The Many Benefits of Solar Fairy Lights

The first benefit you will find is that the solar fairy lights are more affordable than you may have expected. Everyone is under the false impression that when it includes solar the price is automatically raised. Yes, while these may be slightly more expensive than the mains powered options, they are longer lasting and they are cheaper to run, so in the long run you are saving money when making this type of purchase.

Of course one of the major reasons why solar fairy lights are so popular throughout the world is that they are environmentally friendly. They use renewable energy from the sun to power the lights, which means that they help to reduce your carbon footprint and help you enjoy a more environmentally friendly lifestyle now and in the future.

The good news is that the solar fairy lights are so quick and easy to install. You don’t need an electrician at hand and you can do it on your own within minutes. Once you have chosen where you want your lights to go, you simply hang them in place, stake the solar panel in direct sunlight and leave them. During the day the panel will soak up the sun and store the energy in the battery. Once the sun sets the battery will kick in to light the area and provide you with beautiful, bright and twinkling lights that are guaranteed to make an impact.

Another benefit you will find with the solar fairy lights that is a little harder and more complex when it comes to lights using mains power, is that you can move them around as and when you want to. You may start earlier in the season lighting up a single tree on the side of your property and then decide you would rather light the giant tree in the front of your home. You simply unwrap the lights from the current tree, pull the solar panel out of the ground and move it to where you want to place it, as long as the solar panel is in direct sunlight you are ready to go.

Again, you don’t need an entire army of electricians to help you with the move, you can decide to change the design and get going without any assistance from anyone.

You will find that when you choose any lighting that focuses on using solar for power and LED lighting for illumination that your maintenance will be minimal. LED lights are cheap to run, but they are also long lasting, which means you aren’t going to need to replace the bulbs any time soon. With the mains powered options, you often get a few bulbs extra in the packaging, because once one fails the entire string fails.

The best benefit you will find when you choose solar fairy lights is the Christmas ambience it provides. You don’t only have to use these throughout the festive season, businesses throughout the world use solar fairy lights to brighten up their doorways throughout the year, making them noticeable at night to ensure clients see them and remember their names moving forward.

How Corals Form

When hard corals grow in one specific area and gather as one huge colony, they form a coral reef. The reefs are formed by the limestone skeletons of these tiny coral polyps, consisting of a fleshy sack with a ring of tentacles. These corals are the subphylum Anthhoza.

One might find it hard to imagine that such non-locomotive skeleton-like creatures are in fact alive and that they even have very active symbiotic relationships with other creatures found under the sea.

Thus, it may be important to unravel an underwater mystery occurring between the corals and the rest of the sea life.

An indispensable symbiotic relationship is present among these reef-building corals and zoxanthellae, a type of brown algae scientifically known as symbiodinium microadriaticum. Within the hermatypic corals (the coral's skin) dwell millions of these single-celled objects. The zoxanthellae help the coral in the production of calcium carbonate or what we commonly know as limestone. They do this by assisting in the production of sugars and oxygen through a photosynthetic process, a process attributed to any living organism existing on the earth. Due to the zooxanthellae's ability to aid the coral in its production of calcium and sugar for its continuous body formation, corals fast growth can be credited to the tiny zooxanthellaes.

Furthermore, the zooxanthallae is not only responsible for the skeletal growth of the corals, it also gives it its other aesthetic characteristic – a greenish color.

A phenomenon called coral bleaching, in which the coral's outer color from turns from greens to totally white, may occur. Some factors that may cause coral bleaching are changes in environmental conditions, such as sudden warming of the temperature and a change in the salinity of the sea water. Also, diseases, often cause by pollution, may cause the polyps to expel the little green algae and thus the discoloration of the corals. Since these algae are not only responsible for the outer color of the corals but for the continuous photosynthesis as well, bleaching may often result in the coral's death.

What really are the geographical qualities that are ideal for coral growth and survival? First, corals need warm sea water, between 18 ° C and 30 ° C. Cold water can only hinder the development of corals. This explains why they are usually found in the tropical areas and not in the cold corners of the earth. In fact, most coral reefs are found where sea temperatures are warmest, mostly between 30 degrees north and south latitude.

Another important aspect for the growth of corals is a good access to sunlight. As we all know, light from the sun is needed for photosynthesis, which in the case of the corals are performed by the green algae. The clearer and shallow the water, the better are the corals' growth. There should not be too much sediment in the water as they can smother the polyps. Too much fresh water also prevails coral growth development; This explains why it is impossible to find a colony of corals in the mouth of the river.

Coral reefs are habitat of up to 2 million varieties of marine plants and animals, resulting to a very extraordinary diversity. Coral reefs are known to be home to a number of species of tropical and reef marine fish, either swimming right adjust the corals or swimming right above or surrounding area of ​​the reef. Reefs are also found to be a large variety of other sea organisms such as spongers, echinoderms, mollusks, and a whole lot more. These creatures are part of the food chain in the reef, all contributing greatly in the remarkable underwater ecosystem that keeps each coral alive.

Neurotransmitters: Chemical Messengers of Nervous System

Human brain is well encapsulated within a thick, bony skull. The choroid plexus secretes the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which surrounds the brain. The fluid passes down through the four ventricles with the help of subarachnoid space and finally enters the cerebral veins through the arachnoid villi. Brain lacks lymphatic system so CSF ​​acts as a partial substitute. Dura mater is a tough, protective conductive tissue firmly attached to the skull and includes the subarachnoid space filled with the CSF, arteries and web-like connective tissue known as archanoid mater. The pia mater is a very delicate and permeable membrane composed of collagen, elastin and fibroblasts that rests on the floor of subarachnoid space and allows diffusion between CSF and the interstitial fluid of brain tissue. The pia mater is also interrupted by astrocyte processes. The dura mater, arachnoid mater and the pia mater are collectively known as meninges.

The brain and CSF are separated from each other by the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) ​​which protects brain from undesirable blood substances. These barriers are permeable to water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, small lipid soluble molecules, electrolytes and certain essential amino acids. The barriers are formed by the combined action of endothelial cells lining the capillary walls and glial cells (astrocytes) that wrap the capillaries with fibers. The brain has a distinct chemical composition for example, structural lipid accounts for 50% dry weight of brain, a feature which is in contrast with other fatty tissues of the body that are made up of triglycerides and free fatty acids. The blood brain barrier forms a protective chemical environment through which neurotransmitters can easily participate in nerve impulse delivery.

Neurotransmitters and Their Identification

Neurotransmitters are endogenously produced chemicals that actively participate in the transmission of signals from a neuron to the target cell across a synapse. They are tightly packed inside the synaptic vesicles which remain clustered beneath the membrane on the pre-synaptic side of the synapse. Upon activation they are released into the synaptic cleft where they bind to the receptors located on the membrane of the post-synaptic side of the synapse. Release of neurotransmitters is simply an indication that action potential has produced. These chemicals are synthesized from simple precursors, chiefly the amino acids. Amino acids are easily available and only few biosynthetic steps are involved in the formation of neurotransmitters.

Ramón v Cajal discovered synaptic cleft after carefully performing histological examination of neurons. After the discovery of synaptic cleft it was suggested that some chemical messengers are involved in signal transmission. In 1921 a German pharmacologist Otto Loewi confirmed that neurons communicate with each other by releasing chemical messengers. He performed a series of experiments where vagus nerve of frog was involved. He personally controlled the heart rate of frog by controlling the amount of saline solution present around the vagus nerve. When the experiments were over Loewi concluded that sympathetic regulation of heart rate could be mediated through changes in the chemical concentration. He later on discovered the first neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine (Ach). However, some neurons communicate by using electrical synapses through gap junctions that allow specific ions to pass directly from one cell to the other.


There are many ways through which neurotransmitters can be classified for example, they can be divided into amino acids, peptides and monoamines on the basis of their chemical composition. The amino acids that act as neurotransmitters are glutamate, aspartate, D-serine, gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine. Monoamines and other biogenic amines include dopamine (DA), norepinephrine, epinephrine, histamine and serotonin. Other substances acting as neurotransmitters are acetylcholine (Ach), adenosine, nitric oxide and anandamide. More than 50 neuroactive peptides are known that act as neurotransmitters. Many of these peptides are released along with a small transmitter molecule. The well known example of a peptide neurotransmitter is β-endorphin which is associated with the opioid receptors of the central nervous system. Single ions such as the synaptically released zinc, some gaseous molecules like nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO) are also considered as neurotransmitters. Glutamate is the most prevalent neurotransmitter as it is excitatory in 90% of the synapses while GABA is inhibitory in 90% of the synapses.

Excitatory and Inhibitory Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters can be excitatory or inhibitory but their major action is activation of one or more receptors. The effect of these chemicals on the post-synaptic side of the cell is totally dependent upon the properties of the receptors. The receptors for most of the neurotransmitters are excitatory as they activate the target cell so that action potential can be produced. On the other hand, for GABA, most of the receptors are inhibitory. However, evidences have shown that GABA acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter during early brain development. For acetylcholine the receptors are both excitatory and inhibitory. The effect of a neurotransmitter system is directly dependent upon the connections of neurons and chemical properties of the receptors. Major neurotransmitter systems are the norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin and cholinergic systems. Drugs targeting these neurotransmitter systems affect the whole system thus, explaining the complexity of drug action. AMPT prevents the conversion of tyrosine into L-DOPA which forms dopamine. Reserpine prevents accumulation of dopamine in the vesicles. Deprenyl inhibits the activity of monoamine oxidase-B and thus, increases dopamine levels.

Precursors of Neurotransmitters

Different precursors are needed for the synthesis of different neurotransmitters. For example, L-DOPA is the precursor for dopamine synthesis that crosses the blood brain barrier and is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. In case of depressed patients the activity of norepinephrine is lowered, so the precursors for this neurotransmitter are administratively externally. The precursors for this neurotransmitter are L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine. These precursors also participate in the synthesis of dopamine and epinephrine. The synthesis of these neurotransmitters also requires vitamin B6, vitamin C and S-adenosylmethionine. L-tryptophan is the precursor for serotonin synthesis and studies have indicated that its administration results in increased production of serotonin in the brain. The conversion of L-tryptophan requires vitamin C. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HT) also acts as a precursor for serotonin.

Degradation and Elimination

Neurotransmitters must be broken down into small molecules before they reach the post-synaptic neuron in order to participate in excitatory or inhibitory signal transduction. For example, acetylcholine (ACh) is an excitatory neurotransmitter which is broken down by acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Choline is recycled by the pre-synaptic neuron to form acetylcholine again. Other neurotransmitters like dopamine are able to diffuse away from their synaptic junctions and are eliminated from the body via kidneys or destroyed in the liver. Each neurotransmitter has a specific degradation pathway.

Important Neurotransmitters

A number of chemicals are known to act as neurotransmitters and they will be treated here separately.

