Tag: breaking news

DIY Penis Rings for DIY Fun

Lluent.

In the world of male sex toys, the penis ring may well be the most popular and widely used. Even though dozens of manufactured rings are available, some men prefer to go with a homemade version. As long as attention is paid to ensure proper use and continued good penis health, homemade penis rings can be a fun DIY experience.

Why homemade?

There are a number of reasons why a man might prefer a DIY penis ring to one that can be purchased at a sex toy shop or online. Some of these reasons include:

1. Cost. There can be a wide variation in the cost for these special rings; a basic rubber model may be only a few dollars, but a more deluxe version with vibrating capacity can easily go $ 20 or higher. Frugal shoppers may prefer a DIY method to save a few bucks to spend on a special date (or to stock up on condoms).

2. Embarrassment. Some men just do not feel comfortable going into a store, standing in the sex toy aisles and then paying for a choice at the cashier. Even ordering online may be embarrassing for some men – or they may just not want to have it show up on their shared credit card statement.

3. Creativity. We are living in an increasingly DIY world; more and more, people like to individualize everything from their cell phone covers to their wardrobe choices, so why not their sex toys? A homemade ring gives a man the opportunity to let the toy say something special about him.

4. Trial run. It's not a bad idea for a man to try out a ring with an inexpensive home version to see what he thinks before taking the plunge with the "pro" models.

What can one use?

A penis ring is a circular device typically worn over the penis or (more usually) the penis and testicles. It restricts the flow of blood into and out of the penal; this can often increase both the firmness and the duration of a man's appreciation.

Any object that can fit around the genitals and provides some tightness can be used. Some popular DIY options include:

  • Shoelaces or other strings. This is one of the easiest options. Simply tie up the genitals in the appropriate manner. Because it is tied, this option is easy to loosen or tighten as desired and usually easy to remove.
  • Rubber bands. These are also popular, although it's typically a good idea to use a good lubricant when applying; otherwise, the rubber bands can be a bit painful when removing. There is also the risk that the rubber band may snap or become too tight.
  • Rubber bracelets. Many of the popular rubber bracelets found on the street are a perfect size for use as a penis ring. Again, proper lubrication is required.
  • Plumber's rings. Many plumbing supply stores sell rubber or metal rings for various plumbing uses that are an appropriate size for genital rings. (Lubrication, of course, is a must.)

Use with care

As with any sex toy, appropriate care must be taken when using a penis ring. Sufficient lubrication is always a good idea. Other things to remember are:

  • Use only for a limited amount of time. Some men want to walk around with an appreciation for hours at a time, but this can cause damage to the penal. It's best to use a ring when embarking on a sexual experience (solo or with a partner) and then to remove it as soon as the experience is over.
  • If there is any pain, discomfort or numbness that occurs with the ring, loosen or remove it altogether.
  • Consult a doctor before using with medications intended to treat erectile dysfunction.

A homemade penis ring can be an excellent introduction to this form of sex play; for some men, the ensuing sexual activity may result in a sore (if very happy) penis, so always use a high quality penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) for after-care. The soreness of an overworked penis will respond to the benefits of a high end emollient such as shea butter and a natural hydrator like vitamin E. But make sure the cream also includes L-arginine, an important ingredient in helping to maintain proper penis blood flow.

All About Freelance Ghostwriting Jobs

13 bedroom Cross Creek

The term "ghostwriting" refers to writing for someone that you do not receive credit for. Famous people, for example, seldom write their own autobiographies. Instead, they hire a ghostwriter to tell their story for them.

Why would a freelance ghostwriter agree to forfeit credit for his or her work? Simple: money. Clients usually pay ghostwriters far more than a "normal" writer's fee of $ 20- $ 50 an hour. Small books (150 pages or less) usually cost a client at least $ 25,000. Fees go up from there depending on the length and type of book, as well as the amount of research required by the ghostwriter.

The fees are high because you can not slap your byline on the work and you forfeit all rights to royalties that your book generates. The exceptions are if the client agreements to put your name in print on the cover, name you as a co-author, or offer you part of the royalties. In those cases, you would often give a hefty discount depending on the return you expected.

What types of books can I ghostwrite?

Many industries seek the skills of freelance ghostwriters. Fiction and children's writing are common – people often have (or think they have) an amazing storyline, but lack the writing ability to sell it.

Freelance ghostwriters often pen non-fiction books, such as autobiographies and instructional, business, and self-help books. Sometimes these ghostwriters are experts in the subject matter, sometimes they are not. You may have to do a lot of research, or none at all.

You can also ghostwrite for smaller projects, like articles and web content. These do not usually pay more than normal writing but they're good resume builders.

Where can I find freelance ghostwriting gigs?

Set up a website to promote your freelance ghostwriting services. Because ghostwriting is expensive, it's important to buyers that you are really a ghostwriting professional. Presenting yourself with a polished website is a great way to emphasize your credibility.

