Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Compare Current Versus Past Merchant Statements

Business owners wear many hats in their daily activities. There's managing inventory, employees, appearance of their establishment, marketing and on and on. One of the less than pleasant things that I find merchants tend to put off is reading and understanding their merchant statements. They typically aren't the easiest things to comprehend and, unfortunately, that is by design. However, let me encourage you here that if there is ever a time to take a thorough look... it's right now.
As you may know, every April and October Visa and MC make adjustments to Interchange Rates. And, since this is the baseline of all your rates, any increases can change your Discount Rate that you are paying your payment processor for the "privilege" of accepting plastic in your business. So, the purpose of this brief article is simply to encourage you to take a look at your merchant services processing statement from, oh let's say March or maybe even February. Then take a look at your April statement that you likely just recently received.
Here's what you're looking for. Every statement will have a "comments" or "important information" section where your provider will inform you of a variety of things. This is the spot where they will let you know that your rates may be increasing due to Interchange adjustments. So, see if there was any indication of this on your February and March statements in anticipation of April adjustments. If so, then you want to thoroughly check your actual rates to see how much and what adjustments were made to your plan. Sometimes processors won't make any moves with every interchange rate hike and will simply absorb small upticks. However, some will also utilize this semi-annual phenomenon to pass it on or pass it on plus some for themselves. What I'm getting at here is that you absolutely need to know what is going on, what your rates are and how you are being charged.
Now, let's say that you did see some upticks in your rates. Was it across the board on all types of transactions that you receive or was it adjustments only on certain card/transaction types? Then, once you get a grasp on exactly what adjustments are being made, decide if it's worth sticking with the current provider based on what type and quality of services you are receiving from them. Personally I have a very high retention rate with my merchants simply because I take care of them and am responsive to their needs. So, even if there is a need to pass on slight increases, they don't mind because I take care of them. Plus, I'm always proactive with them in looking for and providing other valuable services to benefit their business.
So, get on it and don't delay. And, if I can be of any assistance, you know how to reach me.

By Michael Saum

Contemporary Art in Your Homes

In today's modern era contemporary art remains to find its place in homes, commercial offices and buildings. This is because contemporary art is a true beauty of the handiwork of seasoned artists and they are a great addition to beautifying a room. Whether you want to create an ambient atmosphere suited for a relaxing environment or one that will stimulate the senses of the viewer of the artwork, it takes different forms to accomplish that effect. Some art collectors like to keep artworks created by contemporary artists because of how intricately their works are made. If you are planning to buy one, it helps to know these tips to help you find a great collection of this artwork and how you can make them perfectly fit your home designs.
Understand the purpose of buying contemporary art
There are many reasons why people like to buy inspiring art from the 70's. Some buy them plainly for home decorating while others like to keep them at home for their art collection gallery. There are also those that are looking for a good investment to make from its designs and value. These are important considerations when looking for the contemporary masterpieces to buy and make sure that when buying one it suits your purpose well.
Keep an eye on the price tag
Not all aged arts are created equal. Older pieces of artworks usually cost more than the latest creation of the modern artists. If your goal is investment when buying the artwork, then you should invest well and choose the higher priced antique collections. If you simply want to show off a beautiful painting on your walls, there are cheaper art collections that come as nice as the expensive ones in terms of the design value.
The artistic value
The contemporary art value is also regarded in consideration of its creator. Seasoned contemporary artists are known for their handiwork, skills and reputation in their field of industry and their works are already considered of high value in terms of quality, design and longevity. Avoid buying contemporary arts that are worthless and created by artists that simply copied their art from the style of the other artists. Good artists are those that can express inspiring ideas and their works are marked with originality. High quality masterpieces of this kind are likely to be good investment. They usually retain their quality value especially in public auctions.
Determine your taste
Contemporary art evolves and it may take different forms. Your choice will depend upon your own taste of style and design from a contemporary masterpiece. You can choose from the modern approach of contemporary designs or remain to opt for the conservative style of this masterpiece. Landscape paintings remain to be popular in the industry but more bizarre and abstract designs of contemporary paintings begin to emerge and are quite accepted by the contemporary art community because of its exciting, intriguing and unique forms. When choosing the contemporary art to buy, make sure that the design and color best suit in complementing your home furniture and walls.

To Beat the Red!

To beat the Red!
(... or, 'The Loop!') 1992
In St. Paul, Minnesota or for that matter in other cities as well people are inclined to call a certain area of the city, in particular a busy area, such as downtown St. Paul, the Loop; it's kind of an area you circle around in a loop with you automobile. Drivers do it to look at girls, sell drugs, and check the inner city out. Girls walk the loop to be picked up, or drug dealers stand on corners to sell drugs, that kind of thing. And those not into that kind of stuff, mosey about it crisscrossing the streets to get to other parts of the city, to and fro.
In St. Paul there was such a thing, location, in downtown, it circled around a number of bars, and Seventh Street, and a bus station, a few show houses, a parking lot, the loop had just about everything a night shopper or night adventurist would be seeking.
Hence, when you stopped at the red light at 'Wabasha and Seventh,' you were facing a stop-and-go-light, in this case I had stopped on the red light. Sometimes when I'd stop, the light would turn nearly instantly Green to Go! And of course you'd catch now and then a pedestrian off-guard. And they'd run to cross to get to the other side, lest they get jammed in by the oncoming, slough of cars. This of course being the logical thing to do. While others seemed to have foresight, and be waiting at the corner for the light to turn Green for them to go, and not rushing anything, so as not to be caught in-between.
Sometimes you'd even see people eating this and that as they were moseying across the street on a yellow, and then turn green kind of jumping the gun as they say, then rushing to escape the rush of cars.
So you see, crossing or crisscrossing the streets at a loop, has many variables. And usually when I'd blow the horn, they'd wake up, if half asleep, run to the other side to escape the approaching cars, if indeed this was the case at hand. It's kind of like knowing your rights, and not wanting the other person to violate them, that is to say, if you had, or have the right-of-way.
People around this loop, back in the day-or twenty-two years ago, when this mishap took place, the people were like flocks of quails, and when they'd reach the other side sometimes you'd see a face or two among the other faces, in triumph, especially if they were trying to beat the odds, rushing on a yellow light to join the flock, before the red appeared. And god-forbid it be rush-hour and you find someone playing the suicide game: starting out on a yellow, 'to beat the red!'
This old drunk, the man who stepped off the corner of the sidewalk, who had walked down from a local bar, from up the block, stepped out on a yellow light, unknowingly I believe; looking ahead in his hazy drunken stumper, seeing other folks across the two way, four-lane crossing, and seeing them folks stepping up from a green light, that now was yellow, but perhaps was green when he first saw it-half drunk I should say-it was late Friday afternoon, close to rush-hour, when everyone wants to get home for the weekend, take off early from work. No exception, me too.
He fiddled about in his pocket, I believe he had a pint of whiskey he was feeling for, and to make sure it was still there, what else could it be?
And as in inferred, he looked pretty looped himself, now in the middle of the loop. I told myself as the streetlight as it turned red for him, 'woops, now what?' It was green for the cars, red for the walkway.
There must have been three dozen cars on both sides of the streets, ready to go West from East, it was a four-lane street, two west, two east, I was west, and there were cars to my left, and in front of me, and the drunk was nearly in the middle of the two lanes, some thirty-five feet in front of me, going south from north, and a dozen cars on my side hit their accelerator, steering right towards the drunk, perhaps sixty-years old. What was on his mind? What was the matter with him? He stopped as the cars approached him, was it physical tiredness? I was inclined to stop, he was to my right, and cars now passing me, and now him, cars in front of me and in back of me, he was unsure of his next move, and the cars were unsure of his next move as I was also unsure of his next move and so I stopped right in the middle of the intersection, as now cars circle around me: and the car in back of me stopped also, and the car in back of him, maneuvered around both of us, not knowing why we had stopped, he didn't see the old man, the old man smiled at me, put out his thumb as if in triumph, and as he took a step forward, that car cut his thumb into shreds, with his side mirror, and now the old man froze in place, looking at what was left of his thumb, gushing red, spurting up blood like a flood, or gusher, or what was left of it; had a dog been nearby, he'd had had himself a little jump for an afternoon snack. It was being held by a thread, no more.
Now I drove by him, I knew he'd not move, he was in some kind of monothematic moment: what just happened?
As I drove down to the next stop-and-go-light, I heard a policeman's whistle from behind me... , the rest I assumed, an ambulance would soon be forth coming.

