You Deserve a Stress-Free Life!

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L Scott Peck wrote a book called “The Road Less Traveled”. The first three sentences in the book read “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it”.

Is your life difficult? If your answer is yes, does that mean you have not seen the truth yet?

There is no real reason for life to remain difficult. I have realized long ago that life is actually a fascinating puzzle. As long as you only search for the next piece of the puzzle, the experience is painful, confusing, and not pleasant at all. You do not see the full picture. It is as if you are wearing a blindfold and ear plugs, and you find yourself on a set of stairs in the dark.

When you realize that there are so many ways to step back and see the bigger picture, you wonder why people would insist on remaining in the dark.

I am not talking about religion here. I am talking about obtaining knowledge that is much deeper and much more profound. I am talking about the secret to living an interesting, happy, fulfilled life.

There is no reason why anyone should continue to struggle from day to day.

I actually believe that the purpose of mankind is the incarnate to earth, learn some profound (and some more ordinary) lessons, and then return to eternity.

The proof that we have actually learned everything we needed to learn is when we die with a healthy body.

Of course this goes against much main-stream thinking that dying from illness is a given and medication brings some relief.

There are many cases where people get a “medical death sentence”, in other words they are told that they only have so long to live. Of course where people have a mindset that tells them medical doctors are always right, they would take such a sentence as gospel. They would continue to live the lives that brought them at that point, and they would them dutifully leave a sick body behind. Sometimes they will die ahead of schedule to prove the verdict was correct. Sometimes they will prolong their physical suffering because they will just not let go of things in this life. But what they will not do, is question whether there is an alternative to leaving a dis-eased body behind.

Of course there is also the group of people who get the same “medical death sentence”. For these people the verdict is a summons for them to reconsider everything in their lives. They question everything, from their eating habits to their life philosophies.

They make radical changes to their lives. Sometimes the changes are very visible, for example changing their eating habits. Other times the changes are less visible, for example exploring their bodies with an inner eye and “weeding out” all the cells that are dead or dying. This “weeding out” process is a conscious process of identifying the areas in the body where there are energy blockages.

At the same time the “weeding out” process is an unconscious process where the person’s thinking changes. Where this happens, true healing takes place. The result is a healthy spirit which is reflected in a healthy body.

Have you ever wondered why people with healthy bodies die? Surely if life was just about having a healthy body, then a healthy body would guarantee eternal life?

The answer lies in the reason we get born. We come to this earth because we have a specific life script. We live that life script and we learn eternal lessons about ourselves. Where we achieve success, we leave this earth. Our bodies are still healthy because we have achieved our objective, and the energy flow in and around our bodies is unhindered.

Where we resist those experiences and lessons, we build up energy blockages in our bodies. These energy blockages convert into such discomfort that it is eventually expressed as physical or emotional illness.

If we make the required changes in our lifestyles and our thinking, we remove the energy blockages.

If we resist the changes that are required, we reinforce the energy blockages and the physical or emotional pain gets worse. If we resist change to the extent that our bodies can simply no longer cope with the burden, we leave those sick bodies behind.

Is that the end of the journey? No. We return later on for different lives and we keep going until we have learned what we needed to learn. Then we die again, leaving healthy bodies behind.

Stress is a symptom of resistance to change. This could be resistance to a physical change, or a change in thinking, or a change in the way we manage our emotions.

There is no need at all to grow old and sick if we can grow old and wise. We can remove that stress and feel healthy and content. The choice is ours.

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My Different Types of Music Students

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This is a little bit, about how I became a small time music teacher. My own music teacher was a longhaired, short, stout guy named Timir. He taught music in our company sponsored classes on each Sunday. I was already playing around with my guitar for a few months before I gathered enough courage to go and have a peek into his class.

A lot of people surrounded him as it was one introduction class and he was saying “The first thing you need to do is to buy a guitar” … and he explained what make the guitar should be etc…

So I joined the class and got his default indifference in return. I learned later that he was indifferent to you by default until you showed up at least 5 times in a row. Later I learned the reason… most people came with visions of rock starts jumping around or lover boys sitting with a girl playing a song on guitar.

However, when they find out that they can’t even play a chord or a succession of 5 notes decently after 3 weeks of practice, their dreams give in to reality and their guitars put for sale in our company website.

Music teaching can be quite interesting… as I became more proficient; I found a few wide-eyed ‘fans’ surrounding me. It appears that I was the only student among a hundred or so who could play the guitar and also sing decently at the same time.

So I became a little, half-learned teacher in my own right. The girls particularly seem quite fascinated with anybody just trying to sing, let alone somebody who can carry a tune to some degree of dignity.

