Archive for April, 2012

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Found Animals Foundation to Offer Low-Cost Microchips at Downey Street Faire


Found Animals provides low-cost microchips at Downey Street Faire. All microchipped pets will be registered in the free Found Animals Microchip Registry

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 24, 2012

Found Animals Foundation will offer $5 microchipping for dogs, including free, lifetime registration, at the Downey Street Fair on Saturday, April 28th.

Pets will be microchipped with Found Animals brand microchips. These microchips are the 134.2kHz frequency which can be read by all universal scanners. They will also be registered in the Found Animals Microchip Registry, a free, nonprofit service dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their families. This online universal registry provides a one-stop destination for pet owners, rescue groups, shelters, clinics, and veterinarians. It is free to register, free to update and accessible online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Found Animals Microchip Registry offers advanced features like an automatic alert system. When a lost pet is found by a shelter, that shelter is able to use the pet’s microchip number to start an automated alert that immediately notifies the pet owner where they can find their pet. These automatic alerts will call, text, and email the pet owner and any emergency contacts.

“It is our mission to help all pet owners microchip and register their pets,” said Erin Nelson, Microchip Division Director at Found Animals. “We want to ensure that all lost pets have a better chance of finding their way home.”

The Downey Street Faire will be held on Brookshire Avenue from Firestone Avenue to north of Civic Center Drive in Downey, Calif., on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Microchips will be available from 9am-5pm on a first come, first serve basis. Supplies are limited.

For more information about Found Animals and The Found Animals Microchip Registry, contact Courtney Flynn at (310) 574-5791.

About Found Animals

Found Animals Foundation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization dedicated to animal welfare issues. Led by business and medical professionals, the Foundation works directly within the animal welfare community to reduce the use of euthanasia in shelters by supporting programs including: pet adoption, spay amp; neuter services, pet identification, and sterilization research.

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Freelancer of the Fortnight: Ek Heng Ng


Click here to view Ek Heng
Ngs full freelance profile on

Why did you choose to become a freelancer?
After working in journalism and public relations careers for 20
years, I decided on freelance writing as I thought it would be an
acid test of my ability to make a living doing what I enjoy, that
is, writing and editing.

If you trained, where? If not, how did you become a
With my grounding gained from working as editorial staff in an
international newsagency and perspective from public relations, I
decided I was ready to provide value-add in editorial and marketing
communications to my clients.

Do you specialise in any particular field and what areas do
you write about?
Technology and management are areas
where I have a track record and work samples. But the Internet is a
wonderful tool that can be tapped as a rich resource for any topic
by a writer.

Which publications have you been published in?
I have completed many editorial projects for Singapore, UK and US
clients. Some examples are pilot publications like ITMedicine and
Clinical Trial Reporter for Lippincourt Williams and Wilkins Asia,
NonWoven Textile Asia magazine, as well as features for Elsevier
Business Intelligence (Healthcare), Singapore tertiary institutions
and research institutes (online and print publications) and
business organisations.

Which articles, in which publication, are you the most
proud of?
As a writer, I hope to be a
bridge in sharing knowledge that will benefit the readers. So I
reckon I do have a particular interest in feature writing as well
as getting involved in bringing out publications. I would relish
getting involved in writing for multi-media projects. I have taken
to producing short video clips after my own interest which can be
found here.

What are the best and worst aspects of freelancing?
The worst part of freelancing, I suppose, is that I do not have
colleagues to bounce ideas around. Seen in an economic sense, the
good months with projects are the high points and the low points
are the quiet periods. The bottom line, however, is that I do not
have to justify my time to any boss and I have the freedom to get
involved in work that improves my knowledge in many areas.

Do you have any interesting anecdotes in
relation to your experience as a freelancer?
Once I had
a client who complained about the fee, considering the eventual
number of words produced. But I must say such clients are a rarity.
My rejoinder was that they could invest in a dictionary if they
were just interested in words and not the drift and import of the
total message, which also had to suit the appropriate

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Tigers, elephants and aliens at BookPeople: The strange, magical love stories …


A tiger in love with his zoo keeper, a newlywed executioner whose wife despises him, an elephant writing her memoir, and a sentient insect creature in the Andromeda Galaxy trying to raise a rebellious daughter . . . these are some of the minds and lives explored in the short story collection I Am an Executioner: Love Stories by the India-born, Texas-raised writer Rajesh Parameswaran.

