Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Private Student Loan Serenade

Finding the Best Private Student Loan

Students who do not meet federal requirements for financial need can use the route of a private student loan. Apply for a private loan is free. The loan is based on the student's creditworthiness and not the need for aid as does the federal loans.

Many lenders offer private student loans to students or their parents and the application process is simple and free. The loan requirements are usually less stringent and the repayment options are affordable for young professionals. A private student loan is a great way to finance the education of any student that needs financial help. Below you will find things that you should know and things you should consider.

Things You Should Know:

1. Student loans can be used not only to pay the fees but also for lab fees, dues for associations and housing.

2. A student can have an educational loan even though the tuition is covered by a grant.

3. A student who is eighteen years or above in age, can apply for a student loan.

4. Most of the student loan is deferred for repayment until the student completes the education or leaves the school.

Things You Need To Consider:

1. Private loans for students are not given without a co-signer or a credit report.

2. Credit unions give student loans if a vehicle or a boat is provided as collateral.

3. During the cumulative credit period, a student has the option of paying or not paying the interest part of the loan. It should be noted that paying the interest on the loan while attending school will significantly reduced the amount due when the student starts paying the loan after leaving the institution.

4. Student loans are to be repaid in ten years. Nevertheless, longer repayment facilities are provided to large student educational loans.

It is not difficult to finding lenders, because most financial institutions offer some form of student loan.

Always take the time to investigate lenders in your immediate area and find out exactly what kind of loans they offer. Compare the different interest rate and terms to get the best offer available.

Dave Fitzgerald is a freelance publisher living in Glendale, Arizona. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides information on student loans. For more information about loans and lenders come visit

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Will Verse

Your Most Personal Document

It is a good idea for everyone to have Will - no matter how rich or poor they are - and it should cover at least seven key points to avoid difficulties in the future.

These are the seven essentials:

1. Make sure only one Will exists.
2. Determine who you want as your executor
3. Carefully plan for your dependents.
4. Name a guardian for young children.
5. Detail specific monies or gifts to relatives, friends or charities.
6. Consider what people-or organizations such as a health charity or Greenpeace, should receive the residue of your estate.
7. Put in writing the details of your funeral arrangements.

After you have taken care of these basic issues, you may want to consider a few other areas.

A Will is more than a simple outline of the final distribution of property and effects. It is an occasion to carry out your plans for the financial support of people and projects that you have actively supported during your lifetime, such as a health charity or Greenpeace.

It can also be the time to finally help those people and groups that you always intended to support but didn't have the resources to do so.

There are four important points to help you make a better Will.

Update your will

If your financial circumstances have changed significantly as a result of purchases, investments, inheritances, inflationary increases, business growth, etc., you should reflect these changes in your Will.

How often you do this will depend on the wording of your original Will and how significant the changes in your circumstances are.

Certainly, anything that is not specifically detailed in your existing Will should be noted now.

Changing lifestyles and interests

If you have not examined your Will in a number of years, you may want to consider whether it adequately covers your current lifestyle, attitudes and interests.

People realize that if they have retired, or have changed occupations, or even if their family situation has changed, they may want to reconsider the terms of their Wills.

Many people who could not financially support groups or causes to the extent they may wish during their lifetime, use the opportunity of their Will to leave a legacy for future generations.

Think it over: it's your will

While everyone involved in estate planning agrees with the urgent need to make a Will, remember that it is, in fact, your Will. Consider your own wishes and feelings.

Simply put-a Will is an important document, but if it does not express your wishes, it is not done well.

Talk it over. Consider the future. Make a draft. Think again. Your Will is probably one of the most important, and personal, documents you will ever prepare.

Consult a lawyer

Experts strongly recommend that you seek the advice of a lawyer when making out your Will.


Laws about Will-making and taxes can vary from province to province and the specific wording needed to ensure that your wishes are carried out may require the help of a lawyer.

For a free copy of the booklet on "Questions & Answers About Wills", please write Greenpeace, 1726 Commercial Drive, Suite 200, Vancouver, B.C. V5N 4A3.

News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.

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Fall Decorating Ode

Fresh Ideas Herald Fall Decorating

Looking for a room with a view when there is none? Can't afford to move, or renovate? Check out the latest in affordable decorating trends, including wall mural graphics, accent pillows, throws and rugs and greenery.

It's easy to change accent elements in a room to make the transition to fall décor. If your larger pieces of furniture are covered in solid or tone-on-tone fabrics, you can add flair with pillows, throws and even area rugs. Pillows can be warm and cozy chenille, elegant damask, stylish satin or handsome wool.

