Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monster Ode

Monsters and Demons: A Short History of the Horror Film

Going to the movies may not seem like a novel way for little kids to spend an afternoon. But have you ever brought your child to see a Disney flick and ended up viewing trailers for Jeepers Creepers 2 or Freddie vs. Jason? When this happened in a Birmingham, Alabama cinema last year, parents became concerned about what the main attraction would be. But before the managers at the cinema could turn off the previews, the main attraction came on, and it wasn’t Piglet. Instead they were presented with the gruesome opening of Wrong Turn, an 18-rated slasher flick in much the same vein as the previews.

Is there a more genre more criticized than the horror film? Not bloody likely. There’s the argument that horror films are socially and morally irresponsible, even influencing some people to imitate the brutal methods of the killers portrayed on screen. Horror films actually have the opposite effect on normal people – sick minds will commit atrocities anyway. Watching horror films lets us encounter our secret fears, share them with other viewers, and eliminate the terror by meeting it head-on.

The genre is almost as old as cinema itself – the silent short film Le Manoir du Diable directed by Georges Melies in 1896 was the first horror movie and the first vampire flick. The movie only lasted two minutes, but audiences loved it, and Melies took pleasure in giving them even more devils and skeletons.

In the early 1900’s German filmmakers created the first horror-themed feature films, and director Paul Wegener enjoyed great success with his version of the old Jewish folk tale Der Golem in 1913 (which he remade – to even greater success – in 1920). This fable about an enormous clay figure, which is brought to life by an antiquarian and then fights against its forced servitude, was a clear precursor to the many monster movies that flourished in Hollywood during the Thirties.

The most enduring early German horror film is probably F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922), the first feature-length vampire movie. But one movie paved the way for the “serious” horror film – and art cinema in general – Robert Wiene’s work of genius The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, still held up as an model of the potent creativity of cinema even to this day.

Early Hollywood drama dabbles in horror themes including versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) starring Lon Chaney, the first American horror-film movie star.

It was in the early 1930’s that Universal Studios, created the modern horror film genre, bringing to the screen a series of successful gothic-steeped features including Dracula, Frankenstein (both 1931) and The Mummy (1932) – all of which spawned numerous sequels. No other studio had as much success with the genre (even if some of the films made at Paramount and MGM were better).

In the nuclear-charged atmosphere of the 1950’s the tone of horror films shifted away from the gothic and towards the modern. Aliens took over the local cinema, if not the world, and they were not at all interested in extending the tentacle of friendship. Humanity had to overcome endless threats from Outside: alien invasions, and deadly mutations to people, plants, and insects. Two of the most popular films of the period were The Thing From Another World (1951) and Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1956).

Horror movies became a lot more lurid – and gorier – in the late Fifties as the technical side of cinematography became easier and cheaper. This era saw the rise of studios centered exclusively on horror, particularly British production company Hammer Films, which focused on bloody remakes of traditional horror stories, often starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and American International Pictures (AIP), which made a series of Edgar Allan Poe themed films starring Vincent Price.

The early 1960’s saw the release of two films that sought to close the gap between the subject matter and the viewer, and involve the latter in the reprehensible deeds shown on screen. One was Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, the other was a very low-budget film called Psycho, both using all-too-human monsters rather than supernatural ones to scare the audience.

When Rosemary’s Baby began ringing tills in the late Sixties, horror film budgets rose significantly, and many top names jumped at the chance to show off their theatrical skills in a horror pic. By that time, a public fascination with the occult led to a series of serious, supernatural-themed, often explicitly gruesome horror movies. The Exorcist (1973) broke all records for a horror film, and led to the commercial success of The Omen.

In 1975 Jaws, directed by a young Steven Spielberg, became the highest grossing film ever. The genre fractured somewhat in the late 1970’s, with mainstream Hollywood focusing on disaster movies such as The Towering Inferno while independent filmmakers came up with disturbing and explicit gore-fests such as Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

John Carpenter’s Halloween introduced the teens-threatened-by-superhuman-evil theme that would be copied in dozens of increasingly violent movies throughout the 1980’s including the long running Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street series. Horror movies turned to self-mocking irony and downright parody in the 1990’s – the teenagers in Scream often made reference to the history of horror movies. Only 1999’s surprise independent hit The Blair Witch Project attempted regular scares.

So go ahead, take a stroll through these favourite horror movies of all time. But pick your way very carefully, this walk is not for the faint of heart. And if you happen to hear what sounds like some subdued whispering or soft creepy grating sounds, just pay no attention to it. It’s probably only the wind.

Written by Astrid Bullen, freelance writer and movie buff living in St. George’s, Grenada. Visit her cool movie website at http://aboutfilm.info.

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Healthy Sleeping Poem

Creating a Peaceful Sleeping Environment for Children - Key to Parents' Sanity

Is daylight-saving time wreaking havoc in your home? Is it difficult to get your infant to sleep in? Do your kids keep informing you "It can't be bed time, the sun is still out"? How about when the summer ends and it is time to get your children back onto a school schedule? Let's face it, just because the calendar says September, that does not mean that the sun no longer shines through the bedroom windows.

If any of these situations sound familiar then you will be relieved to know about Redi Shade room-darkening window shades. Redi Shade is a pleated window shade made of heavy-duty paper that hangs quickly and effortlessly using a peel and stick strip. Weary parents can turn to room-darkening shades to cover children's windows easily and keep the sun from shining in their rooms, preventing sleep.

"Parents have wrestled for years to get their babies or small children to sleep when the sun blazes into their bedrooms. Now with room-darkening Redi Shades, keeping the bright light out of rooms is a snap. Originally conceived as a temporary solution to covering bare windows, parents can now provide a dark and calming atmosphere to bedrooms at minimal cost. Whether you have children or a day sleeper in your home, these room-darkening shades provide a tranquil environment," says company spokesperson Janice Wohlert.

Redi Shade room-darkening shades are currently available online at www.cincishade.com as well as select Home Depot stores. For more information, contact Redi Shade at (888) 608-6611.

Courtesy ARA Content, http://www.aracontent.com.

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Baby Chewing Serenade

Five Reasons For Preparing Your Own Baby Food

Here are 5 good reasons to start preparing your own baby food, as opposed to buying it in the store.

1. IT'S HEALTHIER AND MORE NUTRITIOUS Commercial baby foods contain additional fat, salt, sugar, fillers or other ingredients that are completely unnecessary (and often inappropriate) to your baby's diet. These additives are an attempt to add flavor, texture and bulk to poor-quality products. They contribute nothing at all to your baby's health or well-being. By preparing the food yourself, you can be sure that your baby is getting exactly what his/her little body needs - and nothing that it doesn't.

2. YOU'RE IN CONTROL By preparing your baby's food yourself, you know exactly what your baby is eating. When you prepare an apple sauce, you know he/she is getting fresh, pure apple and all the goodness it contains. However, when you buy apple-sauce at the store, you'd almost need a degree in nutrition just to decipher the list of ingredients.

3. IT'S EASY Once you get started cooking for your baby, you'll quickly realize just how easy it is. All you need is a food blender and some fresh ingredients to quickly prepare healthy, tasty, home-made meals for your little one. Furthermore, by making large amounts of his/her favorite meals in advance, and then freezing them for later, you'll be able to serve up delicious, healthy meals in minutes -- every day of the week.

4. IT'S MUCH CHEAPER The prices that baby food manufacturers charge for their products is nothing short of scandalous and are in no way justifiable. The reason they can charge so much is because they've conditioned most parents to believe that they have no choice but to buy from them. By preparing your baby's food yourself, you can avoid being a victim of this daylight robbery, and find yourself with extra cash to spend on all those other things that a growing baby needs.

5. IT'S VERY GRATIFYING Watching your baby enjoy the meal you've just prepared for him/her is already a very gratifying experience. On top of that, however, you have the satisfaction and pride of knowing that you're giving your child the gift of a healthy and nutritious diet - and saving yourself money as well.

And finally...

If all that weren't enough, here's another great reason to do it yourself: home-made baby food is much tastier than any commercial product. Delicious food is one of life's great pleasures and your baby deserves to enjoy the rich flavor and texture of real home cooking just as much as you or I. After all, none of us would enjoy eating 'TV Dinners' morning, noon and night - and that goes for your baby too!

So, don't put it off. Get started today. Your baby will thank you for it in more ways than one.

Written by Nancy Miller, author of 'How to Make Your Own Healthy Baby Food' and a full-time working mom. Visit Nancy's website at http://www.healthy-baby-food.com.

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Nice Parental Verse

The Curse Reversed

Oh, that awful parental curse!

At one time or another in a moment of desperation nearly every parent has spewed these venomous words upon their offspring:


I'd always sworn I'd never say it but I can't lie. I did it too. I hang my head in shame whenI think of that horrible day 10 years ago when I wished the worst upon my 12 year old son. At the time I was truly puzzled by his folded arms, smirky grin, and ice cold stare. What was he thinking? Did he not understand the implications of this monstrous bequeathal?