On Monday, Parameswaran makes a visit to Austin for a reading at BookPeople.

Though many contemporary writers find their training ground in graduate creative writing, MFA programs, Parameswaran took a slightly different path to becoming a writer law school. Yet he thinks he found some of the tools creative writing programs can give another way.

I saw that there were other people around me in law school or in that world who were also writing fiction, he says. It felt very compatible.

I had good friends from college who were excellent readers. I felt like I had a community of people from whom I could get feedback, so I really didnt feel like I was missing something and I didnt feel the need to get an MFA, he tells CultureMap.

While he was interested in writing before entering law school, it was there that he became more serious about writing fiction. When I ask him if it was a strange jump from the law to writing stories, Parameswaran gives an intriguing peek into what might be a hidden American subculture, story-writing lawyers.

I saw that there were other people around me in law school or in that world who were also writing fiction, he says. It felt very compatible. It didnt feel like they were necessarily contradictory. After law school I clerked for a judge in (New York), and I was doing law related freelance writing while also writing fiction.

Elaborating on the connection between fiction writing and studying and practicing law, Parameswaran says, It seems in way natural because they are both very writing intensive endeavors and a lot of people who are good writers, when they are trying to find a useful path in life, will naturally gravitate to law school because theres so much writing involved.

He continues, If I take a step back, I can see some of the same themes I was interested in as a law student are some of the themes I see cropping up in my fiction, so there is a continuity in that way. And what are those themes and issues that stayed with him from law school into fiction writing? Identity, community, and race.

He also feels law school taught him to be a very precise, meticulous, and thoughtful writer. Yet, to be a good fiction writer you have to let go of that restraint, you have to let go of that control, if you want to write creatively.

Tales That Count

The stories in I Am an Executioner illustrate that use of precision and the control of the language to produce worlds of unrestrained creativity. The first story in the book, The Infamous Bengal Ming, is narrated by a tiger who manages to transcend his zoo captivity both spiritually, and then literally, because of his love for his human keeper.

In the last story, On the Banks of the Table River (Planet Lucina, Andromeda Galaxy, AD 2319) a loving but bewildered insectoid undertaker attempts to understand his sullen teen daughter. These two stories provide a frame for a collection that explores the dark and comic nature of relationships and the power love has to both destroy and create.

I just started with the premise what would happen if a tiger fell in love with a zoo keeper? And then it was just a matter of following the logic of that premise step by step.

Parameswaran wrote the stories over several years and at the time didnt have one, coherent theme or idea in mind. I was trying to approach each story on its own terms . . . he says. I was more interested in exploring and trying new things and finding out what I could do with fiction.

Later, when placed together, he found the stories did have some similar thematic threads running through them. They all are in one way or another about different kinds of love or relationships. He believes the juxtaposition of the books title, I Am an Executioner and its subtitle Love Stories capture both the darker side of some of the stories along with the irony and humor found in the collection.

The Infamous Bengal Ming is again a good illustration of how all these varying themes of love and the variety of tones work together in the book. The story is both very dark and yet very funny, and Parameswarans description of how he went about creating the mind of a philosophical, smitten tiger is almost as amusing. He says, I feel like in many ways its a very straight forward story . . .

I just started with the premise what would happen if a tiger fell in love with a zoo keeper? And then it was just a matter of following the logic of that premise step by step. Logically what would follow from that? Well, he would want to express his love and then how would he do that?

It felt like a very logical story in some ways.

Recently Parameswaran has simplified his life so he can devote more time to writing. He has also moved from short stories to a new novel. Though he is a little superstitious about giving many details of a work in progress, he does say the novel will tell the story of a community of outcasts who process a citys garbage.

If the worlds ofI Am an Executioner are any indication, this Texan has many stories yet to tell readers.

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Embracing Our Differences Winners Just As Diverse As The Art


Its a project to celebrate peoples differences, or to embrace them, and the winners of the Embracing Our Differences art and quotation contest are just as diverse.


Take the Adult Best In Show winner Andrea Rankin of Sarasota – a student at Sarasota County Technical Institute. 


Im not used to being the center of attention, she said. When I hear someone using the word inspiring on me tonight, I … Im speechless. It makes me feel so good.


Rankin and other winners from Sarasota, Bradenton and all around the world were honored at a reception Tuesday evening at the Ringling College of Art + Design for Embracing Our Differences, an exhibit that featured oversized art and quotations promoting inspirational art and has been displayed on Sarasotas Island Park.


