Literary Analysis – A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

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In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” author Gabriel Garcia Marquez weaves the natural with the supernatural in an unexpected yet stimulating way. It leaves the reader with the question, “What would I do if I was confronted with something supernatural right outside my door?” By blending the most mundane and ugly parts of life – from rainy days to selfish crowds – with the miraculous, Marquez effectively uses a creative tone and a unique style to create a story that carries elements of everyday life yet supersedes it. His story invites the reader to look closer at daily events and determine one’s response to the normal and not-quite-normal events that have the power to change a life.

The tone of the story is set in the beginning, with the most natural and unwelcome of occurrences: a sick child in the midst of poor weather. In the first few sentences, Marquez’ writing style immediately grabs the imagination as he writes, “The world had been sad since Tuesday,” describing the drab and inclement weather in detail. In the first paragraph, he brings in magical elements by introducing the surreal character of an old man with enormous wings. Marquez immediately shatters any mindsets the reader has of powerful and holy angels by placing him face down in the mud and unable to extricate himself, “impeded by his enormous wings.”

With a hint of irony, the very objects that should have empowered this man to fly above earth’s elements – his wings – hindered him and brought him unwanted attention. Irony is part of the tone weaved throughout the story. It is seen in the “wise old woman” who determined that the old man with wings was an angel… and then suggested clubbing him to death. It is noticed in the wording that Marquez chose when he stated that the husband and wife “felt magnanimous” when they opted to set the angel afloat on a raft with enough food to last him a few days “and leave him to his fate on the high seas.”

In parts of the story, the author’s tone seems to convey a sense of regret that humanity, as a whole, often fails to appreciate the “magic” that is part of life. Instead of appreciating an experience and living fully in the moment, so many ask, “What’s in it for me?” When the husband and wife, Pelayo and Elisenda, decide to exploit the angel by having the onlookers pay to see him, this sense of selfishness and greed is apparent. Here, again, the reader has the opportunity to imagine what their choice would be if faced with a similar situation. Of course, no angel is going to fall from the skies on a sad and stormy day, but in the daily run of things, how does one use the opportunities presented? Gabriel Garcia Marquez invites the reader to ask questions such as these not through a sermon but in the form of a story.

Using magical realism, Marquez also takes those natural tendencies of humanity and weaves it with supernatural elements, creating scenes that let the reader wonder if perhaps the magic can spread into the world beyond the pages. For instance, the angel is so real that the local priest, Father Gonzaga, notices he’s “much too human.” He smells. Everything about him is opposite of everything one might think of as angelic and holy. But when looking closer, portions of the angel’s character can be glimpsed in the pages. His unending patience is made apparent when he endures mistreatment – being locked up with chickens, pushed around, poked and prodded. He doesn’t fight back. He waits… almost as if he knows it’s only for a time. This, if nothing else, is a sign of the angel’s supernatural origin – his bearing in the midst of trauma. Perhaps in spite of human and unsavory circumstances, the reader, too, can manifest those same attributes of patience and endurance. The tone of the story invites one to think that, yes, it is possible.

Finally, towards the end of the story, the angel’s patience is rewarded. With the dawning of spring, he begins to sprout new feathers in his wings. The setting of the story match the action. The long and dreary winter is over and new life is beginning all around, and within. Like the rest of the angel, those new feathers are unimpressive, “the feathers of a scarecrow, which look more like another misfortune of decrepitude” But they are enough. He looks to the sky, feels the breeze, and begins to fly, slowly at first but rising higher and eventually disappearing over the ocean, beyond the blue.

Elisenda watches from the kitchen and “she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to see him, because then he was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea.” The strange juxtaposition of her emotions against the clearly supernatural circumstances creates a unique effect. Elisenda is watching an angel take flight – the same angel that provided her and her husband with enough money to build a two-story mansion – and she feels nothing but relief that he is gone. At the end, just as in the beginning, a normal person is confronted with a supernatural event and fails to see it for the amazing happening that it is. Elisenda likely returns to her work, never appreciating the miracle that entered her life unexpectedly and left just as abruptly.

With the tone that the author sets in the ending, the reader is invited to ask, “How many times do I glance up for a moment, see a glimpse of something beyond the ordinary, and look away? How often am I confronted with something truly amazing and fail to see it for what it is because I pause at the question, ‘What’s in it for me?'”

With his use of magical realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez opens the door to interesting dialogue and invites the reader to not only enter a place of imagination and mystery, but also to look into one’s own thoughts and actions and see how they measure up against the elements – normal and supernatural – of everyday life.