Violin Strings for Beginning Players

Once the parent purchases a violin for your child who is a beginning player, the parent quickly finds out that the violin, bow and case is only the beginning. To allow one's child the richest playing experience - especially if the child is taking lessons in school or studying privately - an additional minimum investment in the proper violin accessories is necessary.
Probably the single most important accessory to purchase is better and additional violin strings. One cannot overstate the importance of good, high-end violin strings, and for a number of reasons. If a parent purchases a beginner violin online or from a private party, odds are that the violin is outfitted with cheap, low-end strings. On the other hand, if a parent purchases a beginner violin from a reputable violin shop, odds are that the violin is outfitted with higher-end strings that are appropriate for that particular violin.
Violin strings come in many, many different qualities and brands and just changing and upgrading the strings can noticeably improve the sound of the violin. The right strings can actually make playing the violin easier for the student; the easier the violin is to play, the more likely it is that the child will continue to play it.
If a parent decides to upgrade the strings for the beginning student, the best thing to do is to take the violin to a local violin shop that not only maintains and repairs violins, but that also sells accessories for the violin. Ask them their advice on which strings are appropriate for the student violin. If you purchased the violin from an online store or a private party, this would be a good time to ask the violin shop if the violin is properly set up for a student player.
Not only will they recommend and restring the violin, but they may also recommend a new bridge, a carved piece of wood that supports the strings on the violin. Adjusting the size and position of the bridge can, like upgrading the strings, make the violin much easier to play, as well as improve the sound of the instrument.
Once the violin is restrung, a parent should not hesitate to ask the violin shop to instruct them on how to restring an instrument, in case that the student breaks a string while playing. This brings up an important point: Make sure that you purchase a backup set of strings to keep in the student's violin case. While a student is learning to play and to tune his or her own instrument, it is very likely a string can break.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

What Do You Do If You "Find a Strad?"

A Stradivarius Violin in Your Attic? How to Know.
It would be a great shock to the world of fine stringed instruments if a lost violin from a great Italian luthier turned up. Many imitations were made 100 years ago.
It is not unusual to come across a violin in someone's attic, at a flea market or any other such corners of life where forgotten items surface. Sometimes the condition of the instrument makes it obvious that a student long ago abandoned the instrument when other pursuits just took over. Other times, the condition of the instrument or its case or something known about the owner - an eccentric uncle with some money, perhaps - lend the situation a bit of excitement.
Could it be? Is it possible? This excitement is heightened even further when a name, presumably of its maker, is on a label or stamped inside the f-hole of the instrument, on the back plate. There it is! It says "Stradivarius"!
Alas, there are many violins that were made toward the end of the Victorian era, in the late 19th century, that were falsely labeled with the names of the fabled great luthiers: Stradivari, Stainer, Guarnerius, Amati or Maggini among them. They were considered of a "student" level of quality at the time, and the ruse of their violin shops was less a lie than homage: the makers were saying the violins were made in the same style or to approximate the physical specifications of the great Italian violinmakers of the earlier era.
Recently, the excitement around the dollar value of antique violins (and violas and cellos) rose considerably, and raised controversy, when Chicago rare violin dealer Jeff Fushi placed the 269-year-old "Vieuxtemps" Guarneri del Gesu up for sale for $18 million in 2010. At last check it has yet to sell, but it illustrates what has happened with rare violins. Over the past 50 years, their value has appreciated 26,000 percent (compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which in the same time period has risen a mere 1,400 percent). Indeed, the problem has now arisen that only millionaires and billionaires can afford them. At best, the instruments are loaned to great contemporary players, concertmasters and soloists with the world's top orchestras. Otherwise, they are held as precious investments, perhaps seen by a rarefied group but only infrequently heard.
There are less than one thousand instruments by Guarneri and Stradivari in existence, and the discovery of a lost stringed instrument found by these or other great makers would be exceedingly rare. If you find one of the 19th century imitations, expect its value to be under $1500 (with a few exceptions) and that to restore it to playable condition could easily cost as much money or more. But do not be embarrassed about asking a professional in a shop for fine violins to look at it - they are accustomed to these requests, and are responsible to all ends of the market to encourage a love of violins (and violin playing) while providing a realistic assessment and encouragement. Even the fake "Strads" were once made, sold and purchased with intent to create beautiful music.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Find The Best Gift For Your Girlfriend According To Her Personality Type

If you are newly in a relationship there can be a lot of things you may not know about, but you are probably trying to figure it out. Especially when you have to please your girlfriend now every guy knows this quite clearly how difficult it is to please a girl. But if you are in love, you wouldn't stop trying won't you and when there is a will there is always an interesting way. If you are a boyfriend who is wondering what to give your girlfriend on her birthday that would be quite interesting as a present, then you need to think a little different. Here is a small test that will help you determine the appropriate gift based on the analysis of her personality type.
Take this test that consists of 5 simple and easy questions where you get three options A, B and C. Based on the option you have selected there will be a detailed analysis and at the end the personality types will be declared, if she falls in any one of the category then accordingly the gift ideas shall be suggested.
# 1 Generally, your girlfriend is
A) Talkative B) Shy C) Smart talker
# 2 The kind of movie she likes
A) Sci-fi/Action B) Romantic Comedy C) Horror/Drama
# 3 On a Sunday she would love to
A) Take up some fun activity B) Cook an awesome lunch C) Visit the mall
# 4 Her favorite apparel is
A) Skirts & Top B) Trendy Kurtis C) jeans and top
# 5 The characteristic traits of which of the following actress match her
A) Kareena Kapoor B) Alia Bhatt C) Anushka Sharma
Now, that you have completed the test, it is time for analysis, it is quite simple all you have to do is asses your answers as one of the three categories with mostly A's, B's or C's.
Mostly A's (If you got 3 or more A's)
Personality Type: Extrovert
Your girl is quite open minded and she loves to express herself, whether in good times or bad times. She wouldn't mind if she had to cry and when she is happy the vibes will be felt from a long distance. She is full of life and cheerful, and she loves to do distinct activities that speak a lot about her personality, she loves to take the charge if needed. For a girl like this, you have to do something fascinating as they are in look out for everything that is trendy. Something that would appeal to her could be tote bags, sunglasses or perfumes. She cannot be completely called eccentric but she surely is someone who would love to talk on and on, as this is her way of defining freedom.
Mostly B's (If you got 3 or more 3 B's)
Personality Type: Reserved
One of the basic elements and also the striking feature in such girls is their simplicity. The honest appearance and as a result making it clear that they are quite knowledgeable. They are cute and usually are on the submissive side, but are mentally strong and look for value and meaning in whatever they do. If you are looking to surprise someone like her then you must give her something from the category of personalized gifts. It would mean a lot to her, even something like a flower also goes on to make a sweet difference.
Mostly C's (If You got 3 or more 3 C's)
Personality Type: The modern Hipster
This could be quite a cool way to describe your girl if she shows the characteristic traits of a smooth talker and presents herself in a smart way and takes her own time to eventually mix up with people. She has that spunk which makes her stand out and talk of the ton. She is unique in her own ways and full of surprises, she defies the conventional and presents a personality that keeps you hooked on to her. She has a vivid fashion sense and it is all a part of her hipster aura. When gifting her you have got to be very creative and think out of the box to give her something, she would love something from the home décor section though. Because this personality type are often on the lookout to make things look good, and different, so the gift needs to be equally so.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Have You Fallen Away?

