Tag: Writer

Ego Boundaries: What Are Ego Boundaries?

Batemans Castle

The purpose of ego boundaries is to protect the self. And through having these in place, one will know the difference between who they are and who someone else is. They allow for ones inner space to be protected and looked after.

These are not visible to the naked eye like a physical body is. And although everyone has a physical body, it does not mean that everyone has ego boundaries that are invisible.

As ego boundaries are what make one feel safe or unsafe and not the physical body itself; it shows how important they are.

Muscle Building

This may partly explain why so many men and even women have become obsessed with gaining muscle. To compensate for their lack of ego boundaries and the sense of safety that they bring, one looks to create this inner safety by strengthening and armouring their body. I will go deeper into this in a future article.

Benefits

There are many benefits to having ego boundaries. When one has them, they will feel safe to be who they are and on top of that – they will know who they are. This has got to be the primary reasons for having them.

Not only will one know who they are, but they will feel that it is safe enough for them to be themselves. Once this is the case, many other benefits will occur as a consequence.

The relationships that one has will also be a lot more fulfilling. For if one feels safe within and protected, the fear of losing oneself in another will not be there or it will have very little effect.

Opening up to the world and what the world has to offer will also be possible, without fearing that one’s personal space will be invaded. And if it is, one will have the personal strength to set appropriate limits.

Knowing what one wants, needs, desires and what their preferences are will also be normal to this person. And this is due to ego boundaries allowing one to be in tune with what is right for them. Instead of being caught up in what others want one to do or following others in order to feel safe within.

Approval

As one feels safe within to follow their own purpose and all that that means to them, there will not be a strong need to gain the approval of others. This will naturally make one feel free within. Having an inner centre will also be possible and this means that a sense of wellbeing will have a greater chance of being experienced.

No Ego Boundaries

For the person with no ego boundaries, it can create feelings of being: invisible, nonexistent, vulnerable, empty, and wide open to the world. This means that one will not feel safe to be who they are or that they are protected.

There are obviously extremes to this. Even though this could relate to someone who is shy or unconfident for example, it could also relate to someone who is overbearing, overconfident and loud.

However, being taken advantage of and compromised are often consequences for people who have no ego boundaries. This person may find it easy to say yes, but extremely difficult to say no. Through being wide open to the world, one is unlikely to feel safe enough to say no, for the fear of what may happen.

Knowing what their needs, wants, preferences and desires are will be difficult; it will be hard for them to know the difference between what’s theirs and what’s other peoples. And so this means that they are likely to need more approval than people who have strong ego boundaries; simply because they don’t have the same sense of inner safety and protection.

Relationships

For the person who have weak or nonexistent ego boundaries, relationships are unlikely to be rewarding or fulfilling. Here, one may end up becoming either enmeshed to others or avoid them all together.

So if they become enmeshed they will lose the identity that they do have and take on whatever identity they feel will please others. And if they avoid relationships for the fear of losing themselves, then it is only going to lead to pain and suffering.

These two options don’t give one much to work with and very little to feel empowered about.

Two Experiences

People who have strong ego boundaries are having a completely different experience to people who have them. Having no ego boundaries is the recipe for leading a life that is without fulfilment, true happiness, real success or fulfilling relationships. One can feel like a doormat and that there presence on this earth is irrelevant.

When one has boundaries, it can only lead to a more fulfilling existence. Knowing what one wants, experiencing richer relationships, feeling safe to be oneself and protected are just a few benefits

If we were to take two people, one with strong ego boundaries and another with no ego boundaries we would see that they are both human beings. So why are they so different from each other?

Childhood

As a baby one has no ego boundaries, it is when one starts to develop into a child that they should develop. This is because as a baby one doesn’t know the difference between themselves and the caregiver. Through the mother’s empathic care, which is made up of mirroring, validating and attuning to the baby’s needs, it begins to form a sense of individuality.

The baby will sense that it is safe to have needs and that its needs are different to the mothers needs. And this will enable the baby to internalise this model; creating associations of safety and of being protected.

If the one has a caregiver that is unempathic as a baby it will lead to the opposite things happening. The baby’s needs will largely be ignored and covered up with the mothers needs. And through this, the baby will have no connection to its needs. What it will learn is to tune into the needs of others.

What this will result in is not only the loss of ones needs being taken care of, but the loss of a self being created. It is through the mirroring and validating of one’s needs as a baby and then as a child, that allows one to form a self.