It is more than possible to find ghostwriting jobs on freelancing websites, but buyers there are usually less knowledgeable and therefore less willing to pay good money. It is common to see ads for a 250-page book that needs writing with a budget of $ 500 or less. It does not hurt to keep your eye out for a gem though – it does happen occasionally.

What skills do I need to be a freelance ghostwriter?

If you have experience, you're off to a great start. If you lack experience, thumb through your files to see if you can use some of that as writing examples, or write some from scratch. You do not have to ghostwrite it to prove your writing skills. If you have a particular client in mind, do your best to match your writing style and samples to the type of writing you think your client is looking for.

Remember that any samples you send can not be ghostwritten work. Without otherwise specified in the agreement, you can not ever dislose that you're the author behind ghostwritten work. In these cases, feel free to describe the book you ghostwrote and how well it's doing.

How should I respond to a ghostwriting ad?

If you find a promising ad (or if someone contacts you), respond professionally using perfect grammar and polite language. For practice, try responding to this sample ad:

I'm looking for someone to write a book about choosing the right family pet. I have an outline and some research but a little more will be required. The book should only be about 100 pages. I will own all rights afterwards. Serious writers only.

What should you say to this person? Well, it's good to start off expressing an interest in their subject matter. Ghostwriting projects are usually dear to buyers' hearts, so if you start by saying you're passionate about pets, you'll catch his eye right away.

Next, you'll want to insure him that you can handle the task. If you do not have enough experience to convince him, suggest having him send one chapter outline and writing a sample for him for free. Yes, it's a bit of unpaid work for you, but it will mean thousands of dollars if you get the job.

Finally, quote a fee. The book is short and research appears to be minimal. If you're experienced, quote $ 25,000. If you're not, quote around $ 15,000. It's far less than an experienced ghostwriter would make, but you have to start somewhere. Good luck!

Storytellers Are Better Writers

Church of Santa María de Colliure, France

"Three apples fell from heaven, one for the teller, one for the listener and one for the one who heads the tale." Armenian Proverb

Everyone loves a good story, whether from a book, a spoken tale, or a movie. However, most people, children and adult alike, would say, "I can not tell stories." The truth is, everyone can tell a story, they just need to know how. Telling stories is reliably easy because you do not repeat the story word-for-word. When memorizing a poem or scripture each word must be correct. A story requires two abilities: memory and imagination. Both are skills children have in abundance. Why not hatred that talent to teach your children writing?

If you want to see your children's writing soar, teach them to be storytellers. Like reading or cooking or working cooperatively with others, storytelling is a life skill. When your child gets the knack of storytelling in everyday circumstances he will have a lasting nationality and write more expressively, be attuned to the beauty of language, give a listening ear to others telling a good story, recognize good writing, and think more imaginatively.

Using storytelling in your homeschool brings a great deal more than the enjoyment of stories. You are giving your children a foundation in orality . Just as literacy is the ability to read and write, orality is the ability to speak and listen. All four modes-reading, writing, speaking, and listening-make up human communication. Orality supports literacy. Storytelling is the highest form of orality.

Typically to help a child read better and write better we make him do more of both, usually with some resistance. The most effective way to improve literacy is to increase oral language experiences, like narration, recitation, play-acting, to name a few. Storytelling is the best form of oral language experience because the teller internalizes a set of relationships and structures that they can then map back onto experience. Think of a fairy tale you love. What does it show you? The value of being kind, the lowest often makes it to the top, the need for merit and honesty, are just a few.

Orality takes the form of stories, rhymes, sayings, conversation, and songs. Using oral language experiences with preschool children is easy, since they are preliterate and in love with words. It is sheer fun to giggle with a toddler and say a nonsense rhyme.

Once children master reading, however, the focus tends to be on the printed word and sadly, speaking and listening beginning to lag behind. To achieve their best in reading and writing, elementary students must continue to develop their oral skills of speaking and listening.

How can I bring a great orality to my homeschool?

Here are a few simple, easy to do activities that require little or no preparation:

1. Read aloud to your children every day. Pick stories and books that have a strong plot and rich use of language. Avoid adaptations of well-known stories or books.

2. Use narration every day. Narration is the art of telling back in your own words a passage that is read.

3. Do simple nursery rhymes and finger-plays with your children. If you have older children, teach them so they can do finger-plays with the younger ones. You can find books of finger-plays and nursery rhymes at your library. A few well-know rhymes are: "Jack and Jill", "Hey, Diddle Diddle, the Cat and Fiddle", "Little Miss Muffet", and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"

4. Make storytelling a special time during the day or week. Use folktale collections or picture books that are retellings of folktales and ask your elementary age children to learn to tell them.

Tell stories about your own life. All children love to hear about when their parents were little.

6. Tell simple, well-known stories such as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Ten Little Monkeys." See if your children can tell all or part of the story themselves.

What does all this have to do with writing?

