Monthly Archives: March 2013

No Pulitzer For Drama; No Wonder

This year, when The Pulitzer Prizes were announced, the not entirely delightful news is that no Pulitzer was awarded in drama.

While the decision is unsettling, the prudence of it must be acknowledged, since, affection for the theater and those who make it aside, there was no drama to consider.

Let us have the courage to ask why and, along the way, try our best to understand everybody’s culpability or innocence.

If you keep tabs on Broadway, just so you’ll know if, by some surprising concatenation of events, a drama you might actually be interested in seeing comes along, you know that the usual fare this past season was once again a series of enthusiastically promoted trifles.

But the financial realities on Broadway make it exceedingly chancy for producers to put up anything that isn’t already proven at the box office and, even more importantly, with the critics, who can even disable a previous box-office success. All very understandable. The producers are not in the business of nourishing unproven works, no matter how worthy they may suspect or be advised they are. Not understandable.

The small and regional theaters are seldom managed by people who have any sense of what mainstream appeal might be or they very likely wouldn’t be working in a little or regional theater. Perfectly understandable.

Even if a small or regional theater puts up a work that might attract a wider audience than the reliable coterie whose interests are decidedly offbeat, the likelihood that a well-known critic or even a second-string critic will show up is discouraging. Understandable. During the theater season, little theaters put up shows with withering frequency in New York and all over the country. The critics whose names people might known do not flock to any production that doesn’t have some kind of major preproduction cache. Their primary job is to review the little shows in the big venues, not the remotely possible big show in a little venue, and their secondary job, should they occasionally be inspired to assume its obligations, is to cherry pick smaller productions that present some precondition of influential interest. Also understandable.

The current crop of critics, when confronted by a work in any theatrical venue that smacks of being mainstream, are unlikely to find it suits their own offbeat temperaments. Not understandable. It is such temperamental selectivity that prevented, among countless lesser knows, a relatively mainstream playwright like Arthur Miller from getting a rave review during the last two or three decades of his life, and even a popular confectioner like Neil Simon from getting one for many years.

The inescapable fact is, offbeat people usually prefer offbeat works. Very understandable. We’re all human.

But what would be really refreshing is for a major critic or two to surface whose tastes would incline them to help nourish intelligent theater that deals with the major text and subtext of contemporary mainstream American life. Once we were fortunate enough to have them, like the legendary Brooks Atkinson and the more recent Walter Kerr, we could be far more hopeful that mainstream works would have a chance of surfacing. After all, critics are the first significant audience for any work, and so they are necessary partners in the attempt to rejuvenate intelligent and widely relevant American theater.

As for the playwrights, we must understand their plight, too. Simply put, comes the hopeful new playwright with a mainstream sensibility, where can he hope to find an outlet? And, if he does, can he hope to have a critic show up, let alone one who is on the same page with his sensibility? Quite a rare and, year after year, an apparently impossible combination.

Even Actors Equity is aligned against the poor talented soul. Should the playwright somehow find a theater that will put us his or her work, he or she will get what is known as a showcase presentation, which provides for four weeks of rehearsal and a four-week run, possibly extended to five weeks. Since the rehearsals must be conducted with actors who have to participate in their spare time, due to the meager honorariums showcase appearances provide, it’s difficult to get a production that does the work justice. And a four-week run simply is not long enough to build word of mouth.

Between the scarcity of venues that have a predisposition toward a playwright who has a sensibility that might reach mainstream America, the difficulty of getting a production that showcases the work in a way that renders whatever excellence it may hold, the brevity of the run, and the scarcity of critics who might arrive, compounded by the unlikely prospect that any who do might appreciate it, can we blame the playwright who finally decides that he’s involved in a hopeless puzzle that, at best, is merely baby sitting him as an intellectual. Is it any wonder that he may sulk between disappointing efforts and finally walk away into a writing career where there is some hope of getting somewhere. Understandable, at least.

So there you have, as best as we can explain it, why no Pulitzer was awarded for drama.

But we could never leave you without whatever hope there might be.

