NYK Daily

Home Blog Page 2495

Passion and Poetry is Life as we Know it.

Ironically, the passion that can neutralize the repulsion for difficulties depends on the effort to overcome these difficulties. The irony resides in the circularity of this principle – which applies to all areas of activity, including poetry: One must make the effort to overcome difficulties to achieve success and feel capable, and one needs this achievement and feeling to have a passion for making this effort.

How can one enter this circle without this passion? In other words, how does one resolve the quasi-contradiction according to which one cannot passionately start the effort to overcome difficulties before it has ended successfully?

If difficulties are deemed insurmountable, mistakenly or not, the repulsion for them is absolute. In that case, nothing will motivate the effort to succeed, except an outside authority that can dictate this effort, or an outside influence that can generate faith and stimulate courage. In every other case where the seriousness of the difficulties is open to doubt, one may try one’s luck with mixed feelings.

Assuming one tries, the result of this effort will constitute additional self-knowledge that will inform one’s future choices. A positive outcome will act as a positive reinforcement that emboldens one to try again, with increased confidence and reduced hesitation; a negative outcome will do the opposite.

Should one refuse to try one’s luck, this would slow one’s progress, but not necessarily stop it. Confidence can be increased and hesitation reduced by degrees, through a series of baby steps that can eventually lead to triumph. All in all, people have more than one trick up their sleeve to succeed in life, though they cannot escape the necessity of achieving success to develop a passion for the difficult task of living.

As regards poetry, success may be achieved in a roundabout and gradual way. Take a young educated man who has a sense of imagery and a desire to express himself. While his education has prepared him for the written expression of his feelings and thoughts, this sense and this desire together drive him to write poetically, though he has no pretensions to composing a poem.

This first step is a manner of kickoff that gets the ball rolling. He becomes aware of his poetic ability within the limits of his poetic writing. What is more, he catches a glimpse of the poetry that is a blur in this writing and could emerge from the prose like a landscape from the fog. His potential as a future poet is thus faintly discernible. It assumes the form of an inkling whose haziness will progressively dissipate as further poetic efforts are made successfully. In the end the young man sees himself as a young poet. He is eager to grapple with the difficulties of writing poetry because he is confident that he will overcome them and delight in this achievement.

Ex-MLA of Imran Khan’s PTI Wants Political Asylum in India, Says ‘Hindus, Sikhs Being Killed’ in Pakistan

The 43-year-old, from Pakistan, want to take political asylum in India as, according to him, minorities are treated badly in the neighbouring country and ‘Hindus and Sikhs are killed on a daily basis’.

Delhi: Upset over the bad treatment meted out to minorities in Pakistan, a former MLA from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is trying to seek political asylum in India.

Baldev Kumar, a former MLA from Barikot (reserved) seat in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) assembly, reached India with his family on Monday. The 43-year-old does not want to return to Pakistan as, according to him, minorities are treated badly in the neighbouring country and “Hindus and Sikhs are killed on a daily basis”

In 2016, a sitting MPA from his constituency was assassinated and Kumar was charged with his murder. He was acquitted in 2018. Kumar said he was falsely accused of the murder and later acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Political Asylum

Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India to Pakistan during partition, and Balochs have been accusing the Pakistani security agencies of engaging in human rights violations against the minority communities.

On September 3, a Hindu girl was allegedly abducted and converted to Islam in Pakistan’s Sindh province, the second incident of forced conversion in the Muslim-majority country within a week.

In July, the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the practice of forced conversions and abductions of Hindu girls must be stopped and action be taken against those involved in such activities.

The resolution was adopted months after the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report in April raised concerns about incidents of forced conversions and marriages of Hindu and Christian girls, saying around 1,000 such cases were reported in the southern Sindh province alone last year.

Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan. According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.

Majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with their Muslim fellows.

Political Asylum in India.

Avoid Becoming the Next Statistic: Personal Safety Edition.

Like most people, you probably start your day with a cup of coffee and while getting ready for work, you may be listening to the news either on a radio or on the television.

It seems like violence is becoming an everyday event with someone on the news getting shot, robbed or getting brutally assaulted and you tell yourself that it’s a real shame this is happening, but this only happens to the other guy.

Well the other guy or gal who just yesterday was thinking the same thing, has now become the latest statistic.

My question to you is simply this, in today’s society with drugs being such a national problem, can you afford to gamble with your own personal safety or the safety of your wife and children.

Nobody wants to be the victim of an attack. It’s not like we go out for and evening walk or jog and expect to be mugged, but unfortunately in today’s society, these things happen.

Have you ever given any thought to what you would do if you found yourself in a life threatening situation? Do you have any plan for defending yourself in such a situation?

Most people may have at some point considered buying a gun for self-protection, but the thought of shooting someone even in self-defense, may be something that they would rather not think about.

Statistically within the next hour, somewhere in the United States, a man or woman will be shot, robbed or physically assaulted while on their lunch break.

Taking the time to develop a self-defense plan and carrying a self-defense device on your person at all times, especially if you are going to be out after dark, could potentially save your life.

You should understand that attackers aren’t just creeps that are hanging out in an alley or some weird person waiting for you to go to your car after dark. Most personal attacks happen when you are least prepared to counter them.

The facts are that more than 80% of all rape victims know their assailant beforehand, but once again think that this would never happen to them.

Having a proper self-defense plan in place can keep you from becoming the next statistic.

