Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Electric Guitar For Beginners

Electric guitars have made their home in our universe. There are even classical pieces composed for electric guitar. This is a new kind of musical instrument. Not only is the sound amplified by electronics but the sound itself is MADE by electronics. Can just anybody learn to make music on this twenty-first century instrument?

Well first of all it is best to start to learn using a nylon string acoustic guitar. Steel strings are rough on the fingers when you are just learning how to play. So whether you get it from ebay or the local music store, you need an acoustic guitar that's halfway decent. It doesn't need to be expensive, just playable.

When it comes to buying an electric guitar, you can easily start off with one of the less expensive models. You can get the buzz from playing a real honest to goodness electric guitar on whatever no-frills Stratocaster copy your music store has, and it will get through your initial guitar playing experiences.

If there's one single lesson that all guitar students of all styles of music need to learn, it's TAKE IT EASY - SLOW DOWN. The music will still be there, you don't have to rush out to meet it. If you have a tendency to go too fast, to try to force your body to do chord changes before the muscles have learnt them properly, ask yourself how you want to be sounding in a year's time. Because if you don't slow down when you are learning you are going to be sounding like a hat full of baby seals in one year - and probably twenty years time!

An important aspect of learning to play electric guitar is how you are going to be holding the guitar during your long hours of practice. If you do not pay attention to this stuff now, you could end up with back, neck and shoulder problems later from straining your muscles and skeleton.

Now you have your guitar, and of course a decent amplifier. A practice amp is good for use when playing near loved ones if you want to remain loved yourself. Another good idea is to get some kind of guitar effects program for your computer but be aware that some of them can be very hard on your computer's resources.

A tuner and a metronome are essentials. These are two bits of equipment which are part of the discipline of electric guitar playing. Get into the habit of tuning your guitar from time to time during practice sessions - you might be surprised how far out you can get without being aware of it! While you are first learning how to play electric guitar you probably won't be able to do too much jamming with friends until you develop a familiarity with your instrument. So once you feel you have gotten the hang of a song or a riff, try it out with the metronome. As slowly as you need to; you are not doing anybody any favors by rushing.

Do you need a teacher for electric guitar? Can you get all you need from books in your local music store or off the internet? It's true that looking for a person who can teach you what you need to know in a way that you can handle it is a bit of a trial. It's like any relationship, a lot better without the other person, but what can you do? If you want to try learning without a teacher then make Google your friend. If you are not used to using search engines, just type any questions into the search box in your own words, and the results you get will at least point you in the right direction. Start by looking for guitar forums. This is where you will find people like yourself who have questions together with people who have answers.

There are many ways online to learn to play guitar, some involve buying packages of videos and books which will be delivered to your house. Some give the less expensive option of downloading the videos and instructions. For the most part these guitar teaching methods are excellent. Another way to go is an online course where you can interact with your teacher and ask questions by email or on a forum. This is by far a better way to go because it can't be quite as easily forgotten about as a course that consists of physical goods or computer files.

As the distinction between electric guitars and synthesizers becomes less distinct the novice electric guitarist gets more opportunities to reproduce the sound of his or her favorite artist. But as your guitar skills expand you will have a world of electronic music to play with. Enjoy!

The Capacity for Happiness and Respectability

Humans are liable to experience a variety of afflictions, but they are commonly endowed with a capacity for happiness and respectability. There is no guarantee, however, that they will exercise this capacity at all times and to the maximum, whatever happens. Depression and shame remain a possibility, which increases with the severity of their afflictions and the difficulty of living up to the values that are necessary for their happiness and respectability: courage, efficiency, wisdom, and nobility. Living up to these values is never easy, even under extremely favorable circumstances. It requires an effort of will. To make or not to make this effort is the question, central to the human existence. This question is difficult in proportion to the weight of suffering that bears on humans, while their dignity hangs in the balance. The more burdensome this weight, the more tempting it is for them to take the easy way out. The fear of losing their dignity, however, is a strong deterrent. There is no greater loss than that of dignity, save the loss of life itself. Yet, the easy way out is a very powerful temptation in extremely unfavorable circumstances. Giving up instead of living up to the values mentioned above is then deplorable but understandable. Excruciating circumstances are extenuating ones. Amazingly enough, despite the burden of suffering that is oppressive to many, the incidence of moral collapse – in the form of errant ways like carelessness, vagrancy, and crime, often accompanied by alcohol or drug abuse to fuddle the conscience – is small in comparison with the incidence of worthy behavior. Furthermore, a moral collapse is remediable, except when the person concerned shows an inveterate or congenital weakness, or a mental illness that is beyond cure. On the whole, dignity can be lost and regained. As for those who resist quitting the struggle for worthiness, they rarely do their best. In many instances their spirit is tainted with some degree of indulgence in laziness, cowardliness, ineffectiveness, foolishness, selfishness, and meanness. It has the grayness of dawn. Even those who shine like a late morning sun have a shadow of imperfection at their heels. In short, humanity has yet to fulfill its potential. While there is much courage, efficiency, wisdom, and nobility in the world, much happiness and respectability, there could be a whole lot more. The key to this rise is an effort of will.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Einstein's Riddle - Can You Solve It?

Some have said Einstein's riddle is the worlds hardest riddle. It isn't. The story is that Albert Einstein created it as a young man, and claimed that 98% of the world population couldn't solve it. Though I'm not certain of the true origin, it is a tough one, and it is a good way to exercise your brainpower. Here it is:

- There are five houses next to each other on a street, painted five different colors.

- A person of different nationality lives in each house.

- The five home owners each drink a different beverage, smoke a different brand of cigar and keep a different pet.

Einstein's riddle is simply this: Who owns the fish?

Of course, you need the necessary clues:

1. The British man lives in a red house.
2. The Swedish man keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Danish man drinks tea.
4. The Green house is next to, and on the left of the White house.
5. The owner of the Green house drinks coffee.
6. The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
7. The owner of the Yellow house smokes Dunhill.
8. The man living in the center house drinks milk.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
12. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Prince.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The Blends smoker lives next to the one who drinks water.

First of all, a chart is the most useful tool for riddles like this. Make a chart with five columns for the five houses, and five rows for house color, nationality, type of drink, type of cigar, and finally, pets. This gives you 25 boxes to fill in. Since clue #8 states the man in the middle house drinks milk, you can start by filling in that one.

Now you are on your own. This is a decent riddle, and especially fun for those who like riddles with systematic solutions. Even if you can't get the solution, you'll get a good mental workout doing Einstein's riddle.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Edgar Filing Services

EDGAR filings: 12 Things to look for before you Hire an Agent

EDGAR stands for the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, and is a system designed to increase the efficiency and fairness of the securities market for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on behalf of United States investors. Domestic public companies are required to file a number of forms on the EDGAR system, and an agent can help you get the forms together correctly and file them with the system.

Before you hire an agent for filing services, there are 12 things that you should look for and pay attention to.

1. Do they have a good record? You should find out from the company who else they service, and get recommendation from the other customers of your agent if at all possible. You do not want to be a new agent's first customer if you can help it - their mistakes could cost you.

2. What do they charge? You need to know what you are going to pay, and check the price against competitors to be sure that you are getting the best deal.

3. Do they file your forms? Make sure you know whether they will file your forms for you, or if they only prepare them for you to file.

4. Can they work with your file types? Do you have hard copies that need to be "EDGARized"? Make sure that the agent can handle it.

5. How long will it take? Check to see how long it will take for your files to be converted to EDGAR format.

6. Can they help you get started? If you need to file for the first time, make sure that your agent knows how to help you get things set up so that you can start off correctly.

7. Can they help you get your filing codes? If you don't have or know your filing codes, can they help you?

8. Can your agent do HTML filings? will your agent help you file if you change accountants or auditors? From the time of the change, you have four business days to file.

9. Do they know what forms you have to file? There are many different forms to consider when you are filing. Your agent should know which ones you need to file, and be experienced in filing them.

10. Are they registered agents? They should be.

11. Are they specialized? If you have a lot of paper documents and their specialization is not conversion from PDF to EDGAR format.

Vintage Filings, LLC

VINTAGE FILINGS is a full service firm that provides EDGAR filing solutions for public companies, mutual funds, investment management firms, law firms and individuals to meet their SEC filing needs.