The association is, if my needs are ignored then I can’t exist either. Having a caregiver that forces their needs onto the baby and denies the bays needs, is a result of the caregiver having boundaries problems. Perhaps their childhood was the same and carried out the same behaviour.

This means that through their own lack of boundaries they are unlikely to recognise the baby’s personal space. So situations where the caregiver overwhelms, smothers, abandons and rejects the baby are going to be common.

Awareness

What I have described above is just a general guideline and this means that there could be other variations or causes.

These early experiences created the ego minds associations and these associations then become how one perceives others and themselves. They are not the truth; they are simply what have become familiar to the ego mind.

And what is classed as familiar to the ego mind is what is interpreted as safe. This means that as these associations change, one will begin to develop ego boundaries.

How long this process takes will depend on numerous factors. Finding the appropriate support will make a big difference. A good therapist may be needed, for others a supportive friend or book may do.

IQ of Celebrities – True Or False? Know the Truth

Akko old city harbour

When we are on a quest to improve our IQs, we may also feel eager to find out the IQ of celebrities. Some of us are in awe of celebs and would like to believe if they really have high or above average IQs or are they just giving sound bytes to the media based on their efficient PR. There are many well-known personalities who have been always known for their IQ. Some were born intelligent while others gained IQ with their stardom. Here are some of the famous personalities with high IQ:

Famous Emmy Award winner actor, James Wood is known to have IQ score of 180. He has starred in famous movies like Ghosts of Mississippi and Once Upon a Time in America. When he was studying, he had scored 779 in the math section of SAT and a whopping 800 in the verbal section. He is a member of Mensa (high IQ society).

Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft and is also one of the wealthiest person in the world. He has an IQ of 160. At the age of 13, he was into computer programming. Even though he dropped out from Harvard University in the year 1975, there was no stopping; Bill and his friend Paul Allen ventured to create the software giant, Microsoft.

Quentin Tarantino, the director of popular movies like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill is also a very smart and talented actor, screenwriter, cinematographer and producer. He is a member of Mensa and has an IQ score of 160. He was also a school dropout.

Sharon Stone, the beautiful actress from Basic Instinct had claimed to be a member of the Mensa. She is known to have an IQ of 154.

Steve Martin an actor, writer, producer and musician by profession has won Emmy Awards and Grammy Awards. He is a member of Mensa and has an IQ of 142.

Madonna, the sensational pop star has also starred in 22 films. She had left her hometown Michigan in the year 1977 only to pursue her singing career. She has an IQ of 140.

The famous pop singer, Shakira, who had hit the top of the charts with songs Whenever Wherever, Hips Don’t Lie and many others, has an IQ of 140.

Geena Davis, an actress, producer, writer has an IQ of 140. She starred in many movies such as The Long Kiss Good night and Beetlejuice. She has also won an Oscar award for her performance in The Accidental Tourist. She is a member of Mensa and has an IQ of 140.

Apart from these, there are many others such as Dolph Lundgren – IQ of 160, Dennis Miller – IQ of 135, Jodie Foster -132 Nicole Kidman – 132 and Michael Jackson – 115. It is a known fact that IQ score of 120 to 130 is considered very remarkable. However, an IQ score of 130 and above is considered excellent and very few people make it to this bracket.

Even though many celebrities are known to be a part of high IQ societies such as Mensa, there is hardly any proper evidence about the same. For instance, it is known to many people that Sharon Stone was a member of Mensa; however in the year 2002, she had revealed that had never been associated as a member with Mensa. On the contrary, she claims to have attended Mensa school; however an official from Mensa clarified that were no Mensa schools during the 1960s when Stone was studying.

On the internet one can find plenty of information about high IQ celebrities. However, there is no proof whatsoever to prove that the facts mentioned on various websites are genuine. Many celebrities take undue advantage by mentioning about their IQ publicly to show how smart they are in addition to their talent that they exhibit professionally.

The Top Ten Psychics in the World

Cowboy Stuntman 1

There are quite a few very famous contemporary psychics in a world, but here are the top ten and in no particular order as each as their own particular set of strengths and gifts.

Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Browne is an internationally recognized psychic who communicates with the dead. She claims to have inherited her psychic gift. She has been running the Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research since 1973. She is one of those psychics who helps the police find killers and solve crimes. She has authored numerous books on psychic subjects, including Contacting Your Spirit Guide and Past Lives, Future Healing: A Psychic Reveals the Secrets to Good Health, and Great Relationships.