The one factor that hasn’t yet entered contemporary theater that has influenced, for better or worse, film and television, is the advent of the self-funded writer-producer. Considering the gauntlet that faces the mainstream playwright without his or her own resources, such a writer-producer, maligned as he may initially be as self-aggrandizing by the theatrical establishment, may be the only hope left.

Meanwhile, we must reluctantly admit, better not to award the Pulitzer at all than to award it to a trifle, masquerading as a piece of consequence. At least, some sort of standard has been indicated.

A Wealth of Kid Hobby Ideas

Every young person needs a hobby. An interesting kid hobby will help children learn as well as keep them entertained for hours. It might even help them stay away from a bad peer group and stay out of trouble. Some kids might think of video games or TV as an appropriate kid hobby, but most parents would like to see their kids doing something more challenging or educational.

A good kid hobby is playing a musical instrument. The guitar can often be self-taught from a book if a child has the interest, but for piano playing or other instruments, you will probably have to invest in lessons. Practice is, of course, an essential part of mastering any musical instrument.

Another type of kid hobby is pursuing an art or a craft. Kids can learn to draw, paint, or make scrapbook pages. They can learn needle arts, such as embroidery, sewing, knitting or crocheting. Beginning carpentry is a very useful kid hobby that may turn into a career, or at least skills that will be used for a lifetime.

Tinkering around on gas engines or electronics is another kid hobby that can lead to useful skills.

There are all sorts of things that kids might like to collect for a hobby. Some of the more common collections are of stamps, coins, and rocks. Stamps are interesting because they can be from many different countries, becoming a geography lesson. Coins and stamps both are of historical significance, and encourage reading to learn more about different eras in history. Rock collecting as a kid hobby requires looking into science books.

Other collectibles include bean bag toys or figurines of a certain thing, such as owls, frogs, or unicorns. Anything a child has an interest in can be collected. If a kid is interested in dolphins, for instance, she may not only collect dolphin figurines and posters, but also be motivated to read books about dolphins.

Construction sets also make a good pastime for kids. Many people may think of these only as toys, but children who have grown up with these sets and added components to them down through the years can create some pretty impressive models. They are also gaining skills in reasoning and perception as they build.

Making model, such as cars, boats, and airplanes, has always been a popular kid hobby. If your child is interested in making models, be very encouraging in the beginning. Model car kits can be very complicated and require a great deal of precision. If your child’s first few creations leave a little bit to be desired, don’t laugh or scold, or he is likely to never want to try to make anything again! Get the easiest kit he is willing to make and then patiently help him as much as needed.

Many kids enjoy sports, making any athletic activity a great kid hobby. Soccer, basketball, and little league baseball all come to mind, but don’t forget about track and field events. Maybe your child would enjoy distance running or gymnastics. An active kid hobby will help your child stay in shape as well as make an interesting pastime.

Bust Boredom with Kid Crafts

Have you ever heard those familiar words, “I’m bored,” coming from the mouth of your child? If so, then kid crafts are the answer. Provide the kids with craft materials and boredom will be a thing of the past. Read on for ideas about kid crafts.

Kid crafts essential materials include paper, crayons, safe scissors, and glue. Paper for kid crafts can include construction paper, plain typing paper, cardstock of various colors, and many other options. Even junk mail and old magazines can make interesting art projects. Crayons are nice for younger children, but the stores are now filled with other options, such as washable dry-erase markers, watercolor pencils, and gel pens. Kid crafts supplies can run into money, but even on a budget there are many possibilities.

Other materials kids can craft with include recycled junk and found objects. By recycled junk, I’m referring to empty cereal boxes, toothpaste boxes, cardboard from packaging, plastic containers, and even tin cans. If you let kids craft with tin cans, however, you need to make sure the open edge of the can doesn’t have any sharp edges. Simply file these off or squeeze them flat with a pair of pliers.

Found objects include leaves, twigs, rocks, snakeskins, and other natural item a child might find. Perhaps there is a sheep farm nearby. If so, wool scraps can often be found stuck to the barbed wire fences. Any or all of these items can be used in kid crafts.

