Sunday, November 6, 2016

Biography:Maya Angelou

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that Beauty.” Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is one of the great voices in contemporary literature. She is a remarkable woman: a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director. Few people realize the difficult path she walked to achieve the recognition she enjoys today.

Marguerite Johnson was born on April 4, 1928 in Saint Louis, Missouri. Her father was a naval dietitian and her mother a nurse. Her brother, Bailey Jr., gave her the nickname “Maya”.

When Maya was three and her brother four, their parents’ marriage broke up. The children were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. As a member of an African-American family, Maya experienced the discrimination and humiliation to which many blacks were subjected at that time.

After five years, the children were returned to their mother in St. Louis. Tragically, Maya was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend. The trauma of these events caused the child to become mute and she was soon returned to her grandmother. She didn’t speak again for almost five years.

Angelou credits her friend and teacher, Bertha Flowers, with helping her to speak again and with introducing her to classical literature and famous authors. She also became familiar with black female artists, such as Frances Harper and Anne Spencer.

In 1940, when she was 13, Maya was returned to her mother in San Francisco where she attended high school and worked as the first black streetcar conductor in the history of San Francisco. She also became pregnant.

Maya gave birth to her son, Guy, at the age of sixteen. She relates the story of this period of her life in the first book of her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

The second installment, “Gather Together in My Name” chronicles her life from her late teens to her early twenties. As an impoverished young black single parent, Maya worked as a Creole cook, a madam, a tap dancer, a prostitute and as chauffeur.

She also moved through a series of relationships and cities as she attempted to raise her son although she had no job training or advanced education. These were difficult years.

Angelou’s third book, “Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas” covers her life from ages twenty-two to twenty-seven. Maya married a white, Greek ex-sailor, Tosh Angelos, but soon found she wasn’t suited to marriage. She filed for divorce and resumed her dancing career. She toured Europe with a production of the opera “Porgy and Bess” in 1954-1955.

In 1960, Maya moved to San Diego and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. She worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X. She also traveled and lived and worked briefly in Egypt and Ghana. Her fourth novel, “The Heart of a Woman” covers this period. It relates events experienced in her thirties, as well as reflections on her son, marriage, the Civil Rights Movement and her own writing.

Maya’s fifth autobiography “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes”, shows she has developed a sense of connection to her African heritage. She has adopted Ghana as her homeland, although she has traveled extensively and speaks many languages among them French, Italian and Spanish.

Since the 1990’s she has been busy writing, lecturing, composing music, making guest appearances and teaching. In 1993, she authored a poem in honor of Bill Clinton and recited it at his inauguration ceremony.

In 2008, Maya, became involved in the American presidential race, throwing her support behind Senator Hillary Clinton. When Clinton’s campaign ended, she became a supporter of Barack Obama.

Now age 80, Maya Angelou has overcome many challenging obstacles in her lifetime, barriers which might have defeated lesser mortals. She has become a role model for women, for African Americans, for anyone who starts life at a disadvantage and must struggle for equality. In fact, her words can act as an inspiration for all of us:

“I can be changed by what happens to me. but I refuse to be reduced by it.” Maya Angelou

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Bass Fishing at Lake Ray Hubbard Heats Up

Departing from the Rockwall launch off of Route 66, my friend and I headed out to the main portion of Lake Ray Hubbard (south of I-30) in search of schooling sand bass and hybrids. I had checked weather conditions beforehand, which indicated winds up to 15mph. When we passed under the I-30 viaduct on the far east corner of the lake, we were hit by a barrage of whitecaps. The wind was gusting at 25 mph. Nevertheless, we hit all of our hot spots: under the 30 viaduct, Robertson Park, the peanut at the power plant, and the cove just south of the Heath boat ramp. we caught a few small sand bass but did not find any schooling fish or seagulls to help us out. After being pounded by the waves for a few hours we headed back north to fish the river that leads to Lake Lavon. The north fork of the Trinity river was full of water and provided us with shelter from the wind. Casting to the reeds, we threw top waters, plastics, and some shallow diving crank-baits, and didn’t get a single bite. I went to a purple spinner bait with a Colorado blade and came up blank again. Pulling out a chartreuse spinner bait with copper colored willow blade, I made my first cast: Bingo-Fish on! We proceeded to catch 12 bass (two to three pounders) using the chartreuse spinner bait; that’s all that they would hit.
After traveling far up the river the fishing began to slow down and around noon time we decided to call it quits. I turned the crank on my ignition: nothing. We tried to jump the starter battery from my trolling battery: nothing. We were literally up a creek with no paddle. Luckily a fellow fisherman came by and helped us out. He took his battery out of his boat, put in mine, and we got the motor running. The man refused to take the twenty dollars offered and sped off to fish. A good day of fishing that could of been a disaster, was averted. Morale of the story: Always help out on the lake; what goes around, comes around.