Allison Dubois

Allison Dubois is a psychic who channels the souls of dead pet and people. She has written many books, including Secrets of the Monarch, which is about understanding the caterpillar to butterfly nature of soul freedom. The television series Medium starring Patricia Marquette is supposedly based on the talents of Allison Dubois.

Lisa Williams

This celebrity medium and clairvoyant stars in a show on Lifetime called Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead. The show follows Williams on a typical day, as she communicates with the dead, investigates haunted houses, and does readings. Williams channels many dead famous people including Bob Hope, Princess Diana, Natalie Wood, Marilyn Monroe, and Ray Charles.

John Edwards

Edwards, not to be mistaken for the U.S. Senator with the same name, is an author and television personality. He is best known for his television shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country. On both shows, Edwards attempts to communicate with the spirits of the audience members’ deceased relatives.

Colin Fry

Colin Fry is one of the best-known psychics and spiritualist mediums in Britain. He has hosted many television programs about the Supernatural, including Most Haunted, Psychic Private Eyes, and 6ixth Sense with Colin Fry, produced by Living TV.

Derek Acorah

Derek Acorah is a controversial psychic medium and television personality in the United Kingdom, who is possessed by the dead spirits he channels through his spirit guide s Sam. He is very well known for his appearances on. Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns and Yvette Fielding’s show Most Haunted.

James Van Praagh

James Van Praagh is a best-selling psychic and medium. He has written several books dealing with spirituality and spirit communication and 2002 to 2003, he hosted a syndicated daytime talk show entitled “Beyond With James Van Praagh.” He is currently the co-Executive Producer of the television series Ghost Whisperer on CBS.

Rosemary Altea

Rosemary Altea is a psychic and author. She has appeared on various programs, including Larry King Live and The Oprah Winfrey Show (with Michael Shermer in 1995).

Doreen Virtue

Dr. Doreen Virtue has appeared on many television shows such as Oprah, Good Morning America, The View, and CNN, revealing how psychic angels can help you heal your life. One of her most famous book, Give the Gift of Healing: A Concise Guide to Spiritual Healing, which was published in 2005.

Gillian Kemp

If you are into Tarot, then you are going to like Gillian Kemp. She is author of The Good Spell Book and recently designed a very interesting pack of Tarot Cards called Tree Magick in which there are no negative cards. She talks to ghosts using techniques learned from her ancient Romanie past and her grandmother, grandfather, and aunt who were also clairvoyant. She uses the more old-fashioned divination techniques, such as teacup readings and crystal balls and is one of the most famous psychics in the United Kingdom.

The Importance Of Reading Fairy Tales In A Child’s Life

Slot Zuylen Castle in Utrecht

The Importance of Fairy Tales in a Child’s Life

Wisdom from Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment

I spent many delicious hours as a child reading fairy tales. Even today, many of the stories I devoured ring clear in my head, although I have not read them in perhaps forty years. Stories of dancing princesses escaping to an underground world of music and balls, the finding of a magic ring baked in a cake, the agony of a sister trying to free her brothers from a spell that has changed them into swans-these elements of fairy tales sank deep into my heart and imagination and continue with me today. Why is this?

As I pondered this question, I had a chance meeting with a woman who had run a Christian bookstore for years. She told me of the many parents who would come into the store looking for suitable reading material for their children. When offered fairy tales, they would shy away, fearing the dark and disturbing images that had the potential to frighten and traumatize their young ones. Their argument would go like this: “Fairy tales are scary and present the world dishonestly. They would make my child confused as to what is real and what is fabricated. They are full of ogres and witches and giants, so why should I allow my child to be terrified by things that aren’t even real?”

Because I write full-length Christian-based fairy tales, I decided to explore these questions and address these valid concerns of many parents. I thought back to a book I had read when my first daughter was born: Bruno Bettelheim’s famous book, The Uses of Enchantment. I remember the impact that book had on me, and because of its logic, chose to immerse my children in the world of fantasy and fairy tales throughout their childhood. Now that they are grown, I have asked them how these stories have shaped and affected their worldview and creativity. They have no doubt that their lives have been seriously enriched by this experience, and reading fairy tales has contributed toward their healthy and confident attitudes about the challenges and terrors of this life.

Bruno Bettelheim was a child psychologist, famous for his research on autism. The aforementioned book written in 1976 won him a National Book Award. I love what he writes in the introduction. “Wisdom does not burst forth fully developed like Athena out of Zeus’s head; it is built up, small step by small step, from most irrational beginnings. Only in adulthood can an intelligent understanding of the meaning of one’s existence in this world be gained from one’s experiences in it. Unfortunately, too many parents want their children’s minds to function as their own do-as if mature understanding of ourselves and the world, and our ideas about the meaning of life, did not have to develop as slowly as our bodies and minds. Today, as in times past, the most important and also the most difficult task in raising a child is helping him to find meaning in life.”