If you want to help children improve their writing you have them write? Right? Wrong. When children are asked to do writing, they often struggle because they are asked to perform two very different developmental tasks-write and think spontaneously. One task at a time is usually no problem; but, both at once require a certain amount of maturity. Begin from a different point — try having your child tell rather than write the sentence, paragraph or story.

The process

Here's the process: compose orally, revise orally, then-and only then-write it down. At another time ask your child to check for accuracy in grammar and punctuation but certainly not when they are composing (orally or in writing). That's it. It sounds simple and it is. However, to see results requires consistency and a light touch. Your child needs to become accustomed to thinking out loud. Be patient and praise all efforts. Be sure to offer guidelines at the start but do not prompt with answers. There are no wrong answers with this approach, only good, better and best. Let your child sometimes play turn-about and have you try the process.

If you're ready to give the process a try, set aside the writing workbooks for a time (you can always come back to them later). The results will amaze you.

To Learn More

To learn more about how to tell stories, check your library for the following books:

The Storyteller's Start-Up Book: Finding, Learning, Performing, and Using Folktales: Including Twelve Tellable Tales, Margaret Read MacDonald

This is an easy-to-understand handbook that gets you started telling.

The Way of the Storyteller, Ruth Sawyer

This is a classic of storytelling literature and one of my favorites that I go to for inspiration

What Makes a Person Intelligent?

sunrise off the bow

In traditional intelligence theories when one is asked the question “What makes a person intelligent?” the most common responses will often note a person’s ability to solve problems, utilize logic, and think critically. These typical traits of intelligence are sometimes grouped together under the heading “raw intelligence”. A person’s intelligence, traditionally speaking, is contained in their intellect. In other words, how we each understand, evaluate or respond to external stimuli, regardless as to whether it is a mathematical problem or anticipation of an opponent’s next move in a game, is our collective intelligence. Our intelligence therefore, is our individual, collective ability to act or react in a continually changing environment.

The principal problem in traditional intelligence theories is that they promote “fractured learning”. Many educational reformers have clearly stated that “taking tests merely shows that a student is skilled at taking tests”. At best, traditional tests focus on only about one tenth of an individual’s intellect. Note that Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, two of history’s most famous examples of brilliant minds, were terrible at taking traditional tests, therefore terrible at “school” in general. Multiple Intelligences theory then, demonstrates that the ability to take traditional tests is almost entirely in the realm of the Logical – Mathematical

intelligence. This intelligence will be detailed later along with the Interpersonal intelligence, which imparts in some students the ability to second guess a teacher’s structuring of a test. Traditional IQ tests predict school performance with considerable accuracy, but they are only an indifferent predictor of performance in a profession after formal schooling.

In an interesting but controversial study conducted during the 1960’s by Biologist Marion Diamond, of the University of California at Berkeley, two sets of rats were raised in different environments; One set had toys to play with, playmates to romp with and a roomy box that was kept clean and fresh. The second set was put in solitary confinement; all alone in a much smaller cage with no toys to enjoy. After several weeks, Diamond measured the size of each rat’s cerebral cortex, the brain area which is responsible for higher nerve functions. The rats in the sociable, clean and stimulating environment grew brains bigger than the rats with the impoverished surroundings. “Does the enriched environment increase the dimensions of the brain, and does the impoverished environment decrease the dimensions of the brain?”, asked Diamond. “The answer, very clearly, is YES.” Similar results were replicated with cats, monkeys and later with humans. So a stimulating, enriched learning environment is crucial to mental development. If we likewise incorporate the varying student intelligences in our teaching activities, our success as well as our students success, will be markedly improved. That each of us possess all the intelligences, that they can each be developed further, that these multiple intelligences work together in a complex manner, and that there are, in fact, many different ways to be “intelligent” are inclusive in a study by Armstrong. Here briefly, in retrospect, are eight of the major intelligences of Howard Gardener’s theory and their relative traits:

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence:

The capacity to use words effectively, either orally or in writing. It is highly developed in story-tellers, orators, politicians, poets, playwrights, editors, language teachers and journalists. Students with a high degree of this intelligence think in words; learn by listening, reading, and verbalizing. They enjoy writing, like books, records, and tapes, and have a good memory for verse, lyrics, or trivia. Getting into discussions, telling jokes and debating are also characteristics of this intelligence. Maya Angelou is strong in this intelligence.

Visual-Spatial Intelligence:

The ability to perceive the world accurately and to perform transformations upon one’s perceptions. This is highly developed in guides, interior designers, architects, artists, fashion designers and inventors. Students with a high degree of spatial intelligence think in images and pictures, like mazes and jigsaw puzzles. They like to draw and design things, and enjoy films, slides, videos, diagrams, maps, charts. The daydreamers and those who may have strong opinions about such things as colors that go together, textures that are appropriate and pleasing and decorating are included in this intelligence. Pablo Picasso was strong in this intelligence.

