Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home

Yesterday I asked you to spent one hour of your time reading some fiction. Today I ask you to invest 1 and 1/2 hour in your future. In our future. 

Sit back and relax watching this amazing peace of documentary about something that regards us all!

Here is just the trailer. Please watch the full movie direct at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"The Vampyre's Diarrea"

Well, for the ones among us that are kind with literature and the unknown, here surely a bit long but never the less interesting story to enjoy in a moment of ease. Please read it to the end, you will not regret. It will take an hour of your life to do so, but better investing one hour now, than loosing it - somewhere else. 

Bloody readings!



It happened that in the midst of the dissipations attendant upon London winter, there appeared at the various parties of the leaders of the ton a nobleman more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank. He gazed upon the mirth around him, as if he could not participate therein. Apparently, the light laughter of the fair only attracted his attention, that he might by a look quell it and throw fear into those breasts where thoughtlessness reigned.
Those who felt this sensation of awe, could not explain whence it arose: some attributed it to the dead grey eye, which, fixing upon the object's face, did not seem to penetrate, and at one glance to pierce through to the inward workings of the heart; but fell upon the cheek with a leaden ray that weighed upon the skin it could not pass. His peculiarities caused him to be invited to every house; all wished to see him, and those who had been accustomed to violent excitement, and now felt the weight of ennui, were pleased at having something in their presence capable of engaging their attention.
In spite of the deadly hue of his face, which never gained a wanner tint, either from the blush of modesty, or from the strong emotion of passion, though its form and outline were beautiful, many of the female hunters after notoriety attempted to win his attentions, and gain, at least, some marks of what they might term affection: Lady Mercer, who had been the mockery of every monster shewn in drawing-rooms since her marriage, threw herself in his way, and did all but put on the dress of a mountebank, to attract his notice -- though in vain; -- when she stood before him, though his eyes were apparently fixed upon hers, still it seemed as if they were unperceived; -- even her unappalled impudence was baffled, and she left the field. But though the common adultress could not influence even the guidance of his eyes, it was not that the female sex was indifferent to him: yet such was the apparent caution with which he spoke to the virtuous wife and innocent daughter, that few knew he ever addressed himself to females. He had, however, the reputation of a winning tongue; and whether it was that it even overcame the dread of his singular character, or that they were moved by his apparent hatred of vice, he was as often among those females who form the boast of their sex from their domestic virtues, as among those who sully it by their vices.
About the same time, there came to London a young gentleman of the name of Aubrey: he was an orphan left with an only sister in the possession of great wealth, by parents who died while he was yet in childhood. Left also to himself by guardians, who thought it their duty merely to take care of his fortune, while they relinquished the more important charge of his mind to the care of mercenary subalterns, he cultivated more his imagination than his judgment. He had, hence, that high romantic feeling of honour and candour, which daily ruins so many milliners' apprentices. He believed all to sympathise with virtue, and thought that vice was thrown in by Providence merely for the picturesque effect of the scene, as we see in romances: he thought that the misery of a cottage merely consisted in the vesting of clothes, which were as warm, but which were better adapted to the painter's eye by their irregular folds and various coloured patches.
He thought, in fine, that the dreams of poets were the realities of life. He was handsome, frank, and rich: for these reasons, upon his entering into the gay circles, many mothers surrounded him, striving which should describe with least truth their languishing or romping favourites: the daughters at the same time, by their brightening countenances when he approached, and by their sparkling eyes, when he opened his lips, soon led him into false notions of his talents and his merit. Attached as he was to the romance of his solitary hours, he was startled at finding, that, except in the tallow and wax candles that flickered, not from the presence of a ghost, but from want of snuffing, there was no foundation in real life for any of that congeries of pleasing pictures and descriptions contained in those volumes, from which he had formed his study. Finding, however, some compensation in his gratified vanity, he was about to relinquish his dreams, when the extraordinary being we have above described, crossed him in his career.
He watched him; and the very impossibility of forming an idea of the character of a man entirely absorbed in himself, who gave few other signs of his observation of external objects, than the tacit assent to their existence, implied by the avoidance of their contact: allowing his imagination to picture every thing that flattered its propensity to extravagant ideas, he soon formed this object into the hero of a romance, and determined to observe the offspring of his fancy, rather than the person before him. He became acquainted with him, paid him attentions, and so far advanced upon his notice, that his presence was always recognised. He gradually learnt that Lord Ruthven's affairs were embarrassed, and soon found, from the notes of preparation in ---- Street, that he was about to travel.
Desirous of gaining some information respecting this singular character, who, till now, had only whetted his curiosity, he hinted to his guardians, that it was time for him to perform the tour, which for many generations has been thought necessary to enable the young to take some rapid steps in the career of vice towards putting themselves upon an equality with the aged, and not allowing them to appear as if fallen from the skies, whenever scandalous intrigues are mentioned as the subjects of pleasantry or of praise, according to the degree of skill shewn in carrying them on. They consented: and Aubrey immediately mentioning his intentions to Lord Ruthven, was surprised to receive from him a proposal to join him. Flattered such a mark of esteem from him, who, apparently, had nothing in common with other men, he gladly accepted it, and in a few days they had passed the circling waters.
Hitherto, Aubrey had had no opportunity of studying Lord Ruthven's character, and now he found, that, though many more of his actions were exposed to his view, the results offered different conclusions from the apparent motives to his conduct. His companion was profuse in his liberality; -- the idle, the vagabond, and the beggar, received from his hand more than enough to relieve their immediate wants. But Aubrey could not avoid remarking, that it was not upon the virtuous, reduced to indigence by the misfortunes attendant even upon virtue, that he bestowed his alms; -- these were sent from the door with hardly suppressed sneers; but when the profligate came to ask something, not to relieve his wants, but to allow him to wallow in his lust, to sink him still deeper in his iniquity, he was sent away with rich charity. This was, however, attributed by him to the greater importunity of the vicious, which generally prevails over the retiring bashfulness of the virtuous indigent.
There was one circumstance about the charity of his Lordship, which was still more impressed upon his mind: all those upon whom it was bestowed, inevitably found that there was a curse upon it, for they were all either led to the scaffold, or sunk to the lowest and the most abject misery. At Brussels and other towns through which they passed, Aubrey was surprised at the apparent eagerness with which his companion sought for the centres of all fashionable vice; there he entered into all the spirit of the faro table: he betted and always gambled with success, except where the known sharper was his antagonist, and then he lost even more than he gained; but it was always with the same unchanging face, with which he generally watched the society around: it was not, however, so when he encountered the rash youthful novice, or the luckless father of a numerous family; then his very wish seemed fortune's law -- this apparent abstractedness of mind was laid aside, and his eyes sparkled with more fire than that of the cat whilst dallying with the half-dead mouse.
