Power of Branding and Freedom of Poetry

Maya Angelou once said (I'm paraphrasing) '' the purpose of all life is to be able to live like a poet one day. '' She went on to say that since poets already live like poets, their lives were not a postpone project, but the-ultimate-goal-realized by default.

How many times we have heard of those retirement dreams … the narratives that inevitably start with '' one day I'd like to … '' and continues with a description of one idyllic state or another … a beach house in Key West … playing golf eight hours a day in Arizona … buying a summer house in Florida and moving for good … writing (ah, at long last) that great novel, the chapters of which are lying somewhere inside those moldy cardboard boxes in the basement … to take the oath of chastity and join a monastery or a yoga ashram … take that trip to the Far East … or maybe even to throw itself with passion into a cause that is much larger than one's own limited life, like a political party, a crusade, a fund-raising juggernaut perhaps … on and on.

But underneath it all the aim is to arrive at that sublime state of inner peace and gentleness, something ill-defined but real, fuzzy but warm, a feeling that we feel is our birthright. Underneath it all we do not all point the gyroscopes of our lives to that nebulous state of elation and redemption that we sometimes refer to as '' poetic ''?

The rest is mostly a life-long process of branding ourselves as a desirable product in this increasingly globalized and fickle marketplace.

A brand is a total image with a price, a consistent package with defined and perceived borders. We are engineers. Attorneys. Machinists. Singers. Doctors. Teachers. Experts. Go-to guys. Ministers. Project managers. Historians. Curators. Tank drivers. Chefs. Shrinks. Plumbing … and, yes, Poets. Poets come in branded varieties as well. There is even a '' Poet Laurate '' for the whole United States (for the last few years we were extremely fortunate to have Billy Collins and Stanley Kunits and Ted Kooser as the PT Person).

All branding by definition shuns contradiction and ambivalence like a plague.

Fuzzy logic is fine for hi-tech digital cam-recorders but not for the experts that command healthy speaking fees. CEOs and four star generals are not expected to wear their troubling questions on their sleeves. Researchers at NIH do not get grants and doctors for not knowing what to do in the face of a new virus strain.

If things do not make sense outside a certain framework, then a branded professional knows how not to step outside that framework. A brand provides reproducible solutions to carefully-worded questions. Existentential panic does not command a premium price on the capitalist auction block.

Poetry, on the other hand, is a vulnerable exploration into everything that is left out by branding. It has no guarantees. No guidelines.

You can certainly encourage people to write poems. But I'm not sure at all if you can '' teach '' how to write poetry with the kind of money-back-guarantee bravado that is commonplace for a successful brand.

It is the only Odyssey that each person has to take all alone, go out and wander in the world, meet his demons, take them on one by one, beat them and return home victorious … only to do the same all over again the very next day.

Poetry, to use an analogy that Billy Collins has used in an Alaskan Quarterly Review interview, is like finding something curious sticking out from the sand in a desert and removing all that sand to discover the rest of the intriguing object. In that, poetry represents a vast freedom to rediscover all that is hidden from or by power.

Poetry raises all the in-between states and ambiguities censored by branding. So it is subversive by default.

However in that subversion there is also a deep affirmation of the most basic human value of all – freedom. That's despite the only thing branding can not buy and sell in the marketplace. A brand's power depends only on consumption. Poetry, on the other hand, is free the moment it is produced.

Our world needs more poets get into branded power play. Certainly someone like Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet who became a statesman, will be remembered for his uplifting and dignified approach to international conflict. And conversely, I hope more branded professionals get into poetry as a way to humanize the market place of good and services.

What if the United Nations held a Poetry Workshop for one day of the year, with mandatory participation for all heads of state?

What if everyone in the world voted for the best Power Poet of the year through the Internet and the winner was declared on Valentine's Day?

Or what if Fortune 500 companies had poetry classes for their managers? Would not that be the ultimate out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving bonanza on stereoids?