The glory is departed from Israel. The glory has departed from God's people; the power of God has departed from his Church, the Body of Jesus Christ. The church today is operating in the flesh. Our own wills, our own desires, and ideas. We claim to be seeking the Lords' Will but continue to use the trends and devices of the world to try and win the world over to our side. We are not supposed to be of the world, we are to be the direct opposite!
John 15:19
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
John 17:14
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
1John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The church today has become a world friendly church. It doesn't want to offend anyone's own personal or spiritual beliefs. The church changes the word of God so that it is politically correct and non-offensive. By doing this they distort the word of God and deceive the people. The church and its leaders ignore the congregation and issues in our local communities and in the world. The church turns a blind eye to the problems within its own body. The church looks for new ideas and gimmicks to bring in the lost and in doing this the infiltration of the enemy has come in like a flood. The churches eyes are dim to the immorality and witchcraft that has invaded its sanctuaries. The church is in rebellion and out of order and in chaos. The church has ignored the warnings. The church has closed its eyes and ears to the Lords instructions. The church is filled with paganism, spiritualism, symbolism and false doctrine.
Where is the concern for the lost? All that is seen in the church today is religion, pride and arrogance!
Are you feeding from the world?
• Are you more worried about which designer clothes to wear than having your mind and heart ready to commune with God?
• Are you more worried about Facebook, Twitter, and other social media than opening up and reading your bible?
• Are you more worried about sitting in front of the TV to watch your favorite show that having a nightly family bible study?
• Do you walk in the church and gossip about the people and events that are in it or do you go straight into prayer for the pastor and his message?
• Would you rather be entertained by radio and be distracted by the things of this world than be concern about the men and women that are lost around you?
• Have you replaced the reading of the word with worship?
• Has the altar become a stage of seduction, self-righteousness, or a dance floor?
• Are you lusting after one another in the pews you are sitting in at church?
• Are you wearing seductive clothing in the House of God? Are you so full of yourself (the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life) that people can't see Christ through you?
• Are you more concerned about what time you are going to get out of church and what you are going to eat? When was the last time you heard a message that convicted you so strongly and left you so shaken that your last thought was on what you were going to eat?
Jeremiah 18:15
Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;
Isaiah 55:8
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

By Dan Roller

Old Man Oscar (1981)

"You know," said Oscar, with trembling lips. The old man then lost his thoughts. He did not speak, -speak, he blurted out, as often he did, unrecognizable words, when there wasn't much to say. I don't think he intended to that it should happen, but unless I had something more to say, he didn't really speak, it was a mumble unto himself. Of course we would never have become friends had he not spoke.
He was eighty-six years old, in 1981, I was thirty-six, and by the end of fall I would have written my first book, "The Other Door" and Oscar would be in the book, at least by name, so he did inspire me.
Anyhow, sometimes when I visited Oscar at the Old Folks Farm, I wanted to say: "Oscar, in the name of goodness, what are you babbling about," on my semiweekly visits, but I never did for that full summer of 1981.
He was always a little bewildered why I just happened to come by, all of a sudden one day, alone one day, spot him sitting on the wooden bench, out in front of the Old Folks Farm, off White Bear Avenue, then once spotted, to approach him, introducing myself to him, and that was that. Oscar was bewildered, but he left well enough alone, he liked the company, and the conversation, and the Ice Cream I brought him. Plus I never did answer him that question.
No, I never told him, I don't think to; that was thirty-three years ago, now I'm the old man.
It was an assignment I was working on my Master's Degree, and he was part of my assignment, that was my motivation in meeting him.
We got to know each other pretty well, and we laughed with incredulous pleasure.
As I said, he didn't speak much or ask silly questions, I suppose he was found of me, so he said. I was surprised I too, care for him as much as I did.
A few times that summer he said, "I was expecting you to come visit, and I waited until dark, but you never came." When he told me that I went coldly silent; knowing my assignment was over, I did not make visiting him a priority anymore. But for some odd reason I just had to come back.
"Forgive me," I rejoined. "I've been pretty busy."
His children never came to visit him, not once to my knowledge. I was the only one. And I thought it better not to tell him about the assignment, it would hurt him, and I doubt it mattered all that much. Actually I somewhat regretting the assignment was over.
He had, and he knew this, nothing to offer but old age, some roughness a little coarseness, in exchange for an hour's chitchat, weekly or semiweekly; nor did he have any wealth, actually he was penniless, not even enough money for an ice-cream cone. I gave him a few dollars once, and he had one of the cleaning crew boys go down and pick him up some ice-cream, so he mentioned it to me in passing. Of course his poverty, was not his fault-he was among the majority of old folks back then; he inevitable had lived, I told myself.
At the end of summer, I went back after a month's absence, I suppose we were really into fall. He wasn't outside. I somewhat shuddered and clung close to the wooden bench he always sat on. I had thought this might happen and it was a terrible day for me, it sickened me to think he had passed on, dreadful. There was something in me, in him that I never knew until then. I never thought to care so much for a passing stranger, perhaps he thought the same way too.

By Dennis Siluk Dr.h.c.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

How To Configure Your Reception Area

It's extremely important for your event to have an ease of traffic flow through your event timeline. From your grand entrance, to the last dance, you won't want to have to snake your way through tables, (or in the case of a very large reception) travel back and forth across a huge room.
1. Match your configuration to your timeline:
For example:
Looking in from the main entrance: If your cake is located in the far left corner of the venue, your wedding party table is right wall center, and the dance floor is straight ahead toward the rear wall, you would be best served by cutting your cake prior to your first dances. It allows you to flow back toward your table (if needed) as you cycle through your timeline. This gives the venue staff ample time to portion the cake for your guests while you dance, and toss the bouquet/garter, and puts you on the dance floor when open dancing begins.
Some venues will have a tendency to place the DJ in a corner. In the worst cases we have seen, placement of 20-30 feet from the dance floor with guest tables between! Often this terrible configuration is done in an effort to make the dance floor the center of attention, and while I agree with the concept, the execution makes for an uncomfortable evening for the guests at those tables.
Corner placement of the DJ is fine, assuming that the placement allows the sound to radiate evenly through the room, and has a balanced and primary focus on the dance floor. If this cannot be achieved naturally, then consider an extended sound set up. Extended sound set ups place additional speakers (with separate volume control) strategically in the room.
They say that typing in all caps is the equivalent of yelling... Well maybe I am, but that is only because of how important it is to never do this. Never allow your venue to do this. Never allow your planner to do this. Did I say NEVER?
While this won't affect the reception during dinner, it will when the party starts. Professional speakers put out anywhere from 200-1000 watts RMS of sound with SPL's of 90 (a jack hammer)-136 (rock concert) db. That's technical jargon for "the poor folks sitting at these tables are at risk for an unpleasant night at best, and hearing loss at worst."
Utilizing these two tips will help you to insure a fun and memorable evening! For more ideas and advice on planning, visit our website, and share your comments and questions with us!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The 110-Most Interesting Readings