In every town, he left the formerly affluent youth, torn from the circle he adorned, cursing, in the solitude of a dungeon, the fate that had drawn him within the reach of this fiend; whilst many a father sat frantic, amidst the speaking looks of mute hungry children, without a single farthing of his late immense wealth, wherewith to buy even sufficient to satisfy their present craving. Yet he took no money from the gambling table; but immediately lost, to the ruiner of many, the last gilder he had just snatched from the convulsive grasp of the innocent: this might but be the result of a certain degree of knowledge, which was not, however, capable of combating the cunning of the more experienced. Aubrey often wished to represent this to his friend, and beg him to resign that charity and pleasure which proved the ruin of all, and did not tend to his own profit; but he delayed it -- for each day he hoped his friend would give him some opportunity of speaking frankly and openly to him; however, this never occurred. Lord Ruthven in his carriage, and amidst the various wild and rich scenes of nature, was always the same: his eye spoke less than his lip; and though Aubrey was near the object of his curiosity, he obtained no greater gratification from it than the constant excitement of vainly wishing to break that mystery, which to his exalted imagination began to assume the appearance of something supernatural.
They soon arrived at Rome, and Aubrey for a time lost sight of his companion; he left him in daily attendance upon the morning circle of an Italian countess, whilst he went in search of the memorials of another almost deserted city. Whilst he was thus engaged, letters arrived from England, which he opened with eager impatience; the first was from his sister, breathing nothing but affection; the others were from his guardians, the latter astonished him; if it had before entered into his imagination that there was an evil power resident in his companion these seemed to give him almost sufficient reason for the belief. His guardians insisted upon his immediately leaving his friend, and urged that his character was dreadfully vicious, for that the possession of irresistible powers of seduction, rendered his licentious habits more dangerous to society. It had been discovered, that his contempt for the adultress had not originated in hatred of her character; but that he had required, to enhance his gratification, that his victim, the partner of his guilt, should be hurled from the pinnacle of unsullied virtue, down to the lowest abyss of infamy and degradation: in fine, that all those females whom he had sought, apparently on account of their virtue, had, since his departure, thrown even the mask aside, and had not scrupled to expose the whole deformity of their vices to the public gaze.
Aubrey determined upon leaving one, whose character had not shown a single bright point on which to rest the eye. He resolved to invent some plausible pretext for abandoning him altogether, purposing, in the mean while, to watch him more closely, and to let no slight circumstances pass by unnoticed. He entered into the same circle, and soon perceived, that his Lordship was endeavouring to work upon the inexperience of the daughter of the lady whose house he chiefly frequented. In Italy, it is seldom that an unmarried female is met with in society; he was therefore obliged to carry on his plans in secret; but Aubrey's eye followed him in all his windings, and soon discovered that an assignation had been appointed, which would most likely end in the ruin of an innocent, though thoughtless girl.
Losing no time, he entered the apartment of Lord Ruthven, and abruptly asked him his intentions with respect to the lady, informing him at the same time that he was aware of his being about to meet her that very night. Lord Ruthven answered, that his intentions were such as he supposed all would have upon such an occasion; and upon being pressed whether he intended to marry her, merely laughed. Aubrey retired; and, immediately writing a note, to say, that from that moment he must decline accompanying his Lordship in the remainder of their proposed tour, he ordered his servant to seek other apartments, and calling upon the mother of the lady informed her of all he knew, not only with regard to her daughter, but also concerning the character of his Lordship. The assignation was prevented. Lord Ruthven next day merely sent his servant to notify his complete assent to a separation; but did not hint any suspicion of his plans having been foiled by Aubrey's interposition.
Having left Rome, Aubrey directed his steps towards Greece, and crossing the Peninsula, soon found himself at Athens. He then fixed residence in the house of a Greek; and soon occupied himself in tracing the faded records of ancient glory upon monuments that apparently, ashamed of chronicling the deeds of freemen only before slaves, had hidden themselves beneath the sheltering soil or many coloured lichen. Under the same roof as himself, existed a being, so beautiful and delicate, that she might have formed the model for a painter, wishing to portray on canvass the promised hope of the faithful in Mahomet's paradise, save that her eyes spoke too much mind for any one to think she could belong to those who had no souls. As she danced upon the plain, or tripped along the mountain's side, one would have thought the gazelle a poor type of her beauties; for who would have exchanged her eye, apparently the eye of animated nature, for that sleepy luxurious look of the animal suited but to the taste of an epicure. The light step of Ianthe often accompanied Aubrey in his search after antiquities, and often would the unconscious girl, engaged in the pursuit of a Kashmere butterfly, show the whole beauty of her form, boating as it were upon the wind, to the eager gaze of him, who forgot the letters he had just decyphered upon an almost effaced tablet, in the contemplation of her sylph-like figure.
Often would her tresses falling, as she flitted around, exhibit in the sun's ray such delicately brilliant and swiftly fading hues, as might well excuse the forgetfulness of the antiquary, who let escape from his mind the very object he had before thought of vital importance to the proper interpretation of a passage in Pausanias. But why attempt to describe charms which all feel, but none can appreciate? -- It was innocence, youth, and beauty, unaffected by crowded drawing-rooms and stifling balls. Whilst he drew those remains of which he wished to preserve a memorial for his future hours, she would stand by, and watch the magic effects of his pencil, in tracing the scenes of her native place; she would then describe to him the circling dance upon the open plain, would paint to him in all the glowing colours of youthful memory, the marriage pomp she remembered viewing in her infancy; and then, turning to subjects that had evidently made a greater impression upon her mind, would tell him all the supernatural tales of her nurse.
Her earnestness and apparent belief of what she narrated, excited the interest even of Aubrey; and often as she told him the tale of the living vampyre, who had passed years amidst his friends, and dearest ties, forced every year, by feeding upon the life of a lovely female to prolong his existence for the ensuing months, his blood would run cold, whilst he attempted to laugh her out of such idle and horrible fantasies; but Ianthe cited to him the names of old men, who had at last detected one living among themselves, after several of their near relatives and children had been found marked with the stamp of the fiend's appetite; and when she found him so incredulous, she begged of him to believe her, for it had been remarked, that those who had dared to question their existence, always had some proof given, which obliged them, with grief and heartbreaking, to confess it was true. She detailed to him the traditional appearance of these monsters, and his horror was increased by hearing a pretty accurate description of Lord Ruthven; he, however, still persisted in persuading her, that there could be no truth in her fears, though at the same time he wondered at the many coincidences which had all tended to excite a belief in the supernatural power of Lord Ruthven.
Aubrey began to attach himself more and more to Ianthe; her innocence, so contrasted with all the affected virtues of the women among whom he had sought for his vision of romance, won his heart and while he ridiculed the idea of a young man of English habits, marrying an uneducated Greek girl, still he found himself more and more attached to the almost fairy form before him. He would tear himself at times from her, and, forming a plan for some antiquarian research, would depart, determined not to return until his object was attained; but he always found it impossible to fix his attention upon the ruins around him, whilst in his mind he retained an image that seemed alone the rightful possessor of his thoughts. Ianthe was unconscious of his love, and was ever the same frank infantile being he had first known.
She always seemed to part from him with reluctance; but it was because she had no longer any one with whom she could visit her favourite haunts, whilst her guardian was occupied in sketching or uncovering some fragment which had yet escaped the destructive hand of time. She had appealed to her parents on the subject of Vampyres, and they both, with several present, affirmed their existence, pale with horror at the very name. Soon after, Aubrey determined to proceed upon one of his excursions, which was to detain him for a few hours; when they heard the name of the place, they all at once begged of him not to return at night, as he must necessarily pass through a wood, where no Greek would ever remain, after the day had closed, upon any consideration. They described it as the resort of the vampyres in their nocturnal orgies and denounced the most heavy evils as impending upon him who dared to cross their path. Aubrey made light of their representations, and tried to laugh them out of the idea; but when he saw them shudder at his daring thus to mock a superior, infernal power, the very name of which apparently made their blood freeze, he was silent.
