The Hand Colored Photography of William James Harris

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Interest in early 20th c. hand-colored photographs by “Harris” has been increasing in recent years, especially in Harris’s Florida scenes. Yet I’ll wager that most collectors don’t even know Harris’s first name, let alone anything about his background.

We had no information on Harris ourselves until several years ago when we mentioned Harris in a previous article and asked readers to supply us with any known information. As a result we received an article on Harris postcards, and an article that had been published on Harris by the St. Augustine Historical Society in 1991, both of which shed considerable light on the hand-colored photography career of William James Harris.

William James Harris (1868-1940) was born on October 12, 1868 in Herefordshire, England. His family emigrated to America in 1870, settling in the Wilkes Barre, PA area. Known in his youth as both “Will” and “Willie“, by age 20 he apprenticed under a local photographer. Within one year he was able to start his first photography business while living with his parents and operating his first studio within their house.

In 1890, the 22 year old Harris moved with his family to W. Pittston, PA where, although he continued operating a studio in his parents home, he also began his career as a traveling photographer. During the early 1890’s, he spent considerable time photographing coal miners and mining operations in eastern Pennsylvania’s coal regions. Soon thereafter he began utilizing the railroads to transport him, and his photography equipment, to the mountains, lakes, cities, and wherever else he decided to take his camera. Cabinet photographs sold by Harris around this time listed his address as West Pittston, PA; Tunkhannock, PA; Pittston, PA; Penn Yan, NY; Binghamton, NY; and Keuka, NY

In 1893 Harris traveled to the World’s Columbia Exposition in Chicago. While there his began the first of many subsequent promotional feats. One of the focal points of the 1893 Columbia Exposition was the first-ever introduction of George Ferris’s great “Ferris Wheel“. And it was Harris who was the first to photograph it. He envisioned that by climbing upon a roof approximately the same height as the Ferris Wheel’s center shaft, he would be able to produce a view whereby the curves of the wheel were not distorted vertically by perspective. This photograph was so impressive that Harris donated 2000 of them to the Ferris Wheel Company, each of which included his name and address, which helped to make an early name for the young photographer.

In 1895 he married Maude Dunn, a marriage that was short-lived because she died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1897.

Shortly after Maude’s death, Harris and some friends opened a tourist business in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, selling pictures of Buck Hill Falls, the Delaware Water Gap, and other local attractions to tourists and local residents. While operating from the “Harris Gallery” his services also included cabinet cards and tin-type photographs,. This portable studio once again served as an excellent promotional feat because it enabled him to both advertise his business, and process his photographic work, wherever he went.

Around 1901, Harris married a second time, making Marion E. Briant the second Mrs. Harris. Together they had two children, a daughter (Ruth) and a son (Carver). This marriage lasted until about 1920. After the divorce, Marion Harris returned to her Dover, NJ home with Ruth, leaving Carver with his father.

Soon thereafter, Harris married Ella Anderson, his third and final marriage.

Lake Hopatcong: It was in 1898 that Harris moved to a location that would play a vital role in his life…Lake Hopatcong, NJ. Located in northern New Jersey, it’s 9 miles of coastline and coves make it New Jersey’s largest lake and at the turn of the century, Lake Hopatcong had become a summer mecca for the rich and famous. Conveniently located to nearby New York city, Lake Hopatcong offered an easy summer getaway from the city heat and many summer “cottages“, which in many instances were more like mansions, began springing up around the lake. Harris quickly recognized the need for his photographic services here during the summer months.

Beautiful sunsets became the Harris trademark while working on Lake Hopatcong and he was farsighted enough to set himself up on a part of the lake that was recognized as having the best sunsets. And being the great promoter that he was, Harris began advertising his studio as offering the finest sunset photographs on the lake. Soon tourists began flocking to his studio for their personal and family photographs on Lake Hopatcong.

In another move of public relations genius, Harris created his own personal “Floating Studio” in the summer of 1899. Replacing his land-based portable studio, this floating studio was actually a houseboat specially outfitted as a photographic studio. Called the “Harris Photo Float“, this 16’x50′ floating studio was capable of traveling around the lake, and even had a special porch for his famous sunset photos. Although other photographers were also working around the lake, Harris’ floating studio and his gift for promotional effect gave him a competitive edge over the other photographers and he controlled a sizeable portion of the lake’s photography business. Unfortunately, in 1903 Harris’ floating studio sprang a knothole leak and sank, taking with it much of Harris’ photographic equipment.

But he quickly recovered from this disaster and went on to continue a nearly 40-year relationship with Lake Hopatcong. Harris continued his summer visits to the lake until as late as 1939, when he was in his 60’s and his photographic career began winding down.

St. Augustine, Florida: In 1898 Harris moved to St. Augustine, Florida where he opened the “Acme View Company“. Harris’s Florida photographic services included the sale of cameras and equipment, free photographic instructions to amateur photographers, the use of his darkroom, as well as professional photographic services to local residents or visiting tourists. He also lost no time in photographing the beautiful sights in St. Augustine and the surrounding Florida countryside.

Harris quickly fell in love with St. Augustine and to a larger extent, nearly all of Florida. Between 1898 and 1940 Harris began a photographic career that most of us would aspire to achieve today…summers along the shorelines of beautiful Lake Hopatcong, NJ… and winters in warm and sunny St. Augustine, FL.

St. Augustine offered a variety of photographic subjects that appealed to Florida’s growing tourist trade including the Fountain of Youth, the Oldest House in America, Ft. Marion, City Gates, and The Old Slave Market, among others.

In 1912 Harris began a long, and sometimes controversial, relationship with the St. Augustine Historical Society. Serving as its business manager and head curator, Harris was instrumental both in recruiting new members to the Historical Society as well as promoting both the history and heritage of St. Augustine. While on his watch, certain members began to dispute some of the Historical Society’s unsubstantiated claims…was the “Oldest House in America” actually as old as claimed?. Was the “Old Slave Market” truly a “Slave Market” or was it simply a “Public Produce Market“.. The “…well, they could have been…” responses by certain area business people met resistance from other historical purists, and some changes in St. Augustine’s historical claims resulted.

Regardless of the controversy, Harris’s association with the St. Augustine Historical Society lasted until his death in 1940 and all the while, Harris continued to promote his St. Augustine postcard and photography business.

Harris Postcards: It was in 1893 while visiting the Columbia Exposition that Harris saw a glimpse of the next coming trend…postcards. By 1898 Congress passed a law authorizing the manufacture and use of “Private Mailing Cards” and what started as a trickle soon exploded into a huge business. And Harris was in a perfect position to earn his share of the business. The telephone was not yet commonplace and postcards soon became a primary means of casual communication. In 1901 Harris was selling a grouping of 30 Lake Hopatcong views that were capable of being inserted into a letter, so converting them into postcards was a relatively simple task. Quickly converting much of his existing stock into postcards and adding new views each year, Harris soon had literally hundreds of Lake Hopatcong postcard views and became known around Lake Hopatcong as “Harris, the Postcard Man“. Anyone wishing to send a personal message about their special trip or vacation on Lake Hopatcong usually did it using a Harris postcard. In 1909 alone Harris claims to have sold over 200,000 Lake Hopatcong postcards and projected even more for 1910.

