Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kate Upton, Bikini Model

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/become-investment-bank-analyst-112100071.html

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kate Upton: Hot on the Boardwalk

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chapter 3 Adjusting the Accounts

Historical financial statementImage via Wikipedia

What is the Accounting Period concept?
The Accounting Period concept says that accountants assume that the economic life of a business may be divided into time periods that are more convenient than the calendar year.

What is the Accrual Basis?
A system in which revenues are recorded when they ere earned, and expenses when they are incurred, not just when cash is received or paid out.

What is the Matching Principle?
The Matching Principle is the accounting principle that supports reporting revenues and related expenses in the same accounting period.

What are the Four Major categories of Adjusting Entries?
(1) Deferred expenses or prepaid expenses (2) Deferred revenues or unearned revenues (3) Accrued expenses or accrued liabilities (4) Accrued revenues or accrued assets.

What is Depreciation?
Depreciation is the allocation of the cost of a long-lived asset to expense over its useful life in a rational and systematic manner.

How do we find Book Value?
We find book value by subtracting the accumulated depreciation from the cost of an asset.

What are other names for Book Value?
Book value is also called Carrying Value and Unexpired Cost.

What is a Contra Account?
A Contra-Account is an account that is matched or paired to a related account and subtracted from it. Therefore, its normal balance is the opposite of the related account.

When you accrue a Revenue what do you need?
When we accrue a revenue (by crediting the revenue account) we need a receivable as a debit.

What you accrue an Expense what do you need?
When we accrue an expense (by debiting the expense account) we need a payable as a credit.

What is an Adjusted Trial Balance?

A trial balance prepared to verify the equality of the total debit and credit balances before we prepare the financial statements.

What are Unearned Revenues?
Unearned revenues are liabilities that are expected to become revenues over time or through the normal operations of the business.

What are Adjusting Entries?

Adjusting entries are journal entries that bring the accounts up to date at the end of the accounting period. The General rule for adjusting entries is: All adjusting entries affect at least one income statement account and one balance sheet account.

What are Prepaid Expenses?
Prepaid expenses are accounts that have been initially recorded as assets but are expected to become expenses over time or though the normal operations of the business. Examples: supplies, prepaid insurance, and building.

What are Accrued Expenses?

Accrued expenses are expenses that have been committed or incurred (not yet paid) but not yet recorded in the accounts.

What are Accrued Revenues?
Accrued revenues are revenues that have been earned but have not been recorded in the accounts.

What is PP&E?
PP&E stands for Property, Plant, and Equipment. Other names used are: Long-lived assets, Fixed assets, or simply Plant Assets.


What are the three Principles and three Assumptions we have studied so far?

What the Titles of the three chapters we have studied so far?

Ch1 Accounting in Action

Ch2 Recording Process

Ch3 Adjusting the Accounts

Ch4 Completing the Accounting Cycle

Ch5 Merchandising Operations

Ch6 Inventories

Ch7 Accounting Information Systems

Ch8 Internal Control and Cash

Ch9 Accounting for Receivables

Ch10 PP&E, Natural Resources, and Intangible Assets

Ch11 Current Liabilities and Payroll


Ch12 Partnerships

Ch13 Corporations

Ch14 Corporations:Dividends, RE

Ch15 Long Term Liabilities

Ch16 Investment

Ch17 Statement of Cash Flows

Ch18 Financial Statement Analysis

Plato and Accounting

Price/Earnings Ratio

Plant Assets

Luca Pacioli and DaVinci




The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers



Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chapter 2 The Recording Process



What is an Account?
An account is a record of increases and decreases in specific assets, liabilities, or owner’s equity.

What is Normal balance of an account?
A normal balance of an account is the side on which the account is increased. For example, Accounts Receivable has a debit normal balance because Accounts Receivable is an asset and assets are increased by debits (per Rule of Accounting # 1 for assets).

How do you Find Owner’s Equity?
We find owner’s equity by subtracting total liabilities from total assets.

What is a simple journal entry?
A simple journal entry is an entry that requires one debit and one credit.

What is a compound entry?
A compound journal entry contains more than one debit of credit.

