Keys to Picking the Right Sportsbook

If you have been to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or even Reno, you know that these adult playgrounds the size of small cities have one goal: get your money! Everything from the floor layout to where the pool is built in a casino have been thought out in great detail to keep you happy and gambling away. A Sportsbook is the same way, you may get a girly calendar in the mail, or a football magazine published by the company with sports tips. But overall, whether you’re drinking and placing bets in a casino or sitting on your couch in your bathrobe you’re still being targeted.

Of course I have a Sportsbook, and have used it for many years now, but I won’t mention which site to stay neutral and not seem like a commercial. My advice before making a deposit into an online account is to “do your research”. You don’t want to just blindly dump money into a Sportsbook without taking a look into withdrawal fees, deposit bonuses (and fees), or comparing odds with other sites. The biggest lure most Sportsbooks offer is bonuses. This is not all it’s cracked up to be. Most of the time, the site will give you 5 to 6 times your deposit in cash just for making a deposit, but the catch is that they won’t let you withdraw that money until you turn that bonus money into 10 times what they gave you.

Top 4 Tips when dealing with Sportsbooks:

1. Do your Research

Compare all factors before picking a site; some sites recommend having more than one Sportsbook to get the best odds, although that means more deposits and more gimmicks.

2. Don’t buy into the bonuses and deals, if it’s too good to be true it probably is

If you can, try to avoid the 1-800 deposit number; these power sellers are geared to get you to dump even more than you had planned on depositing.

3. Keep a weekly allowance

Everyone tells you the bets they won, and leaves out the 5 or 6 they lost that week. Keep it simple. It costs a small amount to place a bet (11/10) so why make 10 bets per week. Quality over Quantity! Keep it to1-4 strong bets per week. Don’t bet it all in week 1, and avoid pre-season games.

4. Never bet on a game just because you can

If you don’t like any match ups that week, don’t make any bets! Addiction starts when you can’t watch football without having money on it. Unless you want to blow your cash, play smart. You can make a lot of money if you have patience (trust me!)

Benefits of Outdoor Team Building

While it is true that most team-building exercises take place in or around the workplace, the truth is that it’s always good to think outside of the box once in a while. This can mean organizing and participating in an outdoor team building exercise, where you will be able to put the skills of you and your fellow workers to the test. It is a new and exciting way to build interpersonal skills through exercises that you may have not considered before. There are certain companies which you will be able to turn to when it comes to building teamwork skills to create a more efficient work environment all around. Many of these outdoor retreats are great for building stronger relationships and personal ties with co-workers. If you have been looking for a way to keep your team motivated, then this is certainly a method that is worth considering.

These types of outdoor challenges focus on both physical and mental obstacles which each participant must overcome. Finishing an outdoor challenge like this will be sure to build confidence and cooperation among your workers, so it is ultimately an invaluable motivational tool. There are an increasing number of executives and business heads who are becoming interested in using these challenges as a way to step things up in the workplace. With a sometimes tedious and monotonous schedule, it is sometimes difficult to find the energy to do your best work, which is why these retreats exist.

You will be able to find a company who can help set one up for you and your workers, so you will be able to raise the level of skills each person in your group has by the end of the day. Some of the companies which hold these events actually film the entire thing, so you can look back on it at your next meeting to see just how everyone did. You will be able to use the video to examine both the strengths and weaknesses of those who were involved. This can be an excellent way to keep in shape mentally and physically, and see just what everyone is made of. By having all of your workers take part in such an event, you will notice just how much of difference it will make when everything is said and done.

Most people who come back from these kinds of outdoor challenges are better for it and in many ways. You will be surprised just how much more motivated and confident your workers will be along with yourself. Spending the money to organize an event like this is well worth it, because you will see the benefits socially and financially for years to come. Every business should consider doing one of these events as soon as possible.

Daddy Ball – The Painful Reality of Youth Sports

What do I mean by “daddy ball”? I refer to a situation in a youth sports such as baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball or any other competitive youth sport where a parent coaches the team and plays his son above where he falls athletically. In short, daddy ball refers to the coach’s child playing either preferred positions or increased playing time, in exclusion to other more athletically gifted competitors.

Having raised two sons I can say that there is not much as painful as watching a coach play the game to advance the talents of his own child. When a game is played and it clearly revolves around the coach’s son, unless he’s the best athlete on the team, it’s daddy ball.

In baseball, you may see the daddy ball coach’s son batting ahead of players with higher batting averages, playing shortstop or pitching frequently and not getting the job done. In football, it usually involves increased playtime and the position of quarterback or running back or you may see in most short and goal situations mainly one boy getting the chances to be the hero and score the touchdown — of course, the coach’s son.