Vintage Financial printing service provides its clients access to dedicated Edgar and typeset specialists, conference rooms for drafting sessions, and of course the ability to print the full suite of financial documents

This Article is Originally Published here: EDGAR Filing Services

The Quest for Truth and the Meaning of Life

All too often, the quest for truth – which admittedly can only yield a qualified success in the best case scenario – is tainted with laxity and fancifulness, and hence is doomed to a pitiable result, not to say failure. Strangely enough, Blaise Pascal, a famous mathematician and philosopher, is also the eccentric author of a wager according to which the belief in God (or more precisely in heaven as a divine reward for virtue) is defensible to the extent that it is desirable, even though it cannot be proven. Actually, it is supposedly defensible because not only cannot it be proven, it also cannot be disproven. So desirableness is considered a valid foundation for belief, absent provableness and disprovableness! The door is open to every wild fancy, as long as we lack the empirical means of discrediting it. — Who have you invited to dinner, dear? — Some fabulous folks, my love. — Great! And who exactly are these folks? — I don’t know, but they’re fabulous. — Hum! How can you say they’re fabulous if you don’t know them? — Our neighbor across the road told me so. — Forgive me for asking, dear, but isn't that neighbor somewhat loopy? The story about angels watching over us sounds like wishful thinking to me. — This loopy neighbor, as you say, is more fun to listen to than your professor friends, with all due respect. — But don't you think… — Forget about thinking; I’m in the mood for a dinner with some fabulous folks. (If you feel this is a bit of sexist humor, note that I have made no mention of genders. The prejudices that offend us are sometimes very much our own. Remember also that Blaise Pascal was a man.) Personally, I am not willing to forget about thinking. However attractive a claim may be, this attractiveness must be accompanied by credibleness – which is a function of provableness and trustworthiness – before I let it shape my view and govern my life. When credibleness is wanting, I reserve judgment until further notice and meanwhile accept reality as it appears to be, judging from facts and solid arguments, even if this appearance is not consistent with a so-called ideal world. Call me austere (not ready to indulge in the luxury of extravagant beliefs), a man of reason who associates his intellectual austerity with intellectual integrity. Having said this, the reverse attitude is common, especially in matters that are beyond the realm of experience and hence can neither be proven nor disproven. For example, as regards their future – here below or in the hereafter – many do not reserve judgment or keep their minds open to all possibilities, ranging from disastrous to glorious. Instead they believe a heavenly tale because they fancy believing it and often also because a charismatic fortuneteller or spiritual leader, allegedly endowed with supernatural powers, is the originator of this tale. In its wildest and blindest form, optimism coupled with faith is illustrative of this attitude. Is it fanciful and naïve, or even foolish? I am tempted to say yes, and yet I will resist this temptation. There is no denying that the inveterate optimists-believers derive significant enjoyment from seeing their future through rose-colored spectacles. In view of this enjoyment, a sophisticated better like Blaise Pascal will argue that these spectacles are worth wearing, at the risk of laboring under a delusion. I myself lack the grace or the guile of innocent or calculating souls to whom ignorance is bliss. I am all the stauncher as a committed realist since life in itself – without fables and despite the adversities that are part and parcel of it – has meaning to my mind. Furthermore, I contend that religion (as a provider of a questionable but meaningful myth that makes a blissful afterlife the purpose of life) is often a poor substitute for wisdom. It is designed to offset the feeling of dissatisfaction that shadows the foolish if often profound concept of existential absurdity. The more deficient in wisdom, the more avid for religion (as defined above) one is. Now, what is the content of this wisdom, or what is the meaning of life within the limits of life? I have answered this question to the best of my ability in my book A REASON FOR LIVING; and my answer – like any answer to this question – is sure to be both at odds and in keeping with yours. But then, the antithesis of statements and disagreements can usefully stimulate the intellect to resolve the oppositions and achieve a new and superior synthesis. Be that as it may, this antithesis betrays the imperfection of individual wisdoms. At best, they are true up to a point, and we can persistently overpass this point while the complete truth indefinitely recedes like the horizon as we advance toward it. There are as many wisdoms as there are individuals; nevertheless their subjectiveness admits of much intersubjectiveness or deep intellectual kinship. Let us explore a number of cardinal facts and logical assumptions based on facts. 1) The observable universe is the obvious manifestation of a tendency toward order. Ordered things and beings (that show their attraction for a particular inert or living state), ordered behaviors and thoughts (that aim at specific achievements and feelings in preference to others), all this testifies to the tendency in question, which can be called the principle of universal order. The oneness of this principle is not merely nominal. It is fundamental, as demonstrated by the unitary if complex human nature, which comprises every physical and nonphysical aspect of the observable universe. 2) The observation of the universe relates to observers: humans, in the present instance. It is limited to the observable manifestations of this universe, or provides a basis for knowledge only within the limits of these manifestations. Everything beyond these limits – that is, everything that is not observably manifest – transcends our ability to know it. Nevertheless, as Kant pointed out, our inability to know it does not suppress our curiosity. Whereas some accept the limits of knowledge, many don’t. Their effort to penetrate the transcendental mystery ought to yield nothing except fancy. 3) There are, however, various degrees of fancy. At one extreme, fancy is grossly unfounded or rests on the highly suspicious claims of inspired visionaries regarding the great beyond. At the other extreme, fancy is very much tempered with reason. It is reminiscent of poetry, which assimilates certain things to kindred things through metaphors and similes. Take for example the predictions of learned and intuitive futurists about the distant future of humanity. They clearly overstep the limits of knowledge, and yet they are believable to the extent that they are conceivable, given the way this knowledge represents humans and the world they inhabit. Take also for example the conjectures of learned and intuitive philosophers about the intimate nature of nonhuman beings or things beyond their observable characteristics. Like the above-mentioned predictions, they clearly overstep the limits of knowledge, and yet they are believable to the extent that they are conceivable, given the way this knowledge represents humans and nonhuman beings or things. 4) With respect to our human nature, observations include introspections and reveal both the spiritual and material aspects of this nature. Since we measure the value of life in terms of pleasure (sensual, intellectual, or moral), it is safe to say that the spiritual aspect is preeminent. By underscoring the pleasure principle in moral matters, I imply that even the most edifying proof of nobility comprises an element of self-interest. Indeed, nobility is an ideal in the pursuit of which the noble soul takes pleasure – not the low sort of pleasure that one derives from such activities as feasting on a palatable dish or having intercourse with a seductive lover, but the most elevated sort. Therefore, self-interest and nobility are not mutually exclusive. When they come together, the former is exalted by the latter. 5) As we fathom our human nature, we ultimately acknowledge the principle of universal order as the essence of our being, which can normally acquire habits – of thought or behavior – that are conducive to well-being. And so gratitude adds to the acknowledgment, though misery may reverse this attitude when it plagues us despite ourselves. Why such misery? There is no answer to this question. We can ascertain the possibility of misery; we cannot explain it. Saying that the principle of universal order is such as to permit the occurrence of misery is like saying that misery is because it can be, which is no explanation. In short, misery is a mystery; and the best we can do is fight and overcome it, or resign ourselves to it when it is insuperable. Actually, we can do better. We can regard misery as a precious opportunity for courage and merit, whereas an absolutely blissful and effortless life would require no courage and hence afford no merit. But what about extreme cases where we are truly miserable and helpless? We can then take comfort from the knowledge that the principle of universal order is the essence of our being. Each of us is a single human incarnation of this principle among countless other like incarnations, which offer the prospect of a meritorious happiness through considerable effort.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

eco friendly paints

In this article, we will learn about them eco friendly paints. During the curing and evaporating process, paints release their solvents in the atmosphere. You remember our articles explaining solvents right?
The release of these Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) into the atmosphere, can precipitate effects ranging from Ozone Depletion, to smog, and yes, to Global Warming too. Public sentiment has only been getting stronger in the past few years, and unlike the 1990’s, where the introduction of Green paints bombed, the latest revolution is not going to end.

The crux of the matter however, is that painting experts maintain that, despite what the marketers say, paints without VOC’s don’t perform as well as paints that have them. They claim that they require more coats to achieve the same finish, and are not as long lasting.
However, with VOC’s being linked to dizziness, and asthma, public demand is only getting stronger, and the industry has no choice but to respond.
One solution, is to use Latex Paints, that are water based, with an acrylic resin acting as a binder. In addition to being environmentally friendly - Water based means no more VOCs - Latex paints have several other advantages over traditional paints including washability, and better opacity (Ability to completely cover another color).
Of course, being water based means that the Latex paints cannot be used to paint iron, as it will speed up the rusting process. Even so, there is a distinct trend towards latex paints, and new innovations are popping up everywhere.
The term ‘Green Paints’ can not only refer to the overt effects of the paint itself, but the manufacturing process that is followed in order to obtain the paint ingredients. For example, Titanium Dioxide, is widely used in paints for it’s whiteness, and for the fact that it has high ‘Hiding power’. This refers to the refractive index of the material. If the refractive index is high, it will provide greater opacity when it is disbursed in a solvent.

However, Titanium Dioxide is manufactured by processes called the sulphate, and chloride processes that resulted in diluted Sulphuric acid being created as a by product. These were dispersed into the sea, prompting debate on whether or not this was acceptable. It also meant that all substances that were dissolved in the acid, would also be released into the sea.
Quite apart from more efficient manufacturing practices, Titanium Dioxide, when applied as an exterior coating, reacts with sunlight causing smog. The International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC), has also classified Titanium Dioxide as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which means that it is probably an agent leading to the promotion of cancer in humans. Despite this, Titanium Dioxide is widely used.
Given the serious health and environmental damage that paints can have directly through their effects, as well as indirectly through their manufacture, Eco Friendly paints are set to have a major impact on the industry, as well as changing the way we view paint.

In this article, we will learn about them eco friendly paints. During the curing and evaporating process, paints release their solvents in the atmosphere. You remember our articles explaining solvents right?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

E-Cards- The X-Age medium to express your Emotions!

Gone are the old days of perspiring in a card gallery to choose the nearest appropriate message to convey to your dear one on the varied occasions of life. This is an era which Introduces E-Cards. This now makes it easy and fun to send a customized message and song — a great way to tell someone you care. E-Cards helps people connect and express themselves in a fun and easy way. Today E-Cards are highly popular in all the sectors of life. From businessman to students from lovers to a family man they all agree that E-Cards are the coolest way to convey their message. Ready-made E-Cards save you time and money while still offering all the benefits.

E-Cards come to you for all possible occasion and expressing multiple emotions to suit your needs in your everyday life.

• The Valentine Day: This auspicious day for lovers beckons you in the next turn ahead and it’s time to relive the ultimate pleasure of romance. Take a break from the hectic rat race of life and set the sensual mood this Valentine's Day with romance-oriented thoughts and deeds. Life is all about love and togetherness and the Valentine Day is a perfect excuse to let your companion know how much you care. And on this special day choose a heart warming card with a special gift for your loved one to say how much this relationship means to you. This sensual day with all its magic is never complete without a special E-Card which conveys your true dedication and love along with all the loving words that you always wished to convey to your lover.