Keep in mind that even if you carry a self-defense weapon, it is completely useless if you aren’t prepared to use it especially against someone you may not expect.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself against a possible attack.

1. Know your weapon. This weapon should feel like an extension of your arm. If you are carrying pepper spray, you should know how to use it and you should have quick access to it when needed. Consider attaching it to your key chain or purse with a quick release attachment.

2. If you are by yourself heading to your car at night, it is important to be able to see what is ahead of you. So carry a flash light and plan an escape route if you feel threatened.

3. If you feel threatened, carrying a key chain alarm will create enough noise to bring attention to your surroundings. An attacker does not want to bring attention to himself, and the noise created by the alarm may provide you with enough time to get to a safer location.

4. Other self-protection weapons to consider would be a Taser gun, or a stun gun.

Exodus from NCP continues; Naik, son, 50 MLCs join BJP

Former Maharashtra minister and the NCP’s Navi Mumbai strongman Ganesh Naik joined the BJP along with around 50 party corporators on Wednesday, adding to the growing list of opposition figures who have switched over to the ruling party ahead of the assembly polls.

The latest setback for the 20-year-old party came at a time when its top leadership is in talks with the Congress to finalise seat-sharing for the 288-member assembly.

Naik, his son – former MP Sanjeev – and the 50-odd corporators of the Navi Municipal Corporation (NMMC) formally joined the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the partys Maharashtra unit chief Chandrakant Patil at Vashi in adjoining Navi Mumbai.

The 68-year-old veteran leader’s entry into the BJP now paves the way for the ruling party to control the NMMC.

Speaking on the occasion, Naik praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership.

“Modi ji has increased India’s reputation in the world,” he said.

Naik said it was his grudge he “couldn’t do justice to the people who loved him during the 15 years” of his stint as a minister in the NCP-Congress government (1999-2014).

He also urged Fadnavis to resolve issues pertaining to Navi Mumbai.

“I don’t berate the chief ministers of the past. But I am confident about the (good) work Devendra ji has done and will do in future,” Naik said, praising the BJP’s first CM of the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Fadnavis said leaders from different parties were joining the BJP not for power or posts, but after seeing that the country is marching ahead under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.

Good leaders in other parties saw this over the past five years. Hence, people-oriented leaders are joining the BJP, Fadnavis said.

Referring to mega recruitment term being used for slew of opposition leaders joining the BJP, Fadnavis, without naming the Congress or NCP, asked them to introspect as to why there is a mega leakage in their fold.

The chief minister claimed earlier not much was coming to Navi Mumbai and its adjoining areas in terms of investment unlike what is happening under his watch since 2014.

Fadnavis said some journalists told him that they were not “enjoying” the reportage of the forthcoming Maharashtra assembly polls as they are aware who is going to win (apparently referring to the BJP-led alliance).

“They (journalists) are saying they are just waiting to see how much seats we are going to win. This is because the love of the people we are getting,” said Fadnavis, who will complete his five-year term next month-end.

The BJP chief minister assured the issues pertaining to Navi Mumbais development will be resolved.

Naik, who cut his teeth into politics with a stint in the Shiv Sena, joined the NCP in 1999 – the year the party was established – following differences with late Bal Thackeray, the saffron party’s founder.

A leader representing the Agri community, Naik contested the 2014 Assembly polls from Belapur, but lost to BJP’s Manda Mhatre.

Naik’s younger son Sandip joined the BJP on July 31, leading to speculation about him also deserting the Sharad Pawar-led party.

Along with Sandip, NCP’s two other legislators Shivendrasinh Bhosale and Vaibhav Pichad joined the BJP that day.

Former Kolhapur MP Dhananjay Mahadik also switched loyalty to the ruling party recently.

Earlier, the NCP had lost its Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir and MLAs Jaydutta Kshirsagar and Pandurang Barora to the Shiv Sena.

Innovative Wall Painting Techniques

Do your walls seem dull and uninviting? Do you long for a cozy, welcoming room? Consider decorative wall painting techniques, such as sponging, ragging, stenciling or stamping. Even if you have no experience, you can brighten even the dullest room quickly and cheaply with one of these easy decorative wall painting techniques.

Before painting your room, pick out a color scheme for your walls. When you chose your paint, remember that many painting techniques use two shades of one color. If you are using one of the techniques that does use two shades of color, you can pick a darker color than you normally would chose for your base color, since the lighter top color will make the final result much lighter.

To sponge or rag a wall, paint on your base color and let it dry thoroughly. Then, dip your sponge or rag into the lighter paint color and sponge or drag the lighter color over the base coat until you are satisfied with the effect. If you are unhappy with your final result, you can repaint any areas that you don’t like with the base coat. Once the repainted area is dry, repeat the faux painting technique.

If you are considering using a decorative painting technique such as stenciling or stamping, you may just want to create a wallpaper effect by stamping or stenciling a simple design over your base coat. However, you may want to go a step further with your project and use stencils or stamps to create a faux brick or stone wall. You don’t need to be an artist to create one of these faux finishes. Just follow these simple steps. First, paint the walls with the color you chose for the mortar between the bricks or stones. Once the base coat is dry, stamp or stencil your bricks or stones over the base coat. Once the brick or stonework is dry, spatter a bit of the darker color over your faux art to give it depth and make it appear more realistic.

