Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day of Thanks

Considering that Teen Link loves food, here is a little insight into the day of feasting!


Many people believe what they learned in elementary school about Thanksgiving Day. Basically, the Pilgrims and the Indians shared a big feast with all the food we eat on Thanksgiving. According to the journal of Plymouth Colony's governor, Edward Winslow, the colonists met with Chief Massasoit and 90 of his men for a feast that lasted four days. So there was a feast, but what was on their menu? In this journal the only items mentioned are venison and wild fowl.

Yum! It is never unlikely, according to historians and archeologists, that the meal was prepared with all of the foods we eat today. Another idea is that the Pilgrims and the Indians sat down and prayed and passed the food around. Since the feast was four days long this is not what happened at all. It was not a ceremonious feast and people would just go eat when they were hungry. Plates and utensils were not used. They all ate with their hands with an occasional napkin. The clothing is very mythical too. Pilgrims did not wear black and white on the first Thanksgiving.

They wore brown, green, black, white, and beige. The Indians were fully clothed because it was November in Massachusetts. Although Thanksgiving is full of myths the value of generosity and being thankful has been kept alive.


Everyone loves the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. How did it all start? Well, it started in 1924 by the employees of Macy’s. These employees were the first-generation immigrants and they wanted to celebrate their new American pride through a traditional European festival. The first parade started with the employees marching from 145th street to 34th street dressed as clowns, sheiks, cowboys, and knights. There were also 25 live animals from the Central Park Zoo, floats, and professional bands.

The first balloons appeared in 1927 with Felix the Cat:

One of the old traditions was that after the parade they would release the balloons and whoever found and caught it got a prize. Although in the 1930’s the Great Depression occurred, the parade grew and grew. The parade however stopped in the early 1940’s during WWII when there appeared to be nothing to celebrate. In 1945, the parade started up again, was televised, and the route that is used today started that year as well. This Thanksgiving tradition is nationwide and will be around for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Teen Link

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Because it was just one of those weeks...

Here are some silly, some random and some fun lists, images etc. to make the time go by a little bit faster. has compiled a HUGE collection of random lists - here are a few worth looking at:

12 of the W
eirdest Shoes EVER
Halloween's over - who's got crappy candy they can't get rid of?

Top Ten Worst Halloween Treats (Good N' Plenty? BLECH!!)

Top Ten Weird & Wonderful Animals

1. Pink Dolphin

The world's only pink Bottlenose was discovered in an inland lake in Louisiana, USA.

2. Man faced fish

Bred in a pond near Seoul in 2005, this odd looking fish is hybrid of a carp and a leather carp and appears to have a 'human' face.

3. Zorse

Whereas 'normal' zorses, a cross between a zebra and a horse, have stripes across their whole body, this particular one named Eclyse has strange patches of stripes and pure white. The white comes from her horse mother 'Eclipse', whilst her stripes come from her zebra father 'Ulyssses'.

4. The Blob Fish

This fish is found in the deep waters off Australia. It is a gelatinous mass that very much looks like a 'blob'.

5. Two headed snake

This snake named "We'' lived for 8 years in the world Aquarium in St. Louis, USA.

7. Angora rabbit

The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Turkey. The rabbit has the appearance of a big fluffball and was popular with French royalty in the mid 1700s.

8. Thorny Devil

The Thorny Devil is an Australian lizard. It grows up to eight inches and can live for up to 20 years and has a spectacular appearance, owing to its camouflaging shades of desert browns and tans and conical spines that cover it.

9. Star Nosed Mole

The Star Nosed Mole is found in Canada and North America. Its incredibly sensitive nose is

covered with minute touch receptors.

10. Leopon

The Leopon is the result of breeding a male leopard with a female lion. The head of the animal is ordinarily similar to that of a lion, while the rest of the body normally resembles that of a leopard.

And Finally, an array of cute and peaceful:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Can You Taste the Colors?

What if whenever you said the word 'jump' you instantly tasted pumpkin pie? Or you believed all of the letters of the alphabet had designated colors (letter 'A' was aqua-marine, B lime green, C yellow, etc.)? Or whenever you saw the color pink you automatically smelled chlorine? Those experiences can be a reality for the estimated 1 in 23 people in the population have what's called synesthesia.

What is synesthesia you might ask? Good question. We think this definition sums it up pretty well. "Synesthesia is a neurological based phenomenon. It is when the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes" (The Health Journals 1).

Synesthetes differ in the associations each has. While some associate colors with various letters of the alphabet or taste something in his or her mouth after hearing a certain word, some synesthetes also see colors when they hear music. Additionally, some say that numbers have genders and personalities. For example, the letter 4 might be a loud and exhuberant female, while the letter 7 is a quiet and reserved male. Interesting, huh?
Synesthesia has been researched since the 1800s. It typically runs in families, and is estimated to affect approximately 4% of the population. Additionally some individuals report synthetic experiences after a seizure or stroke.