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Source by Bonita Jewel

We Need to Embrace Indigenous Australian Culture to Be Truly Australian

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This coming week, from July 6-12, is NAIDOC week. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee.

It's a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.

Ceremonies, seminars, exhibitions, author talks, film screenings and other activities will take place across the nation and all Australians are encouraged to participate.

The theme for NAIDOC Week this year is Honoring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth.

When I think of Australia's Indigenous people the cynical, or sometimes the despondent, part of me wonders if there is all that much to celebrate about the abundance and nature of Indigenous participation in our leader society and culture.

Our country has a mixed record when it comes to the way we have interacted with our native peoples, and I would say that most of it is pretty bad.

Reports consistently point to significant, sometimes huge gaps between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the population on most socio-economic measures including health, education, home ownership and rates of incarceration.

Modern Australia has taken on much which is valuable from the cultures of many immigrants over the past 200-odd years. In recent decades, we have enthusiastically embroidered elements of culture that has been introduced here from Europe and the Mediterranean, and from Asia.

Lots of kids that I grew up with had parents or grandparents who came from Italy. My dad came by boat from Mauritius and my mum's grandparents came from Wales. My husband's parents came here from India. Our children are growing up with kids which families hail from all over the world (coincidentally though, mainly from Italy again!). This genuine multiculturalism is a big part of what I love about Australia.

But very unheard are valuable soundings from the traditional Indigenous ways of life; attitudes around respect for the natural environment, respect for elders, resourcefulness, and a style of life which places pre-eminent importance on community, family, and spirituality.

Many have said, including Pope John Paul II in his historic speech at Alice Springs in 1986, that the key to a cohes and genuine Australian identity lies in the engagement with and acceptance of the ongoing contribution of Indigenous Australians by the broader society.

Here is my list of four events and people who are signs of hope for an integrated Australian identity, one which includes genuine appreciation of our indigenous people, their histories and cultures.

1. Tania Major

Tania, an indigenous youth advocate, was named Young Australian of the Year 2007 for her efforts in addressing the issues involved in the welfare of young indigenous people.

When she was 22 years old she became the youngest person ever elected to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission (ATSIC).

She's passionate, driven, and wise beyond her years. She spoke about her advocacy work and her own life story in a TV interview on Enough Rope with Andrew Denton.

2. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations

Does it matter what the motive was? Whether it was prompted by self-serving politics, a genuine desire for reconciliation, or a mixture of both, many people who needed to hear words of acknowledgment and apology from the country's leader in order to begin to heal, did so. It was a great day for the country.

3. Indigenous artists such as Bronwyn Bancroft and Matthew Doyle

They are two of many artists who work spans traditional Indigenous and contemporary cultures.

4. Pope John Paul II's 1986 speech to Indigenous Australians at Alice Springs, which also includes this message:

"Your culture, which shows the thinking genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear.

Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost. "

There is much to celebrate about the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The fact that the people is the oldest surviving culture in the world is testament to a proud and
tenacious people.

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Source by Marilyn Rodrigues

5 Rules For How To Write A Classic One-Liner Joke

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I’m a psychologist, not a professional comedy writer (After all, how funny is this first sentence?). But when, about 20 years ago, I took up to an hour each day (and I mean, for 365 days) just to write jokes, gags, and one-liners for cartoonists, comedians, and speakers, I thought I was clever enough to make it a life-long habit.

It was fun, I learned a lot, and I even sold a few jokes. However, by the end of the year my ability to keep cranking them out disappeared and I burnt out.

The experience taught me 3 things: First, I’m not cut out to be a full-time comedy writer. Second, I developed a strong appreciation of the professional comedy writers who can do this day after day, year after year. And third, I did learn how to put together a one-liner. I have used this knowledge ever since in speeches, meetings, other writing projects, and social conversation.

I have come to the conclusion that it ain’t rocket science. If I can do it, you can do it (provided that you have a good sense of humor, a facility for word-play, and nothing better to do).

Before I give you my magic formula, I should tell you that formulas don’t work. A great one-liner, like any work of art, has its own unique inspiration, follows its own unique rules, and surprises us in its own wonderful way. Also, the jokes I will use as examples are original (not particularly funny, but certainly original). That’s because I don’t want to get sued, especially by some comedian who claims I was stealing his or her jokes.

So here are 5 rules for creating a one-liner:

RULE 1: Choose 2 topics-1) the content of the joke, and 2) the surprise topic. For example, let’s say you’ve been putting in a lot of overtime at the office. Now, just for the sake of making this a good mental exercise, let’s also say that you combine this topic with the fact that you have a dog. Here is one possibility of combining them: “I’ve been putting in so much overtime, that I came home to an empty house last night. I found a note. It said, ‘I can’t take it any more. I’ve gone for a long walk in the park to think over our relationship.’ It was from my dog.”