What is Double Entry System?
Double Entry Bookkeeping System is an organized way to record in appropriate accounts the dual effect of each transaction. This is the system that Luca Pacioli included in his textbook.

What is posting?
Posting is the transferring of information from the journal to the general ledger.

What is a Chart of Accounts?
A Chart of accounts is a list of accounts and their numbers that specify their location in the general ledger.

What is a Trial Balance?
A trial balance is a list of accounts and their balances at a specific point in time, prepared in order to prove out the equality of the debits and the credits.

What is a Journal?
A journal is a book of original entry in which transactions are recorded in chronological order.

What is a Three-column form of account?
It is a form with columns for debit, credit, and running or cumulative balance amounts in an account.

What is a T account?
A T account is the most basic form of account.
Ch1 Accounting in Action

Ch2 Recording Process

Ch3 Adjusting the Accounts

Ch4 Completing the Accounting Cycle

Ch5 Merchandising Operations

Ch6 Inventories

Ch7 Accounting Information Systems

Ch8 Internal Control and Cash

Ch9 Accounting for Receivables

Ch10 PP&E, Natural Resources, and Intangible Assets

Ch11 Current Liabilities and Payroll


Ch12 Partnerships

Ch13 Corporations

Ch14 Corporations:Dividends, RE

Ch15 Long Term Liabilities

Ch16 Investment

Ch17 Statement of Cash Flows

Ch18 Financial Statement Analysis

Plato and Accounting

Price/Earnings Ratio

Plant Assets

Luca Pacioli and DaVinci




The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers



Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn

Chapter 1 What is Accounting?

What is Accounting?
Accounting is an information system that identifies, records, and communicates economic data of an enterprise to interested users.

What are the two types of Interested Users of Accounting information?
The two types of interested users are Internal users and External users.
Give examples of Internal Users and External Users: Examples of Internal Users are: Marketing managers, production supervisors, finance directors, and company officers

Examples of External Users are: Investors, Creditors, Taxing authorities, Regulatory agencies, Customers, Labor unions, and Economic planners.

In What year did Luca Pacioli publish his Summa de Arithmetica?
Luca Pacioli published his textbook in 1494.

Who was a good friend of Pacioli?
A good friend of Luca Pacioli was Leonardo DaVinci.

What do we understand by Ethics?
Ethics is the knowledge of what is right and wrong; it deals with a society’s morals.

What are the three organizations that establish accounting rules and guidelines?
The two organizations are FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board), the SEC (The Securities and Exchange Commission, and the IRS.

What is the Cost principle?
The cost principle requires that Plant Assets be carried at the original price for which they were purchased. Therefore, the ledger for the asset cannot be changed, altered, or distorted.

What are assets? Name at least 4 assets
Assets are properties or resources owned by the business. Four examples of assets are: Cash, accounts receivable, supplies, and prepaid insurance.

What are liabilities? Name at least one liability
Liabilities are debts, obligations, or claims by creditors. In sum liabilities are what a company owes.

What is Owner’s Equity? Name at least one Owner’s Equity account
The owner’s equity is the residual amount or what is leftover for the owner after all the liabilities of a business are paid. Owner’s equity may also be defined as claims by the owner. An example of Owner’s Equity account is: R. Neal, Capital.

What are the 4 activities that change the Owner’s Equity?
They are (1) Investments of capital by the owner (2) Revenues (3) Expenses, and (4) Withdrawals by the Owner.

What are the two rules of Bookkeeping?
The two rules of Bookkeeping are: (1) Each transaction affects at least two accounts (2) In a journal entry the debits must always equal the credits.

What is the difference between Bookkeeping and Accounting?
Bookkeeping deals with the recording part of accounting, whereas Accounting deals with all three aspects: identification of transactions, recording, and communication.

How many rules of Accounting are there?
There are three rules of accounting.

Rule of Accounting Number 1 for Assets:
Increases in assets are recorded by debits to the asset accounts. Decreases in assets are recorded by credits to the asset account.

Rule of Accounting Number 2 for Liabilities:
Increases in liabilities are recorded by credits to the liability accounts. Decreases in liabilities are recorded by debits to the liability accounts.