Next morning Aubrey set off upon his excursion unattended; he was surprised to observe the melancholy face of his host, and was concerned to find that his words, mocking the belief of those horrible fiends, had inspired them with such terror. When he was about to depart, Ianthe came to the side of his horse, and earnestly begged of him to return, ere night allowed the power of these beings to be put in action; -- he promised. He was, however, so occupied in his research, that he did not perceive that day-light would soon end, and that in the horizon there was one of those specks which, in the warmer climates, so rapidly gather into a tremendous mass, and pour all their rage upon the devoted country. -- He at last, however, mounted his horse, determined to make up by speed for his delay: but it was too late. Twilight, in these southern climates, is almost unknown; immediately the sun sets, night begins: and ere he had advanced far, the power of the storm was above -- its echoing thunders had scarcely an interval of rest; -- its thick heavy rain forced its way through the canopying foliage, whilst the blue forked lightning seemed to fall and radiate at his very feet. Suddenly his horse took fright, and he was carried with dreadful rapidity through the entangled forest.
The animal at last, through fatigue, stopped, and he found, by the glare of lightning, that he was in the neighbourhood of a hovel that hardly lifted itself up from the masses of dead leaves and brushwood which surrounded it. Dismounting, he approached, hoping to find some one to guide him to the town, or at least trusting to obtain shelter from the pelting of the storm. As he approached, the thunders, for a moment silent, allowed him to hear the dreadful shrieks of a woman mingling with the stifled, exultant mockery of a laugh, continued in one almost unbroken sound; -- he was startled: but, roused by the thunder which again rolled over his head, he, with a sudden effort, forced open the door of the hut. He found himself in utter darkness: the sound, however, guided him. He was apparently unperceived; for, though he called, still the sounds continued, and no notice was taken of him. He found himself in contact with some one, whom he immediately seized; when a voice cried, "Again baffled!" to which a loud laugh succeeded; and he felt himself grappled by one whose strength seemed superhuman: determined to sell his life as dearly as he could, he struggled; but it was in vain: he was lifted from his feet and hurled with enormous force against the ground: -- his enemy threw himself upon him, and kneeling upon his breast, had placed his hands upon his throat when the glare of many torches penetrating through the hole that gave light in the day, disturbed him; -- he instantly rose, and, leaving his prey, rushed through the door, and in a moment the crashing of branches, as he broke through the wood, was no longer heard.
The storm was now still; and Aubrey, incapable of moving, was soon heard by those without. They entered; the light of their torches fell upon mud walls, and the thatch loaded on every individual straw with heavy flakes of soot. At the desire of Aubrey they searched for her who had attracted him by her cries; he was again left in darkness; but what was his horror, when the light of the torches once more burst upon him, to perceive the airy form of his fair conductress brought in a lifeless corpse. He shut his eyes, hoping that it was but a vision arising from his disturbed imagination; but he again saw the same form, when he unclosed them, stretched by his side.
There was no colour upon her cheek, not even upon her lip; yet there was a stillness about her face that seemed almost as attaching as the life that once dwelt there: -- upon her neck and breast was blood, and upon her throat were the marks of teeth having opened the vein: -- to this the men pointed, crying, simultaneously struck with horror, "A Vampyre! a Vampyre!" A litter was quickly formed, and Aubrey was laid by the side of her who had lately been to him the object of so many bright and fairy visions, now fallen; with the flower of life that had died within her. He knew not what his thoughts were -- his mind was benumbed and seemed to shun reflection and take refuge in vacancy; -- he held almost unconsciously in his hand a naked dagger of a particular construction, which had been found in the hut.
They were soon met by different parties who had been engaged in the search of her whom a mother had missed. Their lamentable cries as they approached the city, forewarned the parents of some dreadful catastrophe. -- To describe their grief would be impossible; but when they ascertained the cause of their child's death, they looked at Aubrey and pointed to the corpse. They were inconsolable; both died brokenhearted.
Aubrey being put to bed was seized with a most violent fever, and was often delirious; in these intervals he would call upon Lord Ruthven and upon Ianthe -- by some unaccountable combination he seemed to beg of his former companion to spare the being he loved. At other times he would imprecate maledictions upon his head, and curse him as her destroyer.
Lord Ruthven chanced at this time to arrive at Athens, and from whatever motive, upon hearing of the state of Aubrey, immediately placed himself in the same house, and became his constant attendant. When the latter recovered from his delirium, he was horrified and startled at the sight of him whose image he had now combined with that of a Vampyre; but Lord Ruthven, by his kind words, implying almost repentance for the fault that had caused their separation, and still more by the attention, anxiety, and care which he showed, soon reconciled him to his presence.
His lordship seemed quite changed; he no longer appeared that apathetic being who had so astonished Aubrey; but as soon as his convalescence began to be rapid, he again gradually retired into the same state of mind, and Aubrey perceived no difference from the former man, except that at times he was surprised to meet his gaze fixed intently upon him, with a smile of malicious exultation playing upon his lips: he knew not why, but this smile haunted him. During the last stage of the invalid's recovery, Lord Ruthven was apparently engaged in watching the tideless waves raised by the cooling breeze, or in marking the progress of those orbs, circling, like our world, the moveless sun; -- indeed, he appeared to wish to avoid the eyes of all.
Aubrey's mind, by this shock, was much weakened, and that elasticity of spirit which had once so distinguished him now seemed to have fled for ever. He was now as much a lover of solitude and silence as Lord Ruthven; but much as he wished for solitude, his mind could not find it in the neighbourhood of Athens; if he sought it amidst the ruins he had formerly frequented, Ianthe's form stood by his side; -- if he sought it in the woods, her light step would appear wandering amidst the underwood, in quest of the modest violet; then suddenly turning round, would show, to his wild imagination, her pale face and wounded throat, with a meek smile upon her lips. He determined to fly scenes, every feature of which created such bitter associations in his mind. He proposed to Lord Ruthven, to whom he held himself bound by the tender care he had taken of him during his illness, that they should visit those parts of Greece neither had yet seen.
They travelled in every direction, and sought every spot to which a recollection could be attached: but though they thus hastened from place to place, yet they seemed not to heed what they gazed upon. They heard much of robbers, but they gradually began to slight these reports, which they imagined were only the invention of individuals, whose interest it was to excite the generosity of those whom they defended from pretended dangers. In consequence of thus neglecting the advice of the inhabitants, on one occasion they travelled with only a few guards, more to serve as guides than as a defence. Upon entering, however, a narrow defile, at the bottom of which was the bed of a torrent, with large masses of rock brought down from the neighbouring precipices, they had reason to repent their negligence; for scarcely were the whole of the party engaged in the narrow pass, when they were startled by the whistling of bullets close to their heads, and by the echoed report of several guns. In an instant their guards had left them, and, placing themselves behind rocks, had begun to fire in the direction whence the report came. Lord Ruthven and Aubrey, imitating their example, retired for a moment behind the sheltering turn of the defile: but ashamed of being thus detained by a foe, who with insulting shouts bade them advance, and being exposed to unresisting slaughter, if any of the robbers should climb above and take them in the rear, they determined at once to rush forward in search of the enemy. Hardly had they lost the shelter of rock, when Lord Ruthven received a shot in the shoulder, which brought him to the ground. Aubrey hastened to his assistance; and, no longer heeding the contest or his own peril, was soon surprised by seeing the robbers' faces around him -- his guards having, upon Lord Ruthven's being wounded, immediately thrown up their arms and surrendered.