As his postcard business grew, he expanded into the souvenir and novelty field, selling paperweights, cups, fancy holders, and other assorted wooden and birch bark novelties, all with the name “Lake Hopatcong” on them. Although such a souvenir business was common in St. Augustine and other places, Harris was one of the first to start such a business at Lake Hopatcong.

As the postcard craze began to wind down around 1915, Harris had been watching from a distance the success of Wallace Nutting in Massachusetts and soon decided to enter the field of hand-colored photography himself. With his background, it was a natural.

Hand-Colored Photographs: Harris’s earliest attempt with hand-colored photographs came when he first hand-tinted his Lake Hopatcong postcards. After working in black & white for many years, starting around 1905 Harris assumed that the added color could lead to increased sales. But he also soon learned that the added expense of hand-coloring his postcards led to a higher unit price, and eventually to lower sales. Ultimately Harris went the route of so many other postcard photographers of having his postcards produced in color on large-run color printing presses.

As part of his New Jersey summer-Florida winter cycles, Harris began taken new photographs with the intention of hand-coloring them for re-sale. His best selling pictures soon came to be from the New York Adirondack Region (especially Ausable Chasm) and Florida (especially The Singing Tower), although his northeastern pictures came from throughout a four-state region and his Florida pictures came from throughout the entire Miami-St. Augustine stretch.

Before long, “Harris Pictures” began to replace “Harris the Postcard Man” as his primary source of income. According to his son Carver…”what money he had, he made from colored pictures“. And apparently he made enough money to buy houses in Florida and New Jersey, an imposing automobile, a house-car, and several launches and speedboats (which enabled him to get around Lake Hopatcong faster than ever).

Like Wallace Nutting pictures, Harris pictures were usually hand-colored photographs, tipped onto a linen-type matboard, and signed with the “Harris” name lower right, and title lower left, usually signed in pencil. Most Harris pictures were matted, although a fair number were “close-framed” and signed directly on the picture without any matting. And quite often you will still find an original “Harris” label either on the matboard back or on the backing paper.

Yet Harris pictures carry several subtle differences between Nutting and some of the major Nutting-Like photographers:

• Most Harris pictures were oblong views, with the length usually being more than twice the width (or vice versa).

• Harris only sold Exterior (outdoor) views. He never sold Colonial Interior scenes.

• You will only see the name “Harris” signed on the picture, never “W.J.‘ or any other variation of his first or middle names. There is also never any mention of Harris’s first or middle name on any of his picture labels.

• Although the “Harris” name is usually written parallel under the picture, occasionally you will see the “Harris” name written at a 45 degree angle.

• While more unusual, it is not uncommon for the Harris name to be lower left and the title to be lower right.

• Most Harris signatures are signed in pencil

And perhaps most different from Nutting, many Harris pictures are hand-colored “photogravures” rather than hand-colored photographs. Although his earliest scenes were produced on photographic paper, some of his later and best-selling views were reproduced in larger black & white quantities using the photogravure printing method, and then individually hand-colored. Whereas Nutting had nearly 100 colorists at his peak, Harris never had more than 5 people coloring his pictures at any given time.

One interesting story about Harris pictures relates to several of his pictures that feature a egret standing in the Florida water. Apparently for the sake of simplicity, Harris carried a “stuffed” egret as part of his photographic equipment, presumably because it was easier to shoot a still bird for effect rather than a live, uncontrollable bird. He was also known to carry a stuffed alligator for effect as well.

Not surprisingly, Harris was usually his own best salesman and his photographic expeditions also became sales trips as well. Whenever he went into the countryside to shoot new pictures, he usually stopped at various art and gift shops along the way to obtain new wholesale and retail orders for his picture business. It was estimated that more than 70 shops on both coasts of Florida alone carried Harris’s hand-colored pictures. Many hotels used Harris pictures on their walls to promote the beauties of early 20th c. Florida, and it is estimated that Harris would typically need more than 25,000 pictures per season just to satisfy the demand of his Florida sales outlets.

And as the Florida season would end Harris would pack car, head back north, and start the cycle all over again at New Jersey’s Lake Hopatcong.

The Final Years: William James Harris died on August 2, 1940 after suffering through a long illness and was buried in his adopted city of St. Augustine. Although not as well known as Wallace Nutting or some of Nutting’s other contemporaries, Harris did achieve a considerable level of fame. He enjoyed a reasonable financial success in his chosen photographic field, he enjoyed the travel and work between the northeast in the summer months and Florida in the winter months, he had a diverse family life, he developed a strong bond with his adopted city of St. Augustine, FL, and his photographic works certainly helped to popularize Florida more than any other photographer of his time.

And now more than ever, collectors of hand-colored photography are actively seeking the beautiful hand-colored pictures of William James Harris.

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Source by Michael Ivankovich

Blobitecture – Blob Architecture

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Blobitecture, also called “blob architecture” or “blobism”, refers to modern buildings with an amorphous, blob-like shape. “Blobitecture” is a term actually coined by New York Times Magazine writer William Safire, who used it to sardonically describe the sudden rise of amoeba-like buildings. Contrary to his intention, architects happily adopted “blobitecture” to describe a new and exciting architectural movement.

Blobitecture is a dynamic form of architecture still widely in use today. Blobitecture is unlike any other architectural form because it completely originates from computer-aided design (CAD). In software architect jobs, architects use CAD to manipulate buildings’ outlines to virtually any shape. While they do this, the software automatically calculates mathematical equations that instill structural soundness into the design. Before CAD’s development, architects adhered to mainstream geographical shapes since they were confident of these shapes’ structural stability. Now, thanks to CAD software, a building’s shape has boundless possibilities.

Today, most architects implement blob architecture for glass-and-steel structures. Rarely is it used for private residential homes, because the glass and steel materials makes “blob buildings” fairly transparent. Rather, it is much more frequently used for tourist attractions, such as museums, theatres, and concert halls. It is also increasingly used for scientific buildings, such as geodesic domes used for weather observatories and greenhouses. Lastly, a greater number of commercial buildings are blob structures, such as London’s City Hall and the Future Systems architectural firm.

Blobitecture arose during the 1990s when CAD systems were first being developed for architects and interior designers. In 1993, the first blobitecture building was erected: the Water Pavilion in the Netherlands, which was completely designed in CAD. Other large-scale projects followed in rapid succession, the most well-known of which is likely the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. This museum, located in Bilbao, Spain, was designed by renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Opened to the public in 1997, it consists of various concave and convex curves. Since it is located on a port, it glass and titanium curves reflect the light from both the sky and water. Moreover, its curved silhouette resembles that of a ship. This modern-art museum strongly contributes to making Bilbao a Spanish tourist attraction.