• Birthday E-Cards: This is a big occasion and a birthday of a dear one hardly seems to be complete without a personalized greeting card.

• Anniversary E-Cards: Remind your spouse how much precious this companionship means to you or take this opportunity to wish your near ones on their anniversary.

• Wedding E-Cards: The moment of wedlock is always so very memorable and what better way can it be than to wish someone with a card bearing your heartfelt message.

• Love E-Cards: To say you love with a beautiful soul stirring message is a matchless gesture that touches your heart like nothing else.

• New Year E-Cards: The beginning of a year can always start with an extra special note of good wishes and promises conveyed to you through an E-Card.

• Christmas E-Cards: When good rules over evil and when we are all excited in wishing the coming of Jesus to this world, we care to do it in a special way. Celebrating with an E-Card is always so warm in the winter festivities.

• Diwali E-Cards: The celebration of “Lights”, with a touch of divinity and uniting in love and harmony always happens in Diwali. Celebrate it in style with the extra edge of an E-Card.

Benefits of E-Cards:

The popularity of E-Cards has surged sky-high. The masses prefer it over Paper Cards. The reasons behind it are multiple:

• More cost-effective than paper cards
Many companies spend thousands of dollars every year on paper Christmas cards and postage. Why not send an E-Card instead and put the money saved back into your business – or better still donate the rest to a worthy cause.

• Increase your website traffic
Using E-Cards that include your corporate logo and a link to your website also means that your logo is exposed to more people. If the E-Card is entertaining, your clients will forward it within their business increasing your name recognition with your customers. It's the ultimate in viral marketing.

• Reach thousands of customers within a few minutes
Sending an email to your contacts with a link to your E-Card is the quickest and most instantaneous method of broadcasting your logo and message.

• Easily forwarded to friends and family
Fun and interactive E-Cards are more likely to be forwarded, thereby spreading your logo and message – even beyond your existing customers.

• Bypass the Post Office backlog at Christmas
Encouraged by the Post Office as they ease the pressure during Christmas. By using E-Cards, you know your contacts will see your E-Card on time.

• Eco-friendly
E-Cards are encouraged by environmental groups, as they reduce the waste associated with huge volumes of printed greeting cards, not to mention saving paper, trees and fuel.

There is undoubtedly no comparison to the beautiful animation, personalized statement and the color graphics of an E-Card. We can say without doubt that the X-Generation is rightly basking in this fever of E-Card age. It is unbeatable. Enjoy it.

The Essence of Freedom

Life is too hard and too risky in the eyes of many. By contrast, others are such proponents of a virile existence, demanding great courage and giving great pride, that they are ready to leave the coziness of their home to scale Mount Everest and breast the elements for the sheer joy of conquering the summit. Whatever the perspective, the nature of things remains unchanged. There are rules, necessities and duties, and limits, possibilities and impossibilities. Until doom, one can accept them and make the best of them, much to one’s pleasure and honor, or one can do the opposite and suffer the consequences. The choice between these two options is the very essence of freedom. Personally, I have no use for the second option: a self-inflicted misery that is without the slightest doubt a pitiable way of life. The first option, on the other hand, is a pleasurable and honorable alternative that I find compelling, though uphill. It is applicable to any situation encountered in the course of one’s living venture, provided one is not unfortunate to the point of being hopelessly unable to cope. The range of this applicability corresponds with the range of one’s adaptability. It is normally considerable, despite the tendency to cling to old gratifying habits even after they have become impracticable or unsuitable, owing to a change of situation. One can be weaned from such habits onto new gratifying habits, in the same way as a baby can be weaned onto solids. The more the change is significant and one is reluctant to adapt to it, the more the weaning process is difficult and long in producing the desired effect. Again, the only option worthy of one’s attention consists in taking things as they come and making the most of them, for one’s sake and that of others. The reverse is foolish and harmful, a deplorable waste of humanity. On the whole, the power to live in a well-adjusted and high-minded way and the freedom to choose this way in preference to the alternate, illegitimate, way are the foundations of the life one builds. The exercise of this power does not necessarily imply a principled resignation toward the status quo. One may be faced with a remediable evil that calls for a struggle to remedy it, effectively and rightly. In that case, living in a well-adjusted and high-minded way entails accepting the need for this struggle and the means of waging it, and sparing no effort to attain one’s end. Ills are a test of will, an opportunity to show dignity. They are also an opportunity to probe and appraise one’s inner resources. Over the years, I have improved my situation and especially my attitude, whose negativity was the most unfavorable and improvable aspect of my life. In so doing, I have discovered my true richness. Nature has endowed me with an adaptable capacity for happiness within the limits of my changeable reality. According to my observations, this capacity is not unusually great, compared with that of most people. I am even tempted to think it is somewhat lagging behind. Eleven years plus to adapt in triumph to my physical disability is no feat for the Guinness Book of World Records! During that time, the riddle of life had more or less baffled me. Yet, laboriously, with the help of many books and much thought, I had managed by degrees to clear it up, enough to find a meaning to my life. This riddle is comparable to a mire: The slower you go through it, the deeper you get into it. Perhaps thinkers are commonly untalented in the art of living and their saving grace is their dogged determination to redeem this lack of talent by dint of studying the human soul. Amusingly enough, these untalented individuals are often perceived as gifted, once they have seen the light and reflected it with the numerous mirrors of an elaborate analysis, after a tentative and protracted search in the dark. This sort of overcompensation is typical of people who experience difficulties in a certain area, but refuse to admit defeat. While some fare well in this area with a minimum of effort, they try hard to overcome these difficulties, with the result that they often fare better than the others. Their redeeming feature is their willpower in the face of their shortcoming, which they use as a reason to redouble their efforts, not as an excuse to throw in the towel. This is a recipe for a worthy success. They discipline and surpass themselves, and thus proudly turn things around.

Friday, June 25, 2010

E-Banks that Accept US Casino Players

Recently, the US Federal government banned online casinos from operating in America by making it illegal to transfer money to them through any US bank or payment system. As a result of this law, most of the popular online casino networks such as Party Gaming and PlayTech left the United States. Overnight, online casino players found themselves being chased by the Federal government.

But, after a fortnight, the online casino industry came up with a solution and new online casinos started taking root. These began to operate under a different business umbrella, and by doing that, rendered the transfer of money to and from them legal. A major part of this was enlisting electronic banking systems that would accept this new clarification and start doing business with me. Listed in this article are the electronic banking systems that accept players from the United States that wish to play in online casinos.

The Payment Systems You Can Use:
1, 2) MasterCard and Visa:
The most popular credit cards in the world, you can use these for depositing money into your casino account. But, please note that the casinos do not deposit your winning through your credit card. They use one of the other electronic payment systems. This is also the biggest reason why you should refrain from using your personal credit cards today for gambling.

3, 4) Visa Delta, Visa Electron:
These are debit cards that one can use to deposit cash into their casino account. By debit card, it means that the money you pay through the card, is immediately withdrawn from your bank account. This is a comfortable option, but here too, you cannot receive money into it.

5) Neteller:
Based in the UK and traded on the London AIM Stock Exchange, this e-bank company is one of the major independent electronic banking entities in the world, and it allows players to transfer money to and from an online casino.

6) Neteller Instacash
This is Neteller's version of the Debit Card, and, in fact, it is just like any other debit card with one difference. To use, InstaCash, you have to pay a small amount. But, most casinos will offer to pay this for you, so read their regulations.

7) EcoCard
Based in the European Union, EcoCard offers a wider range of electronic banking solutions than the other e-banks. Other than the regular card and debit system, you can decide beforehand how to create a flexible financial account. Because they use a wide network of banks in Europe, transactions made through EcoCard are quick and efficient.

8) FirePay
This e-banking system is solely web-based and carries out its transactions just like a debit card. You place cash into your FirePay account, and then, you can use that money to pay or deposit into your casino account. While it will not cost you a dime to open an account, you will be charged a minimal amount each time you transfer money from your bank account to FirePay.

9) Moneybookers
All you need to open an account is an email address! This e-banking system uses transactions from your credit or debit card or your bank account to whichever company you wish to move your money to. Regulated in the UK and run by Gatcombe Park Ventures Limited, this is one of the relatively new e-finance companies that allow transferring money to online casinos.

10) eWalletXpress:
Owned and run by Navaho Networks Inc, eWalletXpress is a new electronic payment system that has been created to answer the need for US players to transfer funds to online casinos.

11) 900Pay:
This is a completely different e-banking system. Instead of charging your bank account or your credit card, 900Pay charges your telephone bill for all your financial transactions. This is one of the fastest methods of electronic payment because you do not have to go through a long and detailed sign up process. And, if you were wondering, this does work to fund your casino account.