1. Acetylcholine (Ach)

Acetylcholine is a part of the peripheral nervous system and was the first neurotransmitter to be discovered. It is an excitatory neurotransmitter in contrast to the monoamines which are inhibitory. The precursors of acetylcholine are acetyl-CoA produced during the glucose metabolism and choline that are actively transported across the blood brain barrier. Production of this neurotransmitter takes place in the brain. The dietary choline comes from the phosphatidyl choline present in the membranes of plant and animal cells except bacterial cells. Acetyl-CoA and choline are independently synthesized inside the cell body of the neuron. Brain has few acetylcholine receptors but outside the brain it is the principal chemical that governs muscle activity. Body muscles may be either skeletal muscles that are under the voluntary control or smooth muscles of the autonomous nervous system lacking voluntary control. The nervous system can further be subdivided into sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. Direct innervation of the skeletal muscles is due to acetylcholine while that of the smooth muscles is due to norepinephrine.

Acetylcholine receptors are of two types normally, a fast acting ion channel controlled receptor and a slow acting receptor that requires a G-protein (Guanine nucleotide binding protein) which stimulates second messengers to indirectly open ion channels. Direct ion channel controlling receivers respond within microseconds while indirect second messenger controlling receptors may take milliseconds in order to generate a response. The fast acting receptor is known as nicotinic as it is specifically activated by a toxin present in tobacco. The slow acting receptor is known as muscarinic as it requires a toxin muscarine and acetylcholine for its activation. Parasympathetic nerves may be either cranial or sacral. 75% of all parasympathetic nerve fibers arise from a single cranial nerve known as vagus. These fibers travel towards the ganglia and finally enter smooth muscles. The preganglionic fibers are nicotinic. The neuromuscular junction of skeletal muscles is also nicotinic while that of smooth muscles is muscarinic.

The speed with which the skeletal muscles respond clarifies that they are controlled by fast acting nicotinic receptors. The activity of acetylcholine in both nicotinic and muscarinic synapses is inhibited by acetylcholinesterase. The choline liberated after the hydrolysis of acetylcholine can be transported across the post-synaptic membrane to be used for the resynthesis of acetylcholine. Some snake venoms can block nicotinic receptors causing paralysis. Atropine is known to block muscarinic receptors. Most brain cholinergic receptors are muscarinic as they show synaptic plasticity. Major proportion of acetylcholine synthesis in brain occurs in the interpendunctural nucleus. All the inter-neurons in the striatum and the nucleus accumbens are cholinergic. The primary cholinergic input to the cerebral cortex arises from the basal nucleus of Meynert, a prominent area of ​​substantia innominata. Meynert's nucleus is also known to innervate basolateral amygdala, basal ganglia and reticular nucleus of thalamus.
If muscarinic blocking agents are administrated in normal individuals then memory loss can occur.

2. Dopamine

Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are the primary monoamine neurotransmitters. Dopamine and norepinephrine are catecholamines while serotonin is an indolamine. Tyrosine is not an essential amino acid as its synthesis occurs in the liver from phenylalanine in the presence of phenylalanine hydroxylase. It can not be synthesized in the brain so must be coupled with the large neutral amino acid transporter molecules in order to enter brain. These transporter molecules also transport phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine and branch-chained amino acids.

When tyrosine enter brain it must be converted into DOPA (Dihydroxyphenylalanine) by tyrosine hydroxylase along with oxygen, iron and Tetrahydrobiopterin (THB) that act as co-factors. DOPA is converted into dopamine by aromatic amino acid decarboxylase with pyridoxa L phosphate (PLP) co-factor. The rate of reaction fluctuates when there is vitamin B6 deficiency. Central nervous system has high proportion of dopaminergic cells than adrenergic cells. Dopamine present in the caudate nucleus of brain is responsible for maintaining post while that present in the nucleus accumbens is associated with animal's speed. Two types of primary dopamine receptors are already known as D1 (stimulatory) and D2 (inhibitory). Both these receptors require G-protein for their activity. D2 receptors are located on the dopaminergic neurons and produce negative feedback. They are also known as auto-receptors as they inhibit the release and synthesis of dopamine.

The binding of dopamine to the D1 receptors stimulates the activity of Adenylyl cyclase (AC) which converts ATP into cyclic AMP (second messenger). The cyclic AMP (cAMP) then binds with the protein kinase A (PKA). PKA participates in modulating the activity of various proteins by adding phosphate to them. Brain has four main dopaminergic tracts namely, the nigrostriatial tract, tuberoinfundibular tract, the mesolimbic tract and the mesocortical tract. Both dopamine and norepinephrine are catabolized by monoamine oxidase (MAO) and catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT). COMT is active in synapses and uses S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) as methyl group while while MAO is active in the pre-synaptic terminal against the catecholamines. Schizophrenia is thought to occur due to the overstimulation of D2 receptors of the mesolimbic and mesocortical systems. The mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic systems are believed to play active role in motivation. Cocaine is known to increase the dopaminergic activity in the mesolimbic areas of brain by inhibiting dopamine re-uptake in the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens.

3. Serotonin (5-Hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT)

Serotonin was isolated from blood serum as a substance responsible for causing muscle contraction. Only 1-2% of the body's serotonin is present in brain while rest brings from platelets, mast cells etc. Synthesis of serotonin involves two steps along with tryptophan hydroxylase and co-factors naturally oxygen, iron and THB. The highest concentration of serotonin is present in the pineal gland. It is primarily methylated in the synthesis of melatonin. Melatonin is synthesized from serotonin in two steps and the whole process requires an acetyl group from acetyl Co-A and a methyl group from S-adenosyl methionine. Melatonin regulates diurnal activity, seasonal behavior and physiology of animals. In mammals the noradrenergic neurons located near the optic nerve are inhibited by light but in darkness norepinephrine stimulates pineal cells to release cyclic AMP which in turn activates N-acetyl transferase to cause acetylation of serotonin. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus is responsible for regulating the mammalian circadian clock partially in response to light. SCN receives serotonergic supply from dorsal raphe nucleus. Serotonin also reduces responsiveness of SCN to light. Sleep deprivation is responsible for increasing concentration of serotonin in SCN. Low levels of serotonin are associated with high levels of pain sensitivity, locomotion, sexual activity, aggression, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and panic disorders.

4. Glycine

Glycine is the simplest amino acid composed of an amino and a carboxyl group. The role of glycine as a neurotransmitter is very simple. When released into a synapse it binds to the receptors making the membrane permeable to chloride ions. Thus, it is inhibitory in action and can be easily deactivated in the synapse. It is found only in vertebrates and is primarily present in the ventral spinal cord.

5. Aspartic acid (Aspartate)

Aspartate is also introduced in the ventral spinal cord just like glycine. It also participates in the opening of the ion channels and is soon inactivated by reabsorption into pre-synaptic membrane. It is an excitatory neurotransmitter as it increases depolarization in the post-synaptic membrane.

6. Glutamic acid (Glutamate)

Glutamate is the most common excitatory neurotransmitter present in brain and increases the flow of positive ions by opening ion channels. Its stimulation is terminated by the membrane transport system used for reabsorption of the aspartate and glutamate across the pre-synaptic membrane. NMDA-glutamate receptor is the most complicated receptor. It is the only receptor which is regulated by a ligand and voltage. It has five binding sites for glutamate, glycine, magnesium, zinc and a site that binds a hallucinogenic substance, phencyclidine. NMDA receptors are more densely located in the cerebral cortex, amygdala and basal ganglia. Glutamate is not able to cross the blood brain barrier.

7. Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA)

GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter accounting for 30-40% of all synapses. It is present in high concentration in the substantia nigra and globus pallidus nuclei of basal ganglia, hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray matter and hippocampus. The concentration of GABA in brain is 200-1000 times greater than that of monoamines or acetylcholine. It is somewhat unique as it is rapidly inactivated during its transport into the glial cells. Both GABA and glutamate are synthesized in the brain from alpha-keto glutarate, a molecule produced during Kreb's cycle. Like glycine GABA receptor are coupled with the chloride ion channels.

8. Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine and acetylcholine are the neurotransmitters of the peripheral nervous system. It is synthesized from dopamine in the presence of dopamine beta-hydroxlase along with cofactors namely, oxygen, copper and vitamin C. Dopamine synthesis occurs in the cytoplasm while synthesis of norepinephrine takes place inside the neurotransmitter storage vesicles. Cells utilizing norepinephrine for making epinephrine use S-adenosyl methionine as a methyl group donor. The levels of epinephrine are low as compared to that of norepinephrine. The major proportion of norepinephrine is present in the locus ceruleus of pons while rest is found in neocortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Most of the dopaminergic innervations of hypothalamus are derived from lateral tegmental nuclei. It plays a major role in awakenness-arousal cycle.

9. Peptides

Peptides are the most common neurotransmitters located in the hypothalamus. Their complex structure is responsible for their high receptor specificity. Their synthesis takes place in the ribosomes and they are rapidly inactivated at the synapses by hydrolysis. They are more potent than other neurotransmitters as their very small amounts are sufficient enough to produce a response. Opioid peptides comprise endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphins. Opiates and enkephalins cause inhibitory of the neuron firing at the locus ceruleus. The concentration of the opioid receptors is very high in the sensory, limbic and hypothalamic regions of brain. Their concentration is also high in the amygdala and preiaqueductal gray area. Cholecystokinin (CCK) is known to participate in satiety. Injection of small doses of CCK in the paraventricular area can inducing feeding. It is also known to modulate dopamine release. Low doses of the peptide vasopressin are known to enhance learning process in laboratory animals.

10. Endorphins

Solomon Snyder and Candace Pert of Johns Hopkins discovered endorphin in 1973. It resembles opioids in structure and function. It is inhibitory and is involved in pain reduction and pleasure. Opioid drugs work by attaching to the receptor sites of endorphin. It also causes hibernation in bear and other animals.

Forcing Democratic Spending Cuts

The resolution of the fiscal cliff did little to address the primary issue of governmental spending and increasing shortcomings. The end result was an easy sound bite for the President, "I promised not to raise taxes on working Americans, continued the extended unemployment program and forced the wealthy to pay their fair share." I was surprised the republicans gave in so easily as I read the details of the resolution, primarily because the sequester and debt ceiling issues were completely sidestepped in the negotiations. I just assumed it was politics as usual and that means kicking the can down the road as long as possible.

Current estimates are that we'll hit the debt ceiling around March 1st, give or take two weeks. Congress' inability to hash out an agreement on the last debt ceiling increase was a primary cause for the first credit downgrade in US history by ratings agency Standard & Poors. It now appears that the Republican Party committed the fiscal cliff battle in an attempt to win the debt ceiling war. The Republican mantra through the fiscal cliff discussions focused on a Dollar for Dollar balance of spending cuts vs. Tax hikes. Their concession to the final deal kept them from becoming the scapegoat in a game of political brinksmanship.