By promises of great reward, Aubrey soon induced them to convey his wounded friend to a neighbouring cabin; and having agreed upon a ransom, he was no more disturbed by their presence -- they being content merely to guard the entrance till their comrade should return with the promised sum, for which he had an order. Lord Ruthven's strength rapidly decreased; in two days mortification ensued, and death seemed advancing with hasty steps.
His conduct and appearance had not changed; he seemed as unconscious of pain as he had been of the objects about him: but towards the close of the last evening, his mind became apparently uneasy, and his eye often fixed upon Aubrey, who was induced to offer his assistance with more than usual earnestness -- "Assist me! you may save me -- you may do more than that -- I mean not life, I heed the death of my existence as little as that of the passing day; but you may save my honour, your friend's honour." -- "How? tell me how? I would do any thing," replied Aubrey. -- "I need but little, my life ebbs apace -- I cannot explain the whole -- but if you would conceal all you know of me, my honour were free from stain in the world's mouth -- and if my death were unknown for some time in England -- I -- I -- but life." -- "It shall not be known." -- "Swear!" cried the dying man raising himself with exultant violence. "Swear by all your soul reveres, by all your nature fears, swear that for a year and a day you will not impart your knowledge of my crimes or death to any living being in any way, whatever may happen, or whatever you may see." -- His eyes seemed bursting from their sockets; "I swear!" said Aubrey; he sunk laughing upon his pillow, and breathed no more.
Aubrey retired to rest, but did not sleep; the many circumstances attending his acquaintance with this man rose upon his mind, and he knew not why; when he remembered his oath a cold shivering came over him, as if from the presentiment of something horrible awaiting him. Rising early in the morning, he was about to enter the hovel in which he had left the corpse, when a robber met him, and informed him that it was no longer there, having been conveyed by himself and comrades, upon his retiring, to the pinnacle of a neighbouring mount, according to a promise they had given his lordship, that it should be exposed to the first cold ray of the moon that rose after his death. Aubrey astonished, and taking several of the men, determined to go and bury it upon the spot where it lay. But, when he had mounted to the summit he found no trace of either the corpse or the clothes, though the robbers swore they pointed out the identical rock on which they had laid the body. For a time his mind was bewildered in conjectures, but he at last returned, convinced that they had buried the corpse for the sake of the clothes.
Weary of a country in which he had met with such terrible misfortunes, and in which all apparently conspired to heighten that superstitious melancholy that had seized upon his mind, he resolved to leave it, and soon arrived at Smyrna. While waiting for a vessel to convey him to Otranto, or to Naples, he occupied himself in arranging those effects he had with him belonging to Lord Ruthven. Amongst other things there was a case containing several weapons of offence, more or less adapted to ensure the death of the victim. There were several daggers and ataghans. Whilst turning them over, and examining their curious forms, what was his surprise at finding a sheath apparently ornamented in the same style as the dagger discovered in the fatal hut; -- he shuddered; hastening to gain further proof, he found the weapon, and his horror may be imagined when he discovered that it fitted, though peculiarly shaped, the sheath he held in his hand. His eyes seemed to need no further certainty -- they seemed gazing to be bound to the dagger, yet still he wished to disbelieve; but the particular form, the same varying tints upon the haft and sheath were alike in splendour on both, and left no room for doubt; there were also drops of blood on each.
He left Smyrna, and on his way home, at Rome, his first inquiries were concerning the lady he had attempted to snatch from Lord Ruthven's seductive arts. Her parents were in distress, their fortune ruined, and she had not been heard of since the departure of his lordship. Aubrey's mind became almost broken under so many repeated horrors; he was afraid that this lady had fallen a victim to the destroyer of Ianthe. He became morose and silent; and his only occupation consisted in urging the speed of the postilions, as if he were going to save the life of some one he held dear. He arrived at Calais; a breeze, which seemed obedient to his will, soon wafted him to the English shores; and he hastened to the mansion of his fathers, and there, for a moment, appeared to lose, in the embraces and caresses of his sister, all memory of the past. If she before, by her infantine caresses, had gained his affection, now that the woman began to appear, she was still more attaching as a companion.
Miss Aubrey had not that winning grace which gains the gaze and applause of the drawing-room assemblies. There was none of that light brilliancy which only exists in the heated atmosphere of a crowded apartment. Her blue eye was never lit up by the levity of the mind beneath. There was a melancholy charm about it which did not seem to arise from misfortune, but from some feeling within, that appeared to indicate a soul conscious of a brighter realm. Her step was not that light footing, which strays where'er a butterfly or a colour may attract -- it was sedate and pensive. When alone, her face was never brightened by the smile of joy; but when her brother breathed to her his affection, and would in her presence forget those griefs she knew destroyed his rest, who would have exchanged her smile for that of the voluptuary? It seemed as if those eyes, that face were then playing in the light of their own native sphere.
She was yet only eighteen, and had not been presented to the world, it having been thought by her guardians more fit that her presentation should be delayed until her brother's return from the continent, when he might be her protector. It was now, therefore, resolved that the next drawing-room, which was fast approaching, should be the epoch of her entry into the "busy scene." Aubrey would rather have remained in the mansion of his fathers, and feed upon the melancholy which overpowered him. He could not feel interest about the frivolities of fashionable strangers, when his mind had been so torn by the events he had witnessed; but he determined to sacrifice his own comfort to the protection of his sister. They soon arrived in town, and prepared for the next day, which had been announced as a drawing- room.
The crowd was excessive -- a drawing-room had not been held for long time, and all who were anxious to bask in the smile of royalty, hastened thither. Aubrey was there with his sister. While he was standing in a corner by himself, heedless of all around him, engaged in the remembrance that the first time he had seen Lord Ruthven was in that very place -- he felt himself suddenly seized by the arm, and a voice he recognized too well, sounded in his ear -- "Remember your oath." He had hardly courage to turn, fearful of seeing a spectre that would blast him, when he perceived, at a little distance, the same figure which had attracted his notice on this spot upon his first entry into society. He gazed till his limbs almost refusing to bear their weight, he was obliged to take the arm of a friend, and forcing a passage through the crowd, he threw himself into his carriage, and was driven home. He paced the room with hurried steps, and fixed his hands upon his head, as if he were afraid his thoughts were bursting from his brain. Lord Ruthven again before him -- circumstances started up in dreadful array -- the dagger -- his oath. -- He roused himself, he could not believe it possible -- the dead rise again! -- He thought his imagination had conjured up the image his mind was resting upon.
It was impossible that it could be real -- he determined, therefore, to go again into society; for though he attempted to ask concerning Lord Ruthven, the name hung upon his lips and he could not succeed in gaining information. He went a few nights after with his sister to the assembly of a near relation. Leaving her under the protection of a matron, he retired into a recess, and there gave himself up to his own devouring thoughts. Perceiving, at last, that many were leaving, he roused himself, and entering another room, found his sister surrounded by several, apparently in earnest conversation; he attempted to pass and get near her, when one, whom he requested to move, turned round, and revealed to him those features he most abhorred. He sprang forward, seized his sister's arm, and, with hurried step, forced her towards the street: at the door he found himself impeded by the crowd of servants who were waiting for their lords; and while he was engaged in passing them, he again heard that voice whisper close to him -- "Remember your oath!" -- He did not dare to turn, but, hurrying his sister, soon reached home.