The United States has its own ‘blobitecture’ buildings. Seattle has the Experience Music Project museum, another Gehry-designed building, opened in 2000. Like the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, this museum consists of seemingly random curves made up of sheet-metal. The building’s undulations give it a fluid silhouette, perhaps as a tribute to the museum’s musical exhibits. While the Guggenheim museum’s shape reflects its port vicinity, the Project’s shape can be summarized as “form follows function.”In fact, Gehry directly attributed the building’s shape to that of a smashed Stratocaster electric guitar, made famous by Jimi Hendrix. Unlike the Guggenheim, the Experience Music Project also incorporates more colors into its exterior design, though its metal reflects as much light as the Guggenheim.

Other cities have recognizable examples of blobitecture. England contains blob structures not only in London, but in other cities. For instance, the northeastern city of Gateshead has the Sage Gateshead building, which was designed by the Foster and Partners architectural firm. This building is a performing-arts center and musical institution. This structure has a caterpillar-like shape, made up of multiple spheres that contract and dilate as the building progresses. Its materials include glass and stainless steel, allowing it to shimmer from capturing all angles of sunlight. Its free-flowing shape may be said to reflect this institution’s philosophy that all musical genres are equal.

Berlin, furthermore, has another “form follows function” blobitectural structure. This structure is the Philological Library, designed by English architect Norman Foster. Opened in 2005, the Library is part of the Free University of Berlin campus. In keeping with the university’s intellectual purpose, the Library resembles a human brain. Like many other blobitecture buildings, its principal components are steel and glass.

Architects today rely on numerous CAD software programs to construct blob architecture. Contrary to its appearance, many mathematical calculations go into ‘blobitecture’ designs. Most CAD programs, such as AutoCAD, permit the user to create a basic three-dimensional “sketch” and manipulate those lines in numerous directions. Blob architecture arises when the user makes those lines “wavy” and irregular, and “inflates” the building design. In the later stages of the structure’s design, architects can use CAD to specify the building materials and interior components of the project.

As a measure of blobitecture’s popularity, architectural students may now take college courses in blobitecture. There are also online courses featuring blobitectural study. Many architects who concentrate on urban-planning architecture decide to learn about blobitecture, since blobitecture is mainly prevalent in metropolitan areas. Furthermore, many CAD courses, offered both online and on-site at educational institutions, permit architects to gain hands-on practice with blobitectural design.

As more architects break away from established geometrical forms, blobism will likely become part of more international cityscapes. CAD will generate infinite forms of blobitecture in both exterior and interior design. Many ambitious architects are exploiting blobism to push architecture to its outermost limits. In addition, many entry level architect jobs demand CAD experience; so many architectural students are choosing to use blobitecture to gain fluency in CAD.

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Source by A Harrison Barnes

Avoid Frustration And Disappointment – Learn To Paint With Good Basic Watercolors!

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Recently, I had to admit that a critic could have been right to say that my simple 2 stage learn how paint watercolors course was too simple …

It was aimed at artist beginners who wanted to learn to paint without having to learn to draw first. This meant that despite they may not be too good at drawing, they could still get started painting. Painting landscapes, still-life painting, portraits and mechanical objects can come later.

However, there are 2 reasons to go back to the basics of painting watercolors …

  1. It is a good idea to learn how to paint before painting a Mona Lisa
  2. It is a good idea to go back to first principles when your paintings are going wrong

Occidentally, there are lucky people who do not seem to have any problems learning to paint. They pick up a box of paints and a brush and easily paint their first watercolor painting. This minority of people who do not struggle with painting are fortunate indeed.

On the other hand, most of us are not blessed with such talents …

  • Truth is that it is not so easy to learn how to paint watercolor well
  • At times it can seem almost impossible to paint a good watercolor picture

Very soon you can find every brush mark on your painting turning into an awful mess. As you find your watercolor washes flooding uncontrollably, it is easy to create a nightmare of badly blended colors.

All too soon you can turn your great art ideas into a muddy shambles. When you do you are lost. Without you understand what is happening when watercolor paint flows uncontrollably across the paper, your painting will never get better …

  • You need to see how color moves where the water carries it
  • You need to understand that you will wreck a color wash if you have not left it to dry before adding the next wash
  • It is a great idea to learn how to get a range of different color intensities and tone from a single color before adding other colors to the mix

There is great sense in the old saying … "Do not try to run before you can walk"

Watercolor painting can quickly convince you that you have no artistic talent. It can make you look like you have no painting skills. It is a shame to become disheartened when your watercolors go wrong.

So, given the choice, which alternative would you choose?

"Frustration and disappointment … or do you prefer to have a deep understanding of how simple and easy watercolors work in your painting?"

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Source by Michael Dale

Knowing The Difference Between Gain and Loss – Samurai Principle Number 5 – A Book of Five Rings

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Distinguish Between Gain And Loss In Worldly Matters.

(Miyamoto Musashi)

Distinguish – To recognize as distinct or different. Recognize the salient or individual features or characteristics of. To perceive clearly by sight or other sense. To discern

Between – Distinguishing one from the other.

Gain – To get something desired, especially as a result of one's efforts. To acquire as an increase or addition. To obtain, as a profit.

Loss – Detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have or get. The state of being deprived of or being without something that one has had. Failure to preserve or maintain.

Wordly – Of or relating to this world, as contrasted with heaven, spiritual life, etc. Devoted to, directed toward, or connected with the affairs, interests, or pleasures of this world.

Matters – Situations, states, affairs or business. Something of consequence. Something of importance or significance.

An Introduction

This meditation is the latest meditation from a concept discussed in a book known as A Book Of Five Rings, by the Japanese samurai master, Miyamoto Musashi.

A Book Of Five Rings, is considered a classic on military strategy, in a manner similar to that of Sun Tzu's Art Of War.

This meditation talks about the importance of possessing and cultivating one's ability to distinguish that which is important in this world (ie the material world).

The ability to distinguish is a fine art; an art that once again, requires careful observation.

Quite simply, one can not distinguish if one does not pay close attention.

If one fails to properly distinguish, then what actually appears to be gain may actually be loss and what actually appears to be loss may actually be gain.

Real Life Situations

Have you ever encountered situations, in your life, where you felt like you earned and it turned out to be a loss?

Have you ever encountered situations, in your life, where you felt like you lost and it turned out to have been a gain?

I know I have. I'm thinking of one situation from the past year where something did not turn out quite the way I expected (in other words, I believed it to be a loss). But, as more time has gone by, I'm starting to realize that the situation was actually a gain, as it prepared me for some incredibly positive experiences that are just around the corner.