Working in the field of autism presented Bettelheim with the challenge of restoring meaning to the lives of severely disturbed children. He found most literature for young readers to be sadly lacking in the ability to accomplish this task, but also knew that literature held the best promise to pass on cultural heritage, which he felt was crucial. And this was what he deemed necessary: “To enrich [the child’s] life, it must stimulate his imagination; help him to develop his intellect and to clarify his emotions; be attuned to his anxieties and aspirations; give full recognition to his difficulties, while at the same time relate to all aspects of his personality-and this without ever belittling but, on the contrary, giving full credence to the seriousness of the child’s predicaments, while simultaneously promoting confidence in himself and in his future.” He goes on to say how important it is that literature provide a moral education which subtly, and through implication only, “conveys to him the advantages of moral behavior.” His conclusion? “The child finds this kind of meaning through fairy tales.”

The German poet Schiller wrote: “Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.” How can this be? Bettelheim says, “These tales start where the child really is in his psychological and emotional being. They speak about his severe inner pressures in a way that the child unconsciously understands and . . . offers examples of both temporary and permanent solutions to pressing difficulties.”

Parents longing to protect their children from evil, scary things in the world do well to remember that this is the world to which we are preparing them to face. By hiding that world from their awareness, by trying to postpone or color the harsh realities of life, we are doing them a great disservice. We have the Bible as the master example of frankness and the revealing and candid exposing of evil in its many forms. God did not censor murder, rape, betrayal, cruelty, incest, and even sexual passion from the pages of His word. Parents may argue that a young child does not need to learn about these things, and it is true-there is a time and season for all things, and some are best to cover when a child may be more mature to understand and emotionally deal with some of these things.

Here’s what Bettelheim says: “In child or adult, the unconscious is a powerful determinant of behavior. When the unconscious is repressed and its content denied entrance into awareness, then eventually the person’s conscious mind will be partially overwhelmed by derivatives of these unconscious elements, or else he is forced to keep such rigid, compulsive control over them that his personality may become severely crippled . . . . The prevalent parental belief is that a child must be diverted from what troubles him most: his formless, nameless anxieties, and his chaotic, angry, and even violent fantasies. Many parents believe that only conscious reality or pleasant and wish-fulfilling images should be presented to the child-that he should be exposed only to the sunny side of things. But such one-sided fare nourishes the mind only in a one-sided way, and real life is not all sunny.”

Rather than shelter children from life’s evils, we can equip them with the tools needed to face them head-on with confidence. Bettelheim says that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human experience. If one does not shy away, “but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious.”

The Elements of Fairy Tales

The fairy tale, according to Bettelheim, confronts the child squarely with the most scary subjects in life: death, aging, loss of a parent, being trapped or lost, and other stresses. The fairy tale simplifies all situations, allowing the child to come to grips with the problem in its most essential form. The figures are clearly drawn and the details, unless very important, are eliminated. All characters are typical rather than unique. Evil is as common as any virtue and both are usually embodied in the form of a figure or their actions. Evil is not without its attractions, “symbolized by the mighty dragon or giant, the power of the witch, the cunning queen in ‘Snow White.’ ” In many fairy tales the usurper succeeds for a time-as with Cinderella’s sisters and step-mother-but in the end, the evildoer is punished, and the moral is that crime does not pay. Because the child follows the hero through his or her journey, he can identify with the hero in all his struggles-suffering and triumphing with him. Bettelheim says that the child “makes such identifications all on his own, and the inner and outer struggles of the hero imprint morality on him.”

The most important element in fairy tales, to me, is the moral choice presented to the hero. The child learns that choices have consequences, and the child can choose what kind of person she wants to be. Only by “going out into the world” does the hero learn, and acquire happiness. The fairy tale is future-oriented and guides the child, so that instead of escaping into a world of unreality, she is given tools to help her develop character and courage to face what the world presents to her. Often the hero is lost, alone, frightened. These are feelings a child identifies with. Yet, her hero is guided and given help along the way because of his determination and courage. In this way, fairy tales work their own kind of magic, for in reading them, the child feels understood and enriched, giving the child what Bettelheim says is “an enchanted quality just because he does not quite know how the stories have worked their wonder on him.