This round of debt ceiling talks promises to be all out war between the President and the Republican Party. The sequester will automatically kick in if the debt ceiling is not raised and this appears to be the Republican strategy for getting the spending cuts that they wanted in the fiscal cliff negotiations. It's important to remember that President Obama signed the sequester bill into law as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. At some point, the Democratic Party must realize that it can not continue to buy votes through endless entitlements. The Republican Party appears to have already come to grips with this, as sequestration would immediately trim more than $ 54 billion dollars in defense spending for 2013.

The political gamesmanship taking place appears to have now put the pressure back on the Democrats. Odds are, the President assumed that the Republican Party would call for a replacement of the sequester to avoid the defense spending cuts associated with its implementation. The President would then use this to leverage his domestic spending desires. However, Republican silence on replacing the sequester shows that the Republican Party may have more support from its constituents than initially assumed. House Speaker, John Boehner has indicated that he has significant support, going so far as to say, "I got that in my back pocket," referring to the support of Republican defense hawks.

The Republican Party's ability to finally form a consensus now forces the Democrats to come to the table with their own domestic spending cuts. The reasoning is that the Democrats would rather pick and choose which programs get cut and by how much as opposed to the blank cuts imposed by sequestration. Meanwhile, the Republicans appear to have accepted that the sequester may be the only way to cut spending. This implies that they'll be less likely to concede the debt ceiling negotiations as easily as they did the fiscal cliff.

This brings us to Democratic wiggle room and the technical loophole of, "seigniorage." Seigniorage is the difference between the physical cost of producing currency and the face value of the currency itself. Therefore, if it costs the government $ .02 to produce a nickel, a $ .03 profit is made by the Treasury through seigniorage. The President can use this to avoid the debt ceiling discussions while while the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department quietly work behind the scenes in an attempt to keep our country afloat.

This started out simply enough in the 1997 legislation that authorized the production of the 50 state quarters. According to Public Law 104-208, "The Secretary may mint and issue bullion and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, amounts, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, may prescribe from time to Time. " The unintended consequence is that it technically provides the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner with the ability to produce a platinum coin and assign it any face value he chooses.

We'll wrap this up with this dramatic scenario. Tim Geithner has owed to do everything within his power to ensure the US economy continues operate as the most liquid and transparent depository in the world. The speculation is that he could mint a $ 1 trillion dollar platinum coin and deposit it with the Federal Reserve so that the Treasury could continue to make the payments it's already owed to. These would include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, air traffic controllers, national parks, food stamps, etc. These payments are already present in the government computers and systems to go out as usual. A failure to reach a decision on the debt ceiling would force every one of these protocols to be re-written and choices to be made regarding who gets paid and who does not. Those seeking to collect would also include foreign holders of our Treasuries. Can you imagine the public outrage if the government chose to repay Chinese debts over Social Security funding? Can you imagine the global economic crisis that would ensue if we chose to fund Social Security over Chinese debt?

Finally, the argument that this would be hyper inflationary is simply ignorant. The coin would be deposited at the Federal Reserve. The Fed would instantly use it to buy US Treasuries thus, sterilizing the $ 1 trillion Dollar coin economically. The primary point is that we are straddling the political and economic fence between hapless and malevolent. Hopefully, the fence pikes will be uncomfortably enough to force a resolution.

Adding a Mortgage Helper To Your Home

We all need a little help in the area of ​​finances, do not we? Why not begin by having someone else pay your mortgage? Yes, you will need to give up some square footage, but imagine all that extra cash you will have each month! Let's look at what is involved in adding a mortgage helper to your home.

Depending on the layout of your house, you may have an area that is already ideal for converting into a rental suite. Perhaps, there is a downstairs recreation room that is no longer used. Perhaps, you like the idea of ​​enclosing the garage or area under your large deck. Try to visualize the space. See if it could work in terms of electrical, plumbing, separate entry, privacy and insulation. Not all houses are suited to include income suites. The ceiling may be too low (6 feet minimum); There may be a staircase right in the middle of the area making a renovation awkward and more expensive; Or sometimes there is no separate entry. Typically, the finished space should be no less than 500 square feet. Smaller is possible but you will not be able to get as much rent and the layout may be awkward. Other factors to consider are things like parking, electrical voltage and plumbing. Is there off-street parking for your tenants? If not, will they need a permit to park on the street? Is the electrical voltage enough for an additional household? Will the plumbing hold up to the addition of another bathroom and kitchen? Do you need to replace the hot water tank with something larger?

You may want to consult reputable contractors, who have experience constructing rental suites. They will always have good ideas and input about your unique situation. Getting an estimate and asking their advice can be done before or after the decision to renew, but make sure you are serious. Do not waste their time if you are just curious. Check what permits will be needed to complete the revision and what the approval process entails. There is usually a fee for a building permit, but very often you get it back when the work has passed inspection.

Now it is time to crunch the numbers. Get quotes from electricians, plumbers, contractors and other trades. Price out mid-range fixtures, flooring and any other supplies you may need. Do a little research on the rental market. Look into what the rentals of the same approximate size in your area are going for. Take into account whether the rent includes furnishings, utilities, internet, phone, cable and laundry facilities. Be realistic about what you could get for your suite when it is finished. Then add up all the costs of doing the renovation, calculating how long it will take to recover your costs. Some experts believe two years is a good benchmark for making your money back. For example, if the renovation is expected to cost $ 12,000 and you charge $ 500 a month in rent, it will take two years to make your $ 12,000 back. If the numbers look good, then it is time to delve into the world of rental suites.

Whether you choose to use a contractor and sub trades, or manage the job yourself, it is important to watch and learn what is being done. It is your home, you are entitled to know why a sub-panel is being installed or how the plumbing is being routed. These are vital pieces of information if something should happen when the suite is occupied and you need to troubleshoot. If you are a nice kind of person, take on as much of the job as you are able without overstepping your skill set. Should you see something you think is not quite right, do not be afraid to ask.

While construction is progressing, educate yourself on the rental laws in your area. Renting is a business so you have to know what your obligations are in running the business. You are responsible for your property, the safety of your tenants and the quiet enjoyment of their time in your suite. Tenants have responsibilities too. Your tenants are obliged to keep the space clean and in the same condition as when they began their tenancy. It is far easier to be a good landlord than a bad one. If you look after your property, make your tenants feel comfortable and are reasonable with their requests, they will not want to leave. If you do not look after your property and do not pay attention to your tenants requests, they will not look after your property either. The turnover will be higher, the suite will not be well cared for and you will not be able to charge as much rent.

There is a lot of gloom-mongers out there who say things like 'I could never share my home with a stranger' or 'tenants never look after their rental. They trash it '. First of all, if you treat someone living in your home as a stranger then you are not suited to be a landlord. The process of finding a suitable tenant – if done properly – means you will get to know your renter. Hopefully, you will build a rapport, sometimes even find some shared interests. They do not need to be your friend, but the more things both parties have in common the better the tenant / landlord relationship. As for the tenant that trashes the suite, yes – there are some that do disrespect the rental property to that extensive. But you can prevent it. Screen your tenants thoroughly. Check references, ask lots of questions about their habits, hobbies, work and social habits. If they baulk at your inquiries, maybe they know you will be an involvised landlord and their unclean habits will not be tolerated.

Having a rental suite in your home is not for everyone, but it can be a permanent way of alleviating the stress of large monthly mortgage payment. The investment is well worth it in the end.

Naturally Boosting Your Big "T"

The sad truth is as we get older our bodies produce a lot less testosterone than when we were in our 20’s and 30’s. Between the ages of 35 and 55 your body’s production of “Big T” drops by about 25%.

Some is due in part to getting older – but the bigger culprits are the choices we make. Especially as you start moving into your middle age years and beyond.

And for men this is terrible news, because testosterone affects just about every area of our lives.

Everything from how much extra weight you’re carrying around your mid section to how many times a week you make love to your wife. Essentially testosterone is what makes us men.

The more “Big T” you have pumping through your veins — the more manly you’ll feel, act and appear.

So it makes complete sense that men have been looking for solutions to stop the decline of this precious male hormone since it was first isolated by Dutch scientist back in 1935.

Until recently most of these discoveries have ended up doing more harm than good. I’m sure I don’t have to go into the dangers of steroids and all the nasty side effects that go along with them.

But now, thanks to some amazing breakthroughs in naturopathic medicine and the re-discovery of a handful of all natural testosterone boosters. Not only can you stop the decline of this precious male hormone, but in many cases you can even reverse this feminizing trend – quickly — safely and 100% naturally!

It’s so simple too! All it takes is just 4 quick and easy steps to get back in the drivers seat and start living life like a real man again!

And I’m not just talking about an improved sex life either. Follow these 4 easy steps and you can prime your testosterone pump and improve most every aspect of your life – physically, mentally and of course sexually:

Step #1: Diet

I’m sure you’ve heard it before – you are what you eat. And the older you get the more important that becomes.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to eat like a rabbit to live a long healthy, robust male lifestyle.

First off forget about fad diets – actually forget about dieting all together. And start focusing on making smart food choices all the time. And you can pretty much eat to your hearts content.

Just follow a few simple strategies and you’ll burn fat…boost your energy…improve your mood and most importantly increase your production of testosterone quickly and easily:

* Protein, protein, protein! Every meal should be built around a serving of lean protein. Eating protein releases special hormones in your body that tell it to burn fat and build muscle. Good examples of quality protein are lean cuts of beef, skinless chicken or turkey, eggs, fish, cottage cheese and pork.

* Eat like a cave man. This means fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries – the same diet your ancestors lived off of. Mother natures bounty is so plentiful why not try a little bit of everything. Maybe you don’t like apples but Chinese pears could turn into your new passion. Try it all and see what excites you!

* Eat your veggies – at least 3 – 5 servings a day. The brightly colored varieties are best – they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber. Some of my favorites include spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, collard greens, peppers, and zucchini. And the best part is you can eat as much of them as you like!

* Avoid the “bad” carbs. With all the Atkins hype going around these days I probably don’t even have to mention this one. But I thought it was important to make a distinction between the bad carbohydrates. Like the ones found in sugar, potatoes and white bread – and the healthy carbs in fruits and veggies. Because you can NEVER get enough of the latter!

* Drink plenty of water. Hands down your body’s most vital nutrient. If you don’t drink enough your body is forced to retain the water it has — and this allows waste to accumulate in your body. Thirst can also masquerade as hunger – so if you’re looking to stay healthy and keep your waist line in check I’d recommend at least 8-10 glasses a day.

* Eat Smart. This means using common sense – don’t eat late at night. Don’t gorge yourself on giant meals once or twice a day. Plan your meals – eat frequent (4-6) smaller meals earlier in the day. Use food for what it is – fuel for your body. This will keep your waist line down and your production of “Big T” way up!

Step #2: Exercise

When it comes to exercise I like to keep it simple and straight forward. Because there’s really only 3 basic types of exercises your body needs to stay in tip top shape.

Cardio work…strength training …and stretching exercises. And you don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete either. Just make sure to do something every day – even if you just take the stairs instead of using the elevator.