Throws also are available in many styles including tapestry-backed velvet, long-fringed chenille, or soft, fuzzy acrylic. Area rugs can be found for as little as $250 for a 6x9, which is the ideal size to use as an accent, even over wall-to-wall carpet. Pillows, throws and rugs are great ways to make a quick change without investing too much, and stores like Pier 1 Imports, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Marshall's always have the latest styles.

Adding greenery to a room also changes its look and adds a feeling of life. Silk plants are fine, and with proper cleaning they can last for years. When decorating with plants, keep it simple. You should limit floral arrangements to no more than one per room, but you can be more generous with green plants. Bookcases benefit from a plant on every third shelf or so, and the top of an armoire is also a good candidate. It's especially easy to buy ready-made containers for your plants or arrangements, in styles ranging from bright brass, silvery aluminum, sparkling glass, to more casual ceramic or terracotta in stores including Michael's, Home Expo and Garden Ridge.

Wall-sized murals also can transform a space, quickly and easily. Whether you want to create the illusion of a garden vista, a soothing seascape, or even an island paradise, your options are wide open with the many views available.

If a photo mural isn't your preference, try an original artist's rendering, which can be far more cost effective than a wall of original art. Don't forget that kids' rooms also need a change with school starting again. Because their style preferences change as quickly as their shoe size, wall murals are an easy way to redecorate as their tastes and interests change.

Because they are easy to install and easy on the budget, wall murals can even be changed seasonally. You can enjoy a warm tropical view during the winter, and change it to the cooler, crisper look of a peaceful mountain lake during the summer. Environmental Graphics has been designing these home-enhancing vistas for 30 years, and mastered an easy installation method that even the most craft-challenged can complete successfully. EGI's murals are available at Lowe's and Sherwin-Williams stores nationwide or on the net at For more information, visit

Keeping your home up to date will lift your spirits and improve your energy, and may provide a perfect excuse for a party. Greet the fall season with gusto!

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Perfect Wallpaper Pattern Poem

Finding the Perfect Wallpaper Pattern May be as Close as Your Computer Screen

Technology can do wonderful things. If you surf the Internet, you can find the right wallpaper pattern for your decorating project -- fast. You may want to browse through floral patterns or you may have a pattern in your imagination and want to know if it exists and if so, where do you get it?

Historically, you would have gone to a wallpaper store (or many!), browsed through dealer sample books and, with any luck found a suitable pattern after a time-consuming search.

Today, allows you to select a subject or category from a database of more than 43,000 wallpaper designs and quickly find patterns to match your interest.

After locating the appropriate pattern, The Wallpaper Guide Web site points the way to local retail stores that carry the product you desire. Or, you can place an order online for direct delivery.

"The benefit for consumers is they can buy from a huge selection of wallcoverings from leading manufacturers in the privacy of their homes, at any hour of the day," states Mark Langman, president of The Wallpaper Guide. "Because time is at a premium these days, they can save hours of research and driving time and the whole decorating process becomes efficient and enjoyable. At the same time, we have now made our Web site interactive so shoppers can select and vote on their favorite patterns with the possibility of winning a roomful of wallpaper, "says Langman.

In addition to helping consumers locate the right product, the Web site provides information on the latest trends in decorating colors and designs on an Online News section. Images of decorator room sets provide consumers with ideas and links to practical "How to" information, such as "Decorating with Borders" and "How to Hang Wallpaper."

Whether you are looking for wallpaper borders with trailing green ivy for a kitchen corner or ideas for your new home office, head to your computer. For more information, visit

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Comfort Decorating With Wallpaper Serenade

Creating Comfort Under Ceilings That Soar (Decorating With Wallpaper)

It's not surprising that vaulted ceilings are a growing trend in today's new homes. Ceilings that rise two or more stories in one continuous expanse certainly give rooms a feeling of spaciousness. They also add a sense of drama, even grandeur. But they also present decorating dilemmas. What do you do with those long, tall walls? How do you make life under the "cathedral" cozy?

Tall expanses of uninterrupted wall diminish both the size and importance of artwork. While the walls can be filled with a patchwork of framed art, many of the prints and paintings are above eye-level at distances and angles that inhibit a clear view. In addition, vertical walls that rise 14, 15 or 16 feet from the floor tend to dwarf furniture at ground level. Without a unifying element to tie the walls and ceiling together, these rooms become cavernous and cold.