The Madness of Playing Games

If a lone, unkempt, person, standing on a soapbox were to say that he should become the Prime Minister, he would have been diagnosed by a passing psychiatrist as suffering from this or that mental disturbance. But were the same psychiatrist to frequent the same spot and see a crowd of millions saluting the same lonely, shabby figure - what would have his diagnosis been? Surely, different (perhaps of a more political hue). It seems that one thing setting social games apart from madness is quantitative: the amount of the participants involved. Madness is a one-person game, and even mass mental disturbances are limited in scope. Moreover, it has long been demonstrated (for instance, by Karen Horney) that the definition of certain mental disorders is highly dependent upon the context of the prevailing culture. Mental disturbances (including psychoses) are time-dependent and locus-dependent. Religious behaviour and romantic behaviour could be easily construed as psychopathologies when examined out of their social, cultural, historical and political contexts. Historical figures as diverse as Nietzsche (philosophy), Van Gogh (art), Hitler (politics) and Herzl (political visionary) made this smooth phase transition from the lunatic fringes to centre stage. They succeeded to attract, convince and influence a critical human mass, which provided for this transition. They appeared on history's stage (or were placed there posthumously) at the right time and in the right place. The biblical prophets and Jesus are similar examples though of a more severe disorder. Hitler and Herzl possibly suffered from personality disorders - the biblical prophets were, almost certainly, psychotic. We play games because they are reversible and their outcomes are reversible. No game-player expects his involvement, or his particular moves to make a lasting impression on history, fellow humans, a territory, or a business entity. This, indeed, is the major taxonomic difference: the same class of actions can be classified as "game" when it does not intend to exert a lasting (that is, irreversible) influence on the environment. When such intention is evident - the very same actions qualify as something completely different. Games, therefore, are only mildly associated with memory. They are intended to be forgotten, eroded by time and entropy, by quantum events in our brains and macro-events in physical reality. Games - as opposed to absolutely all other human activities - are entropic. Negentropy - the act of reducing entropy and increasing order - is present in a game, only to be reversed later. Nowhere is this more evident than in video games: destructive acts constitute the very foundation of these contraptions. When children start to play (and adults, for that matter - see Eric Berne's books on the subject) they commence by dissolution, by being destructively analytic. Playing games is an analytic activity. It is through games that we recognize our temporariness, the looming shadow of death, our forthcoming dissolution, evaporation, annihilation. These FACTS we repress in normal life - lest they overwhelm us. A frontal recognition of them would render us speechless, motionless, paralysed. We pretend that we are going to live forever, we use this ridiculous, counter-factual assumption as a working hypothesis. Playing games lets us confront all this by engaging in activities which, by their very definition, are temporary, have no past and no future, temporally detached and physically detached. This is as close to death as we get. Small wonder that rituals (a variant of games) typify religious activities. Religion is among the few human disciplines which tackle death head on, sometimes as a centrepiece (consider the symbolic sacrifice of Jesus). Rituals are also the hallmark of obsessive-compulsive disorders, which are the reaction to the repression of forbidden emotions (our reaction to the prevalence, pervasiveness and inevitability of death is almost identical). It is when we move from a conscious acknowledgement of the relative lack of lasting importance of games - to the pretension that they are important, that we make the transition from the personal to the social. The way from madness to social rituals traverses games. In this sense, the transition is from game to myth. A mythology is a closed system of thought, which defines the "permissible" questions, those that can be asked. Other questions are forbidden because they cannot be answered without resorting to another mythology altogether. Observation is an act, which is the anathema of the myth. The observer is presumed to be outside the observed system (a presumption which, in itself, is part of the myth of Science, at least until the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics was developed). A game looks very strange, unnecessary and ridiculous from the vantage-point of an outside observer. It has no justification, no future, it looks aimless (from the utilitarian point of view), it can be compared to alternative systems of thought and of social organization (the biggest threat to any mythology). When games are transformed to myths, the first act perpetrated by the group of transformers is to ban all observations by the (willing or unwilling) participants. Introspection replaces observation and becomes a mechanism of social coercion. The game, in its new guise, becomes a transcendental, postulated, axiomatic and doctrinaire entity. It spins off a caste of interpreters and mediators. It distinguishes participants (formerly, players) from outsiders or aliens (formerly observers or uninterested parties). And the game loses its power to confront us with death. As a myth it assumes the function of repression of this fact and of the fact that we are all prisoners. Earth is really a death ward, a cosmic death row: we are all trapped here and all of us are sentenced to die. Today's telecommunications, transportation, international computer networks and the unification of the cultural offering only serve to exacerbate and accentuate this claustrophobia. Granted, in a few millennia, with space travel and space habitation, the walls of our cells will have practically vanished (or become negligible) with the exception of the constraint of our (limited) longevity. Mortality is a blessing in disguise because it motivates humans to act in order "not to miss the train of life" and it maintains the sense of wonder and the (false) sense of unlimited possibilities. This conversion from madness to game to myth is subjected to meta-laws that are the guidelines of a super-game. All our games are derivatives of this super-game of survival. It is a game because its outcomes are not guaranteed, they are temporary and to a large extent not even known (many of our activities are directed at deciphering it). It is a myth because it effectively ignores temporal and spatial limitations. It is one-track minded: to foster an increase in the population as a hedge against contingencies, which are outside the myth. All the laws, which encourage optimization of resources, accommodation, an increase of order and negentropic results - belong, by definition to this meta-system. We can rigorously claim that there exist no laws, no human activities outside it. It is inconceivable that it should contain its own negation (Godel-like), therefore it must be internally and externally consistent. It is as inconceivable that it will be less than perfect - so it must be all-inclusive. Its comprehensiveness is not the formal logical one: it is not the system of all the conceivable sub-systems, theorems and propositions (because it is not self-contradictory or self-defeating). It is simply the list of possibilities and actualities open to humans, taking their limitations into consideration. This, precisely, is the power of money. It is - and always has been - a symbol whose abstract dimension far outweighed its tangible one. This bestowed upon money a preferred status: that of a measuring rod. The outcomes of games and myths alike needed to be monitored and measured. Competition was only a mechanism to secure the on-going participation of individuals in the game. Measurement was an altogether more important element: the very efficiency of the survival strategy was in question. How could humanity measure the relative performance (and contribution) of its members - and their overall efficiency (and prospects)? Money came handy. It is uniform, objective, reacts flexibly and immediately to changing circumstances, abstract, easily transformable into tangibles - in short, a perfect barometer of the chances of survival at any given gauging moment. It is through its role as a universal comparative scale - that it came to acquire the might that it possesses. Money, in other words, had the ultimate information content: the information concerning survival, the information needed for survival. Money measures performance (which allows for survival enhancing feedback). Money confers identity - an effective way to differentiate oneself in a world glutted with information, alienating and assimilating. Money cemented a social system of monovalent rating (a pecking order) - which, in turn, optimized decision making processes through the minimization of the amounts of information needed to affect them. The price of a share traded in the stock exchange, for instance, is assumed (by certain theoreticians) to incorporate (and reflect) all the information available regarding this share. Analogously, we can say that the amount of money that a person has contains sufficient information regarding his or her ability to survive and his or her contribution to the survivability of others. There must be other - possibly more important measures of that - but they are, most probably, lacking: not as uniform as money, not as universal, not as potent, etc. Money is said to buy us love (or to stand for it, psychologically) - and love is the prerequisite to survival. Very few of us would have survived without some kind of love or attention lavished on us. We are dependent creatures throughout our lives. Thus, in an unavoidable path, as humans move from game to myth and from myth to a derivative social organization - they move ever closer to money and to the information that it contains. Money contains information in different modalities. But it all boils down to the very ancient question of the survival of the fittest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eating, sleeping, storing and working Al Fresco

Outdoor and indoor furniture require different properties in order to best suit and withstand their environment. Garden, patio and all other outdoor furniture can come in all shapes, sizes, colours, weights and materials to fit these needs. They are also often available in matching sets to complement the outdoor environment.

The most common outdoor furniture pieces are patio tables with three to six chairs and a collapsible parasol. Other garden furniture includes rocking chairs, benches, arbors (latticed structures providing shelter and seating), storage boxes and benches, glider seats and plant boxes. When placed outdoors, certain furniture pieces can provide a very practical and attractive centre piece, allowing the user to enjoy their garden to its full potential during every season. For example, an open area in a garden that has little in it would benefit greatly from a table and set of chairs when the family wants to be outside enjoying the sun and not have to come indoors to have lunch.
Outdoor furniture often comes with available material furnishings such as cushions for seats and parasols for a bit of extra shelter which can be removed and stored inside during harsh weather conditions. There is no reason why outdoor furniture can’t be treated the same as its indoor counterparts.

The primary concern for consumers of outdoor furniture is that it needs to be able to withstand certain weather conditions and last throughout all seasons come rain or shine. The materials most suitable for such furniture are cedar woods, teak woods, cast iron, stone, poly resin and aluminium. Each of these materials can be crafted into almost any shape with a variety of decorative features, but some are more labour intensive to create than others are.
Cedar and teak woods are easily crafted and contain their own natural resins and oils which protect themselves against harsh weather conditions, rot, damp and insects. This makes them ideal for use in areas receiving a lot of rain. They do however require occasional varnishes (every 2-3 years) to seal the wood and prevent it from ageing or weathering.

Aluminium and iron furniture is also easily and cheaply manufactured. It is very sturdy and almost completely resistant to scratches, chipping and damp. However, the surface of aluminium can sometimes be damaged by acidic substances and it is only available in one colour.
Stone is the most labour intensive material to work with regarding furniture. It is heavy and tricky to sculpt into certain shapes, but the end product is very attractive, unaffected by weather conditions and requires no maintenance.
Finally, poly resin furniture is the most environmentally friendly material used for outdoor furniture as it is made from recycled plastic. It is incredibly durable, easy to mould into almost any shape or colour and is light in weight and cheap.

Whether natural or manmade, placed on a patio or outside a café, outdoor furniture always serves both a practical purpose and an attractive look, which is very easily incorporated into an existing outdoor décor.