And what would happen if before one country attacked another, the presidents and top generals from both sides were forced to lock themselves in a room and write at least one poem, expressing why they hate the "other guys" and why they must fight? What if those poems were then distributed to the citizens of both nations and the world? Perhaps they would still go on and fight. And otherwise, just a tiny little shivering perhaps, they would not.

Without poetic abilities, branding easily degrades into a repetition of the past. If you are building a bridge, repetition of the past experience might actually be a beneficial discipline since no one wants to re-discover trigonometry every time there is a river to cross.

But in much more complex affairs of the heart, of which I consider international politics to institute just a small subset, the vulnerable freedom of a poem could be the only thing standing between our endangered humanity and the discovery of our birthright freedom – and even perhaps salvation.

Six Awesome Motorcycle Parts to Soup Up Your Hog

Ask any biker: your motorcycle is not only a high-powered vehicle built to create awesome experiences, but also an expression of your personality.

Even though machines come off the lot stacked with great features, there’s always room for modifications. Working on your bike is just one more fun part of ownership, while adding and subtracting components lets you to create the look, feel, and riding experience you desire. Let’s look at some super-cool motorcycle parts you might consider adding or altering to perfect your bike.

1. Frame Sliders and Engine Guards

Frame sliders are very simple add-ons that prevent your frame from touching the ground, in the event that your vehicle tips over. These metal components create a short cushion between ground and bike, preventing impact to your frame. Similarly, engine guards are steel bars that fit over the cycle’s engine to protect it if the craft keels over. Both of these are easy to install, and give you some cheap insurance against frustrating damages.

2. Fender Eliminator Kit

Most bikes come with bulky, unattractive rear fenders. It’s not a surprise, then, that fender eliminators are one of the most common alterations riders make. Look for a good eliminator kit that works with your rear brake light and gives your vehicle a sleeker appearance.

3. Exhaust System

You feel the need for speed, but do you also feel the need for… noise? Many riders are excited about the powerful sound of their engines, and adding an exhaust system gives you control over that sound’s character and intensity. Though this isn’t the cheapest of motorcycle parts, it adds some power to your engine and is usually easy to install. With so many systems that create unique sounds, you have control over how you announce yourself to the streets.

4. Air Filter

The air filter is the exhaust system’s partner in crime. If you opt for a new exhaust system, you’ll need a filter that can handle it. Air filters heighten performance by keeping the engine clean and aerated. Well-maintained filters can last for tens of thousands of miles, so it’s smart to invest in a good one.

5. Custom Suspension

Suspension is much different for motorcycles than it is for cars. A biker’s weight is much higher in comparison to his or her vehicle’s weight. When you buy a bike, have the suspension adjusted precisely to handle your weight. Very few riders do this, but it makes for optimal handling and performance once you hit the road.

6. High-Performance Tires

Tires are crucial motorcycle parts. Good ones allow you to ride on a wider range of surfaces, while also optimizing handling and fuel efficiency. The tires included with new bikes are functional, but basic. Look for tough, high-performance tires that are built for the kinds of surfaces you plan to encounter – it will make a big difference in the feel of each ride.

Working on your bike can be just as fun as riding it. With these motorcycle parts and modifications, you can transform a good machine into a great one.

Sterling Silver Jewelry: The Standard For Quality, Reliability and Beauty

Sterling silver jewelry comes in various forms such as bracelets and chains including sterling silver figaro, curve, ropes, box, and snake, charms, lockets, earrings, rings, omegas, pendants and slides. Sterling silver jewelry also includes silver rings, earrings, charm bracelets, ear cuffs, sterling silver belly chains, thumb rings, and more.

Sterling silver jewelry is always made of silver which is 92.5% pure, it is composed of 925 parts of pure silver and 75 parts alloy, usually copper. Sterling silver jewelry always has the stamp of sterling silver on it, accompanied at times with the name of the designer or jewelry manufacturer. The word "sterling" is the most respected in the jewelry business today. Since pure silver by itself is too soft, another metal such as copper is added to it, to give the silver its added stiffness and other qualities. The resulting mixture which results is composed of 925 parts pure silver in every 1000 – this proportion never promises – it is fixed by law. This is referred to as sterling and is often incorrectly called or referred to as solid silver.