Regardless of the sport, the concept is the same – when a child gets playtime or position that he does not earn through his own hard work and athletic ability or if others who can get the job done are not given the opportunity-so the coaches son can play more- it is daddy ball.

I regard coaches who play their son above where he falls athletically as cheating his son, the other boys, the team and himself. What do I mean by that bold statement?

A coach who does not make his son earn his position has in effect trained the boy to expect something for nothing. Continued over time the boy expects things to be handed to him and has little incentive to put in the hard work necessary to beat out other young athletes and truly earn what he gets.

Would that be the type of employee you would like to hire out of college? So I say, the coach who did not make his son truly earn his position on the team has cheated his own boy.

It is easy to say that the other teammates who may have higher batting averages, or otherwise were better able to play a spot were cheated because the coach’s son got to play it.

Young boys hold few; in as high regard as their coach, if they put in the work, have a good attitude and can beat out another kid- they deserve to play the spot.

A coach, who will not play the best boy for the job to work another agenda, improving his own child’s ability, should not be coaching the team.

Daddy ball also serves to cheat the team, as a team, because when boys are not played where the fall athletically, the team will be less competitive and the boys will be less motivated. Resulting in a team that is not all it could have been.

Well how does the coach who plays daddy ball cheat himself?

A coach who plays his son above his athletic ability to the detriment of more qualified boys has failed in its primary mission as a father, that is to adequately prepare his son to leave the nest and stand on his own 2 feet. When children do not experience earning by their own efforts and truly competing, they suffer.

How do you avoid daddy ball?

The main way to avoid daddy ball is to coach the team your self. But if you do, take careful objective measure of each child’s athletic ability and play it accordingly, lest you fall into the daddy ball role as a coach.

A way to lessen the impact of daddy ball is to get your son on a team coached by a father whose son clearly is the best athlete on the team. In that situation, it will be hard for the coach to play the son over more athletically inclined children.

Or if you can afford it, the best way to avoid daddy ball is to play your children with a coach who does not have children on the team. This will either be a paid professional coach or someone who truly loves the game. If you choose the paid coach route, ask hard questions of the paid coach before joining the team as some paid coaches seem to feel obligated to the dad who helps coach or put the team together and you may well find your son back in the same situation you were trying so hard to avoid.

It has been my observation that coaches that play daddy ball are usually in denial about the situation. Typically, they have eyes for one boy on the team, their own.

Some coaches feel that by coaching the team they have earned the right to play their son where ever and however they want and for the reasons set forth above, I say, find another team.

Speaking with the daddy ball coach has little chance of success because it involves his own son. If you do speak to the coach, be very careful to keep the conversation about facts and not opinions.

In baseball, that may mean keeping batting statistics your self or other objective measure depending on the sport and situation. You can hand the coach the batting averages for all players on the team and he will get the message with out a word spoken.

With the daddy ball coach, the best option for your child may be to finish out the season and more carefully select another team next year.

The Origin of Toys

The word “toy” is a word without origin. This could be because the concept of a toy is something that is as old as the first mammal. Most young mammals have a habit of looking for objects to amuse themselves or objects to play with. This is the same with human babies. Because of this trait, many people believe that toys are as old as the first civilizations. There is actually proof of this since toys, in fact have been found in archaeological digs or excavation sites of ancient civilizations.

The oldest toy made for the purpose of being a toy is a doll or a figurine. Often in the shape of an animal or in human form, these toys were carved or made from wood. Some other materials known for ancient doll making are sticks, terracota or wax. These ancient dolls were easy to make, and were often made by the parents or relatives of the child or by the children themselves. They could be as simple as a single piece of wood carved into a shape, or as complicated as a human form with movable joints and wigs for hair like they had in ancient Egypt. Apart from dolls, other old toys that have been found are whistles, carts, and toys that could move along a string.

As civilizations developed, so did their toys. These objects of play began becoming more complex, either by purpose or by material. The making of dolls and figurines went from wood carvings to being made out of glass or porcelain. They were also enhanced by clothes. Other toys evolved as well. Carts and whistles were made by malleable metals, and some toys developed simple spring mechanisms. Toys began being made by persons outside of the child’s family, and they were produced for sale. Toy making became an art.

Almost as soon as new materials were developed, toy makers began using these materials to make various toys. Rubber and plastics were used. More toys, such as balls were invented. The more toys were produced, the more they became popular among children. Soon, the manner in which these toys were used began evolving and sports or games were formed. The toy revolution forged forward and toys began becoming mass produced. Now, machines made the toys, and they could be made faster, which meant more children were given access to all these toys.