So soon, I was a music teacher, however small time. I went to music website (s), downloaded some chords, did some practice and would play it for girls, ignore boys and then go ahead and be joined by some other girls during lunch. It has been happening for some time now and I am really enjoying it. During this time, I have learned a little about teaching music in the meanwhile.

To keep students returning to you for some time, first thing is to impress a new student by playing your best song. You have to become their instant role model or you will soon lose them. Myself, I was not concerned with any payment, since I didn’t get any.

Therefore, if it is a boy, I tell him how hard it is going to be and that it’s a long journey etc. However if it’s a girl, I just encourage her to come here and learn with me for a long time. Then, there are sincere students and there are quick result seekers. The sincere types are interested in basics while the others are happy to learn a tune half-heartedly and play it in more mediocre manner.

There are those who are systematic and then there are trigger-happy types. The trigger-happy ones come in two varieties, first is just impatient. This type will keep making same mistakes and not really learn at the end of it. Then there are talented cowboys, who are impatient because they learn things very fast.

I like this type, as they give me instant credit of teaching some trick so well. There are some who are stuck in a rut; they just keep playing the same thing for months without realizing that they haven’t really progressed. Then there are those who wouldn’t finish a tune halfway before jumping to another.

I have developed my own tastes for students for whom I am really willing to spend some effort. Of course, all girls qualify, but for filtering others, I am learning my own (real) music teacher’s tricks on avoiding some and focusing on others. I think an 80/20 principle applies well to music teaching as in any job, which requires a lot of patience and hard work.

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Don’t Let Fear Distort Your Thinking

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Just imagine there is a coiled cobra in a sealed glass box 3 feet away. You approach the box and the snake rears up,

What is your reaction?

Well I know what mine is because I have had the unique experience of coming face to face with a King Cobra in the wild! I was walking into a red dirt driveway of a house in Uganda and a rather large Cobra slithered out of a bush on the right side of the driveway and headed in my direction. I was directly in its path and I froze to the spot.

Not because I thought it was the thing to do …but because of fear!

The snake slide right in front of me and into the bush on the other side. In retrospect it was the right thing to do but believe me I did not use my brain to work it out, it was total reflex!

It’s called the flight or fight response and it’s a reflex response to fear. It’s a reflex that has evolved in the human brain to protect us and that day in Uganda it had protected me.

If fear usually leads us to a reflex response,then is the response always the right one to do? Could a better response to fear be to think first and react later?

In my case No!

Using my brain to think of a response would have been too slow and by the time I had worked out what to do the snake may have had its lovely fangs on my leg!

The flight or fight response is great when we are in physical danger like my example above but can let us down when it comes to an emotional danger like the fear of losing money.

In circumstances where we are dealing with money and investing in our business then it would be more useful to use our more logical, rational and slower system in our brain rather than the reflex response.

Fear of losing or fear of failure can hold us back and especially if we have already lost money buying into opportunities or services. Right now many of us are afraid of the unknown, especially with our financial future. All around us people are losing their jobs, companies are going bankrupt and houses are being reprocessed at an alarming rate. Well known brands that have been around for years are going under.

Take Woolworths …who would have thought?

We feel that with a mortgage and bills to pay the economy can quite easily wipe us out. How I handle this fear is to search online for opportunities to make money and I have done this by moving from one opportunity to another with each one failing.

It was always the system that was wrong and not until now did I actually take a step back and look at myself.

What was I actually good at? What gift did I have? And What actually keeps me happy?

All the time I was working in my lecturing job, I was looking for something different instead of looking inwards and seeing my strengths. Once I had started to see my strengths then things started to happen. The success energy in my mind opened and I knew what I had to do to create a financial future for myself and my family.

When I knew what I was capable of and started believing in myself then my outcome changed.

As I took action on my desires to create a better life I started to tap into my own personal power and the fear moved away, Just like the Cobra had moved in front of me and away from me into the bush on the other side, out of sight.

Once you start tapping into your strengths and enjoy what you are doing things start to happen. If you want to build an online business then instead of looking around for what you think will work and make you money, start homing in on something you enjoy and something you know you are good at…the rest will follow.

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The DNA of a Leader

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I recently watched Brian Williams, the Channel 4 news anchor, discuss what he called “the DNA of the athletes” during a break in the Winter Olympics. He said people who competed in dangerous sports, whether in the Olympics or NASCAR racing, shared similar qualities. These athletes were energized by the challenge: the riskier the better, the more seemingly unattainable, and the harder they trained. Further, Williams said it was in their DNA and they are not like us, aka “normal people.”

