Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Adjectives Are Coloring Words That Splash

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Not long ago as I was re-reading Harper Lee’s To King a Mockingbird, I noticed something that I had skipped over so many times in past readings: a grammatical lesson on the adjective, right from the narrator’s mouth.

Scout says: “Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”

What are adjectives?
Atticus Finch was correct in his advice. In general adjectives limit, narrow, describe, embellish, adorn, or simply encroach on nouns. But they don’t change them. Strip the nouns of all qualifications and there you have the plain, naked facts.

But it just happens that plain nouns are boring. To break the tedium of using boring language writers often embellish their text with an abundance of adjectives which often are unnecessary. Even master writers sin.

Take Bram Stoker in Dracula:
Dracula’s castle was dark, damp, and desolate.
Maybe one simply adjective could have done the job:
Dracula’s castle was stark.

Except that by attempting to be minimalist we could be destroying the full meaning of what the author was trying to convey; not to mention the rhetorical aspect: destroying the alliteration.

Adjectives are “coloring words” and add content to the sentence. Adjectives can be detected easily enough because they respond to the questions:

What kind of noun is it? If you go to “Best Buy” and tell the attendants at the counter: “I want to buy a computer,” I’m sure you will be asked: “What kind?” You’ll be prompted to give an adjective —laptop, a Mac, a PC— to narrow the noun ‘computer.’ Which noun is it? Or Which one? How many of that noun are there?

Another interesting fact of the English language is, that while most of us learned in school that adjectives modify the nouns and pronouns, few of us know that adjectives are also used to qualify verbs—linking verbs, that is.

What are linking verbs?
Linking verbs are verbs that express a state of being rather than an action: for example, to feel, to taste, to look, to remain, to become, and to turn.
My dog Pepino felt badly.
These peanuts taste sweetly.
We looked well as a team.
We remained calmly.
The accounts receivable turned badly and uncollectible.

Because we are conditioned to follow the well known rule that an adverb qualifies a verb we have the tendency to apply such rule in all cases, as we did above. But that is the wrong thing to do! Blindly following the rule will get us into trouble, as we will appreciate after we read the following section.

An adjective must follow a linking verb

My dog Pepino felt bad [not badly].
These peanuts taste sweet [not sweetly].
We looked good [not well] as a team.
We remained calm [not calmly].
The accounts receivable turned bad and uncollectible.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Be the Employee of the Month Everyday!

PALO ALTO, CA - APRIL 21:  San Francisco Mayor...

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In the first year of the Obama administration the economy is still in a slump. More than at any other time, employees worry about their jobs as the pool of applicants and mendicants grow larger—all begging for employment. With this preamble it only stands to reason that those who are employed should do their best to retain their jobs.

“Easier said than done, my friend,” some might say. But take these good words from me, a humble servant who was never laid off, let go, fired, or otherwise unemployed in more than 40 years in business. Retention is the name of the game!
So what are the factors that will impress your boss, to the point of never wanting to get rid of you?

1. Don’t be a clock watcher
Ah! Always be the first one to come in and the last one to leave. Volunteer for the tasks that require a little overlapping with theater hours. Those employees who have tickets for concerts, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, movies, dinners, and other amenities will rather take a demerit than cancel and stay late. That you stay and ‘sacrifice’ your time will not go unnoticed by your boss.

Occasional weekend duties will also be noticed. So, while others enjoy their time off, you are enjoying a sense of job security; not to say absolute peace of mind and good sleep. One caveat, however, is in order: don’t overdo it.

2. Never bad-mouth your boss
Whether you and your co-workers are at the local water hole relaxing, downing a few libations, or even sharing a rest-room chat, never let your guard down and join the chorus in criticizing the boss. Let others do it. Inevitably, gossip, innuendo, and malicious rumors about the boss have a way of its way into the victim’s ears.

Even what seem to be harmless comments can be distorted by others. If someone says, “Hm--yes, she has heavy legs, but at bottom she has a decent figure,” can reach the bosses’ ears as, “Hm—yes, she has a heavy bottom and indecent legs.” Or, maybe even a worse unintended insult.

Steer clear of criticism. And don’t ever put the boss on the spot with pointed questions.

Also, remember that technology —besides being a great friend— can be a formidable beastly enemy that can bite and extract a pound of flesh. E-mail, messages in Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks can become evidentiary trails.