Ok, so it’s not that funny. That brings us to…

RULE 2: Look for opposites, especially ridiculous and impossible opposites. Many, many great jokes rely on opposite meanings. A few years ago at a Rotary meeting in which I ended the year of my presidency, I wanted to say a few things before turning the club over to my successor. I began by saying, “Before I formally hand over the reins of powerlessness, …” It got a nice laugh.

RULE 3: Build up the joke in a certain direction, so that the listener is locked into one assumption, and then spring the joke on them. For example, talk as if it is something important, and end with something trivial: “I should like to introduce my business partner, my mentor, my best friend, and a man to whom I owe five bucks, …”

RULE 4: Put the key word or phrase, the one that changes the meaning, at the very end of the one-liner. You’ll notice that the very last words in the previous three jokes ARE the joke (dog, powerlessness, five bucks). Imagine a cocktail party. Everyone has a drink in his or her hands, except for one guy. His wife turns to him and says, “You know, George, you really SHOULD have something to drink–otherwise people will think you’re an alcoholic.” This is a lot funnier than, “You don’t want people to think you’re an alcoholic, do you? You’d better drink something.” This second line isn’t as funny because the second topic (alcoholism) is introduced before the end. It blunts the surprise and therefore the comic shock at the end.

RULE 5: Get rid of every unnecessary word and idea. Nothing ruins a one-liner more than even one extra word. My wife, Christine, is a Paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department (She was my hero long before September 11th). She works a 24-hour shift. Over the years I’ve developed a stock response to people who ask me if I’m worried about my wife being in the firehouse all night with all of those men: “Gee, you’re right. I’d better call and warn those guys.” Is there one unnecessary word in that response? I don’t think so.

So there it is. Follow these rules, and you can create a one-liner. Will it rise to the level of a Henny Youngman, a Jay Leno, an Ellen DeGeneres, a Bob Hope, a Richard Pryor, or a George Carlin? Probably not, but it’s fun, it’s creative, it’s a good mental exercise, and–who knows?–you may discover that you have a talent for it.

Oh, and one word of caution. If while you are following these rules you think of something truly funny, forget the rules. Go for what’s funny.

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Source by Sandy Marcus

How Advertising and Marketing Got Started

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Advertising, as we know it, probably started to prosper in 1904 when John E. Kennedy cave the world that definition: Advertising is Salesmanship-in-Print. A definition that has not been bettered since and many have tried.

But modern day advertising started a few years earlier than Kennedy when Richard Sears produced the very first mail order catalog (around 1892). This catalog contained hundreds of pages of articles for sale and each with their own sales copy. And Sears Roebuck is still going strong today, in marketing and sales.

Around this time, advertising agencies sprang up everywhere. And the people they employed and trained, left us with such treasures that all top marketers today display in their resource libraries and use to their advantage.

Shortly after Kennedy arrived on the scene, Claude Hopkins came along. He left us with a legacy we should all thank him for. He pioneered market testing, sampling, vouchers, and a whole lot more.

At the turn of the last century there were many others: Walter Dill Scott, Maxwell Sackheim, Haldeman Julius, John Caples, to name just four.

Then around the middle of the century such geniuses as Elmer Wheeler, Robert Collier and other contemporaries appeared.

Post war, advertising greats David Ogilvy, Joe Karbo, and Gary Halbert also made their mark.

And living legends Jay Abraham, John Carlton, Dan Kennedy, and Ted Nicholas, have all made many millions both for themselves and their clients.

Towards the end of the last century, the greatest marketing tool of all time was unleashed on the world – the Internet. Early pioneer of the Internet, Ken McCarthy, is still around and his "System" symbols are an absolute must attend.

The Internet has opened a whole new world for advertising and marketing. And a new breed of entrepreneur has been born. Guys like the late, great Corey Rudl, Marlon Sanders, Robert Imbriale, Yanik Silver, Jim Edwards and many others have shown what can be done and in such a short space of time.

But one thing all these "gurus" have in common is that they have studied the markets. They have studied the psychology of what makes people buy. They have learned these principles from the great masters of the past the John Kennedy's, the Claude Hopkins, the Walter Dill Scott's, the Elmer Wheeler's.

And that's what my articles are all about.

You will be taken from the very beginnings of advertising and get an insight into the writings, the ideas and the philosophies of most of the greatest marketers that ever lived.