Here is my selection for the best readings, a personal list, out of a 1000-selections.
The Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke, John) 31 A.D.
Epic of Gilgamesh
(John Garn Gardner & John Maier, translated: poetic) 2700 B.C.
Iliad (Homer: poetic) 800 B.C.
The Odyssey (Homer)
Aeneid (Vigil)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (J.R.R. Tolkien, translated)
Alexander Trilogy (by: Mary Renault) three-books 325 B.C.
The Republic (and, Plato's Atlantis, 450 B.C.)
Grendel (John Gardner)
Beowulf (9th Century)
The Tale of Troy (by John Masefield; Epic Poem) 1250 B.C.
Book of Job (Poetic) 2200 B.C.
Song of Solomon (Poetic) 1000 B.C.
Sandalwood and Jade (Poems by: Lin Carter) 1951
Galleon of Dreams (poems by: Lin Carter) 1953
The Great Stone Face (Hawthorn)
A Movable Feast (Hemingway)
The Unvanquished (by Faulkner)
In the Beginning... (Joseph Ratzinger)
Dracula's Guest (Bram Stoker)
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
(Only Novel by E.A. Poe) 1838
The Story of Philosophy (by Will Durant)
The Raven and other Poems (Edger Allen Poe) 1845
Silence in the Snowy Fields (poems by Robert Bly)
The Branch Will not Break (poems by James Wright)
Life of Cicero (by Robert Harris) 2 books
Pillars of the Earth (by Ken Follett)
Tobacco Road (by Erskine Caldwell)
The Road Back (by Erich Maria Remarque)
The Source (by James Michener)
Before Adam (Jack London)
This Side of Paradise (by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Huckleberry Finn (by Mark Twain)
Absalom, Absalom! (By Faulkner)
Sound and the Fury (by Faulkner)
Life along the Mississippi (by Mark Twain)
Men without Women (by Hemingway)
Save Me the Waltz (Zelda Fitzgerald)
Robin Hood (11th Century)
Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
Ariel (Plath: poetry)
Theseus: The King Must Die &
The Bull from the Sea (Mary Renault) 2-books (1250 B.C.)
The Grass Crown & Sequel (Coleen Macaulay) 2-books
The Book of Folly (Anne Sexton)
Crow (Ted Hughes: Poetry)
Lilith (by George Sterling: Poetic)
Nigger to Nigger (E.C. L. Adams)
The Liar of the White Worm (Bram Stoker)
The Game (by Jack London)
Anomalous Phenomena &
Homeward Bound (Jules Verne) SF 2-books
A Night in Lisbon (by Erich Maria Remarque)
Night over Water (Ken Follett)
Chicago Poems (Carl Sandburg)
Twenty Poems of Georg Trakl
Twenty Poems of Cesar Vallejo
Tender is the Night (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Children of Húrin (by J.R.R. Tolkien)
The Man with the Hoe (Markham: Poetry)
Twenty Prose Poems (Charles Baudelaire)
In Country Sleep (Dylan Thomas: Poems)
The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers
The Last Trumpet and the Woodbridge Demon
The Tale of Willie the Humpback Whale
Dark Odyssey (Donald Wandrei)
Mary, Called Magdalene (Winthrop & Frances Neilson)
Windy McPherson's Son (Sherwood Anderson)
The Fifty Column... (Hemingway)
Go, Down Moses (Faulkner)
Verses in Ebony (Robert E. Howard)
The Notorious Jumping Frog... (Twain)
The Night Born (Jack London)
The dragons of Eden (Carl Sagan)
The Grand Design & Black Holes
(Stephen Hawking... ) 2-books
Music for Chameleons (Truman Capote)
The Doctor and the Devils (Dylan Thomas)
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
Habitant of Dusk (August Derleth: poems)
Songs and Sonnets Atlantean (Donald Fryer: 9000 B.C.)
The Four Million (O. Henry)
The Dwarf (Par Lagerkvist)
The Windmills (Los Molinos) Poetry of: Juan Parra del Rigo
The Last Tomb (Michael Grichton as: John Lange)
Private Latitudes (Michael Crichton)
Journey (by Jams A. Michener)
The Colossus (Plath: poems)
Men at War (Hemingway)
Scenes and Portraits: The King of Uruk
(By Frederic Manning)
Arch of Triumph (by Erich Maria Remarque)
Heaven Has no Favorites (by Erich Maria Remarque)
Hawthorn's Short Stories (1946, Edition)
The Tomb (H.P. Lovecraft)
The Star-Treader (Clark A. Smith: poems)
The Dunwich Horror (H.P. Lovecraft)
Granite & Rainbow (Essays by Virginia Woolf)
Lectures in America (Gertrude Stein)
The Stolen White Elephant (Twain)
Chamber Music (Poems by James Joyce)
Pomes Penyeach (by James Joyce)
Strange Waters (George Sterling)
Death by Demand (Eldritch Stories)
Ecstasy (by Donald Wandrei: poetry)

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By Dennis Siluk Dr.h.c.

A Cool Saturday in Athens ((1995) (Poetic Prose))

I must have asked a dozen times in my lifetime, others "What's the real meaning of life; what is happiness," and I didn't really want a strict religious answer, nor a strict, secular answer, just one from the heart, if you know what I mean, no philosophical jargon, or Shakespearean Sonnets to explain the simplicity I was looking for.
To be quite honest and frank, I never got a good answer. Matter of fact, what I got was folks thinking I was quizzing them, or presenting them with a trick question, surely a hard question because no one could really answer it to my liking. When in essence, it was straight forward, as straight and forward as anyone could get, or make it. For the most part the question was avoided with smirks, and smiles, and pats on the back, and then back to whatever the conversation was prior to my little jaunt, as it was accepted as.
But this all came to focus one day when I was in Athens, Greece. It was a Saturday, a cool day, in 1995.
I walked down to an old park area, lots of high foliage, weeds and grass, and open spaces, and high burly and bushy trees, also in the distance, was an old ruin's, a kind of Parthenon style of ruin's, dating to about 400 B.C., high pillars and all, Corinthian style, it was constructed for the legendary Theseus, so I was told, which Mary Renault in her two books so heroically, with attention to detail, describes: "The King Must Die," and "The Bull from the Sea."
As I looked about, realizing it was about lunch time, I saw several small groups, they looked like little packs of individuals, some Jews, some Greeks, some Turks-I suppose if we sorted out religions here, we had a sort of triangle, the Hebrews, Muslims, and Christians. Not that it mattered it was just so. A few made the sign of the cross, a few put their hands and palms up towards the heavens, a few were counting beads, then they pulled out bread and sausage and some cheeses from their baskets, and passed a bottle of wine around. A few had bottles of beer, and one person was playing something like the mandolin, while a few toddlers tried to dance.
They were all sitting around in circles, for the most part.
Far-off, there were a group of women, in a circle, with a woman in the middle of the circle, and everyone holding their skirts high and low, so you could not see what was going on, and no one needed to know beyond that.
There were old men, young women, kids, just a good assortment of the cross-cultural populist: eating, drinking, dancing, breathing in the cool and fresh air-a few steps away from the busy carbon dioxide streets of Athens, talking to one another, sharing conversations, thanking God for this day.
I said to myself: how can I not know what happiness is, or for that matter, the purpose of life, it's right in front of you.
Here was the thing my heart was looking for, that I felt the world should have more of.
Funny as I write this out, I was raised in an extended family, Russian-American, and every weekend, on Sundays, that's exactly what my family would do, all the relatives got together, ate at our home (my Grandfather and mother raised me) and the family drank some vodka, and ate sausage and bread, and cheeses, and talked until late afternoon, and us kids played, wherever. And sometimes I could hear the old 78-records playing. Hick, I didn't need to search for what happiness was, or the purpose of life, I had it in my pocket all the time, and I just forgot it was there.
Need I say more!