Rankin decided to go back to school and enter the graphic design realm after her and her partners daughter went off to college and has been self employed for a long time.


Her Lifes Library piece has Dont judge a book by its cover, on a chalk board and all sorts of books with inspirational titles and diversity issues we face today like I have two mommies, My Brother Is Now My Sister, and I will still love her, and Different is another word for wrong.


I really wanted to make sure I had a good cross section of the titles, and just do a better representation, she said. Often times youll see it limited to about 10 different maybe religions or ethnic races. I wanted to expand that more.


Each piece of art was teamed up with a quote, and Gloria Tracy of Bradenton felt like hers was a perfect fit with Rankins piece because it was about loving people for being different and not saying everyones the same. 


I always heard people saying it doesnt matter that your black, or it doesnt matter that your Hispanic, and I always took offense to that, said Tracy, who is the Equity Officer and Employment manager in State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasotas Office of Human Resources. Their intent is to say were all the same it doesnt matter, but what I see it as, lets recognize my difference and acknowledge that, and lets talk about that if you have questions.


See me, is really what its saying.


Her quote says: Stop judging … Notice skin color, hear accents, ACKNOWLEDGE the differences; THEN, ask questions and be open to learning about others.


Then theres Peter Bassen of Sarasota, also a student at Sarasota County Technical Institute attending there for a career change. An adult division winner, he grew up during a time when diversity and Civil Rights were the hottest topics in America.


What better way to illustrate that then using Photoshop to have Martin Luther King Jr.s I Have A Dream Speech written across and shadowed and lightened just the right way to form Kings bust.


I was only born in 65 and it was very prevalent when I was growing up as a child. The most prolific person was Dr. Martin Luther King, and so immediately I thought of the I Have a Dream Speech and the iconic image of him being in deep thought, Bassen said.


Bassen wanted to convey the power of the black and white contrasting along with the words themselves being in black and white.


Its all in different shades as well, so its quite fitting, he said.


Casey Miller, 18 of Bradenton, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School, created See through your eyes, in Photoshop.


She was excited and said she was just messing around with a design and came together and was happy to be selected. 


I was basically saying that everythings the same, so its all equal, Miller said of her design. Were all different colors but we see the same person in the end.


Shell attend University of Central Florida for graphic arts and photography.


Gabrielle Holt, 17, of Sarasota is a junior at Riverview High School whose quote was selected to appear with a piece of art.


It reads: Society tells us how to act, exist, and be. We must LEARN for ourselves hot to interact, coexist and become.


Holt is happy to be selected. 


Humans are a lot more than what the media tells us, she said. I was going with the society thing because as a girl I see a lot of things in the media that tell you how to act, what to wear and what to look like, and being in high school, theres a lot of pressure to do those kinds of things.


Though shes quite the succinct poet, Holt would love to work for Nike because shes a runner and wants to study human physiology, but a freelance writing gig at Runners World wouldnt be bad either, she admitted.


Holt is a member of the Coexistence Club at the high school, which is a youth chapter part of the Coexistence Inc. nonprofit that creates the educational lessons, field trips and exhibit to embrace diversity. The group provides tours to elementary students during the school day, too. 


Michael Sheldon is the executive director of Coexistence and said the main component beyond fund raising to create the programs, is the programs themselves of providing teachers a template of a lesson plan, workbooks and free field trips to enhance diversity education.


Were the only organization in town that provides free field trips, he said.


The organization is in talks to have its own version in Manatee County and said Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston has embraced the idea. 


About 5,000 Manatee County students participate in Coexistences programs and the logistics of busing them down to Sarasota is too difficult, so its time to forge north.


The key for the group will be to find out how Bradenton could have its own version. They have a spot picked out along Rossi Park on the waterfront to mirror the bayfront aspect of the Sarasota Island Park, Sheldon said.


What were adamant about not doing is taking a Sarasota concept and dumping it on Bradenton, he said.  


Yep, that seems to be in the spirit of the organization. Bradenton and Sarasota should not be the seen as the same — embrace the differences.

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Dozier: People News


Writers conference celebrating 25th anniversary

A Rally of Writers 2012, a freelance writing conference, is celebrating its 25th year. The event will be held from 9 am to 4:30 pm April 14 at the Conference Center, West Campus, Lansing Community College, 4708 Cornerstone Drive.

Loren Estleman, the keynoter and author of more than 60 books and 200 stories in crime, Western, and mainstream fields, will lead off with “Writing Is the Best Revenge.”