3. Request a meeting with the boss every so often
In general, good bosses will classify subordinates as those who earn and deserve their time, those who take their time, and those who really waste their time.
Be a stellar employee by earning and deserving the boss’s time!

Let the boss know your progress in the tasks assigned, reporting your successes as well as failures and blunders; and in the latter cases, ask for guidance. Don’t let the boss ignore you for long periods of time. A good supervisor will be glad to mentor, train, develop and pass on wisdom to good subordinates.

4. Stick to the truth and the honorable
Employees who lie and act dishonorably will in the end defeat themselves. The old adage, the truth shall prevail, is a repository of wisdom.

5. Wear the aura of competency
While it is a good habit to over-consult rather than to under-consult with your boss, you must show that you have exhausted all the possible resources available to your rank and grade. Bosses like that subordinates who are thorough and do their ‘homework’ and research.

Remember, if you give 100 percent of yourself you’ll be noticed as an employee who goes the distance. Be a self-starter. Don’t wait for direction. And in the process make sure you fit in with the rest of the team; make sure that you harmonize.
Your wholesome performance and your team-player attitude will give you the aura of competency that many employees don’t even suspect it exists. This is what makes an employee likeable, indispensable, and above all—a survivor.

Why win the title ‘employee of the month’ only once when you can win it every day?

Wear the aura of competency to distinguish yourself from all others.

In the end, ‘retention’ is the name of the game in these tough times.

Success is for All of Us!

Inferiority Complex?

3 Qualities for Success

The Best Leader?

How I Manage my Time

Adam Smith and Wealth

Boethius and Fortune

Employee of the Moth Everyday

If you are interested in seeing how I achieved personal success in the United States, you may find my book of short stories East of Tiffany's interesting. Some of the stories are based on my life as an executive, investment banker, and financial adviser to wealthy investors in the East Side of Manhattan.
Close to half-million people have read East of Tiffany's so far. Order your copy from either or Barnes and Noble. See the link on the right sidebar.

Since English is my second language, Mary Duffy --a master of the English language-- aided me not only with the editing, but she also contributed her own stories. I love her writing in "When You Wish Upon a Star." This is a story based on a personal friend's life.

Senada Selmani, model

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cholesterol: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

After Labor Day I go for my annual physical check up. As the years roll on inexorably, I must confess that I look forward to this ritual, and I don’t mind taking the train to Crestwood (2 stops beyond Bronxville). Actually, I must confess that I really enjoy the trek from the train station to my doctor’s office—it’s all uphill and good for the heart.

Besides the physical activity, I do a little thinking, passing in review the main events of the year just gone by, and what I should confess to the good doctor: that my prostate is acting up, that my right shoulder grates when I get up in the mornings, that my acid reflux woke me in the middle of the night, or should I omit that I’ve discovered two Cuban restaurants which serve pork chops in red sauce that’s out of this world? Wrong choice of words: let the chops be out of this world, but not me!

“Inhale,” “cough,” “ …lean over…smooth as a pebble,” “…5 pounds overweight.” And so on—the good doctor rambles on. Meanwhile, I am anticipating his next step: “ …a little blood.”

A few days later he calls me and gives me a reading of my php and cholesterol level. Php I understand well since he’s treating me for an enlarged Prostate gland, but cholesterol?

Because I don’t want to take the good man’s time, nor to show my ignorance, I simply mumble a few words and “ahems” and thank him profusely. This year, though, he said my cholesterol level was “borderline.’ That set off a few bells in my head.

Not knowing about cholesterol is bad enough, but not attempting to learn about it is even worse; so I did a little research— which I will share with you.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in all parts of the body. It’s a type of fat. Your body makes some cholesterol, and some cholesterol comes from the food you eat.

To work well, your body needs a little bit of cholesterol, but too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease. Gulp! So what’s too much? Before we can answer this question we have to distinguish between

• HDL — "good" cholesterol
• LDL — "bad" cholesterol

Cholesterol helps the body produce hormones, bile acid, and vitamin D; and moves through the bloodstream to be used by all parts of the body.

LDL is bad because it builds up in the wall of your arteries and forms plaque, which in turn can cause a narrowing of the arteries. Right away I pictured a sand hour glass. The fact is that enough of this infamous plaque can not only slow the flow of blood but also block it, depriving your heart, brain, and other organs of that much needed blood. High LDL can cause a stroke.