Rule of Accounting Number 3 for Owner’s Equity
Increases in owner’s equity accounts are recorded by credits to the owner’s equity accounts. Decreases in owner’s equity accounts are recorded by debits to the owner’s equity accounts.

How many financial statements are there?
There four and only four financial statements: Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Statement of Owner’s Equity, and Statement of Cash Flows.

How many sections does the balance sheet have?
The Balance Sheet has three sections: Assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity

How many sections does the income statement have?The income statement has three sections: Revenues, Expenses, and net income.

What are revenues?
Revenues are increases in owner’s equity.

What are expenses?
Expenses are decreases in owner's equity.

What are transactions?
Transactions are economic events of an enterprise that are recorded by accountants. A transaction must be expressed in dollars.

What is net income
Net income is the difference between revenues and expenses. It is also called the “Bottom Line.”
Ch1 Accounting in Action

Ch2 Recording Process

Ch3 Adjusting the Accounts

Ch4 Completing the Accounting Cycle

Ch5 Merchandising Operations

Ch6 Inventories

Ch7 Accounting Information Systems

Ch8 Internal Control and Cash

Ch9 Accounting for Receivables

Ch10 PP&E, Natural Resources, and Intangible Assets

Ch11 Current Liabilities and Payroll


Ch12 Partnerships

Ch13 Corporations

Ch14 Corporations:Dividends, RE

Ch15 Long Term Liabilities

Ch16 Investment

Ch17 Statement of Cash Flows

Ch18 Financial Statement Analysis

Plato and Accounting

Price/Earnings Ratio

Plant Assets

Luca Pacioli and DaVinci




The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers



Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn

Monday, August 19, 2013

Want to be an Investment Banker?

1903 stock certificate of the Baltimore and Oh...

Image via Wikipedia

Can I major in Investment banking?

Over the years, because many of my students approach me with questions about careers in Investment Banking, I’ve written down a few stock answers. Here are my notes:

An investment banker is someone who works or is connected with an investment house. Such investment houses or companies are often called investment houses, brokerage houses, underwriters, or simply investment banks. Many investment bankers are employees, but others may function as agents or independent contractors. Most investment bankers who are sales representatives (stock brokers) are licensed individuals and must pass a background investigation and several exams to obtain the required licenses. Having satisfied the requirements, the candidates become “registered representatives,” and may then buy and sell securities through the organized markets.

The body that supervises both investment banks and registered representatives is the NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers). Investment banks raise money for the Government, institutions, individuals worldwide, and public corporations by arranging the sale of securities (stocks, bonds, and derivatives) to the public in the primary market. After an initial public offering (IPO), the purchase and sale of securities take place in the secondary markets.

Professional services offered by investment banks:

Lacking the expertise to raise capital on their own or through organized securities markets (NYSE, OTC, Nasdaq, or the American Stock Exchange), the corporation must rely on investment banks. Therefore, they contract these banks so that they can design and negotiate the company’s best strategy and to recommend the sale of either bonds (debt) or stock (equity). The bank’s resident staff includes a legal department that makes sure all Government regulations are complied with and all the necessary documentation properly gathered and printed. An important aspect of this expertise is the research called “Due Diligence,” which certifies that a checklist of material facts have been scrutinized to protect investors, the bank, and the company that is issuing the securities. For small corporations seeking finance, the investment banks will require a retainer, which varies from house to house, but usually around $25,000. Since each deal is different and unique, the corporate controller must shop around to get a good idea as to what a reasonable fee may be. With the deal settled, the investment bank proceeds to get the issue out. Initially they will prepare the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) which contains a blueprint for marketing the issue.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)

Investment bankers also handle mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructurings. This is a very lucrative field for many investment bankers. By bringing together companies and either merging them or acquiring them (and letting them work independently), investment banks foster the growth of successful companies. Some companies achieve growth and earnings through mergers and acquisitions rather than through the operations of their main line of business. Take for example, General Electric. Investors no longer think of GE as a manufacturing electronics company, but as a conglomerate and finance company. Not only do investment banks bring together companies to form a larger company, but they also break them up into smaller companies, spinoffs, or carve-outs. In either case, the banks will make money.

