).pngday4 (8).png

          After driving through the hidden parts of the town we decided to check out the rest of the little shops that we had missed the day before. There are so many tucked away throughout the town that they are easy to overlook. From places that offer tours, to many different places to eat and try snack foods, to the local stands where people sell their home made shirts, jewelry, and of course sweets. It is hard to resist all the amazing trinkets and savory treats that Sedona has to offer. Make sure if you are planning a trip that you have plenty of cash on hand if you decide to do shopping as it is a touristy town and you will pay extra for taking money from the available ATMs. We stumbled across an inner mall of sorts where there are several inter-connected shops that are filled with shirts, hats, and all the insects sealed in amber that your heart could possibly desire. Mark even made himself a friend that he tried to take home with us...

      day4 (5).png

          There are so many things to see and do when visiting the town of Sedona that we barely got to see the majority of it in a couple of days. Had we known what a beautiful place it was when we started this vacation we would have devoted more time to this magical place. We spent the rest of our day relaxing, taking in all the views and sealing in our memories with some great pictures so we would never forget the awesome time we spent here.

      day4 (6).pngday4 (7).png

           I would love to revisit Sedona just to take in all the beauty once again. Especially the time of year when the breeze has that extra freshness to it after the snow has fallen. We recommend coming here and just taking some time to relax as this is a perfect place for it.

          Thank you for coming along with us on our adventure through Arizona from the busy streets of Tucson, to the haunted mountain village of Jerome, and then to the tucked away beauty of Sedona. We will see you on the next Humanastory vacation.



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