As you meditate upon this thought, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you ever encountered situations, in your life, where you felt like you earned and it turned out to be a loss?
  • Have you ever encountered situations, in your life, where you felt like you lost and it turned out to have been a gain?
  • What can you do to cultivate your ability to distinguish between gain and loss?

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Source by Stanley F Bronstein

Credibility of Distance Learning in the Martial Arts

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Something in the martial arts that is argued back and forth all the time is the effectiveness of distance learning versus traditional training in a dojo and can one learn the martial arts to any degree of profitability through distance learning. In an age where communicating and learning via the Internet are staples of every day life and the ability to learn anything efficiently is open to everyone because of this, my answer is a resounding "YES!".

Consider this … one of the recent arguments I have encountered is that to earn a Dan ranking takes years and years of blood, sweat and tears and that only after you have spilled blood on the dojo floor can you be considered credible to wear the Dan you are awarded by XYZ Organization, School, Federation, etc. and only through this method can you become a better practitioner. While I agree with the idea in general, the argument against distance learning is that there is no way you can advance rank as a Black Belt, or as a Colored Belt for that matter, unless you train in a school under age old traditional methods. There is no way you can possibly learn any system of self-defense through "home study" methods.

OK..well … let's say that a person has put 15-20 years into his / her training and they now wear the rank of 4th or 5th Dan. This person has trained and completed all of the requirements to advance his / her rank. I guess some could say that because of the rank and the years put into the training that he / she is describing of praise and respect, being of great honor and integrity because of the advances and the time spent training in the arts. This person obviously has learned what it means to be a better practitioner and is now credible in the eyes of his / her peers. Seems like a solid point.

Now, on the flip side of that coin, let's say that this same person on the outside looks and acts like the rank they wear and talks the talk of a true Black Belt but underneath has a drinking problem or a drug problem or, still yet , both. They treat people with disrespect behind their backs and are full of ego. Every time something goes wrong in his / her life all they want to do is go out, get high and pick a fight. Just so you know, I am not speaking hypothetically. I trained under just such a person. Does this mean he / she describes to wear the rank of an advanced Dan just because they have put their time in a traditional school and passed the curriculum? Does this make him / her better than me or anyone else who wants to open up their learning to a reliable, comprehensive distance learning program taught by advanced, committed, honorable individuals? I think not as we all know that the martial arts are about so much more than just the belt one wears.

The traditional thinking is if you choose to train like this that it is lacking in so many respects, ie: training quality, lack of training partners, too easy to slack off and not train, no one is there to insure you are actually performing the material, and on and on, that there is no way this can work and once you receive your rank, it is just a "piece of paper" from a "diploma mill" or in the case of a Dan ranking, a paper "Black Belt Mill ". Well, let me pose this question to you, what takes more effort, dedication, perseverance, integrity and personal commitment, walking into a local school and having someone tell you what to do or take a course and break it down yourself, put together a training schedule based around your school or work schedule, provide yourself with a place to train and then effectively complete the training per belt rank? I realize this question is rhetorical but the point I am trying to make is that BOTH methods of study, in class and home study, are just as effective in learning any type of material and that as martial artists, to be so closed minded about knowledge through sources "outside the box", especially in this day and age of advanced technology, is a true disadvantage to the advancement of the arts as a whole.

The traditionalists fail to recognize the doors this can and will, most assuredly, open up to students around the world just as it has with all areas of education. Right now … today … you can earn the highest level of certified, recognized, accredited university degrees online from the most reputable Colleges and Universities – WORLD WIDE! This is an absolute, indisputable fact that even the most dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist can not refute. In my mind, it is not so much how you learn what you learn but how you apply that knowledge after you have learned it. I have always said that certificates and degrees are just pieces of paper but what makes them so valuable is the application of that knowledge and how it is presented to others down the line. We should always be moving forward with our knowledge, always be willing to embrace new ideas and concepts. If we stop learning, we stop growing.

As the sport is constantly evolving, so too must its practitioners evolve. No longer can we just accept the traditional training orthodox as the rule. Just the simple fact that hand-to-hand combatives have become so much more advanced in just the last 10 years would dictate that we as practitioners of the arts should be more open-minded and willing to advance our learning from as many sources outside of our own backyards as possible. Distance learning offers just such a solution by eliminating the geographical boundaries that currently exist in limiting students to train and learn in just one setting, in one style, and from one instructor. With the Internet, video conferencing, online tutorials, forums, blogs, etc. literally at our fingertips, the possibilities are endless. No longer will students have to be relegated to choices for learning that only include the local dojo. Imagine being able to train with and share information and ideas about advancing the arts with students from all around the world in real time!

Of course, to that extent, the traditionalist would argue that there would be a problem with time differences as well as differences in training discipline and that there is no way this would work. Always an excuse. I have heard this argument for years but that is because they fail to see the potential that exists in people to come up with long term solutions to these problems, solutions that are offered by just such a group of dedicated individuals in the AKPKF … American Kick-Punch Karate Federation, headed by Sensei Danny Hill. This is an organization that leads by example and is all about keeping the integrity of the arts intact while attaching 21st Century thinking to an age old problem of bringing the training and discipline to students around the world who else would not have access to the information and they do it for FREE!

Now, I understand that traditionalists want to keep the training in the dojo's … OK … but what about the aspiring student who wants to become involved in the martial arts but has now to train, or who lives in a remote area where it is 50-100 miles to the nearest dojo? What about the people around the globe who live in villages where there is no training for thousands of miles around? How then does the traditionalist solve that geographical problem? They solve it by continuing to argument for classroom training as the only beneficial means of learning self-defense. In my opinion, what that argument really boils down to is money.

Think about it. They insist that receiving your certification via distance learning is not credible yet they take "Little Johnny's" tuition every month, usually an exorbitant amount, and pass the student through the system whenever he / she has learned the material or not. Again, I am not speaking hypothetically here. I have seen this first hand even at the Black Belt level. This problem exists on a wide scale and is becoming worse every day. The traditionalists say that distance learning has become a blight on our beloved art form and that it is denigrating everything that is sacred about our beloved sport, even to the point of "bastardizing" what the arts stand for, while all along doing the same thing by charging outrageously monthly fees and providing training that is mediocre at best. To me, this action is deplorable and not even remotely describing of respect and honor, yet this practice continues to grow day by day with new "McDojo's" springing up on just about every street corner. The traditionalist view has become about "selling the product" and not about "teaching the art". Anything that does not "jibe" with their way of thinking is garbage and only their style and only the way it is taught by them, is the "be all to end all" and the only path towards martial arts excellence. In my opinion, there is nothing reliable about this practice or this way of thinking and it is only hurting the arts, not enhancing them.