The majority of scientists agree that synesthesia is due to "cross-talk" of the brain, or when different parts of the brain interact. Here's an explanation from The Health Journals online:
"...regions involved in naming letters are adjacent to the area involved in color processing; synesthesia may be the result of cross-activation between these two areas. Recent research shows marked differences in the brains of synesthetes and the general population. Synesthetes have higher levels of connectivity between the fusiform gyrus (part of the temporal lobe, the area that controls processing and color information as well as word and number recognition) and the frontal cortex. Scientists hypothesize that this 'cross-wiring' occurs when the nerve wiring that is usually contained within one sensory system crosses into another system."
As children, many synthesthetes find it odd that classmates don't understand when he or she insists perhaps, that the color G is cranberry-red. Such is the case in A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. It's a fictionous novel, but a pretty accurate and interesting read about a 13-year-old girl's experiences with synesthesia.

Artist Carol Steen described her own personal experiences with synesthesia. As she says, "There have been times when I have had one sensation such as toothache and observed the color of the pain, its taste and smell. All these synaesthetic perceptions are aspects of one overall experience. I perceive them as related in the same way that windows, a door and front steps combine to become the image of a house." She has also said, like many other synesthetes, that her synesthesia has been very beneficial in relation to her art.

After getting acupuncture, Carol described the synaesthetic experiences she had during her session. She later used these experiences as inspiration for the coloring of a new painting. "Lying there, I watched the black background become pierced by a bright red colour that began to form in the middle of the rich velvet blackness. The red began as a small dot of colour and grew quite large rather quickly, chasing much of the blackness away. I saw green shapes appear in the midst of the red color and move around the red and black fields."

There are many other synaesthetic artists like Carol, such as painter David Hockney, writer Vladimir Nabokov and composer Olivier Messiaen.

In addition to artistic benefits, many synesthetes also claim synesthesia benefits their memory; the idea of color, for example gives them an additional way to help remember facts.

Interesting phenomenon, huh? If you're interested to learning more, you can check out our sources below. Also, the book mentioned above, A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass is a good read.


Another good source is the American Synesthesia Association. Their website is:

The Birds and Bees for '09

Teen Link receives questions regarding teens and sex ALL the time. Lots of "What if...?" questions, "What does it mean if...?" questions and "Is it normal...?" questions. And of course it makes sense that you would have a ton of questions - sex is EVERYWHERE these days. Between explicit images on TV and everything that seems to be on the internet, kids are becoming young adults faster and sooner than ever before. Add raging hormones to the mix and it makes perfect sense that teens want to know how all this "sex" stuff works.

But are the questions being asked? And if so, are they getting answered?'s webpage Teen Advice says, " scares us how much some sexually active teens DON’T know about sex, pregnancy and STDs. Silly or not some of these questions get asked so often that it makes us believe they are sincere."

Questions like:
  • Can i get pregnant the first time i have sex?
  • If a guy is a virgin can he get me pregnant?
  • Can a girl get pregnant from oral sex?
  • Are two condoms better protection from STD's?
Some of these questions being asked online are due to the fact that many parents don't have the first clue of how to have "the talk" with their kids (nothing against parents - kids don't come with an instructional manual after all). "Sometimes parents are fearful about saying too much too soon (although there's no evidence that this should be a concern). Some parents feel they don't know enough to be a reliable source of accurate information.

But when teens don't get the full picture from their parents (or even worse, NO picture at all), they'll seek the answers elsewhere - typically from their friends, who are in the same boat as they are.

Sex-ed Programs in schools can provide a lot of really helpful information (like clearing up the questions above - although there is still a great deal of controversy around what's okay to teach and what's not) but other questions like "How to know when you're ready for sex?" and "How to talk to your partner about sex?" tend to go unanswered, and yes or no answers and statistics aren't enough to help teens make responsible decisions that work for them.

SO, if you, your partner, or your friends have questions about sex in general or about sex in regards to your relationship, please give Teen Link (anonymous, confidential and non-judgmental: 1-866-833-6546) a call. But, if talking to someone is still intimidating or awkward for you, here are some really great sites that have real answers for today' questions:

Been around for 10+ years, dealing with sex, sexuality, and pretty much everything in between
Sex education for teens, by teens - on a large variety of issues beyond just STDs
Facts on dating, pregnancy, STDs and getting tested

Monday, November 2, 2009

Who You Callin' Racist?

Racism has never been an easy topic to discuss, for anyone. Fingers have a tendency to begin pointing really, really fast. And like most -isms, racism is practically hard wired into our society – so deeply in fact, that if it’s NOT blatant use of the “N” word or some other derogatory statement, we don’t necessarily notice it.

One of the last places I’d expect to find examples of racism is in a children’s animated movie or in cartoons and yet… ‘These old Disney movies are a little bit like your aging Uncle Frank. Honestly, he means well when he points out that Will Smith is "well-spoken."Take a look for yourself.

Well, Are You?

No one wants to be seen as a bigot, and yet it looks like a lot of us wonder, “Am I racist?” This article addresses the way we think and act as opposed to just the things we say (or the inappropriate things we don’t say).

Find out and take the test for yourself.

What To Say…

Ever tried to tell someone that they’re racist? Or to call out someone’s racist behavior? Here’s a video you might find helpful for the next time. And based on the studies from the previous article, you there most definitely will be a next time.

And to leave you in a better frame of mind…