So I started wondering about the DNA of successful leaders. Did they have ingrained traits that enabled them to achieve their goals and grow their enterprises faster and farther than their peers?

It sure seemed so. What, for instance, did Bill Gates, former GE CEO Jack Welch, and Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson, have in common?

I found answers after my second reading of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers.” Gladwell points to the propitious timing of Gates’ birth, for example. Gates was able, through luck and being in the right place at the right time, to get free computer lab time to learn about desktop computing. He spent more than 10,000 hours focused on everything to do with the new field of desktop computing.

I then wondered how we might translate Gladwell’s hypothesis and learn what made a successful innovator? Were there common threads running through the success of the people he profiled?

And what about the rest of us, who are not lucky, or born at the right time and place?

Here are some correlations that occurred to me:

• Find a field of study that you consider fun. Let your curiosity guide the way. And then learn everything you can about your chosen subject. If you truly love it, it won’t seem like work. That will make the next step manageable.

• Spend at least 10,000 hours perfecting your skills in your chosen field. If you are going to lead people you need to know your field from top to bottom. Yes, that takes years, but what else are you doing that’s more important?

• Surround yourself with smart people. All of Gates’ early influences were teachers and friends who had the same, or greater, passion and intelligence.

• Listen, read and learn from role models who have gone before you. Don’t be afraid to approach someone you admire in your field, asking for 10 minutes of their time a month to get their perspective.

• Be willing to experiment, fail and try again. Nobody is successful 100% of the time. The more failures/rejections you collect, the closer you are to success.

• Develop values to live by. Do you want to be known for fairness? Integrity? Transparency? Boldness? Creativity? You can build your reputation by leading with your values.

• Find ways to help others be successful. This will bolster your network and come back to you triple fold. The best leaders start with asking their employees what they need to succeed in their jobs.

Notice how many of the above correlations cover the same ground: hard work and dedication, taking risks, being bold, and inspiring people. These behaviors may not be part of your “DNA,” but they can be mastered. I can’t think of a better use of your time.

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Free Your Heart – Discern Your Vocation

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Not long ago I published an article entitled Vocational Discernment – 5 Secrets. Since then I’ve discussed more in-depth how to discover your personal mission, how to know God and yourself better through daily meditation, the need for virtue to know more and more of God’s will, and the power of balance for setting us free to follow God’s will. Today I want you to focus on freedom of heart.

Each virtue has its role in our spiritual journey. And for discernment, it’s freedom of heart. Without that, you are not free to embrace God’s Will, and if you aren’t free to embrace it, then God in His infinite Mercy is going to wait till you’re ready. Yes, sometimes it seems like he’s stretching you beyond what you’re ready for, but that’s only because you don’t know how far you can really go till you get pushed beyond your comfort zone.

FOCUS ON GOD’S GLORY

My point is this: To discern more quickly and easily you have to get totally focused on the greater glory of God. If that’s your focus, anything is possible. St. Ignatius of Loyola, still “the man” when it comes to discernment, says that you can discern in two weeks if you pray and possess freedom of heart. Still to get there, you have to get rid of 3 very common obstacles. The first thing you want to do is to…

GO FOR PURITY

Obstacle #1: voluntary, disordered sexual urges. Now we all have involuntary sexual urges except perhaps the great saints, and that includes both married and unmarried people. Still, there is an abyss between experiencing these sensations “by accident” and seeking out sexual stimuli: Ogling girls (or guys), looking at images, consciously using your imagination. With all that going on in your head how are you ever supposed to hear God’s Will? Honestly you’ve got other priorities, you know?

Here’s 2 quick ways many have used to get free:

First, pray 3 Hail Mary’s every day for purity of mind, body, and heart. Quick. Easy. And Mary comes through big time.

Second, at a certain point I used a trick Doug Weiss teaches in his book Sex, Men, and God. He calls it the rubber band technique. All you do is start wearing a rubber band on your wrist. Any time you catch yourself giving in to sexual urges either by looking with your eyes or by fantasizing, you snap the rubber band. Ouch! Yeah, it stings a little, but it teaches your brain, “Hey, this is not good behavior. This ultimately leads to ultimate pain, that’s right, hell…”

FREE YOUR HEART

Obstacle #2: Romantic interests. I’m just going to come out and say it: If you’re dating, you’re not really discerning between marriage and consecration. You are discerning marriage with that particular person. Let’s turn the tables for a moment. What would you tell your best friend to do if they wanted to discern their vocation but was dating someone? Would you tell them to keep up the relationship? Wouldn’t you ask them: How can your heart be free if you are spending tons of time, energy, and focus on building a romantic relationship?

