Monday, May 31, 2010

Decorative Acrylic Painting Tips for Beginners

Acrylic painting offers many benefits such as quick drying time and the fact that it's allergen- and odor-free. Acrylic paint is versatile and gives a lasting finish. If you're just learning the art of decorative acrylic painting, use the tips below for a great start.

Acrylic Painting Supplies

You should have a variety of brush sizes so you can be flexible in your painting. Also, a palette or tray for painting will be useful. Other supplies include a palette knife, fan brushes, and toothbrushes. Be sure to include plenty of practice materials and papers for sketching.

Drying Time

Acrylics dry very fast, usually within only minutes, so it's wise to keep the paint in the tube and only use a little at a time. If you prefer to use a palette, there are now palettes that will stay wet during use so your paint won't dry out. Or, you can use a regular palette and keep it wet by spraying it with a small amount of water occasionally. This keeps your acrylic paint in a ready-to-use form.

Blending Acrylic Colors

With fast-drying acrylics, blending colors can be a trying task in itself. You can blend colors several ways. Colors can be mixed and stored in tubes or containers and then blended using a web palette. Also, you can use very small dots of different shades and overlap the colors to blend them. You can also layer shades instead of trying to blend them while wet.

Beware of Cheap Acrylic Paints

Avoid buying cheap acrylic paints unless you're using them for practice only. These will often fade after exposure to the sunlight for a period of time, especially particular light shades such as pink and violet. Invest in artist-grade acrylics for lasting beauty in your art works.

Use Sketches as a Starting Point

It's wise to use pre-drawn sketches as the starting point of your acrylic drawings. Trace or copy the sketch onto canvas or board. Then, use a thin layer of acrylic paint to prime the sketch. Be sure your sketch-work can still be seen through the thin layer. You can also prime the canvas or board first with white color and then copy your sketch onto the primed surface.

Masking Fluid for Layering

Watercolor masking fluid works well for layering colors or saving areas of your painting to paint later. The masking fluid can be applied to keep an area of the painting clear. You must remove the masking fluid only after it has completely dried. It can be removed by rolling it with clean fingers. Also, be sure to use a brush specifically for masking fluid. Don't use your regular painting brushes.

Learn from the Pros

Study after a few acrylic painting pros to get pointers and learn new techniques. Artists such as Donna Dewberry (One Stroke technique) and Priscilla Hauser (First Lady of Decorative Painting) offer many great tips. You can learn creative techniques such as Trompe L'oeil or create beautiful wall murals and other great works.

Acrylic painting can be both fun and rewarding. Use your imagination along with these tips to create decorative acrylic works of art that you and your friends can enjoy for years to come!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Condominiums – Advantages of Ownership

Condominiums tend to be a love it or hate it subject with property owners. Here are the advantages of owning a condominium.

Condominium – Advantages

Condominiums provide a unique living opportunity in the United States, one that many people have jumped on in this hot real estate market. Although not for everyone, condominium ownership does have some distinct advantages over stand alone homes.

1. Condominiums are cheaper than stand alone homes. Universally, you will find the lack of a yard makes condominiums a cheaper buying option when compared to the rest of the real estate market. This makes condominiums a good real estate option for first time buyers, as they are often able to get into one when they otherwise would not qualify for a loan for a tradition home.

2. Condominiums are also excellent options after the kids are gone. Once kids are out of the home, you’ll find the space in your home is no longer necessary. Many parents will downsize to a condominium and use the cash windfall from a home to take early retirement. This trend is occurring with greater frequency as the baby boom generation begins to retire.

3. Condominiums are also excellent options for people that travel a lot. If you have to travel for work, you know the problems that can arise from having a home sitting empty for weeks or months on end. Burglaries, graffiti and so on are natural results of leaving a home empty. With condominiums, it is much harder for someone to tell if a person is home or not. This makes condominiums very popular with pilots and certain sales people.

4. A detached home requires a lot of maintenance to keep it in good shape. A condominium also requires maintenance, but the homeowners’ association is responsible for the upkeep. Generally, the constant attention provided through the homeowners’ association makes condos a better long term maintenance option.

Condominiums are not for everyone, but they have definite advantages over detached homes in certain situations. While guidelines are a solid method of determining if a condo is a good option, you really need to consider your personal circumstances to determine the best choice for you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Computer Repair and Services Rochester NY

1.Install Windows Vista in a test computer.

2.Install all the application to be analyzed on the Windows Vista. If an alert one asking for permission to install the application will be shown, allows the access and continues. If the installation will be successful, polishes for stage 6.

3.If the installation of the application to fail and no alert one of permission of the installation will be indicated, click with the right button on installer EXE and instruct the execution of this program as administrator (run the administrator) and reinstall the application

4.If they will have errors, such as the version of, register of CLSID, or copy of archives, click with the right button on installer /EXE, and selects the border of compatibility. I will choose the way of compatibility with Windows XP SP2.

5.It tries to install again. If the installation will not be successful, pass stage 9.

6.The application must now be installed.

7.It initiates the application. If the application not to execute or if errors correctly will be reported, wall lamp the way of the compatibility with Windows XP SP2 to the EXE of the application (border of compatibility of the window of properties) and try again.

8.If the application to execute successfully, executes some tests involving the basic functionalities of the same one. This stage says respect to the test of the same functionalities that this application shows on Windows XP. If it will be approved in the tests of functionalities, pass stage 10.

9.If the application not to install, to execute, to leave to function correctly, to find an error or fails in the main tests of functionality, it can be part of a small set of applications that will be frozen by the changes in the Windows Vista.

10.You it concluded the test procedures.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Comparing The Best Child Trust Fund (CTF)

The Government announced earlier this month that the number of children with a Child Trust Fund has reached over 3 million. However, The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Kitty Ussher, also highlighted that only three-quarters of parents have actively opened their Child Trust Fund accounts.

This means that for the seven-hundred and fifty-thousand children whose parents did not open the Child Trust Fund themselves, the opportunity to gain one year's worth of interest is lost. In fact, the accumulated loss of interest for all those Funds that have not been opened amounts to an estimated £15 million!

The Child Trust Fund is a long-term savings and investment plan set up by the Government to encourage parents to save for their children's future. The Child Trust Fund is available to all children born on or after 1 September 2002 . Children will receive an initial £250 in vouchers to open their Child Trust Fund accounts, with a further £250 when they reach seven years of age. In addition to this money, parents, family and friends can contribute up to £1,200 each year into the Fund.

Although opening a Child Trust Fund is relatively straightforward, choosing one can be more difficult. With three types of accounts (cash, stakeholder or shares) available from numerous banks and building societies each with their own offers, terms and conditions and rates, finding the right Child Trust Fund for their children leaves many parents confused. Recent research from The Actuarial Profession has shown that most parents are simply overwhelmed by the huge amount of information they receive. Often, the just need concise information which simplifies and compares the various accounts available.

Currently, there are several websites that compare only Cash Child Trust Funds, but only leads the way by providing a comparison table of all three types of Child Trust Funds: Cash, Stakeholders and Equity (or Shares) Child Trust Funds. has an all-inclusive, easy to understand comparisons of all Child Trust Funds provides parents the tools they need to make informed decisions about the best ways to compare Child Trust Funds available or to see how their children's current Child Trust Fund compares to others on the market.

Joe Luong, Marketing Director for said, "Our feedback has shown that many parents are overwhelmed by the multitude of leaflets and fliers from financial bodies available regarding Child Trust Funds. Some even believe it is too much that they don't even know where to start."

"What parents of newborns need is clear and concise information explained in simple English on how best to compare their children's Child Trust Fund. With, new parents are able to research everything they want to know about the Child Trust Fund from one reliable source. On one site, they can seek guidance from other parents in the form of a Child Trust Fund discussion forum, look at product reviews and learn how best to compare Child Trust Funds."

To further relieve some of the other stresses and strains for new parents, recently introduced a simple table of Child Trust Funds available where parents can simply click and download Child Trust Fund E-brochures of their choice in a PDF format. Each brochure provides information specific to that particular Child Trust Fund. Access to this information on this one site saves parents the hassle and time of having to find every website for each product to investigate further.

The message from the Government is clear. Parents who decide to invest their children's Child Trust Fund voucher and earn interest on that investment will be better off than the 25% of parents who choose not to do anything at all. So ACT NOW! and start comparing the best Child Trust Funds for your children before you miss out on even more interest!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Communication par Internet entre Franchiseurs et Franchises

Cette communication entre franchiseurs et franchisés peut donc se faire aujourd'hui via Internet ou câbles de d'interconnexion reliant les franchises via leur réseau et permet de rentabiliser le travail des franchisés par le gain de temps en recherche d'informations si ce dernier est correctement utilisé.

Les franchisés peuvent alors passer leurs commandes en ligne et contrôler les dates de livraisons. La plus part des grandes franchises utilisent le système "à la minute", qui permet de connaître au moment précis l'état des stocks ou encore les livraisons effectuées à leur franchisés. Cela a donc réellement permis d'activer le processus et signifie également que le franchisé peut mieux réorganiser ses stocks sans être à court au moment X.

Les systèmes les plus pointus permettent également aux franchisés de s'approvisionner auprès d'un autre franchisé si le franchiseur est à cours de stock.

Les demandes peuvent être connectées au réseau et toutes les ventes peuvent être relayées auprès des franchiseurs. Cela implique donc que la plus part des cas des demandes d'ordres peuvent être retirées directement par le franchisé.