One of the most fun and popular kid crafts is making a collage. Kids can glue anything down when making a collage. Use heavy paper for the background, and then let the creativity begin! For an extra challenge, a collage can be built around a theme, like food, animals, or babies. Old magazines can be searched for just the right pictures, which can be cut out and glued to the background. The older child might wish to cut out details from magazine pictures and reassemble them in new and interesting ways. They might cut out interesting words and headlines and add them as well.

Younger kid crafts can include collages made of glued down pasta, beans, popsicle sticks, leaves, and many other materials. Don’t forget about glitter, too. If the budget allows only a few kid crafts splurges, remember that kids of all ages, particularly girls, really enjoy crafting artwork that includes glitter. But whether your kids are boys or girls, young or older, suggest some kid crafts the next time your kids are bored!

Isolated Expedition

Imagine an expedition to the Antarctic in 1914. There is no GPS, no world-reaching radio, and no satellite phone. Brutal conditions, rationed food, tight living quarters. Sounds pretty bleak. Now imagine that something goes horribly wrong. As days turn into weeks the rationed food is exhausted. As weeks turn into months hope is all that is left. When hope diminishes, all that is left is the will to live.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 voyage turned into a disaster just before he and his crew of twenty-eight could reach Antarctica. Their ship The Endurance was held up by ice for ten months and then crushed by it’s frozen, unforgiving force, and that is just the beginning of this two-years long journey. It is amazing what he and his crew endure over this time period just to survive.

This is an excerpt from a diary kept by crewman Thomas Orde-Lees that recounts a very cold and desperate time some six months after the men abandoned the crumpled, mangled wreckage of their ship on three lifeboats.

“As the water splashed into the boats it froze instantly forming thick incrustations of ice on the inside of the boat and over all the gear freezing up the sail as stiff as a piece of corrugated iron. Fortunately the water which ran into the bottom of the boat did not freeze at once so that by frequent bailing we were able to keep pace with it and prevent the accumulation of ice along the keels, where, had it once formed, it would have been next to impossible to eradicate it on account of the cargo.

Much sleet covered us, and what with this and the sea spray we were all more or less wet through and our outer clothing was frozen stiff. Our time was largely occupied in picking the ice off each other’s backs. It would be a lie to say that we were at all happy under these circumstances but now and again we made a feeble effort to assume a cheerful, hopeful air in spite of ourselves. We were being sorely tried, indeed, though.”

Island Holidays: Salt Spray Getaways

There is just something about the ocean breeze and salt spray that makes a holiday on an island something you won’t soon forget. Because islands can be found in every ocean and near every continent, island holidays can vary widely. You can lay on a beach or watch whales, study botany or shop native craft stalls. It’s all up to you when you plan your island holidays.

North American islands include the Canadian east coast islands of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Island holidays to these areas will be filled with unspoiled natural beauty, cool, comfortable temperatures, and whale watching expeditions.

South of these regions is the little island of Bermuda off the eastern U.S. coast. Bermuda is surrounded with hundreds of square miles of reef formations, making snorkeling an interesting activity there. For the less adventurous, you can ride around in a glass bottom boat and view the beautiful undersea world.

Heading on south, we find the Carribean islands. These have long been popular spots for tourists. Here the beaches are white and sandy and the weather is very warm. Up in the interior of these islands, you can find a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Barbados, the Virgin Islands, and many other spots make lovely island holidays. Each island has it’s own unique flavor and feel.

Europe has islands of all types nearby which make great spots for island holidays. Visit the isles of Greece and you will see clear seas, quiet beaches, olive groves, and the simple life. Corfu is the choice of those who like up-to-date restaurants and shopping, while Lefkas is popular with wind-surfers and sailors. The Portuguese island of Madeira boasts beautiful weather and one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The Canary Islands, off the coast of Spain, are a popular tourist spot for Europeans.

A new trend in island holidays is eco-tourism. This is traveling in such a way that neither the earth nor the local people you are visiting is harmed in any way. People who are drawn to eco-tourism may enjoy bird-watching, hiking, and other island activities that do not leave an impact on the area.

Everybody dreams of taking island holidays. There are islands all over the world, each offering it’s own cultural experience and natural wonders. Many spots for island holidays are still unspoiled and secluded, while others are lively and exciting. Island holidays offer a real diversion from your everyday life.