In modern society toys are still often sold in stores, only now the stores are large and specialized towards children. Toys can be segregated in terms of their benefits to the child, in terms of the gender of the child, or through other means. Some toys are battery operated, some toys need to be plugged in. Some toys are made for educational purposes, others for developmental ones. Some toys need computer chips or programs to work. No matter what it is, today’s toy is a smart toy.

Another new twist modern society has developed is that not only children play with toys. Nowadays some adults develop a lifelong interest in toys. Either for collection purposes, or simply because they enjoy toys, many adults buy toys for their own pleasure. Sometimes this toy buying is driven by nostalgia. Whatever the reason is, and no matter how much it evolves, one thing remains the same, and that is that human beings love toys.

What Is Erotic Power Exchange?

Erotic power exchange is any situation where partners, of their own free will and choice, actively and willfully incorporate the power element in their lovemaking (and usually for a great deal in their relationship). Erotic power exchange is best known as either BDSM, S&M, D/s or sadomasochism, but these terms are all too limited, incorrect and all too frequently confused with stereotypes and forms of mental illness, which is why we like to call it Erotic Power Exchange (EPE).

The Holistic Approach

Allow us to quickly explain our view and approach. Not in order to try and force you into any direction, but to explain where we are coming from, so you will have a better understanding about the way, this online educational facility has been set up.

Erotic power exchange is a situation that incorporates – or often even encloses – spirit, body and mind and as a result will have an effect on each of these three areas that, together, make up the human being. As a result, we try to approach each area of the art of erotic power exchange on each of these levels who – in order to create the wholeness of the human being – are equally important and all deserve their, individual, attention.

Erotic power exchange can take any shape or form within a relationship. From little things like blindfolding her when making love to anything like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week servitude.

The shape and form it takes totally depends upon the fantasies, situation, preferences and boundaries of the partners involved. As long as it is informed consensual, safe, sane and voluntary it is called erotic power exchange. If any or all of these four elements are missing, it is called abuse.

Next, erotic power exchange requires a specific environment. Call it a biosphere, if you like. What it requires is a very sound, honest and sincere relationship, intense and open communication, trust, a lot of mutual understanding, an open mind, lots of love and care and a fair bit of creativity. Which does not mean the relationship necessarily has to be a long term one. Even within a one-night-stand or casual situation all these requirements must be there – albeit probably on a less intense level – to make things work.

People will often ask: what is wrong with straight sex? Why add things like power exchange. Well, there is nothing wrong with straight sex. But there are people – such as yourself – who want more out of their relationship. Maybe even more out of life. These are the people that will identify the power element, present in every relationship, and start to work with it, magnify it, play with it, explore and experiment. In every day life all of us have to deal with power. Your boss’ power or political power for example, but not all of us become bosses or politicians or even take an interest in management or politics. The same is true for power within the sexual/relational context. Some do, some don’t.

Giving away power to your partner can be an immense erotic sensation. Being tied up, relatively helpless and being launched by your partner into your own fantasies and dreams – some people call that sub space – can be thrilling, relaxing and revealing at the same time. Pain, tickling and all sorts of other impulses – when administered with care and skill – can pump up your endorphins, giving you the same sensation sports people will sometimes feel. On the other hand, the dominant partner will feel the adrenaline and serotonine flow freely through his or her body, giving them a very powerful feeling and very intense and caring emotion at the same time. No, the people that do it don’t need the power element to be able to have an orgasm or an interesting and rewarding relationship, but yes, they do need the power element to be present and used in their relationship.

An umbrella for lots of different things

Erotic power exchange is a very individual, personal experience. That is why it is very hard to describe what it is exactly. The only element all these people – and that includes you – have in common is the fact that – for their own individual reasons – they are fascinated by the power element in a sexual/relational context. What they do, how they do it and why may be completely different things.

Erotic power exchange is an umbrella argument. One couple may fill it in as tying her up in bed, another may be fascinated by the idea of a “strange” man walking into the bedroom capturing her and a third may have a relationship where he serves her in any aspect. Many others will look for the spiritual and personal growths, this may bring about. Others are in it for the kink. All of that is quite all right, as long as it feels good for you and it brings you what you are looking for.

Erotic power exchange is like golf: it is highly individual, you are the master of your own game and you are also your own referee.

It is entirely about what you want to do. You do not have to copy others. You do not even have to agree with what others do. It is your game, your thoughts, your emotions and your fantasies. It is what you and your (future) partner share. It is being able to explore the borders of your mind and imagination in a very safe environment.

To many people erotic power exchange is not just about sex, but a lifestyle. Most people that do it will recognize it as something very personal, something very much belonging to themselves. To many it is a way to express themselves.