Musical – Rhythmic Intelligence: The capacity to perceive, discriminate, transform, and express musical forms is most highly developed in musical performers, music aficionados, and music critics. Students with a high degree of musical intelligence learn through rhythm and melody, play a musical instrument, or May need music to study. They notice nonverbal sounds in the environment: the chirp of a cricket, rain on the roof, varying traffic patterns, and usually learn things more easily if sung, tapped out, or whistled. These people love music and rhythmic patterns and can often reproduce a melody or rhythmic pattern after hearing it only once. Various sounds, tones, and rhythms may have a visible effect on them (that is, you can see a change in facial expressions, body movement, or emotional responses). They enjoy singing and listening to a wide variety of music, and are often quite skilled at mimicking sounds, language accents, and others’ speech patterns, and recognizing different musical instruments in a composition. Paul McCartney is strong in this intelligence.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:

The capacity to use numbers effectively and to reason well. This intelligence is highly developed in mathematicians, tax accountants, statisticians, scientists, computer programmers, and logicians. Students with a high degree of this intelligence often reason things out logically and clearly; look for abstract patterns and relationships; frequently like brain teasers, logical puzzles, and strategy games. They also like to use computers and to classify and categorize. These people think conceptually and abstractly and are able to see patterns and relationships that others often miss. They like to experiment, solve puzzles and other problems, ask cosmic questions and think. They love the challenge of complex problems to solve and always have a logical rationale or argument for what they are doing or thinking. Albert Einstein was strong in this intelligence.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: Consists of expertise in using one’s whole body to express ideas and feelings, and facility in using ones hands to produce or transform things. A highly developed intelligence in actors, mimes, athletes, dancers, sculptors, mechanics, and surgeons. Students with a high degree of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence process knowledge through bodily sensations; move, twitch, tap, or fidget while sitting in a chair or at a desk and learn by touching, manipulating, and moving. They typically like role playing and creative movement and generally like physical games of all kinds and demonstrating how to do something. They communicate well through body language and other physical gestures. They can often perform a task only after seeing someone else do it. They find it difficult to sit still for a long time and are easily bored if they are not actively involved in what is going on around them. Michael Jordan is strong in this intelligence.

Interpersonal Intelligence:

The ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people. This Intelligence can include sensitivity to facial expressions, voice, and gestures, as well as the ability to respond effectively to such cues. Students with a high degree of interpersonal intelligence understand and care about people; like to socialize; learn more easily by relating and cooperating and are good at teaching other students. These people learn through person-to-person interaction. They generally have lots of friends; show a great deal of empathy for other people and understanding of different points of view. They are skilled at drawing others out in a discussion, conflict resolution and mediation when people are in radical

opposition to each other. Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi were strong in this intelligence.

Intra-personal Intelligence:

Self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge define this group. This is an intelligence which can include having an accurate picture of one’s strengths and limitations, awareness of one’s moods and motivations, and the capacity for self-discipline. Students with a high degree of this intelligence seem to be self-motivating; need their own quiet space; may march to the beat of a different drummer and tend to learn more easily with independent study, self-paced instruction, individualized projects and games.

These people like to work alone and sometimes shy away from others. They are self-reflective and self-aware and thus tend to be in tune with their inner feelings, values, beliefs, and thinking processes. They are frequently bearers of creative wisdom and insight, are highly intuitive, and are inwardly motivated rather than needing external rewards to keep them going. They are often strong-willed, self-confident, and definite, well-thought-out opinions on almost any issue (although they are sometimes off-the-wall). Other people will often come to them for advice and counsel, but others will sometimes view them as distant or weird. Emily Dickinson and Stephen King are examples of this intelligence.

Naturalist Intelligence:

Environmental knowledge and the ability to identify and categorize plants, animals and nature on the basis of that knowledge. The Naturalist Intelligence can include having an accurate picture of the ambient environment, awareness of the interrelationship of natural elements, and the capacity for self-analysis of these elements. It is found most highly developed in archeologists, animal handlers, animal trainers, veterinarians, biologists, racehorse jockeys, zoologists, environmentalists, wilderness guides and naturalists. Students who have a high degree of the naturalist intelligence seem to be nature-oriented, seek to be outdoors or in the elements and learn more easily with nature-related study and environmental projects and activities. They like to collect items from nature, study them, and group them. They tend to be aware of subtleties in appearance, texture, and sounds that those weaker in this intelligence may not grasp. Charles Darwin, Jacques Cousteau, and John James Audubon were strong in this intelligence.

One of the great promises of Multiple Intelligences theory in education is that it will help us to find individual pathways into and out of our students’ minds. Recent advances in educational psychology and research in applied MI theory offer educators a real possibility of developing the potential of all students. Both educators and students should derive from Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory that all people are different and learn differently, and that we should respect, value, and nurture that diversity.