Aubrey became almost distracted. If before his mind had been absorbed by one subject, how much more completely was it engrossed now that the certainty of the monster's living again pressed upon his thoughts. His sister's attentions were now unheeded, and it was in vain that she intreated him to explain to her what had caused his abrupt conduct. He only uttered a few words, and those terrified her. The more he thought, the more he was bewildered. His oath startled him; -- was he then to allow this monster to roam, bearing ruin upon his breath, amidst all he held dear, and not avert its progress? His very sister might have been touched by him. But even if he were to break his oath, and disclose his suspicions, who would believe him? He thought of employing his own hand to free the world from such a wretch; but death, he remembered, had been already mocked. For days he remained in state; shut up in his room, he saw no one, and ate only when his sister came, who, with eyes streaming with tears, besought him, for her sake, to support nature.
At last, no longer capable of bearing stillness and solitude, he left his house, roamed from street to street, anxious to fly that image which haunted him. His dress became neglected, and he wandered, as often exposed to the noon-day sun as to the mid-night damps. He was no longer to be recognized; at first he returned with evening to the house; but at last he laid him down to rest wherever fatigue overtook him. His sister, anxious for his safety, employed people to follow him; but they were soon distanced by him who fled from a pursuer swifter than any -- from thought. His conduct, however, suddenly changed. Struck with the idea that he left by his absence the whole of his friends, with a fiend amongst them, of whose presence they were unconscious, he determined to enter again into society, and watch him closely, anxious to forewarn, in spite of his oath, all whom Lord Ruthven approached with intimacy. But when he entered into a room, his haggard and suspicious looks were so striking, his inward shuddering so visible, that his sister was at last obliged to beg of him to abstain from seeking, for her sake, a society which affected him so strongly. When, however, remonstrance proved unavailing, the guardians thought proper to interpose, and, fearing that his mind was becoming alienated, they thought it high time to resume again that trust which had been before imposed upon them by Aubrey's parents.
Desirous of saving him from the injuries and sufferings he had daily encountered in his wanderings, and of preventing him from exposing to the general eye those marks of what they considered folly, they engaged a physician to reside in the house, and take constant care of him. He hardly appeared to notice it, so completely was his mind absorbed by one terrible subject. His incoherence became at last so great that he was confined to his chamber. There he would often lie for days, incapable of being roused. He had become emaciated, his eyes had attained a glassy lustre; -- the only sign of affection and recollection remaining displayed itself upon the entry of his sister; then he would sometimes start, and, seizing her hands, with looks that severely afflicted her, he would desire her not to touch him. "Oh, do not touch him -- if your love for me is aught, do not go near him!" When, however, she inquired to whom he referred, his only answer was, "True! true!" and again he sank into a state, whence not even she could rouse him. This lasted many months: gradually, however, as the year was passing, his incoherences became less frequent, and his mind threw off a portion of its gloom, whilst his guardians observed, that several times in the day he would count upon his fingers a definite number, and then smile.
The time had nearly elapsed, when, upon the last day of the year, one of his guardians entering his room, began to converse with his physician upon the melancholy circumstance of Aubrey's being in so awful a situation, when his sister was going next day to be married. Instantly Aubrey's attention was attracted; he asked anxiously to whom. Glad of this mark of returning intellect, of which they feared he had been deprived, they mentioned the name of the Earl of Marsden. Thinking this was a young Earl whom he had met with in society, Aubrey seemed pleased, and astonished them still more by his expressing his intention to be present at the nuptials, and desiring to see his sister. They answered not, but in a few minutes his sister was with him.
He was apparently again capable of being affected by the influence of her lovely smile; for he pressed her to his breast, and kissed her cheek, wet with tears, flowing at the thought of her brother's being once more alive to the feelings of affection. He began to speak with all his wonted warmth, and to congratulate her upon her marriage with a person so distinguished for rank and every accomplishment; when he suddenly perceived a locket upon her breast; opening it, what was his surprise at beholding the features of the monster who had so long influenced his life. He seized the portrait in a paroxysm of rage, and trampled it under foot. Upon her asking him why he thus destroyed the resemblance of her future husband, he looked as if he did not understand her; -- then seizing her hands, and gazing on her with a frantic expression of countenance, he bade her swear that she would never wed this monster, for he -- But he could not advance -- it seemed as if that voice again bade him remember his oath -- he turned suddenly round, thinking Lord Ruthven was near him but saw no one.
In the meantime the guardians and physician, who had heard the whole, and thought this was but a return of his disorder, entered, and forcing him from Miss Aubrey, desired her to leave him. He fell upon his knees to them, he implored, he begged of them to delay but for one day. They, attributing this to the insanity they imagined had taken possession of his mind endeavoured to pacify him, and retired.
Lord Ruthven had called the morning after the drawing-room, and had been refused with every one else. When he heard of Aubrey's ill health, he readily understood himself to be the cause of it; but when he learned that he was deemed insane, his exultation and pleasure could hardly be concealed from those among whom he had gained this information. He hastened to the house of his former companion, and, by constant attendance, and the pretence of great affection for the brother and interest in his fate, he gradually won the ear of Miss Aubrey. Who could resist his power? His tongue had dangers and toils to recount -- could speak of himself as of an individual having no sympathy with any being on the crowded earth, save with her to whom he addressed himself; -- could tell how, since he knew her, his existence had begun to seem worthy of preservation, if it were merely that he might listen her soothing accents; -- in fine, he knew so well how to use the serpent's art, or such was the will of fate, that he gained her affections. The title of the elder branch falling at length to him, he obtained an important embassy, which served as an excuse for hastening the marriage (in spite of her brother's deranged state), which was to take place the very day before his departure for the continent.
Aubrey, when he was left by the physician and his guardians, attempted to bribe the servants, but in vain. He asked for pen and paper; it was given him; he wrote a letter to his sister, conjuring her, as she valued her own happiness, her own honour, and the honour of those now in the grave, who once held her in their arms as their hope and the hope of their house, to delay but for a few hours that marriage, on which he denounced the most heavy curses. The servants promised they would deliver it; but giving it to the physician, he thought it better not to harass any more the mind of Miss Aubrey by, what he considered, the ravings of a maniac. Night passed on without rest to the busy inmates of the house; and Aubrey heard, with a horror that may more easily be conceived than described, the notes of busy preparation. Morning came, and the sound of carriages broke upon his ear.
Aubrey grew almost frantic. The curiosity of the servants at last overcame their vigilance; they gradually stole away, leaving him in the custody of an helpless old woman. He seized the opportunity, with one bound was out of the room, and in a moment found himself in the apartment where all were nearly assembled. Lord Ruthven was the first to perceive him: he immediately approached, and, taking his arm by force, hurried him from the room, speechless with rage.
When on the staircase, Lord Ruthven whispered in his ear -- "Remember your oath, and know, if not my bride to day, your sister is dishonoured. Women are frail!" So saying, he pushed him towards his attendants, who, roused by the old woman, had come in search of him. Aubrey could no longer support himself; his rage not finding vent, had broken a blood-vessel, and he was conveyed to bed. This was not mentioned to his sister, who was not present when he entered, as the physician was afraid of agitating her. The marriage was solemnized, and the bride and bridegroom left London.
Aubrey's weakness increased; the effusion of blood produced symptoms of the near approach of death. He desired his sister's guardians might be called, and when the midnight hour had struck, he related composedly what the reader has perused -- he died immediately after.
The guardians hastened to protect Miss Aubrey; but when they arrived, it was too late.
Lord Ruthven had disappeared,
and Aubrey's sister had glutted the thirst of a VAMPYRE! 