In closing, let me state that I have had great personal success training in both mediums. Each method has its place in education and each, in my opinion, is equally effective. I believe that both methods can co-exist peacefully. I personally have continued to expand my knowledge of self-defense through many different methods of learning such as books, tapes, cd's, dvd's, online tutorials, and traditional training on the mats with practitioners who are also open-minded enough to see the positive impact that distance learning can have on all of us if we would just overlap the need for this type of studying. I have my own dojo and am about to begin my training in Renzoku Jiu-Jitsu, a program that is taught by Soke John Cozatt who happens to live on the East Coast (and I, it is a distance learning program, one that I can advance to 5th Dan in and since that is the highest level of achievement in that system, that is my goal. In lieu of this program, in order for me to train in a "traditional" traditional jiu-jitsu class setting, I would have to drive 100 miles round trip 3 nights a week at great expense to accomplish what I can do in my own dojo via distance learning. Whether or not I make it to 5th Dan will strictly be up to me but that really is not the issue. The point is that the opportunity exists for all of us to utilize modern day technology to continue to move forward with our training and help advance this sport through the 21st Century. We have to continue to be open to new training methods and learning techniques so that the martial arts can continue to grow and survive. I for one will do all I can to be at the forefront of that movement.

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Source by Tim Gannon

Analysis of The Sunflowers – Vincent van Gogh

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Vincent's Sunflowers

"The sunflower is mine in a way." -Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" are among his most famous paintings, but few people realize he did many sunflower pictures, not just the most famous "Vase with Twelve Sunflowers" and "Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers." These were canases he made to decorate the Yellow House in Arles in anticipation of his friend Paul Gauguin's visit, and in the hope that other artists would follow and form a Utopian art community. Some of Vincent's sunflower paintings are all but indistinguishable, with only tiny differences to prove one reproduction is different from the next. During his stay in Paris, he painted cut sunflowers in different stages of being, from fresh to wilted to dry.

He appears to have bought his passion for sunflowers with him from his homeland in Holland where he roamed, and indeed, they make the kind of dramatic subject he loved. Around the world today, the sunflower is conspicuous with Vincent's work, immediately recognizable and every bit as much his own as the water lilies belonging to Monet.

Vincent's "Sunflowers No. 2," the most famous sunflower still life, yellow on yellow, possesses the same universal appeal and impact of all his most beloved pictures. So broadpread is the appeal of his sunflowers, in fact, that in 1987, a Japanese company paid a record of the equivalent of almost 40 million dollars for "Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers" at an auction. Van Gogh's many sunflower canvases are flung all over the world in testimony to his mastery, now staying in art galleries in Europe, London and Tokyo, to name a few.

During his stay in Paris, Vincent hobnobbed with some of the greatest Impressionist painters of the period. The artists all had a great effect on one another, including van Gogh, who was recognized as a formidable genius by "Les Vingt," Monet and Toulouse Lautrec, among others. One can readily discern the Paris sunflowers from the ones Vincent painted later, in the Yellow House at Arles, since they are cut flowers without vases. These cut sunflowers are depicted in various stages of wilting, but Vincent's final bright and bold color palette is evident at this point in his artistic development, permeating the pictures with life and joy.

The master's influence on western art and artists can not be overstated. His work bridged impressionism, expressionism, cubism and more with a unique language understood by all lovers of beauty and truth. The intense popularity of a simple vase of sunflowers attests to his power and sincerity.

Although Vincent was plagued by a serious mental imbalance and ever took his own life, he left a body of over 2,000 canvases, painted in about a decade, as a living legacy. Whether they represent his portrayals of living fields of wheat or swirling stars, tender and thoughtful portraits of the peasants he loved or starkly vivid flowers in a simple vase, his works all bear his own stylistic imprint. Seen as a superb form of communication of the spirit, his work succeeded beyond his wildest dreams to comfort and console humanity through art. It is through his paintings, not his over-romanticized, beleaguered life, that he should be judged as the poet, prophet and master artist he was.

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Source by Elizabeth Harding

His Most Famous Painting (I and the Village) – Marc Chagall

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One of the famous twentieth century French ‘Modern Art’ masters of Jewish-Belarusian origin, Marc Chagall (July 1887-March 1985), employed primary and secondary colors with different techniques to come out with a unique painting. He would use various shapes and symbols to gather the attention of the viewers for a detailed analysis. One of the most famous paintings of Marc Chagall is “I and the Village,” painted in Paris in 1911.

Marc Chagall’s most famous painting “I and the Village” seems like relating a small fairy tale in a rural area, his native village precisely. This oil on canvass painting, measuring 192.1 cm × 151.4 cm (75 in × 59 in), portrays the artist’s memories of Hasidic Community, a native community present outside Vitebsk. This painting is inspired by Marc’s Jewish life and his Russian childhood. Reflecting his emotions well, “I and the Village” is truly non-imitable and can be described in many beautiful words. At first, this remarkable painting perplexes its viewers, owing to its superimposed images. Upon analysis however, it unfolds as a beautiful horizon of fantasy.

Marc Chagall’s most famous painting “I and the Village” interestingly describes about the nature and its importance to human beings. Through different symbols and graphics, Chagall showed the give and take relationship of humans with the nature. He has depicted the mutual interdependence of humans, peasants here, animals, and plants on each other. In the foreground, a green-faced man, wearing a cap and holding a tree in his dark hands, can be seen staring at a goat, with its cheeks depicting the image of a smaller goat being milked. The background shows a violinist woman and two houses on the top, placed inverted, as Chagall did not give any importance to logical sequence. There is a series of houses, next to an Orthodox church. In the front of the violinist woman, a man, wearing black clothes with a scythe in hand, is shown.

Marc has also used a variety of large and small circular forms to show the sun’s revolution in the orbit, earth’s revolution around the sun, and moon’s revolution around the earth. Marc Chagall’s most famous painting “I and the Village” depicts an eclipse in which moon is situated at the lower left. The noticeable tree in the middle of the painting, balance it out to impart symmetry. The geometrical structures, such as lines, angles, triangles, circles, and squares used in “I and the Village” are inspired from ‘Cubism,’ the art of urban avant-garde society. Chagall’s paintings covered a particular geometric frame. Similarly, “I and the Village” is a scene of a particular area of the village, covered in a particular imaginary frame.

Considered a gem in the world of creativity, “I and the Village” of Marc Chagall is valued high. It presently graces the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Integrating Eastern European folk culture, both, Russian and Yiddish, this masterpiece is a smart star on the lines of creative fantasy. Truly, Marc Chagall was a marvelous painter, who could put all his emotions and qualities in the form of art.

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Source by Annette Labedzki

Energy Saving GLS Light Bulbs

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The term GLS, when applied to lighting, literally means 'General Lighting Service'; the name is usually applied to an incandescent bulb with a traditional bulb shape. However the growth in popularity of power saving bulbs has meant that there are a wide range of energy efficient equivalents available.

Replacing traditional incandescent bulbs in the home or business with energy efficient bulbs is one of the easiest ways to save energy, the environment and money. The cost of electricity bills can be reduced significantly, while also knowing that a difference is being made on a larger scale.