Pour le franchiseur, cela est fantastique car il n'est alors plus nécessaire de perdre du temps à rechercher le franchisé disposant de la quantité adéquate désirée qui pourrait répondre urgemment à la demande.

Les franchisés en tire un avantage certain car ils voient leur travail diminué et leur permet de passer plus de temps sur les problèmes marketings et la gestion de la relation clientèle.

Par ailleurs, les franchisés peuvent maintenant payer en même temps en ligne le franchiseur et les fournisseurs sans avoir recours aux carnets de chèques, enveloppes et postage. Une solution simple de payement en ligne donne de nombreux avantages que ne peuvent procurer les méthodes de payements classiques. En plus d'augmenter leur facilité de caisse, ce système leur permet également de réduire les risques de fraude.

Par exemple, une grande société de jeux carte possédant bon nombre de franchises. L'une d'entre elle se retrouve à cours de jeux que l'on vient de lui demander. Un simple passage sur Intranet et elle peut alors renseigner exactement son client quant aux délais de livraison du produit.

D'autres systèmes encore plus perfectionnés permettent de voir leurs comptes, rendant alors leur travail plus aisé grâce à une analyse plus objective. Le comptable est ainsi capable de voir en temps et en heure toute transaction effectuée et de récupérer les données des autres franchises.

Mais l'Intranet permet aussi à l'entreprise d'y déposer ses brochures, de visionner les dernières vidéos publicitaires de la société et éventuellement aider les franchiseurs en leur adressant un feedback sur la manière d'améliorer leur politique marketing pour le futur. Ils peuvent également tenir leurs opérateurs informés de façon régulière de manière manuelle.

Pour cela, un accès Internet haut débit est obligatoire, les franchisés développant habituellement leur business depuis leur ordinateur. Cela implique au franchiseur de devoir former son franchisé quant à l'utilisation et la maintenance de leur outil informatique.

es franchiseurs aiment adopter ce système afin de renforcer l'image de marque de la compagnie et faire participer activement leurs franchisés au cœur de cette dernière.

Toutefois, les dangers de l'utilisation d'Internet (ou intranet) sont nombreux. Si le serveur principal des franchiseurs tombe en panne et ne dispose pas de back up adéquate ou une facilité d'accès d'autres serveurs, tous les réseaux des franchisés peut être pénalisé.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Color Theory for Fashionistias - Three Easy Steps to Perfect Color Every Time

Color is everywhere, in your clothes, in your jewelry. Color is life. Fashion and color coordination can make or break your carefuly planned outfit.

Here's a bit of color theory with a fashionista bent.

Primary colors

These are red, blue and yellow. In theory, you can make any color from these three primaries (except white, which is really an absence of color). In practice, it depends on what red, blue or yellow you start with, but we are not mixing paints here, so just remember that the primary colors are red, blue and yellow. You'll learn why in the next step.

The secondary colors are the colors you get from mixing equal amounts of any two primaries. (If the primaries are pure, mixing all three will give you black.)

The secondaries are purple, orange and green.

Now why do you care?

Well, primaries and secondaries together give us complementary colors. The complement of the color is the color directly across from it on the color wheel, or if starting with a primary, the color made from mixing the other two primaries. So essentially a color and its complement contain all of the primaries between them.

Red's compliment is green (Merry Christmas!). Yellow's complement is purple. Blue's complement is orange.
This is as much contrast as you can get between colors of the same value (brightness or darkness). So if you want to make a bold statement, the primaries are a treat.

Enter the secondaries

The secondary colors are made by mixing equal parts of any two complementaries. So the secondary colors are green (yellow and blue), orange (yellow and red) and purple (blue and red).

Let's say you have a yellow dress and you want this outfit to be a traffic stopper. If it's for daytime, you can use bold purple jewelry and accessories. This classic combination of purple and yellow is eye catching. It can be sophisticated and definite or more playful, depending on the yellow and purple you start out with.

However, you don't always want to be quite that much the center of attention. What do you do to make more subtle fashion statements, but still use colors well?

The yellow and purple we used above are complementary colors. This means they are directly across from each other on the color wheel.

The colors to each side of our main color's complement are the triad colors. (Triad because the color you start with plus the two others make three colors total.) The triads are our friends for choosing jewelry or other accessories.

Let's look at our yellow dress again. This time we're wearing it to a business meeting. What would be appropriate jewelry? Gold on yellow is too close -- it will tend to wash out. The whole outfit will look drab (more drab than if you didn't use the gold jewelry).

Silver will work, particularly if the silver is a bit pale and the yellow of the dress if very vivid. But you don't have to stick with gold or silver. There are many colored gems and jewels out there. Try a sapphire necklace. The blue will nicely set off the yellow and both will sparkle. Or a red brooch. The red can tend towards orange for a brighter effect or towards blue for more contrast.

Now how about the vivid purple blouse you just adore? How to accessorize it? The purple is already such a bold color.

Well, we'll do exactly the opposite of what we have done with our yellow dress, since purple is yellow's complement.

For our purple blouse, if you want to be bold and outrageous, go for bright gold (yellow) or just plain yellow jewelry.
Silver will not work with the purple since the blue of the silver is too close to our purple color (as the gold was on the yellow dress). Of course red is wonderful with purple, just showing that every rule is made to be broken (with discrimination and taste, of course).

We can team our purple blouse with a tan skirt (tan being a form of yellow) and dress it down for a business meeting. We'll want our jewelry to be a little more subtle. In this case, rather than yellow, let's use the triad colors to purple -- orange or green. These may seem like bold choices, but remember you want your jewelry to be seen, not to blend into the woodwork.

How about an amber pendant? This would be sophisticated and would be set off wonderfully by the purple background without being garish.

Or an emerald brooch and earrings, or a green frog pin. The possibilities are endless within your basic color choices. If you stick with these color constraints, you will not go wrong.

Now let's consider the classic grey business suit. You may be thinking that your grey suit is neutral so you can choose any color at all. This is rarely the case and can be the cause of that ensemble that doesn't quite work.

Most greys tend towards blue (cool) or red/yellow (warm). So first determine if your suit is cool grey or warm grey. If you're having trouble with this (and it can be tough at first), try holding it up to other grey items in your house. You'll start to notice that it looks a bit redder (or yellower) or a bit more blue. This will help you determine the color bias of your grey suit.

Most warm grey used in clothing is a reddish grey. This is because red complements the complexion. But you will find some yellowish greys, particularly in garments with very sophisticated color.

Let's say our suit is a cool grey, so for the purposes of our color choice we'll consider it blue. The complement of blue is orange.

We want to keep this a business suit, so we'll pick the triad to each side of the orange to start with. Red and yellow. This tells us that gold will be a perfect choice for our grey suit. Silver is too blue and would wash out the outfit.

You may have noticed that gold tends towards red or yellow. If you are using more than one accessory with the gold, determine whether the primary gold jewelry you will be wearing is reddish gold or yellow gold.

This is done just as we did with the suit itself, by comparing it with other colors.

If the gold is reddish, then keep your other accessories in the red and yellow range. If the gold is yellow, keep the other colors in the yellow orange range.

Note, the description "yellow gold" is for any gold that is not white (silvery). Yellow golds range from a deep red to a very pale yellow, so be sure to check each piece of jewelry when putting together your outfit. A red gold and a yellow gold next to each other will look subtly wrong, unless they are carefully combined in a single piece by a master jeweler. A lack of understanding about the tendencies of gold to be manifested as different colors results in fashion mistakes are that are hard to pin down.

So, let's say we've chosen a beautiful golden horse pin as our primary jewelry piece. We look at it and realize that it tends, ever so slightly, towards red. This makes the rest of our accessorizing easy.

We'll go for red and even towards the cooler reds (those tending towards purple, rather than towards the yellows and oranges). With our golden horse brooch and a deep slightly purplish red scarf our grey business suit stays business-like but acquires a powerful feminine appeal.

If you want more color, choose red's triads, blue or yellow.

So, when choosing the jewelry to complement any outfit follow three simple steps and you won't go wrong:

1) Determine the base color of your clothing. This is the dominant color. If you’re wearing the purple blouse with a tan skirt the purple is the dominant color.

If the outfit has a pattern, squint at it and try to see what color feels most dominant (this is an old artist's trick). If no particular color stands out, determine if the overall pattern is cool or warm as we did with our grey suit. Again squinting helps.

2) Find the complement of this color on your color wheel. If you really want to stand out, use the complement and stop at this step -- you're done!

3) Look at the triad colors next to the complement. These are most often the colors you will use for your accessories. If you want a brighter look you can use both triads. For a more subtle look, choose one or the other and then use variations on this color (the variations on any one color are almost endless).

That's it -- three easy steps that will assure that your outfits are always tres chic and save you hours trying to figure out what's just not quite right or choosing by hit and miss.

Of course, fashion colors change from year to year, but you now understand color combinations and how to put them together in wow combinations, whatever colors your starting with.

Coming in part two, how colors effect each other.

To see this page with color wheels and other illustrations that you can print for reference, go to

Style on!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Colon Cancer: Risks and Prevention

Cancer: it's not a word that anyone really wants to hear. While not necessarily a death sentence, cancer is an illness that does have a high mortality rate depending on where in the body it strikes.

Colon cancer - the third most common cancer - results in the second highest number of cancer deaths. While that fact can be a bit intimidating, as can the realization that for many people colon cancer has no symptoms until it is in its advanced stages, it's important to take a step back and recognize that there are a number of things that you can do in order to lower your risk of developing the disease.