The Vampyre from John Polidori - 1819

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Hope Your Box is Empty

I was called to my doughters school today. It was about a letter I wrote few weeks ago over some homework I didn't understood. I was questioning why my doughter of 9 was supposed to ansver homework questions using jargon instead of ansvering them in portuguese, her native language she is supposed to learn first.

Well we talked a lot about education nowadays, and values that are tought and all this reminded me of this little story I'd like to share today. 

"It was on the sixteenth day of the 12th month celebrating his 75th birthday when he decided it was time. Having been happily married, raising three boys, and continuing with great success, the family business handed down from generations before him, this now frail man had to make a decision.

His health had not been good over the past few years and the stress of keeping the business on course was beginning to wear on him. The challenge was in deciding which one of his sons would take his place. Each boy had the experience. Each one was capable of helping it grow in the future.
But each had different personal values.
 
As they gathered together to celebrate Father's birthday, he quietly pulled them aside from the rest of the family to announce his retirement.
 
"Father, I can't imagine a day without you as the head of the business," one said.
 
"We are sure to falter without you, but you deserve some rest," another said.
 
"You are this company," the last chimed in.
Then there was an uneasy silence. Surely the question playing on their minds was "who would take his place?" The old man turned and walked toward the corner of the room where there were three boxes.

"Come, each of you take one of these boxes. They are of equal size. By the first day of the new year when we return here to celebrate, I want each of you to bring your box filled with what you believe to be the most valuable assets of this business. Based on your choices, I will decide who will take over as the chairman," father said.

There was much grumbling, confusion and discussion as father left the room.

During the next 15 days the families and employees could sense a strong competitive spirit between the boys. One carried the box nearly everywhere he went. Another ran from department to department asking for records and inventories. The third simply left the box at his desk.

It was January 1st and the family had once again gathered to celebrate. Right after dinner father called the boys aside.

"Well, it is time. Please share with me what you have placed in your box," father said.

The first son, eager to outdo the others, jumped to his feet and began sharing.

From the box he pulled the business ledger, saying "This father, is the true measure of our success. There is no greater representation than the bottom line."

"Simple and direct," father said.

Pointing to the second son, he asked for him to share.

"Where is your box?" father asked.

"It is outside on the back of truck. The box you gave me was much too small. I have ten of our employees out there ready to bring in each of the items I have gathered."

Father walked to the window and from that distance could see his son had gathered many of his own personal possessions; a boat hitched to the back, collections of rare art, antiques and what appeared to be two uniformed guards standing next to a large box.

"What is in the box?" fathered asked.

"My wife's jewels," the son replied. "Shall I order them to bring them in?"

"No! I have seen enough," father said.

With a deep sigh and tone of sadness, he said to the last son, "What valuables do you have to share?"

The son rose to his feet and handed his father the box. The old man looked inside and with great shock and surprise looked up at his son.

"It's empty!" father said. "Are you telling me that you have found nothing of value in the family business?"