A definition of Erotic Power Exchange

Probably the most dangerous thing to do is to try and come up with definitions of erotic power exchange. Usually this will lead to furious discussions. However, the POWERotics Internet discussion group (one of the largest in its kind) managed to agree on a definition that seems a workable one as well as one that a large group of (Maledom/femsub oriented) people can agree upon. This is the definition, agreed upon by this group, plus the relevant notes about it.

* Erotic power exchange is defined as: voluntary and informed consensual acts of power exchange between consenting adults.

* Voluntary is defined as: not having received or being promised any – financial or non-financial – incentive or reward in order to try and coerce or force any of the partners involved into actions they would not consent to without such reward or incentive; not otherwise being forced or coerced (either through physical, mental, economical or social force or overpowering) into actions any of the partners involved otherwise would not consent to, of the own free will of all partners involved.

* Informed consensual is defined as: partners involved – prior to the act – have chosen voluntary to enter into acts of erotic power exchange and all partners involved – to the best of their knowledge – have made a serious effort to establish all other partners involved have a reasonable level of understanding of both the activities, they consented to, as well as the potential consequences and risks of such activities.

* Adults are defined as: of legal age in their area or country. Should such legal age be under 18 years of age, adult is defined as 18 years of age or older.All of the above may sound a little over the top to you – and in fact, to a certain extent we agree. However, it IS the first ever attempt to come up with a definition that is workable and that, although probably a little bit too “legal” for those inside the community, makes perfectly clear where the lines are drawn between consensual erotic power exchange on one end and abuse or outright sick or criminal behavior on the other.

Stigma & Truth

There are all sorts of knockdowns on the subject of erotic power exchange around, all of them often used by legislators as well as others who oppose erotic power exchange. All of these are based on assumed psychological or psychiatric “knowledge” or “facts”. The fact of the matter is that none of these are actually true or proven. We have collected the most common ones around and compared them with the real facts.

“Once you start, you will want more and more”

This is what pseudo-experts will introduce as the “stepping stone theory”.

In other words, once you have tasted the effects of, for example, pain, you will want more and more of it and it will end in excessive behavior and addiction. In fact there is no “stepping stone theory” (the term originates from research into the causes of drug-addiction in the late 1960’s and by the way the theory didn’t work in that area either) as far as erotic power exchange is concerned.

Fact number two is this. Like almost anything about erotic power exchange, there is hardly any serious and published scientific research on this subject. Next, nearly all research commonly referred to as being about EPE has been research done in individual cases or extremely small groups. Any conclusions, based on such research, are not valid for the entire group for simple statistical and mathematical reasons only, if nothing else. Research has predominantly been done by psychiatrists and psychologists – into cases that almost all relate to direct questions for help or significant health-related problems. And the objective of almost all of these articles is to promote the therapy of that particular therapist. General sociological research in the area of erotic power exchange is rare and, if available, has been done predominantly in the gay community or with such small – and country or area specific – research groups that it is impossible to draw any general conclusions in a responsible way.

Fact number three is that the reality of erotic power exchange shows an entirely different picture. People who are into erotic power exchange will usually start to experiment with it and in this experimental phase will usually want to explore all possibilities. As time progresses their emotions will settle down, pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and their wants and needs – once explored and identified – will settle down to the level that usually corresponds with the fantasies people originally had.

“The need to go into power exchange always hides a traumatic experience”

This knockdown is based on Freud who, as we all know, tried to explore the relationship between all sorts of human behavior – not only the sexual behavior – and (early) childhood experiences. His method is called psycho-analysis and in modern psychology is considered outdated and largely irrelevant.

Although it is a fact that some people who are into erotic power exchange have a history of abuse or childhood trauma, a general connection has never been established. What may be true in individual cases most certainly is not true as a general argument. What research did establish is that there are no significant differences between the number of people with traumatic experiences in the erotic power exchange community than there are in any other group.

More recent research points to both genetic influences as well as to a creative and inquisitive mindset as factors that may be of influence to the development of erotic power exchange feelings and emotions. However, this research is far from finalized and in fact again is only limited to individual cases, like most of the scientific research done in this area.

Another – relatively new – area that may play a role is the influence of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones, natural opiates, produced by the body and commonly known as “emotion” amino acids. Different mixtures of different types of endorphins will create different emotions. Some of these mixtures are created as a result of fear, stress and pain. What role they play when it comes to the development of erotic power exchange emotions is yet unknown.

“The need for power exchange points to a stern upbringing”

Again a “semi-Freudian” misconception and based on one case of one man, researched and published about by Freud.

The fact of the matter is that most of the people who are into erotic power exchange have had a perfectly normal youth and upbringing and the majority come from families where sexuality was a subject that could be discussed freely and openly. Again there may be individual cases where people had a stern – or sometimes very religious – upbringing but whether or not there are any connections between upbringing and erotic power exchange emotions in general is yet to be determined and probably very unlikely as far as the development of the emotions as such is concerned.