Flashes of memory stream into my consciousness. They take me back thirty years plus. I was a boy then, a newcomer to a poor and tough neighborhood. My parents, of moderate means and daring to a fault, had decided to move there after my father had accepted an editing job in the federal government. They had taken a lease on a low-rent brick house, which was also run-down, covered in filth, and littered with trash. I do not mince my words: Previous tenants had been pigs that got along with bugs and rats. “The house has potential,” my mother had said to reassure me, seeing that I was aghast at its sordid aspects. Its one redeeming feature, besides its solid construction, was a large woody front yard, neglected, allowed to become a large dumping ground, as weedy as it was woody, but potentially attractive and pleasant, to be sure. My mother was a hard worker with a great deal of stamina, creativity, and tastefulness. She mastered the art of doing wonders with little money. After three months of intense labor – which for the first week involved a carpenter and two garbage collectors plus two dump trucks – the house was transfigured, quite presentable, even nice, much to my amazement. It now contrasted sharply, cuttingly, with the slums at the rear of the house and on the left of it. On the right was a school and at the front, across the street, was a nunnery on a large piece of land. My parents had conveniently focused their attention on these establishments, as if the good education and good disposition of their teachers and sisters could shield us from the evils of the slums. Needless to say, they did not. Violence was rampant in this neck of the woods and I was elected punchbag with only one dissenting vote: mine! At the root of this violence was malevolence, which grows from resentment, after one has been subjected to mistreatment. As much as my family projected an image of distinction, the neighborhood boys were malevolent and violent toward me. To them this image of distinction was an act of humiliation; their feelings were hurt and it was natural for them to hurt me. Of course it is a lot worthier to elevate oneself than to abase someone else. It is also a lot harder, and nature spontaneously levels everything the easy way. Moral excellence relates to culture, is an acquired trait, by virtue of which a human is courageous and just, worthy of praise. One winter evening, I was crossing the field next to the rink where I had played hockey, when a gang of hoodlums encircled me like a pack of wolves. There were six of them, one of whom – a weakling who always relied on others to feel powerful – lived three doors down, east of my house, across the back street. The leader stepped forward and turned around with a snicker. “Hey shithead, come and kiss my ass.” I was tempted to kick it, not kiss it. “No thanks. Please let me go; I don’t care for trouble.” As I was finishing my sentence, one of the boys lunged toward me from behind and shoved me forward. I dropped my hockey equipment and braced myself to fight and suffer. I was big for my age, but big is small when outnumbered by six to one. Again the leader took the initiative; the fight was on. With several thrusts, punches, and kicks, I repelled my assailants momentarily, until I was knocked and wrestled to the ground. Fists and feet hit me everywhere, nonstop, from all directions. Suddenly I heard a menacing shout and everyone slipped in a last blow before fleeing. A brave and kind man had caught sight of their misdeed and chosen to intervene, armed with a hockey stick. I was hurt but saved. A few days later, still aching all over, I saw the weakling, alone by his house – his hovel to be exact, which was covered with old imitation brick, torn in places, and infested with cockroaches, rats, and woodworms. His face was bruised and wet from weeping, as he screamed with rage, “Fucking bastard, fucking bitch, fucking life, fuck, fuck, fuck!” My anger was now tempered with compassion. I unclenched my fists, prompted by a desire to spare him. I could not demean myself to add pain to his pain, already so excessive that it overflowed in streams of tears and curses. His father was an illiterate and idle drunkard who collected welfare and spent considerable time and money at the tavern. At home, slouching in an armchair, he forever watched TV and drank beer or liquor. When grossly intoxicated, he sometimes vomited before reaching the bathroom and, without cleaning up his mess, fell unconscious on his bed, the armchair, the floor, or wherever. He was also vulgar and brutal. He often battered his son and his wife, and heaped insults on them. His wife was an abusive and sluggish woman who had grown obese from attempting to fill her inner void with chips, cookies, and pop. Day after day she wore the same tattered nightgown and constantly found reasons for bawling out her son and swiping him. She drove him insane, then used this insanity as another reason for persecuting him. These two loathsome and pitiful parents rendered his life at home unbearable. He usually roamed the streets with fellow-sufferers from similar – miserable and violent – backgrounds. Together they ganged up and took their resentment out on other kids such as me. My aggressors, first, were victims. My insight into the origin of violence came to me at that time and has never left me. I saw then and still see a victim in every aggressor. Some say there is such a thing as gratuitous violence, committed by individuals whose youth was favorable to all appearances. Violence for the sake of violence, an exercise in brutality at the expense of others, without provocation, past or present? I beg to differ. Appearances are not a valid means of assessing someone’s youth, whose favorableness or unfavorableness is a subjective, not objective, matter. Circumstances have no value in themselves, but in relation to people who consider them favorably or not. Attitude is here the only relevant concept. Also, brutality cannot be exercised at the expense of others unless these others are viewed heartlessly as expendable. This heartlessness is greatly suspicious, unlikely to belong to someone who regards humans with favor, thanks to a feeling of solidarity, of mutual benefit. In my opinion, aggressiveness is triggered by hostility, without which it is dormant: a mere potentiality incapable of harm. It may include an abnormal sensitivity or intellect that intensifies or alters someone’s perception of the environment. The fact remains hostility, as perceived by someone who feels painfully antagonized and proportionally victimized, is always a factor. Therefore, aggression cannot be dissociated from victimization, not only that of the victims but also that of the aggressors. These aggressors are victims of their sick minds or of the ill treatment they have endured. They deserve compassion, besides indignation. They are liable to a punishment that ought to be effective and exemplary, not vengeful. Vengeance and violence are one and the same thing. Both are resentful and harmful. Both are reprehensible. The harm inflicted does not remedy the harm suffered; it simply compounds one harm with another, and invites yet another harm. It lengthens the chain of savagery from x (a frightening number of savage links) to x+1, potentially +2, +3, +4, etc., instead of breaking it and helping to free humanity from it. There is no worse slavery than savagery. The best course is to make every effort to get over a wrong and forgive it, while bringing the wrongdoer to justice. In sum, justice should not serve to avenge people. It should serve to prevent crime and protect the public, by intimidating or incarcerating those who are a menace to others except under threat or behind bars. It should never push the severity of this mandate to the point of cruelty, in which case it would be a perversion of justice, an ominous sign of barbarity. On the contrary, it should be a jewel in the crown of civilization and foreshadow the coming of a better humanity, more consistent with its true nature and purpose – in a word, more humane. The difference between severity and cruelty is radical yet subtle; it must be emphasized. Cruel law enforcers delight in the punishments they inflict and readily overstep the mark. They are vicious and blameworthy, like the criminals they punish. Law enforcers who are severe, but not cruel, administer punishments reluctantly or regard them as a necessary evil they would gladly forgo if they could. They deplore the criminal element in society and strive to neutralize it through intimidation, or incarceration as a last resort, and preferably through reformation, a fundamental change of the criminal mind for the better. Their ideal, as unattainable as it is elevated, is the supremacy of justice without the institution of justice: no threats, no prisons, only people who deeply understand and freely exercise the principle of justice. Impossible as this supremacy is, it is usefully pursued. The institution of justice can become less and less necessary for the manifestation of justice, which can become more and more customary. This progress depends on the wisdom and willpower of its proponents who make it their duty to educate, assist, and encourage potential followers. It also presupposes that these potential followers take an active part in this endeavor. They cannot be actual followers unless they welcome this education, assistance, and encouragement, and display intelligence and determination of their own. How much can we collectively be civilized – that is, mutually respectful and helpful, in the knowledge that this high goal can unite our wills toward a common good of colossal proportions? In other words, what is the ceiling of our possible civilization, which implies responsibility and solidarity, an elevation of life to love? Nobody knows the limit, so none should be set but the sky! Generally, in a loving environment, human beings show humanity as naturally as fruit trees give fruit in the summer. Love is to these beings as sunshine is to these trees. It helps them grow into what they are meant to grow into (unless their nature is flawed from the start, which is an exception to the rule): beautiful and bountiful creations, as opposed to ugly and puny aberrations. Yet, beware of love; it can be possessive and manipulative, selfish and devilish! Yes, some angels have horns, unnoticeable at first sight under their pretty hair; their paradise is hell. True love is in the image of God (by God I simply mean the fundamental cause of everything. It brings us into existence and, within the limits of its might, supports us in our quest for fulfillment). It is a desire to nurture, not to capture. Under its divine rule, one always has the other’s best interests at heart. No one, however, should be supportive to the point of being an accomplice in someone’s oppressive or destructive acts of egocentricity, folly, or injustice. These evils should not be loved and served; they should be hated and combated. Hate is legitimate toward them, whereas the people who embody them are worthy of love because they exceed them by their ability to do good. They are indeed greater than the sum of their evil ways; they include the power to improve them. Therefore hate is directed at these ways, and love at this power: It promotes the people’s ability to do good. What if a person who is oppressively or destructively egocentric, foolish, or unjust never responds to this love? In that case it is lost and the life of this person shamefully amounts to a waste of soul. By a stroke of luck, my parents were bright and warm people who helped me blossom into a joyful and respectful individual. Their love was true and so was the love of many others who took part in my life. I was also lucky enough to be a good seed. I was a strong and healthy boy, extremely lively and moderately clever, cheery and gentle-natured, though impatient and self-assertive. In my eyes, until my family moved to the poor and tough neighborhood, civility was the norm among the members of society; it made sense. Barbarity, on the other hand, was a stupefying rarity. The abused weakling gave me an understanding of barbarity – which was common in this neighborhood – and replaced my stupefaction with commiseration.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Easy Games to Play for Fun

Get acquainted with a practical guide on the easiest games that you can play online. And once you read this article, you will find that you have at least stopped losing all your money. If you follow the advice well and to the dot, you will also learn how to start winning cash from other players or by beating the casino. Sounds interesting? It is.