8 Korean Fashion Designer Brands of 2014

If you are a lover of Korean fashion you most definitely need to know about the following Korean fashion designer brands.
8 seconds
This is a brand of Chiel industries which is a subsidiary of Samsung Group. The brand provides a number of products that come in different tastes of active denim, trendy style, accessories, basic style, shoes, and handbags.
Control clother
This is a designer agency that aids in launching brands for both domestic and foreign distribution. Since it's hard for new designers to launch new brands and compete against the existing labels, control clother helps the new designers by training and giving them an opportunity to launch their products overseas.
It means "who are you," a term used to encourage individual expression. WhoAU brings about the casual and bright California styles of "west coast." the most amazing thing about WhoAU's collections is that they have the same basic designs which create excellent beach accents.
This creates jewelry that you can mix and match with your clothes, attitude and nail art. The brand has many brands such as triangle bracelets, necklaces, cracker rings and earrings.
Judy and Joshua
This is a business that focuses on aesthetics to reinterpret a minimalist look. The brand is usually very sensitive to trends; therefore, all the products released by the business are always the most latest and get the fancy of many people. As a result of this the products released by the brand are easily bought.
"Re" is meant to change the foundation of design while "code" means to create a culture of valuing the environment and sharing beyond fashion. This means that the intention of the brand is to create a consumer cycle that is caring for the environment.
The brand also aids in reducing waste and at the same time increases the quality of the products being manufactured.
This brand represents innovation in comfort and style. Clothes produced under this brand can be worn at home or when one is going on a brief outing.
Thavma creates excellent bags using the finest cowhide leather from Italy. The brand's concept is divided into three categories:
• Various basic: it's aimed at creating products that are trendy. Here simple designs and diverse materials are used.
• Trendy utility chic: this one aims at producing products that are both practical and stylish
• Neo classic: this is developed as the brand's foundation

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Musical Performances at Local Theaters

For most people, theaters are places to watch the latest film releases. And with so many new films coming out on a monthly basis, there's always something new to watch during your free time on the weekends! However, sometimes it's fun to watch live people perform on stage. What different types of live performances can you see at a local performing arts venue?
Broadway performances use music, dancing, and theatrical acting to tell a story. Beginning in a theater located on Broadway Street in New York City, Broadway has become an intricate part of the American culture since the mid-19th century.
Some of the most popular Broadway plays have been The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, The Lion King, Wicked, and Les Miserables. In addition to being performed on stage numerous times, these shows have also been made into feature-length films.
Ballet uses music, dance and facial expression to convey emotion and tell a story. This form of entertainment has been around since the 15th century. It first became popular in Italy and gradually made its way throughout Europe. In the beginning, ballet was a form of entertainment provided only for rich noblemen and noblewomen.
Towards the late-19th century, ballet settled in Russia. Some of the most popular ballets like The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake were created during this time. These ballets continue to be performed in theaters all over the world.
Musical Performances
From individual instrumental performances to marching bands or large symphonies, there are a wide variety of ways to enjoy beautiful, inspiring music. Performing arts theaters often host local artists as well as world-renowned performers throughout the year. You can usually find schedules and purchase tickets for performances online.
Advantages to Attending Musical Performances
Individual artist performances inspire others to learn and enjoy music. Whether you enjoy the classical sounds of piano, the airy sound of a wind instrument, or the percussive beat of drums, taking music lessons empowers an individual to enjoy music at any time!
Many instruments can be combined to make a beautiful medley of sound. From a string quartet to the soaring sounds of a symphony, the many instruments combine to create a beautiful world of sound. A marching band combines the sounds of wind and brass along with percussion to lift the spirits and stir patriotic emotions.
Even larger instruments can be combined together. Piano players who enjoy making music together can enjoy piano duets and even quartets on two pianos. Playing the two instruments together is quite a rhythmic feat. And watching a piano quartet play is amazing!
Vocal Performances
From soloists to barbershop quartets to large choirs, the voice is a beautiful instrument. Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses combine together to create music. Some use songs with words and instrumental accompaniment, while others use vocal sounds to create haunting melodies without any words.
Just the Beginning...
Ballet, Broadway, and musical performances all open the door for wonderful musical performances. And at these same theaters you can also experience plays, speeches, and a wide variety of other non-musical performances too.