The sterling silver jewelry is made from this sterling silver, which is a white and highly reflective precious metal. It is of superior quality, which reflects in its look and feel. Although less durable than stainless steel and other precious metals, sterling silver is often employed in watches that coordinate or look like sterling jewelry. A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnish. Sterling silver jewelry is not very cheap, yet is also not beyond reach. It has a very distinct look and can be easily distinguished. There is no mistaking the high reflective shine of this jewelry, which is one of its characteristics trade marks.

It adds a sophisticated charm to your personality. Sterling silver jewelry has a very stylish look and lends an incredible elegance to your entire look. The inedible stamp of quality along with the chic sophistication makes it a wonderful must have product. It is a very versatile ornament which crosses all barriers of age, cast, creed etc. It can be worn by anyone wherever young or old.

Some care has to be taken of any sterling silver jewelry that you own. This jewelry does tarnish with time. To clean the sterling silver jewelry use a polishing cloth or sprinkle a fair amount of dry baking powder on a soft cloth and hold it in the palm of your hand. Rub carefully to avoid scratching stones or glass components. When done, shake the powder off.

Sterling silver jewelry has a unique air of class, sophistication and style surrounding it. It is a wonderful thing to own and also to gift to people who matter. It says a lot about your personality and taste. Wearing sterling silver jewelry can immediately enhance your over-all persona. It is available for both men and women being one of those essential pieces of jewelry which you must have in your collection.

Its versatile look allows it to be used on many occasions and the feel as well as texture is quite fashionable as well as glamorous.

Lowering Child Support Payments Through Unspecified Vacations

You want to pay the fair amount of child support and spend as much time as possible with your kids. Easy, right? Unfortunately, no. It can be very difficult for divorced parents to agree on a child custody schedule that lets them both enjoy their children as much as possible. Usually there is a custodial parent who has the kids most of the time – and the non-custodial parent gets to spend some time with them and pay child support. The non-custodial parent may feel completely helpless about getting more time with the children and he / she may feel like there is nothing they can do to lower the child support payments. Fortunately, there are things a non-custodial parent can do to gain more time with the children – and if they spend more time with the children then the child support payments generally go down. One way to do this is to use unspecified vacations.

Let's start with a fairly typical child custody arrangement. The child visitation schedule is set up so that the non-custodial parent has the children every other weekend. Since the children are most often with the custodial parent, the child support payments will be large. With this visitation agreement, the non-custodial parent has about fifteen percent of the customs time. Negotiating for unspecified vacations, however, can increase this time.

Unspecified vacations are general periods of time set aside in a visitation plan for one parent or the other without any specific dates attached. A typical order would read: "Father may take a vacation with the children each year of up to one uninterrupted week two times per year and must notify Mother of specific dates thirty days prior to vacation." This means that Dad gets two separate weeks a year when he can take the kids – and he can do it whenever he chooses. Attorneys generally use this type of unspecified vacation when parties want the flexibility to go on trips – but not at the same exact days and times each year. Also, it's useful for parents who simply want more vacation options or are uncertain about plans for summer break.

So, the smart parent will look through the calendar and choose vacation times that will maximize the time with their children. The parent should choose the weeks when they do not already have custody of their children. A parent can also look into purchasing a child customs software that will calculate the best time for them to schedule the vacation. We scheduled two of these vacations with the scenario used before – and the percentage time shot up to eighty percent. This is a double bonus for the non-custodial parent. You'll get to spend more time with your child and, since child support payments are based on the percentage of time spend with the child, your child support payments will decrease. And, there's the obvious fact that now you get to take your kids on vacation whenever you want during the year. So, take the money you save in child support and you're on your way!