If you want to go a little harder than that you can try… Pushups… crunches… squats… jumping rope or for the more eager student you can join a gym or even sign up at your local martial arts studio.

Any or all of these activities will keep your testosterone pump cranking at maximum capacity.

Remember, you’re not over the hill yet. You can join a gym – sign up for a Karate classes or even run the NY City marathon if you set your mind to it. All you have to do is take that first step – and START TODAY!

Step #3: Natural Supplements

A healthy sex life and a lean muscular body are nothing more than fond memories for most men over the age of 50. Even guys that continue to work out and really try and stay in shape find it very hard to perform like they did in their younger days (in and out of the bedroom).

But I’ll bet you didn’t know something as simple as taking a few carefully selected natural supplements could quickly and naturally prime your internal testosterone pump for maximum sexual output.

Virtually every country on the planet has their own secret “love tonic”. The best of them have been in use for 1000’s of years!

We’re still a little behind here in the West – but thanks to countless new clinical studies touting their effectiveness, a few of these natural testosterone boosters are starting to grab some major main stream attention:

* Tribulus Terrestris – more commonly known as puncture vine. Has been used for centuries by Ayervedic Healers as a natural performance enhancer and testosterone booster.

By naturally boosting your T levels, Tribulus increases your body’s red blood cell count. Resulting in better oxygen transport though your entire body.

Study after study confirms that taking Tribulus Terrestris regularly can increase your testosterone levels. Without any of the dangerous side effects associated with steroids and other synthetic testosterone boosters.

* Muira Puama – has been used by Brazilian tribes in and around the Amazon region for centuries. And not just as a potency booster – but as a general health tonic too.

Recent laboratory studies have confirmed that at the very least it’s an ultra potent sexual stimulant. I recommend making it a regular part of your daily regiment.

* Yohimbine – has long been used across Africa as a natural aphrodisiac and performance enhancer. And is actually one of the few herbs that’s been accepted by main stream medicine.

For a long time Yohimbine was the only substance approved by the FDA for treating erectile problems. If you’ve never heard of it before now, you can thank Big Pharma. It’s since been replaced by chemical based erection boosters that have shopping list side effects.

Still, there have been quite a few studies showing the effectiveness of Yohimbine – and if you’re having problems getting “it up” Yohimbine is sure to help you rise to the occasion!

* High Potency Multi-Vitamin – is a must have for your overall vitamin and mineral support. This is especially important if you’re less than strict with your eating habits.

And don’t go for a cheap discount brand – you get what you pay for. If you can afford it I recommend a high end multi-vitamin that’s designed especially for men. Keeping your body fully nourished is the key to overall robust male health!

To get all these valuable nutrients in one supplement I recommend a product by Best Life Herbals called Men’s Daily Formula HTTP:// It has the perfect balance of pro-sexual herbs, testosterone boosters, prostate support and a high potency multi-vitamin all in one. I’ve been taking it myself for about 2 years now.

Step #4: Sex

Sex…Sex and more Sex!!! In general sex is one of the best things you can do for your overall good health — and testosterone production.

Aside from the obvious fact that it’s next to impossible to be in a bad mood while having an orgasm. The list of health benefits goes on and on…

The exercising movements used during sex help lower cholesterol and boost your repertory system…the endorphins released during sex are thought to be the ultimate natural pain killers…and the male orgasm is even believed to help clean out the pipes and ward off some prostate problems!

So I recommend having sex at least 3 times a week. But I tell you what – if you follow the simple advice I’ve given you today – you could be having sex 3 times a day!

And it’s so easy! You can live a long healthy life full of piss and vinegar – it just takes a few smart choices. And none of them are very difficult at all – it’s as easy as living like a cave man!

Think about your male ancestors and how they spent their days. Eating meat… running… hunting…swimming…foraging for nuts and berries and of course having sex.

So get off the couch – and get in touch with that cave man that’s still buried inside you. He’s dieing to get out.

And really what’s so hard about waking up – eating a steak – playing 18 holes of golf – having some really good sex? You need only make smart choices – not hard ones!

Stay Healthy!

Workout Tips and Diets for Abs

When you're working out you want to make sure you are doing heavy compound movements. When I say heavy it does not mean you want to max out or go to one rep max or something like that. You want to keep your rep range from about 6 to 10 reps. Now here is the key, if you are a beginner and just starting off you want to keep your rep range a little higher because you want to make sure you are safe and that your form is really good before you go ahead and get your reps down To about six. But if you have been working out for a little while and know most of the exercises, try to keep anywhere between 6 to 8 reps, at the most 10 reps. Keep it heavy, and here is the reason why. When you're working out you want to go ahead and start your muscles, if you go too light you're only going to build endurance and that is what most guys do most of the time. Light weight does not get you ripped. Doing 50 curls with light weight does not do anything, but maybe build endurance. If you are trying to get lean and ripped do not worry about the light weight, go heavy, go compound, and you want to work and stimulate 6 to 8 muscle groups at one time.

Let's say you are working on chest and shoulders today. You will normally work on 6-8 muscle groups very easily when you are doing compound movements, by using your core, by using your triceps, by using your legs when you are possibly standing and doing military press. There are so many other muscle groups working even thought you may only be working on chest and shoulders. This is the difference between doing compound movements vs. Doing isolation where you stick your body into a machine where pretty much everything is relaxed except for that one muscle being worked.

You burn a lot more calories with heavy composite movements, and it drives your metabolism super high. So if your work outs involve 80% isolation workouts, you will have to work out 3 to 4 times harder with little to no results in weight loss, lean muscle building, calorie burning and metabolism increase.

So if you want to get abs, yes excise is very important, but you also need to have your eating and nutrition handled too. Now this does not mean you have to deprive yourself or go on a diet. The key here is just making it simple, there is so much misinformation out there about dieting and what you should eat, put forth by gurus and experts that make things very completed and designed to open the door to you spending more money. Very simple, you need lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and some natural carbohydrates depending on your goals. The things to avoid would be refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and refined fats.

My system is good because it makes healthy eating very simple. What I do is cook a lot of food in advance of the week and make a lot of prepared meals that we can just stick in the microwave and within three minutes we have a healthy meal. I would say for healthy eating that is going to be the key. Find a system that makes it simple where you do not have to keep thinking about it. You can eat healthy without it having to be like a chore.

Here is an example of what I eat much of the time. For meats, I like to eat lean chicken breast, tilapia, and egg whites, this being a very lean protein source. Vegetables, anything is ok, but for me, I like to eat broccoli and green beans, because they are easy to prepare. For carbohydrates, sometimes I eat beans and sometimes I go with brown rice and on occasion the sweet potato. This is a good example of what I eat and what is really simple and easy to prepare. In the end you spend very little time in the kitchen, you do not have to wash tons of dishes and eating time is simple and quick. You need to start eating clean.

The last thing you want to do is go ahead and get the right advice. When you talk or listen to somebody make sure they know what they are talking about. Here is a pretty easy way to tell if you should listen to someone:

A. Take a look at them, see what they look like. If you have someone who is out of shape and overweight and they are helping others who are in the same condition, all you have is the blind leading the blind. You will waste a lot of time and money. Both are involved in misinformation.

B. Make sure the person has done it himself as well as helped someone else do it. They understand their bodies and they are able to pass on their knowledge to different body types.

Choosing Patio Door Styles – Which is Right For You?

When selecting your new doors and windows, they should look good, be functional, durable, provide good insulation and security and, when the time comes to sell, enhance your chances of selling quickly for a good price. Here are some aspects to consider before you buy.

Doors: external doors for access to the garden or balcony are no longer restricted to sliding panels and double doors.

French doors are traditionally wooden but are also available in PVC-u and aluminum, and can open inward or outwards.

Patio doors, traditionally, have consist of two or more large panes of glass with PVC-u or aluminum frames, where one or more door can slide across to provide a walk-through opening. Wide doors can offer unrivaled views from the house but sliding panels restrict access by at least 50% of the potential opening.

The sliding method has been preceded to temporary operational difficulties, giving rise to the rolling patio door mechanism – a series of rollers (like miniature in-line skates) are fitted to the bottom of the door panels so that the doors glide open and close easily . The rollers are usually made from steel or nylon; Steel wheels may ever cause wear to the runners whereas nylon runners may be the cruelty against harder (eg aluminum) runners. Note that the wheels are easier and cheaper to replace than the runners.

Bi-folding or concertina-style patio doors are becoming increasingly popular. Optionally made from hardwood, PVC-u or aluminum, with a number of different folding options available, essentially the whole of the aperture gives access between indoors and outside – or between the house and conservatory, providing one big bright party room! The doors fold in half and the edges on the runners are pivotal, top and bottom. Advantages of aluminum over PVC are the lower threshold (better for access) and narrows frames (less interruption to the views); Aluminum has a much smaller profile than wooden frames, meaning that the doors push back into a smaller space for a wider aperture.

Frames: usually made from wood (softwood or hardwood), plastic (PVC-u) or metal-aluminum.

The low budget option is to use softwood; It looks good when new and can be stained or painted to suit individual tastes. The disadvantages are that it soon deteriorates if not re-coated regularly and it has a tendency to warp with changes of temperature and humidity, making closing them a chore. Hardwood, while more expensive, has the same good qualities, is far more durable and offers good thermal insulation. Wooden frames exposed to harsh weather (including sunshine!) May need to be treated every year.

Plastic / PVC frames usually come in white, sometimes brown and wood-grain finishes. Prices vary with quality, the cheaper ones costing little more than softwood and the stronger ones comparable with hardwood. Better quality pvc doors are often reinforced with metal inside the frames; Cheaper frames may be sentenced to movement resulting in cracks to the frame or glass. A major drawback is that pvc frames tend to be much wider than either wooden or metal frames, therefore the view through the glass is more restricted.

Aluminum is the strongest material and is maintenance-free. On its own, it would look ugly and be a bad insulator but most manufacturers incorporate a thermal barrier and provide a powder-coated finish, usually standard white but often a choice of industry standard colors, eg silver, green, blue, gray.

Glass: British Standards-compliant double-glazing can help reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency. The air between the two glass panes in standard double-glazing acts as an insulator. Suppliers who manufacture to order may have options to increase thermal performance by replacing the cavity air with an insulating gas and / or coating the glass facing inside the house with a reflective coating. Reflective coating is also useful for south-facing patio doors and windows, to reflect the sun and keep temperatures down in summer. The most popular standard is Pilkington's K-glass.

The glass cavity has other uses: it may be increased to minimize sound or it could enclose window blinds, usually horizontal slats or pleated, that will never need dusting and are less prior to damage from everyday wear and tear. Essential in south-facing doors and operated by magnets on the surface of the glazing, the integral blinds are never in the way when the doors are opened.