Creating faux effects such as making your walls look like they are made of plaster or suede can also really make your room stand out. You can easily learn how to create these seemingly difficult finishes at your local paint store. Paint bases that automatically give a suede or textured effect to the walls are a shortcut that even artists use to create fun finishes.

Finally, no matter which decorative wall painting technique you choose, remember that it is just a few layers of paint. You can always redo the finish on your walls as you learn more about the art of decorative painting.

New potential breast cancer drug identified

Scientists, including an Indian-American researcher, have identified a molecule that can help treat breast cancer, giving hope to patients who have become resistant to traditional therapies.

The first-in-class molecule shuts down oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer in a new way, researchers said.

First-in-class drugs are those that work by a unique mechanism – in this case a molecule that targets a protein on the oestrogen receptor of tumour cells.

The potential drug offers hope for patients whose breast cancer has become resistant to traditional therapies.

“This is a fundamentally different, new class of agents for oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer,” said Ganesh Raj, professor at the University of Texas Southwestern (UT Southwestern) Simmons Cancer Center.

“Its unique mechanism of action overcomes the limitations of current therapies,” Raj said.

All breast cancers are tested to determine if they require oestrogen to grow and about 80 per cent are found to be oestrogen-sensitive, researchers said.

These cancers can often be effectively treated with hormone therapy, such as tamoxifen, but as many as a third of these cancers eventually become resistant, they said.

The new compound is a potential highly effective, next-line treatment for these patients, said Raj.

Traditional hormonal drugs, such as tamoxifen, work by attaching to a molecule called the oestrogen receptor in cancer cells, preventing oestrogen from binding to the receptor, a necessary step for cancer cells to multiply.

However, the oestrogen receptor can mutate and change its shape over time so that the treatment drug no longer fits neatly with the receptor. When this happens, the cancer cells start multiplying again.

“There has been intense interest in developing drugs that block the ability of the oestrogen receptor – the prime target in most breast cancers – from interacting with the co-regulator proteins that cause a tumour’s growth,” said David Mangelsdorf, professor at UT Southwestern.

“Blocking such “protein-protein interactions” has been a dream of cancer researchers for decades.

The drug works by blocking other molecules – proteins called co-factors – that also must attach to the oestrogen receptor for cancer cells to multiply.

The new molecule, dubbed ERX-11, mimics a peptide, or protein building block

Dubai Millionaire brings Billions to the Table for Celebrity Hideout, _Annabels_

(The Powder Room is a sight-to-be-seen via Pinterest) 

Dubai millionaire businessman, Rishi Sethia brings a Rolodex of billionaire’s to the table for a project to establish funding for one of the most elite social clubs in the world, “Annabel’s” in London. Rishi Sethia is a Dubai native and has had his hands dipped into the world’s largest collectives for decades. Sethia was the powerful businessman behind the plan to make Annabel’s number one amongst many other club options in London.

Annabel’s is an exclusive members’ only social club in London that requires a waitlist and referral to be accepted. When it came to elite luxury accommodations for social-club, Annabel’s, Rishi contacted two percent of the world’s billionaires for his project. Annabel’s was established in 1963, catering to exclusive clientele like Richard Nixon, Princess Anne and even the Queen visited in 2003. It is known to be the only club the queen has ever attended.

Annabel’s is argued as one of the most elegant clubs in the world. The club bestows flowers across the stone building. Membership at Annabel’s costs a staggering £2,000 a year will annual fees not included.The members must follow a strict dress code and be referred by internal members.With a strict “no photos” policy, it is hard to leave without taking a picture, each inch is drenched in the finest decorations and fixings.

The over-the-top, ultra-lux club features four floors of endless imagination and regal charm. The club has restaurants, a spa, bars, two dining rooms, a salon for cigars and even a nightclub. One of the most popular areas of the club is the attic, a workspace floor where the young members can conduct business on their laptops and sip on coffee lattes. Even the bathrooms are the talk of the town with its palace-like decor. The pink bathroom is one of the most sought after Instagram backgrounds, flowers hovering the walls and decadent gold finishes and quartz sink basins and walls.

According to Astrid Harbord, the club’s membership advisor, “There is no set criteria in London society today… members ranging from fashion, tech, the art world, as well as hedge funders.” Though the diverse admittance of industry, the club initially began with a humble seventy two members. A tradition of the club is that all members’ business and gatherings are not to be discussed outside of the doors.The club is around fifty percent men, fifty percent women. Old school norms, men are required to wear a jacket and women are allowed to wear jeans in the downstairs nightclub. Mick Jagger is known to frequent the stomping grounds.

The notorious property used for Annabel’s is a townhouse in London’s elite, Berkeley Square. It is known for its superior architecture and historic charm. The interior bestows a contemporary meets regal and eclectic taste that bring the members into a dream.

On top of networking a very large Rolodex of billionaires, Rishi has had his hands across multiple industries like mining and private equity and hedge funds where the investors seek Rishi’s pristine guidance and abilities to guide their decisions. 

Rishi spent decades of fiscal project management and has guided a new generation of an abundant businessman who wants to innovate beyond what has been done before. 

Rishi uses deal structuring and investment acquisition support to offer unique and precise solutions to business collectives that had never previously existed. His experience for decades is what drives his investment and funding portfolio to match his insanely luxurious lifestyle.