The Process of Due Diligence

A business which wants to attract foreign investments must present a business plan. But a business plan is the equivalent of a visit card. The introduction is very important – but, once the foreign investor has expressed interest, a second, more serious, more onerous and more tedious process commences: Due Diligence.

“Due Diligence” is a legal term (borrowed from the securities industry). It means, essentially, to make sure that all the facts regarding the firm are available and have been independently verified. In some respects, it is very similar to an audit. All the documents of the firm are assembled and reviewed, the management is interviewed and a team of financial experts, lawyers and accountants descends on the firm to analyze it.

First Rule:

The firm must appoint ONE due diligence coordinator. This person interfaces with all outside due diligence teams. He collects all the materials requested and oversees all the activities which make up the due diligence process.

The firm must have ONE VOICE. Only one person represents the company, answers questions, makes presentations and serves as a coordinator when the DD teams wish to interview people connected to the firm.

Second Rule:

Brief your workers. Give them the big picture. Why is the company raising funds, who are the investors, how will the future of the firm (and their personal future) look if the investor comes in. Both employees and management must realize that this is a top priority. They must be instructed not to lie. They must know the DD coordinator and the company’s spokesman in the DD process.

The DD is a process which is more structured than the preparation of a Business Plan. It is confined both in time and in subjects: Legal, Financial, Technical, Marketing, Controls.

The Marketing Plan

Must include the following elements:

a.. A brief history of the business (to show its track performance and growth).

b.. Points regarding the political, legal (licences) and competitive environment.

c.. A vision of the business in the future.

d.. Products and services and their uses.

e.. Comparison of the firm’s products and services to those of the competitors.

f.. Warranties, guarantees and after-sales service.

g.. Development of new products or services.

h.. A general overview of the market and market segmentation.

i.. Is the market rising or falling (the trend: past and future).

j.. What customer needs do the products / services satisfy.

k.. Which markets segments do we concentrate on and why.

l.. What factors are important in the customer’s decision to buy (or not to buy).

m.. A list of the direct competitors and a short description of each.

n.. The strengths and weaknesses of the competitors relative to the firm.

o.. Missing information regarding the markets, the clients and the competitors.

p.. Planned market research.

q.. A sales forecast by product group.

r.. The pricing strategy (how is pricing decided).

s.. Promotion of the sales of the products (including a description of the sales force, sales-related incentives, sales targets, training of the sales personnel, special offers, dealerships, telemarketing and sales support). Attach a flow chart of the purchasing process from the moment that the client is approached by the sales force until he buys the product.

t.. Marketing and advertising campaigns (including cost estimates) – broken by market and by media.

u.. Distribution of the products.

v.. A flow chart describing the receipt of orders, invoicing, shipping.

w.. Customer after-sales service (hotline, support, maintenance, complaints, upgrades, etc.).

x.. Customer loyalty (example: churn rate and how is it monitored and controlled).

Legal Details

a.. Full name of the firm.

b.. Ownership of the firm.

c.. Court registration documents.

d.. Copies of all protocols of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of Shareholders.

e.. Signatory rights backed by the appropriate decisions.

f.. The charter (statute) of the firm and other incorporation documents.

g.. Copies of licences granted to the firm.

h.. A legal opinion regarding the above licences.

i.. A list of lawsuit that were filed against the firm and that the firm filed against third parties (litigation) plus a list of disputes which are likely to reach the courts.

j.. Legal opinions regarding the possible outcomes of all the lawsuits and disputes including their potential influence on the firm.

Financial Due Diligence

Last 3 years income statements of the firm or of constituents of the firm, if the firm is the result of a merger. The statements have to include:

a.. Balance Sheets;

b.. Income Statements;

c.. Cash Flow statements;

d.. Audit reports (preferably done according to the International Accounting Standards, or, if the firm is looking to raise money in the USA, in accordance with FASB);

e.. Cash Flow Projections and the assumptions underlying them.