Good luck and Good fishing!

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Caernarfon: A Haven of Sunsets

Waves from the Atlantic roll into Victoria Harbour where they settle down to silken sweeps that caress the mossy shores of Caernarfon. I wade in the sandy waters watching the seagulls soar, silhouetted against the golden sun of a fresh new day.

A sleepy hamlet nestled along the Northern Welsh coast, Caernarfon (pronounced Cah-naar-vun) boasts of a grand history dating back to the thirteenth century. A limestone castle built under King Edward I stands graceful and majestic on the rim of the sea; nowadays, besides displaying a thorough account of the region, the castle provides intriguing ‘spirally’ explorations along cold, dark and steep stairways for reasonable fares.

The Caernarfon castle leads right out into the town square–quite literally a large paved courtyard flanked by juxtapositions of old and new buildings. A statue of David Lloyd George­­–the first and only Welsh Prime Minister of the United Kingdom–stands jubilantly in the square. Directly across is the open market, fresh and colourful against the grey stone. In the center, a dark steeple rises from a Presbyterian church as the sunlight throws silver sparks onto arched parabolas of water spouting from sprinklers below. If you feel inclined, take your lunch out to the square, sit on a bench and smile as children run back and forth through the fountain’s vaults in glee.

Narrow lanes branch out from the square and lead to a plethora of shops, bakeries and salons. Small but cozy hostels and Bed and Breakfasts are situated throughout the town, offering travelers several options for a comfortable stay. Caernarfon is rather small and an hour’s walk at a leisurely pace around the town center could lead you back to the waterfront. Boats and yachts lie placidly in the harbor beside a large white-washed cabin which happens to be the Marine Museum. But if you are more inclined to stay in tune with what’s new on the silver screen, look the other way and hop right into the contemporary sea-front cinema hall.

For those with more adventurous souls, Caernarfon is situated on a well-connected bus route with hourly (or more frequent) trips to quaint towns such as Lamberis and Betwys-y-Coed which offer trails and hikes to the picturesque mountain peaks and lakes of Snowdonia National Park. Invest in a pocket guide-book and practice pronouncing Welsh locations as best as you can–it’ll make a really good impression with the locals! (And while you’re at that, be sure to pick up a few multi-syllable words. You know you want to impress your friends with ten-letter-words that have absolutely no vowels in them!) After a fulfilling (but usually tiring) day out, the bus brings you back to a welcoming purple evening at Caernarfon as the livid sun slips silently into the sea. Enjoy the languid night-time festivities of sea-side pubs and restaurants or retire for the day–you’re on vacation and there are no rigid agendas; do whatever fits your fancy.

I spent four picture-perfect days in Caernarfon, enjoying the mild sea-breeze and blue-skied solitude of spring days. I cannot guarantee you such rain-free, sun-shiny days or even a vibrant night-life. But go anyway. Go to Caernarfon to experience the calming obscurity of small-town life, like a soothing balm on a buzzing mind. Go to Caernarfon to remember again what it feels like to be blown away by just a sunset, every day.

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Use Boston Data Backup to Protect Your Vital Information

Massachusetts-based companies can enjoy
Boston data backup service to ensure that your important business records are secured. Many East Coast businesses find that outsourcing their data backup to a Boston data backup service is both cost effective and efficient for small and mid-sized companies.

Your company uses data every day in order for the work of your business to get done. Letters, memos, contracts and many other forms of written communication are what drives your business and keeps it organized. If there is a circumstance that eliminates your access to your records, your business will come to a halt, and so, too, will your ability to keep the company solvent.

Instead, many companies see the value of Boston data backup as a way to protect your important records. Quality Boston data backup service providers can replicate the data on your servers and personal work computers on a regular basis. This Boston data backup can occur at a regularly scheduled time that is convenient for your company, such as not during your business hours. Another option is for service providers to set your company up with Internet-based Boston data backup, which can occur in real time while you are conducting business at your company. This can be done without slowing down your business operations, an added benefit. Your digital files can be compressed and stored off site from your company. This saves you the hassle of dealing with hard copies that require personnel to maintain, and which can deteriorate or get lost over time.