Coordinated wallpaper and borders are useful and affordable tools for overcoming these challenges. Combinations of wallpaper and border patterns that depict variations on the same theme and contain complementary colors unify the surfaces that surround these rooms. All of the wallpaper and border patterns in collections from S.A. Maxwell Co. are arranged into color families, and each group contains many designs and prints that can be easily mixed and matched. By embracing the whole room, they visually connect the walls and ceiling, enhance the grandeur and spaciousness of the vaulted ceiling, and segment the space into comfortable proportions.

The use of coordinated patterns also adds layers of interest to a high-ceilinged room and allows touches of detail. Place a dominant pattern on the main area of the walls. Choose one that complements the fabric on furniture and, in the case of this girl's room, the bed linens as well. The pattern should also make you feel good. A cheerful floral from Maxwell's new Winnetka collection is the ideal choice for this teenager.

Without any break or border, the floral walls of the bedroom switch to a complementary plaid that provides contrast on the two walls that angle upward toward the center of the room. At the center of the ceiling, these two patterns almost join in a rectangular frame. Slim strips of plaid along the edge of the floral walls complete the frame, in which a sponge-textured wallpaper seems to create a window of sky.

In this case, the plaid also masks irregularities in the shape of the room itself. The four walls don't join at perfect right angles, but the addition of plaid makes them look like they do.

Many walls have irregularities that can make it difficult to line up a pattern, especially when ceilings are angled or curved. Instead of trying to match the pattern where the walls meet the ceiling, separate the two adjoining patterns by a border or a strip of molding, available at any home improvement center or lumberyard.

A novelty palm-tree print, also from the Winnetka collection, carries a soothing, tropical breeze to this master bath. Above the palm trees, at ordinary ceiling height -- approximately eight feet from the floor -- we've placed a border that combines a larger-scale version of the palm tree with luscious pomegranates. The border creates a continuous level plane to surround the room.

Above it, a two-inch-wide awning stripe rises to create a dramatic tent effect in which the vertical stripes curve toward the center of the ceiling. There, they take a horizontal turn, reaching across the space and pulling it together. From the very center hangs a divine detail: the sparkle and luxury of an antique crystal chandelier.

To locate a retailer that carries the Winnetka collection featured here and other wallpaper collections from S.A. Maxwell Co., call (847) 932-3700 or visit on the Internet.

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Bathrooms Opus

Bathrooms That Make You Go 'Ahhh'

New luxury and convenience items provide for the perfect home retreat...

If there is one room in the house that has been completely redefined in recent years it is the bathroom. Kitchens are still for cooking, living rooms are still for living and rec rooms are still for recreation. But the bathroom has evolved so far beyond its traditional functions that to truly reflect its current status in many homes, "spa room" or the "retreat" might be more appropriate names for it.

Today's bathrooms, particularly those incorporated into master suites, are being designed and built to be a source of luxury and relaxation. After all, for many parents the master suite's bath may be the only room in the home where they can truly enjoy some private time for relaxation away from the kids.

Add to this the fact that bathrooms add more to a home's value than any other room -- with the possible exception of the kitchen and so it's no wonder more and more people are spending more and more time and money to create an in-home retreat in their master bath.

It's Like A Day Trip to the Spa -- At Home

Vertical Spas, which incorporate multiple showerheads, water diverters and sophisticated temperature control systems, are perhaps the biggest trend in today's baths. They offer the relaxation and luxury of a whirlpool spa, but without the time required to fill a large tub. And they still function as an ordinary shower for times when functionality is all-important.

Moen Inc., which may have coined the phrase "Vertical Spa" when it brought its shower/spa product to market in 2000 says customer demand and acceptance of the concept has been increasing steadily as more consumers become aware of the option to turn their showers into spa-like havens.

"We're seeing more consumers make luxury a priority when they redesign their bathrooms, and products such as the Vertical Spa are among the most sought-after add-ons," said Gary Pember, Moen Group product manager, Bath. "They want a steamy massage in a relaxing environment and they want to walk out feeling clean and refreshed. No other environment can accomplish that quite like a Vertical Spa."

Vertical Spas vary in design and some, such as Moen's unit, work with standard plumbing. Others require special behind-the-wall modifications to install larger water supply and drainage lines, or an extra hot water heater. These styles may be more suitable to new home construction instead of renovation where entire rooms are gutted and walls rebuilt.