Brokerage and proprietary trading

Proprietary Investing refers to the management of portfolios of high-yield bonds, leveraged loans and other publicly traded securities. The management teams use intense credit research and relative value analysis. The "prop desk" handles the trades of stocks, bonds, options, commodities, swaps, and other derivatives. Different strategies are employed for different clients. For example, less aggressive techniques and risk will be employed in the management of pension funds. Likewise, not-for-profit institutions will restrict the trading to safer techniques. Although investment banks are viewed as businesses which assist other business and institutions in raising money in the capital markets, in fact they also do lots of trading for their own accounts. Part of their daily activities involve: index arbitrage, statistical arbitrage, merger arbitrage, and volatility arbitrage.

Management services and other services

Given their huge pool of skilled and talented employees, they can develop detailed plans for businesses to be successful. Entire departments and managers specialize in industry sectors such as pharmaceutical, health, wind energy, etc. They develop divisional performance measurement: cost, revenue, profit, and investment and expense centers that determine which method is likely to be the most efficient for each client. Not only do they design and develop strategies for senior executives to manage the cultures within their organizations, but also they recommend equity compensation instruments (stock options). For those corporations that are image-conscious, investment banks offer ‘corporate social responsibility’ programs that can enhance the company’s reputation and goodwill.

Students

Many of my students often ask me, can I start with a commercial bank and then transfer to an investment house? Yes. This happens all the time. But, human resources, and division heads in investment banks tend to look down on applicants with commercial bank experience. The action, they feel, is in investment banks. Another question that comes up: what college majors are preferred for investment banking? The answer is: finance, accounting, and economics. Yet, I’ve met successful investment bankers who majored in liberal arts. In fact, a friend of mine majored in French Literature. The ultimate major that is required is: intelligence, coupled with a flair for numbers, and excellent communication skills.

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

Sentence Openers


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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Becoming a Writer - Sinclair Lewis "How I Wrote a Novel"

Sinclair Lewis' Main StreetImage by Krista76 via Flickr

SINCLAIR LEWIS (1885-1951)
"How I Wrote a Novel”

I have a philosophical principle, a handy and portable key to achievement, for the twenty or thirty million young Americans who at the present second are wondering how they can attain it. It applies to shoemakers as much as to authors. It is: Six times one equals six. It sounds simple and rather foolish, and it is harder to carry out than an altitude flight.

Being a professional writer, not a good one but quite a hard­working one, I hear at least once a week, "What's the trick? How can I break into the magazine game? I want to write. I've been reading your stuff, and I think I could do something like it. What must I do?"

My first answer is, 'Well, you can save a great deal of time by not reading my stuff. Read Thomas Hardy, Conrad, Anatole France. Or, if you want the younger men, look at Joseph Hergesheimer, James Branch Cabell, Henry Mencken; and all of these astonishing young Englishmen-Walpole, Maugham, Cannan, Lawrence, and the rest."

The achievement hunter ferrets an ancient envelope out of his pocket and solemnly notes down the names, as though they were magic formulas, and I have a private fit of despair in the most convenient comer, because

Friday, August 16, 2013

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: Air, Fire, and Passion in Her Sentence Openers

In this timeless first-person narrative, Jane Eyre —a small, plain-faced, intelligent and honest English orphan— recounts her childhood and latter years leading to her marriage to the mysterious Edward Rochester.

What make the story fast-paced, fascinating, and ultimately admirable are not the mundane events and incidents that happen to her, but the manner in which she tells them. Within a few pages it becomes obvious that the narrator is a character who is a master of the English language. Her sentence openers are well thought out, well measured, and well balanced—a veritable fountain of wisdom.