“Fairy tales, unlike any form of literature, direct the child to discover his identity and calling, and they also suggest what experiences are needed to develop his character further. Fairy tales intimate that a rewarding, good life is within one’s reach despite adversity-but only if one does not shy away from the hazardous struggles without which one can never achieve true identity.” This is a basic tenet of the Bible as well: that those who want to please God and obtain his favor need to endure difficulties; that these trials produce endurance, character, and hope, and that the hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).

So, do not discount fairy tales as a bad influence on your children. Rather, be selective, and choose age-appropriate stories to give to them. But do not be afraid of unleashing their imagination and letting them confront their darkest fears. By giving them heroes to identify with, you are letting those fears surface in a subtle manner, and allowing your child to find his courage and make moral choices vicariously-choices that will build his character and have influence on the rest of his life.

I look at my daughters, now grown, and see how that world of imagination and fantasy helped them to face evil and struggles, gave them confidence and courage, and stimulated their imagination which poured over into their art, writing, poetry, and music. We cannot hide our children from the evils of the world, and even explaining everything in a pat manner from God’s Word does not dispel the deep fears and worries a child has. Only by bringing them to the surface in a safe and imaginative way can we as parents help them mature and become responsible adults. I think of that word, responsible, as response-able, for that is our goal: to help our children become able to respond competently to any situation life puts before them, and fairy tales will help them do just that.

Importance of Website in Schools



Internet has become one of the largest platforms of communication. It is the most effective technology available today. Building a website for school can prove to be extremely beneficial if it is done in the right way. It maybe time consuming and include a lot of effort to be put in for developing a website for the school, but it is very advantageous for the school community. The school website gives the school’s information and also clear idea about what they are good at. School websites will provide the up to dates, as well as help them to link between schools, their communities and also to the entire world.

Opportunities provided by a school website:

  • Parents become more aware about the schools functioning, and also feel involved. Through the websites parents can be easily informed about the upcoming events like activities, exams and also tips that could help children. Thus websites play a vital role in removing the barrier between parents and the school.
  • With the help of websites teacher’s can share their views and ideas with the rest of the faculty as well as the parents.
  • Te website makes it easier for the parents to give the school and the teachers their valuable feedback.
  • Parents get the opportunity to become well versed with the education system of their child.
  • The website provides a platform for the school to build contacts and link with business, families as well as other schools. Especially for families who relocate very often, these websites become great sources for them.

Few elements necessary for a school website:

  • Background of the school and other information like history and staff.
  • Basic contact details should always be mentioned in the website like, address, phone number, etc.
  • The website should contain all the day to day information or notice like upcoming inter and intra school events, holidays parent teacher’s meeting, etc.
  • School websites should also avail blogs and forums to give an opportunity to have an interaction.
  • The necessary teaching aids, teaching materials, journals, lesson plan, and other education resources should be provided.
  • Photographs and write-ups about school, classroom, school trips, etc. should be put up. Also suggestions to be given to parents, assisting them to help their children at home.

Creating websites of your own is the same as being a publisher, but a website is always convenient for both students and educators. Here you make your own website without being criticized and it also saves time. Students should be encouraged to make the website for the school as they have more knowledge about technology than adults. Thus it becomes a learning experience for them, making them more versatile in what they do and create.

Many a times people tend to consider the school website to be a substitute for all the face-to-face interactions. It is a very wrong notion that they hold. The website should be perceived as an extra resource benefit provided to the world by the schools.

Pros and Cons of Morning After Pills

Qoʻqon UZ - Dakhmai-Shokhon 06

The use of morning after pill has both advantages and disadvantages associated with it. Here are a few pros and cons you need to be aware of:

Pros:

1. It can be your last resort to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

2. If you are 17 years of age or over, you don’t need a prescription to buy morning after pills. You can have it soon after having an unprotected sex.

3. By consuming these pills, you can avoid unnecessary stress and tension about an unwanted pregnancy.

4. Even if the pills fail to prevent pregnancy, they will not cause any harm to the baby.

5. These pills won’t affect your chances of getting pregnant in the future. Your fertility remains the same and returns with your next period.

6. Studies have shown that morning after pills effectively lower the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.

Cons:

1. They can cause certain side effects. Some common morning after pills side effects are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, irregular bleeding and breast tenderness.

2. Morning after pills can also cause some serious side effects such as liver disorders, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure and blood clots in the heart, intestines and lungs.