Long before someone develops full blown colon cancer and notices symptoms like unexplained weight loss, anemia, generalized weakness and changes in bowel habits, there are screening procedures that can be performed by a doctor to check for signs of developing colon cancer as well as pre-cancerous polyps in the colon. Screenings are important - in fact, they are essential for detecting, diagnosing and monitoring colon cancer.

Ideally, if you were to develop colon cancer, and it would be caught before the tumor grew through the intestinal wall or soon after it had begun to do so, the treatment will often be successful, since this cancer is easy to treat if it is discovered in its early stages. Once the cells have invaded the lymphatic system or metastasized into other areas of the body, the chances of recovery begin to diminish significantly.

To ensure early detection - in addition to screenings - it's important to understand the risks and behaviors that can contribute to the disease (and to know what you can do to reduce your risk). Each of the following can contribute to your risk of developing colon cancer:

1. Age: as you get older, the risk of developing colon cancer increases;

2. History of cancer: if you have had other cancers, your risk increases; similarly, if you have a family history of colon cancer, your risk increases;

3. A history of other colon problems including Crohn's disease;

4. Diet: many people don't eat foods that are particularly healthy – or don't eat enough of the foods that are not only healthy for them but are also beneficial to the digestive tract;

5. Smoking and alcohol: there's been a great deal of focus on what smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can do to harm the body, but it's also important to note that the toxins from both also affect the colon.

6. Lack of physical activity: exercise not improves an overall sense of well-being but also helps the body to work more efficiently.

When you know what can contribute to the risk of developing colon cancer, you'll find that there are more things that you can do in order to reduce your risk. While you cannot turn back the clock or change your family's genetic history, you can make a commitment to getting more exercise and to changing your diet so that you're taking in more fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are high in fiber and by reducing the amount of protein that you're taking in.

Likewise, when you are more aware of things that can be toxic within the body – whether in your case it is eating overly processed foods, smoking or drinking – it becomes easier to make changes to limit the intake of them. For those who have trouble making the change, however, there is another option: colon cleansing.

Using a colon cleanser to rid the body of toxins, it can break down the unhealthy foods that the body does not easily process, and it can help to reduce demands on other organs in the body as well. When the colon and large intestine are working properly, there is less strain on the liver; when there are fewer demands on the liver the kidneys are better able to function and perform their essential tasks.

Colon cleansing, therefore, is not just about ensuring that your body is properly eliminating waste; it's also about ensuring that your body is able to function properly and with less strain. By taking these steps – and by taking steps to increase your physical activity and care for your body – you're likely to find that you are in better health overall.

Not all colon cancers are preventable and it's important to recognize that. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't do what you can to reduce your risk of developing the disease. Care for your body, ensure that you're eliminating toxins and take the time to have screenings for colon cancer and you'll find that you increase your quality and longevity of life.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Collecting Native American Pottery

Native American pottery is fun to collect. There are so many different pueblos, and each one has its own style of pottery. While collecting the pottery, you are also learning a lot about Native American art and culture.

This form of art has been practiced for thousands of years. Yet it is constantly improving as modern artists are experimenting with new techniques and designs. You can purchase antique pottery or modern versions, and each has its pros and cons. Of course, the older pottery is much more expensive, if it is in good condition, because of the value as an antique. But the newer pottery can be just as beautiful or even more so. It is important to collect what you like and can afford.

The first thing you should do is visit some websites and look at photos of Native American pottery. WHen you see enough good quality pottery, you will train your eye to recognize what is good. Be sure to read some books on the subject as well.

If you can visit New Mexico or Arizona, be sure to visit some of the pueblos where the pottery is made. Often the pueblo will have a cultural center where they display works of the local artists, along with a lot of information about their history and crafts. This will help you get a feel for the pottery as well.

You can purchase pottery at these cultural centers, but you might be better off buying the pottery directly from the artist. For sure, you should not buy the pottery at the expensive shops in the tourist areas of Santa Fe or Albuquerque. It will be marked up a great deal there.

You can also purchase pueblo pottery online. You can often get some good discounts at online sites. Of course, you can't handle the pottery then, so be sure that they have good photos of the pottery at the website.

Try to get the largest examples of pottery you can afford. It should not have any chips or cracks, as that will reduce the value. Also, some pottery is made from molds, which is ok, but the hand made pottery is more valuable. In any case, even the pottery made from a mold should be hand painted beautifully by the potter.

It is fun to collect pottery from the different pueblos. It is amazing how different they can be. The differences could be in the color of clay used, the shapes of the pottery, the subject matter of sculptures, the amount of carving on the piece, the style of painting, and so on. Get a good book showing the various styles. It wll help you a lot.

There are many different types of pottery too. Some are ollas, bowls, seed pots, traditional wedding vases, story teller figurines, figures of animals, and many others.

Some of the Native American potters have become quite famous, and their work can be very expensive, but it is also extremely beautiful. But the work of lesser known potters can be lovely as well, and is much more affordable. You can always start out simply and purchase more expensive pottery as you get more familiar with it.

Enjoy your new hobby of collecting Native American pottery!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Collecting Mexican Folk Art 101

I love Mexican folk art! Whenever possible, I try to buy it directly from the artisans who create it. The pieces that speak to me, I keep and add to my own collection. The others, I share with family and friends as gifts, or sell to other collectors and home decor aficionados.

Many people collect museum quality artwork by world renowned Mexican artists. Others choose practical items such as talavera dishes, hand-woven textiles or silver jewelry. Some prefer items of a ceremonial or religious nature such as beaded masks, prayer bowls or retablos. Still others are attracted to the bright colors and whimsical design of Oaxacan wood carvings known as alebrije, painted tin ornaments, and Day of the Dead miniatures. Each of these items, and many more not mentioned, contribute to the diversity and charm of Mexican folk art.

The history of Mexico is depicted in Mexican folk art. Each piece tells a story or provides a symbolic representation of the Mexican people and their culture. Some folk art reflects the indigenous cultures of the past, many lost to the colonization by the Spaniards. Spanish influences are also present in some works, as are Christian, pagan and folkloric themes. A true collector must study Mexican beliefs and cultural values in depth to fully understand Mexican folk art.

As a new collector, you’ll want to know what to look for to be sure your Mexican folk art is authentic. One key element is the use of indigenous materials from each region of Mexico. For example: alebrije are made from the wood of the copal tree. This tree grows only in the Oaxacan valley. Craftsmanship is another telltale clue. Skill and style will vary between artisans and the price and quality will reflect their ability. However, authentic work is always aesthetically pleasing, well made, and is typically labeled in some manner, whether signed by the artist, with his or her village noted, or at least labeled Hecho en Mexico.

If you’re able to visit Mexico, buy folk art directly from the artisans or purchase from local shops in the region where it is made. Do not buy from vendors in tourist areas unless you wish to pay inflated prices for items that may be of an inferior quality. If your purchases are limited to specialty shops, galleries or online stores in the U.S., make sure you are dealing with a reputable seller and always check out their return policies before buying.

For additional help, there are numerous resources available at your local bookstore. The best, though pricey, is Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art by Fernandez De Calderon Candida. Several others are good hands-on guides pertaining to a specific type of folk art or region of Mexico.

One last thing and the most important in my opinion. When you buy and collect Mexican folk art, you are helping artisans earn a living wage through fair trade which enables them to support their families. You’re also supporting the continuation of ancient traditions and generations old craftsmanship, rather than endorsing mass-produced cheaply made copies of the real thing.

Now, let’s go shopping!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Comic Books: Our Own Worst Enemy?

Like most comic publishers I spend quite a bit of time thinking about the state of the industry and how to make it better – well, truthfully, how to make my little corner of it better. After spending a lot of time thinking it over and discussing what everyone perceives to be the main elements leading to the downfall of comics (the distributor monopoly, for example), I realized what the biggest problem and killer really is: the industry.

I believe most of the problems that we encounter “in the industry” come from the industry itself. First off, comic companies tend to publish only for those who are already in the industry. Comic publishers usually target their marketing towards those who are already here and creators tend to create product only for those who are already well-versed in industry. Very rarely does the thought of bringing new readers in really ever pop up, which is insane. That would be like Hollywood only creating films for those who work in film and television. As wacky as it sounds, this seems to be the mentality of the industry at large.

Magazines like Cosmopolitan are fashion magazines, but their audience is the average woman (or girl) interested in fashion and not members of the industry itself. Their advertising stretches beyond fashion industry trade publications and into the mainstream itself, where its buyers reside. Why short sell your books only to the 50,000 or so members of the active comic community and not go for millions of people out there who enjoy action movies?

Comic publishers aren’t the only ones to blame, either. Creators themselves are as big a deterrent to new readership as anything else. If you want to know why, take a look at a modern comic versus one from as late as even the mid eighties and you’ll see one very big difference. No, I’m not talking about paper or printing processes. The art itself is the main problem with comics. Solid, clear storytelling has become a thing of the past. A new buyer will find most modern comics unreadable because the solid storytelling of days past (along with gutters – remember, full page bleeds on every page get confusing) is gone.

Do you know why a lot of new readers are picking up Manga titles? It’s because they are easier to read than US ones. Even with the flipped format, most Manga has straight forward enough storytelling that even the most uninitiated reader can follow what is going on and which panel comes next. This can’t be said about most US titles (indy or mainstream). The fact that the current trend in the US is for over rendered, poorly thought out computer coloring, doesn’t help readability at all.