But Vertical Spas are definitely catching on and many believe they are the new millennium's replacement for the whirlpool tub, which may be on the decline.

"Not everyone who's had one of these whirlpools really wants one when they do another bath," said Linda Lentz, features editor at Home Magazine and an expert in modern kitchen and bath design trends. "They find they don't want the extra maintenance or that the tubs are noisier than they expected. Because of that, a lot of people are opting for Vertical Spas and taking longer showers, or installing soak tubs, or both."

In general, the trend is toward larger showers, often with stylish frameless doors and glass block walls that allow in more light while sealing off the shower stall. With the extra room in the shower stall, homeowners are not only putting in items such as Vertical Spas, they're sometimes installing oversized showerheads or even entire Vertical Spa units on opposing walls, enabling two people to shower simultaneously without having to share a showerhead.

"The shower is coming into its own and we sell more "showering systems" than ever before, whether that means a Vertical Spa, two opposing Vertical Spas, or just twin and flexible hand showerheads on opposing walls. People love to shower and they're showing it by devoting more space than ever to their showers," said Moen's Pember.

In addition to Vertical Spas, many homeowners also are adding steam units to their showers, or installing a ready-made, self-contained steam unit that fits into the bathroom much the way a pre-fabricated shower stall would. By installing a steam unit into an existing custom shower stall, a homeowner can create a pragmatic shower and a luxurious spa-like steam room in a single package that fulfills either function.

What Else Is "Hot" In the Bath?

But hot water isn't just coming out of the showerheads in today's top-of-the-line bathroom. It could be running beneath the flooring and around the towels! Lentz said that heated floors, using hot water running beneath them or electric heating elements, are a new trend in bathrooms. Likewise, the use of towel warmers is also on the rise.

Which brings us to the sinks. Yes, that's "sinks" as in more than one basin -- because, if the available space allows it, today's well-done master suite bath definitely has two. According to Lentz, different shapes, such as square sinks, are becoming more popular, and console sinks that do not have attached vanities are replacing vanity sinks and pedestal sinks as designer favorites. Relying on the wall and forward legs for support, console sinks provide the countertop of a traditional bath vanity and even allow a person to sit at the sink without having cabinetry in the way of their legs.

But doesn't that mean the under-sink plumbing will be exposed? Yes, but that's no sin in today's fashionable bath. "People aren't ashamed of their plumbing anymore. In fact some companies are selling very nice designer pipes in special finishes that people want to show off," said Lentz.

Change Your Faucets Whenever You Change Your Mind

Of course, if you want to focus on the plumbing above the sink, as well as below, your options are almost limitless when it comes to faucets. Faucets can be an important part of a master bath update, and they are often changed for appearance's sake long before they've worn out. Some of today's faucets have been developed with this very fact in mind. Based on research into consumer trends, Moen developed its M-Pact series of faucets for consumers who want to change the look of their faucet without changing the entire unit.

The M-Pact system allows the faucet to be completely changed in terms of appearance -- a new spout, handles and trim -- without having to remove the faucet valve, grapple with under-sink plumbing or replace supply lines. Once an M-Pact faucet is installed, homeowners can choose from a wide array of styles and finishes when they later decide to update the look of the bath.

"M-Pact is rapidly gaining popularity among consumers," said Pember. "Often, we're selling them to consumers who are remodeling their bathroom and realize that they'll probably remodel again in the future, or at least think that they might. They want the ability to change the look of their faucets without the time and expense of installing entirely new units."

Another fixture that may need updating is the toilet. Like it or not, the toilet is a major element in any bathroom. But trends in bathroom layout are downplaying its presence by surrounding it by walls or even putting it in a small ante-room attached to the master bath.

As for the toilets themselves, low-flow models are still the rule (despite consumer efforts to circumvent low-flow requirements by recycling older toilets or even traveling to Canada to purchase high-flow models). The good news is, the newer low-flow toilets flush much better than their predecessors. Good thing, for, as Lentz notes, "You're really not saving any water if you have to flush more than once."

In addition to improved operation, newer models also offer easier cleaning. Lentz advises consumers to look for newer models with skirted bottoms that are easy to clean. Some companies, such as Toto and Duravit, use special glazings inside of the bowl to prevent build up and decrease the need for cleaning, she says.

So what's left once you've got your Vertical Spa, soaking tub, dual console sink, designer faucets and high-tech low-flow toilet in place? Luckily, only lighting and paint, both of which can be taken care of relatively inexpensively.