By Anders Abadie

Synopsis Of 'Oedipius Rex' By Sophocles

The story begins with a dialogue between Oedipus, the king of Thebes, and the priest, as they discuss the evil predicament that has befallen their land; blights on their harvest and grazing flocks. Oedipus informs the priest of having sent his consort brother, Menoeceus's son, Creon, to inquire from the Pythian Phoebus at his Delphic shrine, how the state might be saved.
Before long, Creon arrives bringing news from the gods. He says what they demand is the punishment, either by death or banishment, of the murderer of the past King, Laius son of Labdacus. Oedipus, who is new to the land, and keen to bring to light this criminal who is the cause of their woes, asks him details of the murder.
In another scene, Oedipus lays a curse on the killer, prohibits all Thebans from associating with him and encourages those who have knowledge of him to announce it.
The chorus/elders advise Oedipus to summon Teiresias, the blind seer, to give his opinion on the issue. But Oedipus had already sent Creon, in a much earlier time, to bring him to the palace.
Eventually, Teiresias, the widely renowned seer arrives at the palace. He is very unwilling to speak on the Laius and his murderer, the issue for which he was summoned; he in fact requests that he be allowed to take his leave. However, Oedipus accuses him of being the murderer. Hearing this, Teiresias made a counter-accusation by daring to say Oedipus himself was the man who killed Laius. After the exchange of invectives, Oedipus claims that Teiresias must have conspired with Creon to blemish and overthrow him. After hearing this, Teiresias prophesies that Oedipus will be exiled from Thebes and have his eyes no more after he discovers his true lineage.
Creon comes out to deny the king's allegations, asking what is he to gain from bidding to overthrow him. He would rather not inherit the position at such a trying time, because all he desires, fame and fortune, are already his; the crown is just a burden. Nevertheless, Oedipus threatens him with death, after he, Creon, suggested banishment.
Jocasta enters and pleads with her husband, Oedipus, to believe Creon for his oath's sake, for her sake and for the sake of the elders (chorus). She went ahead to enquire about the cause of the rift. After hearing the claim of the seer, she told him that it could not be true as it was formally predicted that Laius would be killed by his son at a spot where three roads meet. But obviously, he was murdered by highway robbers, as reported by the survivor of the attack. Oedipus was shocked on hearing this fact, so he asked where exactly the incident happened. Jocasta said Phocis, where roads from Daulis and Delphi meet. He asks further, trembling that perhaps the seer might be proven right, what the built of Laius was and how many attendants he had with him.
Oedipus then immediately demands that the Serf, who survived, be brought before him for questioning. He thereafter narrates the cause of his fear to Jocasta, how a drunkard once told him that he is not the true son of his seer (Polybus; and Merope, his mother), how he visited Delphi and Apollo told him of a prophesy that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, how he ran away and killed some men when he got to the three-branching road. But there is hope of him not being the killer if the Serf confirms that indeed it was an army of robbers that killed Laius and not a lone wayfarer.
Shortly afterwards, a messenger comes from Corinth bringing news of Polybus's (Oedipus guardian) death, and the search for a new king. This gladdens Oedipus because it seems that the prophecies were false after all, as his father died not through his hands. Nevertheless, he mentions his fear of returning to Corinth because Merope, his mother, still lives and he does not want the second part of the prophecy to materialise.
The messenger offers to rid him of this fear by disclosing that Polybus and Merope are not his real parents, adding that it was he who gave him to Polybus, after another shepherd who is from Laius's palace hands him over to him. This other shepherd turns out to be the same as the witness of Laius's death.
Oedipus, against the wish of Jocasta, wants to get to the root of the matter. He wants to discover his true lineage. Hence, he asks, more emphatically, that the shepherd be brought for questioning.
In next to no time, the long-awaited shepherd who is expected to shed more light on the conundrum finally arrives. He was very reluctant to give straight answers to Oedipus's questions, he even rebuked the Corinthian messenger for saying Oedipus is the accursed child he gave to him years back. However, he soon admitted it, after Oedipus threatened him with death. He also admitted that Jocasta, his mother, gave him to her so that he may get rid of him.
Oedipus was devastated, that, after cursing himself, he immediately left the scene. Not long after his exit, a second messenger came in with the terrible news of Jocasta's death. She was said to have committed suicide through hanging. And then Oedipus himself inflicted injury on himself, he used the golden brooches on Jocasta's robe to smite his eyeballs, thereby blinding himself.
Oedipus, came out, a wretched scene he was. He asked that Creon exile him from the land into the desert so that no eye may behold him and Thebes may be freed from his curse. But Creon refused, firstly deciding to consult the gods, and then instructing Oedipus to leave by himself, if he must.
Such was the fate of Oedipus of Thebes, the son of Laius. And such was the evil calling and cunning desire of the gods. To kill his father, lay with his mother, and spend the rest of his miserable life groping in darkness and humiliation.

By Adekunle F Adebajo

What's the Difference Between Cinematography and Videography?

When it comes to creating recorded content (films and videos), there are some confusing terms that must be understood in order to ensure you choose the right partner. Whether you're looking to create an informative video or a promotional piece, you need to know the difference between cinematography and videography. While similar, those two terms are not interchangeable. What's different between a cinematographer and a videographer?
In the traditional sense, cinematography refers to shooting actual film or digital cinema with a large crew. It also implies other aspects of the traditional film making world - massive sets, cranes, dollies and track for the camera and operator to ride while filming, along with massive lighting fixtures and more.
Videography refers to capturing images via digital format, not traditional film stock. There may or may not be sets, lighting and other elements involved. Videography is usually not associated with film making, but it is seeing increasing adoption here. A videographer is usually a camera operator on a small crew or working solo.
Other Key Differences
In addition to the information above, there are other key differences between a cinematographer and videographer. Cinematography usually involves a large crew with a Director of Photography orchestrating the camera and lighting departments. There are more decision makers on set from the Producer, Director, Assistant Director to the Director of Photography. Camera operators work the cameras, while the cinematographer ensures that every decision benefits the vision of the film, the director and the objectives of the project. Cinematographers are often referred to as a Director of Photography and bring the vision of the Director to life through lighting and composition.
With videography, the situation is different. A videographer is usually the camera operator as well. Videography usually implies that the person is either working alone, or as part of a small crew. Where cinematography is associated with moviemaking and film production, videography is associated with things like live TV broadcasting, TV commercial creation, corporate videos, wedding videos and the like. Videographers can also handle other aspects of the process that can include editing and sound, while cinematographers usually don't.
The Changes Induced by Technology
A good bit of the confusion surrounding cinematography and videography stems not just from the vague similarities between the two fields, but the change of technology. As mentioned, a cinematographer usually works with actual film stock, but that's changing. Digital technology (DSLR cameras) as well as 35m digital cinema cameras are replacing film stock at an incredible pace. You'll also find that the same technology is being utilized by videographers and the surrounding area. This puts the same technology in the hands of both sets of professionals, giving them something of the same capabilities, if not the same career focuses. Having said that, both professions require experience and a specific skill set, not only technically but creatively.
Of course, the qualities that make a great videographer go beyond technology. You can't choose a professional for your needs based on whether they call themselves a videographer or a cinematographer. In fact, videographers are becoming the preferred option for most clients, whether you're in need of capturing the story of your wedding or the story of your company. Videographers are dedicated to creativity, style, and creating a mesmerizing story that doubles as art.

By Paul Nandrajog

Attracting Customers When Plein Air Painting

You set out to do your landscape painting in the great outdoors. You think it's just going to be you, your painting supplies and the natural world. Well, you're wrong. There's always the chance that passers-by will notice you hard at work. They may carry on walking or they may start a conversation with you. Every single person is a potential customer, so do you turn these passers-by into customers?
Will strangers really buy my art?
When people stop and talk to you, they're showing that they're interested. Not everyone who stops to talk will end up buying your art, though. But the more time you spend plein air painting, the more people will speak to you and the greater chance you stand of finding new customers. Even if you only gain one or two new customers, every little helps. You wouldn't have gained those customers if you'd spend that time painting in a studio.
Be friendly and polite
This person is going out of their way to engage in conversation with you. Even if you don't want to speak to anyone, you have to be friendly and polite. If you show no interest at all, the person, your potential customer, is just going to walk away and there's a potential sale lost. Sales work both ways, so if the potential customer has started reaching out to you, it's up to you to reciprocate.
Get the conversation going
Don't spend the whole conversation talking about yourself, but do let the potential customer know who you are. Mention an upcoming exhibition and say when and where it's going to be. Tell them about paintings you've done before. Ask them if they've done any painting and talk about what you both enjoy about painting. Offer some interesting facts about the place you're painting. This is an opportunity to sell your work, so make the most of it, but don't overdo it.
Offer your details
The potential customer will leave at some point, so they have to have a means of contacting you. If they leave and they have no way of getting in touch with you, chances are they're not going to try to get in touch with you. Offer them a business card with your details on it. Better yet, offer them a free photograph of the painting you're working. The potential customer will be delighted to be receiving something for nothing.
Let them end the conversation.
No matter which way the conversation's going, you should always let the customer end it on their terms. They started it, so they should choose when to finish it. Try to keep them talking for as long as possible and get them interested about your work. If you end the conversation, you're showing you're not interested in taking things further. Of course, do be polite if the potential customer decides to leave or even politely declines your offer of a business card or free photo.
These are just a few tips to help turn a passer-by into a customer. Plein air painting offers a great way to gain new customers and build up your customer base. It can be very easy to do and having a nice conversation that results in a new customer is a nice bonus. Have you got any more tips?