The GLS bulb is just one type of light bulb that is now available as an energy saving bulb or CFL, (Compact Fluorescent Lamp), Up until recent times CFLs were only available in a few shapes such as the spiral shaped bulb. However, these eco friendly bulbs in their recent form are a much better product than when they were first introduced.

Many different shapes now exist, with the GLS energy saver being very popular as it can act as a direct replacement for the traditional incandescent GLS. In most households this is a change that makes sense. Some say the newer energy saver bulbs look better and add more character to certain light fittings.

Whereas the first low energy bulbs to be introduced flickered when switched on and tended to be dull due to a low Lumen value, a vast improvement has been made.GLS Light Bulbs are now available in various sizes, wattages, lumens values, bases and color temperatures. These variations make the modern energy efficient light bulb more versatile. For example, a cozy warm white bulb with a color temperature of about 2700 Kelvins is an ideal choice for households, whereas a daylight white bulb (6500 Kelvins) better suits an office or larger business plans,

Most GLS bulbs are available with an ES and BC base, (Edison Screw or Bayonet Cap). They are usually available in 11 watt and 15 watt options, 15 watts low energy being equivalent to around 60 watts incandescent. The Lumens value is a highly important factor, with a higher Lumen value meaning a stronger light output.

Energy Saving GLS Light Bulbs are a popular power saving replacement in Europe. Most have an average lifespan of at least 8000 hours and can save 75% to 80% of energy used. Large financial savings can be made by the switch to energy saving bulbs.

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Source by Nick Gent

Plasma Donations Put a Price on Human Life

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Reminiscent of a medical facility, this plasma center, built only a year before is brimming with white lab coats, face shields and medical gloves. The sound of Velcro and beeps from blood pressure machines and the whirring of hematostats as they separate blood and plasma fill the air.

The appearance is all so sterile and clinical, but the workers here are not medically certified, they are only required to have a high school diploma and all are trained by each other. Of the almost 70 workers in this building, besides the LPN nurses and the one RN, certified phlebotomists (medically trained personnel that collect blood, plasma and tissue samples from patients) are 10 % of the workforce here which is a crapshoot for professionalism in the taking of blood and plasma.

As the donors (people who give a voluntary gift of plasma) are processed through, their vitals are taken and their appearance assessed as per the companies standard operating procedures (SOP). 38% of those interviewed come because they need the money to help pay for food, rent or bills, 60 % donate because the money supplemented their vacations or spending money, the other 2 % came because they believed that they were “Saving Lives.” Most are not your typical college students, but instead housewives, part-time workers or the working poor.

Plasmapherisis (the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from blood circulation) began back in the 1940’s in order to harvest clotting agents by the pharmaceutical companies – now there are more than 500 donation centers in the United States and more being built every day.

The buying and selling of Blood and Plasma is a multi-billion dollar per year business. Plasma is more commercial than Blood and can not be synthetically replicated. In 1988, more than 21 years ago, the industry made over 2 billion dollars per year alone making the current numbers staggering, but incredibly secret.

US Federal regulation is more liberal than anywhere else in the world allowing up to 60 liters (127 pints) a year. The next highest producing country is Canada allowing only 15 liters per year, which is the recommendation from the World Health Organization. More than half of the plasma used in medicines worldwide is from the US.

While US donors are the source of 60% of the world’s plasma, foreign companies like huge mosquitoes, are the ones that control the product from Japan, West Germany, Austria and Canada, flying in to the US to puncture the blood and plasma supply and then fly the profits home to feed on them. Not only do foreign companies own the majority of plasma collection centers, the majority of plasma medications are also sold abroad as well.

There are two different types of plasma donations…the first is non-profit. The largest would be The American Red Cross. According to FDA regulations, truly donated plasma and blood, without any funds exchanging hands between the donor and the organization, is the only blood or plasma that can be transfused into humans. If an individual is paid any money at all, for their time or for their plasma, it can not be used to “Save Lives” per se. Because for-profit donation centers feed on the need or the greed of the economic world temperature, non-profit donation centers are suffering. When non-profit donation centers suffer, then those who need plasma: burn, shock or trauma victims go without. Those looking to make a humanitarian donations should be donating blood and plasma at non-profit donation centers like the American Red Cross.

Donations that are “paid” for are sold to drug and research companies and with the economic downturn of 2007-2009, plasma donation centers are on the rise with one of the largest Austrian Pharmaceutical backed donation centers achieving a 19% rise in stock prices within a quarter while other markets were plummeting.

The ethical question of Plasma Donation comes at a cost. Organ donation is not an unusual thing, but bodily “donation” that is suppose to help and not hinder human survival is questionable when big business gets involved, and for-profit donation of blood and plasma is very big business.

Plasma that is donated to drug and research companies is refined down and made into medicines that “Save Lives”. What is the cost of those medicines to those that would die without them? $50,000.00 to $80,000.00 per year, which can really change the slogan, “We Save Lives” to “We Cant Afford to Live”. Those without insurance or government funded backing can not afford the medications or treatments and without those “donated” treatments, die. Most are government funded solutions, which means tax payers, donors or non-donors, are paying to treat those that would die without the treatments that are suppose to be a voluntary gift…so the saying, “Give until it hurts” may be more applicable.

For-profit donation centers started targeting college students in the 1970’s to improve the quality of the plasma supply. Companies speculated that college students should be healthier than the average population. In 1999 a study was conducted by Ohio University which found that university plasma donors were not as healthy as once thought. Paid donors are three times more likely than non-donors and four times more likely then Red Cross donors to drink alcohol five or more times a week. One eighth of non-donors, one quarter of Red Cross Donors to one third of paid donors smoke tobacco. Consumption of toxins or unhealthy lifestyle is not the only issue at hand today, body piercings, tattoos and branding are other issues that pose unhealthy donation bases as well. Body art is not always visible and unless confessed to, can not always be subject to scrutiny by the donation center.

For profit donation centers will pay $8.00 -$20.00 dollars for the first donation and then to encourage the donor to come back, will pay a higher price for the second donation within the seven day period.

Depending on the weight of the individual, the donation center will take 690mL to 880mL per donation. The 880mL bottles bring a price of anywhere from $300.00 to $1,700.00 when sold to the Pharmaceutical companies. If there is anything wrong with the plasma, if it’s hemolysised (infused with red blood cells) or if the plasma is lipemic (excess fat within the plasma) the plasma is sold to veterinarian companies and bring a lesser price for the donation center.

Plasma donation was worth approximately 4.5 billion dollars in 2007. Today there are approximately 1.5 to 2 million donors worldwide and is expected to grow significantly in the struggling economy of 2009.

Because of the rapid growth within the industry, corporations train their workforce to take the donations, paying an average of $10.00 per hour. The workforce usually does not have medical certification or medical training unless they are one of the 8 LPN’s or RN’s that are hired. A licensed medical doctor covers the center with his license, but he is rarely seen on the floor of the center. He comes in maybe once a week to sign charts and watch vitals being taken once on those being trained and then he is off again, taking only his cut of the centers profits. The corporate training is not done by the LPN’s or RN or even by the doctor, it is done by regular employees that do not have medical certification or license.