For lighting, look for bright, non-fluorescent multi-bulb fixtures, or perhaps halogen lighting. This will keep you from casting yourself in a blue pall first thing in the morning from unnatural fluorescent lighting, while still ensuring that you have enough light to make sure you look your best.

As for paint, white goes with anything and it is economical and always in style for the bath. But Lentz says colors, especially those connoting water, are the latest trend. Since paint is easy to change, why not finish the room with some pale blue or green hues to complement the rest of the bathroom.

For more information about remodeling projects or Moen products, contact Moen Incorporated at 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-8022, call toll free 1 (800) BUY MOEN (1-800-289-6636) or visit its Web site at

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Plumbing for Granted Verse

Building a New Home? Don't Take Plumbing for Granted

Today there are alternatives to metallic systems...

Building a new home means having choices and making decisions. So if you're planning to build a new home, be prepared to spend an endless number of hours looking at options and making final selections.

When it comes to cabinets, faucets, light fixtures and floor coverings, everyone expects a lot of choices -- different styles, colors, finishes, price ranges, etc. Even windows come in different shapes, sizes and energy efficiencies.

Yet, when it comes to something as important as the home's plumbing, most people don't ask any questions. They assume they don't have a choice. For many generations, metal (in the form of galvanized steel or copper) was the only material available. Look in the basement of any home built before the Kennedy era and it's unlikely you'll see anything but metallic pipes.

Today is a different story as a host of alternative materials -- many of which are plastic -- now garner significant market shares.

Why has plastic gained such popularity? Metal has demonstrated a number of pitfalls through the years that have been documented by numerous studies and lawsuits. Pinhole leaks and premature system failures, caused by metal's natural tendency to pit, corrode and scale, have opened the door for more reliable, virtually maintenance-free systems.

Of these, CPVC (post-chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) plumbing systems, which have 40 years of proven experience, are the most popular. CPVC pipe and fittings, such as those used in FlowGuard Gold CPVC plumbing systems, offer a number of benefits over metallic systems. Primarily, they never pit, scale or corrode, which eliminates the risk of premature failures and costly re-piping, in addition to possible property damage.

FlowGuard Gold CPVC systems are also highly energy efficient with natural insulating properties that keep hot water hotter and cold water colder than metallic systems. In addition, condensation, which is a common problem with metallic pipes that can cause drip damage to walls and foundation, is virtually eliminated.

As water quality becomes a significant concern in this country, CPVC piping has gained high marks for its ability to maintain water quality. There is no leaching or metal contamination into the water supply, so there are no related health concerns. And without pitting or corrosion, CPVC systems are able to maintain full water carrying capacity throughout their entire life. If you've ever looked inside a piece of old copper pipe, you've probably seen a thick layer of hard minerals. These minerals can dramatically reduce the diameter of the pipe, which reduces water flow and water pressure, and can inhibit the efficiency of many water-using appliances. Eventually, homeowners with corroded pipes must completely re-pipe their home at an average cost of $6,000.

Through the years, many homeowners have come to accept water hammer (or banging pipes) in their homes, which is typical of metallic systems. CPVC systems, on the other hand, resist water hammer. They also minimize water flow noise, which has been proven by independent testing laboratories to be four times louder in copper pipes.

Although CPVC systems are most often used in new construction, they are also compatible with other plumbing systems used in remodeling projects, the addition of a guest bathroom, or the replacement of a failed copper system.

For more information on the benefits of CPVC plumbing systems, visit or call (888)234-2436 (Ext. 7393) to locate a FlowGuard Gold professional near you.

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Play Piano Ode

10 Top Reasons You Should Learn to Play ‘Chord’ Piano

There are roughly umpteen zillion reasons why you should learn enough chords to be able to “chord a song” at the piano.

By “chord a song”, I mean the ability to play 3 or 4 chords on the piano in some sort of rhythm while you or someone else sings the tune. To do this, you don’t need to be a Van Cliburn; all you need to do is learn a few basic chords and be able to more back and forth between them in some organized rhythmic pattern.

For example, did you realize that all of these songs (and hundreds more) can be sung or played with just 3 chords?

Auld Lang Syne
Amazing Grace
Kum Ba Ya
Silent Night
Joy To The World
Jingle Bells
Happy Birthday
Down In The Valley
On Top Of Old Smoky…
and hundreds or maybe thousands more!

Add just one more chord to the basic 3, and you can play another thousand songs or so. So why not learn a few chords and start your chording career?