Power couple and International living, Rishi spends his time between Mumbai, Dubai and London with his wife Queenie Singh. His daughter studies in London.Rishi is married to model and star, Queenie Singh and splits his business across Mumbai, Dubai and London where his daughter studies. Powerful couple, Queenie also owns a line of precious stones and diamonds, including multiple clients including Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell and Hillary Clinton. 

Profitability and turnkey solution is behind the growth of society’s most prestigious organizations– none-the-less Annabel’s which show how power innovates even the most challenging projects. The power of the elite lies within profitability and interest in the right strategic portfolio moves, Annabel’s seems to be a win for Sethia.

The Role of Sports in India’s Unity

The world is a place full of conflicts and widespread differences. Different nations are biased by the impressions of their culture and values that they do not find a sense of oneness with the others. We call only those who share our ideas our own and consider them to be our tribe. There are few things that have crossed such borders throughout the history of humanity to bring them on the same page. Sports is one such domain that not only brings different countries together to play but what it can do to strengthen a nation’s unity is beyond imagination.

India is a land of many cultures and religions scattered in its plains. There are several religious identities and value systems that can be found in each region of the country. With people ranging from such diverse schools of thoughts it is amazing how a sport can bring the country together for one cause glued to their TV sets. 

The unity for Indian Cricket

Cricket being the nationally loved sport often becomes the reason for bringing the masses together. We have a bunch of different festivals that are celebrated in India as a part of our culture. Different religions have different rituals. However, when it comes to sports it becomes a collective ritual that everyone performs. Cricket is like the one all-caste and all-religion festival that Indians love celebrating. We might have differences on every other day but when it comes to watching India against any other country we wear our nation on our sleeves. At that moment we rise beyond all caste and creed and come together as one country. This is the power and impact sports hold on the masses. They have the strength to unite far more than any other harmonious notion.

Physically fitness on the rise

With the ideas of a maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind, the youth is encouraged to participate in more sports activities. As far as international sports are concerned, India is not only sensational in Cricket but is also moving forward in different sports like football, kabaddi, hockey, badminton, table tennis, wrestling, and many more. We have teams at district, national and international levels that bring laurels to the country and pave another path to bring players together. With more sports icons in common sight, the youth is more inspired to come forward and participate in sports. Thus, the role of sports is not limited to merely bringing us together. Sports, in fact, play a crucial part to unite us for the cause of creating a fitter and healthier population. The role of sports in the lives of young citizens cannot be undermined.

A path for gender equality

 The contribution of sports in India is multi fold. The perseverance of our women in the sports sector has brought us into a time where women like Mary Kom, P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are striking role models for young girls who were once discouraged from keeping close connections with sports. The power of sports has brought about a revolution in the nation where a sense of oneness and India’s unity has arisen amongst the women to come forth and shine with flying colors in the field. It also encourages a platform where men and women can be respected equally and treated as one. This is a different kind of oneness that sport brings to the Indian masses. The existence of varied sports at the grass root levels brings it to every common man. This brings together all Indians irrespective of their economic backgrounds. One does not have to be rich to cherish the essence of a sport they adore. This is a phenomena that can truly change lives. It has given them the strength to be able to come forward as united sportspersons together. 

Thus, the deep rooted presence of sports in India drive the twin purpose of not only helping people to develop a unique identity of their own but also teaches them to be team players and come together as one at the needy hour. The role of sports in strengthening India’s Unity is remarkably instrumental and is only likely to flourish in the years to come. 

Is Social Media Making us more Anti Social?

This is the generation of social media. We cannot even have a meal today without posting a picture of it. Our travel plans accommodate how we plan to make it look on our profile instead of what we actually plan to do. To be honest everything we do today circulates around the social media. From a small inconvenience we have in our day to something big going on in our lives. Our social-media profiles are like memory books now. The only difference is that these are seen by everyone and so we make them appear like we would want everyone to see them.

How social are you being on social media?

With the constant pressure to keep up with the game of looking the coolest on the internet, posting these pictures or stories on social-media is the new must-have. The question to ponder over is – contrary to what it is called, how social are we actually being through social media platforms. 

When the concept of social media first took birth, the idea was to be able to get people connected even when they can’t be physically around each other. A noble notion that originally came about to bring people from different nations close together has now become something that keeps them from leaving their homes in the first place.

People have completely stopped going out and “socializing” for what the word really means. Whether we like it or not, much to the irony, social media is making us anti social. We rarely ever feel the need to go out and see what everyone is doing because we can see that already at the convenience of our phones. Or can we?

The filtered truth

It is important to remember that what we see on people’s social media profiles is merely a version of what they want themselves to be perceived as. It might not be all lies. It is, however, definitely truth that is filtered several times. If you have any doubt about that think for yourself. Most of us have social media accounts. If you do too, think about what you post. 

That instagram picture you posted last week was one amongst fifteen that you took. That story about the party the other night where it looks like had a lot of fun was also a product of you trying to get the perfect capture instead of actually enjoying yourself. The fact remains that we drive our social media according to what we want people to think about us and not what it actually is. As much as I believe there is nothing wrong with a portrayal of what you want, one cannot deny that there is an unimaginable amount of pressure that this creates.

Keeping in the game

The millennial folks who have practically not known a world without this pressure but natural succumb to it. We feel the constant pressure to post so-called cool things not because we want to but because everyone else does. It is funny to think that all of us know that “the candid picture” wasn’t candid at all; yet we are caught so deep in trying to keep ourselves in the game that we do it anyway. 