Many years have gone by since that fateful day and I've finally come to realize the meaning of his "yeah, right back at ya Mom" attitude.

He's now grown up and enjoying the single life without a care in the world. Without a child to turn his blonde locks to grey. Perhaps someday he'll inherit the curse, but for now he watches poor old Mom punished daily for her maternal impropriety.

And though this brat tempts me daily, lest I be sentenced to reproduce again and suffer my own curse well into my retirement years, I'll bite my tongue and never, no NEVER say those awful words to his little brother.

Author, Karen Denning, is a stay at home wife and mother of 4. Please visit her website http://www.4momsathome.com.

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Parental Software Controlling Opus

The Real Dangers to Kids Online and How to Avoid Them

Did you know

* 1 out of 5 kids has been sexually solicited online
* 1 out of 4 kids has been sent a picture of naked people or people having sex online
* that May 21, 2002 there was the first death of a child linked directly to an Internet Predator?

Parents' biggest concern about the Internet used to be pornography, but there is definitely a greater fear today.

You have probably taught your child not to talk to strangers, and in many situations, they would remember this. But the Internet is different.

Due to the Internet's anonymity, strangers are talking to children all the time. They try to gain the child's trust by having friendly conversation at first, but over time, their true objective of sexually soliciting the child becomes evident. Children and parents alike are unaware of this, yet this is exactly what is going on via the Internet.

What can today's parent do? Armed with information, there's quite a bit a parent can do.

Software4Parents.com's Top 5 Internet Safety Tips

1. Tell your child to NEVER EVER reveal their name, address, phone number or any other personal information to ANYONE online. Once you give out this information, it is impossible to retract.

2. Communicate regularly (not just once) with your child about WHAT they do online and WHO they talk to online. If you have actually met the friends they are talking to in person, you'll know it is OK for them to chat with them online.

3. Take computers out of kids' rooms and put them into public areas such as the family room. Many parents think they are helping with homework by giving the kids a computer, but it also opens certain dangers that you may be unaware of.

4. Choose your child's screen name, email address or instant message name wisely - don't' reveal ages, sex, hobbies, and CERTAINLY NOT suggestive or sexy names. Predators are more likely to pursue a child with the screen name "foxyteen15" than "happygirl5"

5. Use technology to help you protect your child. Monitoring software gives you the ability to review your child's Internet usage. Even if you don't look at each and every email or instant message they send, you'll have a good idea if they are making smart choices online.

The Internet can open many doors and provide useful information for children. An aware and informed parent can help keep children safe.

Author, Joshua Finer, Internet Safety expert and CEO of Software4Parents.com. For free information on choosing the right Internet safety product for your family visit http://www.software4parents.com/choosing.html.

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eBay Merchandising Ode

The Effects of eBay on American Merchandising

With one brilliantly simple idea, eBay was born just a few short years ago.

From its humble beginnings in the Collectibles business, it went on to achieve the lofty heights it enjoys today.

As eBay has continued to grow to over 30 million registered users, it has transformed the ability of individuals (as well as Corporations) to move product of all kinds.

eBay is now a place where virtually any item imaginable is available, for the right price.

With a few clicks of your mouse, the doors to the world marketplace are opened for you.

Similarly, with a few clicks of your mouse, the entire world can be viewing your merchandise for sale.

It is this awesome power that eBay gives to you, for a small fee.

Is it any wonder that large institutional sellers, such as the U.S. Postal Service, J.C. Penneys, various Police Departments and all types of Corporations have discovered the power and efficiencies of selling on eBay?

The drawback for the smaller seller is that, as more and more individual and institutional sellers sign on to sell on eBay, the supply of similar items will increase.

This increase in supply results in a decrease in demand, and with that decreased demand, lower ending bid amounts and lower profits for all sellers.

This has already begun to happen in some categories as ending bids continue their slow trend downward.

As sellers begin to see profits eroding due to too many sellers "playing the game", the question of the day seems to be, "What is the best thing to sell on eBay?"

The simple (and somewhat facetious-sounding) answer is, "Whatever people are interested in that is not currently selling on eBay in mass quantities".

More often than not, success on eBay results from a seller taking on a niche that they are familiar with and enjoy. Many of the top eBay sellers have built their entire business around a niche that they enjoy, such as a certain type of collectible, or a certain hobby, interest or sport.

If you take this approach, not only will you be happier doing that which you enjoy, but listing items will not become a "chore", it will be an enjoyable experience.

As eBay continues it’s trend-line of massive growth, sellers must be increasingly aware of three things that will ensure opportunities for growth and success:

1. Opportunities for new products to sell
2. Alternative venues in which to sell their products
3. Advanced marketing techniques that can leverage their time and money

Ultimately, it is this extra awareness that will determine who the winners are in the game of Online Auction sales.

Written by David Espino, Author of Beyond eBay and Life In The Dot Com Lane. To receive a free excerpt from the book - Beyond eBay, visit http://www.homebasedbusinessowner.com.

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eBay Seller Poem

21 Success Strategies of eBay Powersellers

The online auction giant - eBay - has exploded on the Internet scene. Currently boasting over 29 Million members, eBay is one of the most visible and far-reaching Internet companies in existence, with a large segment of the population either using the service, or at the very least, aware of it. Among the eBay sellers, there is a designation given to approximately 4% of the people. These are eBay's "Powersellers", a group of sellers that is distinguished by the amount of volume they produce. The entry-level Powerseller, the Bronze level, does at least $2,000 a month in eBay sales, maintains a 99% positive feedback level and maintains their eBay account current. Higher award levels are granted at the $10,000 level, (Silver level) and at the $25,000 level, (Gold level).

What are some of the strategies and techniques that these Powersellers use?

As someone who achieved Powerseller status a little over a year ago and continues to study other Powersellers, I've compiled a listing of the 21 Success Strategies of eBay Powersellers.

Powersellers are serious - Powersellers treat their eBay business just like they would any other business. They are dead-serious about it. Look at any Powerseller operation and you'll find organized systems and "assembly-line" techniques being used. While a Powerseller may not have invested thousands of dollars into her operation, she treats it as if she has.

Powersellers are focused - A Powerseller is focused on listing, packing and shipping, often on different days of the week. Their focus is as intense as that of a Corporate Executive or an Olympic athlete, because they are juggling various activities at the same time.

Powersellers are organized - The Powerseller is organized, otherwise they wouldn't make it to the level of Powerseller. Since Powersellers do a huge volume of listing, packing and shipping each month, they must develop processes to ensure that the items sold are delivered within a reasonable period of time and that customer satisfaction is always at the forefront.

Powersellers delegate - Powersellers delegate because they have to! Their volume dictates that they hire an assistant to do some of the more repetitive tasks that don't require the Powerseller's attention. This way the Powerseller can focus on the important money-making tasks of product acquisition and marketing.

Powersellers use assembly line techniques - The Powerseller has developed smooth running systems to make sure that product fulfillment is accomplished as quickly and efficiently as possible. This may involve setting up a large 4' by 8' table with bubblewrap and packing materials at one end, products in the middle, and boxes, labels and packing tape at the far end.

Powersellers use Dutch auctions - Many Powersellers have graduated from selling one-of-a-kind knick-knacks found at yard sales and are now selling a volume of the same item through Dutch auctions. In a Dutch auction, a seller can place a large number of the same item up for sale. The bidders can bid on one or more of the item, but the highest bidders will be first in line to actually get or "win" the products they bid on. So there is a possibility that if someone bid too low, they might not get a product. A Powerseller uses Dutch auctions often because it is a huge time-saver. This is a true "assembly line" auction from start to finish. The packing and shipping goes a lot faster when the same item is being packed and shipped over and over again.

Powersellers do efficient work - Another trait of the Powerseller is that they are extremely efficient, knowing that time is money. A Dutch auction is a great example of this efficiency. In the same period of time that it takes to list one item, you are listing dozens, or even hundreds of items! This time-efficiency is a powerful way to leverage your time and profits.

Powersellers "Bulk List" their auctions - Bulk listing your auctions using a bulk listing software or auction management service will dramatically organize your time and allow your eBay operation to run a lot more smoothly. There are various options in this area, from eBay's own "Mister Lister" to Blackthorne software to Andale, and Auction Watch auction management services, there are a lot of options for you to look into. These services allow you to list your auctions at your leisure and then schedule them to go live on a certain day and time. This saves you the hassle of having to list your auctions on the particular day that you want them to go up.

Powersellers use clearly focused photos - Powersellers have acquired their status by using clear photos or scans of the items they are selling and making sure that the photos show all flaws. In effect, along with all of the other skills they have acquired, they have also become semi-pro photographers! Many have built a "mini-studio" with optimum lighting and background, that is available at their beck and call for those quick shots when they need to e-mail an additional photo to a bidder. The Powerseller usually has both a Digital Camera for photographing 3-dimensional items and large items and also has a scanner for the paper items and flat items.