"To the contrary," he said. "What I found most valuable I could not place in a box, on the back of a thousand trucks, or scribbled on the bottom line of a ledger."

Father's face lit up as he returned to his chair.

"How does one measure the value of commitment, quality, honesty, and trustworthiness? What size box would hold the loyalty of our employees and customers? Would the charities we supported through the years fit into the largest trucks in our fleet? How big of an auditorium would I need to gather the families of our coworkers who have benefited from our generous pay and health plan? Where would I place the local companies we have committed to deal with so that the community we live in stays strong? Finally, father, the most valuable possessions I personally hold are the love of you and mother, family values, your wisdom, compassion and love of God. Look again inside that box. They are not there. The result of all of that is here standing before you."

family



Thursday, March 24, 2011

So Angry ...

It was more than 10 years ago, the last time someone pointed a gun to my face. Today it happened again! Few minutes after I droped my doughters at their mothers place, I stoped my car at a red light, about to make a right turn, when suddenly 5 idiots jumped out of nowhere and assaulted a woman in the car in front of mine. Two of them turned pointing their guns at me and came running towards my car, and while one opened the drivers door, I jumped out the passengers one, luckily dragging my backpack with me with all my stuff in it. So while I was there sitting on the sidewalk the seccond guy jumped over me into the car and they took of, taking the ladies and my car with them. 

It took only a few secconds and all was over. All what was left was a woman crying out loud, shaking all over her body, and me sitting there making a stupid face and the only thing I could think of was that I just had droped my kids. 

After hours at the police station I finally got back home, angry as hell, nervous, thinking about my babies, and after talking to a very good friend, I started feeling just glad and lucky. Lucky that I had droped them and that they weren't with me at that time, happy that their guardian angel was so efective and made me taking them to their mom, even when it wasn't her day. 

Well, I really didn't needet that, but who does. I had to go very deep inside o find some argument, or past experience or whatever to calm dowm, and I am still searching for the good part of all this, I might find it some day, for now, I am still angry - calmer, but still angry - and happy, my kids are fine, sleeping well at their mothers and tomorrow, I'll pick them up at school and after homework we might catch a cab and go to the movies... 

No picture for that story ...

Daring to Take Risks - Better yet, Dare to Stand for Something

Wright Brothers

The first time anything new and creative is proposed, it gets labeled. And the label put on these novel things is likely to be "risky." Can't you just hear it?

"Let me get this straight, Orville. You and Wilbur are building a machine that will do what? Heavier-than-air flying machines are the riskiest hoax anybody ever palmed off on two gullible boys like you Wrights. Get a real job!"

Or maybe it was somebody's harebrained idea of talking pictures, black and white children attending the same school, or people walking on the moon. More than one person was berated simply for giving voice to such "silly" ideas.

It turns out that some of the people who dared to propose such outlandish possibilities are now regarded as geniuses - revolutionaries - heroes. And it was only because they dared to question others and to question themselves. They challenged the limitations others were willing to take for granted.

There is something in your profession or business, your family or church that could be done better. A situation could be more productive. A relationship could be healthier. An objective could be clarified. Some lofty ideal to which all in the group give lip service could actually be implemented. But I warn you up front:
Thomas Edison
Like restoring a car or house, it will take twice as long as you thought, cost far more than you anticipated, and strain every important relationship in your life!

Only you can decide if it will be worth it to undertake something so ambitious and costly. There will be false starts. There will be embarrassing mistakes along the way. But the potential outcome could be as important to your personal situation

as the achievements of the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks, and Neil Armstrong were to their time and place.

The problem with our world is not that there are no more frontiers to challenge and conquer. It's that there are too few explorers. There are too few people willing to ask the obvious questions and challenge the traditional wisdom. In a word, too few of us want to take the risks that could make us look stupid.

If you are fortunate enough to have a dream in your heart, be willing to make mistakes in pursuit of it. Be a risk-taker. You just might change the world.

Henry Ford

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Memories - Elisabeth Taylor

This is the way I will always remember you. 
A Queen, a Goddes, gorgeous Diva, mother of all Divas.
With all my heart...

... and please, say hello to Michael!

 february 27th, 1932 — march 23th,  2011

The Greatest Gift of All - Speech

 There is definitely something to be said for the unspoken word. Those moments when a simple look or touch tells you exactly what the other person is thinking or feeling. Sadly as magical as those "silent" moments may be, over time I think we rely too much on them and those thoughts or feelings we are trying to convey to one another get lost in translation.
 
We forget that the spoken word has some pretty powerful magic of its own. I definately did.
 
We stop saying "I love you" because we assume that it is a well-known fact. We stop complimenting each other, because after a while, we figure "its all been said before, so why say it again". We stop telling our loved ones how much we appreciate the things they do, because those things become the norm, lose their luster and eventually go unnoticed.

I saw an elderly couple in the grocery store the other day. They seemed as though they were still in the "honeymoon phase" of their relationship. He held her hand, kissed her cheek and told her he loved her all in the few moments I was near them. Her response was to pat him on the cheek and say "I love you too handsome".
 
Yes it seemed a little strange of a scene for grocery shopping, but also refreshing to see people who I'm sure have lived through many heartaches, letdowns and broken promises to still be so loving and cherish another human being's affection so much. I found myself wondering. are they new to this relationship or have they been together most of their lives? The answer didn't really matter much to me, but the question was worth thinking about. If they were new to the relationship, they were off to a good start. If they had been together for 30-40 years, well. I'd say we could all learn a lot from them.

Seeing these two made me consider my own life and how I communicate with the people I love. I considered how many times I have looked at my wife or kids and felt an almost breathtaking amount of love, compassion or pride for them and yet I stood and said nothing. I considered how many times I lay next to my wife and wanted nothing more than to be close to her and yet I did not move from my side of the bed. And I wonder why that is. Is it some deep-rooted insecurity or fear of rejection? Probably. But even so, am I not a strong enough person to overcome those fears? I would hope so. Because life is too short not to make the most of every moment you have with the ones you love.
 
So what have I learned from this? Where do I go from here? How do I change my ways?...

When I find myself hesitating to express my affections, I will reflect on what I felt when I saw the elderly couple in the grocery store. I will stop to notice the expressions and actions of those in my life and I will react accordingly. I will appreciate the unspoken moments and look forward to the spoken ones - and I will make an effort to initiate both. I will be a more considerate and confident father, since my wife already left, a more compassionate friend, a more eager and expressive lover (some day) and overall a more expressively honest person. I will notice and appreciate what others do for me and revel in the moment each time a kind word is spoken to me. I will not allow those precious moments to be lost, forgotten or go unnoticed. And last but not least, I will pray that when I reach an elderly (a little more than right now) age, I will still hold all of those moments in such high regard; I will not become complacent in life and that I will still be as surrounded by love as I am today.