HDL or “good” cholesterol keeps the bad one from building up in the arteries.

What is “borderline” level?
• Less than 200 mg/dL: Desirable
• 200-239 mg/dL: Borderline-High Risk
• 240 mg/dL and over: High Risk
• Low HDL (‘good’) cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women) puts you at higher risk for heart disease. While the “bad” cholesterol needs to be kept low, the “good” should be upped.

In general, your risk of developing heart disease or atherosclerosis goes up as your level of blood cholesterol increases.

To determine how your cholesterol levels affect your risk of heart disease, your doctor will also take into account other risk factors such as age, obesity, family history, smoking and high blood pressure.

Food Sources
Cholesterol is found in eggs, dairy products, meat, and poultry. Egg yolks and organ meats (liver, kidney, sweetbread, and brain) are high in cholesterol. Fish generally contains less cholesterol than other meats, but some shellfish are high in cholesterol. Repeat: cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin.

Foods of plant origin (vegetables, fruits, grains, cereals, nuts, and seeds) contain no cholesterol.

Fat content is not a good measure of cholesterol content. For example, liver and other organ meats are low in fat, but very high in cholesterol.

• eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat and free of trans fat
• maintain a healthy weight
• be physically active

Since more than half of the adult population has blood cholesterol levels higher than the desirable range, and not everyone has a stroke, we can assume that there are some other factors besides cholesterol that also cause strokes.

A school of physicians do not subscribe to cholesterol as a villain, and believe that inflammation of the heart is the real cause of strokes--not cholesterol. Click this link to learn more about inflammation of the heart; you'll be surprised as I was!

Since Aspirin is an anti inflammatory, I take 1 table every other day. So, I watch what I eat, watch my weight, walk 2 miles a day, and never skip my annual checkup.
The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

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Fall Fashion: Real Women Wear Fall Trends - StyleList

Fall Fashion: Real Women Wear Fall Trends - StyleList

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Get That Job! Employer Job Interviews

SWOT analysis diagram in English language.

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In today's barren economy —with 10% unemployment—everyone looking for a job needs every possible edge. We are in what economists call “an employers’ market,” in which employers can choose from a large pool of candidates. The edge often is within you: you must come across as a likeable individual, as someone who will “fit in;” someone who will add to the company rather than subtract: an asset rather than a potential liability. In short: You want to be liked!
Don’t be overconfident that the expensive resume that highlights you incredible skills and talents will do a killer job: it might just kill your chances if you don’t pay attention to the little things that screeners and interviewers look for. Assuming that you have been careful with your appearance, make-up, grooming, and personal attire, what will give you the edge are these “little things.” If we often hear the expression, “The first 10 seconds will make you of break you,” it is because there’s some truth to that.

1. The handshake and eye contact While in many cultures touching and looking at people straight into their eyes might be offensive. In this country, a good handshake and establishing eye-to-eye contact is really the ice breaker. Your handshake must be brief and vigorous; practicing this act with friends will give you confidence. Be up-front with your friends and ask them to critique your handshake. How many times have been introduced to people who just lay their hand on yours and leave there lifeless like a dead fish? Practice until you get it just right.

2. Speak with full sentences In today’s environment —the age of communication— employers want people who can speak and write well; they want workers con can participate in meetings, who can express their opinions, who can be players rather than observers from the sidelines. So, in your interview, when possible speak in full sentences:
“I see you your minor is in Accounting. Nice. And that you can prepare trial balances… what is a trial balance or balances?”

“Accountants prepare several types of trial balances, but let me tell you about the main one: ‘A trial balance is a list of the accounts and their balances prepared in order to prove the equality of the debits and the credits.”

Of course not always should you sound like an encyclopedia. During the interview, and taking your clues from the interviewer you can do a bit of small talk. And maybe allow yourself a few hot expressions. “Cool” is acceptable but only once. Stay away from telling jokes, punning, or even colorful language. Pepper your language with accepted business expressions such as: “I’m a team player,” “I’m a work horse, but I can also lead the way—when needed.”

Toward the end of the interview, pick up signals and clues that the interviewer is winding down. Use this pre-closing period to say, “I’m careful with wasting anyone’s time. And I know you are a busy person with a full schedule… thank you for talking to me today.”