If you want to discern quickly and painlessly, go on a dating fast. Take a break, a real break, not just a pretend break. Give yourself 6 months, maybe even a year, 3 months is probably an absolute minimum. Remember the goal is interior freedom, not just some exterior action. Hey, Jesus promises: “Whoever leaves house and mother and wife, etc for my sake and the Gospel will receive 100 times more in this life and eternal life…” If you want a person that’s 100 times better than you have right now (and eternal life as a bonus) give up the relationship. At the very worst, God will find a way to bring you back together, ok?

Obstacle #3: Family issues. These basically come in 3 forms. 1) At least one parent tries to push you to live their dream for you life. 2) Your parents gave a very bad example of marriage and you don’t want anything to do with commitment in marriage or perhaps even in any form. 3) Drama: fighting, illness, etc…

To avoid #1, it’s best to keep quiet about your discernment until you really feel a pull one way or the other. Sometimes its necessary to ask parents for space on this issue, explaining that you want to be free.

As for #2, let me ask you this: Is commitment the problem, or is it something else? You and I both know, its something else. So let’s stop blaming commitment and get to the truth. The truth is commitment is not the problem, more often than not, a lack of commitment is the real problem. The solution to the deepest desires of your heart is commitment, giving yourself completely. That’s what gives you the most joy.

When it comes to drama, the best thing would be to get out of the problem setting for at least occasional periods of discernment. If this isn’t realistic, you can use the problem frame, a series of questions that can help to get some clarity and some hope:

  • What’s great about this? (“Nothing,” right? Well what could be great about this if you wanted to find something great?)
  • What’s not perfect yet? (“Everything,” right? Well, what specifically isn’t perfect yet?)
  • What am I willing to do to make things how I want/how God wants?
  • What am I no longer willing to do to make things how I/God wants?
  • How can I enjoy the process of making things how I/God wants?

OTHER ISSUES

Various forms of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, as well as substance abuse, eating disorders, and other addictions and traumas can all be obstacles on the road to freedom. These issues require more than can be said in a brief article and often professional help with someone trained in Neurolinguistic programming, brief therapy, strategic therapy, provocative therapy, thought-field therapy, or strategic intervention is your best bet.

Freedom means saying: Whatever you want God. You want me consecrated, ok. You want me married, ok. And when you reach this balance like a set of scales after much teeter-tottering, then God will move your heart as he sees fit, and your way becomes clear as a bell… God bless. Live from your heart.

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Do X-Rated Foreplay (Enjoy Variety in Sex)

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Use the phenomenal power of anticipation in order to do x-rated foreplay with your woman. X-Rated foreplay is all about teasing each part of her body with extreme sexual anticipation. Using the power of anticipation requires unpredictability and excitement. When you keep the excitement alive with unpredictable variety in sex, she is much more connected to you and verbalizes her feelings through her body. Many guys begin to drool suddenly when they feel intimate with their partners. They do not understand that they can enjoy the sexual ecstasy in a wide range of ways.

There are many secret techniques that work well when it comes to generate sexual anticipation. I know that some of you tried to add anticipation during love making session. You perhaps do not know that anticipation can be started right from the beginning. The anticipation which you start right from the beginning, in order to enjoy sexual ecstasy throughout the day, can be called as x-rated anticipation.

WHAT IS X-RATED ANTICIPATION?

X-Rated anticipation is all about keeping her sexual entire day, without even touching her. I know you have read several times that anticipation can be created only in foreplay sessions. So, are you surprised to know that you can keep her sexual throughout the day without touching her? Fortunately, it is entirely possible. When you keep her sexual right from the beginning, you not only create x-rated anticipation but also activate all the senses of her in sexual ways. So, how to keep her sexual right from the beginning before doing x-rated foreplay?

You can make a woman feel sexual all day by doing many things. For example, Order her to look exotic by wearing something different. You can suggest her to wear high heels, gangster’s hat, earrings and tie. These things do the magic on a woman’s sexuality. Moreover, a woman feels extremely sexual when she adopts a naughty identity. Naughty attires intensify the sexual feelings inside her and ignite all of her senses. It is not essential to buy something new. You can tell her to wear your shirt with sexy shorts. A woman feels thoroughly sexy when she wears a man’s shirt. In addition, it would be great if you gift her mistress boots. Boots not only shape the body of women in best way but also make them proud of their sexuality. So, these things not only create extreme anticipation but also add variety in sex and romance. It has been said that, when you make her feel proud of her sexuality and let her shine like a bright star, she loves being under your authority and worships you entire life.

