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.

No Credit? Here Are Easy Ways You Can Build Credit

Are you someone who has not established credit yet? Are you denied the same access to credit cards, loans and other credit ways simply because your credit score is too low from not having enough credit or no credit at all. Do not fret, because help is on the way!

If you are planning on getting a personal loan, owning a car, having a home of your own, working in a bank or finally acquiring the furniture you've been longing for a long time then establishing a credit is the answer.

Here are a few ways you can start building up your credit report and get on the road to good credit!

– Start to apply for a guaranteed approval credit card that reports to the credit bureaus. Take your time and always read the fine print in order for you to find the best deal for yourself. These cards are similar to debit cards but they have the Visa or Mastercard logo on them and they report to the credit bureaus.

– Another option might be to check if the lending institution of your choice has a secured credit card being offered. The interest may be higher but you may be able to upgrade to an unsecured card within 12 months if you maintain your payments on time.

– Another type of credit card with easy approval requirements is the merchandise credit cards and department store credit cards. These are an excellent source to start to establish a line of credit. Make sure it's a store where you can purchase a lot of your shopping needs. This way, you do not need to apply for a multiple cards at once which can be seen as a negative on your credit report. One word of caution. Department store credit cards tend to have high interest rates, many of their interest rates start at 15%. So keep an eye on your balance and try to pay as much as you can each month. NEVER make just the minimum payment, especially on a department store credit card.

– Do not forget to fill up any application for a loan or credit card completely. If something does not apply put N / A on that line. Including your checking and savings accounts and any accounts you pay for on a monthly basis even if they do not appear on your credit report. If they do not appear on your credit report, please make sure you include a way for your prospective lender to contact them for a trade reference.

If you are thinking about applying for a car loan, it's good to do research on the dealership or car lot where you want to make the purchase. Most dealers will provide a source of financing. Some may carry their own loan and payment plans. Be on the lookout though and read contract carefully if you do not want to get stuck with an interest rate that is through the roof. This venture is where a good cosigner may come into play.

Use these tips to help jumpstart your credit history and get approved for the credit that you deserve!

Copyright (c) 2006 Liz Roberts

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!

Mesh Motorcycle Jackets

Mesh motorcycle jackets have been gaining in popularity over the years. Leather jackets very often fail to provide relief during very hot summer rides. Mesh jackets make our rides pleasant and comfortable. Such jackets allow for greater circulation of air which makes them more suitable for wearing in hot weather.

Mesh jackets typically have thicker fibers with an 'open weave'. This enables the free movement of air inside the jacket. Such jackets are a blessing in warm weather.

Different types of mesh jackets are available today. Hundreds of companies make excellent-quality jackets for men and women.

Brands like AGV, Vanson, Tecknic, Olympia, Joe Rocket, First Gear, Tour Master, Icon, Alpinestars and Fieldsheer are popular among motorcyclists. They provide high-quality mesh jackets.

Besides providing relief during summer, such jackets also offer maximum protection. Usually all brands offer a combination of armor as well as foam padding and patches in shoulders, elbows, and other high-impact places.

Some popular mesh motorcycle jackets include the AGV sport aeromesh jacket ($ 139), Vanson vent jacket ($ 199), Tecknic supervent jacket ($ 130) and many others. AGV jackets also have reflective badges, which are extremely useful at night.

The 'First Gear mesh-tex jacket' is highly popular and available in different sizes and colors. Fieldsheer mesh jackets also are high quality, ultra-breathable and abrasion-resistant, and available in different colors.

An unusual mesh motorcycle jacket is offered by Race ATV. Incorporating an electrical lead into a harness fitted with a motorcycle's rear lights, it provides a 'graphic window' on the back of the jacket, which emits light when using brakes or turn signals.

Companies like Motorcycle Style, Sport Tour, Race ATV, ABA's Leather Jackets, Amazon, Brockton Cycle Center, Motorcycle Superstore and many others offer high-quality mesh jackets. Free shipping is offered by companies such as Sport Tour. With cooling effects, padding and armor, such jackets combine comfort and protection. An absolute necessity during warm weather, they should certainly be part of any motorcyclists' riding gear collection.