“People into erotic power exchange can not find full sexual satisfaction in other ways”

This is an outright lie, based on research done in cases of excessive clinical sadism and masochism (i.e. the mental illnesses). It is true that the severe mental distortions usually described as sadism and masochism may (but not always do) show this type of behavior. Erotic power exchange, however, has nothing to do with mental distortions but with perfectly normal erotic/sexual behavior between perfectly normal, well-adjusted, responsible adults.

People into erotic power exchange will usually consider their feelings and emotions important and will identify erotic power exchange as a lifestyle, but that does not mean they have a compulsive need. The lack of compulsive behavior in fact is what separates erotic power exchange from clinical sadists and masochists.

In fact in many cases people will identify their erotic power exchange emotions as entirely different from sexual emotions or – for example – an orgasm.

“Dominant men are just male chauvinists”

The fact of the matter is that the majority of dominant men are very caring, loving and open minded people – as are most dominant women by the way. The position of the dominant in erotic power exchange by definition requires a lot of understanding, caring, trust and most of all a great interest in the wants and needs and emotions of the submissive partner. What to the outsider may seem a very strict, direct, powerful and maybe sometimes somewhat aggressive looking macho man in fact is only role play, using symbols and role behavior but underneath is almost always a very caring person.

The average submissive partner, when asked, will usually describe the dom as understanding – generally knowing more about his submissive partner than (s)he does (or did) him or herself – supportive, careful, loving and protective.

“Submissive women betray the movement for women’s rights”

Being submissive and allowing these emotions to come out is a very self-confident statement and decision as well as a difficult and scary process. Submissive women are usually very self aware and are making very conscious decisions about their submissiveness. They are anything but “doormats” and have – generally speaking – gone through a long process of identifying and accepting themselves as well as their submissive feelings and emotions.

Just as dominant erotic behavior is not an indication of general dominance, neither is submissiveness an indication that the (wo)men will display submissiveness in every day life. Usually they will be anything but submissive, although it is a fact that as long as submissive emotions have not settled down, submissive women especially sometimes may have trouble separating some of their submissive feelings from other things.

The argument itself originates from hard line feminist activists who – predominantly out of fear for unwanted influence – try to separate women from other opinions than the ones such activists have.

“People who are dominant in every day life are submissive in bed and vice versa”

Sexual/erotic behavior is usually not an indication for any other form of social behavior, neither are there any proven links between the two. Dominants can have both dominant as well as non-dominant positions in every day life and the same goes for submissive’s. A female executive can be submissive in the bedroom, a male nurse can be dominant. The above statement is a classic example of stereotyping, mainly based on pornography and stories from prostitutes who – through indicating they have “socially important or significant customers” – in fact try to market their profession and often use arguments like these in a rather naive effort to gain more social acceptance and respect for their trade.

“Erotic power exchange is dangerous”

There are all sorts of stories around about accidents, that happened during erotic power exchange sessions. The most “famous” one around is the story about the man who – after cuffing his wife to the bed – climbed the nearest cupboard in an effort to jump on her, broke both his legs, fell into the locked closet and the couple had to wait for two days before help arrived. This story – like many others – is around in almost all countries and – like nearly all others – is a tall story. Of course, anything one does without sufficient knowledge can be risky or even dangerous. The truth of the matter is that safe, sane, voluntary and informed consensual erotic power exchange is perfectly safe, provided people know what they are doing.

Early Recollection

The vast majority (over 50 percent) of the people actively nurturing erotic power exchange emotions recollect fantasies about power role play at an early age, prior to their 18th birthday. Just about half of this group (in other words 25 percent of all BDSM-people) recollects having such fantasies before the age of twelve – quite frequently as early as six or seven.

Research by the POWERotics Foundation shows women usually recollect erotic power exchange fantasies and emotions earlier than men on average. Recollections of fantasies and emotions before the age of 12 for example are more frequent (24%) in the female group (men 16%). Very recent recollections, after their 18th birthday, are more frequent in the male group: 22% as opposed to only 5% in the female group.

There are no real differences when it comes to the importance of personal fantasies. Between 40 and 45 percent of both groups indicate that it have been these fantasies that triggered their erotic power exchange emotions. The same goes for the influence of books and general media on the development of such emotions. Around 20 percent of both groups indicate this as a trigger. There are, however, big differences when it comes to the influence of the Internet. Almost twice as many young women (15% opposed to 8%) name the Internet as a trigger of their emotions, whereas almost twice as many young men (11% versus 6%) say they have been influenced by pornography. It is important to notice however that the influence of both the Internet and pornography are only of minor influence, when compared to other triggers such as private fantasies and general media.