Here are my top 10 reasons for learning “chord piano”:

1) It’s easy. Learn 3 chords and start in.

2) Even though it’s easy to get started, you don’t have to stop there. You can learn more and more chords and more rhythm patterns and get really good.

3) You’ll be able to play “Happy Birthday” while the gang sings it.

4) You’ll be able to play half-a-dozen Christmas carols. In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas comes every year, so every year you’ll get better as you participate in family gatherings.

5) You can help your kids learn to play the piano, guitar, or most any other instrument by learning chords. Most teachers don’t teach chords, so you’ll be giving your kids an advantage by learning chords.

6) People will admire you. It’s true. Musicians are popular. Anyone who can play anything is in demand at parties and social gatherings. And if you can “chord” while others sing, you’re bound to be popular.

7) Piano playing using chords is good for your brain. Studies have shown that people who actively participate in music do their brain lots of good. And since chords require 3 or 4 notes at a time instead of one, you are giving your brain a good workout.

8) Piano playing, particularly using chords, is good exercise for your wrists and fingers. (Take the time to learn about correct hand position, though!)

9) Piano playing is excellent therapy for the stress of life. Many professional people come home from a hard days work and relax by expressing their emotions on the keyboard. Play a few dark and angry chords, and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel!

10) Piano playing is a blast. It’s just plain old fun. So learn 3 or 4 chords and get going. Maybe you’ll stop there and enjoy it the rest of your life.

But just maybe you’ll love it so much that you keep going and turn yourself into an excellent piano player who can read music as well as play chords!

Duane Shinn is the author of the book-CD-DVD course titled "How To Play Chord Piano In Ten Days!" which has sold over 100,000 copies around the world and can be found at

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Texas Holdem Tournament Poker Opus

Texas Holdem Tournament Poker Strategy - Betting Is Communicating

The "Language" of Poker Bets

We humans are very perceptive creatures. We are able to communicate in many different ways with one another. By saying something, by saying nothing, by shrugging our shoulders, by winking, delaying, etc. These are all forms of communicating.

Do you realize that when you place a poker bet you are actually communicating something to the other players? Understanding what you are communicating with your betting, and understanding what the other players are communicating with their bets is one of the cornerstones of good poker play.

By mastering this form of poker communications, you will find yourself becoming a truly formidable poker player. If you ignore this betting language, you will consistently lose - it's as simple as that.

When a player calls, it often just means they're limping to see the next card with the hope of improving their hand. When a player checks, it typically means they're not too happy with their current hand, and would like to see another card before making any move. Yes, they could be trapping, but that's the exception, not the rule.

When a player bets, they're communicating that they like their hand and they want some action, so they're risking more chips in order to take control of the action or just take the pot. Whether this communications is "real" or not depends - upon what style of player they are: tight, solid, loose, maniac, etc. and how this player communicates.

If you've been paying attention (like you should be), you'll have a pretty good idea of how "honest" this player typically communicates (bets/plays). Aggressive players who play a lot of hands and raise a lot to drive people out of pots can be generally considered "dishonest" and can't be trusted to communicate (bet) honestly.

Tight/solid players are relatively honest, usually betting more in accordance with the true strength of their hand, making them easier to read most of the time. Learn to read these different player's betting signals and you'll be amazed at how much your game improves.

Decide how "honest" or "dishonest" you want your betting signals to be that the other players are reading from you. Try mixing these signals up a bit so the other players can't quite tell what to expect from you and it'll help by causing them to make more mistakes against you, resulting in bigger winnings.

Now, let's have a look at an example situation. Let's say you're in a game with 9 people at the table, and on the button, so you'll get to act last and have the most information to work with. Your starting hand is good, but not great, such as a 67 spades-suited connector. The action comes around and half of the players have dropped out, and several players have limped in. You go ahead and limp in as well, wanting to see the flop like everyone else. The flop comes: 4s, Jc, 9d - not exactly what you'd hoped for. The first three players check. The 4th player throws out a bet of 3 times the big blind. So, where are we?

Ignoring your hand for just a moment (since we're talking about betting and communicating - right?), everyone except the 4th player communicated that they didn't really like the flop, then the 4th player placed a decent bet. Is he trying to steal the pot or does he now have a pair of Jacks? Since we've been watching these players' style of play all along, and we quickly realize that this is a fairly tight player, we would correctly conclude that this basically "honest", tight player has hit that pair of Jacks.