Sixteen breakout sessions will follow on fiction, creative nonfiction, articles, poetry, playwriting, travel writing, e-books, and marketing. Speakers include Dennis Hinrichsen and Anita Skeen, poets from LCC and Michigan State University; Lev Raphael, acclaimed author in many genres; Mardi Link, true crime and essay winner; Carol Finke, editor of Controlled Burn; and Mark Crilley, young adult graphic novels.

Authors will talk with attendees and sign books in Authors’ Alley.

The program is sponsored by Gibson’s Bookstore, Lansing Community College, the Skaaldic Society, and the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The cost of the conference is $70 in advance ($50 for students) and $80 ($60) at the door.

Reservations with lunch must be postmarked by Saturday.

The Rally Warm-Up, a free event featuring “After Red Tails: Struggles on the Home Front,” with discussions by author Lawrence P. Scott and descendant Geoff Blair, will be held at 7 pm April 13 at Schuler Books Music at Eastwood Towne Center.

Details are available at or at 372-4294.

MSU College of Music seeking host family for student

The Michigan State University College of Music is looking for a host family to house a graduate music student from South Korea.

She is a doctor of musical arts student in violin performance and is completing her first year of study toward the degree.

She speaks and understands English quite well as she completed her master of music degree at the University of Houston before entering MSU in the fall. Because she does not have a car, it would be advantageous for her to have a host family living in East Lansing, Okemos or Haslett.

Interested families are urged to call the Orchestra Office in the College of Music at 355-7670.

Military Mailbag

Army Sgt. and Recon Scout Brad Kubat, of Fort Carson, Colo., has deployed to Afghanistan for a nine-month mission.

Kubat is a 2005 graduate of Holt High School. He is the son of Mark and Kim Attard and brother of Mackenzie, all of Eaton Rapids.

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Project Glass: Google takes a glimpse into the future with augmented reality …


Search engine and Internet giant Google recently made a revolutionary move by revealing information about its augumented reality glasses, that would allow people to use all of Googles products, like mail, social network, video call, while taking pictures, sending recorded messages and buying things online. The product, called Product Glass, imagined by many and eagerly awaited by early adopters, is in the prototype phase, but Google has not announced when and whether it would hand out testing prototypes, not when it hopes for a mass market launch.

“A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment,” writes a statement.

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American Writers & Artists Inc. Announces Dates of the 2012 Copywriting …


American Writers amp; Artists Inc. Announces Dates of the 2012 Copywriting Bootcamp and Job Fair
The FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair, the freelance writing industry’s top event, will return to its longtime home, the Delray Beach Marriott, this October. AWAI is now offering a chance for you to secure your spot.

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HENRY BRIGGS: Michael Lacing is funny – seriously.


I ask about those days he doesnt feel that funny.

I dont have that luxury he says. My clients dont care if Im not in the mood. They want the jokes. Those days just run a little longer than others.

Hes pretty liberal, which caused problems in the beginning. Politics and politicians can be funny, especially nowadays, but people have gotten so serious I usually stay away from either side.

After spending time at the mall yesterday, it seems springing forward for daylight savings is the most exercise some people get all year.

He went to Radnor High and West Chester University, then spent a few years after college banging around the country. The best part? Meeting all those people in all those places, he says. It taught me more than college.

That was followed by a combination of construction jobs and freelance writing. He shows me some clippings from Main Line Times articles he wrote during that period. Theres a piece on a Dr. Janet Sy in which she describes the inequities and frustrations of being a doctor.

Why not socialized medicine and why not a national insurance program controlled by the government? she asked Michael in frustration in 1977. I am stunned.

He worked at Channel 10 and freelanced for the Philadelphia Daily News.

US teenagers science scores rank behind most Western countries. Its gotten so bad that half of the frogs dissected in biology classes actually get better.

In the early 90s, Michael was doing a local TV show with comedy skits called Almost Live. He sent a demo reel to the Today show and they booked him, but on the day he was to appear, he was bumped by breaking news the first Gulf War. They never rebooked me. Then, think of all those laughs they missed. Da dum! Continued…

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Consumer Rebel!


Could you make yourself this challenge and stick to it? Eilleen the self titled consumer rebel did and she says her life is better for it.

Her lounge room and dining room cost her less than $2000 to furnish, yet there is art on the walls, enough furniture for her family to use and it functions as well as any other living room to be found in your average house in Canberra.