Comics and comic art have become so inbred the only ones who can stomach them are their sister-mothers. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The general public will read comics if you can get yourself out of the industry mindset and start creating comics for readers instead of for an industry more interested in John Byrne’s latest social blunder than in buying your books.

Some places to consider for your books (depending on its target audience) are non-chain book stores, new age shops, record stores (Tower is starting to have a great selection of indy and small press ‘zines), libraries, corner markets, magazines with a similar areas of interest, schools, local area mailer compilations (such as the little coupon books you get in the mail), area events (concerts are a great spot), swap meets, arcades or game stores. There is an endless list of places that might be willing to carry your work if you let them know it’s out there. You might have to spend some money to advertise. Get used to it. The old adage, “you have to spend money to make money,” is true for any business.

Here are some tips for making your books more accessible to general audiences:

1) Market your books outside of comic-specific areas. Figure out who might be interested in your book and pursue those outlets. There are tons of places out in the world that would be willing to sell your comic…but they have to know it exists first. I’ve had success at art festivals, flea markets, record stores, sci fi magazines and more. Get as creative with your marketing and sales as you do with actually producing your book. It’s worth the extra effort.

2) Get rid of full page bleeds on every page. Don’t be afraid of negative space around your pages. It will actually open up your pages and keep them from looking cramped.

3) Don’t forget the gutters! Overlap panels are interesting from time to time, but gutters help to keep the art readable and from blending together. They’re also great for pacing in your storytelling.

4) If you’re going to color your books, don’t go for the over-rendered look that most comics use. It’s muddy and unclear. Look at animation or places like Disney Adventures for reference on coloring. Most “cartoony” books are well colored because they want to make sure the work is readily accessible to readers of all ages. Not every panel needs to be a fully digitally painted work of "art."

5) Think of storytelling. The most important thing in a comic is that you do not lose your audience. If at any point your readers get confused as to where to read next, then you’ve failed at your job as a storyteller. And, remember, “style” is no excuse for poor storytelling (or poor artwork in general, but that’s a rant for another time)

6) Don’t have large blocks of text or dialogue in each panel. There’s an old unwritten rule in mainstream comics (and one that has been largely forgotten or ignored): never have more than 26 words in any balloon or caption box. Anything more than that and the words will run together, potentially causing readers to skip over sections of what is on the page.

7) This one is going to cause any comic collector to cringe: get rid of issue numbers. Or, if you just have to have them, place them in the indicia only. Issue numbers are one of the big obstacles for new readers, especially in periodical product like comic books. A reader needs to be able to come in on any issue and not have to worry about having to read 10 back issues to know what’s going on. Sure you can let them know there are other stories they can read (and, which will be available in trade paperback), but don’t make those stories required reading. Follow Cosmo’s lead (or Playboy’s) and just have the month and year on each cover. Comics should be entertainment first and foremost. Get out of the collectible mindset.

8) Forget the mantra, “comics aren’t just for kids anymore.” It’s old, played out and is part of the death sentence of the industry. Creators have spent so much time trying to prove that comics can be for adults that they’ve forgotten to build the next generation of fans by only making comics for older fans who are already in comics. Without young readers there is no future in the industry. As a second part of this thought, just because your comic has adult language, nudity and graphic violence doesn’t automatically make the book for adults. Vertigo and “Ultimate” writers take note.

9) Be prepared to get your hands dirty and do some work. Publishing is a business and, at first, you may find yourself putting in as much time marketing as you do creating. That’s not a bad thing.

My heresy will end with this statement: the only way to save comics may be to let the comic industry, as it exists right now, shrivel up and die. It’s on the road as it is, with everyone racing to tear whatever pieces they can get from its still (barely) living corpse. The industry isn’t the heart of comics and didn’t make them, so dare to be different. Put down the latest issue of the comic industry death watch, Wizard. Ignore the party line that an indy book will sell less than 250 copies – there is a world outside of the Geppi chokehold.

A bit of inspiration for you: Nifty's main title, the Cadre, sells over 5000 copies per issue and 90% of that is outside of the comic industry. Not bad for a black and white, mainstream style super hero comic.

The world is a big, beautiful place full of potential new readers. You just have to venture out and find them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Collectible Pewter Figurines Are Child Friendly

Children often enjoy collecting items just as much as adults do. They may want delightful figurines but parents are often hesitant due to the cost of them and the risk of such items getting broken. A good solution is to consider buying pewter figurines because they are in expensive and they won’t break. Your child can be rough with them as children often are without any risk of them getting injured in the process.

There are so many amazing pewter figurines that your child can choose to collect. They describe their favorite pastimes and hobbies for both boys and girls. There are also common items from many different manufacturers including dinosaurs, clowns, animals, angels, and bears. Once your child has chosen what they want to collect you can take a look at the various pewter figurines that are available.

To help your child grow their pewter figurine collection, they can share this interest with their family and friends. When it is their birthday or Christmas they will likely get some great additions to their collection as gifts. They can even purchase some of them with their own money on occasion because that will make those particular pewter collectibles even more important to them.

The price of pewter collectibles is extremely reasonable compared to what you will pay for other types of materials. The fact that they are so durable makes them well worth what you will pay for them. The heavier the pewter collectible is the more expensive it will be. Size sometime places a role in the price too but generally it has to do with the overall weight of the object.

Many pewter figurines also increase in value over time. If your child keeps the collection for years they may end up being worth quite a bit of money. Of course many children would rather have their collectibles than the money they are worth but it is something to think about.

Since pewter is so durable, these types of collectible figurines can easily become a family heirloom passed down to new generations of children in the family. You can start a new tradition just by purchasing your own child a few pewter figurines to get their collection started.

For adults that enjoy collecting items but often have many children around, pewter figurines are a good option for them as well. They don’t have to worry about their precious items being broken due to the curiosity of small children that happen to be visiting them.

Pewter is a great looking material and you can’t go wrong buying children collectibles make from it. Many of them are amazingly detailed and they will be cherished items by any child. You can find them online, at retail stores, and even at flea markets or yard sales from time to time. Help your child find something they are interested in and start collecting. They will have plenty of wonderful childhood memories wrapped up in each one of the pewter collectibles that they have.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Bomb For A Bomb And A Rocket For A Rocket; What Hath Terrorism Wrought But A New Code Of Hammurabi

Look far and wide, and what do we see? The most civilized nations, at least, the ones we've got at this point in our nascent human development, having made an uneasy accommodation to behavior that they would historically wretch at as downright repellent. It’s none other than the law of Hammurabi, or tit for tat, writ in TNT. So we arrive at the big question. What hath terrorism wrought? These merciless scoundrels have compelled us transform our own sense of right and wrong into a workable counterpoint to their own beastly behavior. We have been compelled to consider killing them as a regrettably acceptable ethical necessity and, if a few thousand civilians happen to get in the way, what else can we do by keep the bombs and rockets flying. This transformation of our own generally commendable ethical sense is, other than killing and maiming us physically, the most deleterious result of the murderous amorality of the terrorists. It is, if you will, their second-saddest triumph. Here we are, the hope of the world, in terms of nations whose conduct is preferably guided by the mutually nourishing principle of the sanctity of life, compelled to wreak death and destruction. Must we be reduced to combating it in the murderously unethical mud out of which terrorism launches its salvos or is there a way to remain on a higher plane while we contend with it for world domination, truth, justice, and American TV? Can we, in fact, triumph over what, at present, appears to be the illicit accomplishment of our faux-religious foes? Would we be the folks in the white hats, albeit soiled, if we couldn't? But how might we achieve what presents itself as an unlikely distinction? Why, simply by abstaining from being as unconscionably ruthless as the terrorists. Sure, we have to defend ourselves, not to mention our precious infrastructure, which is, at its best, part of the common achievement, enhancement, and promise of the human race. Yes, we have to hunt them down and kill them before they kill more of us. But we don’t have to stoop to the level of savage immorality that they do when they kill or capture us. Tempting as it is to disregard them as an inconvenience, we should abide by the most recognized rules of engagement, that is, the Geneva Conventions. Abide by them even though we realize that the ill-informed and immoral assassins and torturers we're presently at war with do not qualify as enemy combatants, most justifiably because they themselves do not recognize such relatively humane agreements about how we should do battle with one another. It is by putting ourselves firmly on the high ground of right conduct that we can remain above the terrorists, do what they may, and make them look, in the eyes of all unprejudiced humanity, like the lowdown criminals they have condemned themselves to be. To go on a bit, with your patient indulgence at the brief suspension of laughter, in the defense of life, we must do our best never to harm and demean it and all we can to preserve and respect it. It is by being the champions of life that we can diminish and defeat those who have no care for it. Let life be for life and death for death; then life must win, and death, in time, die. Isn't that right, me hearties?

Collecting Art - Do you have the bottle?

The headline reads “Undiscovered master piece sells for millions at Auction”. The family was overjoyed to discover that a picture that had hung on their grandfather’s wall for years attracted a six figure price at auction. Grandson and heir said “The whole family knew he collected odds and ends but we never envisaged it would amount to anything.”

Ok the above is fiction, but it’s what’s at the back of the majority of collector’s minds, especially those who collect art. Buy it cheap and sell it for squillions. Just don’t rely on it as your retirement fund. In many respects it is a lottery, your betting your collection decision against that fickle beast, public opinion. The beauty of the art collecting lottery is you can hang the ticket on your wall. A win, win situation, your wall decorations are working for you and all your friends can admire your taste.