For sure, you will recognize much of the material that is mentioned as we take the "tour" but it's doubtful that you will have come across all of it.

All top marketers recommend that you continuously add to your education and you will not do better than picking up any (or all) of the material that you will be exposed to on your "tour."

Each manuscript mentioned in this "tour" is a desirable addition for your resource library.

Pick them up, maybe one at a time. And you will profit from them just like all the great masters have done past and present.

This article is a brief history of events leading up to the appearance of John E. Kennedy in 1904.

But it also highlights a few millions in advertising.

1704 The first newspaper ad appeared. It was in a Boston Newsletter and bought a buyer for an estate in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

1729 Benjamin Franklin starts to publish the Pennsylvania Gazette in Philadelphia which included ads.

1742 America's first magazine ads published by Benjamin Franklin in General Magazine.

1784 America's first successful daily newspaper, the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, starts in Philadelphia.

1833 Benjamin Day publishes the first successful "penny" newspaper, The Sun. Circulation reached 30,000 by 1837 which made it the largest in the world.

1843 Volney Palow opens the first ad agency in Philadelphia.

1868 Francis Wayland Ayer opens NW Ayer and Sons in Philadelphia with just $ 250.

His first clients include Montgomery Ward, John Wannamaker Dept. Stores, Singer Sewing machines, and Pond's beauty cream.

1873 The first convention for ad agencies held in New York.

1877 JW Thompson buys Culter and Smith from William J. Carlton and pays $ 500 for the business and $ 800 for the office furniture.

1880 Department Store founder John Wanamaker becomes first retailer to employ a full-time advertising copywriter John E. Powers.

Wannamaker makes famous statement: half my advertising is waste, I just do not know which half.

1881 Daniel M. Lord and Ambrose L. Thomas form Lord and Thomas in Chicago.

1881 Procter and Gamble advertise Ivory Soap with an intense budget of $ 11,000.

1886 NW Ayer promotes advertising with the slogan: Keeping everlastingly at it brings success.

1886 Richard Warren Sears became the world's first direct marketer.

1891 George Batten and Co. opens.

1892 NW Ayer hires first full-time copywriter.

1892 Sears Roebuck formed.

1893 Printer's Ink founded by George P. Rowell. A magazine that serves as the little schoolmaster in the art of advertising.

1898 NW Ayer helps National Biscuit Co. launch the first pre-packaged biscuit Uneeda.

1899 Campbell Soup makes its first advertising.

1899 JWT becomes the first agency to open an office in London. 1900 N. Ayer establishes a business-getting department to plan ad campaigns.

1904 John E. Kennedy bursts onto the scene to change the face of advertising forever.

My next article will continue with the evolution of advertising as we know it.

Mail order guru Ted Nicholas said that the old marketers were the best and that that they, and the works they produced, should be studied – he did!

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Source by Peter Woodhead

Give Yourself the Gift of Time – Honor Your Time – Your Space, In ALL Ways Honor Yourself First

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Honoring yourself, in many ways, can lead to new discovery of what makes you the most happy, whether at work, play or in your personal life. Nature has taught us the importance of work and rest and to find a balance between the two. Once you allow yourself the time and space to be in tune with your own thoughts, you steadily increase your focus and recharge your energy getting ready to face your world with a fully recharged battery.

Taking the time to focus on what’s going right in your life is more than just an afterthought; or, at least it should be. The first person that deserves your time, attention and consideration in life should be YOU!

In nature, one of the first things known and maintained for survival is following the ebbs, tides and flow of life; going along with the flow of how things work the best with the least amount of disdain or resistance.

Nature knows when, where and how to take a break. Whether a short quick break, a break to hibernate, a time to honor itself according to the flow of the winds, the tides, the seasons and with good reason; nature always knows exactly when and why to take a break and honor rest and silence.

Like the trees stop growing leaves; hence, they only stop for a short while; their desire is the gift of time to regenerate their energy; replenish their vitality; and honor themselves; take a lesson from the trees and honor yourself as well…

Authorize a block of minutes, make this a daily habit, to give quality time to yourself; be in tune with all the elements that came together and took form in the heavens and manifested on earth; the soul purpose pertaining to you, the perfect designer, knew exactly what to do; with purpose, not always seen on the surface; breathing life in you.

You are a three-dimensional being that is the uniquely- unequivocally crafted, gifted, rich and uplifted- a wonderful human being; THAT”S You, Comprised from the elements; same as the earth’s sand, water and a bit of salt too; when the creator was done; He took a moment to honor your space; His accomplishment was fun, vibrant

and new…

Body; Soul; Spirit, ALL inspired and designed for a unique existence; Aspire to nurture; nourish; encourage; engage in self-knowledge, give back importance to yourself you’ll prosper and flourish…

Meditation; exercise; daily prayer,any of these; hopefully, all three; you’ll advance your reverie,recovery, or perhaps new discovery..