Powersellers use headlines with key words and no fluff - A Powerseller resists the temptation to use "fluff" words like "L@@K", "WOW" and "MUST SEE". Instead, the Powerseller uses descriptive words in the headline, realizing that the headline is the "ad for the ad". A Powerseller is also "search engine savvy", realizing that keywords in the headline are picked up by the eBay search engine. They are sure to load the headline with descriptive, key words that help the bidder determine if the item is what they are looking for and keeps out the "fluff".

Powersellers write thorough and detailed item descriptions - A Powerseller has achieved their level by maintaining a high ratio of positive feedback. This is primarily accomplished by having clear and accurate descriptions of the items so that the bidder can clearly "imagine" the item as if it were sitting in front of her. The art of writing a great item description involves an interesting mix of using "selling words" (such as "beautiful", "fantastic", "intricately designed", "gorgeous", "spectacular", "powerful", "colorful", etc.) along with describing the flaws in the item. A great description should entice the bidder to bid while at the same time providing full and complete disclosure of the item's condition. Your test of whether you have a great description or not is if it answers the following two questions well:

A. If I were to compare the description to the item, while holding the item in my hand, would it be an extremely accurate description? or would I have good reason to return the item?

B. Does this description entice me to place a bid on the item?

Powersellers give "Benefit of the doubt" customer service - Customer service is such a cliched catchphrase in American Business today. In the eBay auction world, it is mandatory that you implement a very meticulous level of customer service. Powersellers have a clear reflection of their level of customer service in their feedback profile. One glance at any eBay seller's feedback profile and you have an instant snapshot of that individual's customer service rating. (Imagine if regular "brick and mortar" stores had a feedback rating posted at the front door!) This public feedback rating is both your best advertisement (if you provide great customer service) and can also be your downfall. (if you don't) A Powerseller is constantly aware of this "sign at the front door" and places a high priority on giving stellar customer service. I call it "Benefit of the doubt" customer service because even in those instances where the customer is clearly wrong, the Powerseller doesn't argue or get into an emotional "war of words", she simply refunds the money or reduces the shipping cost or sends an unexpected gift with the package. The Powerseller realizes that business and ego don't mix, they leave their ego on the table - they go on to build lifetime customer relationships.

Powersellers have their own websites - A Powerseller realizes that business conditions change. On the Internet, business conditions can change literally from quarter to quarter! Because of the transient and high-speed nature of change in the Internet business, the Powerseller realizes the value of having their own storefront on the Web. They have either built a website themselves or have had someone build a site for them. They have developed a following and a customer base through their eBay auctions that can help sustain them even if dramatic changes come about on their main selling venue. As eBay continues to evolve and change - applying restrictive and invasive policies - this will become more of a priority for all eBay sellers, not just Powersellers.

Powersellers make it easy for bidders to pay - By offering a variety of payment options, Powersellers make it easy for winning bidders to pay for their items. They offer to accept Checks, Money Orders, all types of credit and debit cards through PayPal, Billpoint, or their own Merchant Accounts. By offering a wide variety of payment options, they open up their market of available bidders and end up with higher ending bids as a result.

Powersellers offer discounts on multiple items - Whether it is a discount on shipping multiple items or a discount on the actual price of multiple items, Powersellers realize the value of a good customer and treat that customer special. Unexpected discounts tell the customer "You're special" and build a reciprocity that keeps customers coming back or searching the Powersellers' auctions.

Powersellers are always on the lookout for great deals - The Powerseller is the consummate "deal-maker". Whether it's at an antique store or at a swap meet, the Powerseller is always thinking about things they can re-sell. They find that pop-culture collectible and buy it. List it the same day and see the bid amount grow and grow. Part of the thrill of selling on eBay is "taking a shot" and listing items that you are not familiar with. Seeing the items shoot up in price is a fun and enjoyable hobby!

Powersellers do not mind making money! - A Powerseller has no "issues" with making money. Many Americans have been brought up with the notion that the only "respectable way" of making money is by working at a job for thirty years. Sales and selling is looked down upon. The Powerseller is way beyond that. They have a healthy attitude towards making money and it becomes like a "hobby" to them! As new and strange as it may appear to the more traditional types, selling on eBay is one of the easiest and most lucrative ways to make a part-time income. The alternatives to selling on eBay are either too time consuming or too unrealistic. This "new" way of earning an income is powerful and realistic.

Powersellers enjoy their work-at-home lifestyle - Powersellers love the fact that they get to work from home while the rest of America sits on the freeway, waiting for their fellow "worker-bees" to move. The freedom of having a Home Based Business is something the Powerseller relishes and appreciates. This enjoyment of the lifestyle has many tangible benefits - better health, freedom of time, being able to spend more quality time with kids, attending their school functions and field trips, better scheduling of time (around the rush hours) and an overall feeling of well-being. There is no doubt, working from home is the wave of the future.

Powersellers are willing to invest in their business - Whether it means investing in a high-speed cable modem or DSL connection, high-quality computer components, including digital cameras, monitors, keyboards, etc. or whether it means buying a "Featured Auction" listing which will drive further traffic to their other auctions, the Powerseller knows how to use their money wisely. There is a difference between wasting money and investing money in your business. An eBay Powerseller knows when to "invest" money into their business. Basically, anything that saves you time or saves you money is an investment in your business. As an example: A digital camera is a huge time-saver over taking traditional 35 mm photos and then scanning them.

If you go the scanner route, here are the steps you must take:

1. Buy film. (this takes driving time and money)
2. Shoot the photos.
3. Get the film developed. (this takes driving time, waiting time and money)
4. Inspect the photos for clarity and re-shoot, if necessary. (this takes additional time and additional money)
5. Scan the photos (additional time)
6. Crop and edit the images
7. Upload the images to your webhost

The same actions using a digital camera are much more efficient:

1. Shoot the photos. (film purchase not necessary)
2. Inspect the photos for clarity and immediately re-shoot. (no additional cost)
3. Crop and edit the images.
4. Upload the images to webhost.

The investment in a digital camera is one of the best ways to become a more efficient eBay seller! I paid a little over $700 for my digital camera about two years ago, it was the best time and money-savings investment I've made!

Powersellers stay up-to-date on auction trends and changes - Because Powersellers take their business seriously, they constantly keep themselves up to date on the latest industry trends and changes. They do this by buying books about online auctions, participating in eBay Message Boards / Forums, and staying tuned to the eBay Announcements Board. They don't want to be caught off guard with a new change or new policy that might affect their business.

Powersellers are always looking for better ways to do things - Whether it's listing auctions, packing and shipping, getting organized, or expanding their business, Powersellers are always looking to improve their online business. This is the nature of all successful business people, they want to improve their business constantly.

As the 4% of eBay sellers known as Powersellers continue to improve their processes, here’s hoping that the above strategies will be helpful reminders in improving yours!

Written by David Espino, Author of Beyond eBay and Life In The Dot Com Lane. To receive a free excerpt from the book - Beyond eBay, visit http://www.homebasedbusinessowner.com.

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Network Marketing Serenade

How To Be Creative

Network marketing is an art as much as it is an applied science. To take a blank sheet of paper or canvas and draw or paint an interesting picture, you've got to have an imagination and creativity.

The other day, I was watching some video tapes I had made of my son when he was between 2 and 6 years old. One thing that impressed me was the total freedom he had to express his imagination and creativity.

He was always coming off with some unique or interesting new way of looking at things, or saying something. It was actually a refreshing experience for me to watch and remember the fun and zest he had for life at that age.

Life was so very new and interesting at that age. Every day was a new adventure and presented new opportunities to learn new things. Getting up every morning was something he looked forward to.

He hadn't yet learned or developed some basic fears, like the fear of being criticized or of what others might think of him. His actions and words were not hampered by thoughts of "what will others think if I say or do this".

There was no fear that blocked or stifled his imagination and creativity. He was never concerned that mom or dad might think less of him because of his actions or words.

One of the areas we need to be creative in is our ad writing. Ad writing is an applied skill, it is an art, and it is a science. It doesn't happen over night, ad writing takes a lot of practice, and a lot of learning to do before you get good at it.

We'll discuss the science of ad writing in a future article, but for now we are going to focus on just being creative with your writing.

Why do we need to be creative? Consider this: if a lot of people are selling or pushing the same product as you are, and using the same ad as you are, then there are going to be an awful lot of ads out there all looking the same. If a thousand other ads look just like yours, just how many clicks do you reasonably expect to come to you?

Creativity in your ad writing allows you to "break out of the pack" and sparkle your ad with dynamic and imaginative ideas. Something that will capture your reader's attention and get them to want to click on your ad.

Your ad has to stand out and be noticed above all others!

It's said that you have 3 seconds to attract your reader's attention before they click on to greener pastures.