3. Take advantage of the expected standard questions Because many interviewers in the Human Resources department are college grads with degrees in psychology, they are trained to use what they learned in textbooks. One model they often use is SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. Knowing this you should prepare answers ahead of the interview:

• Tell me about your strengths
• Our company is doing well, what do you think are our strengths?
• What do you think we do poorly? • What are your weaknesses?

Opportunities • If you were skipped over for promotion, would you see it as a weakness or an opportunity?
• If you get this job, will you see it as a job or a career opportunity?

Threats • Since you’re not familiar with Excel, would that be a threat or an opportunity? • What threats make you uneasy in a work environment?


Companies are seeking candidates eager to take on challenging projects, who aren’t afraid to learn by their mistakes in doing something new. The candidate must project this eagerness. Practice the above mentioned points. Practice the handshake. This little practice will tell a lot about your personality. Just remember learning this concept is easy, but it is the good execution of it that will distinguish you from many others. Be honest and sincere with your answers; lying, embellishment, or exaggeration shouldn’t take space in your mind and heart—or your resume.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Premature and Blue Babies Get Divine Protection

Umbilical cord of a three-minute-old child.  A...Image via Wikipedia

Last week it was my daughter Heather's birthday-now 25! Out of college, employed, about to get married, and wise, and pretty, I couldn't be but the proudest father on Earth. I thought I heard her say, "... a promotion with a salary increase," as she punched the microwave buttons to heat the fudge, the sweet scent of the hot fudge quickly filling the kitchen.

Then in a hallucinating second, the kitchen surroundings became the delivery room at New York Hospital; the hospital where my baby was born. Suddenly I saw myself clad in a white gown; I had been allowed to watch the delivery. And as I held my wife's hand and watched the miracle of birth, in a New York minute the dazzling brightness of the room change into dark foreboding.

Something was definitely wrong!

The turmoil that ensued left me paralyzed: beepers resonated, screens flashed, voices became louder, commands snapped. At first I heard whispers: "umbilical cord..." "blue ..." "oxygenation ..." "blue baby!" And then shouts, "upstairs-code blue!"

The rush of the moment had beclouded my reason, and all I could think of was that I had lost my daughter; that my baby was born still. Since no one bothered to explain what was happening, my mind filled itself with the worst thoughts. All the offending acts of my life marched in procession in front of me, mocking me, reminding me that I wasn't a perfect human being, and that I had sinned against God, stranger, and neighbor. Guilt assailed me.

In my distress I called to the Lord

In utter despair, my mind beclouded, yet not quite panicked, I fell on my knees and I raised my eyes to the heavens and begged, "I have tested your patience dear Lord, punish me, but let this child live." Raspy and cracked and lame my voice kept repeating, "Take me God, but don't take her." Having forgotten my prayers, since I had been away from church for many years, all I could manage was to repeat my own simple words.

The nurse that had been left behind promptly attended to my wife, soothing her, calming her down. But she had no more information about my baby than I did. Seeing my distress, she assured me that the rush and the turmoil were really precautionary, and that the babies usually recovered; that they had a special unit on the sixth floor for the "pree-mees," (prematurely born), the "blue babies," and other difficult births.

"They got the best equipment and trained personnel in the world!" she boasted. "Upstairs, is like a space ship."

"Where, upstairs?" I asked her. "Will they let me in?"

"Yes, parents are allowed, but not during the emergency. But go and see."

My heart in my mouth, half-tripping on my own clumsy steps, I made a mad dash toward the elevators. Once on the sixth floor, through the wide glass windows I could see the obstetrician and his retinue gathered around an incubator. Apparently, the child had been saved, for everyone in the group seemed to be collected; in fact they appeared cheerful, smiles showing on their faces.

Of all the faces in the group, one looked in my direction and nodded in a reassuring way. I found this incongruous, for the man was a giant, a tall and heavy African American, clad in a light blue uniform, with a matching cap--obviously a male nurse. Yet his smile and nod seemed odd, almost angelic.

Not wanting to be called out for trespassing, I hurried back to tell my wife that the baby was saved; that she was breathing on her own in an incubator. As I hustle back, the hallways seemed long and interminable, the elevator slow, my own steps ungainly, and I moved as if in the midst of a nightmare. Doubt filled my mind, was my baby really well? Or, had I conjured up that scene? "God, don't let me go off my senses," I begged.