Variety in sex, or in life, always keeps a relationship delightful and sexual. When you add sexual variety in your relationship, you become the erotic world for your woman. There are many other ways that can ignite the passion in your relationship and keep the eroticism alive. For example, if you want to keep your woman sexual, fit, sexy, hot and playful then use the power of dance. Dance is the only thing that keeps the attraction alive in many ways. It strengthens the body muscles of your woman and keeps her sexy. Also, dance improves the figure and persona of a woman. If your woman is shy then you can not only boost her confidence with the power of dance but also make her extremely sexual. Also, it is a win-win deal for you when you order her to learn dance.

Now, it is the time to roll up your sleeves and create actual anticipation. As I told earlier, there are many ways for creating x-rated anticipation and adding variety in sex. So, never limit yourself with a single manner. Apply these precious tips and keep on enjoying sexual ecstasy in your life.

DO X-RATED FOREPLAY (ADD VARIETY IN SEX)

Do you know what women hate about you? Women hate you if you only focus on intercourse. They need a man who can provide them variety in sexual sensations. Are you that man who can provide variety in sex with x-rated foreplay? I should also mention that x-rated foreplay is all about enjoying the sexual sensation for hours. It not only connects a woman emotionally with you but also ignites her with sexual ecstasy.

My one friend, who was an artist, always makes a woman fall in love with him instantly, in foreplay sessions. He told me that women want eroticism in foreplay sessions. If you want to do x-rated foreplay then you have to be a great receiver and great provider. In foreplay sessions, he only focuses on women’s pleasure and enjoys the warmth of women’s body for several hours. He keeps on flooding women with extreme sexual pleasures. You would be surprised to know that he loves giving extreme pleasure. That’s why, women drool all over him. His wife thinks that she is the luckiest woman on this planet. When you turn yourself into an excellent provider, you not only add variety in sex but also turn a woman into a passionate lover.

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Living With and Training a Deaf Dog

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Owning a dog that has no hearing can be both a rewarding and educating experience. Owning a dog that has good hearing and sight can often lead us into being a little lazy, when it comes to establishing effective patterns of communication between us and our pet. For the most part we struggle through with a few voice commands and maybe the occasional hand signal, that often change depending on the situation. Fortunately, in a lot of situations our dogs learn to navigate their way around our impromptu communication style and, begin to ‘catch on’ to what it is we want from them.

Owning a deaf dog however is a different story; many owners of deaf dogs testify to how much their lives have changed since their deaf dog come to live with them. Often, deaf dog owners talk in terms of how different and, in many cases how much better their relationship is in terms of both communication and depth

Variation sentence 4.

A dog can be deaf due to a number of reasons; many dogs are born deaf. This type of deafness is referred to as Congenital Deafness, it’s cause is due to a defective gene. Other causes of deafness in dogs are usually the result of accidents, illness or old age.

If you are thinking of sharing your life with a deaf dog, then understanding, patience and, a willingness to adapt will put you in good stead. Amongst the most important things to consider are keeping your new pet safe, developing an appropriate means of communication, and making your home a comfortable and, secure place for your dog to live.

Dogs that are deaf are prone to being touch sensitive and, can also become startled much easier that dog who have no problems with their hearing, for example, if somebody approaches them from behind and touches them, or if roused from sleep. When owning a deaf dog you will need to keep this in mind and, adapt the ways in which you approach and, handle your dog. This is especially important for those with young children, as children can be boisterous at times and, a child running up and touching a dog that can not see him or her coming could cause the dog to become nervous or even try to bite.

To help your deaf dog adjust, try approaching him head on, stamping your feet as you approach your dog from behind can also be very helpful, as the vibrations will alert him. If you have children teach them to approach your dog calmly and to touch him gently.

If your deaf dog is particularly touch sensitive, try to help him become accepting of your touch by giving him a tasty food treat each time you pet him. With practice, your dog will begin to associate your ‘unexpected’ touch with a feeling of pleasure.

Two more important things to consider when making your home a safe and pleasurable place for your dog are, not to leave doors or gates open, so as your dog can escape and be left unattended, as this could be disastrous. If your new dog is going to be left alone for some time during the day, you may consider it wise to train him to spend time in a dog crate. However, do keep in mind due to your dog not being able to hear he may become restless, or even frightened at being left alone in his crate. Deaf dogs can also be particularly prone to separation anxiety, so do make sure your dog has plenty to occupy himself with during the time he spends alone.

The biggest dangers posed to your deaf dog will be when you are out and about, especially if you live in a town or city, where there is a lot of traffic. Keep your dog on his leash, at least until you are in a place where it is safe to manage him off leash. However, it is important to do this only when your dog is performing a consistent recall.