Controls

a.. Accounting systems used;

b.. Methods to price products and services;

c.. Payment terms, collections of debts and ageing of receivables;

d.. Introduction of international accounting standards;

e.. Monitoring of sales;

f.. Monitoring of orders and shipments;

g.. Keeping of records, filing, archives;

h.. Cost accounting system;

i.. Budgeting and budget monitoring and controls;

j.. Internal audits (frequency and procedures);

k.. External audits (frequency and procedures);

l.. The banks that the firm is working with: history, references, balances.

Technical Plan

a.. Description of manufacturing processes (hardware, software, communications, other);

b.. Need for know-how, technological transfer and licensing required;

c.. Suppliers of equipment, software, services (including offers);

d.. Manpower (skilled and unskilled);

e.. Infrastructure (power, water, etc.);

f.. Transport and communications (example: satellites, lines, receivers, transmitters);

g.. Raw materials: sources, cost and quality;

h.. Relations with suppliers and support industries;

i.. Import restrictions or licensing (where applicable);

j.. Sites, technical specification;

k.. Environmental issues and how they are addressed;

l.. Leases, special arrangements;

m.. Integration of new operations into existing ones (protocols, etc.).

A successful due diligence is the key to an eventual investment. This is a process much more serious and important than the preparation of the Business Plan.

Ignorance and Fantasy

Are beliefs not often the children of ignorance and fantasy? Consider the heavenly view of the world that young souls entertain at the height of their innocence, when their youth has been surrounded by love and filled with happiness. Hear their laughter. Dreams expand in a vacuity of knowledge like a laughing gas and induce the blindest, the purest joy.

Ignorance is bliss, as they say, because it spares us the mental restraints associated with knowledge (which reveals the limits of reality and hence the impossibility of our fantasies). It is the ultimate playground where the mind can build castles in the air, create a wonderland, and live delightedly in this kingdom of reverie. It paves the way for the reign of error, as it leaves us to believe whatever we like. Everything that is desirable is realizable, if not real, until we find evidence to the contrary. Santa Claus eventually dies of our old age when we are no longer so young, so green, that we are easily fooled by a tall story.

In truth, however wise we may be, we are still at risk. We spontaneously indulge in fantasies about the world here below, which is never totally known, or the beyond, which is unknowable. We are always tempted to believe that our health, our relationships, our career, or any other part of our life, will be wonderful, or that our death will not be an end, but a passage from here to a paradisal hereafter. This temptation is irresistible for many when they discover a charismatic fortuneteller or spiritual leader who professes this belief, which remains unproven nonetheless. Our believing is then the result of ignorance and fantasy, plus faith.

An example of self-deceit that concerns young idealists and betrays their warm-blooded aspiration for perfect love is the illusive passion they often experience toward attractive members of the opposite sex whom they little know. By perfect love I mean a complete and durable harmony at every level physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual between two lovers. It involves friendship to a high degree, as the words “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” suggest. While it includes lust, it transcends and transfigures it.

Pop songs are common vehicles for this ideal, which entices many young souls. I am thinking of young men in particular, who are usually quick to fantasize about pretty young women and fall madly in love with them, or rather with a fantastical image of them. This quickness is typical of their ardent and imprudent youth. It needs nothing more than a few smiles and nods, a few gracious words of agreement, to make these young men imagine they have found a soul mate, as they pour out their inner self their sense of what is good, true, right, or sacred. A few auspicious signs and, voil, they take the pretty young women for dream girls and are besotted with them! A few misleading signs, in fact. Every charm hides a cause for alarm.

If, in the struggle for survival and happiness, society is a cure for individual limitations (an imperfect cure to be sure, with side effects), it is also a pill hard to swallow. Civility is a smooth sugar coating that eases the swallowing. Give thanks to those who phrase their discontentment with delicacy and embellish it with a compliment and an encouragement. No nagging, no gagging. Sometimes civility excludes honesty and amounts to well-meaning or self-serving hypocrisy. It turns into servility through a mix of kindness and weakness, or through pure selfishness. One way or another, some people are fooled, kept in the dark, while they should live wisely, in the light of knowledge. They are denied truth: the opportunity to conceive of their true situation and achieve their true purpose.

