Wednesday, April 30, 2014


THE RAVEN Scientific Nomenclature (Yes, I know nomenclature can be boring, but you can learn an awful lot about an animal from its name. For example, you can learn which other animals are closely related to it, or about its shape and sometimes size, or even particular habits of the animal which influenced its naming. If you have the time, I recommend learning where your favorite birds fit in the grand scheme of things.) Kingdom: Animalia.This distinguishes animals from, say, plants. Not that you'd be likely to mistake a bird for a carrot, but you never know. Phylum: Chordata.This includes all animals which have, at some point in their development, a 'notochord' running down the length of their bodies. The spines of vertebrates put them into this category. Class: Aves.All birds are members of this class, whether they fly or not. Order: Passeriformes.Commonly called the 'songbirds', these are the 'perching' birds... the ones most people think of when they think of birds. (Very few people immediately picture an ostrich, flamingo or vulture when the term 'bird' is mentioned). They are also well known for their voices, which are loud and commonly heard. Family: Corvidae.This family includes all the 'crow' type birds, including Magpies, Jays, Nutcrackers, Ravens, and, of course, Crows. The family emerged in the middle Miocene period (23.7 - 5.3 million years ago). Genus: Corvus.This is the classification especially for ravens and crows. Within this genus are different species of both, but their scientific names all start with 'Corvus'. They got the name from the deep-throated 'croak' which is their distinctive call. Species: corax.The Common Raven (Corvus corax) is one species of raven. Another isC. cryptoleucus, also known as the Chihuahuan raven, which lives in the SW United States and Mexico. What they Look Like Ravens are large black birds, with a blue-purple iridescence to their feathers. They are approximately 24-27 inches long at maturity, and their wingspan doubles that. The beak and feet are black, and the iris of the eye is brown. Young birds are less glossy than adults, but they lose the dullness when they reach maturity. Although they are frequently confused with crows, ravens differ in many ways. A raven's beak is larger and heavier than a crow's beak. Their throat feathers are more pointed and elongated, giving them a 'spiky' appearance when they fluff up. Crows' throat feathers, on the other hand, are rounded, like a semicircular fan. Most noticeably, their caw is much deeper than the crow's call, and much throatier. Also, a raven's call is more varied than the repetitive cawing of a crow. Click herefor more detailed information about the way crows and ravens differ. Range Ravens are a common sight in countries around the globe, and can survive in many different climates. They range from islands in the northern Arctic to deserts of North Africa, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coasts of North America. They can be found in England, in Mexico, in Turkey, and many other locations. Preferences vary with species, but most prefer wooded areas, especially along the coast and in the mountains. An individual raven, or a nesting pair, will pick a territory around the nest which in which they forage for food. While it is flying within its territory, the raven is a friendly, unsuspicious bird. It is known to frequent human dwellings and farmsteads where it knows food will be left out for it. When it is nesting, however, the raven is wary and secretive. Nesting Habits Ravens nest in single pairs (pairs which stay away from other nesting pairs). Evidence suggests that, once paired, ravens will remain mated for life. They build their nests on cliff ledges and cavities, or in trees. The nest is a mass of sticks and twigs, lined with grass and bark, and often with bits of string or other tidbits which caught the builder's eye. Within that nest, the female raven will lay 4 - 7 eggs, which are greenish, blotched with brown. Both parents incubate the eggs, and feed the hungry young. Young stay in the nest for approximately 6 - 10 weeks. Eating Habits Ravens are omnivorous. They will eat anything which is edible (and many things which aren't). Their usual diet contains insects, seeds, berries, carrion (the bodies of animals killed by creatures other than the raven), the eggs and young of other birds, and occasionally small mammals. When living near humans, ravens will also eat human garbage. Legend has it that a raven's favorite food is the body of a dead man, or of other dead animals, and that a raven will go first for the eyes of such a fallen creature. Other tales say that ravens will hunt with wolves and share the kill with them. There may be a certain amount of truth in these, for ravens do have a certain fondness for eating flesh. Dead bodies, however, take some time to decompose before the birds can easily tear the meat from the carcass. By going for softer tissues, like eyes, the birds are more likely to get a quick meal. Also, by following a hunting pack of wolves, ravens will have access to the meat as soon as the wolves begin to tear up their kill. Despite their morbid tastes, ravens also do mankind a favor, by eating a number of undesirable insects, and sometimes even noxious weeds. Miscellaneous Information Ravens have been associated by various cultures with different qualities. In popular western literature, they symbolize darkness, depression, and death (popularized in Edgar Allan Poe's poem, 'The Raven'). In medieval times they stood for virility. Among native cultures, Raven is the 'trickster' spirit, a popular totem, and the creator of man, who placed the Sun in the sky. Back to the Aviary Send mail to The Raven Credits & References This document does not claim to be completely accurate or scientific. It was compiled from personal experience, discussions with biology teachers when I was in high school, and the following sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2nd Ed.(1988) vol. I-IV. Hurtig Publishers, Edmonton. The Birds of Alberta, 2nd Ed., W. R. Salt & A. L. Wilk (1966). The Queen's Printer, Edmonton.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