Young women in general consider erotic power exchange of a greater importance in their lives than young men. 53% of the young women consider it to be either a very important or the most important thing in their lives, whereas 44% of the men consider it important but have other priorities as well. Slightly more young men (12%) than women (10%) see erotic power exchange as just a kick.

Creating a Worldwide Network of Hockey Teams

As an adult, moving to a new city and finding new friends, sports teams, and hobbies can be difficult. Luckily there are websites for finding friends and thousands of groups you can associate with to meet new people. However, there is one group, or sport in particular, that doesn’t have a strong online community. That sport is ice hockey.

The current problem with online hockey sites and communities is that they stay within their respective clubs and leagues. This makes it hard for outsiders to learn more about the team, or even to know the team exists. Why aren’t hockey teams branching out and networking together? Is it that manly testosterone and love for fighting that so stereotypically is associated with hockey players that is preventing this? No. Quite simply, the problem is money. Hockey teams have enormous fees to pay: ice time fees, referee fees, insurance fees, teams fees, and more! Because of this, hockey teams that want a site or place to be recognized on the web have to resort to free webpages. These free webpages are best found on the team’s main league or even ice rink sites. When a team makes a page on their league’s website, it is pretty much game over in terms of publicity. Very rarely do league or rink sites network with other leagues in the surrounding area. This in turn makes it difficult for anyone to stumble upon the team’s page and therefore that page is only used by the current team members.

The solution to this problem would be to have a hockey community site that could address all these issues. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a worldwide community of ice hockey teams that were able to share photos and info for free? Sure you could try do this on Facebook, but it isn’t tailored to the needs of hockey teams. Hockey teams would need areas to display player stats, team standings, and most importantly, a way to be found through a search.

Luckily because of the improvements in web technologies and the recent boom of social media, we should start seeing sites offering these services soon. It is becoming easier and easier to create websites, and therefore it should prompt the less technically inclined sports players to start developing online gatherings. So cross your fingers and keep an eye out for sport networking sites, including those for hockey, as they are sure to pop up in the near future.

The Drowning of Stephan Jones – Bette Greene

A Critical View [Superfluously Speaking]

Bette Greene had the opportunity to develop a brilliantly complex theme: expose the truths that teenagers have problems with parents who failed to fit the mold of lofty expectations within a social setting that reeked of blatant ultra-conservative intolerance of personal habits, preferences, and beliefs that did not go with the flow of the mainstream of tradition and learned behaviors; that teenagers must cope with finding their own identities amidst the internal conflicts of emotional needs to be accepted, loved, and appreciated by their parents as well as their peers; and that offspring are affected by “inherited” roots that propagate an endless flow of continuously strengthening hatreds that derived from utterly flawed logic of misconstrued impressions.

The major intent appears to have been to examine the interaction of youth and adults in a prejudicial environment that will not tolerate alternative lifestyles and individual preferences. The bias is based on a morality that had its roots in religious fanaticism passed on through the generations. Carla’s reticence to be decisive is not believable because she shows moments of sophisticated insight which is not supported by her actions. Her need to be accepted and approved by Andy is undermined by her inherent sense of justice which is contradicted by her actions. She felt the need to reject Andy’s (A)venging (H)ero letter; but, she didn’t. She could easily have repudiated the arguments proffered by Andy with regard to religious support for his beliefs; but she wouldn’t despite the fact that she was depicted as bright enough to do so.

This story is like a Shoney’s all-you-can-eat buffet muddled by the superfluous problems the supporting cast. Judith Weyland’s social conflicts with the conservative majority provide the meat of another sorry tale of woe;

Lawrence Harris’s demeaning attitude towards his own son is not necessary to give credibility to Andy’s behavior since it is implausible that a father would treat his own son that way; Carla’s moral conflict with Andy shows that she is strong enough to exert her influence over him, but this strength is not perpetuated in those areas of the story where it was expected she would prevail. Reverend Wheelwright appears more a spectacle to ridicule than a model to respect. The sporadic eruption of biblical chapter and verse quotations from mouthy, insignificant others does little to help focus on the real problem, the reluctance of the righteous majority to accept those elements of society they neither understand nor embrace.

Chapters 17 and 18 provide the heart of the story during which time the foreshadowed drowning of Stephan Jones takes place as was anticipated from his confessed fear of water (chapter 8) and the involvement of Andy (chapter 2) as well as Stephan’s desire to be with Frank on earth and in the hereafter. The objectivity of the story loses its perspective as Ms. Greene commits the ultimate gauche act of hyping her own first novel (p.73) and allowing the malapropism prostate (instead of prostrate) to slip by (p.147) as well as the unfamiliar word creche (p.16) [instead of crèche]. Most unbelievable is the radical behavior of Reverend Wheelwright who comes across as more ignorant than reverent.