The human mind constantly seeks for new and more exciting ideas and words to stimulate it. A person viewing the same boring headline or ad over and over again, will become numb to it and will simply ignore it's presence.

It's your job as an ad writer to capture that attention and give the reader's mind a new and refreshing experience.

Using your creativity and imagination to accomplish these objectives is a must do. Writing an ad is a challenging, exciting, and stimulating adventure for the ad writer. If you get that "charge" out of writing an ad, then most likely it will stimulate the reader also.

If ad writing is a "chore" for you, and it's something that you just feel you "have to do", then don't expect really good results either.

It's actually fun to think up new ways to say the same old thing. It's a challenge to see what new headline will attract another's attention. It's always exciting to see that a lot of people have been attracted to a headline and clicked through on it.

There are 2 things that will destroy your creativity. Distractions and fear.

A mind that is filled with thoughts telling it all the other things it must or should be doing will be a mind that is not capable of being expressive. That mind is worried, disturbed, and is unproductive. Go do what ever else you have to do first, then when you can be free, write your ads.

The great painters and artists of our world history had the unique ability to totally block out the world and focus only on what they were doing at the time.

The second thing that you must do is get over any fears of criticism.If you are concerned about what others will think when they view your ad, you're in big trouble.

If you are going to be creating a masterpiece of literature in your ad writing, you cannot allow those thoughts to belong in your head!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret I've never told anybody. When I write an ad I pretend. I pretend I'm one of the world's great writers who is creating one of his great works of literature. And I pretend that no one will ever see what I write.

It's easy to write to a computer screen that has no feelings or emotions or words that spit back at me, "This is no good, no one will ever read this garbage". I pretend that as soon as I write this stuff, it will get deleted.

There's no fear when I write! I can be like a little kid again and be free to express my creativity. After all, the only thing that will ever see this is my trash bin, right? I can type whatever I want with no fear of being criticized or condemned by what comes off the keyboard.

I can be 4 years old again and say what I want. I can be free to be creative and let the creative-imaginative juices flow.

Author, Dave Cole, Editor/Publisher of the Prosperity: The Choice Is Yours E-zine To read the current issue online and past articles by Dave: http://choosetoprosper.com.

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Advertising Verse

Ashes to Ashes, Bytes to Bytes

She didn't have to die. She was young, she was beautiful, and, yes, she was exciting. Now she's gone, and it was all so unnecessary - so, so senseless!

Dare I say what he did to her? Do I "point the finger" at him? Someone has to, I guess. Actually, it was a case of what he didn't do. You see, she was a charming new website and he - well, he was an inexperienced owner who thought all he had to do was open a well-done website and the world would zero-in on her and make him scads of cash. He even called her "Carly Cash". The poor, misguided fool.

If only he had known, there are a great many things he could have done to save her, indeed to help her thrive and fulfill her exciting promise. He could have:

* used business cards to promote his website. Probably the cheapest, most effective form of dirtside advertising is an attractive business card. He could carry them everywhere (alright, smartie, not in the shower). Post them on supermarket, community and college bulletin boards. Drop one in the envelope when he pays a bill. Leave one, or more, at the video store, dentist's office, doctor's office, library, county jail - wherever. Maybe not the jail.

* issued a press release to the world. Huh? He could have sent a press release to his local media, after determining the names of the appropriate editors and news directors. He could go to his favorite search engine, enter "press release", and doubtless be amazed at the result. He'd need to remember it's not called the World Wide Web for nothing. Getting a press release published ten thousand miles away can do him just as much good as appearing in a local paper.

* placed classified ads in "advertiser magazines", for lack of something better to call them. In this part of the world we have the Pennysaver, which carries announcements of local events, community activities, concerts, that sort of thing. But primarily it is classified ads for everything from aardvark toys to zebra-striped jammies. And it's very popular - it's a garage sale in print and delivered by the postal service.

* arranged to appear as a guest on a radio talk show. Many AM stations are devoted to talk, he should know, because they don't carry music as well as FM stereo. Our wired, wired world is a popular talk topic and all he has to do is find our which stations, or show hosts, are so inclined. Interesting guests are always welcome (at some time or another).
The same is true of local television talk shows like "AM Akron" or "Missoula in the Morning" (maybe not). He should be aware that no show host, or station, is going to allow a prolonged commercial for his website. He will need to be able to speak intelligently about some aspect of the web,answer questions from the host/ess and perhaps the audience as well. The idea is to help brand him, create interest, instill trust, and get in a plug or two.

* thought creatively about publicity and likely come up with his own ideas. Had he been in his right mind (home of creativity and intuition) and fired up his imagination, maybe "Carly" wouldn't have died. Here's hoping her successor has a rich, rewarding life, and perhaps little bytes of her own.

Author, Kent E. Butler, has been in marketing, sales and training since shortly after the creation of language. If the above language has been helpful, he's happy. To make him really happy, visit http://www.butlermarketinggroup.com, the One Stop Internet Shop (and great bizop) and acquire something useful.

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Email Marketing Opus

Taking Email Marketing To The Next Level

How to use the latest e-messaging strategies to increase profits.

Many types of Internet advertising don't work as well as they once did. People have gotten used to banners and don't click on them. Some ezines have failed to keep their readers' interest and ads sometimes get less response. Search engines are overflowing with submissions. Getting your site listed high is almost impossible.

More and more businesses and organizations are now turning to email marketing to keep profits rolling in. While an increasing number of people say they rarely surf the Net, the vast majority of North Americans check their email every day.

Email marketing is the most effective and efficient way to influence purchases and keep customers informed and happy. It is also extremely inexpensive. Where you might have mailed out one printed customer update every month, you can now email one every week for a fraction of the cost.

Increasingly, companies need to embrace email marketing in a big way in order to stay competitive. Those who formerly used a service to send out their newsletters, sales info, and consumer updates are now doing all the emailing themselves.

New technology that is powerful yet easy to use allows anyone to handle email jobs that previously required expensive professional help. Many companies are bringing their email campaigns in house in order to have more control, grow their email efforts, and decrease costs.

Here are four features you will want to use in your email marketing efforts:

* Include HTML in your email messages. Most email programs are now equipped to read HTML. Your logo, banner, bullets, and color elements can make your message jump off the screen. You can even include forms that allow customers to order instantly from your message. You take advantage of impulse purchases that can lead to big increases in sales. *Important - Make sure you have pre-qualified your recipient - do they want to receive HTML messages!

* Use a campaign manager feature to schedule when your email messages will be sent out. You can prepare an entire months' worth of messages and tell the manager which weeks, days, or hours to release them to your list.

* Take advantage of a POP import feature. It automatically takes the email addresses from messages you receive and puts them on your mailing list. This insures no one who requests information from you is left out of your next update. This also helps you grow your list as fast as possible. You can even use a feature that automatically unsubscribes those who ask to be removed from your list. Many companies say this saves them hours of work each week.

* Make sure the software you use to send your messages includes a walk-through wizard. You get step-by-step instructions on how to do any task you wish to achieve. Instead of waiting for the tech guy to show up, you can speed through the job on your own.

Author, Karen Fegarty, is with MailWorkZ. MailWorkZ has been instrumental in developing new email technology. MailWorkZ's award winning email marketing tool, is key to reaching your customers in a highly efficient, personalized manner. Reach Karen at karen@mailworkz.com.

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Passion Ode

How To Keep The Passion Aflame

The honeymoon is over. Maybe you’ve been together a few months, a few years, or even a lot of years. At some point, though, the early flames of passion will fade and you’ll start looking for ways to reignite them.

You’re in luck, then, because that’s exactly what this article is about!

1. Have Fun Together

Remember the fun times you had when you first started dating? You laughed, you played, and you spent time enjoying each other’s company. There’s no reason for the fun to stop just because you’ve been together for a while. Think about some of these options:

* Collect cartoons or jokes that your spouse will enjoy
* Play a game together, like checkers or backgammon
* Do something unexpected to surprise your spouse
* Do a puzzle together
* Make popcorn and watch a favorite movie

2. Be Romantic

What did you used to do when the two of you were romancing each other? Jump start the romance by going back to some of those previous activities that generated warm feelings. Maybe you used to:

* Eat dinner by candlelight
* Hide a love note in your spouse’s lunch
* Build a fire and relax in front of it
* Take walk in the moonlight

3. Go Back To Dating

One way to jump start your relationship is to “date” each other again. Add to the fun by calling to ask each other out, and the one doing the asking then plans the date. To make it more challenging, set a budget limit for the date. You’d be amazed at how much fun it is to be creative and plan a date for $30 or less.

Once you’re on the date, treat each other as you did when you were first getting acquainted. Men, open the car door for your lady. Women, put on a special dress and flirt with your gentleman.