Choosing your supplier: factors to consider are: price, quality, frame and glass options, finish options, flexibility of service, delivery dates, stock size or made to measure, installation fitting service, guarantees, warranties, locally (UK) sourced, manufacturer Or agent reputation and after-sales service. Ask to visit an installation and beware the hard-sell! If you are offered huge discounts to sign up immediately, they were probably trying to cheat you in the first place.

Guinea Pig Cages – C&C Cages Defined

What are C&C cages and what makes them so popular? Let’s take a closer look at the C&C cage:

As far as we can tell, the original C&C cage design was developed (and made popular) a few years ago by an innovative guinea pig rescue organization. This cage style was developed as a matter of necessity so that the guinea pig shelter could efficiently house a large number of pigs in a cost-effective manner. For this reason, to this day, the C&C cage tends to have a very low cost per square-inch of living space — in other words – C&C cages tend to offer a lot of cage for the money.

The mysterious name C&C originates from the two main materials used to construct this category of small animal cage: Cubes and Coroplast.

The frame and wire lattice portion of the cage is built from wire grids normally used in the assembly of wire grid storage cubes. These square wire grids are usually 14-inches long on each edge. This sort of shelving is often seen in stores or boutiques where clothing or other items are displayed in arrays of wire grid cubes or cubbies. Hence, the first C in C&C comes from the word cube.

The second C in C&C comes from the other fundamental material used in C&C cage construction — Coroplast. Coroplast is a trade name and is essentially a contraction of the product description: corrugated plastic. Coroplast is corrugated PVC (polyvinylchloride) plastic sheeting and is used to form the litter pan or bin in the bottom of the cage. This material is commonly used by sign-makers in the fabrication of economical weatherproof signage.

Coroplast has some remarkable properties that make it highly suitable for its application in the pet cage arena.

First of all, it is constructed of PVC (yes, the same basic material used in PVC pipes). This material is chemically inert which means water, solvents, oils and other chemicals generally have no effect on it. What this means to the concerned pet-owner is:

a) it is waterproof and (more importantly) urine-proof.

b) soaps, detergents, vinegar and other cleaning agents will not harm it.

c) it is indigestible – stomach acids do not affect it. This means if your pig happens to be a chewer, the material will pass harmlessly through its digestive system.

d) Coroplast is non-toxic and it is certified to be safe for use in contact with food.

C&C cages have become very popular as a do-it-yourself type of project. However, in recent years, suitable wire metal grids have become increasingly difficult to obtain. National department store chains have carried storage cube kits for several years. Until recently, most contained 14-inch square grids with 9 openings on each side (9×9 array). These grids had openings of roughly 1.5 square-inches.

Recently, at least one major chain has drastically redesigned this product. It now contains two varieties of 14-inch grids: grids with an array of 5×5 spaces (approx. 2.8-inch spacing) and grids with an 8×8 array (approx. 1.75-inch spacing).

CAUTION: Both of these grid configurations (5×5 and 8×8) are to be strictly avoided by guinea pig owners.

5×5 grids are way too large and are ineffective in containing many size pigs. 8×8 grids are only slightly too large and present a potential choking hazard. We have received bulletins from several guinea pig rescue organizations warning us to avoid 8×8 grids. They cited various strangulation incidents involving grids with these larger openings and counseled us to use only 9×9 grids in our guinea pig cage designs.

C&C cages are almost always built as do-it-yourself projects and tend to be very much larger (and therefore healthier for your pig) than standard manufactured “pet store cages.” Generally one of three approaches is taken by do-it-yourself C&C cage builders. The skilled do-it-yourselfer creates the cage from scratch – designing the cage and buying the materials by themselves. The industrial-yet-thrifty do-it-yourselfer also buys materials on their own, but only after buying cage plans from a competent C&C cage designer. And the shrewd do-it-yourselfer takes the easy, proven, no-hassle route by purchasing a packaged C&C cage kit – complete with materials and instructions – from a reputable and proven C&C cage seller.

(C) 2009 Robert M. Matthews

Boarder Town Melee (1927) and Two Poems


Dye in the bar



I would crawl too

Upto the bar,

It was everything, the dampness

The carved wood

The zoned-out-ness in my head

Dreaming; It was better than death?

Then I took another drink … so many

I never moved much, like dead fish.

My head split like an ass

It was numb and, nothing else

Numbness was my home

Across the street, dancing

On the patio

The moon was out … they saw

Me, and kept

Deancing! …

As I wished I had another drink …!

# 682 5/05


Doña Leonor's Revenge

(1627 AD)

Rafael Ortiz's fate

Was on the plate

Of Doña Leonor's

When she arrived

In Lima, Peru;

To taste revenge

For the beheading

Of her Husband.

And so the plot

… was now played out

(In an alley way)

As she gutted her trout!


Boarder Town Mêlée

[Christmas day – 1927]

Note: the story took place around Christmas time, in 1927, the names of the people and location have changed, for reasons I'd prefer not to mention: which linger in my family's history.

(The End) Seven Mexicans came to the bridge crossing from the American side of Laredo, and what is known as the Rio Grande, over to what is known as Laredo Nuevo, or the New Laredo, and again the same crossing the same river, Yet known to the other side, the Mexican side, as the Rio Bravo de Norte.

A strong looking United States youthful Military Sergeant was checking their ID's out, as an American Colonel, Colonel Wright (who had just happened to be at the crossing at the same time), seen the Sergeant in Charge, checking them out: doing a cross -checking, double checking of the few weather beaten Mexican's. Theness, the warrior Colonel standing by watching carefully (as he leaned against his car dawdling over some papers in his hands) – studying the inspection, as the Sergeant check out their clothing, along with their undergarments, faces [profiles], ID's- – (precarious indeed – was the good Sergeant, thought the colonel); Possible some of this checking was too impress the Colonel: so the Colonel thought – for the Sergeant was taking much longer than normal: or possible because he felt there was something wrong and could not quite put his finger on it. In the course of a military career, one acquires instincts and wisdom beyond the normal, a survival thing, somehow, someway imprinted into our nature, our physical being, our subconscious, and it goes on automatic in such matters. In either case (with the art of foresight and deduction), the Colonel approached the Sergeant and the several Mexicans, which were standing near the guard shack that lead to the bridge crossing the Rio Grande; The Sergeant and his two Privates were armed with weapons, – both privates guarding – hawk-eyed on all and everything that moved inside the radius of a hundred yards: so, standing – almost like robots – in case there was resistance , An emergency, or crisis of any kind.

"Any problems Sergeant?" Asked the Colonel, who had one Junior Officer and one Staff Sergeant on each side of him, as he approached within three feet of the Sergeant in Charge of this Guard Post; Knowing the Sergeant slowly, for the Colonel had crossed the bridge many times for official meetings, business, with the Mexican aristocrats, on such matters that concerned his GI's going into their town and drinking, buying souvenirs, and buying flesh and pleasure. The Colonel – prosperous enough to be able to purchase the respect of the Sergeant – waived to his black-limousine, now in back of him, which was a signal for his driver, a Private First Class, to park it for the time Being.

(A pause, – The Sergeant had seen the Colonel approaching: now both within a few feet of one another.)

Says he [the Sergeant now standing three feet in front of the Colonel, with his waxed and dutiful available smile]:

"We had some trouble as you know, 'Sir,' earlier on this morning and afternoon, and so I'm just double checking, they look a bit ragged, as if they were doing some fighting someplace, possible the … A pause, the colonel is opening his mouth to speak, and the Sergeant simply stops …). "

(A light smile appeared on the Colonel's face, directly looking into the Sergeant's eyes, to insure he knew, the Sergeant knew that is, that the Colonel was a Colonel, the same one that had looked the other way a few times on his squad That had drunk too much, crossing the bridge back to the American side, looked the other way and not bought such matters to his attention, such matters as Court Marshals and so forth and so on).

"Yes, we've had some trouble Sergeant, and yes, double checking is wise, if you do not mind, let me see their papers, or whatever you're holding, ID's of whatever kind they have. A good skirmish as you well know, with these devils. "

A little unusual the Sergeant was, at this request, that normally would bring suspicion, but the Sergeant handed over the documents nonetheless: four-passports, two birth certificates, three licenses. All indicating they were from Mexico City, and Veracruz.

"Without a doubt, I do not see a mounting problem with these wetbacks." (Implying these were Mexicans that swam the Rio to work on the American side that was not likely trying to get back home.) I saw all those faces, face-to-face almost, I killed three of them you know, three for sure If not more. Let them pass on through: double checking these, well, well time is redundant, easier to just let them go back across the boarder than hustle them to death, and use our time for other things, "said the Colonel, commenting, then adding :

"You have a good eye Sergeant, but I doubt any of these are Manual Garcia, and therefore, let them get on home to their families, I'm sure they are being missed, you know the Latin's, their families worry to death when They are not home on time (a light chuckle coming from the Colonels mouth). "

(Garcia was in with the seven, and the Colonel knew this; but what the Sergeant did not know, and the Colonel did know, was two things: first, all seven had weapons under their ponchos, had they checked much more a new Skirmish would have been provoked – and it was Christmas Day; second, he had given his word for a twenty-four truce, although only them two knew it. And even though the '24-hour period, 'was not spelled out during The dialogue between Garcia and the Colonel, it was implied, understood, and they both knew it.) Having heard that from the Colonel, the Sergeant started to stand down – hesitantly, but stand down he did, then, detaching him from the Much concerned tension that was building. The Colonel somehow had created calm, save for the tiny cloud of suspicion he had left in the mind of the Sergeant.

Early Part of the Day

(Part One) In the early part of the day, the part that the Sergeant was talking about, the Colonel, during a fire-fight, had killed his son, Garcia's son, and wife who tried to guard him (Garcia, father and Husband had been huddled together) from racing bullets, and in the process that they took the bullets for him. The colonel new, then and now, the moment of battle, when the bullets are flying, seemingly never to stop – men tend to hope without being conscious of it, hope for a happy ending, life (and so this also would be part Of his deliberation, when he would approach after the battle, the bridge the seven would try to cross, which was still in the future).

In addition, there were a number of American soldiers killed in the fire-fight. The battle had gone on for over three hours, and when it was over – the clash that took place in this small town, on the American side of the boarder – the Colonel took to resting – thinking much on trifling matters, allowing His imagination to speculate of his future, fanciful thoughts came and left–. Now – now with an empty pistol on his lap, resting against a brick wall of a second floor building he was occupying, his mind went to the current event: he had shot previously transversely – across from one building to the other side- -that is from the top of the building he was in, to the building on the other side where Garcia was, for when he had kill the enemy: the wife and son who had surrounded Garcia: this was now on his mind, he didn 'T mean to shoot the wife and child, but it did happen, as it was, it did take place. What were they looking for he pondered on? That one would give up their life for: possible he said, for, "Paradise without snakes." Yet, he had never found that place himself.

Thereafter, thinking the battle was over, and Garcia was dead (of which course he was not) he had found himself walking down aimlessly down off the top of the building, and resting against a wall on the second floor; –tired, fatigued: feeling a little guilty, and sad, that the skirmish could not have been contained to simply the men of the world; He let out a great sigh of energy from his stomach and lungs as he leaned hard against the brick wall – almost in a sonorous voice the last of the air came in with his body came out of his nose; His eyes shutting a bit, and then reopening.