3. They can cause serious health complications in women suffering from diabetes, heart diseases and migraine.

4. They can also have adverse effects in women, who are over 35 years of age and have cardiovascular disorders, deep vein thrombosis, liver problems and breast cancer.

5. The use of morning after pill raises the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. In such a pregnancy, the embryo gets lodged in the fallopian tubes rather than the womb. If you are using morning after pills, the pregnancy can remain undetected. This is because the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are similar to the side effects of the pills: nausea and abdominal pain. If remain undetected for a long time, it can prove to be fatal.

6. Other than these side effects, the body may have an allergic reaction to the drug, causing an outbreak of rash and breathing problems.

7. Apart from physical side effects to the body, the emergency contraceptive pills can also have a wider social impact. The easy over-the-counter access to the emergency contraceptive pill raises questions about its misuse. Many people are of the view that it may lead to an increase in promiscuity, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and increased sexual violence against women.

Though the use of morning after pill becomes essential to avoid pregnancy after an unprotected sex, its usage must be avoided on regular basis.

The Purpose of the Science Fiction Novel

Gateway to Upper Wharfedale

Where fantasy goes into uncharted territory, the kind of story that could not exist, science fiction, a term made famous by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, goes into charted territory. Let's make sense of that last statement: Science fiction is based on truths, questions of reality, and questions of survival. Its purpose is to go where other fiction can not. Unlike horror, it tells something far more dangerous because it could happen. Unlike mystery, there is not always someone at the other end of the gun, maybe "something" instead. Like mainstream work, it proposes fascinating philosophies on mankind in the past, present, and future.

When reporters talked of space stations maybe they were onto something. When Star Trek characters could talk to each other on small, hand-held phones, most thought it was too good to be true. Now we have cell phones, computers that can talk, computers that can think in some ways, and a variety of other ideas that were often suggested in science fiction.

But the science fiction novel has its own place outside of the realm of Star Trek and Star Wars. For one, the legend must be created in words, not film or TV images. Second, the writers behind it are often as much philosophers as authors. Lastly, science fiction is its own frontier, a place for free thinking.

The thesis for all this would be that the science fiction novel engages a reader in a "This is how it could happen." The purpose is, as in all writing, to say something different. Long before "War of the Worlds" and even longer before Star Trek and Star Wars, people looked to the skies with hope, emboldening their legends with all kinds of flying creatures-angels, demons, sometimes aliens-who could do things they could not . That is exactly the purpose of the modern science fiction novel-it says we, the human race, can do something that right now we can not.

The final purpose of the science fiction novel is always to make a mark on society. Star Trek could only go so far. When one looks at a science fiction novel, however, sometimes it seemsingly is a race to the finish instead of a treat on life in the future. Something is always happening; it happens fast. Take Philip K. Dick, for example, who once wrote 11 novels in 2 years (he used various drugs, much like Hunter Thompson, to improve writing speed). However, there is nothing superficial about the science fiction novel. This is because even films have a hard time capturing the legion of ideas presented in the classics, like "The Man In the High Castle," Philip K. Dick's best novel. If any film does capture the purpose of science fiction, it's "Blade Runner," considered to be one of the best films of all time, based on the Philip K. Dick story "Do Andods Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Where it can be hard to pin down the modern science fiction novel, it can easily be seen that writing one can be a lucid ride into the unexplored. One of the best in recent memory is "Hyperion," a science fiction novel that won the famous Hugo award. Here, Simmons explored what is real, much like Philip K. Dick, and did it as though he was poet, forming a tale of seven pilgrims to a far away world, much like "The Canterbury Tales."

Some of the finest novels of the 20th century were labeled "junk" because they explored taboo subjects or had sexually revealing covers. Without the likes of Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and the hundreds of other talents, maybe there would have been no Star Trek, Star Wars, or Battlestar Galactica. Without the junk science fiction novel bought for a nickel in the 1940s and 50s maybe mankind would never have dreamed of stepping on the moon in the 1960s.

Dan Brown's Angels and Demons – A True Masterpiece

Crypt of San Minato al Monte - Florence

Like most people, I did not read Angels and Demons until after I read The DaVinci Code. Blown away by The DaVinci Code, I gave Angels and Demons a try. Dan Brown, yet again, weaved a complicated web of plot, character, murder and suspense, keeping the ending unknown until the very last page.

Angels and Demons starts out with the beloved scholar / symbologist Robert Langdon, who is awoken by a phone call early in the morning. After a disturbing fax that reveals a mutilated human body, Robert sets off on a high intensity journey in hopes of stopping a murderous cult.