4. Do The Little Things

The day to day grind of life can really wear you down, and at those times paying attention to the little things gets harder. It’s more important then ever, though, that you make the extra effort to do the little things that your spouse will really appreciate. You could:

* Make a point to give your spouse a hug and a kiss each morning before you leave and each evening when you get home
* Remember to say please and thank you
* Pick the chore your spouse dislikes the most, and do it for him or her without being asked
* Say “I love you” often, not just when you think it’s expected

5. Be Physical

We’re not just talking about sex. Being physical means touching her arm, holding his hand, offering a gentle caress or neck rub after a tough day. And when the two of you do move towards having sex, don’t just turn out the lights and get on with it every time. Seduce each other a bit, light some candles and take a bubble bath together. As pleasurable as sex is, doing the same thing the same way every time gets boring so spice things up a bit and you’ll be amazed at what will happen.

Author, Joe Markus. Adam and Drew's Dating Tips has a large variety of free articles that have been written by consulting 'experts' in the dating, flirting and relationship fields. Find out more at http://www.adamanddrew.com.

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Blind Dating Poem

Blind Date Secrets - 5 Tips To Ensure You Both Have A Great Time

So you’re going on a blind date. Few dating scenarios are as nerve wracking, and you’ve probably heard lots of horror stories about miserable blind dates. Your blind date doesn’t have to be a disaster, though, if you follow a few simple suggestions to help it be more successful.

Prepare Yourself

Communication experts say that we commonly form an impression of someone new within the first four minutes of meeting them. The first impression you make will set the stage for the entire blind date so prepare in advance to make a good one. Choose clothes that are appropriate for the date, not too revealing or strange. Get a fresh haircut, trim your fingernails, and shine your shoes if needed. On the day of date itself, allow plenty of time to get ready and allow extra travel time to wherever the two of you are meeting.

Where To Go And What To Do

Plan the date for a neutral location, preferably one where there will be a number of other people. When you don’t know the other person it’s not safe to meet in private, plus if you’re in a fairly active location it’s easier to disengage yourself from the date if necessary.

Most dating experts recommend that a blind date not be centered on a meal. If the date isn’t going well and you’re having dinner, you have to stick it out longer than if you’re meeting for coffee. There’s also the cost factor to consider. If either person is investing a lot of money in the date activity that puts more intense pressure on both people.

The First Meeting

Arrive a little early, make sure you’re neatly dressed, and step forward with a polite greeting and hand shake. Remember to smile and be friendly, even if you feel nervous. If you’re a man, open doors, hang up her coat, and pull out her chair if you’re sitting down. If you’re a woman and your date does these things for you, say thank you and enjoy being treated with good manners.

Making Conversation

Getting the conversation started and keeping it going is important to the success of your date. Remember those experts who said a first impression is formed in less than four minutes? They also tell us that communication is based on much more than just words. In fact, when you’re talking with your date the words you use only account for 7% of the total communication occurring. Your tone of voice accounts for 38% of your message and body language accounts for the remaining 55%.

Ending The Date

When the date comes to an end, thank the other person and say something general like “I enjoyed meeting you.” If things went really well then you can indicate if you’d like to date him or her again. If things didn’t go so well then don’t say you’ll call, or that maybe you could get together again sometime. This will create a false impression in the other person and simply avoids the truth.

If you don’t want to see the other person again, it’s okay to say so politely. Saying something like “I think we don’t have a lot in common” is much kinder than saying “I’ll call you” and then not calling. Always be kind, though, and make every effort to spare his or her feelings as much as possible.

Author, Joe Markus. Adam and Drew's Dating Tips has a large variety of free articles that have been written by consulting 'experts' in the dating, flirting and relationship fields. Find out more at http://www.adamanddrew.com.

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Guitar Improving Serenade

Make a Game of Your Guitar Practice and Surprise Yourself

So you want to be improve your guitar playing?

Well, like any thing, guitar skill progress takes time and practice, but many of us have much difficulty practicing regularly because it is so easy to let other things take priority over our guitar lessons.

First, you need to absolutely make up your mind that you want to improve your guitar playing and then make sure that your progress is truly is a priority for you.

Make a list of the most important things that you need to focus on in your life right now and honestly assess where guitar fits into your list.

Ideally, you want to be engaged in a guitar lesson for at least an hour a day in order to make any significant progress.

However, you may have to conclude that at this point you are not going to be able to devote even an hour a week to the task.

If that is the case, try to spend some casual time reading guitar-related publications or listening to your favorite guitarists to nurture your love of the music. When your priorities change and you have more time, you will then at least still have a strong interest in becoming as good a guitarist as you can. Listening to Eric Clapton or other greats will only kindle your interest and may even cause you to reprioritize your guitar lessons.

Once you see where your guitar practice fits in with the rest of your life, make a true appointment with yourself. Put your practice into your schedule. Get it in your planner or it won't get done!

Okay, now that you are regularly spending time with your beloved guitar, what should you do?

First, make sure it is quality time. Don't have the television on or be hanging out with friends. Then, make sure you are working on skills that you need to sharpen.

If you spend time strumming popular solos and cranking up your amplifier, you may have some fun, but you will not improve your skills.

Think about the chords and scales that you struggle with. Grade yourself on them on a scale (no pun intended) of 1 to 10 and then re-evaluate every week or so. Re-grading every practice or guitar lesson is not appropriate because it is unfair to measure progress that frequently.

No one improves in a straight line. You may hit a certain chord great one day and then have two of the strings sound very unclear the next day. However, if you work diligently you will make progress when measured every couple weeks or so.

Do the same thing with scales and even notes depending on your current skill level.

Once you have a way of measuring your progress, you will be inspired to continue with your regular practice regimen and guitar lessons.

As an advanced step, after you have made progress with a certain group of chords and scales, you should find a song you like that uses many of those elements and work on that as a way of applying your improved ability.

This can be very rewarding.

You may even want to start with the song and work backwards, but make sure that you do spend a great deal of time on the fundamentals before you get serious about the song.

The key to all this is regular consistent work and a measurement of results. Achieve this, and you will enjoy your practice time more and more. Challenge yourself to be at a certain grade by a specific time.

Make a game of your practice efforts and you will surprise yourself!

Author, Jeremiah Thompson, is an amateur guitar player and true lover of the instrument and its rich sounds. He loves writing about the subject and contributing to his website http://www.seeguitars.com.

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Retro Disco Verse

School Disco Classics - Reliving Your Youth With Retro Concerts

Looking back school disco’s were the epitome of uncool. People tended to fall into two different categories; those who were clearly very geeky and those who were delusional to the point of thinking they were at the cutting edge of popular culture with their suspect haircuts and jerky dance moves. These two subgroups could of course be further broken down into boys and girls. Girls tended to dance on mass together in tight circles gossiping and singing all the words, while the walls of the school hall were lined with nervous looking boys doing their best to pretend that they didn’t know the words to the latest Rick Astley hit.

However, as the old saying goes - school days were the best days of your life and like it or not these discos were the soundtrack. To this day hearing a song can cast your memory back to the creaking sound system ran by a DJ old enough to be your great uncle – you may even still sport the scars of failed break dancing moves. It’s perhaps due to these sparks of nostalgia that has led to the increasing popularity of retro concerts.

In the past retro concerts have been a little bit of a mixed bag. For every Bob Dylan there is a sad miserable effort from a band desperately trying to re-live their youth and squeeze an extra few pounds out of “the final tour”. Very often going to see these fallen idols can shatter the memories of your youth and make you realise just how uncool you and they were in the first place. It is always worth therefore doing a little investigating before heading off to a retro concert. Does the artist still have it? Have the drug fuelled parties of their youth taken their toll? Are they medically speaking still alive?

Luckily there are a number bands touring in the near future across the UK that do, definitely still have it. One perennial favourite is Scottish singing legend Rod Stewart who is planning dates across the UK in Manchester, Newcastle and London to name but a few. Famed for hits such as “Maggie May” and “Do ya think I’m Sexy?” - Rod has been entertaining crowds across the world since his career began as a singer in the early 1960’s. While the numbers of people replying positively to his most famous hit has no doubt diminished through the years, Rod’s lyrical presence has certainly not and he continues to be one of the world’s great showmen.

One of the quintessential school disco greats from the 80’s were the sublime reggae outfit, UB40. While the name of the band is certainly very apt for many of their current followers, UB40 are still as good a live act as you will see. Formed in 1978 UB40 are heavily influenced by 1960’s Ska and reggae which was the inspiration behind original tracks such as King", "Madam Medusa", "Food for thought" and "Signing Off". UB40 have 2 dates in December playing to an expected sell out crowd at Wembley, London.

One act guaranteed to spark an emotional response from your mother are the Everly Brothers. Best known for tracks such as “Wake up Little Susie” and “Crying in the Rain”, the Everley brothers are widely regarded as one of the greats in rock and roll history. Playing live in the UK this winter, tickets can be bought for their Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester gigs which promise to be a sing-a-long extravaganza!