Boston data recovery services are also available for Massachusetts businesses. Boston data recovery is an important option to have in place before disaster strikes. If your business suffers an earthquake, fire, flood or your company computers get hacked, you will want to make sure that you have back up systems in place so that your business will be able to continue.

Boston data recovery service providers can duplicate your company information and keep them in a secure off site location. This way, if the unexpected happens, you can rely on your Boston data backup records to keep your business up and running while things get returned to a normal state.

The best Boston data recovery services will also be able to offer you Boston data backup service for any operating system that you use at work. This is another cost-saving feature, so that you do not have to replace your current systems. Boston data backup service, including Boston data recovery, can also be customized by certified technology engineers to meet your company’s specific business needs.

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BLUE MOON in RED SKIES !

LINE IN THE SAND:
There is a saying that it’s the ‘hope what kills you in the end’. Well in the case of City supporters this is surely about to be proved unfounded, because after decades of blind faith in teams, managers and boards who promised dreams but delivered only nightmares, it appears a blue moon is finally set to rise over Mancunian skies.

This weekend’s 3-0 thrashing of Arsenal with Robinho inspired and looking worth every penny of his £32 million pound transfer fee, may well see Saturday 21st November 2008 be acknowledged as the day Eastlands was handed a glimpse of the glittering future which awaits them.

The electrifying Robinho with his pace and tricks tortured an Arsenal defence who well before the end threw in the towel. A capitulation that handed much credence to their much maligned former Captain William Gallas, who although left back in London got as close to Robinho as any of his hapless teammates

As badly Arsene Wenger’s team performed, nothing could take away from a city side that were simply irresistible. Robinho’s samba flair admirably supported by the midfield attacking spurts of Shaun Wright Philips and Stephen Ireland delighted a 44,000 crowd who appeared at times almost in shock at what they were witnessing.

On 56 minutes the crowning glory when Robinho caressed a divine chip over an on-rushing Manuel Almunia head making it 2-0. It was a goal fit to grace any stadium, the Maracana, Bernabeu, Nou Comp or god forbid even Old Trafford. To have a player such as this extraordinary 24-year-old Brazilian at the height of his powers? Stuff of dreams.

At that moment far away in the United Arab Emirates City owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed must have allowed himself a wry smile. This man whose dollars bills outnumber the grains of sand in his desert kingdom finally seeing just what money can buy at this heady level. With a taste for such who knows what awaits in the coming years?

If not careful Football possesses the power to turn rich men into paupers but luckily for city Sheikh Mansour stands immune. For his fortunes reaches into trillions. A wealth off the scale, unlimited funds to do as he pleases. If this man falls in love with Manchester City then all bets are off. Anything is possible.

For manager Mark Hughes the win over Arsenal offers much needed respite after a traumatic series of bad results. Grumbling on the terraces were turning into genuine anger against a man still generally mistrusted by many City fans for his often, heroic deeds in the shirt of deadly local rivals United.

In this part of the world once a red always. Hughes has some way yet to go before being granted forgiveness for his part in Alex Ferguson’s Old Trafford empire that has caused and continues to heap so much misery on those of blue persuasion. For a man whom they once loved to hate, something special is required for alleged past crimes. Hammering Manchester United at Eastland in this Sunday’s derby may well prove his redemption.

There looms this weekend arguably the most important Manchester Derby since 1974 when a despondent Denis Law back-heeled United into the second division. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team travel the short distance across the city as European and Premiership champions. World famous, glamorous and blessed with some of the game’s greatest talents. All Sheikh Mansour aspires City to become.

A line in the sand is about to be drawn. With Ferguson’s retirement one, definitely only two years away and Mansour’s unlimited budget to buy whoever required to succeed, Mark Hughes is blessed with an unbelievable opportunity to change the course of footballing history and bring trophies galore to Manchester City.

However a moment of magic from Rooney, Ronaldo or Berbatov and City are beaten, then once more the infamous ‘sack the manager’ drum roll will ring loud leaving Hughes fighting for his job. ‘It’s the hope that kills you’, they claim. In the past this may well have been true, but now, well times have changed.

The man from the desert has arrived at the Eastlands. This is no Peter Swales or Francis Lee, men whose dreams have failed to match their bank balance. Many years ago at this yuletide period three wise men from the east came carrying gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Muir. Today’s version comes with an open cheque promising miracles of Mourinho, Messi, Torres, Ronaldo, and Fabregas……………..