Working on building a way of communication that both you and your dog are familiar with is vitally important to sharing your life with a deaf dog. As your dog will not be able to hear you, only hand signals will do. In fact dogs are well ahead of us in terms of being able to read body language. You can use hand signals taken from sign language designed for humans, for example, British or American sign language, or use signs from these languages that have been adapted especially for using with dogs, or alternatively you can design your own signs. Using smiles and mouthing your commands will also help to reinforce your new hand signals, however, the key is keep your hand signals consistent and simple, so as not to cause your dog to become confused.

In reality owning a deaf dog is not that much different to owning a dog that has his hearing in tact. All is needed is a little extra patience, understanding, love and, a little work on your part and, you will come to develop a relationship with your dog that is difficult to compare.

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Norton Motorcycles Live On

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James Lansdowne Norton, the father of the company, began the story in 1898 with a factory that made cycle chains in Birmingham, UK, but by 1902 he was importing engines from Switzerland and France to create his own motorcycles, and success followed quickly with a Norton ridden by Rem Fowler winning the twin-cylinder class at the first Isle of Man TT race. This was the start of Norton’s long lasting love affair with racing, which didn’t end until the 1960’s. The prize that everyone coveted was the ‘Isle of Man Senior TT”; a race that Norton’s went on to win ever year from 1947 to 1954 to add to their ten titles claimed between the wars. Norton built their own side-valve, single engine in 1908, which served them well until the 1950’s.

However, after a solid start, the business saw a downturn and faced extinction, only to be saved by R.T.Shelley & Company who created Norton Motors. James Norton became a director of the company, but sadly died at the young age of 56 in 1925, but not before he saw his motorbikes win the Isle of Man TT Senior and Sidecar categories in 1924. Walter Moore designed the CS1 engine in 1927, but left the company for NSU in 1930, leaving Arthur Carroll to come up with a completely new OHC engine which was to become the bedrock of future OHC and DOHC singles. Norton had been buying Sturmey Archer gearboxes and clutches, but when the company discontinued production in 1934, Norton purchased the design rights and asked Burman, a gearbox manufacturing company, to pick up the reins.

After the Second World War, Norton needed to pick up production, so began introducing more models, with the Norton Dominator 500 appearing in 1949. However, the marque’s mastery in racing was being challenged by AJS (who won the first World Championship) and multi-cylinder Italian models. In that premier World Championship year, Norton only managed fifth place. In 1950, the McCandless brothers of Belfast developed the ‘Featherbed’ frame, which shot Norton back to the top again. The Dominator took on the ‘Featherbed’ frame in 1951 and success on the race track transferred to the public sector, but despite this, Norton found itself in financial difficulties and in 1953 was purchased by Associated Motorcycles, who also owned AJS and Matchless. Sadly the factory in Birmingham closed in 1962 when production was moved to Woolwich in London. A silver lining to this development manifested itself in the shape of a new, better version of the Norton gearbox which was used on all of the larger models under the AMC banner and in 1955, the Dominator 99, powered by a 600cc engine, was added to the catalogue.

By 1960, a new version of the ‘Featherbed’ had arrived on the scene which accommodated shorter riders. The altered upper frame rails made the bike slimmer and reduced the width between the rider’s knees. This frame was to become known as the ‘Slimline’ and the original, the ‘Wideline’. In 1961, a 650cc Manxman was offered to the American market and a year later the Norton 650SS and Atlas 750 were introduced in Britain.

The Japanese invasion in the 1960’s hit Norton, hard, along with the rest of the British motorcycle industry, leading to the failure of AMC in 1966. The fledgling company of ‘Norton-Villiers grew from the ashes, and the famous Commando resulted in 1969, which proved to be the most powerful and best handling British motorcycle of the day. A choice of dual or single carburettors was offered along with the style of choice, including Scrambler, Street Model or a Tourer which was badged as the ‘Interstate’. Electric start became available in 1974, but despite these improvements, the company once again fell into decline and went into liquidation in 1975. In 1972 BSA was also struggling, and in order to secure government help, was forced to merge with Norton-Villiers to form the Norton-Villiers-Triumph company. The ‘Triumph’ name came from BSA’s Triumph subsidiary. Moving of production to BSA’s Smallheath site caused industrial unrest at Triumph’s Coventry factory. The workers at Triumph finally created a co-operative and went on alone. 1974 saw the release of the 828 Roadster, but the company was in dire straits and by 1975 was only producing two models.