In the past retro concerts have received a lot of bad press, with fans wishing they could just remember their favorite artists when they were at their peak. However, as the saying goes for many artists “class is permanent” and if you are looking for a fun day out listening to the songs of your youth then these concerts are great. Just don’t expect miracles – you aren’t going to look 16 again no matter how loud you sing...

For further information on retro concerts and concert breaks in the UK try short break specialist http://www.superbreak.com.

Author, Robin Richmond, is a freelance travel writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland: http://www.travel-tips.co.uk.

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Smoking Opus

Finding The Right Cigar

You've decided that you want to try smoking a cigar. You're intrigued by them, and by the people that smoke them. To some, cigars are a status symbol, a symbol of wealth and class. People describe them like they would a fine wine. A cigar can have full to medium body or a smooth and creamy medium bodied taste or they talk about the exceptional construction and cool smoke. What does all this mean and how do you go about choosing a cigar?

Before we go any further, know the health risks. Cigars are bad for you. They contain nicotine which we know is addictive, which is bad for you. People can get cancer from smoking cigars. According to the National Institutes of Health "people smoking as few as one to two cigars per day have much higher risk of oral, lung, and esophageal cancer, and cancer of the larynx, as compared to non-smokers." But, you're an adult and you've made your decision. Also here we'll mention that cigar smoke is much heavier and smellier than cigarette smoke, which some find offensive.

So, back to choosing. There are man-made cigars and machine made cigars. Needless to say, most things hand made are superior to machine made, and that goes for cigars. A handmade cigar is made from leaves picked, sorted and bundled by an individual cigar maker. A premium hand rolled cigar will have leaves of the same length carefully rolled. It's the skill of the hand roller that insures a smooth and even burn.

Machine made cigars often use ends and smaller pieces of tobacco leaves, called short filler. Cigar aficionados say that this short filler draws and burns inferiorly. A well made cigar should have a full and smooth draw.

A cigar is rated on it's length and ring gauge. The length of cigars runs between 4 inches to 8 inches, with the most common cigar length being 5 to 6 inches. The ring gauge refers to the diameter of the cigar. This ring gauge is measured in 64th of an inch. The largest ring gauge of a cigar is 52, therefore it would be 52/64ths of an inch in diameter. Generally the larger the ring gauge the more fuller flavored the cigar will be.

Cigar colors are referred to as claro and oscuro. Claro being light brown and oscuro being almost black. The darker the cigar the more full bodied and sweeter it will be. The darker the tobacco the more mature it is. Some tobacco is aged up to three years before it is rolled. A lighter colored cigar will be lighter in flavor.

Is is suggested that for a beginning cigar smoker that they choose a smaller and milder gauge cigar, such as a petit corona or panatela, then move up to a bigger size, and more robust flavor as they are comfortable.

Don't be afraid to try different brands. You'll notice your tastes will mature and change. The final choice of the right cigar depends on your own taste preference.

Author, Catherine Olivia. Article courtesy of http://www.cigars-shopper.com.

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Mail Order Bride Ode

The Attack & Defense of the Mail Order Bride Business (Part Two)

I would like to say that I am sorry for launching a personal attack on you, a total stranger. I have just heard so many horror stories about these kinds of things. But I did let my anger at these injustices get the better of me, and I should not have.

Amy apologizes for the personal attack; yet what injustice and horror stories is she referring to? It appears she is saying that foreign women from developing countries that marry American men are at risk. But she does not say what this risk is, why they are at risk, to what extent they are at risk or if the risk is any different than any American man or American woman would face being married. Amy does not factor in any evidence to justify her emotional outcry. Her anger is based on a false conclusion. That said, I do find your website extremely offensive and inflammatory in that you stereotype and degrade American women by saying that men can find "younger, more beautiful women than what is locally available" in Latin America.

This fact does not degrade American women. It speaks of the competitive advantage that American men have internationally due to qualities that foreign women appreciate and are often not accustomed to from the local men. What I believe you find "offensive" is American men selecting a foreign wife that you consider to be of lower caliber than American women. That statement does not speak very highly of your customers - it also stereotypes them (as shallow).

Why is it shallow to appreciate beauty and youth? You can claim beauty is superficial, but the reality is most of us want to be beautiful (women more so than men) and most men enjoy the company of beautiful looking women. If we want chocolate instead of broccoli you telling us that broccoli has more nutrition and substance than chocolate does not make us superficial for our selection of chocolate. It is ironic because you imply that American women place too much importance on money and personality, and then you appeal to the superficial and shallow aspects of your customers who are placing importance on age and physical appearance.

People do not consider youth and beauty as irrelevant as you do. At no time do I say this is all that men want and at no time does wanting a beautiful, young, foreign wife correlate to superficiality on their part. What you are doing is no different than calling someone shallow and superficial for playing paddle ball on the beach instead of chess in the den. Do these men seem any more noble than the American women (as you describe them) that they are trying to avoid?

I never said these men are trying to "avoid" American women. I am pronouncing that they have other alternatives to American women, an extension of their search horizon. I understand that these are marketing tactics and you must appeal to your customers. But relationships are not trade negotiations, where one party says: "o.k., I am bringing X beauty points to the table and Y personality points, what does that buy me?"

Every relationship is an exchange, and yes a form of negotiations is taking place. They may be exchanging your love and support for my love and support or any of a variety of role designations. What each party brings to the table may not be directly negotiated, but an evaluation is taking place on how a potential partner attributes meets your desires and needs. Yet none of this has anything to do with a "buy" and this decision making process goes on whether we are aware of it or not and it is a good way of determining if both are a good fit for the relationship. You say an American version of your wife would not be interested in you. What exactly does that mean?

I said she would not notice me. This means I would not catch the eye of an extremely beautiful American woman 18 years younger than me. What is an American "version" of your wife?

The short answer is a top of the line woman with super model looks in the prime of her youth with a college education. How do you qualify that statement?

I will quantify it for you a perfect 10. Does it mean that you are shallow and require a certain physical ideal woman whose arbitrary and fleeting beauty you desire? It means that I am normal and enjoy the beauty of attractive younger women. I don't expect the beauty of my wife to diminish in my eyes. Beauty is not "arbitrary" it is well defined in our society, but there is nothing wrong with an individuals arbitrary determination of beauty. While you like to throw out "shallow" I considered all the tangible and intangible qualities in the selection of my wife. If anyone is shallow maybe it is you. You appear to want to eliminate looks as a factor in choosing a partner because it is fleeting. You throw less into the mix than I do. So, how does that make you different from women who are after men for their money or power?

I have no objections to such women. They can set their criteria in any manner they so choose. I provide an avenue for men to counter such women. I am not trying to restrict anyone's selection of a spouse as you appear to be. It just seems so cynical when people view relationships this way. To use a really silly example, it is kind of like the fictional relationships depicted on "reality" t.v. Joe Millionaire wants a woman who is beautiful (his shallow criteria) and the women are looking for money (their shallow criteria). [I gather from all the hoopla about it that the woman who won was not actually in it for money, but who cares.] Anyway, the premise was such that he would get his beautiful woman, but that when she finds out he is not rich she will want nothing to do with him. I suppose that the intention of shows like this is to stereotype women as gold-diggers and men as shallow people seeking trophy wives. This just seems so cynical and jaded to me. I bring this up because that is the overall impression I get when looking at websites such as yours.

I don't see the cynicism you see. International Introductions exudes positivism and hope for discovering a different variety of woman that may be more suited for some men and the compatibility of their relationship. It is not cynical for two adults to determine the content and means for forming a relationship. It appears that your cynicism derives from the viewer and not by what is being viewed. And I guess what I'm saying is that maybe there are gold-digging women and shallow men in the world.

Men seeking beautiful wives are not shallow. If Albert Einstein wanted an attractive, young, beautiful foreign wife by your definition he would be shallow. And maybe they deserve each other when they end up together, and they don't mind what their relationships are based upon. (I can't imagine that they would actually be happy, but hey). And I feel like the general message of your website is to take the man's portion of that shallow relationship and do away with it. As though you are saying: "Hey you! Want a gorgeous wife but don't have the money to attract one? We have the solution!"

Your belief that wanting a gorgeous, foreign wife makes you shallow is wrong. But even if we accept your conclusion what is wrong with that? If I only want to watch cartoons instead of "better" television programming and you consider this shallow, fine. What's this have to do with your involvement and concern between two adults and the relationship they choose to be in? I know many, many beautiful American women who don't care about the finances of their significant others.

I accept that. And I also know many American men who look for more in a wife than physical appearance.

This is the case for every man I know And before you think to correct me on this I am aware that beauty and age are not the only selling points of your introduction service, they are just important enough to be mentioned prominently on your main web page.

You should know by now that men are visual, which is why beauty and youth holds a prominent role for men. It is simply the way we are and there is nothing wrong with that. Calling men shallow for our nature is like calling a man a "plate" the word carries no negative concern or relevance to us. It does not make us feel ashamed or any less driven in using beauty as an important component in selecting a wife. I feel like you are catering to a clientele who are only capable of having shallow relationships.