In addition, Jane owns a terrific imagination, which coupled with her lust for life, will get her to where she wants to go—but only after she experiences hurt, physical abuse, and much suffering.
The novel goes through five distinct stages:

1. Gateshead. This is the residence of Jane spends of her childhood, and where she experiences the cruelties volleyed at her by her aunt (Mrs. Reed) and cousins.
2. Lowood School. In this school she meets the mystic Helen Burns and Maria Temple, whom Jane admires and sees as a role model. In this school she also endures the headmaster’s humiliations and gratuitous abuses.
3. Thornfield Manor. The manor is owned by Edward Rochester, who is her employer and with whom she falls in love.
4. Moor House or Marsh’s End. Owned by the Rivers family who happen to be her relatives. Here Jane received a marriage proposal from her passionless clergyman-cousin St John Rivers.
5. Ferndean. A second house owned by her beloved Rochester.

While we enjoy child characters such as Dickens’ David Copperfield, Little Dorritt, and Pip, we admire Jane Eyre much more because she is proud and shows a fighting spirit. She fights back. "I resisted all the way: a new thing for me," she tells us as Bessie takes her to be locked in the red-room, following a fight with the brat John Reed.

She doesn’t just let things happen to her; and the fact that very same spirit gets her in trouble, she also fights extricate herself from her predicaments. Resourceful is the word that fits Jane. I always admire the passage in the novel in which she wants change in her life and how an epiphany comes to her: Advertise! And that single action gets her not only her first employment, but also her first and only love: Mr. Rochester. But little did she know the mystery that engulfed the manor, and much less the source of the hideous laughter: "While I paced softly on, the last sound I expected to hear in so still a region, a laugh, struck my ears. It was a curious laugh - distinct, formal, mirthless. I stopped"

The author, Charlotte Bronte, a magician of the English language will take you back to England as it was in the 1840s, making you experience the highs and lows of life in England during that period.

Jane Eyre is true work of literature that will introduce readers of any age to memorable characters and a story that is inexhaustible in its wisdom. Not long ago I was moved by all the attention given to J. K. Rowling and her lovable character Harry Potter. Moved I was but not fascinated as I am every time I re-read Jane Eyre. While J. K. Rowling is an entertainer, Charlotte Bronte is a literary artist.

If you like low-brow romances you won’t find it here. It is a story of a woman who struggles with a world in which she doesn’t quite fit. While the novel may be read as a critique of both gender and social class, it contains a strong feminist stance:

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.

Or,
And was Mr. Rochester now ugly in my eyes? No, reader: gratitude and many associates, all pleasurable and genial, made his face the object I best liked to see; his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire.

The protagonist and narrator has no amazing qualities, she's a plain girl and it says so, many times in the novel, but she shows some endearing qualities —which I won’t mention— that readers inevitably discover.

Ahead of her times, Charlotte Bronte, hints and unveils as much as it was permitted then, erotic tensions, boundless passions, and hateful marriage ironies. These were not qualities encouraged in Victorian women writers, and Jane Eyre was offensive to many a contemporary. That a woman should expose her inner most feelings, was unheard of:
I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.

Jane Eyre is a transformative book from which we can all learn. I always say that the depths of human emotions one doesn’t find in either in psychology book or philosophical tracts—but only in fiction. "Reader, I married him."
Read it!
The writing techniques I use 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
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
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
Kafka,Metamorphosis
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


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers


Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia
Lindsey Vonn






Click-->Back to main page

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Charles Dickens' David Copperfield - Mr. Dick's World of Enchantment and the Internet

 

 In Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield we meet angelic innocence personified in Mr. Dick. 

When Miss Betsey Trotwood encounters what seems to her to be deep human problems that need to be solved, to Mr. Dick they are but simple events which need simple answers.
 

When David first arrives at his aunt’s place, Miss Betsey addresses Mr. Dick: 

‘how can you pretend to be wool-gathering, Dick when you are as sharp as a surgeon’s lancet? Now, here you see young David Copperfield, and the question I put to you is, what shall I do with him?’ Of course, this is a momentous occasion for David, a matter of survival—a moral problem.
 

Under pressure to give a sound answer, Mr. Dick replies, ‘I should—I should wash him!’

In the end Miss Betsy always follows Mr. Dick’s advice because in his humanness Mr. Dick is never wrong: “Mr. Dick sets us all right.”

Yet Miss Betsy, David Copperfield, and others know that Mr. Dick is “mad.” While we sane people tend to see reality as it is or should be, characters like Mr. Dick see the reverse side of it. And who is to say that the reverse side of things is not the real side.