This has more serious consequences like young girls and boys having body image and self image issues while constantly stalking perfect bodies and lives on the internet. They are obviously not in any position to go and speak to those people in real life, even if they wanted to, because of an inherent inferiority complex they have developed. 

Balance is key

Social media has innumerable boons like the power I has to spread awareness in no time or the ability to access someone in another part of the globe. Being social, however, has a deeper significance in real life. It is great to talk and post about things you believe in on these platforms but one should also be able to walk up to someone and have that conversation with the same passion.  The key here is to maintain a balance in realizing what is real and what needs to be taken seriously. Even with our super busy lives, it would be great if we all made the effort to go out, have conversations and build relationships to add value to each others lives.

Documentary Vs Film-Making

Making documentary films is a challenging and rewarding career path. Too many documentary filmmakers fall into the trap of creating the ‘talking heads’ documentary where they simply interview people against interesting or artistic backdrops. However, this form of documentary film making leaves a lot to be desired. The bottom line is that ‘talking heads’ are boring to watch. If people are just going to speak about their experiences, then an account of the situation in written format would be a much better idea since people usually write much better than the speak. There will be no “ums”, or awkward pauses.

The art of documentary film making is the process of ‘showing’ and not ‘telling’. For example, rather than having a person explain the definition of poverty, why not show poverty. The audience is intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions and definitions. What about filming in neighbourhoods where poverty runs rampant. What about showing the lives of people living in poverty. Their long bus rides to work, what they eat for dinner, what they struggle with and so on.

Film is a visual medium and people watch films to have their visual senses peaked. Simply watching someone speak is not visually entertaining. It might be from an auditory standpoint, but if it’s only interesting to the ear then you should write a book rather than shoot a film. You need to make your documentary films interesting to the eye

However, this is not to say that ‘talking heads’ need to be removed all together. They can be great for explaining overly complex subject, for filling in any information holes that you couldn’t ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ and they can provide back up explanations or help give your films thesis validation based on their credentials. The point is to simply use them sparingly.

Resurgence of Scrabble Game

Invented and designed by Alfred Butts during the great depression and originally known as “Criss-Cross Words”, Scrabble Game was renamed into the board game we know today in 1948.

Today, Scrabble is not merely just a board game. It is an internationally competitive “mind sport” with an active competitive circuit, Scrabble Clubs, National Associations and World Championships.

Growth of Scrabble Game across the globe continues each year and the standard of competition grows along with it. As a mind sport, Scrabble is quickly approaching the level of intellectual challenge and respect that is held by other mind-sports such as Chess.

The growing popularity of Scrabble today defies the myriad of similar rival word-based board games that have emerged over the past two decades.

Successful Scrabble players know that there is far more to this game than just spelling and vocabulary skills. Scrabble is a mind sport, requiring mathematical skills, analytical and strategic skills, and a mild dose of luck.

To the recreational Scrabble player who enjoys a game with the family over the kitchen table, the lack (or bad luck) of drawing the best (or worst) collection of tiles out of the bag is a major component of whether a player wins or loses. The more advanced and competitive the player, the less luck plays a part. Strategic skills largely eliminate the luck component.

There are several reasons why Scrabble Game is growing in popularity year by year.

In earlier eras, there were problems with different dictionaries allowing or disallowing various words. Today, Official Scrabble Dictionaries have been almost totally standardized internationally for English language play. There are now just two slightly differing sets of official words – one for North America and another for the rest of the world.

The Scrabble Clubs themselves generate publicity in their communities, offering not just competition, but also a social scene for the less serious yet still enthusiastic recreational player.

Inter-club tournaments, Nation Championships and World Championships draw major media attention.

Even ESPN has trialed televising Scrabble Game competitions and is believed to be keen on expanding their coverage of Scrabble Game as a competitive mind sport.

In several countries, Scrabble Clubs and associations are working actively with Government Education Departments to introduce “School Scrabble” – combining the academic and the sporting aspects of Scrabble into the school curriculum.

The internet is playing a role in the growing popularity of Scrabble with numerous websites available for playing Scrabble online. Educational resources and advice from Scrabble experts is also readily available online.

The future growth of Scrabble internationally appears assured. Given that the International Olympic Committee is now considering a number of mind-sports, such as Bridge, for possible inclusion in future Olympic Games, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that at some future point in time Scrabble itself may become an Olympic sport.

Stages of a Committed Relationship

Why is relationship so hard? Things were so perfect when we first met – what happened? Most likely, the answer is that you’ve left the first stage of your relationship, and have moved into another. But could it really be that easy?

Yes! Most people understand that relationships grow and change over time… but what many people don’t know is that they tend to evolve in the same way. There are specific, defined stages of long-term relationships, which offer new feelings, new challenges to overcome, and new opportunities for growth. And if you want your relationship to evolve into one of mutual respect, love and intimacy, it’s likely that you’ll have to experience all of the following relationship stages at some point or another. Take a look at the description of each phase – do any of this sound familiar?

Before we get started, you should know that most people experience these stages in this order, and will need to resolve the challenges in each stage before they can move successfully on to the next. Of course there are always exceptions to this rule. But for the most part, you can’t get out of experiencing all of these stages if you want a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Every couple will move through these stages at different speeds, and most people will experience each stage more than once – it is common to fluctuate from one stage to another.*

Okay, now that I’ve given you the basic info, let’s dig a little deeper….