The 80’s and 90’s was an unsettled time for the company, with ownership changing hands several times, both in the USA and Britain, but was purchased in 2008 after 15 years of US ownership, by British businessman Stuart Garner, so the marque that carried Che Guevara on his South American adventure lives on.

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Online Trade Winds

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A few bends ago on the online marketing road, I registered and

got paid hosting for a website I have been marketing for years.

Now some people may say that is minor step, but for someone who

lives on a rock in the Caribbean Sea that is a privilege.

I happen to live in a society that is still grappling with

technology but is slowly catching on. The average man on the

street feels that you are a geek once you are into computers when

in fact you were in the same mindset as him before you first

started out.

Being on online marketer sets you up for a roller coaster ride

which if you are not prepared for, can leave you throwing up

before the ride ends. Online marketing is not a go-kart race but

is more akin to the Dayonta 500, so you better dig in for a long

ride.

I built and ran my first website on someone else’s computer for

years because I could not afford one. I did this using free

hosting services until I could pay for hosting and upgrade my

website. That made me feel so vulnerable at times of placing my

best interests in the hand of another, but business is a gamble

and I took my chances.

Instead of feeling disheartened, I used this as a catalyst for my

growth. Here I was hearing complaints from others about the lack

of opportunities, yet there was a goldmine right on the

playground of the young- the internet.

Online marketing is a great teacher for all. It forces you to

forget about me and start thinking about us. It is not a game

where you hide behind a computer screen and shoot off emails to

thousands hoping that you will get rich. It is all about building

relationships which will determine if you sink or float.

Personality is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. It is

an under used strategy that much has not been written about. Mark

you though, just because you have a Brad Pitt personality that means

you are already successful, instead it should compliment

your other strengths.

The internet is a very powerful communicating and marketing tool

that has changed several aspects of our lives. You can shoot off an email

to someone halfway around the globe and it arrives quicker than

an elevator ride to the first floor.

It pains me daily that persons who want a cheap business tool don’t

know about it and some who have access to the net use it only to

read emails and play Yahoo games. I happen to work at a computer

lab and many of the persons who I have recommend the internet to

as a business tool never even tried it once. Nothing baffling

about that though.

Online marketing moreso the Net are fairly young when compared to

most offline businesses and there is still plenty of time and

space to hop on board. It will take you some amount of time,

strength, courage and persistence to achieve your set goals. But

at the end of the day you have something you can call your own.

Though I have not earned my first five figure check, these

thoughts are what inspire me daily to help further the growth of

the net. Strange huh, the net grows, my business grows, my bank

balance grows, your business grows……..

Copyright © Nicholas Dixon

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Review: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas From Galveston

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I had planned this cruise for seven months. A friend and I who had previously cruised with Carnival and Celebrity were eager to try Royal Caribbean after hearing so many positive things about the beauty of the ship, quality of food and service, etc. For the second time, I surprised my retired parents by taking them with us (the previous year I had surprised them with an Alaskan cruise which I will review later), and they were absolutely giddy with excitement when they found out that they would once again be traveling aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which they claimed was their favorite ship of 13 other cruises they had taken. With the ship fresh out of dry dock for upgrades, were set to go to some brand-new destinations none of us had ever visited: Roatan Island, Honduras and Belize City. Expectations were high.

Then cruise time came. While I am not prepared to say that we had a BAD time on this cruise, I think it is fair to say that our expectations were a bit deflated, pretty much from the minute we arrived at the Port of Galveston. Allow me to take you through the high and low lights of life on the high seas aboard Navigator of the Seas.

The Highs

Our dining experience– Most definitely the best service we received on the ship was in the main Sapphire Dining Room, which is without a doubt the most gorgeous dining room I have seen on a cruise ship. Walking into the dining room is like entering a regal opera house complete with grand stair case and three levels of dining with windows on each side. Our two servers were extremely attentive, noting my step-mother’s preference of making her own ice tea with two glasses of ice, 2 tea bags and some hot water, which was waiting for her every night after night one. I could fault her for being a “tea snob,” but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror with my Starbucks in hand turning my nose up at Folgers. All of us enjoyed the variety of meal choices and thought the food was of very high quality, with service running like clock work. It was truly a pleasure to dine each evening.

Here we are at dinner. I am the goof-ball in blue.

The Cabin– Inside cabin 7667 (Aft Port) was home sweet home for our week at sea. My parents were right next door in 7669. For an inside cabin, there was plenty of room to stow all of our stuff and have a completely clear space to move in. I would say the bed was a bit hard, but it’s all about your preference as my friend and traveling partner Jay (the guy in purple) said his was just right. Ample closet and drawer space allowed us to each have sufficient space to unpack. Our steward service was also top-notch, re-stocking and tidying up twice daily.