I called out to my God

Early in the morning when my wife started having contractions way ahead of her due date. A premature baby! I realized then that I had to miss work. Since I had just hired a new assistant controller, I immediately called him at home and instructed him to review the multi-million dollar payroll, transfer funds to cover it, check the protective collar or puts and calls I had on the investment portfolio, and other tasks that I normally handled. In my arrogance and hubris, I feared my department would collapse during my absence. Needlessly I overwhelmed the poor man, as I snapped commands.

Little faith I placed back then on the abilities of other people. Now, as I watched the hospital staff work as a team in seamless effort, it dawned on me that people care and they take pride in their assigned chores. Shame filled my mind.

Within minutes, the obstetrician and the nurses returned and explained to us that the umbilical cord had twisted and knotted around the baby's neck and cut off the oxygen, and that they would have to keep her in the sixth floor for a few days. And though she was "a little blue," she didn't fall into the category of 'Blue Babies Syndrome," since these babies are born with a congenital heart defect.

As I listened, my heart was bursting with joy. Yet a voice of reason held me, for I wanted to yell my thanks to the heavens. The word Hosanna came to my mind, but I wasn't sure what it meant; so I kept quiet, enjoying the warmth, the ecstasy of triumph of life over death.

From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

With the doctor's permission, I was allowed to return to the sixth floor to see my daughter. Only the nurses are allowed near the incubators, so I had to content myself with watching Heather through the glass windows. The giant black male nurse walked in with a "pree-mee" --kicking and screaming-- on the palm of his wide hand, and as he placed the loudhailer pree-mee in the incubator, the giant smiled at me. The man's name tag read, "Samuel Moseley."

Pointing at my baby I could see that he had twisted a piece of pink ribbon into a tiny bow and scotch-taped it on top of Heather's head. I gave the man a thumbs up as I mouthed through the window: "Thanks, Samuel."

What follows next is something I have never confided to anyone, but it's high time that I share my experience.

When I walked into my wife's room the next day, I felt a little silly carrying a bouquet of flowers, for flowers were all over the place. Some friends were already there, and well-wishers kept the telephone ringing. After a while I excused myself and ran to the sixth floor to see my baby and to give Samuel a box of chocolates. But Samuel was nowhere to be seen.

I ran to the reception station and asked the attendants to give the box of chocolates to Samuel later when he came in. The nurses looked at each other. "There's no Sam or Samuel-or male nurses on this floor," one of them said. "You must be confused," the other nurse added, "maybe in another building or floor."

The loud beeps from the microwave and the clinking and clanking of dishes drew my out of my reverie. "Dad?" I heard Heather say. "I'm thinking about applying to law school--do you think I'm ready, or am I too premature?"
The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Focus Groups - What Do They Accomplish?

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Focus groups are useful in generating new product ideas or evaluating of new product concepts in very early stages of development before a great deal of time, effort, and money are expended. Some industries leap ahead by preparing a prototype, which is then evaluated by a focus group.

In addition, focus groups also evaluate existing products to assess quality, whether all the features are necessary or if others ones are needed. Much information can be garnered by employing focus groups, as long as management realizes that information is based on small, non-probability samples that can limit the ability to generalize the results to an entire target market.

In general, what can be garnered in one session are: users' attitudes, beliefs, desires, and reactions. This market research data can then be integrated with the goals of the organization.

The group consists of:
The moderator (sometimes called the group leader or instructor): who guides, prompts, nudges, and stimulates discussion and elicit reactions from the participants. •The participants: generally 8 to 12 past, present, or prospective clients, customers, and others interested users paid to give their opinions about a service, product, or some entity that needs to be evaluated.

Materials Needed.
•Index cards and markers for making nametags for focus group participants.
•A table and enough chairs for the moderator, recorder, and focus group members. •A seating chart for the moderator.

Main presentation of the item to be evaluated:
1.Decide what you want to learn. For example: Let’s assume that a commercial bank is about replace and install newer ATMs and they want to make sure that the screen colors are appealing.
2.Write a script for the moderator to follow (use bullet points and questions, both annotated as to the time allotted for each).
3.Management either hires a skilled moderator or appoints an articulate individual within the organization to rehearse and follow closely the bullet points in the script.
4.Tape the sessions and have one or more people take good notes. 5.When possible, in addition to the prototype, use visual aids such a graphics and charts, slide shows, or videos.