Stage 1 – The Romance Stage

This is also known as the Courtship Phase or the Fantasy Stage, and can last anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. This is when you and your partner have just met, and everything is absolutely amazing. You can’t get enough of each other. Neither of you can do any wrong in the eyes of the other… mainly because you’re both still on your best behavior. The focus in this stage is on commonalities – you have so many common interests, you could practically be the same person! You show your partner your absolute best self, and you try to please each other as much as possible.

Conflict is seen as “bad” in this stage, and is avoided at all costs. You can’t imagine living without this person, so you begin spending as much time together as possible. This is the stage when our defenses are down the most, which allows you to be open to and fall in love. You and your partner are building an important foundation in this stage, so your relationship can grow. There are biological effects as well. When you’re in this stage, your body is producing enormous amounts of endorphins, which makes you feel unusually happy, positive and excited about everything in your life (this is that “head over heels in love” feeling!). This is the stage most often portrayed in movies and romantic novels, for obvious reasons. Bottom line – you are happier than you’ve ever been, and can’t imagine ever feeling any differently.

Stage 2 – The Disillusionment Stage

This stage is also known as the Familiarization Stage, or the Adjusting to Reality Phase. This is where you begin to realize that your partner is actually a human being (horror of horrors!). You get to know each other more and more, and as a result you start recognizing their various flaws and shortcomings. You see your partner in relaxed situations, and you become more relaxed as well. Since your body cannot possibly continue to produce the same levels of endorphins that it was in the beginning, those feelings of being on top of the world start to decline.

Your partner’s little habits aren’t quite as cute as they used to be, but there is still enough goodwill from the Romance Stage that you’re willing to overlook them. This stage can start to trickle into your relationship slowly, as you begin to see your partner for who s/he really is. Or sometimes it happens all of a sudden, when there has been some sort of dishonesty or deceit. This phase can be confusing and discouraging, since you’ve just experienced so much openness and connection in the Romance Stage. However, at this stage, your main job is to learn how to communicate and resolve conflict with this person effectively, which is an important skill if you want your relationship to continue.

Stage 3 – The Power Struggle Stage

This stage is also known as the Disappointment Phase or Distress Stage. As the characteristics from the Disillusionment Phase intensify, they become harder and harder to deal with. You will most likely begin to pull away from each other in this stage. At this point, you both still believe that conflict is a “bad” thing, but you are increasingly aware of your many differences. You fight to draw boundaries in the relationship, and as a result even small annoyances become big issues. This is the stage where you define unacceptable behavior, and most couples have occasional or frequent thoughts of leaving the relationship.

More and more often, you start to feel like your partner is self-centered or un-caring, or even worse, that they simply can’t be trusted. Deep resentments begin to build if you’re unable to resolve your issues in a respectful and mutually agreeable way. Many couples get stuck in this stage, because this way of interacting becomes normal in their relationship. This is when it is absolutely necessary to learn to manage your differences effectively – to communicate and work together as a team, even though it’s tempting to believe that your partner’s sole purpose on Earth is to make your life difficult. Not surprisingly, this is the stage most couples are in when they decide to break up or file for divorce. However, if they are able to negotiate all of the landmines during this phase, they’ll move on to….

Stage 4 – The Stability Stage

This is a restful and peaceful time, compared to the last stage. This stage is also known as the Friendship Phase or Reconciliation Stage. Some couples never make it to this stage, but the ones who do find that they have deeper feelings of love, connection and trust with their partner. You now have history together, and most people begin to rely on the predictability of the relationship. As you enter this stage, you begin to realize that your partner isn’t perfect, but your personal differences aren’t quite as threatening as they used to be. You’re able to resolve most of your differences, at least to some extent, and you become more confident in the relationship.

Some people feel a sense of loss in this stage as they learn to accept their partner for who they truly are, since this means they have to let go of the fantasy that was established early on in the relationship. But for the most part, the deepening sense of friendship and commitment is a good trade-off for those early feelings of butterflies and excitement. This is also when you begin to re-establish your own outside interests and friendships, which were given up in the Romance Phase. There is some danger that you may begin to drift apart from or become bored with your partner in this phase, so you should try to maintain the connection that was created in the Romance Phase. Overall, this is the stage when you finally begin to feel comfortable and happy with your deepening relationship.

Stage 5 – The Commitment Stage

This stage is also known as the Acceptance Phase, the Transformation Stage, or the Real Love Phase. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of couples actually make it to this stage, according to The Relationship Institute. This is the stage when both couples have a clear notion of who their partner is, faults, foibles and weaknesses galore… yet they make a conscious choice to be with this person in spite of all of those things (and in some cases, because of those things). You are no longer with your partner because you need them, but because you’ve chosen them, which means the level of resentment you felt in the Power Struggle Phase has decreased, if not disappeared. If you’ve made it to this stage, you and your partner are a team. You genuinely love your partner, and you look out for their best interests just as much as you look out for your own. Your partner is your best friend. There are few surprises about your partner’s habits or character in this phase.

You’ve collaborated to overcome many challenges together, and have grown to accept and support each other without restriction. Your vision for your relationship is in congruence with who you are and what you both truly want. You have discussed your future together – you have similar life goals, and you feel encouraged to define your relationship further. Many couples decide to make a formal or public commitment to each other in this stage (such as marriage) to demonstrate their intention to continue their relationship. This is the stage in which your relationship becomes a true partnership.