The writing style blends superficial detail emphasizing inane hyperbole with ragged cliches that elicit groans of impatience tempting imminent disposal of the loosely organized chapters that struggle vainly to grasp the point of a distinct social problem. The predictable sequence of events (pizza scene [chapter 7], drive to Campbell Yaw’s [chapter 17], drowning scene [chapter 18] left no suspense. Only the suggestion that something was in the newspaper under Frank’s arm hinted that something significant would happen. The ultimate shame that Andy would have to endure because of the lie that he started leaves one with a feeling that justice was not forthcoming. However, the ending does open up avenues for alternative endings to the story, resolutions that might seem more appropriate than a suspended sentence for cold blooded murder.

The reader may feel that he has partaken of a feast of problems, but the primary conflict, understanding and dealing with homosexuality in a conservative community, was left an untasted morsel lost on the shish kabob skewer that punctured the hearts of many problems and left them dead to a clearer understanding that teenagers so desperately deserve. My own feeling is that justice was not served and such injustices continue to prevail where highly paid lawyers find loopholes to not only release dangerous sociopaths but line their own pockets with far greater wealth than the thirty pieces of silver it took to betray Christ. I may well have preferred that Frank would have taken out an UZI and blown away Andy and his worthless horde; but, that would not have been an appropriate reaction for any youth to emulate. The fact that Frank was able to destroy Andy’s reputation as a “man” was sufficient enough, believable, and effective.

6 Easy Steps To Treat Back Acne Problem

Opppsss…acne again! Do you have a sexy back but feel embarrass to show them? Afraid to wear your favorite   swimming  suit or don’t have chance to wear a sexy back strap? This acne problem always happens to teenagers especially, but beware because sometimes back acne also attack adult. Back acne, which is also known as bacne, is caused mainly by perspiration clogging up pores, thus causing an inflammation of the pores. Another culprit is tight clothing that traps sweat and bacteria on skin, and irritates skin. Bacne is like a face acne problem but needs more cares and treatments to clear them up.

Get rid those acne by pamper your skin with the right way and the right products too – because when you make a mistakes in choosing the right products, it will make your skin getting worse. Here are simple steps to treat your back and clear up the problem so you don’t have to worry anymore and feeling more comfortable and confidence with yourself. Check it out gal!

Step #1 Cleanse

If you’re an active person and always out for exercise and have a rigorous session at the gym will make you sweat and bacteria really like those sweaty skin to stay. Take a refreshing shower to cleanse skin everyday and try not to skip even a day especially if you have a long hair and sweat a lot – rinse your hair to avoid it sticky and lay on your back. Just like how you’d treat acne-prone skin with products containing salicylic acid, do the same with bath products to keep bacne from re-occurring. Use a brush or loofah to gently buff skin and get rid of dead skin cells, dirt and excess sebum.

Step #2 Scrub

Alternatively, use a gentle scrub with finer granules to cleanse your skin. Spread on damp skin, and rub in circular motions, being careful to be extra gentle on blemished area, before rinsing and patting dry. Do scrubbing at least twice a week to exfoliate those dead skin but don’t make it too hard or it will swept away your natural skin moisturizer, make it dry and damaged your skin. Choose scrub with fines granules, the one that gives soothes effect and smell fresh – this will help you feel good about yourself.

Step #3 Moisturise

Keep skin hydrated to prevent dry and flaking, especially after scrubbing it. Try a moisturizer meant for blemish skin. To keep your skin smoothly and blemish clear, try looking for non comedogenic and dermatologically tested products to pamper your skin.

Step #4 Treat

Treat existing bacne with a topical ointment or any acne spot treatments, which use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in their formulation. This will help to dry up your acne faster without drying or irritate your skin. To get a good result, use the products as recommended to treat your skin effectively. Ask somebody to help you reach the hiding acne at the centre of your back. Don’t miss to treat them too and don’t you ever ask your friends to pick the zit because it easily spread to the other area which not effected yet. For hygienic, don’t share your towel or other toiletries with others and make sure you clean them regularly.

Step #5 Soothe

A blemish back is uncomfortable, so calm the inflammation with a soothing mist. Find the one which specifically to soothe blemish prone skin and effective in reducing the redness. Practice to spray regularly everyday so your back will feel more comfortable, calm and soothe no matter how stubborn your acne or how active you are. This feeling from the cooling process will reduce some kind of stress feeling cause by the inflammation.