Start with small steps and let your enthusiasm guide you with more time as you extend the process of silent, internal exercise, growing in you a muscle of self-worth, high self-esteem and enjoying your own company throughout the entire process. Get to know yourself as much as your want to get to know others.

Be your own best friend and watch how truly engaging you can be to yourself as you relax and reflect in the silent recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts and inspired acts that lead to realized dreams, that’s if you allow yourself the silent time to honor yourself!

The first person to receive love from you should be you! Remember to love yourself; honor and appreciate yourself, your time is yours to do as you desire, just don’t forget that you are worthy of silent time to spend in your own thoughts.

Revel on any level; be the best you that you can be… Honor your time and space…

Namaste..

(The divinity in me honors the divinity in you)

I enjoy learning from you and from others offering me knowledge continuously!

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Source by Lorie Ann Jermoune

Some Tips for Quickly Writing an Essay

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If you’re in high school and you’ve just gotten your major term paper assignment, odds are it’s not a little 500 word essay that you have to write. Pending on your level in your year, you may be looking at a 3 to 5000 word paper most likely do within a month. That said, you probably wondering if there’s a way that you can get to writing this post quickly and correctly so that you can finish it and finish up with a high mark. Of course, this means that you will have to do quite a bit of work in the beginning but, here are some tips that you can use when you’re looking to start writing that essay.

The first tip of course is to start research right away as soon as you either pick your topic or have gotten assigned to you. This is the major portion of writing an essay and it is something that for whatever reason, some students think they can just skip or doing complete job on. However, if you decide to do this you should know that you’ll be trying to research and write at the same time and this is something that for many of us, is not an easy thing to do and usually results in a shoddy final product.

Then once you may have completed in the past. This allows you to very quickly see both where you are in your writing process and to make sure that you stay on track.

Another thing for quickly writing your essay is once you started to write focus on one section for that day and when the section is written put, put it away, save it to the computer, and go do something else. Whatever you do you do not want to immediately go and try to edit it and polish it up as you just spend your time writing it and you will probably not see any mistakes anyway. The idea here is to let it sit for 24 hours and then once you’ve written your next section the next day, take it out and read over it peacefully and then you’ll be able to catch glasses and thought, confusing sentences and general errors that much quicker.

Finally, the best way to quickly write that essay is to let someone else edited at the end. This can be a family member it could be a friend or it could be a professional service. The idea is that you let them look through it and see what is wrong or needs to be corrected and you make the corrections and hand in the final paper this will cut down on your editing time and allow you more time to finish up on other topics.

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Source by Terry Lugbucket

History of the Computer – Cache Memory Part 1 of 2

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We looked at the early digital computer memory, see History of the computer – Core Memory, and mentioned that the present standard RAM (Random Access Memory) is chip memory. This conforms with the commonly quoted application of Moore’s Law (Gordon Moore was one of the founders of Intel). It states that component density on integrated circuits, which can be paraphrased as performance per unit cost, doubles every 18 months. Early core memory had cycle times in microseconds, today we are talking in nanoseconds.

You may be familiar with the term cache, as applied to PCs. It is one of the performance features mentioned when talking about the latest CPU, or Hard Disk. You can have L1 or L2 cache on the processor, and disk cache of various sizes. Some programs have cache too, also known as buffer, for example, when writing data to a CD burner. Early CD burner programs had ‘overruns’. The end result of these was a good supply of coasters!

Mainframe systems have used cache for many years. The concept became popular in the 1970s as a way of speeding up memory access time. This was the time when core memory was being phased out and being replaced with integrated circuits, or chips. Although the chips were much more efficient in terms of physical space, they had other problems of reliability and heat generation. Chips of a certain design were faster, hotter and more expensive than chips of another design, which were cheaper, but slower. Speed has always been one of the most important factors in computer sales, and design engineers have always been on the lookout for ways to improve performance.

The concept of cache memory is based on the fact that a computer is inherently a sequential processing machine. Of course one of the big advantages of the computer program is that it can ‘branch’ or ‘jump’ out of sequence – subject of another article in this series. However, there are still enough times when one instruction follows another to make a buffer or cache a useful addition to the computer.