Now that can be scary, because 90 out of 100 people know damn all about art. If it isn’t chocolate box pretty it isn’t art, right. Wrong, have a look at the masters of art in your local museum or better still here on the internet and see how many pretty pictures you can find. Look at Picasso, Gauguin, Pollock, Matisse, Cezanne or Van Gogh to mention a few.

It’s Ok, I’ll wait.

Not much prettiness there. What is there is life, both the depiction of it and in the picture itself. There is an energy that radiates from art and if you allow it that energy will take you places you have never been before. But be prepared, it will confront you, it will challenge you, it is opinionated and isn’t afraid to speak its mind, it is prepared to stand up and be counted, it is art.

As such it is in the vanguard of human experience, it is raw, it is fresh and new. It isn’t the tried and true of recipes of yesterday rehashed, it is pushing the boundaries. In the 21st Century it is computer generated art in all of its many and varied forms. Be it fractal art, manipulated photography or cartoon cells, the collectable artists of today are using a keyboard and a mouse. If Michelangelo were to paint the Sistine Chapel today you can bet London to a brick he wouldn’t be using intonaco. Now as then he would be using that latest technology available to him.

For the collector this just adds another level of complexity. Because computer art is so easily reproduced, what does one actually collect? As in the past, collect signatures, preferably from a limited edition. Obviously, the shorter the edition the better. If an open edition with a signature is all you can afford, go for it, it is better than a poster with or with out a digital signature. If your print isn’t signed by the fair hand of the artist, as a collectable, it is worthless and that includes digital signatures. It is a $29.99 commodity and barely worth the paper it’s printed on. Although the frame may attract a bid or two.

If you consequently come across your print on the cover of Vogue or in a TV commercial for whatever, chances are you’re on a winner. That is the paperback of your signed first edition. Assuming of course your print has staying power, for so much of the mass media is based on ephemera. It is the quick hit that attracts attention and while this can be true of art there is a deeper relationship just waiting for your attention in works that can stand the test of time.

For anyone seriously considering collecting art, the pieces to acquire are those you can live with. If you like it from the start that is a bonus though not essential because if you have chosen wisely you will, over time and many conversations, come to love your new found friend. Works of art do become trusted friends and when it comes time to dispose of them it is a gut wrenching experience. This I know for I have been there and done that. When I had to dispose of my collection a few months ago my main concern was that they were going to good home rather than the financial return they could afford me. Consequently the ROI was less than if I had been less sentimental.

Though if ROI is your motivation and you can be hard nosed at the end of the day you will have many hours of enjoyment from your friends upon your walls along the way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Deep Look At Soap Operas

You have got to love soap operas. From the intricate plots and finely woven webs of deceit, to the depths of schemes, they were, are and always will be classics. They are timeless. I wrote this article as my take on them back in 1970 when filling white space for our high school paper. Watch a few soap operas for the next few days and see for yourself how closely they resemble the soap operas of 36 years ago... And now for that thought provoking question that plagues men’s souls unceasingly through the bright shining of the day and through the untold dark depths of the night: Why did Peter, who in reality is actually Superman, fake that he stubbed his toe on the 17th stone on the sidewalk starting at 4th and Grand instead of the 16th stone, which was bigger and more logically the victim of that invulnerable toe and why did Marlys take Sam’s advice to buy the yellow tulip instead of the red and green carnation, while all the time Rodregus knew that the curvaceous young Pandora was at the moment buying the last purple, double-breasted, duck-billed, warbling giraffe in the world for her dear departed Phillip disguised as a lowly second mate on the Queen Mary, which was under attack by the tyrant Cedric because of the terrible beating he had suffered at the hands of Radcliff whose ex-wife Natalie was actually Percival’s long lost great-great-uncle Maximillian in disguise who knew that Zigmond was fond of un-pitted olives stuffed into green grapefruit filled graciously with Granny and Gretchen’s goulash, which was gradually getting gooey and who also knew of Jennifer’s contact Louella in the deep Congo, seized at the time by the dread Gardenia, the 7th cousin of Guenivere, in hopes of receiving the eight-ounce bottle of Elmer’s Glue stored in the vast files in the cortex of Courtney’s colossal computer complex carefully compiled to correct the current curling, commonly crusading as the contagious, communicable, crystalline, cucumber crud, carried on cue sticks by crying cuckoo clock birds continuously to conform with the cunning Cornelius’ cumbersome plot to corrupt the currency and continue the crisis of the Cormandel Coast Cult, complicated by the coroner Cort’s corny connotation to conceal his consecutive coronary contractions constantly crippling his conscious efforts to contradict congenial counterparts’ careful counterfeit correspondence with Corwyn, the cosmic cosmetician? Was it because Bill had green eyes or was it because Melissa meddled menacingly and meticulously in Maude’s plans to read the calendar to see what year she had been sent to by her superiors in the future? Tune in tomorrow for the exciting climax created by another deep question.


"This house is so cluttered I can't find anything," said my husband.

I looked around, and realized that most of the clutter was his, on that particular day, anyway. He seemed to be oblivious to that fact. He's not only a closet packrat, he builds guitars. He rebuilds guitars- guitars that don't quite meet his specifications when he buys them. Our living room is a guitar parts morgue. We could open up a store... They ought to make tables that have a slight angle to them, because every flat surface in our house gets piled with guitar parts, newspapers, mail, art supplies, telephones (yes we have several that don't even work, but "might be salvageable"), and all the equipment that goes along with the guitar building and playing. His "workroom" has a tendency to overflow into the living areas. He said, just the other day, that he wanted to use the other bedroom to "store" stuff, too. I had to make a decision, to blatantly show him that most of the clutter is his, or keep quiet and put all his things away in his used-to-be-a-bedroom "workroom". He surely would complain then, because it would be "put up." We can't ever find things that are "put up." We "put it up" so well, that it's never to be seen again. Might as well go buy another one, for all the good it's gonna' do us looking for it.

The trouble is, I think, we have too much stuff. If someone came by today and asked us to take up our cross and follow Christ (or Yeshua), we wouldn't be able to find it. The Spring cleaning bug has died, too. It comes around once a year around March. Things get spruced up and "put up" and then it slowly fades away, back to the way it was. Little baskets I put around to hide the parts, and pocket contents he dumps out when he comes home are filled to the brim with all kinds of things- gloves, dog leashes, papers, and one even has an amplifier balanced on top of it.

Dust is another problem. We live in the Southwest, where rain is as scarce as change from a vending machine. Lots of dust causes lots of static electricity, which in turn causes computer freeze-ups and malfunctions. With both of us being avowed computer geeks, that certainly is a problem. We are frequently unplugging everything and plugging it back in to release the charge. I even bought some anti-static spray the other day, but alas, it is lost, after just one use. We live in Colorado, but you'd think I was back in West Texas with all the dust that seems to creep in here. I work at home, so my husband thinks I have all day to just go around and dust, and find things. He has no idea... Well, occasionally I do the chores, but anything that needs dusting that's more than five feet high, isn't going to get dusted. If I can't see it, it isn't there. It doesn't bother me, as long as I can't see it.

Maybe I'll start building pianos. They have lots of parts. And they're really big. Nah. They have a flat surface on top. I'd never be able to get into them to work on them. Besides, I'd never get anything else done, just playing the piano all day...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Basketball For Short People: Basket To Be Lowered

Since the 1950s, when short but fast players had a chance of making it onto a professional court – such as the legendary Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics, known for startling innovations like dribbling and passing behind the back – the sport has been dominated by ever taller athletes, starting with the arrival of Wilt, The Stilt, Chamberlain. Now, The National Basketball Association has come to realize that the trend to tall has demoralized people of who fall within the usual range of human height and that it has positively devastated short people. Compared to the slam-dunking ways of the seven footers, these distressed athletes just can’t get people interested in watching them hoop it up. As a result, interest in the game as a participation sport has waned, and the association is concerned that, as fewer people work up their excitement about playing it, fewer of them will pay to see it. In an effort to return basketball to the widely poplar place it held in the minds and hearts of the American public before it became the exclusive province of players whose mothers are suspected of stretching them as infants, the association is considering legitimizing a court just for people of average height, with a special accommodation for shorter people. The basic plan calls for the basket to be lowered by one foot for players from 5’ 6” to 6’ 6” and two feet for people who are even shorter but still imagine slam-dunking the ball and hanging from the hoop in a celebratory manner. When the new rules go into effect, virtually everyone will finally be able to play the game in as dramatic a fashion as today’s seven footers. For now the plan calls for limiting the innovation to amateur players, but the association confides that if fans once again take an interest in watching average-size people play the game, there is the potential to establish an entire new league, made up of speed merchants who are only eye-high to a current pro’s elbows.

Clothes Grace the Dance

The dazzling costumes in NTDTV’s Chinese New Year Spectacular are as much a part of each dance as the dance movements themselves. They are, in many ways, the palette on which the dance is performed. Clothes, hair, colors—this is what transports us to the Divine Land of ancient China.

The Spectacular's wardrobe designers put great effort into creating just the right effect. A costume starts with a concept of the dance. The dance may have a powerful story or be found in a specific dynasty. Designers pore over paintings, frescoes and even statues to find the right look. Accessories then come into the design—hair, shoes, hats, belts. Next come sketches. Designers must consider not only how an outfit looks but also its flexibility for dance movements and whether it is durable enough to withstand over eighty performances.

Then the sketch goes to the sewing workshop. Here garment makers select just the right fabric, make the pattern and produce a sample. If it’s not just right, the whole process starts over. If the sample is approved, the task of making the clothes begins. Multiply this countless times. A single dance in this year’s Spectacular, the dance drama of General Yue Fei, required more than 100 costumes and accessories.