Corporate training consists of reading of Standard Operating Procedures in a conference room for several hours, sometimes days, then you are put out on the floor with a trainer to watch him/her go through the motions. If you have an efficient trainer, then you can process with professionalism, but if you do not, then most Medical Historians (Someone who takes vitals, transcribed medical information and does basic phlebotomy) struggle and their bedside manner, technique and record keeping will leave much to be desired and the donors do not get the care that they may need.

In this center, processing time is a task master. This center processed 570 donors in one day with an average of 390 customers a day. From the time donors check in with the receptionist until they scan out they are timed. Time is money in this industry. When doing vitals, the Medical Historians are given a maximum of 1 minute 21 seconds to complete the processing of the donor and sending them out to the phlebotomy floor for the donation which is not much time to practice accuracy. There is no time to check your gloves for contamination issues such as plasma, mucus or blood, so donors are subject to cross-contamination every time they come into the center. Company policy states that gloves should only be changed when they are contaminated with blood, torn, cut or every two and one-half hours.

That is to save time between donors and the crack of the whip comes from the managers as they wait with stop-watches and pink slips over their white coated slave labor force. The Medical Historians are moving so fast in order to keep from getting fired that there were 2 contaminations of workers within 2 months…both from filled but broken capillary tubes that were shoved into the workers skin through their gloves or through their lab coats and scrubs and into their skin. One contamination happened when a Medical Historian tried to pull a hair out of her mouth and realized that she had just consumed the previous donors blood. Donors have to ask specifically to have the Medical Historians “change your gloves” before they are allowed to do it.

Phlebotomists on the floor are moving just as fast. They have one minute to clean, find the vein and stick the donor. They can stick 3 times, twice per arm unless there is a loss of red blood cells or the donor is in danger and needing saline, then they can stick the third time for emergencies. This causes the likelihood of Hematomas (Blood that collects under the skin or in an organ) for the donors, large bruises over 3 inches and tender areas on the arm. Sometimes, because a donor has to be stuck twice, both arms result in hematomas. Donors have to heal up for several weeks before they can return to donate, which makes the donation process an unreliable source of income for anyone.

When this center is running at full gear, processing 570 donors per day, most who work an 8 hour shift are not allowed to take lunches and sometimes not allow to take bathroom breaks. The pace is fast and furious and as soon as the donors are processed and the plasma is back in the lab, they tear down the used sets and get ready for the next donor. Used sets can be dangerous, they are suppose to be heat sealed but sometimes if there is equipment failure, the tubing doesn’t get sealed completely and when the phlebotomist pulls the tubes off the machines, plasma can splash up and out into the face, unprotected arms and saturate clothing. The Personal Protective Equipment required by OSHA doesn’t always cover everything it needs to cover, especially since Personal Protective Equipment is not fitted or trained on, so the workers are in constant hazard of contamination, which happened at least once within a 3 month period of time in this center. There are not only hazards to the Employees, but to the donors as well in this atmosphere. Because the center is trying to fill beds as soon as possible, sometimes beds are not cleaned before the donors sit down and donors can find themselves sitting in the blood of the last donor.

There are 22 Right-to-Work states in the US, which means that in order to receive lunch and bathroom breaks, they have to be contractual or within Union Guidelines, if they are not, the Department of Labor can not enforce bathroom breaks or Lunches for the workers. Of the 22 Right-to-Work states, plasma centers flood at least 13 of those states, and build fewer plasma centers in non-right to work states.

Employees have a hard 8 to 10 hour shift in front of them, not only working long hours without breaks, but working in a precise and fast paced environment as well and without the certified medical training that is desired.

Because they do not have the training and because the bottom line pushes ethics, sometimes shortcuts are taken. When the plasma is delivered to the lab, the lab tech has only 30 minutes to process all those bottles. If the bottle is leaking, that bottle has to be thrown out because it is air contaminated, if the bottles take longer then 30 minutes to process before being put in the storage freezer, they are thrown out, a loss of a lot of money. What has happened in the past is that the lab tech will push the bottles back over into more time to process, or the lab tech will process an air contaminated bottle and just wipe it down, or instead of taking samples from each of the plasma bottles as required by FDA, they will open one bottle and take all the samples from that one bottle…because it saves time. These infractions can close a center, but only if it is caught and reported to the FDA, which questions the purity and usability of the plasma in the system and poses the question of contamination of medications as well.

Workers who stay in this business have after 3 months suffer from foot problems, back problems, hip problems, headaches, varicose veins and neck problems that are not covered by Workman’s Comp and the conditions are not covered by OSHA. This doesn’t include the possibility of contamination that may render them with HIV, Hepatitis or other communicable diseases. These are long lasting ailments and conditions with long lasting effects. Although there are only a few that stay in this field longer than 6 months, Supervisory positions are no better.

Supervisors have demanding jobs as well. They oversee the operations to maintain not only FDA standards but also the Company’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). Supervisors not only man the course of Medical Historians, but also phlebotomists on the floor and incoming data entry. A supervisor must be trained and tested on all aspects of phlebotomy and medical history as well as incoming data. If the Medical Historians and Phlebotomy work 8 to 10 hour shifts without lunch or bathroom breaks, then the supervisor works 12 hour shifts with the same conditions and with the added responsibility of catching all non-conforming events that may give the center a Quality Incident Report that, depending on the severity, may be reported to the FDA if it effects the health of the public.

When new donors come through the door, they are required to read a “New Donor” booklet, which has in it all the side effects, what to expect and some of the documentation that they will be required to sign. From the time they check in until they are done reading the book, even the donors are timed, up to 10 minutes to read their packet of legal documents. After they are done reading, they are asked for two forms of identification, usually a current driver’s license and social security card will be sufficient. If the driver’s license is not current or an address is not current, then a piece of mail that is dated less than 60 days can be used to verify the address. Social Security must be verified by Social Security Card, current Tax Information or Pay stub.

Plasma donors are usually not aware of side effects and most likely told that plasma donations are safe in the long term…the reality is that 7% of the human population has an anaphylactic reaction to sodium citrate or saline of which they will need intravenous medications immediately. If they do not receive treatment within minutes, the reaction is fatal.

In this center, we have at least 5 to 6 lesser reactions a day, sometimes more. Immediate side effects can be fainting, bleeding, edema at the venipuncture site, nausea, vomiting, drop in blood pressure, faintness, dizziness, blurred vision, coldness, sweating or abdominal cramps.

If allowed to progress the side effects can be tingling around the mouth or in the limbs, muscle cramps, metallic taste in the mouth and further reactions can lead to irregular heartbeat or seizures.