The basic idea of cache is to predict what data is required from memory to be processed in the CPU. Consider a program, which is made up of a series instructions, each one being stored in a location in memory, say from address 100 upwards. The instruction at location 100 is read out of memory and executed by the CPU, then the next instruction is read from location 101 and executed, then 102, 103 etc.

If the memory in question is core memory, it will take maybe 1 microsecond to read an instruction. If the processor takes, say 100 nanoseconds to execute the instruction, it then has to wait 900 nanoseconds for the next instruction (1 microsecond = 1000 nanoseconds). The effective repeat speed of the CPU is 1 microsecond.. (Times and speeds quoted are typical, but do not refer to any specific hardware, merely give an illustration of the principles involved).

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Source by Tony Stockill

Learn How To Be Brief – Master Your Communication Skills Tip

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The great 19th Century American writer, Mark Twain, once said, “The worst kind of death is to be talked to death.” Twain’s message illustrated how excruciating it can be when you find yourself trapped in a boring conversation with a long-winded, unaware individual.

Last weekend I found myself in this type of situation when I went to pick up my friend Tom for a morning of beach volleyball. When I drove up to Tom’s house, I bumped into Tom’s neighbor, Ed. My experience with Ed is that he likes to tell long stories. Therefore, I have to be careful about getting into conversations with him when I have time constraints (like getting to the beach in time to meet up with friends).

Now I should first point out that Ed is a very nice person and to him a friendly conversation is part of his normal way of socializing. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to recognize when the other person is short on time or he just doesn’t know how to keep his stories brief. With Ed, it is very common for me to make a general comment in passing like “it’s a great day for volleyball” and have that lead to a 10-minute monologue on his part. Ed will often reply to such a comment by saying, “Yes, it’s a great day for volleyball. It reminds me of a time back in Kansas when I used to play ball and…blah, blah, blah.”

I’m sure that I come across to Ed as being a little rude but I’m almost forced to cut him short or listen impatiently when I don’t have the time. Ed doesn’t realize that his tendency to tell long, uninterrupted stories causes me to want to avoid getting into conversations with him. Even when I do have time to chat, I have to prepare myself for an unbalanced conversation where I’m likely to spend about 80% of my time listening and only 20% talking.

Ed may not be aware of himself being long-winded or maybe he doesn’t know how to be brief. In an effort to help those individuals who don’t know how to be brief, here are some pointers that will balance the air time so other people have an equal chance to talk:

• Don’t talk more than 15 seconds without letting the other person say a few words. This gives the other person a chance to say something before talking too much on your part.

• If you feel the need to share a story make sure to preface it by saying “Here’s a quick story.” Or you can also try asking for permission by saying “Can I tell you a quick story?”

• Make your quick stories quick by limiting yourself to two minutes at the most.

• Tell only the action part of the story. Avoid spending much time setting the scene or background to your story. If the story is interesting to the other person and they have the time to listen, there will be time later to fill in the details later when asked.

• Don’t start at square one – skip ahead to the meat of the story where the action lies.

• Like telling a joke, don’t draw out your story too long with lots of details or else you risk losing the attention of your audience.

• Ask “Are you with me?” somewhere in the middle of your story if you sense that you’re losing your audience’s attention. This also means that effective communication requires you to monitor the non-verbal response of your audience.

• If you start to drag or the listener shows you by their body language that they are not paying much attention quickly sum up your remarks by saying, “So to make a long story short…” or “So the point of my story is this….” or “So in other words,….”

To be an effective communicator in both your personal and professional relationships, you must learn how to be brief. The reality of communication is that most people’s attention spans are short…and sometimes very short!

THE BOTTOM LINE

Don’t bore people with long monologues. Learn to say what you have to say quickly, get to the point, and let the other person have a chance to speak. This habit will allow you to have a more receptive audience the next time you encounter these same people.

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Source by Steve Nakamoto

Haitian Vodoun Perspectives on Death and Dying

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I chose to explore the culture of Haitians who practice Vodou, a religion also known as Voodoo, Vodun, Vodoun, Voudun, and Yoruba Orisha.  I have just returned from a vacation in the Caribbean (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic), which shares an island with Haiti. While there, I met a man from Haiti and was reminded of a bizarre experience I had in 1998 when I was ridden by an orisha (loa) during an inner-city Christian church service. Thus, I thought this would make an interesting subject for this assignment. To make things simpler in this essay, I will refer to this group simply as Vodou or Vodoun.

Introducing Vodou and Haitian Culture

Vodou is a Caribbean religion blended from African religions and Catholic Christianity. Long stereotyped by the outside world as “black magic,” Vodoun priests and priestesses are also diviners, healers, and religious leaders, who derive most of their income from healing the sick rather than from attacking targeted victims.