Step #6 Mask

Like your face, your back also need masker to protect them from being greasy and clogging. If you need a bacne-fighting boost, try to give your back a treat with a deep cleansing mask once a week. This will help soften and smoothen skin as well as prevent clogged pores. Use masker that a little bit strong than the one you use for your face treatment.

However, bacne can be a bit more stubborn than normal acne as it’s in a hard-to-reach part of your body and also it happens rare. But once you have it, you will face difficulty to get rid it from you and you need to be passion – treat them with the right way. Remember, besides having a regular exercise, put attentions to what foods you take every day – drink a lot of water and take more fruits and vegetables in your diet. If the problem persists even after you’ve diligently followed these steps, consult a dermatologist. Prevent bacne now and don’t let that zit put you down and give an effect to your self-esteem. Good luck!;)

Family Activities For Summer

Nobody likes to be stuck in a house all day, especially when the weather is beautiful outside! Grab your family and find something interesting and entertaining to do. Use your imagination and explore the wonders of Summer.

There are many fun activities to do, and even more when there is a lake or forest close. You could go camping… yes, tents, sleeping bags, flashlights and lanterns, cooking over the fire, and the whole nine yards. It really is not as bad as you would think. Sure the ground can be a little hard, and you might get a little cold. All in all though, it is an awesome experience. Lying underneath the stars and just watching them is very calming.

Another thing kids and   adults  love to do in the summer is to go  swimming , so do it often and have fun as a family. Whether it is a pool or a lake get everyone together and go  swimming  as a family outing. You can take inner tubes, water balls, diving rings, almost any water toy and play a game and have fun with it. What else matters besides fun when you are having a family outing?

Other water activities could also be fun, for instance, who doesn’t love boating? Letting the wind whip through your hair, or diving off the back of a boat and  swimming  is major excitement for everyone. There are many things you can do while boating. Skiing, barefoot or with skis, tubing, water boarding, and wave boarding are some. You can do activities or just sit back for the ride. Either way it is always nice to spend a little quality time with the ones you love and care for.

Kids love animals, so take them to the zoo. What other place can you get to see exotic animals, feed the animals, watch them feed themselves, and play? The bears, tigers, lions, alligators, snakes, oh my, are so exciting. The zoo will have everyone in the family jumping for joy. After the zoo you could always take a walk in the park. Not only is this helping you exercise but gives you a chance to talk as a family. While in the park help your kids to fly a kite. Watching a kite fly up so high in the air always catches little one’s eyes. After you are done flying a kite maybe you hear a tummy growl. Have a picnic! With sandwiches, pickles, potato salad, macaroni salad, and whatever other yummy treat can fit in your picnic basket. Eating outside is always a reward.

Summer break doesn’t always have to bore your children or you either in fact. You just have to find activities you and your family love to do together. Even turning simple chores into games can be entertaining and fun, plus you getting housework done in the process. So when summer hits this year, you now know how to plan a family outing.

Ideas for Re-Designing Your Existing Swimming Pool

Whether you are tired of the same old look of your pool or you want to enhance it to match the appearance of a newly constructed home or landscape, consider a redesign as opposed to a totally new swimming pool. Pools can be re-designed to not only save the money on the cost of demolition of an old one and construction of a new one, but also to customise your pool to give it a whole new look.

Changing the Size and Shape

You may not realise that your existing pool can be deepened, extended, widened or even reshaped using the latest in concrete pool techniques. You are not bound by your current style and size. This is great news if you want to turn a shallow wading pool into one that you can dive into or perhaps change the shape to accommodate your new home or landscaping additions.

Altering Pool Designs and Appearance

The colour of the interior plaster finish, paint and tiling can be changed to create an entirely new look. With the latest advances in pool technology, you can get a Spectrum quartz finish which comes in a variety of textures and colours and can be complemented by designer tiles. You can invest a little extra in your pool re-design and get a mosaic tile pattern too which can be customised to your specific design scheme.

Adding Some Extra Features

With a pool re-design, you have the option of choosing some extra features which can really enhance your swimming experience. Pool landscaping such as additional paving, garden planter boxes, decorative fencing, raised platforms for lounging and water features such as fountains and water walls add visually appealing elements.

New lighting, particularly the kind that can change colours underwater can be quite interesting. Spa features are popular too, especially if you want a place to kick back and relax to enjoy hot, pulsating jets of water to ease muscle aches and pains.

Making your Re-Design a Reality

Regarding swimming pools and their re-design, it is best to work with a professional pool company to ensure your ideas can be made into reality. A professional can walk you through a re-design and let you know what is possible, given the current state of your pool. They will be able to create a solid estimate of cost as well as a timeline to complete the project, keeping building permits and specifications in mind. Re-designing your pool is an excellent option if you don’t want to demolish your old one and start over.