Young men, among the fantasizers I referred to earlier, are often lured by the social graces of pretty young women. The poor fish take the hook and eventually discover they have made a mistake, like many others in the same boat. The dream girls were ordinary maidens or vixens who first behaved and talked infinitely sweet, and later proved lovable in a limited way or revealed their sour temper.

A long intimacy is a good test of a couple’s true nature. It always strips relationships of the silky appearance they sometimes have initially, when seduction overrides every other consideration. This appearance is superficial and deceptive like the outer layers of an onion. Once it is removed, after a succession of changes that marked a gradual return to naturalness, conflicts arise. The truth is uncovered; tears are shed.

Many young fantasizers part from their lovers at this point. They embark on another relationship until the next disillusion, the next dissolution, then embark on another relationship, and so forth. They do the same in other areas of life, starting this or that with high expectations and quitting upon the first difficulties, time and again. They never settle for less than perfection; they never build anything to speak of.

Some of these fantasizers stop this nonsense after a number of disappointments and finally change into brave realists. Their bravery distinguishes them from other disenchanted souls who give up hope to give in to laziness with a clear conscience. These defeatists confuse their attitude with realism and suffer nullity or mediocrity rather than fight for excellence, which is possible, unlike perfection. In their view, humans are in their element only when fantasizing, like fish when swimming. In fact, humans who are adaptable are closer to amphibians than to fish. They can come back to earth without dying of frustration, and even better, with a chance to live happily, thanks to a blend of struggle and resignation that yields joy and serenity.

Brave realists know and accept the conditions and limitations of happiness. They think it all the more precious as it has a high cost and is bound to be lost sooner or later. They also understand that although one may indulge in a fickle existence for a while, one must eventually commit and apply oneself to a particular relationship, study, or career, in spite of imperfections and difficulties, if one wishes to achieve something worthy of mention. Nothing good can come from a search for better that always leaves one thing for another.

The New Investor Special Report

The Nature of Stocks and Their Markets

Stock Brokers

Besides money, the only thing you need to start investing is a stock broker. Your broker will be the individual or organization that have execute your buy and sell orders. They will have an account for you which is just like a normal bank account, except that it can contain not only cash, but stocks and bonds as well. Money from the sale of shares will go into this account, and cash to buy shares will be taken from this account.

There are two types of stock brokers which you can choose between, full service and discount. Each has advantages and disadvantages, as discussed below.

Full Service Stock Brokers

Full service brokers will give you advice and investment recommendations. However, they do have very high commission fees and are usually only suitable for investors who have a great deal of money to invest and who do few trades. For penny stock investment, the frequency of trading and the small amounts of capital per trade make full service brokers inappropriate, because their commission fees will be too high. You may be required to pay as much as $100 or more to have your full service broker buy you some shares, and just as much again when you sell.

Discount Stock Brokers

Discount brokers can answer any investment questions you may have, but they offer fewer personalized services for their clients, such as making stock recommendations or giving you portfolio advice. These are the brokers you see on television, advertising $10 or $20 a trade commission fees. When you buy or sell stock, you will be required to pay this lower commission rate, and can therefore keep more of your own money in your pocket.

As well, with discount brokers you can often monitor your account and execute trade orders from your computer or through an automated telephone system. With the computer system you are able to see all of your open buy orders, check market indexes and get stock price quotes. On-line discount brokers are best for anyone investing in penny stocks, as you are able to check prices anywhere there is a modem, and as many times as you like throughout the day.

When you’ve chosen which broker you want to establish an account with, simply contact them and they will help you fill out any forms and set up your account. You generally will need an initial deposit of cash. Getting your account running and ready for trading is simple and should not take more than three days.

Buy Orders

When you want to acquire shares of a stock, you give your broker a buy order. Make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the cost of the shares, as well as the commission fee. You will need to know the following;

1. The ticker symbol of the stock (i.e.- COMX is the ticker symbol for Comtrex Systems)

2. The market the stock is trading on (i.e.- NASDAQ)

3. How many shares you want to acquire. This is also referred to as the volume. With penny stocks you should always buy in multiples of 1000 shares, as you may be otherwise subject to extra commission charges from your broker.