Vodou comes from an African word for “spirit” and can be directly traced to the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. However, its African roots may go back 6,000 years. Today, Vodou is practiced most commonly in the country of Haiti and in the United States around New Orleans, New York, and in Florida. Today over 60 million people practice Vodou throughout the Caribbean and West Indies islands, as well as in North and South America, Africa, and Britain.

During days of slave trade, this religion fused with Catholic Christianity. Therefore, in this current century, children born into rural Haitian families are generally baptized into the Vodou religion as well as in the Catholic church.

Those who practice Vodou believe in a pantheon of gods who control and represent the laws and forces of the universe. In this pantheon, there is a Supreme Deity and the Loa-a large group of lesser deities equivalent to the saints of the Catholic Church. These gods protect people and give special favors through their representatives on earth which are the hougans (priests) and mambos (priestesses).

The Loa (also Lwa or L’wha) are spirits somewhat like saints or angels in Christianity. They are intermediaries between the Creator and humanity. Unlike saints or angels, they are not simply prayed to; they are served. They are each distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, songs, dances, ritual symbols, and special modes of service.

Rituals, Behaviors, and Practices Associated with Death and Dying

Haitians who adhere to Vodou do not consider death to be the end of life. They do believe in an afterlife. Followers of Vodoun believe that each person has a soul that has both a gros bon ange (large soul or universal life force), and a ti bon ange (little soul or the individual soul or essence.)

When one dies, the soul essence hovers near the corpse for seven to nine days. During this period, the ti bon ange is vulnerable and can be captured and made into a “spiritual zombie” by a sorcerer. Provided the soul is not captured, the priest or priestess performs a ritual called Nine Night to sever the soul from the body so the soul may live in the dark waters for a year and a day. If this is not done, the ti bon ange may wander the earth and bring misfortune on others.

After a year and a day, relatives of the deceased perform the Rite of Reclamation to raise the deceased person’s soul essence and put it in a clay jar known as a govi. The belief that each person’s life experiences can be passed on to the family or community compels Haitians to implore the spirit of the decease to temporarily possess a family member, priest (houngan), or priestess (mambo) to impart any final words of wisdom.

The clay jar may be placed in the houngan’s or mambo’s temple where the family may come to feed the spirit and treat it like a divine being.  At other times, the houngan burns the jar in a ritual called boule zen. This releases the spirit to the land of the dead, where it should properly reside. Another way to elevate the ti-bon-ange is to break the jar and drop the pieces at a crossroad.

The ultimate purpose of death rituals in the Vodoun culture is to send the gros-bon-ange to Ginen, the cosmic community of ancestral spirits, where it will be worshipped by family members as a loa itself. Once the final ritual is done, the spirit is free to abide among the rocks and trees until rebirth. Sixteen incarnations later, spirits merge into the cosmic energy.

Here are some other common behaviors associated with death in the Haitian culture:

·        When death is impending, the entire family will gather, pray, cry, and use religious medallions or other spiritual artifacts. Relatives and friends expend considerable effort to be present when death is near.

·        Haitians prefer to die at home, but the hospital is also an acceptable choice.

·        The moment of death is marked by ritual wailing among family members, friends, and neighbors.

·        When a person dies, the oldest family member makes all the arrangements and notifies the family. The body is kept until the entire family can gather.

·        The last bath is usually given by a family member.

·        Funerals are important social events and involve several days of social interaction, including feasting and the consumption of rum.

·        Family members come from far away to sleep at the house, and friends and neighbors congregate in the yard.

·        Burial monuments and other mortuary rituals are often costly and elaborate. People are increasingly reluctant to be buried underground. They prefer to be interred above ground in an elaborate multi-chambered tomb that may cost more than the house in which the individual lived while alive.

·        Since the body is thought to be necessary for resurrection, organ donation and cremation are not allowed. Autopsy is allowed only if the death occurred as a result of wrong doing or to confirm that the body is actually dead and not a zombie.

Like many Western Christian religions that use a figurative sacrifice to symbolize the consumption of flesh and blood, some Vodoun ceremonies include a literal sacrifice in which chickens, goats, doves, pigeons, and turtles are sacrificed to celebrate births, marriages, and deaths.

Vodou Beliefs about Afterlife

Practitioners of Vodou assume that the souls of all the deceased go to an abode beneath the waters. Concepts of reward and punishment in the afterlife are alien to Vodou.

In Vodou, the soul continues to live on earth and may be used in magic or it may be incarnated in a member of the dead person’s family.