Reference Websites:

Reference website for multiple intelligences links and activities:

[http://surfaquarium.com/im.htm]

Exploring Multiple Intelligences: New Dimensions of Learning

[http://www.multi-intell.com/]

Multiple Intelligences Resources

http://www.theatreinmotion.com/resources.htm

Basic MI Theory

http://edweb.gsn.org/edref.mi.th.html

Multiple Intelligence Theory: Principles

http://www.harding.edu/~cbr/midemo/prin.html

Multiple Intelligences: Theory and Practice in the K-12 Class

[http://www.indiana.edu/~eric_rec/ieo/bibs/multiple.html]

Task Card Overview/Multiple Intelligences

[http://www.metronet.com/~bhorizon/teach.htm]

Association for the Promotion and Advancement of Science Education activities website – http://discoverlearning.com/forensic/docs/index.html

Naturalist Intelligence – Sea World / Busch Gardens website for students

http://www.seaworld.org/animal_bytes/animal_bytes.html

Famous People With Asperger’s Syndrome

Cramond Island

Recently, some researchers, in particular, Simon Baron-Kohen and John James, suggested that such well-known personalities from the past, as Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton had Asperger’s syndrome. Scientists say that they showed some tendencies of the syndrome in their behavior, such as an intense interest in one topic, or social problems. One of the chapters of this Gillberg’s book is devoted to this theme, including a detailed case analysis of the situation with philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein with the conclusion that the person meets the criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome. Naturally, the absence of diagnosis during life does not mean that there was nothing to diagnose, especially if we bear in mind that while there was no widespread knowledge about the syndrome (as often happens with Asperger’s syndrome, which recently has been widely recognized in psychiatric circles). However, such post-mortem diagnosis remains controversial.

Arguments in favor of the alleged autism spectrum disorders in famous personalities vary from person to person. Some of them argue that in the case of Albert Einstein (one of the most frequently cited suspected autistic), he learned to talk late, was a lonely kid, organized violent tantrums, silently repeated the previously pronounced sentence, and needed his wives to play the role of parents when he was an adult – the stereotypical factors for autistic individuals. Isaac Newton stuttered and suffered from epilepsy. Many of these alleged historical cases of Asperger’s syndrome can be quite soft (not expressed), but some skeptics argue that in these cases only some features of autism can be seen, and they are not enough to diagnose autism spectrum. In the end, many critics of historical diagnosis claim that it is simply impossible to diagnose the dead, and therefore nothing can be said with certainty about historic individuals with (or withour) Asperger’s syndrome.

All of these assumptions may be just an attempt to create a pattern of behavior (role model, an object for imitation) for people with autism, and demonstrate that they can do constructive things, and make a contribution to society. Such a presumptive diagnosis is often used by activists for the rights of people with autism to show that the treatment of autism would be a loss to society. But others in the organizations for the rights of autistic people do not like these arguments because they feel that people with autism have to appreciate their uniqueness even if they do not want to be healed, regardless of whether people like Einstein were autistic.

Some features of appearance and facts of activity indicate that John Carmack is also a man with AS, or he has other unusual personality type of a similar nature.

Possible causes and origins of Asperger’s syndrome is hotly debated and controversial topic. The majority opinion today is that the causes of Asperger’s syndrome are the same as autism’s. Some researchers, however, disagree and argue that the Asperger syndrome and autism are lead by two different things. All this occurs during the ongoing wider debate about whether Asperger’s syndrome and other conditions (such as attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder – ADHD) are the part of the so-called autism spectrum.

Among many competing theories about the causes of autism (and, therefore, as many believe – Asperger’s Syndrome) – theory of non-complete connection, developed by researchers of cognition at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the theory of marginal male brain of Simon Baron-Kohena, the theory of pre-working, theory of social structure and genetics.

Some theorists give more arguments in favor of Asperger’s syndrome than autism. Sometimes they argument that some specific theories play a greater role in Asperger’s syndrome, for example, theory of social structure and genetics. However, this is the area of considerable controversy.

Finance Management: Balance the Books to Keep Your Head Above Water

Wandering through the Garden

Finance management has become important again – as if it was ever unimportant! The past few years have been difficult times, and just when we all believed things were getting better, it is all starting over again. Sure, we should all keep an eye on what we spend, but people have been feeling more secure laTely. Now with the American Dollar disintegrating and affecting world treaties that were already generally weakening, what can we do to balance the books and keep our heads above water?

Basically, we have to do what we should always be doing: spend less than we make. Whether you are at the head of a large corporation, are a manager, are running your own small business or are an individual trying to run your home, if you spend more than you make then the ultimate result is disaster. Effective finance management is essential. You must balance the books so you do not spend too much.

Hiring Help

If you are running a business and are having trouble looking after your finances, then get help. You do not have to employ somebody full time just yet – but hire a consultant to help you. Maybe a part time accountant or bookkeeper will be able to keep you on the right track. You must manage your finances, whether your company is multinational or just a one-person business. The same is true if you are a family – you will also suffer if you spend more than you earn.