For Amy Lee, the principal designer in New York, this effort is well worth it. “When I came to the United States, I saw it was very difficult to find any expression of traditional Chinese culture. Through this show I see the hope of being able to preserve my culture for the benefit of my daughter and the next generation.”

Ms. Lee has worked in the fashion industry for more than twenty years. She was a professor of fashion design and fashion history in China. Although her costumes take inspiration from different dynasties and ethnic regions, her favorite dynasty is the Tang. She says the Tang Dynasty reflects the zenith of Chinese culture—artistically, economically and politically. During this time China was very open-minded. Prosperous and peaceful, the Tang Dynasty drew on influences from India, the Middle East and Europe.

According to Ms. Lee, all this is reflected in the clothes. “The clothes were rich and confident. They were uplifting,” she said. “Women wore large, open sleeves, sometimes up to two and a half feet wide. They wore see-through materials and gowns with high waists that were decorated with large, open flowers.”

Each dynasty had its own characteristics that were likewise reflected in the clothes. In general, Ms. Lee says everything can be found in the clothes—even the ancient people’s morals and values. “Clothing isn’t just a way to cover the body. It also reflects a person’s thoughts, culture and respect for the gods.”

Ms. Lee and her team use costume design to make ancient Chinese culture come alive today, to help the audience understand that traditional Chinese culture has much it can teach us today. Ms. Lee knows that through her efforts with NTDTV, these positive aspects of ancient China will not be forgotten.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bill Gates to Devote Life To Charity; Make Money And You Can, Too

Bill Gates announced that he will transition out of his day-to-day role at Microsoft by July 2008 in order to spend more time working on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on global health and education. His announcement reminded us of the plethora of graduation speeches that eager students imbibed across the land this spring. As we listened to the meritorious goals heaped on the recent graduates, so they might achieve goals the speaker’s generation has found impossible, we could not help but think, why doesn’t somebody come out and tell the youthful aspirants what the real challenge is? Like it or not, today’s world, as well as many another age, is conducted by two primary forces: wealth and power, and, other than resort to firearms, power springs from wealth. So if you want to influence the ways of this outrageously necessitous world, consider the stark truth that all power springs from the opening in a fat wallet. It's called the economic basis of society but, in its current incarnation, in debilitating excess. When we were recent graduates, we were not aware of such an uncompromising reality and passed up at least two opportunities to make megabucks because we wanted to preserve our mental energy to expend it toward the achievement of our ideals. Had we been wiser, we would have set aside a few years to stuff our pockets with power and then, like Mr. Gates, have spent the rest of our days placidly pursuing those still-inspiriting ideals. So we find ourselves, from our own experience, in the unlikely role of advising the most idealistic to enable their altruism by involving themselves, initially, in the activity they undoubtedly are convinced is not the most inviting. Then, should you be fortunate enough to enable your financial independence, you may, like Mr. Gates, head off into full-time devotion to your undoubtedly meritorious idealisms. Well, the speech probably would not have been one that would have inspired the administration to invite us back or that the students would have received with endorsement, but the sharp glass on the road through economic necessity is a fact not lightly to be dismissed. Ignore it and you may step on it with painful frequency.

Clinics see surge in tattoo removals

After а few boom years the tattoo has become victim to fickle fashion tastes. One in eight Britons is estimated to have а tattoo, more than any other nation in Europe. But the tide has turned. Laser clinics in the UK are reporting record traffic to remove the body art as popularized bу stars such as David Beckham and Britney Spears.

Clinics reported а 40% increase in tattoo removals over the past two years. In July it received 500 enquiries, more than twice its average. Almost two-thirds of customers are women in their mid-20s to 50.

"We've seen а dramatic increase in people coming in for removals in all our clinics' said Jane Lewis, regional director of one of the laser clinics, "Tattoos are very fashionable now, you see celebrities with them. А lot of people who get henna tattoos like them and think they'll have а real one.

"We are seeing а mixture of реоple. Some had а tattoo when they were younger but have now got on the career ladder: they are executives who can't wear а short -sleeved shirt around the boardroom table in summer because of what it will reveal.

"There are also women for whom аtattoo was hip when they were young but who now feel people tend to look at them and bе judgmental. Кids decide the name of the bоу they loved last week is not the name they want anymore. We also see minors brought in bу their parents the day after а tattoo'.

Laser therapy is considered the most effective form of tattoo removal. Ву matching the laser light to the color of the tattoo ink, the laser breaks down the ink pigments, resulting in а gradual fading of the tattoo. The process typically requires 6-12 treatments, depending оn the size and colors involved.

Sonia Amerigo, manager of a private laser clinic in Stockport said: "We can't keep up with the trend. We get various people of all ages, from businessmen who want to wear shirt-sleeves to young women who want to take their ех -boyfriend's name off"

Dr Sandeep Varma, а consultant dermatologist at a medical centre in Nottingham, who has researched people's motives for removals, said: "There has been an explosion in the number and types of lasers available. It's а booming business: if people keep coming back for 10 or 20 treatments they can spend from 800 pounds to 61,000"

Louis Molloy, owner of a tattoo studio in Manchester, whose clients have included David Beckham, Roy Keane and Ronan Keating, said: "I owned а laser clinic for а few years and I found the majority of people wanted removals of tattoos which were self-inflicted or which had no thought whatsoever put into them"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Dracula, Another Flop

This week Warner Brothers joined the Walt Disney company in attempting to transform Broadway from a venue with a whisper of hope for social relevance into one that presents works that are the intellectual equivalent of Mickey Mouse caper. If Disney could do it with, for example, The Lion King, why couldn’t Warner Brothers find a property to achieve Broadway fame and fortune with? Unfortunately, their imaginations never soared higher than redoing the Dracula legend, based on a contemporary author’s odd novelistic take on it. In order to hew to Disney’s proven path to moronic megabucks, Warner hired the same songwriting team Disney did for The Lion King, Elton John and his comparatively invisible lyricist Bernie Taupin. Fortunately, the show was a no-go from the start. The word of mouth was devastating and the reviews turned out to make the word of mouth sound brilliant. The question is, why would anybody, given the entire world of properties to choose from or, on a wild bet, even to create an entirely original one, choose the exhausted and irrelevant legend of Dracula? As we of say about trying to work with an idea that doesn’t seem to have a life of its own, you can stand up a dead body, but you can’t make it sing and dance, and, once you let go, it’s bound to fall down.

Clearing Up PS3 Games Rumor

The PlayStation3 console won't be released until late this year but there are already rumors doing their rounds about it and the PS3 games. The report about Theseis is one rumor that perhaps confused even the most devoted player. Developers and publishers, as well as game sites, have been coming out with their reviews, release dates, and other news about the latest PS3 games for the past months. The hype about the PS3's Blu-ray increased expectations about the games; a game rumor, though confusing, was not unexpected.

Let me refresh the events that fueled the rumor mill. Track7 Games, the developer of the popular adventure game Theseis for PC and Xbox 360, allegedly called the people behind PS3 Land to announce an important news. The announcement? The development of PS3 Theseis was consequently cancelled due to high development costs for PS3 games. The article that PS3 Land published even quoted Vicky Valvanos, managing director for Track7, saying that Theseis development would resume if Sony offers the company some assistance.

This bit of news has spread among Internet gaming sites and blogs with webmasters and forum moderators picking up the threads. Debates also ensued regarding the production of Theseis as one of the PS3 games. Apparently, no gamer noticed that there wasn't any announcement or news during the recent E3 or on the product lists about a Theseis software for PS3. A probable reason for this was the fact that Theseis appeared on several retailers sites as a PS3 game. Track7, however, did not recognized the existence of these catalogues.

This is the point when everything became confusing. Track7 didn't recognize the Theseis games on the retailers' sites but they called PS3 Land to announce that PS3 Theseis was discontinued? Track7 tried to clear up the issue by saying that the bits about canning PS3 Theseis and Theseis development were just jokes. The company even called the PS3 Land article "erroneous". As of now, PS3 Land updated their article on PS3 Theseis with the new article from Track7. But the confusion about the PS3 games came from Track7. According to them, there was no Theseis planned or developed for PS3, but what about the announcement they made to PS3 Land? Was there really an error, or was it just a joke said in passing that got blown up into big proportions?