On the other hand, if the 4th player had instead been playing loose with lots of bets and raises, stealing many pots and pushing people around quite a bit, then they can't be trusted since they're fundamentally "dishonest" with their betting communications patterns.

See how this works? Now, about your hand. You need to fold either way here, since the odds of you making a flush or straight aren't good, and there's an overpair of Jacks that's possible and likely based upon what's being communicated (and someone could also be trapping that checked, too).

So, what are you communicating with your bets? Are you even thinking about that? Before you fire out a bet, you need to consider what "message" you want to send the other players, and make sure your intended message gets through, in order to affect the other players' actions and control the outcomes more often.

What are the others communicating to you with their bets? What kind of "communicator" are they? Honest or dishonest? Consistent or variable? How much do you believe what they're telling you? Are you really listening, or just looking at your own hand too much?

So, Betting Is Communicating. Become truly fluent in this "poker language" and you'll be amazed at how much it boosts your winnings.

Good luck!

Rick Braddy is an avid writer, poker player and top professional software developer and marketer. Visit his Texas holdem website at websites to learn more.

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Photography Composition Poem

Photography - Rules of Composition

Composition is defined as the combining of distinct parts or elements to form a whole. In photography that definition is very important in taking quality pictures. The following rules of composition should be learned and considered but not necessarily used in every photo. Once you have learned these rules you will be more observant of the possible photo opportunities that surround you. But keep in mind that the really famous photographers usually find a creative way to stretch or break the rules of composition.


The rule of thirds has been used through the centuries and is probably the most recognized rule. The rule of thirds directs that the frame can be divided into three vertical sections and three horizontal sections. Wherever the separating lines connect is an ideal spot for a subject or point of interest. By positioning your main subject at any of the four intersection points, you are giving your subject more emphasis than if it is right in the middle of the photo. The intersection points can also work if there is more than one main subject in a photo. Most famous photographs and paintings have the rule of thirds applied to them in some way or another.


The simplicity rule directs that you should keep the items in your photo relatively simple. If your main subject is close to the lens, then your background should be very simple in order to avoid distractions. Another good idea is to avoid objects or lines that lead the eye away from your main subject.


The contrast rule directs that light subjects should be placed against dark backgrounds and vice versa.


The framing rule directs that using natural surroundings mindfully can add more meaning and focus to your subject. The surroundings could be anything such as bushes, windows, trees or even a doorway. When using this rule be sure to focus on the main subject and not on the surroundings that are framing it. It is also a good idea to use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) when using this rule in order to create a high depth-of-field.


The texture rule can add a great amount of interest to most photos. When people see texture in a photo it can spark their imagination and make the photo more real to life. Texture would be a good idea when taking photos of rocks, walls, surfaces, hands or even leaves. In order to create texture try to compose your photo so the light is coming from the side and therefore casting shadows in key places.


The diagonal rule directs that diagonal elements or lines can make a photo more dynamic. Diagonal elements could be fence posts, roads or even tree branches.


The leading lines rule can be used to direct the eye deeper into a photo and commonly to the main subject. Leading lines can lure the eye to a subject by leading to it from any side or depth of the photo. Leading lines could be roads, rivers, tree branches or even bridges.


The color rule is what adds interest and emotion to your pictures. Different color configurations can inspire and amaze viewers. Colors can also be used to accent certain parts of a photo.

It might not be a bad idea to keep these key terms with you when you practice taking photos. The best way to learn and improve your composition is just to use them often and to experiment.

Richard Schneider is a digital photography enthusiast and founder of which offers tips and news about digital photography, digital camera reviews, photoshop tutorials and computer wallpaper.

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Portrait Photography Tips Serenade

Portrait Photography Tips and Methods

Portrait is defined as, “A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a painter or photographer, for example.” In the area of portrait photography there are some guidelines that you should consider when you go to take photos of people.

The different types of portraits are: close-ups, facial shots, upper body shots or environmental portraits. Environmental portraits are where you focus on the subject and on their surroundings that provide more character to the subject.

When people have a camera in their face it usually makes them nervous and they will try to put on a face that does not portray who they really are. The real skill to portrait photography is trying to capture photos when the subjects are comfortable and not worried about a camera.

Many professional photographers try to capture their subject’s true essence by using tricks. One example of this is counting to three so the subject prepares and then while they are relaxing after taking a planned photo the photographer will snap a few more unplanned photos. In most cases the subject won’t even know that more than one photo was taken but it’s usually the photos that the subject wasn’t expecting that capture their true essence.