Action and Interaction:
When all the participants have been seated, the leader welcomes the focus group by thanking them for agreeing to participate in this activity. Tell the participants that they will be asked to give their opinions on the colors only.

Tell the focus group that the only rules are (1) no opinion or idea expressed is judged foolish or even outlandish, and (2) all participants in the group will have a chance to share their opinions. Re-emphasize that no idea is “off the wall.”

Pre-closing activities: The moderator asks selected individuals if they are satisfied with the interaction among themselves. Often some members may volunteer information that might have been overlooked during the course of the session.

An experienced moderator will keep the session lively and flowing, by stepping in with pointed questions.
“That is a fantastic point you just made! Can you expand a bit more?”
“What makes the screen gaudy? Is it the pink, the red, or the blue?”

If interaction is poor, the value of the conclusions drawn from the focus group may be questionable.

Closing the session
Thank the focus group participants for their contribution. Give praise with general remarks such as: “You were just wonderful. Two or three of you kept this thing jumping, and I thank you for that. I loved your input! The moment you see the screens and the colors you helped us choose, you’ll feel proud that you pointed our bank in the right direction.”

Focus groups (sometimes called study groups or research groups) are useful not only in large businesses and in small businesses, but also in the professional occupations, too. The pastor of a church may use them to evaluate his sermons; a comedian can have his performance evaluated; politicians, accountants, and others as well.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jane Austen - Marriage Proposals or Insults

Colin Firth as Mr.Darcy in the 1995 BBC adapta...

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Not long ago, Mary Patricia and I saw a movie based on the Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. The scenes in which Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth Bennet made us cringe with disgust.

This is what Mr. Collins says in a boorish preamble:
"Almost as soon as I entered the house I singled you out as the companion of my future life. But before I am run away with by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it will advisable for me to state my reasons for marrying-and moreover for coming into Hertfordshire with the design of selecting a wife, as I certainly did."

Next he offers his reasons:

"My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish. Secondly, that I am convinced it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly-which perhaps I ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour or calling patroness."

One can understand that Mr. Collins is a ridiculous character whose actions and speech are deliberately inserted in the novel to bring about the much needed comic relief. But Mr. Collins isn't joking-he is quite serious! And speaking of seriousness, we find that the most serious character of the entire cast, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, uses the same boorish and unromantic marriage proposal; a proposal even more despicable than that of the loathsome Mr. Collins.

How Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth Bennet

Again, a boorish preamble: "In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire you."

Next he offers his reasons.
The exact words may have been too painful for the readership of the times; and in good sense the author has the narrator to intimate them only. Instead the narrator tells us about Darcy's expectations:

"He [Mr. Darcy] concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavors, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security."

When Elizabeth rebuffs him with a scathing speech of which the most memorable line is "...and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed to married," Mr. Darcy instead of making a graceful exit, insists by remarking on his superiority of status, his superiority of connections, and by the vulgarity of Elizabeth's family members.

Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy's proposal were insults and affronts rather than honor and homage to the beloved. Nothing in their speech projects love but coldness and arrogance.

Although I was not quite eighteen years of age when I proposed, I instinctively knew that it is the man's role to woo the beloved and win her hand in a way that is warm and loving. The man's speech (proposal) I was sure would have to be clear and filled with 'you' and not with 'me' or 'I.'

How I proposed to Mary Patricia:
When we were in between classes Mary Patricia and I would meet either at the sun dial or by the sycamore tree in front of Lewisohn Hall. Without any experience in amorous proposals, and fearful that my nervousness would botch up what could be the most momentous occasion of my life, one afternoon sitting under the old tree I scribbled a few notes on an index card. Then as if under the spell of a divine force, and at the most propitious and enchanting moment, as we stood under the sycamore tree, this is what I read to her:

"Since we met, you've made me a better student, a better person: kinder and nobler. And I now have a burning desire to succeed in life; not because of me, not because of my family, but because I want you to think of me as a worthy person.

"If I always feel compelled to hold your hand and to put my arms around you, it is because I want to make sure you are human, that you aren't an angel or a goddess. I cannot imagine the rest of my life without you by my side, for you and your music are everything to me now: when I'm awake I think of you, when I sleep I dream of you, and in my dreams you are my hypnosis, my delirium, and my peace.