Communion with a god or goddess occurs in the context of possession. The gods sometimes work through a govi, and sometimes take over a living person. This activity is referred to as “mounting a horse” during which the person loses consciousness and the body becomes temporarily possessed by a loa. A special priest (houngan) or priestess (mambo) assists both in summoning the divinities and in helping them to leave at the termination of the possession.

The gros-bon-ange returns to the high solar regions from which its cosmic energy was first drawn; there, it joins the other loa and becomes a loa itself.

Variations

Each group of worshipers is independent and there is no central organization, religious leader, or set of dogmatic beliefs. Rituals and ceremonies vary depending upon family traditions, regional differences, and exposure to the practices of other cultures such as Catholicism, which is the official religion of Haiti.

Some Haitians believe that the dead live in close proximity to the loa, in a place called “Under the Water.” Others hold that the dead have no special place after death.

Burial ceremonies vary according to local tradition and the status of the person. Some families do not express grief aloud until most of the deceased’s possessions have been removed from the home. Persons who are knowledgeable in the funeral customs wash, dress, and place the body in a coffin. Mourners wear white clothing which represents death. A priest may be summoned to conduct the burial service. The burial usually takes place within 24 hours.

Conclusion

Westerners, or so-called logical people, might find Vodoun a strange and exotic mixture of spells, possessions, and rituals. Like any other religion, its purpose is to comfort people by giving them a common bond. Vodoun meshes surprisingly well with Catholicism, the official religion of Haiti. With a supreme being, saint-like spirits, belief in the afterlife and invisible spirits, along with the protection of patron saints, Voodoo isn’t that different from traditional religions. 

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Source by Yvonne Perry

Facts About Betty Kresin, Eminem’s grandmother

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Betty Kresin, Eminem’s grandmother from the maternal side , got married at the age of 14. She got six children from 3 different marriages.

She first married Bob Nelson. She gave birth to her daughter Debbie in 1955.She accuses her first husband, Bob Nelson, of being verbally abusive. Both moved to Warren, Michigan, to be closer to Betty’s stepmother .Despite the problems the couple experienced, she gave Bob two more sons, Todd and Steven.They divorced in the early 60’s and Betty came back to her hometown St Joseph, where she met Ron Gilpin, her second husband.She had two more children with him. One of them is Betti Schmitt (Eminem’s aunt and Debbie’s half sister), who is still in touch and in good terms with Eminem. Ron Gilpin was an alcoholic who used to beat up his whole family. Violence was part of their daily life. Ron left his family in 1968.Dramas surrounded Betty’s family. In 1991, Todd Nelson killed his brother-in-law, Mike Harris in self defense case. He was sentenced to jail for 8 years.Betty ‘s sixth child from a third marriage, Ronnie Polkingharn, was Eminem’s uncle and closest friend. He committed suicide in 1991.

Eminem grew up for a while at his grandmom’s home. She talks about his harsh conditions of living in Detroit :

« It was a poor school and they wanted his shoes. He was one of the only white children going to this segregated school. And one time they took the shoes off his feet and he had to come home in a snowstorm with no shoes on. But the story people keep asking me – “he was unconscious and almost died and all these doctors…”, now I know nothing about this and I’m his grandmother. »

People should think twice before calling Marshall a racist.

Betty was angry with Marshall because he never attended to Ronnie’s funeral. In fact, Marshall went depressive and swallowed a bottle of Tylenol and survived to another suicide attempt. He was unable to go to Ronnie’s funeral, his pain was too immense.But Betty didn’t know what happened during this period.

“I was kind of bitter about him writing about my dead son, because the last five years of my deceased boy, Marshall had not even seen him. Marshall – Eminem – and my son Ronnie were very close. He idolised Ronnie and Ronnie loved him. He never even came to Ronnie’s funeral and he has never put the first flower on Ronnie’s grave. He doesn’t do anything – he won’t go near the grave. The chain that Marshall wears around his neck, the dog-tag – that was Ronnie’s. I gave him the dog-tag, he makes duplicates, he sells them now, and that really broke my heart because this is something sacred to me that I gave the boy. If my son could speak to you today from the grave he would say, “Marshall stop some of the garbage, make up with your family, life’s too short”.”

Marshall had a good relationship to his granny until he wanted to use Ronnie’s voice on a tape. He intended to do this as a tribute to his deceased uncle, but Betty thought he was disrespectful towards her son. In 2002 , both reconciled.

Betty Kresin is currently writing a book on her grandson which shall be entitled « The Tie That Binds ».

Betty says she’s proud of her grandson and that she stands on his side.

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Source by Isabelle Esling