4. The price you are willing to pay for the shares. A ‘market’ order means you are willing to pay the best available price at the time. A ‘limit’ order means you will specify a price which you are willing to pay, and your trade will only take place if shares reach that price. We strongly suggest the use of limit orders, to increase you control over the transaction and to avoid price volatility.

5. The duration of your order. For example, you may keep your order good for just that trading day, or have it good every trading day until it expires on the date you specified, which may be weeks later.

Thus, an example order you might enter would be; “I wish to buy 6000 shares of Lore Diamonds, ticker symbol LOR, at 19 cents or less. The stock is on the Vancouver exchange, and I want this order to stay active until Friday of this week.”

If the price of LOR hits 19 cents or less, your broker should acquire the shares for you. You will find that 6000 shares of LOR have been added to your account, and the money for them has been taken out (6000 shares * $0.19 = $1140 + commission fee).

Sell Orders

A sell order is simply the reverse process of buying. Make sure you know how many shares you have in your account when selling a stock. Tell your broker; “I wish to sell the 6000 shares of Lore Diamonds from my account. The ticker symbol is LOR, and the stock is on the Vancouver Stock Exchange. I want to sell at 24 cents or higher, and keep the order good for the day.”

If the price of LOR hits 24 cents or higher, your shares should be sold and the money from the transaction (6000 shares * $0.24 = $1440 – commission fee) deposited into your account within three days, ready to be used in another purchase.

Special Trading Notes

When trading on an exchange, investors either enter a bid price (if they are buying) or an ask price (if they are selling). When a bid and ask price meet at an agreed price, a trade takes place. In other words, if you are willing to pay 24 cents per share for a stock, and someone is willing to sell shares of the same stock for 24 cents, you will exchange the shares for the cash.

At any one time there are usually several buy orders and sell orders all at different prices for a given stock. However, when you check a stock quote you will only see the highest bid price and the lowest ask price, representing the most that investors are willing to pay for the shares, and the lowest price at which shareholders are willing to sell, respectively.

Due to the ‘best price’ priority, your order to buy stock will not get filled until all buy orders of a higher price are filled first. Similarly, your sell orders will not get filled until sell orders of a lower price are filled.

For orders to buy (or sell) stock that are entered at the same price as other similar orders, preference will be given by the exchange in the order in which they were received.

Unfilled Orders

Due to the above mentioned ranking order, and the often light volume of shares trading, you may not always get your order filled. You may put in an order to buy at a certain price, and find that the shares did not trade at that price during the duration of your order, and therefore you did not make the transaction. There will be no broker fee when no trade takes place.

Partial Fills

You may also find that you got your order partially filled. You may want 8000 shares of a stock, but only get 2000. This is because only 2000 shares were available at the price you had stipulated. This applies to both buying and selling. If you notice that this may be the case mid-day, you can respond by adjusting the price of your order to ensure you trade all the shares you want. You will not get an extra commission for that. However, if your order spans several days and is partly filled on more than one day, you will get a commission charge from your broker each day you trade shares.

Canceling and Changing Open Orders

Buy and sell orders can be canceled or changed during their duration. Consult your broker for more information about changing open orders.

Ian Fleming – James Bond’s Creator

Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908-1964), the author of the James Bond 007 novels, was the grandson of a Scottish banker and the son of a Conservative MP (Member of Parliament). His father died in the first world war. In his will, he bequeathed his property to his widow on condition she never remarries.

Ian’s youth was inauspicious. He was expelled from Eton following a sexual liaison with a girl. He left Sandhurst without obtaining an officer’s rank, having been caught violating the curfew. He continued his education in Kitzbuhel, Austria, in Munich and in Geneva where he studied languages. But the chain of disappointments continued apace. He failed in a Foreign Service exam and had to join Reuters as a journalist. There he successfully covered a spy trial in Russia (1929-32).

He then joined a British investment bank as a stockbroker and moved to live in a converted temple in Belgravia, a fashionable district of London, where he entertained the members of the Le Cercle Gastronomique et des Jeux de Hasard.

In 1939, Fleming took on an assignment for The Times in Moscow – in effect a cover. He was spying for the Foreign Office and later for Naval Intelligence where he attained the rank of Commander.