Having read my scribbling, and as I got down on one knee, I asked Mary Patricia:

"Will you marry me-will you marry this poor boy from the Andes who was born to love you forever?"

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson: Town Crier or Village Idiot

A little-known South Carolina Republican, unable to contain his emotions, yelled at President Obama, and the top of his lungs, "You lie!" This outburst may have done more to unite Democrats and the public than the entire speech.

History shows that worse things have have happened in that august chamber, but last night's outburst embodied the type of "debate" --death panels, illegal aliens, public option, government takeover-- the Republicans have been waging against health care reform.

Last night's television moment showed the stark contrast between the dignity of the President and a vulgar man.

Wilson may have just become another tiny footnote in the House of Representatives annals, but it will be the footnote that left the footprint of approval of the Health Care bill. This is one terrible way not only to make history, but also to be on the wrong side of it.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Get That Promotion With An Evergreen Resume

Build Your Own Steps in the Ladder of Success with an Evergreen Resume.

To land a good job we need a good resume; no one can argue about this fact. As a result many applicants spend a great deal of time and money confectioning and then massaging that resume until it can no longer be improved upon. In the end, the time, the effort, and the money really pays off, since we all eventually manage to get a


But is that the whole object of a resume?

For 99 percent of workers it is. Once employed, we get into a ghastly routine: collect a paycheck every week or every 2 weeks, put food on the table, pay the rent, pay all the other bills, maybe save a little for a laptop.

While Jacob (Genesis) saw, in his dream, a traffic ladder reaching up to the heavens, the go getter and self-starter should see the initial resume as the bottom step of the ladder with which to climb upward to better things—financial heaven.
Whenever you take a workshop, a seminar, an online or classroom-attendance course, update your resume. Did you get married or divorced? Did you have a child? Update your resume. Did you travel overseas? Are you volunteering for something? Have you published a book or article? Then list the event. Sometimes what may seem an insignificant event, in the end it can be the attention grabber that can bring the promotion.

Once I updated my resume by adding a remark: “Earned 3 credits at NYU: Proust and Memory Enhancement.” When a new boss came into the department, she interviewed me for an opening as district manager that she had just created. She simply said to me, “I love Proust; my minor was French Literature.”

One of my favorite novels is Stendhal’s The Red and the Black. The hero, Julien Sorel, uses a ladder not only to ford a river and to negotiate terraces, but also to climb up and into Mme. De Renal’s boudoir. The point is that like Julien one must constantly carry the image of the ladder of success.

On another occasion, when my second child was born, I updated my resume. And as an afterthought, I included my wife and the children’s names and dates of birth—all in one line. Again, this proved to be fruitful during a promotion interview. My boss said, “My daughter’s name is Kay also—same age. Maybe they should get together.”
Keeping a resume evergreen, with a copy of the update to the Human Resources, and your boss, will get you ahead of peers and competitors.
When you are up for annual evaluation, bring up an updated resume. Use it to highlight what you have been doing to enhance your skills and how they will help you to be a better producer.

Convert the traditional resume into an evergreen resume. Consider the updates the steps with which you are building the ladder of success.
In war, the Maccabees, constructed huge ladders to climb walls and conquer their enemies. In business, trust the ladder that you yourself have built.
Wittgenstein –discussing language and meaning—said, “he must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it." My recommendation is keep the ladder, for there’s always higher heights to reach in the financial heavens.
The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers

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Christopher Hitchens, Atheist, Communist, Intellectual

If a painter could capture on a canvas the ideal image of smugness and elitism, he would paint Christopher Hitchens.

Elitism, in my estimation, isn't about money, intelligence, or accomplishment: it is about the attitude of "being superior to others." To see Hitchen on TV is revolting; not only is he oily, pompous, but also condescending. And if you watch him on tv or read his books, he'll make you believe that he owns a greater mind than Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Jefferson put together.

What is this man's agenda? Destruction of the United States? Those of us who served this great country in the military --either in peace or war-- cringe at what he spews. For someone so enamored with the convicted and harmful doctrine that is marxism, he surely loves to live in the United States of America. Why aren't Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia willing to give him a visa?

Why would the State Department give a green card to an avowed communist (Troskyist revolutionary), atheist, and overall hater of the United States? Don't we have enough domestic native terrorists, misogynists, and xenophobes that we have to import another one?

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers

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