Why the iPod Is A Horrible Idea for Wedding Reception Music

So you are on a tight wedding budget, and wondering where you can cut a few corners. Unfortunately, many couples have been wrongly advised to skimp on the reception entertainment.
In recent years, there have been several articles about how the technology of the day will allow you to "self-serve" your reception music via the iPod, as opposed to hiring a DJ. While the concept is interesting, and is initially attractive from a purely economic standpoint, there are several aspects of doing this that are unrealistic, inconvenient, inefficient, and cost far more than you think. Let's look at the facts of most receptions and see why this idea has no legs.
The typical reception venue's house sound system will consist of ceiling mount speakers. While these speakers are adequate for speeches and dinner music, they lack the frequency range, power, and low-end response for a party. Would you dance to an overhead speaker with less frequency response than a good car stereo? To overcome this issue, the option would be to rent a professional sound system at a cost of $400-$500. Keep in mind that this price range typically does not include delivery, set up, break down, or return of the equipment to the rental facility. Of course, you could do all that yourself, or get Uncle John to do it, but isn't this supposed to be a celebration for you and your guests to enjoy?
DJ VERSUS iPod... The rest of the story.
Aside from the sound system, there is dance lighting, emcee duties, planning assistance, music library, and the rarely understood talent of "reading a crowd". None of these things can be provided by an iPod.
Leaving the emcee duties to a family member may sound like a good idea, but do you want Uncle John working at the reception? Your family members and friends are there to celebrate with you. This also applies to the music flow. Will you simply create a playlist and let it go for 4-5 hours? What about timing? Will you spend hours calculating the timing of the music? If not, will Uncle John have double duty? What about requests? Will the iPod look at your dance floor, see that it is empty, and do something to fill it?
Good Disc Jockeys will spend ample time consulting with you on the flow and musical choices for your reception, and use his or her professional experience to properly announce your grand entrance, and the events of your timeline. They will also read your crowd, co-ordinate with the venue staff, photographers, and other vendors to make sure that everyone is in their proper place at the proper time.
Do yourself a favor the next time you read an article that says you should do it yourself... Hire a professional DJ within your budget. Expect to spend at least $700 on a quality wedding DJ service, and avoid DJ brokerage services. Statistics show that nearly 80% of people remember the entertainment more than any other aspect of the reception. Save the iPod for personal use.

Monday, 10 February 2014

5 Tips on Building an Effective Website for Artists

What follows are five effective tips for building the type of website that will garner a maximum response. Your website should focus visitors on the works you have created and minimize any distractions.
Buy your Own Website
You don't want to use any "free" web hosting services because they are never free. They are paid for by distracting advertisements and have domain names so long and confusing that no one will ever work their way back to the website. The myriad of ads will make your art look bad and worse, gives the website the appearance of being cheap and tawdry. This is why having your own website will work wonders for your art. Plus, purchasing a good website today is very cheap and well worth the effort.
Be Sure its Mobile Compatible
Today, more people use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to surf the web. This means that your website needs to be compatible with these devices in some manner so that your work can stand out. While your artwork may not look stunning squeezed down to a 4" screen, if your website is compatible then at least it will be functional and useful to those who want to view what you've accomplished.
Remember Image Sizing
One of the biggest problems that many websites for artists have is that their images are simply too large or take up too much space. This can be problematic for downloading your website and the slower it goes and the more likely people will go somewhere else rather than wait. This means that you have to be extra careful about the size and type of image that you display. For example, a.jpeg displays nearly as well as a.bitmap, but takes up only a fraction of the space. It's okay to use one big image on the home page, but limit your pictures to something reasonable for the rest of the pages so that they load faster.
Be User Friendly
This means make your website as friendly and open to visit as possible. You don't want to force any registration, passwords or the like. Plus, you'll want your website to be as easy to navigate as possible so that visitors can find everything that you have to offer. Think of your website as a free gallery for everyone to see and visit.
Be Clear about Purchases
When offering your works of art, the prices you charge should be reasonable for the effort that you put in. Be sure that you make purchasing the art easy and simple, plus you will need to offer a return and refund policy. If you don't, then expect few sales at best since many buyers will want to see the art with their own eyes first.
By following these tips, you can create a more effective website for artists that work for you.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

An Awesome Career Graph of the Music Magician David Sylvain

As an artist, Sylvain has a shadow that has stretched across 30 years of music history; his immaculately written lyrics have provided inspiration for a number of artists with his songs of spiritual and emotional quest, singer and composer David Sylvain really occupies his own musical space. David Sylvain is a former English singer-songwriter and musician born in Backenham on 23 February 1958. He is a son of a plasterer and a housewife. He was educated at Cat Ford Boys' School, at Cat ford, and South East London. In his 16 years of age, he along with his brother Steve planned to form a band, which lately became famous in the name of Band Japan.
Their other comrades of that band were guitarist Rob Dean, bassist Mick Kern, keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Sylvain's Brother Steve Jansen as a drummer and this group starts their dream journey as a group of friends. A changed had been coming to the band Japan after they signed the contract with renowned Hansa, and therefore, they move fast and grab the number-one spot of rock band ranking in all over the Europe and its surrounding areas. The band suffered from personal and creative clashes, particularly between Sylvain and Kern. And that clash became bigger after Sylvain's relationship with Kern's former girlfriend Yuka Fujii, a photographer, artist and designer. The band Japan was one of the leading bands of the New Romantic movement at the start of the 80s.
Before dissolving, Japan played their final concerts in December 1982. The demise of Sylvain's band in Japan has led him on a more adventurous path that saw him delivering deeper into the worlds of avant-garde, jazz, ambient and improvised music. Furthermore, in this year Sylvain released his first solo joint effort with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sakamoto's first contribution to Sylvain's work though was as a co-writer of "Taking Islands in Africa."
Sylvain's debut solo album, Brilliant Trees in 1984, got some critical acclamation, and it featured the UK Top 20 single Red Guitar. The time span of between 1980 and 1990 David started to concentrate into his solo career. In 1985, Sylvain released an instrumental EP Word with the Shaman, in collaboration with Hassel, Jansen and Czukay, a recording that re-released the same year as full-length album Alchemy: an Index of Possibilities. The album contained important contributions from renowned guitarists Robert Fripp of King Crimson and Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe. In 1990, Sylvain collaborated with Russell Mills and Ian Walton on the elaborate multi-media installation using sculpture, sound and light titled Ember Glance - The Permanence of Memory.
Furthermore, in 1990, Sylvain reunites with the former members of Japan for a new project. A restless soul and a poet, he became one of the shapeliest-shifting artists in a modern form of music. In the early 1990s, guitarist Robert Fripp invites Sylvain to sing with progressive rock stalwarts King Crimson. Sylvain declines the invite, but Sylvain and Frappe recorded the album 'The First Day' released in July 1993. He released his next album in the year of 1999, by the name of "Dead Bees on a cake", which was his first proper solo album after the "secret of the beehive".
After that, Sylvain reached to the limelight for several times with his wonderful experiments in music, but all those times he came along with some collaboration. Their skills along with Sylvain's voice tune made those collaborations memorable for all the time. Though after 1999, he released only two albums under his name, one of them is "Blemish", which was based on Sylvain's new invented creation of music on 'Samadhi sound', and that album became more popular due to that experimental town in the year of 2003. After Blemish, Sylvain's fans were lucky to beat him for one time more in 2009, the album name was Manafon. This is an average hit till today.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Power Ranking of Fantasia Sequences