During the second world war, he worked from room number 39 in the Admiralty building in Whitehall as assistant to Admiral John Godfrey. He was involved in the evacuation of Dieppe in 1940, in the smuggling of King Zog out of Albania and in setting up the Office for Special Services, the precursor of the CIA.

As commander of the 30th Assault Unit, he sometimes operated behind the German lines, trying to secure important documents and files from destruction. But, mostly, he directed the Unit’s operations from London.

When the war was over, he built a house – Goldeneye – in Jamaica. He worked for the Kemsley group of papers and vacationed every winter in the island.

While awaiting the divorce of one of his numerous paramours – the pregnant Lady Anne Rothermere – the 44 years old Fleming wrote “Casino Royale” published in 1953. It was the first of 12 James Bond thrillers, translated to 11 languages and with total sales of 18 million copies. James Bond novels are now being authored by a new generation of writers.

In 1961, John F, Kennedy, the newly elected president, listed a James Bond title as one of his favorite books. Many movie plots were loosely based on Fleming’s novels and have grossed, in total, more than $1 billion. The 007 trademark was merchandised and attached to everything, from toys and games to clothes and toiletries.

But Fleming was also renowned for his non-fiction: tomes like “The Diamond Smugglers” and his “Atticus” column in The Sunday Times where he served as foreign manager (1945-9). He successfully branched into children’s literature with “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1964), also made into a movie.

Ironically, his mother died and left him a fortune in 1964 – when Fleming was already wealthy and dying. The trip to her service may have done him in. His son committed suicide in 1975 and his wife died in 1981. He left behind one heir: James Bond.

Honesty

Those who pride themselves on their honesty should also concern themselves with this principle: The effectiveness of honesty depends on a person’s willingness to face the truth, which may conflict with this person’s desires and provoke denial.

In such a case, how can one promote this willingness, despite this conflict? The answer to this question could prove useful to anyone who seeks to be effectively honest with people in denial. Ultimately, it could benefit these people, whose denial is contrary to their best interest. I go on the assumption that truth, or the conformity of thought to reality, is the sine qua non of vital efficacy. Health, pleasure, successful careers, and harmonious relationships require that we know the needs and capabilities of our nature, and the workings of the world. The absence of this knowledge leads to accidents, illness, suffering, failure, and death. Therefore, the first object of our desires should be truth, or the knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. Why then are people often unwilling to face it?

I believe there are two reasons for this unwillingness. Firstly, the desire to know the truth, which originates in the desire to live happily, spontaneously degenerates into the desire to be right, to avoid the insecurity and shame associated with error and ignorance, and also to avoid the effort to learn. Thus fear, pride, and laziness are obstacles to the pursuit of truth and happiness. People are unlikely to admit they are wrong when they are, unless they possess courage and humility. Whoever takes their good to heart should help them develop these virtues.

Secondly, the truth may be known from experience about a happy way of life. The desire to know the truth then turns into the desire to see the truth last. Mental inertia becomes the law, proportional to the force of attraction exerted on the mind by this happy way of life. Any upheaval that breaks the status quo is denied: “I cannot believe it; this cannot be happening.” Reality is deemed unreal because it no longer tallies with the desired truth. Denial can therefore be regarded as a deviant process that conforms facts to ideas, instead of the opposite. Reason is overthrown and emotions reign, as one strives to prove reality wrong to spare oneself the loss of a happy way of life and the pursuit of another, this loss and this pursuit being associated with grief, strain, and doubt, or even despair.

To help a person acknowledge an undesired truth about a radical change in reality, one has to couple honesty with wisdom to heighten this person’s awareness of the human capacity for adaptation. This capacity is best illustrated by the example of people who have suffered a terrible misfortune and progressively discovered a new outlook and a new happiness, more enlightened and satisfying than the old ones. In addition, one has to stimulate the will of this person, who is left with a formidable challenge: to start her or his life over. Lastly, this heightened awareness and this stimulated will may weaken at times, calling for reinforcement. All in all, against the unwillingness to face the truth, the effectiveness of honesty is always difficult and uncertain.