Essential Spending

Finance management is more than just being able to balance the books, but is also about spending where it is most effective. Essential spending must be targeted and you must leave what you can do without. In order to achieve this, you must have an accounting system that enables you to control how you receive and pay out money. Not only control, but analyze and improve, and help you to maintain your monthly budget.

Budgeting

A monthly budget is essential in finance management, and a great way to keep track of your spending. First, you must target unnecessary expenditure, and you should start with the office – not because the office is the least important part of your business, because all parts are important, but because that is where you have most latitude in reducing costs.

Savings

Look for bulk discounts on office supplies that will save you money over the year. Use your initial savings to upgrade to a computerized accounting system that will absolutely save you a great deal of money, and will help you balance the books by recording and tracking income and expenditure. A good finance management system can be worth its weight in gold to a small or medium business that can not afford an entire financial and accounting department.

Similar considerations apply to you as an individual. Finance management involves checking your income against essential expenditure and then knowing exactly what is left for non-essentials. It is as important to balance the books in your household as it is in your business. Then both can survive any crisis thrown at it if you spend less than you make.

What Is the USPS EPacket Service

Breathing...

In January 2013, the USPS will be increasing their rates for First Class International Mail for packages dramatically. In many cases, the rates to ship a package internationally will double. Although this may seem like very bad news to many Amazon and eBay sellers, there is some good news. The USPS is officially launching a new International Service called Commercial ePacket in the United States.

Commercial ePacket is a USPS product offered via the services of a USPS approved Pre-Qualified Wholesaler (PQW). This service seems to be very beneficial to many shippers sending lightweight low value items overseas. Amazon & eBay sellers can now take comfort in the fact that they will no longer have to prepare the documentation and required labels for exporting from the USA. The USPS PQW that you select, will take care of all the necessary documentation. In addition, all eRetailers can now track these packages on USPS.com to the 14 participating countries.

Some key features of the Commercial ePacket Service are as follows:

  • Economical eCommerce postal product with tracking and delivery confirmation
  • Lightweight low value merchandise, < 2 Kilos & < $400 value
  • Dispatched as commercial Letter-Post Packets and utilizes overseas foreign prime post network.
  • Transit time is 4-7 days
  • Postal Customs Clearance (Duties & Taxes paid by recipient)
  • Free returns on undeliverable items
  • Tracking is performed right on USPS.com
  • 14 Participating countries: Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain. Ireland, Finland, France, Portugal, and UK.
  • Delivery scan rates of 90% on average for all countries
  • Pricing provided by a USPS approved PQW
  • Induction sites are New York, Chicago, & Los Angeles
  • Acceptance scan by USPS and delivery scan by foreign post
  • Unique Label and Barcode ID – LX item prefix
  • Electronic manifesting, labeling done by Pre-Qualified Wholesaler, & dropped off in sacks ONLY

How does ePacket work?

Customers would contact a USPS PQW in their region and speak with someone regarding how they can get started. Ideally you would want to select a PQW who has mailing capabilities in all three acceptance cities. This becomes extremely important during inclement weather and natural disasters. Using a PQW with multiple facilities located in all 3 acceptance facilities ensures that your mail can be re-routed to another acceptance center if one becomes closed or has no flights departing as we saw during Hurricane Sandy.

The PQW will walk you throught the process of setting up your labels and data capture features. Once you have all of the data capture features running, you will either send your shipments or the PQW will dispatch a vehicle to your location. Each day you will need to provide the mail you are dispatching and send a manifest electronically outlining all the customs information for each package.

Once your packages arrive at the PQW, the PQW will confirm that they have received your electronic manifest for that particulars days shipment. If the PQW does not receive your manifest they can not process your mail through the Commercial ePacket service. After receipt of your manifest the electronic information will be uploaded into the USPS system and all the labels and necessary customs documentation will be generated. The packages will then have the proper labeling and will be sacked by country of destination and delivered to the USPS designated International Service Center (ISC).

Once accepted at the USPS ISC, the sacks will be opened and every package scanned as evidence of posting and placed on the next available outbound flight for that destination country. After flight arrival, the packages will clear through customs via the Postal Customs Clearance mechanism. This ensures that your packages move quickly through the clearance process and will not be impacted by typical delays incured by the normal airfreight clearance system.

After Clearance, packages will then be entered into the PRIME network and will receive priority processing within the destination country. Customers that are waiting to receive their packages, can have confidence that they will see the tracking information directly on the USPS website. This one feature should eliminate many customer service calls that many Amazon & eBay sellers receive daily from their customers.

Once the packages make it through the postal system of the destination country, the package will be scanned as delivered by the mail carrier once it is delivered.This scanning event will then be uploaded into the USPS site and available to all who wish to monitor the progress of each shipment.

