Saturday, February 7, 2009

Local women's self-defense seminar

It's hard to turn the local news on lately without seeing some story about senseless violence. Unfortunately, despite law enforcement's best efforts, crimes against people seem to be up.
A local business is now offering a class to teach us how to fight back.
Pinellas Fitness & Martial Arts will be holding a Women's Self Defense Seminar next month, focusing on how to survive an assault and get away. Featuring Commando Krav Maga, the fastest-growing reality based defense system in the world, the seminar will even cover how to defend yourself should your attacker have a weapon.
Hey, it's not a pretty subject, but sometimes it needs to be talked about. We all have fast-paced lives, and rushing off somewhere often without paying attention to our surroundings. I'm guilty of it, too. A lot. Running to my car while gabbing on the phone, unaware of the world around me. And experts say this is the chance attackers are waiting for. Violent crimes are most of the time crimes of opportunity.
This seminar will also cover how not to let them have the opportunity by teaching situational awareness.
Owner and instructor Brian Peters gets to see a lot of this first hand; he's been a street paramedic in Pinellas County for years. And when he's not fighting fire, he has managed to squeeze in more than 20 years of martial arts expertise, concentrating on Tae Kwon Do. He's also won regional and national championships, and remains undefeated as a heavy weight black belt for the last 3 years in the Florida Police and Fire Games.
Not a guy to mess with. And Peters, along with his other instructors, is planning on giving us some of that knowledge at this class. The Women's Self Defense Seminar runs on March 7 from 1-4p.m. at the Pinellas Fitness & Martial Arts center, 3701 State Road 580 in Oldsmar.
The center also teaches Tae Kwon Do to any age group (there's even a 60-year old little grandmother taking classes there), and instructs in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing. All great ways to have a lot of fun, stay fit and be safe.
For more info, you can call them at (727) 207-6684 to register or visit their website at

Monday, February 2, 2009

Might be a farther drive to get your secret Starbucks fix

For sale: One fancy corporate jet, used on only 15 flights, worth $45 million. No reasonable offer refused.
That's the sign Starbucks & Co.'s CEO Howard Schultz is wearing around his neck lately as his iconoclast corporation goes from defining an era to trying to save a few ducats. With the financial ruin this country is in lately, I'd say he's lucky that sign doesn't read "Will Work For Food."
It's not Howard's fault, really. Who could have predicted that the economic casualties of late would reach all the way up to the ivory tower that Starbucks built for itself? Those white and green cups and the five dollar magic java they hold have become a sort of status symbol of this "Gimme" generation. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy a venti cafe mocha every now and again just like the rest of us do. And it is almost impossible to not get sucked in to the whole ambiance: the indy music playing softly overhead, the smell of coffee and biscotti treats swirling around your face, the tapping of laptop keys as important people get important things done while sipping their lattes.
Starbucks couldn't have planned that better if they misted Zoloft in through the vents. The only retailer that rivals that kind of atmospheric addiction is Victoria's Secret.
But Starbucks' numbers are in, and as we all know, numbers don't lie. They cheat, but they don't lie. Revenue is down 6 percent from last year, with some locations being nearly 30 percent in the red. The solution: Cut $500 million out of the operating budget. Somewhere.
That means over 300 Starbucks cafes are closing their doors very soon. And about 6,700 more unfortunate workers will entire the already swollen unemployment pool. In a letter to his employees, Howard blames the world and its financial downturn, saying they are only "trying to navigate a deteriorating global economy" and predict an unpredictable situation that will only gets worse before it gets better. Thanks for the tip, Howie.
Howard does want his employees to know that he himself is taking a pay cut - he slashed his own salary down to $10,000 yearly, the lowest amount he could have on the books and still receive health care benefits.
Last year he made $1.2 million just in salary. His total compensation package for 2008 rang the cherries at more than $9.7 million. That's a lot of java.
So some stores will close, some will collect aid, some of us will still continue to make coffee at home. Howard, in the meantime, will try to get by on his multi-million dollar nest egg. Oh, and try to "navigate" this financial crisis without a jet.
Forgive me if I don't cry over spilled frappachino.