I cater to all men you just happen to think men are shallow for being men And if that's how you want to make a buck, I guess that's good for you. But all the cynicism you are pandering to is just causing more cynicism to grow.

The cynicism is in your head. Cynicism is not derived from bringing a couple into happiness. There is also evidence of unfair bias against Colombian men mentioned in your website or your last correspondence, I can't remember where. But it says that these men are not desired by Colombian women because they drink and/or are unfaithful. I get that this is your angle; I mean you've got to put down American women and Colombian men to justify the need for your business.

I do not put down Colombian men any differently than a football player saying to another football player from another team that we are going to win because we believe we are the better football team. The quote you are referring to is from a Colombian woman. This is what many Colombian women think of Colombian men. I do not to create an "angle" when the reality is ample promotion for the business. The "need" is natural I can not create a need. You just do not like the fact of American men seeking beautiful foreign women who are eager to meet quality American men But I believe that people are people, no matter where they come from or what they look like or how much money they have.

"People are people" only in the broadest since. People are different and different places have different types of people and the difference that American men have are desired by many foreign women. Stereotyping people based on sex or appearance or culture is hurtful and destructive.

I apply generalization where fitting. But there is no content to your charges of "stereotyping", "pandering", "put down" "cynicism", "shallow" these are just strong words in an empty shell. I probably won't be surprised if you comb over my letter thoroughly and get out your hair splitting devices and over-analyze every last semantic or grammatical nuance of my e-mail. I am not gifted at the art of argument or even communication for that matter.

This is just an excuse for hiding behind sloppy reasoning and unsubstantiated concerns. You presented a case that was filled with falsehoods and you expect this to go unchallenged. I agree you have difficulty in the art of debate and communications. However, this is due to your faulty thinking; it would be impossible for anyone to logically defend your position regardless of how well they communicated. Instead you attack and avoid any questioning that would distinctly define your position and likely contradictions. I asked you 20 questions and you failed to answer one single question. Yes, why answer any question that would make you look foolish for your beliefs. Doesn't matter that I answered every one of your questions to do the same in return just doesn't come to mind even though I specifically requested that you do so so we could fully understand your position. I address only the overall impression I gleaned from your website - that I find it derogatory - and the documented abuses and anecdotal evidence that the mail order bride industry is a sketchy one.

Your "impression" was void of facts. Whether or not you agree with anything I have written, you must admit that one unkind turn deserves another. That's only fair right?

Yes. You describe American women in unkind terms, even saying that we all think we're the best or something like that.

I specifically said, "To attract the premium American woman (and they all think their premium) requires you to be at the top of your game." I would hardly call this as unkind this and the three other sentences directly or indirectly referencing American women on the website if anything is a praising. I find a strong self esteem, discriminating taste and complicated traits as positive features. I have made it very clear I do not care or need to insult American women to highlight other avenues for American men that may be to their liking. Why you object to men having this avenue is still unexplained. Then you show a picture of a table of young Colombian women "vying" for a customer's attention. And this is not degrading to the Colombian women?

I did not think it was degrading for me to be vying for my wife's attention and all the other women I pursued in the past. So why should it be any different for women to do the same. If anything it puts them in control of who they choose to seek. When I was in my 20's I had women pursuing me and I never thought less of them for this. In fact I found the brightest and more accomplished women generally did this. The Colombian women that have participated in these social gathering have found the experience to be fun, interesting and safe. Many of these women have never met an American man so what's wrong with them sharing a conversation with other women to see if there is a mutual interest in a man they agree to meet based on seeing his photo and profile? Having to vie for a male's attention?

So you must feel only men should have to vie for a woman's attention. This is typical leftist feminist thinking. They want everything balanced among the sexes even if it goes against nature unless the "equality" is not in their favor. Hey wait a minute, this is getting to look even more like a reality t.v. show every minute!

No Amy, reality follows the laws of nature you are trying to fictionalize a bad ending that is void of reality. So you perpetuate more negativity towards yourself and your service.

Now this is a far leap women vying for a man's attention perpetuates more negativity towards me and my services. Amy you have yet to validate one negativity let alone "more." You view of the world is tainted by your own cynical outlook. I feel positive about what I do and the women and men we introduce that get engaged feel positive about the method of their introductions and the outcome. But we should stop the picture and listen to your shouts of negativity. Does it occur to you that you should be out the picture? Mail order bride jokes are almost as prevalent as lawyer jokes. Come on guy, you know that!

I have never heard of one mail order bride joke. But I have heard many dumb blonde jokes and that has never stopped any guy I know from chasing a blond or discourage any woman from dyeing her hair blond. So what does mail order bride jokes have to do about anything? What aspect of life is not joked about? Are you saying one shouldn't be a lawyer because many people make lawyer jokes? Is this your logic? Viewing your website and others like it does not leave me with a positive impression about your business.

I don't have a positive impression of the other mail order brides websites either, but it is very lacking for you not to be able to distinguish the difference in mine. The next time I am with friends and we see a repugnant obnoxious male with a wedding band, would it be insensitive to crack a male order bride joke? Insensitive to laugh at one? Perhaps.

Again what does this have to do with anything? It appears you are the one "stereotyping" men that marry foreign women. But seeing your website has understandably not made me feel sympathetic towards your cause. Amy I am not asking for your sympathy or support just your non interference; and it is not I with the "cause." I am simply for men and women freely selecting who they will marry. You are the one that appears to have the "cause" against matrimonial freedom for adults. Instead of trying to increase understanding about your service, you seem to want to alienate American women. I suppose you would, seeing as how women do not use your service.

Amy I don't need non-interested parties to understand my services. I run an introduction marriage agency not a public service outlet. The men and women that use our introduction service "understand." Your objections have allowed others to understand the mindset and true intentions of those that share your frightening, interfering, and freedom restrictive opinion. You hide your true intentions, which is to limit men from marrying foreign women who want to marry them. You attack without cause or facts. You belittle men and women from choosing how they should meet and who they can marry. You prevented a fair exchange and defined understanding by disregarding every question I asked of you, which makes it impossible for me to continue with your one way discussion void of evidence, reason and courtesy.

Engage the Exotic – Mail Order Brides

Author, Jamie Morrow, is the owner of International Introductions http://latin-wife.com a marriage agency specializing in Latin women. His expertise is in the mail order brides industry which has come under attack with pending legislation.

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Mail Order Bride Poem

The Attack & Defense of the Mail Order Bride Business (Part One)

I am just taking a moment to write because I came across your site on the internet while researching the legality of mail order bride services. I am not going to tell you anything you do not already know. You must realize that the only reason males look for brides from impoverished nations is because these are the only women who are desperate enough to pretend to care about you. If these mail order brides from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, etc. were financially independent, or had any options in their home countries, they would not even give you the time of day. You have struck out with American women because you have nothing to offer. I'm not speaking about monetary wealth here; I'm saying you have no good qualities at all. Surprise! Did it ever occur to you that the things you look for in a woman might be similar to the qualities that women look for in men? (That is, women who have options). Kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, morality - these are all desirable qualities, none of which have anything to do with money. You are just trying to console yourself for being undesirable by saying that American women only want "Mr. Big". The only thing you can offer is passage to America and a possible green card (things that American women do not need). So you provide these things to lure vulnerable young women away from lives of poverty. Are you at all embarrassed or ashamed about that? You do realize that there is nothing about you as a person that would make anyone want to marry you, only things that you happen to possess by virtue of being lucky enough to be born in the U.S. You are trying to get something you do not deserve: love, loyalty, respect, companionship. News Flash: If you have to pay someone to be around you, then the relationship is not real. Accept the fact that you are a loser, doomed to be alone, or content yourself with finding another loser like yourself who may want to be with you. Lower your standards to what you can reasonably attain, and leave these poor, vulnerable women alone. I want to cry when I think of the horror these women face when they are stuck with losers like you.



Amy I am going to try to start a dialogue with you. I suspect this will be difficult based on your preference for name-calling, but I will still try to enlighten you on why your assumptions and impressions are not accurate. My experience with people who attack from an emotional, indoctrinated bias is that they are not inclined to learn or change regardless of the facts. However, my points will serve others. Understand every point I make will have exceptions, and that forming opinions on infrequent deviations does not diminish the overall benefits for the involved majority.

“You must realize that the only reason males look for brides from impoverished nations is because these are the only women who are desperate enough to pretend to care about you.”