The Pastoral Symphony segment suffers from being the most childish of all the sequences. The humor suffers from too much slapstick. It is not as innovative as in The Sorcerer's Apprentice or Dance of the Hours. Furthermore, the animation is bland and not particularly memorable. Walt Disney had originally intended for the centaurs to be much more wild and beastlike, but concerns by the studio and censors ended these plans. As a result, the centaurs are merely pretty. There are some good moments, such as the storm scene, but this ends before it can become too threatening. The segment is cute, but not much else.
6. Nutcracker Suite
This second piece of Fantasia is extremely beautiful, but that is about all there is to say about it. Scenes such as leaves falling, ice fairies, and Russian flowers are beautiful to look at, but because there is no story, they are ultimately forgettable. This number is gorgeous to look at, but when one is done watching the film, it is hard to remember. This is still better, however, than being geometrically animated and forgettable, like the flamingo with a yo-yo in Fantasia 2000.
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
This opening piece is meant to represent what the audience imagines while hearing a piece. At first the viewer can plainly see the instruments. Then one can see images that could be perceived as instruments. Finally the instruments disappear completely.
This is one of the reasons I like Fantasia. This sequence does not have a story; rather it introduces the audience to the concept of Fantasia, for example, when the strings' moving bows become an abstract. The sequence does not pander to children and put in a story, as Fantasia 2000 did with its "abstract" number, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. Yet the earlier opening number has more educational interest because it introduces the orchestra.
This sequence has beautiful animation and I admire the ambition of it, but ultimately it lacks the emotional power of the final four on the list.
4. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
This is probably the most famous sequence from Fantasia, and justifiably so. Making Mickey Mouse a sorcerer in the first place is funny. Then we see how badly he botches his simple task of mopping the floor, and while we're laughing, we also sympathize.
We've all probably messed up some simple job, but not spectacularly as he does. The juxtaposition of his fantasy of ruling the universe with the out of control flood inspires sympathetic pity and anxiety, but also laughter at the ridiculous grandiosity of his aspirations. When the brooms multiply so dramatically, it's funny, but also terrifying because they are trying to drown poor Mickey. Likewise, the sorcerer's return is frightening, reassuring, and funny all at once. Mickey has been caught, and everyone can identify with the fear that inspires. At the same time, he puts an end to the madness Mickey started. And the ease with which he does so, as well as the bop on the bottom he administers with the broom, is comical.
While it is entertaining, however, this sequence does not have the fast-paced humor of the next entry on this list or the beautiful animation of the final two entries. It is excellent, but the final three here are great.
3. Dance of the Hours
This is arguably the high point of humor in Fantasia. The dance between the hippo and the alligator is the ultimate anti-Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire. While that pair personified grace, the hippo smushes the alligator, who nevertheless retains his romantic drive and debonair aplomb. The humor comes from the fact that both seem to think that they are graceful. In fact all the animals seem to believe that they are great dancers.
Though this sequence is highly amusing, the final two on my list combine drama with masterful combinations of animation and music that tell memorable and moving stories.
2. Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria
Night on Bald Mounta
in is my favorite part of Fantasia. The animation, showcasing the dead returning to the devil captures the insane evil evoked by the music. Bela Lugosi modeled for the animation of the devil, and his smile can be seen as the devil revels in torturing the souls in his hands. There can be no mistaking who he is as soon as he emerges from the mountain.
Why is this sequence on the number 2 spot then? For one reason: Ave Maria comes after it. Ave Maria is nice, but it is blandly, even sentimentally, good. The choral introduction and accompaniment emphasize the goody-ness with syrupy, inappropriate slides, and the personal, pleading quality of the prayer in the piece is reduced when the choir soars over the high parts of the solo, implying that heavenly balm will smooth over actual, human troubles. This is replicated in the animation, which reduces people to faceless lights in the beginning, then soars to saccharine heavenly vistas by the end.
Night on Bald Mountain, as good as it is, has the major flaw of being followed by an unmemorable number. But I believe that the final entry on this list encapsulates everything good about Fantasia and has no flaws.
1. Rite of Spring
This sequence manages to contain all the aspects that make Fantasia good. It has powerful, abstract visuals, such as the opening lava storm. It also has the same terrifying, raw almost primitive might as Night on Bald Mountain. This time, however, it is not softened by a feel-good Ave Maria choir; rather the dinosaurs just die. It does not explain why to children, thus allowing them to draw their own conclusions. The films Dinosaur, and more recently Walking with Dinosaurs, could have taken a lesson from this sequence. One does not have to put in dialogue and frame things as good versus evil for children to be interested.

By William D Wehrs

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Truth About The Michael Jackson Hologram Show - 2014 Billboard Awards

It was June 25th 2009 when Michael Jackson aka the king of pop at 50 years old came to an untimely end, just before the O2 comeback tour 'This Is It.' Indeed there has been plentiful publication out there covering the suspicious circumstances surrounding Michael's death. Whether it is speculation or fact you can draw your own conclusions.
It has to be said however, some pretty strange things happened before and after his death. Before the embarkation of the O2 tour his health came into question; whether or not he would be able to get through the gruelling schedule and handle the pressures...
At a financial low, one of his family members made the comment that he was worth more dead than alive. A comment like that is bound arouse suspicion. Then there was the apparent major 'slip up' by his brother Jermaine during an interview rousing more suspicion suggesting that Michael was still alive and had been secretly flown out of the country... Like I said I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. Having said that, will we ever know?
One thing for sure Michael had been quite vocal, expressing dissatisfaction over the 'evils of the music industry.' Then it looked like he was planning going on talks to expose the elite hidden powers that be with their conspiracies planned to achieve global domination...
Fast forward to recent times, last Sunday we had the 2014 Billboard Awards staged at Las Vegas. Indeed, the king of pop was back, this time in holographic form. The 'evils of the music industry' were demonstrated again by exploiting Michael's image. Still Michael hasn't got away from the elite hidden powers that be controlled music industry and certain connected individuals he so loathed.
Ironically, the song performed was 'Slave to Rhythm' taken from the posthumous album entitled 'Xscape.' Ironic because it was the music industry that had directly and indirectly sealed his inescapable fate.
The performance
On watching the performance I was truly taken aback. The performance had all the hallmarks of the elite hidden powers that be, indicating they had staged it. It starts off with a row of policemen fully clad in riot gear. With helicopters heard and spotlights giving us the impression of an oppressive police state scenario, there's no doubt that this is typical of other elite controlled music industry ideas. It has been the fashion for while.
Then, centre stage, surrounding Michael's holographic projection sat at a throne is a number of occult symbols signifying the control of the elite hidden powers that be. I found the whole thing very strange: Then Michael's ghost figure gets up and starts singing and dancing...
When Michael sits down on the throne again the audience start to clap and cheer. Okay, the audience are aware that Michael died some years ago and that they're expressing their appreciation to a ghost, but I wondered how many knew about the hidden hand controlling the settings and their awful planned agenda.

By Paul A Philip