A misunderstanding between PS3 Land and Track7 is a probable cause, although the question of what they talked about remains. Surely, there was some reference to Theseis, otherwise, it wouldn't have appeared in the article. There was also a number of retailers' database that showed Theseis as one of the PS3 games. Clearly, someone started it and the knowledge about Theseis lies solely with Track7 as Sony didn't include the game in its repertoire during the recent E3. The most probable cause, I think, is that Track7 wanted to develop a Theseis software for PS3. They let out that bit of "joke" to test the market and the demand for their game. In my opinion, they did this, also to bait Sony into thinking that a Theseis is a good addition to their games. Anyway, whatever the reason behind this, the market for PS3 games is a big one, and I can't blame anyone for wanting to exploit this lucrative business.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

America: Still So Young No Americans Allowed

If sometimes, weighed down with the complexities of uneasy empire, we perchance wonder if America could be freedom’s fading star, it’s somewhat reassuring to realize that the nation is so young it still does not recognize the existence of Americans. Even the Indians don’t completely get the nod, because they’re still camped out on reservations. We might see the persistent refusal to accept “I’m an American” as a recognized nationality, at least on the home front, as a consonant reflection of our mixed and matched heritage. But it does present us with inconveniences. Tell a fellow American who asks your nationality, “I’m an American,” and what does he say? “Oh, come on, tell me, really, what are you?” “I just told you,” you repeat, in your resourceful attempt to nationalize yourself, “I was born and rear-beaten in America.” “No, no,” your interrogator presses on, “I mean, where did your parents come from?” “Well,” you let out, “my mother was born in West Virginia.” “Then where did your father come from?” Now, you’ve been cornered, so you finally confess that he came from here, there, or wherever. Let’s say Ireland. And what does your pouncing interrogator reply? “Oh, so you’re Irish.” Actually, the only time you get to be an American is when you’re likely to suffer the slings of outrageous interactions in distant lands. “Oh, so you’re an American,” you're told, usually in a tone that intimates at least a slight reprimand, as soon as the securely French, Italian, or whatever person you chance to chat with determines you’re from the USA. And, no matter how much effort your make to elude detection by speaking in the tongue of your assailant, the nonchalant accusation pops to the fore as soon as your first Yankee twang intrudes. Will Durant, the popular (dare we say American?) historian, estimated that it takes about eight-hundred years for a country to develop a civilization. I wonder how long it takes short of that to develop the nationality that might achieve it.

Classified Advertising Popularity seriously Growing

Traffic to the largest classified advertising websites has grown by almost 70% in the last year, according to new research.
Research says 57.4 million US users visited the top consumer-to-consumer ad sites in August,
a rise of 57% over the same month in 2007.
Craigslist was the most popular, doubling its unique visitors to almost 16 million during the month. Trader Publishing , the leader in July 2007, ranked second with 17.2 million visitors (up 25%), while AutoTrader ranked third with 8.4 million visitors (up 24%)."
While online classifieds are not new, it appears that internet users are really beginning to catch on to this phenomenon.With nearly 60 percent growth in the past year, online classifieds are growing at a rate that surpasses most other categories.
As the category leader, Craigslist has clearly impacted the way in which new and traditional media companies approach the classifieds business. Research said a higher than expected proportion of visitors came from among younger professionals. People between the ages of 25 and 35, and those in households making at least US $90,000 annually, were each 27% more likely than average to visit classified sites.
Classified advertising is a truly great business building tool you can use to generate dozens and dozens of leads for your service business.
Whether your target market(s) is based locally or further away there are publications, trade magazines, newsletters, and newspapers that will be read by your prospects. Placing small ads in the classified advertising section of these publications will generate leads for you.
The great news is that classified advertising even with large publications is relatively inexpensive.
But of course it's not how much it costs that's important. What's important is how much profit you generate from using classified advertising.

Norbert Lukacsi

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cell Phones and the Dentist

Don't you just hate people who talk on their cell phones while they drive? Blindly babbling away, not paying attention to the road, endangering everyone nearby … so inconsiderate. Anyway, today while I was chatting on the phone and driving to the dentist, I got a tiny bit distracted and turned onto the wrong road … twice. But I cleverly figured out a shortcut back to where I belonged and pulled into the parking lot right on time. Unfortunately, it was the parking lot at my doctor's office, not my dentist's. Now, I've always been a little reluctant to go to the dentist. When I was young, they used to lie to me to get me there. Of course once I knew what was happening I would throw a crying fit — in the car on the way to the dentist, in the elevator on the way up to the office, in the waiting room, in the dentist's chair throughout the entire visit, in the office while my mother paid, in the elevator on the way down, in the car on the way home, and once again when my father came home that night just to be sure everyone knew how I felt about it. My mother was afraid of the dentist. And she shared that fear and its effects with her children. She picked our dentist based solely on the fact that he would give her lots of Novocain. Lots of Novocain. Much Novocain. Beyond that, she never really bothered about the skills-as-a-dentist thing. My own theory is that dentistry was invented by Beelzebub, based largely on the fact that our dentist looked exactly the way I imagined a Devil's minion would look. And, oh, by the way, when we were finally done and wanted nothing more than to run as fast and as far as possible, he would smile at us kids, with his coke-bottle-thick glasses making him look popeyed, and hand us each a lollipop. Maybe not the best dentist, but surely a clever businessman lining up return customers. Today, even after better dentists have shown me that there may possibly be some redeeming value in dental care, I still get a bit unsettled before an appointment. Therefore, I have two things to say about the cell phone thing: 1) It might have been the fact of going to the dentist that distracted me and not the cell phone. I think, maybe, my subconscious was trying to get me to go to the wrong place and miss my appointment completely. Self-protection is a very powerful instinct in times of peril. That could explain it. 2) If it was the cell phone use, I think I deserve an exemption from condemnation because, after all, I was on my way to the dentist. Maybe I wouldn't have been able to talk again when I came out. One little slip of the drill and, oops. Or I could have choked on one of the forty appliances they had crammed into my mouth just before asking me how I was doing. Either way, I feel completely justified in continuing to judge others if they use a cell phone while driving. Unless, of course, I learn that they were on their way to the dentist.

Classic Villainy

There is an old adagé that says a hero is only as good as his villain is evil, which best describes the literary role that these mongers of fear, hatred, and curiosity play. In many ways, a villain represents the impulses and desires that most people ignore, the darker traits of human psychology and mental health that need to be suppressed. Some have backgrounds that are laughable, others have tragic pasts that could induce depression and anxiety, but all villains, in the end, serve as the twisted reflection of everything the hero should not become. With that in mind, here are a few examples of great villains that have graced the world in one format or another.

Count Dracula

Whether the reader believes that the character was based on Vlad III Tepes or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the Count is among the most enduring, most powerful villains to have ever appeared in any format. Yes, he was a monstrous fiend in the end, but his charming and elegant demeanor were a contrast to the portrayal of villains during his time. Like real serial killers, Dracula did not look particularly out of place among normal people. In the novel, most people found him odd only because he was not native to England and many things about him were foreign to others. He is among the best examples of literature that shows that the villain can be just as human as the hero, and need not always be a fierce dragon or ancient, overwhelmingly vile demon.

Darth Vader

Even when considering the disappointing nature of the prequel trilogy, it is difficult to deny that Darth Vader served as not only the villain, but the core of the “Star Wars” mythology. His actions shattered a generations-old order and, later, helped shape the galaxy for generations to come. His imposing presence, in his black armor and the distinct sound of his breathing, was enough to instill fear in those that stood before him. The fact that he was more than willing to do the dirty work, something most modern villains hardly ever do anymore, made him that much more convincing as an instrument of oppressive, dominating power. It is true that Luke Skywalker and the other heroes of the “Star Wars” saga had the spotlight on them, but most critics would agree that the sheer presence of a character like Darth Vader was what made the movies such successes.

The Joker

It takes a very special mix of evil and insanity to make the image of a jester into one that instills fear even in other villains. In the universe of DC Comics, this was a feat achieved only by the notorious Joker. The Joker lacks the tragic background elements that made Vader and Dracula such sympathetic villains, but then, his is a character that wasn't designed to instill sympathy. The Joker's primary goal is to kill as many people as he could, preferably in the most comedic (in his mind) manner possible. Some argue that his near single-minded obsession with that goal is a dark mirror to Superman's own single-minded pursuit of good. However, in some ways, The Joker is still best served as a foil for The Batman, with the former using objects meant to spread joy in murderous ways, while the latter uses criminal tactics to enforce the law.

Hannibal Lecter

Villains, by some unknown token, tend to be portrayed as brutish and rough. Most people would expect the villain to look hideous or monstrous, the better to inspire the fear he uses so effectively as a tool. However, Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter deviates from that tradition, and he does with such class and grace that he makes his own villainous activities look appealing. To make a man with activities as monstrous as Lecter's look appealing, noble, and even admirable takes a special kind of personalty. Hannibal Lecter is arguably among the greatest villains of all time, with very few having any credible right to compete against him.

Indeed, villainy is more than just being the “bad guy.” Behind the fiendish laughter and the menacing costumes lurk a deeper, and not always sinister, personality and motive.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Business Conference Calling: Making Professional Meetings Easier

With businesses being so fast paced nowadays, it can be difficult for people to meet for a conference. A wonderful solution for this has been business conference calling. This is a calling tool that allows numerous people to talk simultaneously over the phone. This is a great way to let people who are traveling stay in touch with everything back at the office and to take part in conferences from far away. Company leaders love this method of speaking to all their employees at the same time, because of all the important time that it saves. The Different Types of Business Conference Calling The basic business conference calling is a means for getting a group of individuals together to discuss something without them having to physically meet. This is very helpful for companies that need to meet very often, but the meetings seem to interfere with getting work done quickly. Advanced business conference calling is a calling system that involves the use of web cameras and the internet. This allows each person to be auditory and visually present at the meeting even thought they aren’t physically present. Assisted business conference calling is the third main type of conference calling. This is where you have a meeting organizer who will open the meeting, introduce speakers at the meeting, and then close the meeting. This is someone that the business hires in order to oversee professional meetings. Advantages of Business Conference Calling Typically meetings require people to spend money to travel to the meeting and the travel time cuts into a business day. Also, if conference room availability is hard to come by, the meeting can be even more difficult to schedule at a time when everyone can attend. The great thing about business conference calling is that it is cost-effective and saves a great deal of time. No travel is necessary, which puts time and money back into the business. Then on top of that, no large room is required to have everyone a part of the meeting. Instead you can remain at your office chair and be a part of the meeting. There are a number of other advantages to business conference calling, but one of the favorites is the use of technology. Since most companies have switched from using overheads to using programs on the computer, like power point, in order to give presentations. All the speakers need to do is email the power point out to the people attending the conference. With so much ease, every business will soon be making the switch to business conference calling.