While eccentrics, madmen, and artists retain that child-like virtue of seeing in that elusive magical dimension, most of us lose it. And with that we lose innocence—Eden. Cast out of Eden we are so doomed to an existence in a world corrupted by time and experience and from which can never escape.

My fascination with Mr. Dick is that he is a writer whose life is devoted to writing a Memorial of King Charles, a memorial that he destroys as soon as he writes it, much as Penelope did weaving and unweaving her tapestry. Besides being a writer, Mr. Dick is a man-child who delights in building and flying kites.

One day Mr. Dick invites David to go fly with him his new creation—a seven feet high kite! What caught my attention in this reading is that the kite is covered with the very same manuscript that the innocent soul --Mr. Dick-- has written:
‘There’s plenty of string,’ said Mr. Dick, ‘and when it flies high, it takes the facts a long way. That’s my manner of diffusing ‘em. I don’t know where they may come down. It’s according to circumstances, and the wind, and so forth; but I take my chance of that.’
In that magical dimension in which Mr. Dick lives, he envisions and foresees that words —which he calls facts— not only live, fly, soar, and travel in space, but that also have consequences which a writer cannot foresee. In Mr. Dick's century in which radio, TV, satellite, the Internet, and other special communication was unknown, only a madman could have foreseen that: that words could travel with the speed of wind, much less at the speed of light.

Indeed, Mr. Dick wasn't so way off in saying that to diffuse his words by wind and circumstance, he had to take his chances. A writer who doesn't have faith that centuries later his writings (words) will not come down on future generations, isn't a true writer.

When we see the reverse side of a carpet, or a leaf, or the negative of a photograph, we think that one side is the right or correct side and the other the obverse.  This may not be so. 

  Perhaps in the 21st Century we are living in a cyber dimension that that French philosopher Braudillard called Simulacra.

The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers

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
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
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
Kafka,Metamorphosis
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


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers


Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia
Lindsey Vonn



Back to main page

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stephen King Vs Stephenie Meyer

Jess drove faster than the chief, so we made it to Port Angeles by four. It had been a while since I've had a girls' night out, and the estrogen rush was invigorating. We listened to whiny songs while Jessica jabbered on about the boys we hung out with. Jessica's dinner with Mike had gone very well, and she was hoping that by Saturday night they would have progressed to the first-kiss stage. I smiled to myself, pleased. Angela was passively happy to be going to the dance, but not really interested in Eric. Jess tried to get her to confess who her type was, but I interrupted with a question about dresses after a bit, to spare her. Angela threw a grateful glance my way.[chapter 8, Twilight]

What is wrong with the above? Inartistic. Truman Capote would call the above paragraph, "Typing," not writing. The paragraph contains not one single balanced sentence, let alone a well balanced sentence. And, yes. All sentences are of the amateurish or childish pattern S-V-O (subject, verb, object--John hit the ball; john hit the ball; john hit the ball; etc).

Stephen King, in a recent interview said: “Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

Mr. King might just be right in his criticism, not because he is jealous of Meyers' success, but because--as we can see in the above excerpt--Meyer's writing isn't writing at all, but typing.
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
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
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
Kafka,Metamorphosis
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

Senada Selmani, model

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Donaldson Pillsbury, A Man for All Reasons and Seasons

Being a man who writes words every day, I very much like Shakespeare's words in Much Ado About Nothing:

"Well, God is a good man."

I like these words because they comfort me when I think of my departed friend Don Pillsbury. In my mind I repeat to myself, "Well, Don was a good man."

Closer friends, associates, or maybe even his biographers will eventually write about the many sides of Don: Business, the law, Oxford, Yale, education, Sotheby's, philanthropy, the Performing Arts, and so on. That's fine with me, as long as I get to comment on just one side of his life--his love of literature.

One night, while attending a Music Sacra concert at Carnegie Hall, I saw him by the front row,with a group of his friends. Since my wife, Mary Duffy, is a friend of many of the Musica Sacra volunteers, we were all together in one of the upper tiers.