Note that the games you must look out for are those where the house edge is very low. If these are hard to find at the casino you have entered, look for those games that depend more on skill than on luck. Some of these include blackjack and poker. The games to avoid because they depend solely on luck are any of the slot machine games such as Caribbean Stud or the regular or progressive slot jackpots. These rely only on luck and the house edge there is against you.

What is a House Edge?
Since the casinos and betting establishments are in it for making money, they have created an artificial method to gain leverage over the players. This is what they have termed house edge. What it means is that over and above what you win, the casinos deduct a certain amount for themselves. It is something like insurance but only for them and not for you. But the casinos do not actually do this. Instead, they have inserted these odds into the game winnings so that you do not notice it. When you win, you are paid according to the newly calculated odds and you are no wiser.

For instance, if you walk over to a casino and place a bet of ten dollars on a roulette table. (For arguments sake, let us also suppose it was an American roulette table.) If you win, you should be given three hundred and seventy dollars because the true odds is thirty-seven to one. Instead, you will only get three hundred and fifty dollars according to the odds of thirty-five to one. This is what I was referring to in the previous paragraph. What has happened is that you have lost twenty dollars to the casino as part of the house edge.

Playing Poker:
Pick and play this exceptional game because ,here, you are not competing against the house at all. It is other players like you who you are up against. Do battle against them and defeat them for cash. No house edge comes in the way here, but you do pay a small part of the money you win to the casino as a commission. This winning commission is called rake, and its so minute that you do not feel it pinch your pocket.

In addition, this is one of the best games to play if you are good at it and if you have razor-sharp skills. You will be able to mint money like crazy if you can read other expressions and count the cards well. You can also pick from a variety of game variations such as Red Dog Poker and Texas Holdem.

Playing Blackjack:
This is one of those games that the casino does not like you playing. If it was up to the betting establishments, they would remove these tables altogether. Why? Because the edge for them is only a half percent! Thus, is you play well by remembering that you have to beat the dealer and not reach 21, you stand a big chance of accumulating a large sum. I also suggest you brush up on your mathematical skills.

If you wish, learn how to count cards, but be careful. Because card counting works, casinos have banned it. All you have to do is count the colored cards (the cards that are ten and above). Then, it will be easier to decide which bet to make and which not to make. Practice again and again at home because you not only have to master this skill but you also have to learn to do it silently so that the casinos do not catch on.

Video Poker:
This is a game very much like one of the many regular and progressive slot machines games you will run into at a casino, but it is different. Unlike slots, skill plays a big part in the results, and thus you have a bigger chance of winning than at one of the slot machines.

But, before you begin, glance at the payment structure pasted on the machine. You should make your gaming decisions based on the house odds and payment structures of the machine. Six Generations in America

William A. Keleher (1886-1972) founded the Oldest and Largest Law Firm in New Mexico, Keleher & McLeod, P.A. The William Keleher site contains over 300 Rare Photographs of numerous Pioneer Southwest Luminaries like Elfego Baca and Conrad Hilton. Internationally Famous William A. Keleher authored some of the premier works on the Southwest: "Maxwell Land Grant,"1942; "Fabulous Frontier," 1945; "Turmoil in New Mexico, 1846-1968," 1952;"Violence in Lincoln County," 1957; and "Memoirs" 1969. and "New Mexicans I Knew." Purchase the Books of William A. Keleher in .pdf format online through Google Books at Scholarships: Arts & Sciences: Additionally the William A. Keleher Memorial Journalism Scholarship was established in 1980 at the University of New Mexico College of Arts and Sciences.The UNM fund had at the time 126 Endowment Funds with an investment value of $8,000,000 as of June 30, 2001. UNM collections open for researchers: The Center for Regional Studies Fellows presented work on the UNM Libraries Collections. William A. Keleher: Maker and Marker of History. William A. Keleher's papers an archives continue to be a rare glimpse into that bygone era of the Pioneer Southwest. Keleher, an author of several books on history of the southwest and a practicing attorney at Keleher & McLeod, P.A. left an extensive collection of history and territorial publications along with his correspondence and research materials. Scholarships: Gifts that Grow. In the 1920s in Albuquerque New Mexico, with subdivisions proliferating, developers pressured City Hall to annex their subdivisions, and the City Commission, led by Tingley, obliged. In 1925 the city added nine sections, doubling Albuquerque's land base overnight. The land stretched from Mulberry to San Pedro and Gibson to Constitution. The last annexation before the Depression was the Huning Castle Addition, 156 acres of pastures and drained swampland acquired from Franz Huning's heirs by contractor A.R. Hebenstreit and attorney William Keleher. In 1928 lawyer William Keleher and contractor A.R. Hebenstreit acquired land from Franz Huning's heirs and platted the Huning Castle Addition. Swamps made much of the land unattractive for development, but that was remedied after the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy began projects to drain marshy lands and control the river. Albuquerque Country Club moved from the East Mesa to its current location in 1928, which added prestige to the development. They only got a few homes built before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. (Most of the homes in this affluent subdivision, which came to be known as the Country Club neighborhood, were built after World War II. Securing a Place in New Mexico History: William A. Keleher was a newspaperman, lawyer, internationally known author and historian who lived in Albuquerque for 84 of his 86 years. UNM awarded him two honorary degrees. His five books about the frontier era in the Southwest include an authoritative chronicle of the Lincoln County War. Keleher died in 1972. Zimmerman Library: received Keleher's impressive collection of southwestern books and archive of papers and manuscripts, which is still being inventoried. This gift is from sons William B Keleher, Michael L Keleher, John G. Keleher and Thomas F. Keleher, and from the children of W. A. Keleher's late daughter, Mary Ann Keleher Rogers: James W. Rogers, Junior, Susan Rogers Schenkelberg, Ann Rogers Rothman and Michael Rogers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dry Ice Blasting For Wisconsin

Glacier Blast Inc. offers industrial cleaning by dry ice blasting to the state of Wisconsin.

What is dry ice blasting?

Dry ice blasting is the use of solid CO2 (carbon dioxide) pellets accelerated by compressed air to clean or strip industrial equipment, machinery, tanks, facilities etc. of unwanted contaminates. Dry ice pellets impact the surface and expand instantly into a gaseous state hundreds of times greater than their original solid volume, creating tiny explosions on the surface being cleaned. The tiny explosions, velocity and impact of the dry ice pellets (kinetic energy) and thermal shock (dry ice is -109 F) are the forces that remove the unwanted contaminates.

What are the disadvantages of conventional industrial cleaning methods?

Cleaning chemicals and solutions pose environmental hazards to employees and the environment. When used they leave behind a secondary waste stream, rags, absorbent pads, used solution and/or chemicals etc., which in many cases increases the volume of hazardous waste that is subject to costly disposal fees and transportation costs. If the chemicals and/or solutions are not properly cleaned up they can cause unwanted corrosion and rot, increasing damage and long term maintenance costs.

High pressure water blasting leaves behind a secondary waste stream which in many cases increases the volume of hazardous waste that is subject to costly disposal fees and transportation costs. Water gets left in electrical components, equipment and machinery. If the water is not properly removed it will cause unwanted corrosion and rot, increasing damage and long term maintenance costs.

Soda blasting leaves behind a secondary waste stream which in many cases increases the volume of hazardous waste that is subject to costly disposal fees and transportation costs. It leaves water and soda behind, if not properly removed will cause unwanted corrosion and rot, increasing damage and long term maintenance costs.

Sand blasting leaves behind a secondary waste stream which in many cases increases the volume of hazardous waste that is subject to costly disposal fees and transportation costs. It leaves behind an abrasive blast media which if not cleaned up properly continues to cause damage in electrical components, gears, bearings etc. It continues to fall from horizontal surfaces, cracks and beams years after the job is done, increasing cleanup, damage and long term maintenance costs.

What are the advantages of industrial cleaning by dry ice blasting?

Dry ice blasting is the ultimate industrial cleaning process, it leaves no secondary waste stream, no abrasive blast media, no water, no corrosive cleaning solutions or chemicals to get into critical areas. Dry ice blasting has no negative long term effect on maintenance. Dry ice blasting minimizes disposal fees and transportation costs.

Dry ice blasting is safe and environmentally friendly. Dry ice passes from a solid state to a gaseous state, it has no liquid state. Dry ice is pure CO2 in its solid state, it is in a gaseous state in the air around us. When we inhale our bodies use the oxygen and we exhale CO2. Green plants take CO2 from the air and give off oxygen.

Dry ice blasting is non-toxic, non-conductive, non-corrosive and there is no employee exposure to hazardous cleaning chemicals or solutions. Dry ice blasting sterilizes as it cleans, dry ice is -109 F, the extreme temperature kills germs and bacteria. Dry ice blasting meets the guidelines of the USDA, EPA, and the FDA.

Were You There?