A blue moon is set to rise, if not today or tomorrow, then soon.

John Ludden:

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Christmas... Divorced Parents...And Keeping the Holiday Fun for the Kids

The holiday season is here. You’ve been putting off calling the parents for one simple reason. You made a pact with yourself that Christmas was going to be at your house. No more going from parent to parent, aunts to grandparents. This is it. You are beginning to make those Christmas traditions that your children will never forget.

But wait…. You still have two sets of parents who want to see you and the kids for Christmas. Ok, let’s be honest. Once we have kids, our parents somehow overlook us. Instead, they only see those beautiful children they love so. And only hand back when screaming or punishing becomes involved. You know the drill. That old saying, “I love them because I can just hand them back to you when they are bad.” Yes, we’ve all been there.

But what do we do when we are preparing for the holidays and have divorced parents? Isn’t this the saga of life now? Gone are the big get together with the entire family. Now, we have two sets of parents who don’t want to see each other. I write this jokingly, but I know how true this is. IF the divorce rate in America is as high as we know it is, getting together for the holidays has to be tough.

Make your Traditions

We all remember those special traditions when we were young. Whether there was only one or many, we loved having those special things we knew would happen every year. Somewhere along the way, divorce happened and messed everything up.

One thing you can do is create one new tradition a year. Take from your own, or start fresh. Either way, it will create memories you will cherish forever.

Christmas Dinner: Invite both…but don’t loose any Sleep over it

It is sad but divorce happens. As we are now grown up ourselves, we can understand that the parents have nothing in common. That is why they got divorced. So it only goes to say after twenty years, they still have nothing in common. But still, invite them to your home. If they come, hopefully, they can be civil, for your family’s sake.

If they do come, make sure to put them on opposite sides of the table. Keep a distance between them so you know there won’t be any squabbles.

Do your best to just enjoy the holiday season, whether they come or not. If they choose not to come, remember, you have a family now.

Good Will and Peace to All Men

Having parents that are divorced is never easy. Remember to understand what they are going through. Having compassion when didn’t do anything wrong can be difficult, I know. But enjoying the holiday season is more important, in my view. So whatever can be done so you don’t loose your joy… well, that is the most important thing.

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Call Center Interviews - Know What to Expect

What makes a good call center agent? Know what the interviewer is looking for in the call center interview and prepare to win that call center job.

Call Center Competencies

First and foremost are the competencies that the successful candidate requires. These are the knowledge, skills and ability needed to successfully perform in the job. Knowledge and skills would include technical expertise in terms of the company’s products and services and the call center system including computers and software applications, CRM databases and the telephony systems that the company uses.

Abilities that have been identified as contributing to the success of a call center agent include problem-solving, customer-service orientation, decision-making, learning ability and stress-tolerance. The current trend is to use behavioral questions to explore these competencies, questions that ask the candidate to describe how they behaved in relevant situations in the past. A typical behavioral question is, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a complex problem from a customer, what did you do?”

Communication Skills

Essential to a call center agent position is the ability to speak clearly and articulately and, very importantly, to listen actively. Communication skills will begin to be assessed during the initial telephonic contact. The candidate’s manner, phone etiquette and language and grammar skills will all be under scrutiny. This evaluation will continue during the call center interview. Be aware of the tone of your voice and the words you use. Listen carefully and rephrase questions to check that you have understood what the interviewer is asking.

Motivational Fit

Employees in call centers commonly fail to perform because they don’t like the job tasks and the work environment and not because they lack the ability to do the job. Motivational fit is whether the candidate will find the job satisfying and the environment one in which he or she wants to work. Turnover in call centers is high and this is mostly attributed to job dissatisfaction rather than a lack of skills. Therefore as well as determining what a candidate can do (skills and ability) the call center interview will set out to determine the candidate’s motivation to do the job.

Questions that commonly explore motivational fit center a round the characteristics of the job and the environment. Depending on these, motivational fit questions include those that explore the candidate’s experience and satisfaction in working independently or as part of a team, working for a fixed income or on a commission basis, working on different priorities and tasks or adhering strictly to a fixed routine, receiving close support and supervision or having to motivate and monitor oneself. Questions will be structured along the lines of a behavioral question, for example: “Tell me about a time you had to work as part of a team. How satisfied were you with that and why?”

The best candidates will think in advance about these selection criteria and prepare their interview answers and questions. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be and confidence is a key ingredient of call center interview success!

The Call Center Interview Guide lists sample interview questions and answers.

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