Classic TV Shows on DVD Bring Laughter to the Next Generation

In recent years, it has become a growing trend to buy and watch classic television shows on DVD for your family entertainment. The availability of some of the all-time favorite classic TV shows on DVD and video has become pervasive throughout the U.S. This allows families to not only catch up on the past seasons of the television shows that they might have missed, but to go back to the classics that we and our parents grew up watching. It is now easier than ever to find seasons of shows that were produced 30 or 40 years ago, right alongside the DVDs of the television shows that are currently on the air. America seems to have become infatuated with remembering the characters and situations produced during the early years of television. What are the reasons for the increased popularity of classic television shows?

Classic television enthusiasts represent a large market of consumers. There were many classic sitcoms and variety shows that were aired between the 50s, 60s and 70s, that represent not only a large generation of viewers but a very powerful time in American history. They speak for the events of that age and include social and political commentary that goes right along with when they were made. Therefore, they are nostalgic entertainment and fun to relive. For those that watched these shows when they originally aired, classic TV DVDs allow them to relive that time in their life. For those that were too young to watch them when they first ran, DVDs allow them to appreciate the classics as new entertainment.

Classic television shows now available on DVD and video have created a new way to ensure that these memories are not lost. As more and more popular televisions shows became available on DVD in the 90s, there became a growing interest to see older television sitcoms on DVD as well. Shows like ER, Star Trek and The Simpsons were being sold at a tremendous rate which led to more and more people asking what happened to the other shows they once loved. Few television networks are able to show classic television programs which left a large gap of potential entertainment untapped and potentially gone forever. Without the DVD releases of these shows, the newer generations would have little knowledge about the early time in television history. But by allowing the distribution of these old sitcoms and variety shows through DVD, all generations can watch and love some of the classic shows and entertainers. Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie and the comedic genius of Bob Hope can now be watched, remembered and cherished by those that remember when they were the stars of television.

In general, home entertainment and the purchase of DVDs has become one of the most popular entertainment expenditures for the American home. With televisions and DVD players become more sophisticated and movie tickets become more expensive, homes are opting to outfit their home to take on the task of keeping the family entertained. This means that more and more shows and movies to watch are also necessary. There is no shortage of network television to watch but there is a shortage on time to watch them all. When families know that they can purchase an entire season of a television shows on DVD in three to six months, they will do so. More and more we are finding families picking up classic television DVDs to watch because they weren’t able to watch them when they aired originally. With the television DVD market, it is now possible to follow the storylines of television shows that are on at exactly the same time. This is something that wasn't possible even ten years ago.

Classic television shows are put onto DVDs so that a whole new generation of fans can watch them. Imagine a company that can make money off of a television series even twenty years after it aired. It no longer matters if a television show is currently on the air or not. With the new trend for putting classic television DVDs in consumers’ hands, classic shows are able to have a second chance at life. Some viewers can find shows from their childhood and enjoy the nostalgia that goes along with them, or they can teach their own children about the shows that they used to love. In the past, once a television show was no longer on the air, there was no way to see it again. However, now shows can be enjoyed over and over again. These shows are important to many viewers in lots of different ways and by putting these classic television shows on video and DVD, they can be popular for years to come.

~Ben Anton, 2007

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Black Humor, College Humor, Blond Jokes, funny pictures

I have had over the years (48 of them) a lot of time to review and participate in many different styles of humor and have studied their various effects on the human psyche. I will convey many of my observations, thoughts and ramblings where humor is involved. Over the next few months I will write on the following topics Cold Humor, Fat Humor, Bad Humor, Tasteless Humor and others. Black Humor: This is the type of stuff that doesn’t quite make the Darwin’s but leaves the participant alive. In my findings, if it doesn’t kill you, it’s funny. Let me elaborate; as you have no doubt seen some of the horrendous accidents portrayed in the evening news, each of which I think to myself what were they thinking about. It’s clear to me that they aren’t thinking about what they are doing. Let me tell you of one such case I heard several years ago. Several guys were sitting around on the back porch, drinking beer as sometimes guys will do. They were also shooting 22’s at anything that moved. They had been doing so for some time as the local wildlife lay strewn about the place along with the empty beer cans when one of the drunken participants spotted a skunk. Now if you know anything about skunks you know that they are not the perfect prey; they shoot back and although a direct hit by the skunk will not kill, it does take awhile to explain to your significant other the events of your day. I digress; back to the story. The skunk avoided the first 100 to 200 rounds fired by the drunken lot and eventually found haven within a culvert placed in the ground at some angle enabling the skunk to travel back and down in the ground out of the reach of the drunken group. One of the drunkards decided to get the skunk to voluntarily leave his haven by smoking him out. So the drunkards start stuffing the culvert with dried grass and newspaper and lit it afire. The skunk however did not relinquish his hiding space, he stayed in the culvert. The drunkards then thought that because of the angle of the culvert that the smoke had likely not reached the skunk so they decided to make another attempt by pouring gasoline into the culvert. They gathered up the 5 gallon gas can and poured the entire contents into the culvert. Having the gas poured in they attempted to ignite the gas by throwing lit matches into the culvert after the gasoline. The lit matches would burn out before igniting the gas and so one of the drunkards, specifically the one that this black humor is written about, decided the best method of igniting the gasoline would be to climb into the culvert prior to igniting the match, so down he goes. At last he gets the gasoline ignited and what happens next is a thing of beauty. I will paraphrase the newswoman’s interview with witnesses. “He came out of that culvert like he was shot from a cannon, with his hair on fire, leaving a smoke trail that went from the culvert, over the back porch the drunkards had been enjoying all afternoon into the front yard where he lay, clothing smoldering, hair gone and burnt to second and third degree burns about his face and upper torso.” Now that’s funny! If you would like to see other funny things I have accumulated over those 48 years go to my website and check them out and please have a humorous day, it’s the only way your going to make it out sane…

Classic TV and the Commercials that Entertained Generations

The 1950s were arguably the golden age of television and many people of a certain age look back fondly at some of the shows of the time – “The Lone Ranger”, “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke”. These shows were in black and white and were watched on a set that got its signal from a huge antenna on the roof, but they were loved just the same.

Almost as compelling as the TV shows themselves, were some of the commercials of the time. TV was still a novelty during the 1950s and companies were anxious to cash in on the new craze. Particularly popular were commercials for cigarettes, cars and state of the art kitchen appliances. And the average length of TV advertisements was around a minute – compared to the 30 seconds or less today.

Beer was also one of the products widely advertised on TV during the 1950s. At first, it was only late at night and never on a Sunday, so as not to offend anyone. During the early part of the decade, Blatz Beer became one of the beer industry’s biggest advertisers, partly due to the company’s sponsorship of the popular “Amos ‘n’ Andy” show.

One of the most instantly recognizable characters in television advertising at the time was Mabel. Mabel was a chirpy blond waitress who appeared on screen with a tray of Carling Black Label beer. Almost every Carling commercial featured the phrase that became famous – “Hey, Mabel, Black Label!”

Cigarette advertisements were commonplace during the 1950s – a big change from television today. Some of the biggest tobacco manufacturers of the time spent a lot of money trying to convince us that smoking was sophisticated and fun, including Lucky Strike, Tareyton and Winston.

One famous Lucky Strike ad featured a clever combination of cartoon and live action, featuring the singer Gisele McKenzie. Tareytown had an ad that featured what appeared to be two children dancing around a giant pack of cigarettes. And who can possibly forget the Fontane Sisters singing the praises of Chesterfield cigarettes?

Car manufacturers went to great lengths to advertise the latest models on television during the 1950s despite the loss of aesthetic effect on a black and white screen. The Ford Edsel was advertised at great length as the most beautiful convertible in the world, complete with such wonderful and innovative features as “teletouch” driving and air suspension.

It wasn’t all just cars, beer and tobacco. Some healthier products were advertised as well. One of the most well known ads of the era was for Pepsodent toothpaste. The TV ad featured a cute cartoon couple kissing after having brushed their teeth, and the catchy and unforgettable slogan – “You’ll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!”

TV advertisements for kitchen appliances pointed out features that we now take for granted. A General Electric ad from the time for a new refrigerator consisted of a proud couple explaining the features of their sleek new fridge which included shelves that slid out, storage space behind the door and a separate freezer compartment.

And some things don’t seem to have changed much over the years. Tupperware ran a series of TV ads during the 1950s which featured an exciting Tupperware evening at a typical suburban home, organized by a “hostess”. Almost as much emphasis was placed on the social aspect, as on the actual features of the product.

One of the most prolific TV advertisers during the 1950s and subsequent decades was Pepsi. Their advertisements captured the feeling of the times like few others. One of the company’s earliest featured the actress and singer Polly Bergen enjoying a barn dance and a refreshing glass of Pepsi-Cola.

Not to be outdone, Coca-Cola was just as prolific with their ads and came up with several memorable slogans, such as “There’s nothing like a Coke”. Coca-Cola also went after the young crowd, with an ad featuring people at diners and drive-in movie theaters and a jingle that claimed “Zing! What a feeling!”

Many television viewers firmly maintain that the advertisements are just as good as the actual shows themselves! It seems as though that was especially true back in the 1950s. And if you just can’t get enough of those old commercials, you can enjoy some of them on DVD or online.

~ Ben Anton, 2008