As the silence of the afternoon took hold – the sun overwhelmingly heating up the outside of the vacant building like toast, the Colonel rested cumbersomely against the wall of the building: cooling his body temperature to normal, as he started to breath better, more From his stomach: while checking his empty revolver, now resting on his thigh: while his other soldiers remained in place, he had one platoon of: forty-four-men in all; Forty-four men covering the whole town of which ten of them had surrounded this very building, and the building Garcia was in.

The Colonel had given instructions to all remaining soldiers to stay in place, to stand down for the moment, to let the Mexicans come out if they wished to, peacefully: but none did. And so it was a waiting game. They had killed several they knew, several Mexicans, and figured between five to ten were left (–evidently, it was seven, only seven were left, for they had shown up at the bridge ((all seven haggard looking, but soldiers none The less, and the Colonel knew, he knew his word was given, implied, not to fight, and that more lives were at stake had he let the situation go, or get out of hand; which, he headed on to his next destination In his big-long, black limacine)).

The two men: Garcia and Colonel Wright now were face to face – both less then twenty-feet away. Garcia had shown up on the other side of the street, oddly enough, on the stairway that led up to the room the Colonel was in, resting against the wall. The Colonel heard the foot steps, but said nothing, thinking it was one of his men. Here, still sitting, leaning lightly against the wall now, not as heavy as he was before, again, an instinctive measure for he did not here his men talking nor any low-laugh from their voices, nor the sounds of boots, just an Uneasy sound of one person climbing the steps; His men came in two's or three's, usually not alone – he went checking out his pockets for a cigar, for he planned to himself the fighting had stopped, or at least clogged up for now, for about twenty-minutes.

As the Mexican warrior got onto the second floor, the dusty wooden floor (a few spiders, roaches, rats scrambling here and there – the colonel started now listening even more so to the disruption of the moment), thence, he (he being : Garcia) saw the Colonel latent, resting against the fortification-thick brick wall, he had seen him before, they both had seen each other before, but the Colonel was now vulnerable – and Garcia stood there like a tropical moon light fixture. The Colonel had bullets to insert into his gun in his pocket, but instead said before Garcia could pull out his weapon,

"Enough, there's been enough fighting for one day, enough killing for one day its Christmas Day, (both maintaining a sharp look at each others movements, as if to indicative should I, or should I not – snake instincts, snake eyes: Race, charge quickly for my bullets, or shoot this murderer who killed my wife and son? "

The dark Mexican, lean and rustic looking – looking with almost telegraphic eyes, long black hair, sunken in face, pockedmarked checks, five foot six inches tall, as dirty as a rag-picker: said with an honorable, and bawled voice : "Se, amigo, daya largo – let there be peace," (it had been a long day for both, and much killing had taken place) he turned around, a tear in his eye (the Colonel noticed), and walked Back down the steps. The Colonel never touched his gun, nor did the Mexican go for his.

Nothing would bring back his wife or child, and in battle one knows there were no rules – not really, not when it comes to the last moment of breath, all were soldiers, even if you brought into sight your own flesh and blood. Plus Garcia knew that Colonel knew it was not a mans way to kill children or women, it was as it was, something that happened and would not have, had his wife and child not insured on being part of the militia.

The Roof

[The Beginning] As the Colonel lay back against the rock-hard wall of the building, he thought about what had taken place. He was on top of the building less than an hour ago, or was it more, or was it less. He asked himself. He shot three times, as he came under fire, as he remembered, as he looked back, back to reminisce. He had then run out of ammo, and had shot his last three shots, two kills, one a woman, and the other a child-warrior, somewhere along the line, in the morning he had killed another Mexican involved with this insurrection. Now after the shootout with his family, blood was all over Garcia's white shirt, which was not really white anymore, egg-white, with blood stains, crimson blood that would remain in both the memories of the Colonel and the Mexican. They had both run out of ammo, only the Mexican had run out a little before the Colonel, had it been the other way, possible the Colonel would be dead, but it was not the other way, it was as it was, not The past, not the future, as one would like it to be in his or her favor, but the present, as it was all in the present. In the mist of battle – the dark-macabre battle, they had both somehow found additional bullets, but the Colonel never put them in his gun, and Garcia, although he did, it was tucked away in his belt, under his poncho.

And so ended, the mêlée (the fight), and when they had met again at the bridge, the encounter was over, at least for twelve-hours more; At least in the minds of the two warriors, at least in the two warrior's minds, hearts and characters – souls. Nature has a burning pull, and for them, neither one could or would fight without the odds were equal, without fate demanded it, it was just part of their nature; Plus, it was Christmas Day.

Helping Your Child With Autism Cope With School Anxiety

Do you really know how your child feels about going back to school this year? Maybe last year was a positive experience but can you really assume this will be another carbon copy? Many children, even those without an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), can harbor secret worries and concerns that can not seem to express which can then develop into troubling and difficult behaviors.

If you think back to your first days of a new school year, what comes to mind? Along with the excitement of wearing that new outfit and seeing your good friend again what were the concerns you carried with you?

Is your special needs child looking forward to going back to school? After your sensory sensitive daughter's interest in school could she be worried about new school building she has to go to? Is it possible your son with Asperger's may have a concern about the school bus ride or eating in the cafeteria? If so, what can be done to alleviate their fears?

Starting early to prepare your child for a new school year is important in order to get them off to a good start. Going shopping for school clothes is a given but there is so much more to getting ready for school than shopping for new outfits and back-to-school supplies. Being prepared with pens, pencils, pads of paper and the backpack to put it all in, as well as the proper equipment for sports and the new sneakers for physical education class is all important, but what about the rest?

For school to be a pleasant and successful experience for your child with Autism being prepared means so much more than acquiring the material possessions that are required.

Retuning to school, even if in the same school building, can be filled with worries such as making new friends or what your new teacher will be like but for a child with Autism, the anxieties can be much bigger than that. Helping your child transition with ease into a new school year to ensure an experience that will keep a smile on her face requires mental, emotional, cognitive and social preparation as well.

Taking from your own experience and knowing what you know about your child what are some things you can do to:

– Mentally prepare your child for school? Putting the date when school will begin on the family calendar or creating a special one for your son will help him make a mental note for when his summer routine will change. Spending time identifying things that will be a novel experience for your child is another productive exercise. If your child is to ride the bus for the first time, you may want to contact the school / bus driver to schedule a time to meet him or her and arrange for a school bus tour.

– Emotionally prepare your child for school? Asking your daughter to express her worries and concerns about school would be the simplest way to approach this but is not always possible. Young children who have difficulty communicating and expressing themselves require a different tactic. Sometimes all we can do is anticipate what the anxieties might be based on good detective work. If you sense your child is worried that her new teacher will not understand her unique way of relating, make an appointment for them to meet before school starts.

– Cognitively prepare your child for school? Keeping up with reading is one of the best things any parent can do to keep their child's mind fresh and ready to learn. Increase trips to the library or start now if you have not been yet. Reading is key to any child's school success and extremely important to maintain. Daily reading with your child will give him / her a boost. Kill two birds with one stone by creating a social story about school – you can address his anxieties and increase reading time all in one.

– Typically prepare your child for school? If possible, invite old or new classmates that may have moved into the school system and invite them over so your child can get to know them better and practice her social graces. It can help your child immensely if you rehearse back to school conversation starters and group social skills with them to use with their friends, teachers and other adults.

All in all, there are many things you can do as a parent to fully prepare your child and reduce the risk of tantrum-like behaviors or emotional meltdowns when school time rolls around.

Oil Painting Without Brushes

As a known fact a paint brush is the most common mode of application of an oil color. However there are other methods also to apply paint on to a surface. This article speaks about the different methods of application of paint onto a surface other than the usual paint brushes.

Palette Knives

When you hear about palette knife you would be thinking about palette is not it? Palette knives have been a traditional tool for mixing the paint. They are the most apt tool to be used for creating smooth and consistent mediums of paints. However there are many painters who use the palette knife in addition to be used as mixing tool, they straight use the palette knife on to the painting surface.

These knives come in different shapes and signs. They are also available in plastic. As far as the mixing is concerned one shape or size is more than sufficient but as the case of using it as a paint brush is considered, the selection of the knife is made in the same way as the case of selecting brushes is considered. There is no shape or size which we can say right or the apt one for usage. Experimentation is the key if you are working with palette knives if you are considering working with knives. Try the different shapes and you can select the one that gives you the best effects. Usually small and thin brushes are best suited for lining and big knives are the best for loading on the paint.


Many artists love using stencils in their paintings. This usage is loved by them especially when there is a usage of repetitive effect and stylish shapes. Stencils are a useful tool. There are pre made stencils available or you even an option of making stencils with your stencil kit. Ensure that you use the right materials for best results.

Stencil usage in paintings is not a traditional method so there is no scope that you can find any tutorials for teaching you the technique of stencils. But it is important that you keep in mind the fundamentals of the medium like the fat over lean. You might have noticed that in case the paint is thin in consistency then it stagnates around the edges, so in such a case it is important that you apply a thicker layer of painting. Stenciling is a very interesting art, however it is used as one of the under layers but it has amazing effects.

Rags, Sponges, Fingers

Rags, sponges and of course your fingers are all innovative tools in oil painting which can occupy the place of a paint brush.

Man Dreaming About Being Found

He was just a man. He was just a man dreaming of being found. Lost. Lost. Lost. And inside of me there’s a feeling, this feeling of being stuck in traffic in a thunderstorm. A feeling of thirst, a painful thirst and wandering, believing that my brother captures everyone around him with the electricity and lightning daze of influence. There’s a bold intriguing force of electricity and lightning within him. Lightning and electricity. And with that thought, that knowledge comes needles of them, of thoughts. A pinprick that feels life threatening. A flash. A burst of thought. And then the rain would come like a dream, like sleep. First drops and then it begins to pour. The rain would mean water, fresh, sweet, pure water, entitlement, privilege, being born with a silver spoon in your mouth, waiting, always waiting for that opportunistic moment, that mind hurdle that tells me I’ve been awake all my life but for the poor ones it would mean flooding. Their homes would be flooded. They would have to walk with skirts hiked up to get to where they had to go, barefoot, humiliated, scooping the water out of their homes with plastic buckets, helpless, homeless, sleeping on damp mattresses. How do people live like that I’ve always wondered? Where do you go from extreme poverty? Who will give you a hand-out? For the poor it would just mean another uncomfortable experience that they would have to deal with.