During the intermission, he'd manage to come up to say hello and tell me how excited he was about Garcia Marquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera. What caught his attention was not the lover --and suffering torch bearer Florentino Ariza-- but Fermina Daza, the object of Florentino's affections. "What a character!" he exclaimed.

On many occasions, If it wasn't Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, or Nabokov, it was Faulkner or Hemingway, but never Henry James, whom we ended up discussing. Don once described Henry James as a soporific writer. And I totally agree, for never once have I been able to finish one of Henry James' novels.

Well, Don was a good man--a well read man.

One balmy New York City-day, as we attended a function (on a Park Avenue rooftop), speeches gone with the wind, hors d'oeuvres devoured, and just wine and spirits flowing, Don and a few others deconstructed the originality --or lack of it-- of American literature. Don sustained that Fitzgerald borrowed the theme of the The Great Gatsby from Petronius' Trimalchio (for the raucous parties), and the idea of falling in love while poor and dreaming of making it big as recovering a lost love from Wuthering Heights.

Well, Don was a good man--a man of reason, kind-hearted, and humble. As Nick Carraway opens his narration of Gatsby, he tells us about his father's advice:
"Whenever you feel like critizicing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

Though Don was born to advantage, humility always guided his acts.

Not only did he lived a decent and virtuous life, he enjoyed it! And I'm happy that he shared --for about twenty years-- some of that enjoyment with me, a poor humble boy from the Andes.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca - Best Quotes

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Thus begins a tale of romance, mystery, suspense, and horror. The author was a lesbian, yet she wrote what many consider a sweet love story between a mature man and a naive young lady (the unnamed narrator).

Given the moodiness, pessimism, and the dark ambience of Manderley, one has to agree with Rebecca’s assessment of what is happiness: “Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”

Philosophers and psychologists have written volumes on ‘peak experiences,’ or ‘moments of truth,’ that tests our mettle. But I like what a novelist has to say better: "I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end."

Rebecca’s mind in flight—thinking in the subjunctive voice-- from the safety of the now to the dread of an uncertain future:


"I wanted to go on sitting there, not talking, not listening to the others, keeping the moment precious for all time, because we were peaceful all of us, we were content and drowsy even as the bee who droned above our heads. In a little while it would be different, there would come tomorrow, and the next day and another year. And we would be changed perhaps, never sitting quite like this again. Some of us would go away, or suffer, or die, the future stretched away in front of us, unknown, unseen, not perhaps what we wanted, not what we planned. This moment was safe though, this could not be touched. Here we sat together; Maxim and I, hand-in-hand, and the past and the future mattered not at all. This was secure, this funny little fragment of time he would never remember, never think about again…For them it was just after lunch, quarter-past-three on a haphazard afternoon, like any hour, like any day. They did not want to hold it close, imprisoned and secure, as I did. They were not afraid."

Ah, that first sweet love that we all do not wish to forget: "I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say."

Here is a passage that Sigmund Freud would love: "We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic - now mercifully stilled, thank God - might in some manner unforeseen become a living companion as it had before."

What I like about this passage is that humans own the capacity to freeze time. To make time an illusion: "We know one another. This is the present. There is no past and no future. Here I am washing my hands, and the cracked mirror shows me to myself, suspended as it were, in time; this is me, this moment will not pass.”

But we can also traverse time: “And then I open the door and go to the dining-room, where he is sitting waiting for me at a table, and I think how in that moment I have aged, and passed on, how I have advanced one step towards an unknown destiny.” “We smile, we choose our lunch, we speak of this and that, but - I say to myself-I am not she who left him five minutes ago. She has stayed behind. I am another woman, older, more mature…"

And an acute observation about the bane, the vain, and the good: "...but I should say that kindliness, and sincerity, and if I may say so--modesty--are worth far more to a man, to a husband, than all the wit and beauty in the world."

Heraclitus said ‘The way up is the way down.’ Rebecca: "Sometimes it’s a sort of indulgence to think the worst of ourselves. We say, ‘Now I have reached the bottom of the pit, now I can fall no further,’ and it is almost a pleasure to wallow in the darkness. The trouble is, it’s not true. There is no end to the evil in ourselves, just as there is no end to the good. It’s a matter of choice. We struggle to climb, or we struggle to fall. The thing is to discover which way we’re going."