After prolonged donations, 12% of donors will have a lowered level of antibodies, causing an inadequate immune system response and the probability of increased infection or disease for the rest of their lives.

Plasma donations can save lives, especially when given freely and as a humanitarian gesture…drug and research companies would like the public to believe that they are the good guys in order to increase the bottom line in this Multi-billion dollar business, profiting on the generosity of some and the desperation and greed of others, treating donors like Cash Cows grazing on the bottom line.

For-profit donations feed a fire-storm of ethical questions such as, “if selling human organs is immoral, unethical and illegal, then what makes selling Plasma any different?” “If harvesting a human organ and holding it ransom to those that can pay the price to live, if selling it to the highest bidder is wrong, then isn’t harvesting plasma and selling it to those that would die without it the same thing?” What is the cost of a human life? With 15 million donations a year, the plasma industry looks the donor gift horse in the mouth everyday and laughs all the way to the bank. For-Profit plasma companies have a win-win situation…donors give their plasma or practically give their plasma to the industry and the blood sucking, plasma hoarding corporations can turn around and charge $50,000.00 to $80,000.00 a year to allow a person to live, long term cost projections are at $3.7 million to $5.9 million for medications that allow one person to live a normal life…and now we can put a price on what a human life is worth to the plasma industry.

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Source by D. S. Epperson

Being a Corporate Warrior in a Modern World

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We live in a fast paced world: new Facebook messages pop-up faster than we can keep up with; we receive tens, sometimes hundreds of emails a day; marketing messages are preying for our attention; even one-year-old children nowdays can use iPad's before they can even speak their first words; technology is advancing, and fast!

We're rushing through life. Along with the increasing efficiency at the office comes more responsibility. The more responsibilities we have, the more work we have to do. 8 hour workdays are not always enough anymore to finish our work. We bring home our work, push off family time and try to get it all done. We're doing our best, but the pressure is rising. If we do not keep up, we're falling behind. We're living flat lives, sometimes forgetting why we're even doing all the things we're doing. We're being lived. We've lost our identity, and we've lost way.

Achieving more is not the solution. We work hard to achieve, we have corporate job-positions that would make many jealous on the outside. But deep inside we're feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled, and we question ourselves: "Is this all I have to offer?", "Is this who I am?" We do not have the answer. Instead we push those thoughts away and just continue on, day-after-day.

Learning from Warriors

Striving for the "external" results leads to an unfulfilled life. Without knowing who you are and why you're doing it, it's meaningless. I believe in the West we can learn a lot from martial artists. To be more specific, from warriors. While nowdays martial arts is not used to fight wars anymore, and in the current society we do not have to fight others. There are other things we need to encounter: ie our own weaknesses, our ego, our tendencies to give up, our arrogance, etc. All these inner demons are things we can learn to deal with through martial arts. By training we grow not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In short we build our character.

So what makes a warrior? When we think of warriors, we may think about soldiers or martial artists. We may think they're aggressive, or ruthless killing-machines with the ability to kill with intent. But someone with great fighting skills does not need to make a warrior. To truly understand what a warrior is, we must look further than what happens on the battlefield.

What defines a true warrior is that he lives by a code. This code consist of the following values:

1. Respect

2. Honor

3. Courage

Let's go through each of them.

1. Respect

The first value that a warrior lives by is respect. Respect is taking other people's thoughts, needs, feelings into consideration. Since we're on this planet with others, almost everything you do is with others. To succeed we need others. To love and be happy we need others. Respect makes life easier and better. Everybody wants to be respected. When you smile at others, chances are they will smile back. When you treat others with respect, others will treat you respectfully more likely as well.

Respect on the battlefield means that even though a warrior needs to fight the enemy, he respects that the enemy is fighting for the same objective: to protect the ones he cares about (whether that may be his country or his family). And even though they each have the enemy to fight, they honor and respect each other. Because they know deep down, that they're quite battling for the same cause but for different rulers. That's why it's most common that in martial arts classes, before entering the training area, they greet before training. It is showing respect for their teacher, dojo and their training buddies.

2. Honor

The second value is honor. Living honourably is very important to a warrior. Honor is sometimes even more important than their own lives for a warrior. In ancient times, the samurai warriors only had one mission in life: to protect their master. That not only mean physical protection, but also the protection of their name and honor. The samurai would even go so far to commit seppuku (painful way of cutting through their own abdomen to commit suicide) to protect the honor of their master. They would place their master's honors at a higher place than their own lives. That's their code: to live honourably and live a life of integrity. While this is just an example, and by no means a suggestion. It shows what honourable warriors were willing to do to protect the honor of their master.

So what is honor? Honor is:

1. Having mutual respect, and

2. giving praise to those who are superior (by position, abilities, character, etc.).

Honor is gained by doing the right thing, even if nobody's watching.

Warriors do not only train to defend themselves, but also to fight for the weak or elderly. Why? Because that's the honorable thing to do: to help others in need. Their pursuit for improving at their skill, is never about personal gain. It is to serve a greater cause: to protect the things that matter in life.

3. Courage

You might think that these warriors are never afraid. That's certainly not the case. Also warriors are afraid. But that does not keep them from doing the right thing. The difference between fear and courage is: fear is shitting your pants; while courage is shitting your pants and doing the right thing anyway. What's right or wrong is not based on other people's opinion, it's based on your own values. Only you can decide what's right or wrong.

The Corporate Warrior

Being a warrior in the modern age: aka the corporative warrior means you live by your own code. Whether you practice martial arts has nothing to do with being a warrior. You can be a warrior too, by living a life of choice. The choice of choosing your own code to live by: a code that identifies you. The code can consist of values ​​like the values ​​of the traditional warrior of "respect", "honor" and "courage." But they can also be other values ​​that are important to you , for example "love", "family" or "to contribute." Living consciously by this code makes the difference, by setting the standard you want to live by first. From these chosen values ​​decision-making will be easy. They'll follow your values. By living by a code, your life will have a much clearer purpose. And much more likely you'll succeed in the mission of life. While your decisions and actions will not always be understood or accepted, deep down you know it's the right thing for the honorable reasons. The corporate warrior trusts that by doing right, by being honourable and being of value to the world, he will be rewarded by it.

Daily Practice

The daily life of a corporate warrior includes conscious day-to-day practice to become a better version of you. The battle of a warrior is not cooked in the middle of the crisis in the battlefield, it's cooked on day-to-day basis. This day-to-day training builds your character, which brings you on the path of personal excellence (which is the true meaning of martial arts nowdays). The way of living as a warrior gives one an identity, a purpose, and it frees one from chasing intiguous empty goals. It calms the mind, grounds you and allows you to be fulfilled. By living true to his code, he lives by his heart, knowing at the end of each day he has given his greatest gift.

Questions to ponder:

– What code do you live by?

– What are your core values ​​in life?

– Does your calendar or your actions show proof of this the past week? The past month? Are there things you'd like to change?

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Source by Chi Lung Yung

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