I press my knee against the foot of the table. Jew. Jew. Jew. Jew hair. Jew nose. Her hair looked like a Maltese poodle’s hair. How did she get the brush and comb through that mess every night? How quick she was to dismiss me, hide her smile. I’ve forgotten my words. Forgot the poem I years have been from home. Forgot the last two verses of the poem by Emily Dickson. I watch her mouth, Jewess, her soft lips making the drawing of a pout. Her lips were mouthing words. Words I could not make out. But I could make out the smile and the quiet laughter that gave me a sour taste in my mouth (already I had been used to this taste in my mouth for a very long time now, and I would never get over the anxious butterflies in my stomach, my thoughts racing but I would never get used to laughing and smiling with them at my expense even though my mother said I should almost as if she knew something I didn’t for the longest time) and for a long time I was very serious about feeling ashamed about the way I looked. It took me forever to work it out of my system. Her lips looks like the shade of an expensive perfumery sticky pink lipstick. She smells like Revlon. She smells expensive. Her nails are shiny, manicured. I do not accept her principles, the standards that she judges me by. The color of my skin, my faith. The sound of my posh voice bouncing off the walls. Her face gives her away. I wish she’d like me. I wish we could be friends anyway. Her mother did my hair and make-up at the theater for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When my mother dropped me off outside the theater she told me crossly to smile and speak to the other children. ‘Be nice. Don’t be shy.’ She told us to enjoy ourselves at the rehearsal. All the other children were White. My brother, sister and I were the only children of color. Color. Colored. Mixed race. My golden-haired sister had a pink rose in every cheek. My brother was olive-skinned. He looked like his father. Dark and handsome. Bones. I didn’t understand why they were like they were. Every one of those highty-tighty Whites. I didn’t like the Jews because they didn’t like us. I didn’t understand how some of them could have straight hair and some had curly hair. They were like us but in other ways they weren’t like us. I watched her but then in a way I felt sorry for her when I imagined her in her storybook life. It didn’t seem all that wonderful to me. Liar. She didn’t let her mother put make-up on her. Instead she told her mother she could do it herself. And her mother said fine, go ahead, just like that. We all left seeing farms, cows and horses in fields on long drives to Grahamstown in the distance past. Rehearsals, scripts, being dropped outside the theater, the five minute call before opening night when the three of us left school. And my sister became a paler version of my mother. My brother grew taller, grew darker of complexion. My nickname could have been less-than-zero.

I must have fun like other girls my age. Why am I so serious, so sullen all of the time? And then I remember my mother’s mantra. Smile. My sister is happy even if I feel excluded from her happiness. I don’t feel I must be included in her plans anymore. I must have sunshine, try and sunbathe. Get a tan. Get as brown as a berry. Get some of that sun into my skin to seep into all of my sadness. Even sadness has grace, a personal space where you are free to express a torn idea that can rip you apart, terrify you as if you are in that moment of writing about a disaster or war or violence, (physical violence shattering all truth or sexual violence). She is always trying to get me to try harder. In her life money makes the world go round. It fires her up. She is wired to it all the while I am failing magnificently. I do not please her. She is not accepting of people who do not meet her standards, her criteria. And so I crazily, wildly fail again. I should be living it up, acting out, and not feel so vulnerable in relationships.

Is my brother like all men a man just wanting, waiting to be found? He is up to the primitive challenges and mating rituals of the slick futuristic society we live in today. Drinking with his mates, drinking them under the table. No self-defeatism in his voice. He is immune to it. In some regards we are alike. We are both quick to condemn the fainthearted, those cowards who do not meet the requirements of living up to the best intentions that their parents had for them.

If I write what I like am I asking for trouble? Should I tread with caution where angels fear to tread? There is no turning back. Your moon face rises out of air to meet me like people of the stars. Mummy, the creator of man, a boy, a baby boy, this woman intrigued me like a celebrity hanger-on. Those people who so desperately wanted to live in the public eye. They lived a life separate from their private one caught for a second in a frame, caught in a snapshot. It couldn’t really be called history until there was enough time for it to be called history. Until it was looked at in retrospect. I hear her laughing in the kitchen talking to my brother and his girlfriend who is cooking furiously in the background. Always cooking furiously in the background. Stirring things up in the pots and pans that I could never dream of. Always baking a dream of cake. My brother is her chosen one. I am a disappointment. I have failed her. I am the one who has to live with that. I am too old-fashioned, too clever, and more magnificent than her when it comes to my father. For her I think revenge must be sweet. Give enough rope to the handmaiden and she will hang herself. Look for example at Joan of Arc and Antigone. Look for example at Adam.

What is the nature of the beast that is found in man, in all of us (most of all human nature), the true nature of the heathen, the suffering of slaves, and the writer who is demanding of their readers? The world is not as it should be. One day poverty might not exist and that is the true nature of the beast. To divide and rule. Liberty, freedom, equality, fraternity, democracy. Do they exist in a futuristic apocalyptic world made out of our sensory perception? What is the basis of all politics? Possessions. Think. One day all technology will surpass all humanity and then what will become of the humanitarians and the philanthropists. Think of what our richest possession is. For me that is humanity. The soul. Soul consciousness. Being aware of the self, human behavior, social interaction, social cohesion in rural and urban districts. What is the true nature of the seasons? There is a time and place for the conscious.

Meanwhile our unconscious spirits us away. Are we truly ‘agents of conquest’ every one of us? From those who are con artists by day and night trying to put on the table for their growing family (and in every household like that there’s a woman making a hot plate for a man who will arrive late after the kids have been put to bed and who had spent his day’s wages at the club on the horses or drinking cheap wine). Are the sushi kings of this world flushed with sticky rice, California rolls and raw fish? And when we come to the greedy megalomaniacs stuffing themselves with shellfish and garlic butter, to monomaniacs drowning in (or driven crazy by it) paper money, to the regular blue collar maniacs who had from their honest day’s work dirt under their fingernails, when we come to the history of human rights, monopoly, don’t they all, doesn’t it have the energy of being an agent or ‘agents of conquest’ too? How quick the righteous become self-righteous?

Are every one of us not supposed to be instruments of change? Look for example at Joan of Arc and Antigone. Look for example at Adam. They were never found California dreaming as much as modern-day Africans (white and black, colored faces, the mixed races of different ancestry). The ones who most want to cross the history wilderness to make it to modern-day Los Angeles, making their mark, making a notch in their belt, traversing the plains in the counties of the Midwest of America. Words like Stevie Wonder, ebony, ivory, Times Square, Chicago and Wyoming, lake, tobogganing, Time, Newsweek, social media, the network, broadcast news, the land of the free and the home of the brave would sing arias inside of me alongside an orchestra.

Diary, journal, you think you’re the only one who has felt pain in this world. Pain that runs deep, as deep as a river. Bravery can sometimes be a mission. There’s such a cool detachment about man when he is brave. When he has a steady tolerance about him when he enters a world filled with a minefield of ghost disciples. When his smile carries with it a warmth and dignity. When his person has a cleanliness about him. Boys even those with a fearlessness about them cry (even those who have an easiness about them, those careful emperors can be sensitive and understanding, compelled to understand the vulnerable in a younger, less experienced female). The lonely can see lonely coming from a mile away usually (usually predictable) and they’re not like minded nor a match made in heaven. They’re haphazardly swinging from the chandeliers, hanging on for dear life to their sanity, sharpening their set of skills. Man, man in recovery sees therapy as sweet ritual. For centuries the man waiting to be found has journeyed in words. Wise people wiser than their years who did not have an easiness about them. Every man, even the homosexual is wise on his own terms. If you ask him what courage means (to him) won’t he answer you? The words will roll off his tongue. For every man leads a double life. For every man is beautiful and wise in his own way. For every man walks to the beat of his own drum. It is loyalty from a band of brothers that gives them (and not necessarily a loyal woman that has a high regard for them) a flaming spirit.

Whenever I think of girls I think of Swaziland, that green feast. I think of youth. I think of the young and how fresh and new their ideas must be to them and the world, a very adult world that must have been so far away from them. I remember the faces of the girls and the boys. They all had the skin of dark chocolate. As smooth as velvet. Creamy. Beautiful. The colored girls were also pretty. I remember how all the girls would straighten their hair (it is a painful chemical process, sometimes your scalp would burn) how the curls would frame their faces, how much time and effort they all took with their appearance for appearance’s sake. They had names like Lulu and Katanekwa. They were from other places too from as far afield as Zimbabwe and Zambia. Places whose names sounded so exotic. I wanted the O levels. I wanted to go to England. To study film was something that became all-important to me once upon a time. The escape was also part of the plan. To escape from dysfunction, to escape from family, from a difficult mother who was killing me, casting me out adrift into a grown up world I was not ready for. She loved to see me bump up against things that frightened me into a silent world where I would hold my tongue for once and not speak. Some of them wanted to go to South Africa. They wanted to matriculate there. Some were borders. I remember how the girls would hike their skirts above their knees so if they bent over everybody could see the color of their undergarments.

Whenever I think of I think of dirt, poverty, common sense, con artists, thieves and how much effort the church puts into saving souls for Jesus I think of the Salvation Army.

Whenever I think about the dirt-poor and poverty I think about the streets of Johannesburg filled with crime. And I think about Bruce Springsteen’s streets of Philadelphia. Whenever I think about violence (violence as a volcano building up inside of man) I think of the women and children I met at a shelter for abused women and children. The women and children I ate with, slept with, bathed with, and worked side by side with in the stinking compost heap filled with creepy crawlies under sometimes a hot day, a pale sky feeling the sweat and not feeling the sweat, and not feeling uplifted in any way by it, by doing what I was doing. I was unpacking and packing crates alongside women and children who has lost all emotional and financial security from the man in their lives and the lives of their children. I was giving away stale cake and breads, rotting vegetables going off to black families queuing up hungry, torn. I worshiped with them. With all of those black faces. And they became like family to me. The mothers of those children, absent fathers for every one of their children that they brought with them from their shadowy past forever in their lives became like a mother to me more than my own had ever shown me. They showed me love, a return to love. Taught it to me parrot fashion as if I had to get it inside my spirit come hell or high water. Love was an invitation to a movement. It was a sonnet, a verse. They taught me to fight ideas with ideas.

The rats really do represent the working classes. No freedom, liberty, fraternity for them. No democracy. Scavengers everyone. They’re left miserable, wet or dry or on the shelf hungry for a better life.

And when I think of the times I spent with the homeless, with the educated and uneducated, with the inferior-minded (not of their own making, not of their own fault) and those who had a superiority complex about themselves, when I think about Johannesburg I think about the failings of my mother and how the city itself rescued me when I was writing, studying, running up streets and down streets. I thought about the failings of my father. How safe he was in the life he thought he had built for his children. He thought we had it made or that we made it but how wrong he was. I think often now of the road before us, how long it was and how often we wandered off the path through the periods of our lives when we took ‘mini-breaks’ from life. University, college, recovery and rehab, hospitalization after hospitalization, counseling session after counseling session, homelessness, helplessness, loneliness, isolation, rejection.