And this, I wish for all of us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Changes - Wether you like it or not

This morning I read this interesting article and I felt like sharing it with you guys. It really has something and, though it speaks about the US, it does apply to so many other countries that are making the same mistakes. I know, I always say that you have to live in the present and leave the past behind, yes, right after you learned the lesson that the past gives us. So once in a while it is good to read in history to avoid mistakes in the future.

Enjoy the reading and, ... learn from the past!

CHANGES ARE COMING ----

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to
Them. But, ready or not, here they come :

1.  The Post Office.  Get ready to imagine a world without the post office.
They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to
Sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the
Minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail
Every day is junk mail and bills.

2.  The Check.   Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with
Checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to
Process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the
Eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post
Office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by
Mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3.  The Newspaper.  The younger generation simply doesn't read the
Newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print
Edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for
Reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile
Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine
Publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the
Major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription
Services.

4.  The Book.  You say you will never give up the physical book that you
Hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about
Downloading music fromiTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly
Changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price
Without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will
Happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview
Chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book.
And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the
Screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't
Wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget
Instead of a book.

5.  The Land Line Telephone.  Unless you have a large family and make a lot
Of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply
Because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that
Extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers
Using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

6.  Music.  This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music
Industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading.
It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the
People who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The
Record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over
40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional
Music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is
Also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and
Disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for
Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the
Music Dies."

7.  Television.  Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just
Because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from
Their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things
That take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows
Have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable
Rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30
Seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable
Companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want
To watch online and through Netflix.

8.  The "Things" That You Own.  Many of the very possessions that we used to
Own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future.
They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive
And you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is
On a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that
is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest
"cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet
will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS
will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open
something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to
the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.

In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your
whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will
you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at
any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be
disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull
out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and
pull out the insert.

9.  Privacy.  If there ever was a concept that we can look back on
nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long
time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and
even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7,
"They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS
coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is
put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those
habits. And "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and
again.

All we will have that can't be changed are Memories.

19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind

The United States is rapidly becoming the very first "post-industrial"
nation on the globe.  All great economic empires eventually become fat and
lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them,
but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing.
It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.  It
was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from
automobiles to televisions to airplanes.  It was the great American
manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.

But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America .  Tens of
thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone.
Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time
period.  The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in
sight and yet produces increasingly little.  Do you know what our biggest
export is today?  Waste paper.  Yes, trash is the number one thing that we
ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on
whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.  The United States has
become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now  just a shadow of what it
once was.  Once upon a time America could literally out produce the rest of
the world combined.  Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do
consume more than anyone else in the world.  If the deindustrialization of
America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are
we going to be leaving to our children?

Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.  So if
the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a
staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to
be a great nation?  We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history
of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but
the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.  Every
single month America   goes into more debt and every single month America
gets poorer.

So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for
every man, woman and child in the country.  But sadly,  most Americans do
not have any idea what is going on around them .

For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to
them.  Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to
awaken them from their slumber.

The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that
will blow your mind....

#1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.
About 75 percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were
still in operation.

#2 Dell Inc., one of America 's largest manufacturers of computers, has
announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an
investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

#3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S.
manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem , North Carolina in November.
Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

#4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide.  So how many of
them were manufactured inside the United States ?  Zero.

#5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if
the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate,
the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#6 As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18
percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

#7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing
jobs since October 2000.

#8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign
affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to
10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at
American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.
In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

#10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that
produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul , Minnesota . Approximately 750 good
paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in
Minnesota does not fit in with Ford's new "global" manufacturing strategy.

#11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in
manufacturing.  The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed
in manufacturing was in 1941.

#12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP.
Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

#13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing
jobs since the year 2000.

#14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita
broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

#15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower
in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different
products.   Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

#17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every
$1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States .

#18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be
three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living
in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor
Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do
something about it?

How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we
all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we
realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war
zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national
economic suicide?

The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis.  It needs to be
treated like one.

If you disagree with this article, Here's a direct challenge for you.  If
anyone can explain how a deindustrialized America has any kind of viable
economic future, please do so.

America is in deep, deep trouble folks.  It is time to wake up!

By:  J. Sam Bell

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Next Step



The first step needs action to start it,
The last requires patience to end,
So we question, which one's most important,
When we realize our dreams' our best friend.
Well, the answer is neither, they're equal,
But the one that will help you win through
And connect what you start to the finish,
Is the next step that's waiting for you.

Life's dreamers are great Goal Achievers!
Their faith and persistence just blends
Into one awesome cocktail of knowledge,
That whatever they want they can get.
You see, they never visualize failure,
It's success that they see shining through.
It's essential to start and to finish,
But the next step is what you must do.

(from Alison Wilson - check her out)

Rejections - Give me a break

Rejection takes many forms. You didn't make the team. The college you want to attend turns you down. The woman you asked out said no. You didn't get the job. You were passed over for a promotion. Your wife/husband left you.

Whatever form it takes, being rejected stinks. It is a blow to your ego and challenges your ability to cope. It makes you question yourself. It makes you angry. In its most extreme and painful forms, it generates self-destructive thoughts and behaviors - ranging from rage to drinking binges to suicide.

The tricky thing about rejection, though, is not to avoid it - you can't anyway -  but to choose a positive way of reacting to it. After all, everybody suffers rejection. That is not meant to minimize anyone's pain at being let go or turned down; it is simply to say that you aren't alone. Others have lived through similar - or worse - things. The only way to avoid the risk of rejection is to fail to live - to be more specific: not to live at all -, dream, or dare! And that is a far worse thing than being courageous enough to apply for the position, to accept a leadership challenge, or to invest your heart and getting turned down.

In a not so recent interview reported in the Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett spoke of his rejection by Harvard Business School at 19. "The truth is, everything that has happened in my life . . . that I thought was a crushing event at the time, has turned out for the better," he said. He continued, life's setbacks teach "lessons that carry you along. You learn that a temporary defeat is not a permanent one. In the end it can be an opportunity." 


In Buffett's case, a second-choice application to Columbia put him under the tutelage of two professor-mentors who taught him the essentials he has used in a successful investment career. More important still, the disappointment he thought his father would feel over his failure turned into a positive expression of "unconditional love" and "unconditional belief in me."

Rejection is the challenge to find a new way, a better path. Rather than curse the job you didn't get or the person who didn't hire you, rethink your skills and find another venue for their use. Instead of hiding from life because a relationship has ended and your heart is broken, learn something about yourself from what has happened and know there is someone who needs what you have to give. Temporary setbacks become permanent defeats only if you allow it.

It isn't rejection that determines the outcome. It is your reaction to it.

Great day!