So long, for: "Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard."
The writing techniques I use are explained in Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers e-book.

Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers


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
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
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
Kafka,Metamorphosis
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


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
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Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
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Monday, August 12, 2013

The Lazarillo of Tormes (New Translation from the Spanish by Marciano Guerrero )

Tormes river @ SalamancaImage by Paco CT via Flickr

Chapter 1 - Lazaro Tells about His Parents (part 1 of 3)


You —your Grace— should know first of all that I'm called Lazaro of Tormes, and that I'm the son of Tome Gonzales and Antona Perez, natives of Tejares, a village near Salamanca. I was actually born in the Tormes River, and that's how I got my name. It happened this way: my father (God rest his soul) was in charge of a watermill on the bank of that river, and he was the miller there for more than fifteen years. Well, one night while my mother was in the mill, pregnant with me, she went into labor and gave birth to me right there. So I can really say I was born in the river.

When I was eight years old, they accused my father of gutting the sacks that people were bringing to the mill. They took him to jail, and without denying anything he confessed everything, suffering persecution for justice’s sake. But I trust God that dad is in heaven because the Bible calls that kind of man blessed. At that time they were gathering an army to go fight the Moors, and my father —having been exiled for the disaster mentioned— went with them as a muleteer for an officer. Loyal servants they were, both he and his master lost their lives.

My widowed mother, finding herself without shelter and without husband, decided to move in with some good people —being good herself— coming to live in the city. Renting a little house there, she began to cook for some students, and to wash clothes for some stable boys who served the Commander of La Magdalena, spending a lot of the time around the stables. Soon she and a dark man —one of those men who took care of the animals— got to know each other.

Sometimes this man would come to our house and wouldn't leave till the next morning. And other times he would come to our door during the day pretending to buy eggs and then he would come inside. When he first began to come I didn't like him, and was afraid of him because of the color of his skin and his bad looks. But when I saw that with him around we ate better, I began to like him quite a lot. He always brought bread, pieces of meat, and in the winter he brought in firewood so we could keep warm.    

So with his visits and their snuggles moving right along, it happened that my mother gave me a pretty little black baby, a dark tiny baby I used to bounce it on my knee, helping to keep him warm. I remember one time when my black stepfather was playing with the little fellow, the child noticed that my mother and I were white but that my stepfather wasn't, he got scared. Running to my mother he pointed his finger at his father, and said,

"Mama—he's the bogeyman!"  And my stepfather laughing, responded:
"You little son-of-a-gun!"

Even though I was still a young boy, I thought about the word my little brother had used, and I said to myself: “How many people there must be in the world that discriminate others, not seeing in themselves what they see in others.”

As luck would have it, ill-talk about Zaide (that was my stepfather's name) reached the ears of the foreman, and when a search was made they found out that he'd been stealing about half of the barley that was supposed to be given to the animals. He'd pretended that the bran, wool, currycombs, aprons, and the horse covers and blankets had been lost; and when there was nothing else left to steal, he took the shoes right off the horses' hooves. All this he used to help my mother bring up my little brother. Let’s marvel not at either priest or friar when one steals from the poor and the other takes things from monasteries to give to their lady followers or others; we can see how love can make a poor slave do what he did.    

And they found my stepfather guilty of every count, and even more because when they asked me questions and threatened me—I answered them like a frightened child. Even about some horseshoes my mother had asked me to sell to a blacksmith. They beat and tarred my sorry stepfather, and they gave my mother a stiff sentence besides the usual hundred lashes, saying that she couldn't go into the house of the Commander (the one I mentioned) and that she couldn't take the hurt pitiful Zaide into her own house either.    

Resigned, the poor woman went ahead and carried out the sentence. And to avoid danger and get away from wagging tongues, she went to work as a servant for the people living at the Solano Inn. And there, while suffering all kinds of indignities, she managed to raise my little brother until he knew how to walk. And she even raised me to be a good little boy who would take wine and candles to the guests and do whatever else they told me.    
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