I would highly recommend any of Dan Brown's books, but especially Angels and Demons. A word of warning: if you are not 100% set in your faith, do not read this book. Just like The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons cause controversies with its inclusion of the Catholic Church and religious myths. It was this controversy that initially caused me to buy his books. I am someone who is deeply sure of my faith, and because of this assurance, I did not second guess my beliefs for a work of fiction.

Part of this controversy is from people who are worried that these books will have other people deny their faith because they have another point of view containing unanswered questions. In my personal opinion, if reading any work of fiction is going to cause you to question your beliefs and faith, you really did not have faith to begin with.

Online Writing Contest – Competition Tips – How to Win Every Contest You Enter

Lluent.

So you’ve stumbled across an online writing competition / contest, or perhaps your favourite brand of cereal is offering you a chance to win a holiday around the world. All you have to do is tell them in 25 words or less why you want it. And you want to win, right?

Well believe it or not there are a small number of easy steps you can take to dramatically increase the odds in your favor. And here they are, free of charge just because I’m such a nice guy…

No Sob Stories!

This tip goes first on the list, because it is the most important. For some reason the first thing that seems to come to people’s minds with these contests and competitions is “how can I get them to pity me?” It sounds like a great plan as an entrant, but speaking from personal experience as a judge in these contests, I can tell you that it’s a complete turnoff.

Nonetheless people will try ever trick in the book…

We can’t pay the rent… our house burnt down… everybody in my family has cancer… I need 16 operations so that my dog stops being depressed and I can have my leg re-attached then pay the rent and burn the house down… well you get the point.

Let me make it very clear – this tactic does not work, even if you are telling the truth, because:

1. Judges can’t verify your claims, so anyone can make up any story they like.

2. After a while these entries become so numerous and laborious that they don’t stand out.

All that you will do is send the judge into a depression spiral. More to the point, you will end up highlighting your competitors’ entries because theirs are more enjoyable to read.

Be Creative and Make it Fun to Read

Depending on the number of entrants, judges can often have a lot of text to read. As their head slumps closer and closer to the desk and the coffee starts to wear off, your entry is going to need to have something special about it to get noticed. The best thing you can do is get creative. And I mean really thinking outside of the box (if you are thinking poetry right now, you are not thinking hard enough).

My advice to you here is simple. If you come up with something different and make it really stand out, and MAKE IT FUNNY, you will win. When I hear a fellow judge burst out into laughter at his or her desk, 9 times out of 10 he or she is reading the winner. I can usually even tell which entry they are reading because I had the same reaction when I first read it.

If you can manufacture a reaction like this, chances are you are on a winner. I suggest using your friends and family as test dummies here. If they end up in a ball rolling around the floor you’ve done your job. If the best you get is “not bad”, “(chuckle) very good” or even “looks good to me”, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

Now that’s not to say every winner will be comical or humorous, but your entry needs to stand out as somehow being impressive or interesting.

Stick to the Rules and Stay on Topic

If I had a penny for every time a “words or less” entry broke the rules, I would currently be Bahamas and you would be on your own with this one. Take the time to read the rules, terms and conditions before entering. And if you are provided with a quick-start guide to entering a competition, read it over at least 3 times and make sure you take the advice onboard.

In general, you should always:

· Stay within the word limit

· Write in direct response to the competition’s question or topic (really important!)

· Avoid coarse language

· Submit your entry in the language requested

Short, Sharp, Shiny

Just because you are allowed to use 25 words doesn’t mean you should. If your entry says what you want it to say, don’t fill up the rest of your word limit by repeating yourself or adding useless details. All you end up doing is diluting your message.

Polish It!

So it took you 5 minutes (or maybe 2 days) to create your entry. Would another 5 minutes of proofreading kill you? No, of course not, but it will definitely help you win. Check your grammar, check your punctuation, check your capitalization and check your spelling. Presentation makes your entry easier to read, and will greatly improve your chances.

Submit It

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how many times have you seen a competition you would like to enter, only to let the due date slip by? As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. And if you use the advice I’ve just given you, your chances of coming out on top will greatly improve.

So what are you waiting for?