Health Insurance For Entrepreneurs

One of the most important benefits employed people enjoy is health insurance coverage. It is also the single most costly expense for self-employed entrepreneurs. So what can you do to reduce ever increasing costs of health care coverage? Here are a few tips.

1. If a medical bill seems excessive, try negotiating

Your doctor or the office manager who handles billing will probably be flexible, provided you make a valid case. When one woman in Texas was charged $900 for surgery and “consultation,” she explained that she had visited the hospital just once, for surgery; her bill was promptly cut by $370.

2.. Contact a medical bill “auditor”

Several services have a medical bill “auditing” system that evaluates your medical bills to determine if errors occurred in the billing process. Considering that 97 percent of hospital medical bills contain errors, it’s no wonder why out-of-pocket medical expenses are on the rise for consumers. Because the typical hospital bill is extremely complicated, often containing several hundred line-item charges, there is ample opportunity for computer mistakes and accidental human error. Do a Google search for medical bill auditors to find companies offering this service.

3. You may get a tax break on your medical bills

Keep all your medical bills together and add them up at tax time. If they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you may deduct the excess. Please note that these items also may be included in the total: the cost of eye glasses, contact lenses, physical therapy, used X-Ray Machine, hearing aids, psychiatric care, insurance, and transportation to the hospital or doctor’s office (at 30 cents a mile). There are phase-outs in some cases based on adjusted gross income. Check with your professional tax adviser.

4. Deduct 100% of your healthcare costs from your taxes

The IRS allows all self-employed to deduct 100% of health care costs from their taxes by using Section 105 of the Internal Revenue Code. To receive this deduction, you must do the following:

a) Hire your spouse as an employee of your business.

b) Have your spouse receive health insurance in his or her name, and include the family on the policy.

c) Pay your spouse a salary that will cover the costs of the insurance.

d) Talk to your tax professional about planning for Section 105 on your taxes.

We all know your spouse is active in your business. Now, you can equally recognize their contribution he or she makes – and get Uncle Sam to give you a tax break.

5. Help for families with kids — CHIP

All states have established new programs that help lower income families with children to pay for health insurance for their kids. Financed partly by the federal government, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) operate either as an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program or a subsidy for basic private health insurance. Eligible families may be able to access coverage for their children at greatly reduced premiums which will vary depending upon family income. Contact your state Department of Health or Insurance for more information.

6. Shop around

Hospital costs vary widely, especially between urban and rural facilities. If your doctor has admitting privileges at more than one hospital, find out if you can be admitted to the one that’s less expensive. Keep in mind that hospitals operated by non-profit foundations are usually less expensive than investor-owned, for profit hospitals. To find out how much your local hospitals charge, ask your doctor. Many states have Health Services Cost Review Commissions, which compile such data.

7. Check for free clinics in your community

You and your entire family can save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of the many free screenings, immunizations, and other health clinics offered by your local community or a town near you. Numerous community hospitals and social services can provide blood pressure checks, shots for your children, free contraceptives and/or advice, and other preventative health care at little to no cost.

8. Get a second opinion out of town

Believe it or not, your chance of undergoing an expensive surgery or preventative procedure may depend solely on where you happen to live. Statistics show that the frequency in which certain medical procedures are performed varies widely from location to location. For example, residents of New Haven, Conn., are twice as likely to undergo a coronary bypass operation as residents of Boston, Mass. What’s the reason for this discrepancy? One Dartmouth Medical School expert, John E. Wennberg, M.D., M.H.P., explains that certain operations are simply more fashionable in some parts of the United States than others. So, if you plan to get a second opinion prior to surgery, consider going to a specialist in another city. In addition, try to find out what the surgery rates for your procedure are in different cities. HealthAllies.com also offers this service online. To get the names of second-opinion doctors in your region, call the U.S. government’s toll-free second-opinion hotline at 1-800-638-6833.

9. Don’t pay double for a second opinion

As you make arrangements for a second opinion, ask your doctor to send copies of your medical records, x-rays, and lab tests to the second-opinion doctor. These tests don’t need duplication; your second doctor will have the information he or she needs – and you don’t pay double.

10. Emotional stability

Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. Do you have blue days once in awhile, or struggle with gray winters? St. John’s Wort, an over-the-counter herbal supplement, has been proven to increase positive moods. Before rushing to your family physician for medication to make you feel better, try supplements with a combination of expressing your feelings with friends and a healthy lifestyle. Mood stabilizers are some of the most costly medications on the market today. However, you should be aware of the signs of stress or even depression. Give yourself a simple screening test:

  • Do you have feelings of sadness and/or irritability?
  • Has there been a loss of interest in pleasure activities you once enjoyed?
  • Have there been changes in your weight or appetite?
  • Have you noticed changes in your sleeping pattern?
  • Are you feeling guilty?
  • Do you have the inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions?
  • Are you fatigued or have a loss of energy?
  • Do you experience restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others?
  • Do you have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness?
  • Do you have thoughts of suicide or death?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, consider consulting your family physician. If they recommend mental health treatment, it is more cost-effective to have your family physician prescribe mood stabilizers instead of seeing a psychiatrist. However, follow your doctor’s instructions on counseling and referrals to mental health professionals.