The ship– Navigator is definitely a beautiful ship. Of note is the Royal Promenade, a series of shops, restaurants and bars running aft to forward giving cruisers the feel of strolling down a cobblestone street while at sea. I recommend the Two Poets Pub for some nice ambiance and people-watching. The main atrium is gorgeous, and the various lounges and bars are designed with a very classy yet comfortable feel. The pool deck is also impressive, featuring two main pools flanked by several hot tubs, some of which are shaded. For the most part there are plenty of chairs both in and out of the shade, but if your cruise is full you had better get there early to snag one. We also thought the nightclub overlooking the pool deck with its floor-to-ceiling windows added a nice touch to the ship’s offerings. The ship’s casino is also pretty decent, but since smoking is allowed in there, you may come out smelling like an ash tray.

Overlooking the Royal Promenade

The Grand Atrium

Beverage Package–Three of us on this cruise had the premium package for $55 per day, but since my dad only drinks beer, we got him the basic package. At first glance, this package might seem a bit pricey (Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages are some of the most expensive at sea), but overall we got our money’s worth. What I especially liked was that basically nothing on the drink menu was off limits short of the super premium stuff. You could even opt for Grey Goose vodka at no extra charge. The flip side here is the bar service (see below).

Theatre Entertainment–If you ever find yourself on Navigator of the Seas, don’t miss the ice-skating show. It is fantastic and was much better than I thought it was going to be. We also enjoyed the Elton John impersonator, the bar flair show and the adult game show.

The Lows

Embarkation/Debarkation–The words fiasco, nightmare, eternity and disorganization come to mind for both. This was hands-down the WORST embarkation/debarkation process I have ever experienced, and my parents who had been on 13 previous cruises agreed. We should have expected this when Royal Caribbean sent us out an e-mail prior to the cruise instructing us to arrive at certain times based on the deck on which our cabin was located. As it happened, we had flown into Houston, and our transfer dropped us off right at the time we were supposed to be there, which was 12:30 p.m. We did not step foot on the ship until almost 2 p.m, as we were stuck two different lines, both of which were extremely slow-moving. This is definitely not the way you want to start your vacation, and very few smiles were to be found in the security and check-in lines. Mind you, I totally expect a bit of a wait checking in, but this was just ridiculous. I think the longest wait I have ever experienced prior to this was 30 minutes tops. I definitely expressed my dissatisfaction to the check-in lady.

Debarkation was practically just as bad. Since we had a driver waiting for us, we opted for the self check-out and were given a specific time and place to meet. We have done this on other cruises with minimal waiting, with customs officers boarding the ship to collect forms. In the past, we have basically just walked off the ship. Not this time. When we arrived at the appointed spot we then waited another good 45 minutes just to be allowed to disembark. Once off the ship, guess what? Another line, another 45 minutes to pass through customs. I ended up being a charged an additional wait fee by my driver, thanks to Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston.

Bottom line–I will never cruise from Galveston, Texas again as they clearly do not have the ability to handle the volume of people that cruise ships have. Basically, Royal Caribbean left a negative first impression and a negative last impression.

Service–Aside from our servers at dinner, service in the bars and lounges on this ship was average at best and certainly not what I am accustomed to on a cruise. While some bartenders were standouts, it generally took forever to get a drink and often you felt as if you were a bother to the bartender or server. The worst service was probably at the pool bar. Some might say that I am too demanding, but when I spend my hard-earned money on vacation I want decent service. Period. I didn’t really get it on this cruise. My parents also commented that “things just weren’t the same on this cruise” as their previous experience on Navigator of the Seas.

Kids, kids, kids– OK, I am probably going to get some eye-rolls for this, and maybe for some it wouldn’t be a negative, but there were just too many kids taking over the main pool area on this ship. As with anyplace else, parents are partially to blame here, allowing their little monsters to run amuck and splash others in the main pool, but I fault Royal Caribbean for not enforcing pool rules. On past cruises, kids weren’t even allowed in hot tubs, but they were in this one. Granted, there is an adults-only pool and hot tub, but the problem is that there isn’t any entertainment there (not that the entertainment at the main pool was anything to write home about).

We did not participate in any excursions on this cruise, so I can’t speak to their quality. We did hear various comments that the excursions were over-priced and not worth the money. One excursion was even over an hour late and had to be delivered to the ship by boat as it was departing Honduras.

The verdict–If I had to choose between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, I would probably go with Carnival based on past experiences. I am not totally closed to giving Royal Caribbean another chance, but they would have to completely WOW me to keep me coming back.

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