Another more common strategy professionals use is to tell funny jokes that make their subjects genuinely laugh or smile. I’m sure that you have probably experienced something like this yourself.


These usually have the subject’s shoulders and head or less. They are framed around the face. These are the most common and best at capturing expressions and glamour shots. For these it is very important to have the light coming from a good angle. To accent wrinkles or small details you should have the light coming from the side or from the top. To create flattering pictures you should choose a cloudy day or try to create diffused light so there are hardly any shadows. Also make sure the subject is brighter than the background to reduce distraction.

For close-up portraits you should use a wide aperture (low f/stop) to make the background out of focus and therefore less of a distraction. Professionals commonly use a fixed telephoto lens that’s 90 mm or higher for portraits in order to de-emphasize the subject’s nose or any other unflattering feature. It works because at that distance the nose or any other feature does not seem closer to the camera than the rest of the face.


These are easier to capture because the subject is probably more relaxed because it’s less personal. These include a little more of the background than close-ups. These are commonly used for both single subjects and multiple subjects. This is the kind of portrait used to mark occasions such as graduation, yearbook, birthdays and other parties. The ideal lens would be about a 90 mm fixed telephoto or more wide angle depending on how many subjects there are.


These are the portraits that let you into the life of a subject. They might include the whole subject in a scenario or the subject participating in some hobby that they enjoy. These are best for telling a story to the viewer about the subject. They are almost always used by photojournalists to look into the lives of interesting people. They also make great Black and White pictures.

Use this information to develop what kind of portrait style you would like to take, and then practice it before dealing with any serious clients.

Richard Schneider is a digital photography enthusiast and founder of which offers tips and news about digital photography, digital camera reviews, photoshop tutorials and computer wallpaper.

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Loving Your Hobbies Verse

Loving Your Hobbies More

With the advent of technology that makes almost every chore less time consuming, more and more time may now be devoted to enjoying your hobbies. More people can now take on one or several recreational activities like photography, stamp collection, embroidery, handicrafts, etc.

To provide more resources in the growing interest in having fun with hobbies, the web world has yet gave birth to a website that deals with anything about hobbies:

This everything about hobbies website has clickable sections regarding hobby supplies, hobby lobby, tower hobbies, collectibles and model trains. It is an online resource center promising hobbie enjoyment, satisfying your hobby needs and assistance in finding hobbies that suit you.

On its hobbies updates and information part, it presents tips on how to find a perfect hobby or hobbies. For those looking for supplies, retailers or suppliers of hobbies materials are also found in this section of the site. If one is looking to buy some hand-made crafts or planning to grow some dough, many for-sale crafts and income-producing hobbies also shared the limelight in this website’s hobbies updates and information segment. On one’s prime years, a wide selection of suitable hobbies for those who already retired is also availed in this portion. Links, directories and forums that discuss and lead to other several crafts or activities that can be done leisurely are also provided here.

This online hobbies spot also unveils a plethora of hobbies supplies resources. Most of the links found here lead to suppliers of excellent materials, indigenous and synthetic, that make the dream hobbies of a lot of people come true. Painting materials, flowers and plants resources, jewelry making supplies and picture framing materials are all available here. Other more unique hobbies like enjoying the nature through non-conventional methods are also supported in this section of the site through providing stuff like portable microscopes. For those more inclined to mechanical or technical hobbies, web pages and other sites on modeling supplies and aircraft materials can also be accessed on this portion of

Hobby lobby is another clickable link of this website leads to innumerable stores and shops and their locations with hobbies how-to’s, supplies, workshops and seminars. Craft store catalogs, online coupons and aircraft models may also be seen on this page of updates regarding hobbies. Creative centers, hobby lobby founder, workers and investors are also given ample chance to shine on this fragment of the site. Hobby lobby stores in various States are here too for those looking for their hobby shop within their vicinity.

Those who are into tower hobbies are even given a special spot or link on this hobbies website. Building wireless towers that provide Internet access to a massive number of net users is one major feat. Links on other hobbies sites that deal with tower building, tower materials, and other tower crafts are also placed in this page of the site.

Collectibles like antiques, figurines, stamps, novelty items and other collection-worthy items may also be found here. Resources on where they can be found or bought are piled on this site. Model trains also found their way on one of the links of this all about hobbies web site.

So if you’re just one of those can’t-live-without-my-hobby kind of person, this website is made totally for you.

Ray La Foy, Hobbies are Fun. Learn more at

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