Eilleen says it was the standard day to day clutter of things that was weighing her down so she one day she made the resolution and didnt buy anything new for the whole year.

I wanted to have a really good think about why it is I have so much stuff, she said.

On her journey of discovery, Eilleen found that often the things she bought were a projection of her identity and it wasnt the identity she wanted to present to others.

She started by not buying new objects which then developed into her throwing things out when she no longer wanted to repair.

As a mother, Eilleens house is not full of the usual plastic toys, colourful junk collected by the kids or lots of clothes.

Her children follow her rules and nine year old Jade says she enjoys going Op shopping and doesnt mind that she has to give a bag of things to others before she can get one new thing herself.

Eilleens journey is an incredible one that has clear environmental benefits, is great for the family budget but also draws focus to the important things in life.

By not buying things Im experiencing life the way I want to and Im actually living according to my own values, Eilleen said.

By de-cluttering her house Eilleen managed to de-clutter her life, her mind and her priorities spending more time with family and friends and placing more importance on sharing experiences then sharing physical things.

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Little Enthusiasm For Mergers In Q1 – Will Coty Bid For Avon Get Things Going …


Enthusiasm for mergers or acquisitions in the first quarter of 2012 was low as CEO confidence for doing deals seemed to be missing.

Corporations are still sitting on tons of cash and longer-term interest rates, across the board, remain exceedingly low and funds are available. Yet global Mamp;A activity in the first quarter of 2012 was at the lowest level since the first quarter of 2003.

The biggest concern in the executive suite seems to be that old demon uncertainty. There is uncertainty about the economy; there is uncertainty about where President Obama stands on business; there is uncertainty about events in Europe and the world; and there is uncertainty about the regulatory and legal environment.

This uncertainty is one of the contributing factors to fact that there is not more robust economic growth (see my earlier post). For people to commit, they must have confidence that what they are doing has a good chance of succeeding.

Attitudes seem to be modifying a little. If anything, as someone has described it, there is a general lack of bad news. Not too encouraging, but this can be all right too.

The economy is growing, there are some encouraging signs here and there, and, although there are still major things to watch out for, people do not seem to be expecting major shocks to the system. Monetary policy is relatively benign at the present time and is expected to remain so through the fall election. But the monetary authorities are prepared to respond strongly against any major shock to the economy if such a shock occurs.

Within this environment, more and more discussions about acquisitions seem to be taking place between organizations. Ideas and plans that had been put on the shelf seem to be back in peoples minds again.

Special interest seems to be focusing, not surprisingly, on Europe. The financial crisis of the last few years has drained the continent in many ways and there seem to be quite a few potential targets available at rather good prices.

Along this line, just recently the UKs NDS Group Ltd. was picked up by Cisco Systems (CSCO) and the Netherlands TNT Express NV was acquired by United Parcel Service (UPS).

Starting out a new quarter, following a quarter that saw strong stock performances, comes the news that Coty, Inc. of Europe is making a bid for Avon Products (AVP) even though Avon is more than twice the size of Coty. The importance of this is not so much the deal itself, but the fact that action in this area seems to be increasing. The economy is growing, monetary policy is permissive, cash is available, the stock market has been strong recently, and it is spring!

The main thing to really resolve is the absence of confidence, so you need a couple of people to jump into the bath and say the water isnt so bad in here. -Daniel Wolf, a partner in the law firm of Kirkland amp; Ellis.

Basically, some people have to be brave enough to take the plunge! Then others may follow.

A pick-up in Mamp;A activity may not cause economic growth to increase — in fact, I dont believe that it will — but it may help to spread more confidence around, which will lead people to buy more common stock or pay off more debt. Each of these things will help to confidence to grow and expand — both of which are necessary for the economy to continue on its upward path.

I would expect this to be particularly helpful in causing the price of stocks to rise. The reason for this is that historically, a good time to buy common stocks is when people and businesses are cautious and exhibiting a disciplined approach to what they are doing. It is a good time to acquire when people and businesses are being very selective.

Generally, this means that prices are low and attractive acquisitions can be made. It also means that not everyone is jumping into the pool so that the level of the entire pool is rising. That is, that people and businesses are just buying things without any real reason except that things seem to be going up.

Lets keep our eyes on those corporate cash hoards to see whether or not companies are moving more aggressively into acquisition mode. My belief is that if the pace of Mamp;A activity picks up, this will be a show of confidence that will benefit us all.