Based on my initial findings, this service seems to be an excellent offering for companies shipping 100 or more packages daily. However, some customers that are shipping less than 100 packages per day, may also be able to benefit from this service if they decide to consolidate one or two days worth of orders before dispatching. Obviously, each customer has their own idiosyncracies that may factor into when a service like Commercial ePacket becomes beneficial. However, depending upon how far you are from JFK Airport, O’hare International Airport, or Los Angeles International Airport it may become feasible to use the service daily even if you have less than 100 packages daily. For specifics regarding the service, I would contact a USPS approved PQW today.

The 7 C’s of Business Writing

Lost in the road F570, Iceland mode... =O)

Having some hard times in business writing? For some reasons, you just don’t have to. There is always a solution to every problem and in your part, you can look for simple ways to help you out in your writing tasks.

If you’ve been looking for simple guidelines you can follow in business writing, you might want to consider the “7 C’s.” While quick to understand and easy to remember, following them is guaranteed to improve the quality of your business papers.

  1. Clarity. Good business writing is clear. It has a definite message, with no confusion about what each sentence is trying to communicate.
  2. Correctness. It has both correct grammar (courtesy of a business English software) and accurate facts, successfully communicating your message because all mistakes, whether mechanical or factual, have been sufficiently addressed.
  3. Conciseness. Properly written business papers are concise, expressing ideas in just enough words as is necessary. There’s no unnecessary long-windedness and beating around the bush.
  4. Conversational. Good business writing sounds like an actual business conversation. There’s no difficult language to process and no unnecessary ambiguity.
  5. Convincing. It uses a serious tone to paint a believable and convincing picture, regardless of whether you’re persuading a prospect or presenting a report.
  6. Courteous. Good business writing takes people into account, so it’s neither callous nor insensitive. There’s a prevailing air of courtesy to everyone addressed, regardless of how high or low their job titles may be.
  7. Complete. A good business paper should be complete, containing all the information the recipients will need in order to effectively understand it.

Storytellers Are Better Writers

River Wharfe - Wharfedale

"Three apples fell from heaven, one for the teller, one for the listener and one for the one who heads the tale." Armenian Proverb

Everyone loves a good story, whether from a book, a spoken tale, or a movie. However, most people, children and adult alike, would say, "I can not tell stories." The truth is, everyone can tell a story, they just need to know how. Telling stories is reliably easy because you do not repeat the story word-for-word. When memorizing a poem or scripture each word must be correct. A story requires two abilities: memory and imagination. Both are skills children have in abundance. Why not hatred that talent to teach your children writing?

If you want to see your children's writing soar, teach them to be storytellers. Like reading or cooking or working cooperatively with others, storytelling is a life skill. When your child gets the knack of storytelling in everyday circumstances he will have a lasting nationality and write more expressively, be attuned to the beauty of language, give a listening ear to others telling a good story, recognize good writing, and think more imaginatively.

Using storytelling in your homeschool brings a great deal more than the enjoyment of stories. You are giving your children a foundation in orality . Just as literacy is the ability to read and write, orality is the ability to speak and listen. All four modes-reading, writing, speaking, and listening-make up human communication. Orality supports literacy. Storytelling is the highest form of orality.

Typically to help a child read better and write better we make him do more of both, usually with some resistance. The most effective way to improve literacy is to increase oral language experiences, like narration, recitation, play-acting, to name a few. Storytelling is the best form of oral language experience because the teller internalizes a set of relationships and structures that they can then map back onto experience. Think of a fairy tale you love. What does it show you? The value of being kind, the lowest often makes it to the top, the need for merit and honesty, are just a few.

Orality takes the form of stories, rhymes, sayings, conversation, and songs. Using oral language experiences with preschool children is easy, since they are preliterate and in love with words. It is sheer fun to giggle with a toddler and say a nonsense rhyme.

Once children master reading, however, the focus tends to be on the printed word and sadly, speaking and listening beginning to lag behind. To achieve their best in reading and writing, elementary students must continue to develop their oral skills of speaking and listening.

How can I bring a great orality to my homeschool?

Here are a few simple, easy to do activities that require little or no preparation:

1. Read aloud to your children every day. Pick stories and books that have a strong plot and rich use of language. Avoid adaptations of well-known stories or books.

2. Use narration every day. Narration is the art of telling back in your own words a passage that is read.

3. Do simple nursery rhymes and finger-plays with your children. If you have older children, teach them so they can do finger-plays with the younger ones. You can find books of finger-plays and nursery rhymes at your library. A few well-know rhymes are: "Jack and Jill", "Hey, Diddle Diddle, the Cat and Fiddle", "Little Miss Muffet", and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"

4. Make storytelling a special time during the day or week. Use folktale collections or picture books that are retellings of folktales and ask your elementary age children to learn to tell them.

Tell stories about your own life. All children love to hear about when their parents were little.

6. Tell simple, well-known stories such as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Ten Little Monkeys." See if your children can tell all or part of the story themselves.