Were you there, when they crucified my Lord? That is the title of a well-loved old hymn. Imagine standing on that hill 2000 years ago witnessing the nailing of Jesus on the cross. Here he is already near death after a heavy crown of thorns had been sunk deeply into his skull. His back is covered with deep, oozing stripes caused by merciless flogging, and his strength had completely waned under the weight of the cross, which he had been forced to drag outside the gate of the city of Jerusalem. This Jesus they crucified with three nails; one through the middle of each hand, and one through his two feet. They needed to make sure that this guy would not escape! Why? Because he had claimed to be the Son of God. Just one week earlier multitudes thronged around him as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, waving palm branches and shouting: Hosanna: Blessed is the king of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord!” They had been witness to and/or recipients of the thousands of miracles Jesus had performed in their midst. They knew he was no ordinary man. Although they did not understand the hundreds of prophesies about what the messiah had to go through and why, they knew he was a man of God, and they wanted to crown him king. (John 12) Here now on the cross: “he is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isa. 53: 3) This is no pretty picture. This is the portrayal of one man on whom was placed every sin and every sickness that ever would be committed! “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (mat.8: 17) and: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; ...but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we ARE healed.” (Isa. 53: 4-5). Yes, this prophetic verse foretold his crucifixion hundreds of years earlier. Yet, there in print it tells you that you ARE healed – in the present tense, as if it had already happened! They then pierced him with a sword to ensure that he was dead, fulfilling the scripture: “They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19) Many other scriptures were realized that day, including the power of forgiveness, as he spoke over his persecutors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) At the moment of his death the heavy veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom, giving us a symbolic direct access to the God. No more do we need to go through a mediator! (Mat. 27:51-53). Standing there in your mind’s eye surveying the cross and looking upon his scarred, unrecognizable face and body, thank Him for your healing, and believe that you have it. Now you can look straight into his glorious face as, subsequent to his descent into hell, he was raised up by the Holy Spirit and is now reigning on high! He “spoiled principalities and powers (the devil), he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” and He did it all for you! You can now live a victorious life here and with Him in eternity. He did it once and for all, summing it up with His very last words: “It is Finished.” (John 19:30)

Type Of Tattoo

Tattoos are at their heart a sign of individuality, and as more and more human beings seek a path to locate themselves apart from the crowd, the popularity of tattoos as a form of self expression is only likely to grow. In act, the strict code of practices takes every safety measure so the risk of transmitting HIV or other diseases is virtually nonexistent. however before spread outside, bids from approximately the society drove the reward over the century mark. If you bear these things in head and keep you eyes peeled, asking any and all questions that come to head, you should be fully capable of deciding whether or not your decision to get tattooed will be a acceptable one. One beneficial body about henna tattooing, unlike the tattoos the western culture is used to, the henna tattoo is not permanent, for it fades away in age or it comes outside after a hardly any washings. This path, others that are researching where to get a tattoo, will have that much more helpful info to ease them outside! A great place to do this is Body Mod. Others events are far more profound, like the large number of policemen and fire fighters who tattooed the names of fallen colleagues on their arms for all to see. If you contemplate on the internet there is a controversy about getting Kanji and Japanese Tattoos also. They will necessitate to contemplate into the dynamics of their relationships with customers and the nature of their interaction. Getting a tattoo involves piercing the skin, and so there is going to be some pain involved, no complication how small the tattoo and no complication where it is on your body. The more tattoos you have, the more ink spots you will end up with all over your body as age goes by. This is easy! I know, you are thinking that you can’t much scan Japanese, so how on earth will you be able to recognize these different styles? Well, try this: A temporary tattoo can latest for anywhere from a couple of days to various months and may be an alternative for you who are not certain that a permanent tattoo is the fair body for you. Granted it is a small snaggy and faded at once however he still has one on his forearm nonetheless. A legitimate, well-trained tattooist follows strict health guidelines and is willing to answer any of your questions about tattooing procedures and concerns. However many tattoo artists are spotting the trend and jumping on it already. The best defense in the battle of the fading tattoo is to stay outside of the sun, cover the tattoo with clothing and wear a really acceptable sunscreen. Hepatitis, a disease that attacks the liver, is of a parcel more concern, being a much heartier pathogen that requires a much smaller amount of body fluid transfer, though it should be mentioned that , according to the Centers for Disease Control, there has NEVER been a documented action of Hepatitis OR AIDS caused by a tattoo. Therefore, soon after their tour of the Honda plant, the Harley Davidson Motor Society decided to lay into practice this originally rejected approach. Try to utilize some kind unscented, undedicated body lotion, as some scents may irritate the still-tender skin of your tattoo. Some human beings decorate a small area of skin, while in others it may be difficult to find a square inch of un-tattooed flesh. Studies showed that about 75 % of Harley customers made repeat purchases, and executives quickly recognized a pattern that refocused the convention’s overall strategy. anyway, after getting a tattoo done you should know some aftercare tips that cannot be ignored. Fortunately there are other avenues you can capture instead of getting a permanent tattoo lay on. They are also a great path to express your individuality and unique sense of style.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dry Ice Blasting? What's That?

Dry ice blasting is:

- the use of solid CO2 (carbon dioxide) pellets accelerated by compressed air to clean or strip industrial equipment, machinery, facilities etc. of unwanted contaminates. Dry ice pellets impact the surface and expand instantly into a gaseous state hundreds of times greater than their original solid volume, creating miniature explosions on the surface being cleaned. Dry ice is -109 F, this thermal shock aids in removing many materials.

- controlled by adjusting the air pressure and the volume of pellets used. In so doing heavy layers of coatings, paint, resins, mold, plastic, carbon build up, adhesives etc. are easily removed. On the delicate side a deflector plate at the end of the nozzle causes the pellets to change to powder on impact, allowing the cleaning of even circuit boards.

- a huge benefit in protecting investments. No longer is there a need to use abrasive media blasting, rotary sanding discs, abrasive pads, scrapers etc. which remove metal and cause expensive tooling repair. If the surface was originally polished, it will still be polished after the dry ice blasting job is done. Dry ice blasting removes no metal, extending equipment and tooling life.

- not abrasive, therefore masking of glass, bearings, moving metal parts etc. is not required. Many types of machines can now be cleaned in place and on line, completely eliminating the need of shutdowns for cleaning. Less downtime equals greater production time.

- safe and environmentally friendly. Dry ice is pure CO2 in its solid state, it is in its gaseous state in the air around us. When we inhale our bodies use the oxygen and we exhale CO2. Green plants take CO2 from the air and give off oxygen.

- non-toxic, non-conductive and there is no employee exposure to hazardous cleaning chemicals or solutions. Dry ice blasting meets the guidelines of the USDA, EPA, and the FDA.

We want Family Guy back!

Family Guy is an animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane, which centers on its title character, Peter Griffin and his family. Peter is a bumbling and inept blue-collar worker, who although is well-intentioned, often puts himself and his middle class family in troubling circumstances due to his foolish actions. Other characters include Lois (wife), Chris (son), Meg (daughter), Stewie (baby), and Brian (talking dog). The cartoon first aired on FOX in 1999, but was later cancelled in 2002 due to poor ratings. However, after receiving positive and significant responses to the sitcom’s release on DVD and its reruns on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, FOX revived and resumed production of the show and brought it back to air on its network channel. On March 26, 2004, Fox officially announced it would produce and broadcast at least 22 more episodes of Family Guy. More recently, Variety reported on September 27, 2005 that 20th Century Fox has committed to produce and air another 22 episodes of Family Guy. Family Guy remains a very popular animated sitcom, sustained by its brand of humor that often employs brief and frequent nonsensical cutaways with heavy pop culture references, in addition to cutting to random flashbacks to various points in history, geography, and reality. Fans can get the Family Guy Ringtone here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drawing The Human Figure - Tips For Beginners

Figure drawing is challenging. The act of rendering the human form accurately on paper can be intimidating and frustrating if you try to tackle everything all at once. It is for this reason that you should take things one-step at a time and most importantly, practice! The following article will provide you with some of the basics for understanding how to approach your next figure drawing project.

The very first thing you will need obviously is your drawing supplies. Drawing does not have to be a very expensive art form. You can get started with a pencil and paper if you so desire, but there are certain supplies that will produce better results. It is quite difficult to recommend the perfect materials as every artist is different and therefore will have different preferences. Only time and experience will tell you what materials work best for your particular style. Your choice of materials will also depend on the chosen subject matter.

The best advice would be to get a variety of different pencils and papers and simply experiment. You will eventually come to like certain materials over others. Get your self a pad of newsprint paper. Newsprint paper is fairly inexpensive and excellent for practice drawings, although you should not expect these drawing to last very long. They will more than likely yellow over time. For your permanent drawings, a good quality paper is recommended. Strathmore is a good brand to look into. You may want to start with a medium textured paper as it has enough "tooth" to hold a fair amount of medium, but smooth enough to allow for detailed work. You will also need a good size drawing board that is smooth and flat for your drawing surface.

Before you even lift a pencil, you should have a basic understanding of human anatomy. When you study anatomy, you will learn more about the construction of the human body and its proportions. You will also have a basic understanding of the muscles and tendons and how they direct and control the body. There is no need to get carried away and memorize every muscle, bone, and tendon in the human body; just a fundamental understanding should suffice.

Getting the proportions correct in your figure drawing is one of the biggest challenges you will face as a beginner. It is for this reason that a unit of measurement was established using the models head. This is the distance from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin. 7 ½ to 8 heads is the standard measurement that has been developed for the height of an erect figure. This measurement can vary depending on the subject so you may have to make adjustments to your figure drawing. You should realize that the measurement of 7 ½ heads corresponds to the figure when it is standing erect. If the pose of your figure changes, adjustments will obviously have to be made.

Artists will often use a pencil to take the head measurement. Stand a reasonable distance from your subject. Grab your pencil from the bottom as if you were holding a hammer and extend your arm out fully in front of you toward the subject. Try and keep your head as still as possible. Make certain that you are standing in the same spot each time you take measurements. Now closing one eye match the tip of the pencil with the top of the subjects head. Place your thumb on the pencil and slide it down until it matches with the bottom of the subjects chin. You now have taken the "head" measurement of your subject, which will now serve as a reference for measuring the rest of your subject.