The extraordinary child, the gifted child (once their gift has been noted by their teachers, and their offspring and once their parents are careful of praising them), the chosen one never looks a gift horse in the mouth if they can help it from there on out. All they see is an age of dreams if they are protected, kept safe from the world at large with all its distortions. At first I could not see the power of the emotional abuse of a pervert in Nabokov’s Lolita and then slowly it began to dawn on me have we not created a life for them? Have we not created a world for them in which to suffocate the human dignity of the vulnerable with their injustices? And when the abused child grows up don’t they become the abuser of a child’s trust or the most vulnerable human being they can lay their hands on? The abuser, well they inflict, and their intention is to harm, to control, to frighten the living daylights out of their captive or captives. And when they succeed at all costs it gives them a slight reprieve from the memories that make them stand on tenterhook in nightmares and flashbacks of their own abusive childhood. There is no one in the abuser’s life that will say to them, ‘Save yourself first before you try and start saving other people.’ Isn’t that sad. Isn’t that at the heart of the matter, that in this pure and fantastical land it is hard to change, transform families from not thinking that the weight of this huge sin matters? When our children hurt, when the vulnerable hurt we are all responsible. How simple and easy it is to let down the entire human race by going about our day being selfish stupidly and steadfastly. Why not be the adult. Be the saint. Be the Savior. Be someone’s Savior. Step up as high as the planets. There’s a joy that you get from the particles of the familiar and a peace of mind. It’s the same joy that you get from being kind.

I have been shamed and ashamed. But haven’t we all been shamed and ashamed. Trauma. Lived it. I’ve survived it. Everybody has stories like that that they’ve carried with them since childhood. I believe that wish-fulfillment (self-fulfilling prophecies), believing in yourself and what you are capable of doing can solve anything. And I’ve come to realize that no problem is too big for my shoes or humanity to fill to fill once you get your head around your own limitations. Everybody has limitations, flaws and weaknesses they cannot cast asunder no matter how merry, easy-go-lucky and terrific they may seem on the surface.

And so throughout the centuries the man dreaming of being found was never be robbed of his insight, his will, and his intelligence again through this realization, that the world was his oyster, that the conch shell he held up to his ear really did in fact hold the mystifying ocean-sea’s mist of a burden-of-a-breath, that every woman in the world really was beautiful.

How to Improve Your Business Cash Flow Immediately

The Secrets To Internet Marketing

Are you struggling to get more business for your company? Do you have a website, but its not making much money or sending many leads? Or do you simply not understand the internet and how a website can help your business. Well read on because Id like to share with you some exciting ideas and information which I guarantee will increase your business without increasing your budget..

Now I am going to assume that you either have a website which is not bringing in the level of business you want. or you don’t even have an online presence yet.

Online marketing is becoming more and more crucial to the success of small business in The UK and especially in the current economic climate. You have to control your costs but you need more business and you definitely need to concentrate on your online marketing efforts. The power of the internet is that it allows us little guys to compete with the big guys, but in order to compete on a level playing field you need to have the same information and knowledge in how to apply it.

For example getting a listing in Google is essential these days for any business or service provider, Why? Well if you have not realized by now traditional advertising is rapidly being overtaken by GOOGLE that’s right nearly everyone from school kids to your grandmother is searching for stuff online. Forget yellow pages, forget local newspapers forget 118118 (who can afford that anyway). Online is where its at and you need to be on the cutting edge. Google has changed the way business are showing up for Local search For example lets say you’re a dentist in Dorking.

How much more business could you have if for example some one searching Google online for a dentist in Dorking now sees only your business?. You have effectively eliminated the competition. With that sort of power you could fill your waiting room ten times over because you are the only dentist in town. That’s an extreme example but if you are on page one of goggle when people search for your service or product they are going to come to you period.

Some people might just flip to page two but not many Consider this in the UK Google not only has nearly 90% of the search market, but – according to Hitwise – Google controls a full 36.55% of the traffic going to UK websites. And, due to how search works, that 36.55% of traffic is generally more targeted and more valuable than the remaining pool of traffic.

So I am sure you agree getting your company or service on page one is very important so how do you do it Let me explain how the search engines work

Google ranks your sites, relative to how popular it is with other sites on the internet, Its like a popularity contest.. the votes are ranked by links from one site pointing to another, the site with the most links from other sites are the winners, these sites with a lot of other sites linking to them get higher rankings in the search engines.

Additionally, sites that have a lot of links pointing to them, provide more powerful links , so we like to get links from these sites so we get higher rankings.

How do I get backlinks?

You need to create a LOT of sites, and put links to these sites pointing to YOUR website..

What’s also important is this, you need to have sites that link to your site of the same theme or niche. e.g. if your site is related to dog training. then you want a lot of other dog related sites linking to your site..

Now this is very important the sites you make must link together , so these sites, in and of themselves rank very well in the search engines. All these sites end up promoting YOUR website..

So instead of just relying on one website to send you sales or leads. You end up with a LOT of websites to help improve your business.

So where do you create these sites. That’s the most important question and that’s why you need the advice of an expert. You can do it yourself but really shouldn’t you be concentrating or running your business and let someone else do the spade work for you?

After you get your sites up and running you need to make sure that the rss feeds is also promoted into rss directories. Google loves rss directories. You also need to write articles about your main business or service and publish these to the article site directories these then must link to your website. Again Google loves article directories. So you then continually update these sites and after each update make sure you tell Google you have some new content, this is done by pinging.

Now this is only a quick review of what is required to be in Google but really the whole point of this online marketing is to get you more leads and sales. Google is just one piece of the puzzle.

Next time we will explore web 2.0 and why if twittering is something the birds do you need help with your online marketing Here’s to your success in 2009.

Green Jobs and Green Careers

As the recession grows deeper, the promise of a better day lies ahead, and we all expect the American spirit to rise like the phoenix of old to enjoy a new day of enthusiasm and prosperity. We must always believe in a better day because that belief will make that vision come more quickly than despair. We must believe in our innate greatness, our enduring strength of character, and ability to innovate around failures of the past. Being knocked down is not the same as being knocked out, and the sheer courage to step up to a challenge is one of our greatest assets.

It should also be said that the world that we knew before the recession had its out-of-control problems. We sent too much (including the government). We wasted too much (particularly the government). We allowed ourselves to think that we could never exhaust the abundance of resources that surrounded us. We also grew from about 4 billion people in the 1950's to 6.7 billion in 2008. Those who keep count are predicting 9 billion people in the world by 2025. We are living longer and mortality rates are smaller factor pressing on Our resources. This and so much more leads to a certain reality that things will change because they must. This change will not happen how or when we dictate, but change can be good for all involved.

With all that said, it seems likely that the economic recession is part of the change in world dynamics which will strike home with hard lessons to be learned. Those who trusting in corporations and pensions where suddenly faced with Enron failure, stock market crashes, and soaring gas prices. In the end, it appeared that there were no safe havens. As the new administration came into power in Washington, there was the magic promise of "jobs." Not just any jobs. They were Green jobs that would propel us into a brighter future and prosperous economy.

Now, it may be overly skeptical to suggest that jobs alone are not the answer, but think with me for a moment about Green jobs and Green careers. Jobs are often ridiculed using the acronym JOB or Just Over Broke. The massive creation of jobs by the government are good for some parts of the economic suffering, but not the best answer to the challenge. Business growth by the private sector is the very best way out of this mess. When terminated with unemployment, any solution to pay the bills and provide for your family may require … just a job. If you want to be a part of the real solution, a career is better than a job.

When thinking about the jobs that will be created by the government, will these be long-term carers with good pay and strong benefits? This seems unlicensed. The stimulus program is a short-term fix that will hopefully get be off the public dole and back into private sector jobs. What the government creates will be jobs that will disappear over time. The very nature of the financial constraints means that there will not be hundreds of thousands of jobs paying $ 40,000 or more. The fact is that President Obama has asked governors of every state to bring him "Shovel Ready" projects that are designed to help the failing infrastructure by repairing roads, buildings, and bridges of our states. Even the Green jobs seem to require strong arms and backs as we rebuild projects or install Green projects through the country.

While applauding the need to create jobs, there is certainly the better opportunity of creating Green careers where the leaders take hold of this crisis to make their mark in the expanding hope of the future. Every battle has foot soldiers, but there must be a leadership by those who are ready and willing to lead. You can not be afraid to fail, and you must not give in to fear. The good days are still out there. One interesting fact that we must capture in our minds is that millionaires and billionaires are often created out of the worst times in history. If you had the money, you can buy property now for pennies on the dollar that will make you extraordinarily rich in the coming real estate recovery. Those who buy stock during the worst days of the market will reap extreme profits as the market rallies. No doubt that those who invest in this "bottom of the market" economy will be positioned to make millions as the world returns to enjoy a better season.

The world that will emerge will be "Green" and our lifestyles will be governed by a consciousness that we must make things work in a world of finite resources and increased population demand. We need leadership that does not mere come from Washington, DC, but from the grassroots and private sector where people live and conduct business. Unlike a Green job, a Green career does not come with a fixed income … and that is not a bad thing. A Green career has no boss which is good for those who like to work to make a better world for us all. You can not get fired or laid off, yet you wake up every day unemployed until you turn your available time into available work.

There are those who should take the Green jobs and rejoice that they can pay their bills. There is, however, an obvious and expanding need for leaders to step forward as the dawn breaks on the new and Green society that will happen next. It will happen because it must happen. And, perhaps, this whole economic pothole in the road of life was a good thing for us after all. We lived badly, ate badly, and wasted far too much. The rules will be different and the path will be unfamiliar, but leaders will lead us and people will covet this leadership. Wherever you are, whoever you may be, and regardless of what your circumstances of the past … we need you now! You are called, not by the people who struggle now, but by the knowledge that something must be done. When you look inside you see a meager flame of passion that wants to be a roaring fire. You feel an internal tide that wants to rush back to shore after being pushed out to sea. You alone know that the real challenge is not just a job, but a career that provides the leadership that must be shared by more than just one man leading the government.

It has been faithfully said that "Where there is no vision, the people perish." And, our country should not and will not perish in this tumultuous time. We have visionaries, prophets, leaders, inventors, and innovators. We still believe. We still hope. We still care. All that we believe as a people is distilled and propagated by leaders. Not just the leaders who were elected to positions of safety, but the leaders who were never elected but still stood in their communities and rallied others to a higher vision. Henry Ford took us from foot and horse to travel to automobiles. Thomas Edison took us from candles and lamps to an illuminated city. Robert Goddard open the door to space that took us to the moon. Bill Gates put a computer in every home and opened a new way of business to all of us. These were not politicians. They were men that were too busy making a difference to take a job.

If the tide that has washed our dreams out to sea is longing in you to bring back a fresh swell of refreshing blessing, it is your time. Leaders rise up from obscure to dare the odds, risk failure, and embrace the change that is coming. That day will be a Green era where economies, governments, businesses, and families will learn a new way of life. We need those who know something about destiny and hope to lead us. That is why some should take a green job and some should opt for a Green career. There is a difference, and that difference is vision.