11. Order your prescription drugs by phone, web or mail

There are many discount prescription drug benefits available for a modest cost. Communicating for Agriculture and the Self-Employed offers a free prescription card through PCS. This program saves its members up to 40 percent at over 55,000 pharmacies nationwide. On average, CA members save $9.39 per prescription order. You can enroll free on SelfEmployedCountry.org.

12. Ask your doctor to prescribe generic drugs

Medicine marketed under its scientific name is usually 50 percent cheaper and just as effective as brand-name versions. In addition, look for generic drugs in the medicine you purchase over the counter. For example, 100 generic aspirin may cost $1.79; the same ingredients packaged under a well-known brand name can cost more than $5 for 100 tablets. Consider, also, just how important the new easy-to-swallow products are to your comfort. The lesser price of some medicines may be comparably easier to swallow when thinking about your budget.

13. Get enrolled in a group plan

For self employed people including those involved in small businesses, individual health insurance can be extremely costly – sometimes as much as 30 percent of your take home pay. By joining associations like National Association for the Self Employed (www.nase.org), you have the opportunity to enroll in a group insurance plan with unique built-in cost controls.

14. Choose a higher deductible

Often for the healthy family, the number of visits to the doctor totals less than $250 a year, a normally low deductible rate. This low deduction rate, however, can end up costing you more in the form of higher premiums. If your family has enjoyed good health for a number of years, you may want to switch to a higher deductible of $500 or $1000. You’ll notice greatly reduced premiums.

15. Pay premiums annually

You avoid the service fee and may also receive a discount from your insurance carrier. Check with your insurance agent about how much money you can save if you pay your premium one time during the year.

16. Make sure there’s a ceiling for out-of-pocket expenses for catastrophic illnesses

About half of individual policyholders lack this important provision, according to insurance experts, who recommend a major medical policy with a stop-loss clause limiting policyholder payout to $2,000 or $3,000.

US stock indexes end mostly higher after late buying burst

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Tuesday, erasing much of an early slide, as investors favored smaller, U.S.-focused companies for the second straight day.

Industrial, energy and health care stocks helped power the market higher. Banks also notched solid gains amid a broad pullback in demand for U.S. government bonds, which pushed yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.73% from 1.62% late Monday, a big move.

Lenders rely on higher yields to set more lucrative interest rates on loans. Bank of America rose 2.5%, Goldman Sachs gained 1.7% and State Street vaulted 9%.

For the second day in a row, traders unloaded technology stocks and shares in companies that rely on consumer spending. Microsoft dropped 1.1%, as did payment processors Visa and Mastercard, losing 2.8% and 3.9%, respectively.

“It seems like a complete reversal of what’s kind of been the theme over the last few months, where it’s been more about higher quality, higher market cap, higher growth, more stable growth and lower volatility,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “Things that had been doing well just completely got sold and the things that had been lagging completely got bought.”

The S&P 500 index inched up 0.96 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,979.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.92 points, or 0.3%, to 26,909.43. The average was briefly down 118 points.

The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 3.28 points, or less than 0.1%, to 8,084.16.

Investors continued to flock to smaller-company stocks. They’re seen as being better shielded from the fallout of the costly trade war between the U.S. and China than large multinationals.

Among the small-cap gainers were ABM Industries, which rose 3.1% and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, which jumped 16.9%.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks led the gainers, adding 18.76 points, or 1.2%, to 1,542.99.

The broader market has been gaining ground for two weeks as investors remain confident in the strength of the economy, despite the lingering trade war between the U.S. and China. The feud between the world’s two largest economies has been injecting doses of volatility into the market as both sides escalate and then pull back. Recent plans for trade talks to resume in October raised some hope on Wall Street for a resolution.

Meanwhile, investors continue to watch the steady flow of economic data for a clearer picture of the U.S. economy’s health. Recent reports have been a mixed bag, including a Labor Department report Tuesday that showed both a slip in job openings as well as a slight increase in hiring in July.

The Labor Department will report the latest consumer price index figures on Thursday and the Commerce Department will report August retail sales data on Friday. Economists continue to expect the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates at its meeting next week to help maintain U.S. economic growth.

Apple rose 1.2% after announcing a new slate of iPhones and other products, including a $5 a month streaming video service, which would be cheaper than rival offerings. Netflix and Disney each fell 2.2%.

Traders knocked Wendy’s shares 10.5% lower after the fast-food chain cut its profit growth forecast because of plans to expand its breakfast options nationwide. The company plans to invest $20 million this year in the expansion and expects up to 6.5% profit growth instead of 7% growth.

Ford dropped 1.3% after Moody’s cut the automaker’s credit rating to “junk.” Moody’s is concerned that the company will be weighed down by weak earnings as it restructures. The move by Moody’s makes it more costly for Ford to borrow money.

A mix of consumer product makers and consumer-focused stocks also fell Tuesday. Procter & Gamble dropped 1.9% and McDonald’s slid 3.5%.

Energy and industrial companies notched solid gains. Schlumberger rose 3.4% and Deere & Co., rose 3.6%.

Major stock indexes in Europe finished higher Tuesday. Markets in Asia were mixed.

Benchmark crude oil fell 45 cents to settle at $57.40 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, slipped 21 cents to close at $62.38 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.59 per gallon. Heating oil was unchanged at $1.93 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1 cent to $2.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $11.90 to $1,490.30 per ounce, silver rose 2 cents to $18.04 per ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.61 per pound.

The dollar rose to 107.43 Japanese yen from 107.16 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.1047 from $1.1052.

Stay connected