A Brief History of Rock and Pop Music

San Minato Al Monte - Florence

You may be wondering when exactly did rock/pop music begin? There’s no clear answer to this. Some might say that it started with the advent of rock n roll with Bill Haley and the Comets in 1952. Others would say Elvis, although not the first but surely the original truly global superstar. Yet none of these were really the first. Rock n roll has its roots in blues which has its roots back to the 19th century with black immigrants trying to escape from their slave driven lives. Fast forward to the early 20th. century and some of the earliest recordings on 78 began to appear. Players from this time such as Bobby Jo and Robert Johnson helped to form the structure of early blues

Robert Johnson had recorded only thirty songs during his short life as he was prevented from achieving true fame while alive by being poisoned by a jealous husband. He died shortly before he was being sought to appear at the ‘Spirituals To Swing’ concert in 1938 by record producer John Hammond. As a result, his reputation only took off after Hammond released an album of his recordings for Columbia in the early sixties. Later blues exponents like Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton admitted borrowing heavily from these early stalwarts.

In the 50’s, artists took the basic blues style and used electric guitars, drums and double bass for the first time creating early rock n roll, later known as rockabilly. Stalwarts like Chuck Berry, Buddy Hollie and Jerry Lee Lewis were the most famous protagonists here. Later Elvis in the US and to a lesser extent, Cliff Richard (later leading the Shadows) in the UK brought rock n roll to a truly worldwide audience. This paved the way for the 60’s beat era which could be considered the true beginning of pop music as we know it today, certainly as far as bands were concerned.

In the 50’s and early 60’s, it was mostly lead solo artists with just a backing band. With the advent of the beat era, bands dominated with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys from the US taking the world by storm. Even so, The Beatles later admitted being heavily influenced by those earlier rock n roll and blues artists. They mostly played rock n roll and blues covers at their pre-fame Hamburg concerts. in the early 60’s. The Beatles however, were the first band to successfully blend classical music textures with rock n roll to form perfectly crafted pop songs. While bands like The Rolling Stones continued with the mainly rock n roll theme,

The Beatles took their finely crafted style further in the seminal album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 1967 by utilizing new studio techniques and instruments never used before. They used a new instrument called ‘the Melotron’ This was basically a keyboard which played looped tape recordings. of real instruments. The most famous sound from this was probably the flute used on the ‘Strawberry Fields’ single recorded at the same time but later dropped from the album. The Melotron though, was cumbersome and unreliable and had a rather grainy sound. Even so It was regarded as the forerunner of the electronic sampler, invented nearly 20 years later. Infinitely more flexible than the Melotron, the sampler helped build the framework for modern pop,dance and R&B music.

The Beatles ‘Sgt.. Pepper’ album with its groundbreaking recording techniques was preceded the year before by their ‘Revolver’ album. These LP’s helped popularize a new wave in music known as psychedelic or acid rock, named after the mind bending effects of LSD drugs. Pink Floyd also recorded their debut album ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ in the studio next door at the same time that The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper. It was reported that Pink Floyd were a direct influence to The Beatles as a result. This new style incorporated new guitar effects like Fuzz, flanger anger and delays. These were used along side the earliest portable synthesizers such as the therein and mini Moog. invented by Bob Moog.

In America, the Beach boys responded with the ‘Pet sounds’ LP in 1966 and later that year released the first big psychedelic hit ‘Good Vibrations’. About this time, the band ‘Jefferson Airplane’ recorded their debut album which was also the first LP to come out of the new San Franciscan music scene. This got the record industry’s attention and they had two of the earliest psychedelic hits ‘White Rabbit’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ in 1967.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Jim Morrison joined with members of The Psychedelic Rangers and Rick and the Ravens to form ‘The Doors’ They were initially turned down by Columbia but were signed to Electra Records and released their self titled debut LP in 1967. The album included the 7 minute long hit single ‘Light my Fire’ one of the first to break the typical three minute pop and rock song barrier.

Back in Britain, radio broadcasting was very limited because the BBC were the only organization allowed to broadcast on the mainland and had just two pop music shows The Saturday club and Easy Beat Radio Luxembourg partially filled the gap but it was left to pirate radio, broadcast from ships out at sea with DJ John Peel’ which enabled the new style to reach a mass audience, often eclipsing the BBC in popularity. The BBC responded in the end with the advent of Radio 1 in June 1967. With the existing labor government making pirate radio illegal in Britain several months later, Du’s like John Peel rather than risk arrest joined radio 1 which had a much more informal and relaxed style as opposed to the staid and conservative approach favored by the BBC until then. This perfectly suited psychedelic pop and rock and John Peel championed this in his late night shows. playing new genres of music and introducing new and unsigned bands in the Peel sessions. He did this for nearly four decades until his death in 2004.

By the end of the 60’s after the break up of the beatles, mainstream music was about to change direction yet again both in style and fashion.