What does all this have to do with writing?

If you want to help children improve their writing you have them write? Right? Wrong. When children are asked to do writing, they often struggle because they are asked to perform two very different developmental tasks-write and think spontaneously. One task at a time is usually no problem; but, both at once require a certain amount of maturity. Begin from a different point — try having your child tell rather than write the sentence, paragraph or story.

The process

Here's the process: compose orally, revise orally, then-and only then-write it down. At another time ask your child to check for accuracy in grammar and punctuation but certainly not when they are composing (orally or in writing). That's it. It sounds simple and it is. However, to see results requires consistency and a light touch. Your child needs to become accustomed to thinking out loud. Be patient and praise all efforts. Be sure to offer guidelines at the start but do not prompt with answers. There are no wrong answers with this approach, only good, better and best. Let your child sometimes play turn-about and have you try the process.

If you're ready to give the process a try, set aside the writing workbooks for a time (you can always come back to them later). The results will amaze you.

To Learn More

To learn more about how to tell stories, check your library for the following books:

The Storyteller's Start-Up Book: Finding, Learning, Performing, and Using Folktales: Including Twelve Tellable Tales, Margaret Read MacDonald

This is an easy-to-understand handbook that gets you started telling.

The Way of the Storyteller, Ruth Sawyer

This is a classic of storytelling literature and one of my favorites that I go to for inspiration

What Makes a Writer a Writer?

Cape Cod | Nantucket

An interesting discussion on LinkedIn is swirling around the topic of when a writer can call themselves a writer.. As I’ve watched the discussion unfold, some interesting ideas have cropped up. They are worth considering.

A writer is someone who has been published offline.

Considering that a large segment of the writing work available is almost exclusively online today, this definition just can’t hold true. While it is almost guaranteed that someone who has broken into hard print is a very good writer, it doesn’t preclude someone who has never had their work published in traditional media from being considered a writer.

A writer is someone who knows their grammar, punctuation rules and how to spell things correctly.

I’m not prepared to say this is true because I know that publishers, magazines and newspapers all hire copy editors for one very good reason. Not every writer on the team has good spelling skills. No writer’s punctuation skills are perfect. And everyone has certain words they almost always type incorrectly. I’ve been a copy editor. It’s always easier to see others mistakes.

For me, I have to watch dropping the “r” on your, adding a “d” in college and several other persistent misspellings. There are words I consistently add extra letters to and others I drop letters from almost every time I type them. And most of the time, they are words, so spell check doesn’t catch them.

At the same time, if a writer can’t tell the difference between when to use your and you’re or its and it’s, it will be an obstacle to achieving a higher pays scale. Excellence in every aspect of writing is essential if you want to be taken seriously.

A writer is a professional who makes a consistent income from writing.

This can be true. The definition of consistent may vary. I know that I began by earning only a few hundred dollars a month from writing work. I had some months where I had no income from that source. At the same time, I was consistently seeking work. As a writing professional I took action.

  • I actively built my portfolio.
  • I built a free website on Office Live.
  • I focused on bridging the gap from when I studied journalism to what the market demands of writers today.
  • I applied every piece of knowledge I gained into strengthening my ability to write compelling materials.

To put the title “writer” on a resume, suggest you need to be more than someone who has started their own blog. Despite the fact that I have a ghostwriting tips blog, it isn’t this blog that makes me a writer. It’s the fact that people read this blog and actually benefit from it that supports my claim that I am a writer.

A writer is someone who can explain different topics in language that the average person can understand.

This truly is a skill that not everyone possesses. In some ways, every writer needs to have a teacher’s heart, the ability to break things down into understandable packets. Some writers are gifted with the ability to reach very young minds. That’s why there are writers of children’s books. Other writers just can’t get down to that level, yet remain effective writers for a different audience.

A writer is more than someone who starts their own blog.

There are good blogs and so-so blogs. To truly claim to be a writer, the blog can’t be riddled with grammar errors. A few spelling and punctuation errors are forgivable, especially as most blog writers can’t afford a separate set of eyes to edit their work.

A writer is someone who crafts words to influence others.

It’s the power to dig into the meaning of words and craft them as you have done that signifies a writer. The fact that you can express your arguments succinctly using words in their written form defines that you are a writer. Maybe that is the definition we should be holding to here. “A writer is someone who can write with words so effectively they can influence others whether they do it for pay or not.”

It’s not whether your work appears on the eviscerated remnants of a tree or on the electronic representation of a page that makes you a writer. It’s whether your words move and/or motivate. A novelist may move through the creation of characters and plots. A web writer may motivate to action by carefully chosen words.

Both are writers. Both use their power over words to create an experience in the mind. That experience wouldn’t be there without the writer’s ability to craft words.

What makes a writer a writer? We’ll probably never be able to agree on a single definition. Too may people would disagree with the writer’s version of the artist’s definition, “A writer is a writer because he/she writes.”