Amy this is not true men select foreign brides for a variety of reasons. Some for their ethnicity, some for their values, some for their charm, the list is endless. What would be on the bottom of the list would be desperation; neither the men nor the women are desperate. The idea that these women would leave their home, family, friends and all the familiarities of their home country for a phony marriage is a sad perspective you have of such women. Believing all inhabitants of developing countries feel impoverished and desperate is a silly notion. The majority of the women on my website are average Colombian women who lead happy, productive lives. They know of only one existence. They do not compare being in you shoes and conclude from this that they have unfulfilled lives. The only "pretending" I see is you pretending to know me and the women you have never talked to. Unbeknownst to you, these women do defend their rights to choose who they marry, for example:

“I'm from Colombia South America and have friends that would love to find men from other country's. Not because we are so poor as some of you seem to think but because the men here enjoy cheating on there wife's and getting drunk. But I could be wrong it does seem you know more about my country then I do.”

You would get the same general response regardless of what foreign bride you talked to. But be honest Amy, you don't have any respect for how these women feel and believe. My guess is their opinions are meaningless to you because you would rationalize that since they make choices you disagree with they must not know what they are doing, is this not right?

“If these mail order brides from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, etc. were financially independent, or had any options in their home countries, they would not even give you the time of day.”

Again, you belittle these women. A look at the women's profiles would tell you that they come from all walks of life some are professionals, some are students, some are maids and some do not work, and yes, some cannot find work. However, what makes you think they do not have options for the men and path they take in life? Of course, their economic opportunities are not as strong as in the Western world, but this does not mean their opportunities for happiness is any less so, does it? Or are you correlating happiness with wealth?

“You have struck out with American women because you have nothing to offer. I'm not speaking about monetary wealth here, I'm saying you have no good qualities at all.”

Before I speak of me personally, the men seeking foreign women do so out of choice. They have no lack of options they have preferences. Are you against this choice? Do you believe American women or so high and mighty that any man that chooses not to connect with one is inadequate? You know nothing of my history yet you conclude this. I have a very positive impression of American women and I have been romantically successful with them all my life. I love the American woman's complexity, independence, strength, diversity, unpredictability and companionship. I love the fight in the American woman. It would not occur to me to see an American woman married to a foreign man from a third world county and think that she did so because she struck out with American men. I would think that she fell in love and he fell in love. But you don't appear to think in these terms. To you one was lacking good qualities and had no choice. Is this not a fair interpretation? I should let you know men from all walks of live marry foreign brides, their doctors, entrepreneurs, professionals, government employees, firemen, college students and soldiers. Isn't this something, the men just as the women come from all walks of live and you want to tell them where and how far they should walk.

But let us accept your premise, lets say a man did strike out all his life with American women. Does this mean he shouldn't look elsewhere? Does this mean he should be alone? Is it possible women of different cultures might have a different perspective in how they evaluate this man, and what you would consider as shortcoming others may find desirable. Is this possible Amy or should we just prohibit his efforts?

“Did it ever occur to you that the things you look for in a woman might be similar to the qualities that women look for in men? (That is, women who have options). Kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, morality - these are all desirable qualities, none of which have anything to do with money.”

Amy I make no claims otherwise. I just reject the demeaning limitations you assign to these women.

“You are just trying to console yourself for being undesirable by saying that American women only want "Mr. Big".

Amy I sell matchmaking services, which means like all businesses I have to sell. My "Mr. Big" comment is nothing more then selling off of one of hundreds of criteria men and women apply in dating. Are you telling me some American women do not judge men by their financial stature? Is this what you are telling me Amy, because I said nothing more then this?

“The only thing you can offer is passage to America and a possible green card (things that American women do not need).”

Boy did my wife Karina get a bum deal; were going to be living in Colombia, so she doesn't even get that. Again Amy you categorize with out knowing. I can only assume from the way you like to throw accusations void of facts that your "research" will be just as slanted. Did it ever occur to you to know of what you speak before you speak? Let me stick you foot further in your mouth. While my situation is certainly atypical, your attack on me is personal so I will provide my personal story. My wife comes from a well off family. She was not a member of a Colombian marriage agency nor did she know such things existed. She led a privileged life. She was chauffeured to the University, she traveled to Europe, she owned property and was pampered her whole life. Her family has greater economic wealth then I do and did not want Karina to marry me. I told them Karina would not have a personal maid in the United States and that she would have to contribute with the family workload as most American women do. They told me I was crazy, Karina didn't even know how to cook white rice. But even against her families wishes Karina wanted to marry me. Her family pressured her by cutting off all her privileges anticipating that she would buckle under. When that did not work, they threw her out of the family. Here is a girl with a very large family, where family is everything, being evicted from her comfortable home and catered life with nothing. She was shunned from her family for hiding her romance and wanting to marry me. Yet you blindly conclude that she does not love me and I lured her to America because she lived an impoverished life of desperation. Amy I am curious, is it occurring to you to say maybe I should have my facts straight before I spit venom, because if it does then there is still salvation for you.

“So you provide these things to lure vulnerable young women away from lives of poverty.”

Amy if you were to tell these women that they lead lives of poverty they would slap you in the face. The poverty of a woman's pocket is meaningless to an American man. The impoverishment of a woman soul, heart and values is not. Foreign women would consider you the poor person for having the latter. One of the many reasons they are drawn to American men is because we can recognize such difference, as do they.

Amy aren't these women adults free to make responsible adult decisions? I have women on my website over 50 years old, at what age is a woman able to make a decision on her own without you denouncing her ability to do so? My last engagement was with a couple both in their 40's is she another vulnerable, young woman Amy? Who should validate if these women are too young or vulnerable in deciding who and when to marry, you Amy? Or do you suggest we form a committee to make such a decision for them?

Earlier you said women look for positive qualities in a partner, but at the same time, you don't believe these women look for such qualities. What makes you think these women are materialistic oriented. Is it possible that you are the materialist and can't comprehend other women outlooks being different then yours?

“Are you at all embarrassed or ashamed about that?”

Amy I am very proud and happy in what I do. What is even more important is the happiness and joy I bring to the couples we bring together. It appears the only people who are not happy are people like you who enjoy intervening in other people's happiness. As I said to you before, you won't directly talk to these women because it would only corroborate what I have been telling you. They select men for marriage out of love for that man. You won't talk to the ones that have been married for 5 years, you won't talk to the ones that have been married for 10 years, and you won't talk to my Mom a foreign bride happily married to my dad for over 45 years. She raised five children and had a career working for one company for over 30 years. They now lead a life of world travel, family visits and volunteer work. No I do not think you will talk with such women. The thought of your false, shallow book-learned ideals being shattered by the realties of their happiness and real life perspective would be just too incongruent for your entrenched twisted views.

“You do realize that there is nothing about you as a person that would make anyone want to marry you, only things that you happen to possess by virtue of being lucky enough to be born in the U.S.”

Amy I am a typical American man. My possessions are average and everything I possess came from hard work and endeavor. No woman's eyes are going to pop-out by looking at my possessions. I would have to say you are the lucky one Amy. Very few places in the world can a woman say such reckless and unsubstantiated believes as you have without consequences. But you live in the United States, so you can promote unproductive agendas and extol feminist myths with no consequences for the damage that entails from your deceptive messages. How lucky you are. But you know what; your misguided view does not penetrate my well-being. You are correct in calling me lucky. I often tell my beautiful wife Karina how lucky I am to have met her, and you know what Amy… she tells me the same thing.

“You are trying to get something you do not deserve: love, loyalty, respect, companionship.”

Amy everything you have said is nothing more than an emotional diatribe you provide no content to your message. You are nothing more than a name caller. I can only imagine that if you had any physical strength you would also be a bully.

“News Flash: If you have to pay someone to be around you, then the relationship is not real.”

I would agree. Why do you bring this up? The men do not pay for the woman and the women do not pay for the man.

“Accept the fact that you are a loser, doomed to be alone, or content yourself with finding another loser like yourself who may want to be with you.”

Amy I am a happily married man living a fun life. Any objective person would be able to see your considerations are clouded with hate and bigotry. You hate the idea of American men having alternatives to American women, and you have a superiority complex and a prejudice towards foreign women. A confidant woman would not be threatened by competition, but it appears to scare you. You hide your fear under the guise that you care about these women to the point that you fabricate their condition and what is in their hearts. If anyone should be ashamed Amy, it is you.

“Lower your standards to what you can reasonably attain, and leave these poor, vulnerable women alone. I want to cry when I think of the horror these women face when they are stuck with losers like you.”

I feel very sorry for you Amy. Your self-inflicted pain comes from a vision of terror that does not exist. I hope it is not too late for you to feel better about yourself. I invite you to answer all the questions I have asked, and by that I do not mean respond. I mean actually answer my questions, surprise me with an exchange void of glaring lies and insulting attacks. Can you raise yourself to those standards? If what you believe is true, you should have no difficulty in presenting a logical, rightful position. Now if you don't mind, I have to eat dinner, burned rice.

Engage the Exotic - Latin Women

Author, Jamie Morrow, is the owner of International Introductions http://latin-wife.com a marriage agency specializing in Latin women. His expertise is in the mail order brides industry which has come under attack with pending legislation.

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