When deciding on the type of pose for your figure drawing make sure you choose one that looks natural. Your model will be holding his or her pose for a long period of time and should be comfortable and relaxed. Give your model adequate time to move around and get settled. The more relaxed and natural the pose, the more believable the final drawing or painting will be. If your model looks uncomfortable or awkward, your painting or drawing will reflect that as well.

There are number of different lighting situations that you can create for your figure drawing or painting. Will you be working indoors or outdoors? If indoors, will you be working in a room that has natural sunlight or will you be using artificial light? What direction will the light source come from? Will there be multiple light sources? If you are a beginner, you may want to create a lighting effect that strikes your model from only one direction and illuminates your figure only partially, thereby creating more shadow. This will make for a much easier figure drawing. As you gain more experience, you can then move on to more complex lighting effects.

When you begin your drawing, you should not be overly concerned with getting every detail correct in your figure or other objects that make up your drawing. Many beginners fall into this trap and ultimately wind up with a drawing that is out of proportion or that just looks wrong. Study your subject, squint your eyes and try to locate the basic shapes that make up your subject.

Figure drawing and painting is a vast subject and this article only touches on some of the basics. You should definitely take classes or workshops and practice your figure drawing with live models. Purchase a few good books on figure drawing and anatomy. Join discussion groups and ask questions. Most importantly though, keep practicing and never give up.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dragon Myths and Legends

Much folklore about dragons was believed throughout time. In Egyptian mythology, the god of the underworld, Osiris, is sometimes represented by a dragon. In Greek mythology, dragons are always guarding something or eating someone. In European mythology, a dragon is a serpent-like legendary creature. In both Eastern and Western mythology, the dragon is believed to be responsible for eclipses.

In Bulgarian legend, dragons are three headed, winged beings with snake's bodies. There is also a white dragon, which according to legend can transform into a bird called O-Goncho. The dragon also plays a vital role in Arthurian legend.

In Romanian folklore, even the snake, which in certain conditions, has the ability to turn into a dragon, has a strong malefic meaning. The ancient Greeks and Romans, who revered dragons for their wisdom but feared them for their tremendous powers, shared this belief. Similarly, in the Babylonian creation myth, Tiamat the embodiment of chaos is portrayed as a terrible dragon. This myth is almost as hard to kill as the dragon itself was. For this reason, the dragon symbol is the sign of authority, often being worn on the robes of the Imperial family and nobility.

Dragons have long been considered evil, maiden-stealing, village destroying, fire-breathing beasts. This lead to many brave knights attempting to hunt down and slay dragons, as recounted in many medieval writings. When knights began inventing stories about them defeating such dragons, the dragon and knighthood peak was reached.

Almost every country in the world as some sort of dragon story. Legends and myths are filled with stories of dragons. In European mythology, a dragon is a serpent-like legendary creature. In many legends dragons personify evil, and are vicious beasts who live to wreak havoc and must be pacified by human sacrifice. One of the most feared monsters of the Greeks and Romans was the Hydra, a dragon with multiple heads and poisonous breath.

In fairy tales and in medieval poetry in the Western world dragons are dangerous, untrustworthy creatures. Medieval people liked to scare each other with dragons. All peopel are drawn by the dragon's aura of mystery, its ancient magic, its nobility; its awesome might and power.

The Columnist in the Mousetrap

I am a voracious reader of the most convoluted and lexiphanic texts - yet, there is one author I prefer to most. She gives me the greatest pleasure and leaves me tranquil and craving for more when I am through devouring one of her countless tomes. A philosopher of the mundane, a scholar of death, an exquisite chronicler of decay and decadence - she is Dame Agatha Christie. I spend as much time wondering what so mesmerizes me in her pulp fiction as I do trying to decipher her deliciously contorted stratagems. First, there is the claustrophobia. Modernity revolves around the rapid depletion of our personal spaces - from pastures and manors to cubicles and studio apartments. Christie - like Edgar Ellen Poe before her - imbues even the most confined rooms with endless opportunities for vice and malice, where countless potential scenarios can and do unfold kaleidoscopically. A Universe of plots and countervailing subplots which permeate even the most cramped of her locations. It is nothing short of consummate magic. Then there is the realization of the ubiquity of our pathologies. In Christie's masterpieces, even the champions of good are paragons of mental illness. Hercules Poirot, the quintessential narcissist, self-grooming, haughty, and delusional. Miss Marple, a schizoid busybody, who savors neither human company, nor her inevitable encounters with an intruding world. Indeed, it is deformity that gifts these two with their eerily penetrating insights into the infirmities of others. Then, there is the death of innocence. Dame Agatha's detective novels are quaint, set in a Ruritanian Britain that is no more and likely had never existed. Technologies make their debut: the car, the telephone, the radio, electric light. The very nature of evil is transformed from the puerile directness of the highway robber and the passion killer - to the scheming, cunning, and disguised automatism of her villains. Crime in her books is calculated, the outcome of plotting and conspiring, a confluence of unbridled and corrupted appetites and a malignant mutation of individualism. Her opus is a portrait of our age as it emerged, all bloodied and repellent, from the womb the dying Victorian era. Christie's weapons of choice are simple - the surreptitious poison, a stealthy dagger, the cocked revolver, a hideous drowning. Some acquaintance with the sciences of Chemistry and Physics is indispensable, of course. Archeology comes third. But Christie's main concerns are human nature and morality. The riddles that she so fiendishly posits cannot be solved without taking both into account. As Miss Marple keeps insisting throughout her numerous adventures, people are the same everywhere, regardless of their social standing, wealth, or upbringing. The foibles, motives, and likely actions of protagonists - criminals as well as victims - are inferred by Marple from character studies of her village folks back home. Human nature is immutable and universal is Christie's message. Not so morality. Formal justice is a slippery concept, often opposed to the natural sort. Life is in shades of gray. Murders sometimes are justified, especially when they serve to rectify past wrongs or prevent a greater evil. Some victims had it coming. Crime is part of a cycle of karmic retribution. The detective's role is to restore order to a chaotic situation, to interpret reality for us (in an inevitable final chapter), and to administer true and impartial justice, not shackled by social or legalistic norms. Thus, nothing is as it seems. It is perhaps Christie's greatest allure. Beneath the polished, petite-bourgeois, rule-driven, surface, lurks another world, replete with demons and with angels, volcanic passions and stochastic drives, the mirrors and the mirrored, where no ratio rules and no laws obtain. Catapulted into this nightmarish, surrealistic landscape, like the survivors of a shipwreck, we wander, bedazzled, readers and detectives, heroes and villains, damsels and their lovers, doomed to await the denouement. When that moment comes, redeemed by reason, we emerge, reassured, into our reinstated, ordered, Before Christ(ie) existence. Her novels are the substance of our dreams, woven from the fabric of our fears, an open invitation to plunge into our psyches and courageously confront the abyss. Hence Christie's irresistibility - her utter acquaintance with our deepest quiddity. Who can forgo such narcissistic pleasure? Not your columnist, for sure!

The Characteristics of Soul

At the dawn of spring, I am reminded by my children the joy of anticipating new life. They will usually see a flower or two that has made its way through the soil to a world beyond itself. What starts out as a seedling or bulb is transformed by nature's capacity to evolve. Inside each of us lies dormant an awareness, an identity, an ability to grow beyond what we appear to be. Every moment, we are being challenged by others and by circumstances to create a life that exceeds our present state of living. To move toward our highest good takes a willingness on our part to let go of what we know to what can be known in and through us. You and I are part of the Created Order we see around us, and we are participants in Creating Order out of what we have been given to care for. With this in mind, let us turn to ways our soul can be described in the characteristics that make up a flower: 1. The Ground. The ground nurtures, protects, and gives birth to a flower. Inside the womb of the ground, life is taking root long before we can see it. Because we cannot see a flower that has been planted in the earth, does not mean life is not being created. To be full participants in our world means to be fully connected and rooted in the world we have been given. 2. The Stem. The stem begins its growth in the earth below and into the sky above. This part of the flower is the connecting characteristic of the plant. Much like humanity, we are in this world without being fully of it. This creates a sacredness to our lives. It is our unique ability to live and grow in a way no one ever has, is, or ever will. 3. The Flower. In full bloom, a flower is the illumination of all the life that has preceded it. The radiance and color that pour out of it create life. Notice the next time you look at a flower how you are affected by it. You may notice your heart open and be filled with joy. Or, you may notice more energy and clarity in your vision for being blessed with great beauty. 4. The Spirit of a Flower. The spirit of a flower is the life force moving in and through it. It is the essence of a flower that identifies with your spirit. This part of you opens from the inside out and becomes ONE with the spirit of a flower. It is the same energy that runs in and through you. Like a flower, you begin to radiate your own soul from the essence of your own being. Each spring, take the time to notice the part of you opening up to new life. Just like flowers, we grow from the inside out. What illuminates in our life began inside us. We nurture these inner qualities of attention until they eventually take root and grow into our daily lives. The growth that follows is created from what we attend to or hold our attention on within us. Like the pedals of a flower opening to the world around it, we create a presence of awareness. In full bloom, the beauty or the lack thereof touches the lives of everyone around us. As our inner patterns of attention move through us, the world illuminates the seeds of awareness contained within us for so long. Here, a life is created. It is the life of our soul. Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living" For more on this author;