THE PANACEA: DO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE? ARE YOU A WRITER?: Multitudes around the world write for different purposes, ranking from leisure, to profit purposes. I for one, I find writing as a means t...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Multitudes around the world write for different purposes, ranking from leisure, to profit purposes.
I for one, I find writing as a means to express the fact that am so blessed. It is a means through which the thoughts of my heart is conveyed to anyone who comes in contact with my piece, bearing in mind that in that piece lies the potential of emancipation. My writing is a vehicle with which I transport people to a glorious destination. It is an avenue with which I bless and impact lives. For instance, in one of my articles in a dailies, I wrote about cheating as a pestilence that ravages the soul. I live in the west, and someone who lives in the North read  my article on cheating. she was grateful that the article came at the time. she mailed me, thanking me for shedding light on the topic. One, I had imparted a life and made an impact, two, I felt appreciated, three, I was fulfilled.


When I write, I am so conscious of the fact that someone out there is waiting to get an answer to their heart's question. I write as though I am solving a visible problem, because I know I am. Many times, I have gotten mails telling me how the piece I wrote either on a dailies, or on my blog has either shed a light on their path, or how it elevated them to the next level. These make me fulfilled. I makes me know I have a defined purpose for living. These amongst many have kept me going as a writer, in that I am convinced that my writing is a  panacea to those who stumble upon it. I am really delighted to know that I can reach out to the world, and proffer solution to the world's problem from my little corner of the world. Writing has become an inextricable part of me, so much so that I find myself doing it all the time.

Writing in fact is more than an art. It is far more than what words can describe or comprehend. it is life itself. I may be amazed at how poorly someone writes, yet, someone else may be appalled at how badly I write, yet, after putting a piece of my mind on paper, I feel so alive and relieved. in other words, writing is the quintessence of life. and to others, reading is the quintessence of life.

there are certain people who cannot do without reading in a day. that is probably because they find solace in reading. they apply some philosophy that they read in a book, to their lives and get amazing result. yet, that may not be the best panacea, but because of their level of understanding, they are able to apply certain rules to their life, and it works wonders for them


For me, I began writing as a hobby. When I was growing up, I found out that I was either writing what I read in a book, or what I felt about a particular situation. gradually, I developed a habit for writing poems. then I started writing short stories. it might be interesting to point out that as a writer, I first started reading everything I came across. I was intrigued by grammatical expressions, idioms and sentence constructions.

Writing for me was more than an art, it was more than a flair. It was passion. for me, I found it great to be a reader, reading the supposed experiences of writers and contributors.
Today, am a writer, not because I have a degree in it, nor because I trained as a writer. Am a writer because I was passionate about writing. Funny enough, not everyone can be a writer.

As we go through life, each one of us tend towards different areas, especially during our formative years of childhood. That is when we consciously or unconsciously choose what we become to become in life.

That's when you find out that some of your friends tend towards science, some tend towards fashion, others tend towards arts, yet some others tend towards nature. These cravings have been put in the heart of every new born baby by God. As we grow up, we naturally gravitate towards our passion and innermost desire.This is why you have to get it right from childhood, otherwise you will find yourself in a train full of aliens. you become the odd one out. And then everything around you looks like a mystery.

Life is not really about your survival, nor is it about your educational status; it entails your passion, how you must hone your talents and gift first to reach out to people and make a difference in their life, And then, the profitability aspect will naturally fall into place. Where many get it wrong, and they find themselves swimming in the pool of frustration is when they prioritize material gains over the help their gift and talent is primarily supposed to render. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't expect to live good via your gift and talent, but this shouldn't be your primary goal. Your primary goal should first be to make life a heaven for anyone you come across in any way.


Intrinsically, writing is inherent, i.e it is a natural gift, which comes with childbirth, though it can also be taught and learned by a willing mind. For someone who wants to learn to write, willingness is a prerequisite. In other words, you cannot force someone to learn writing. It is a process that deals directly with the mind mind. It requires the full attention and pledge of the mind. For those who grew up with a passion for reading and writing, it begins from the heart, then the mind accepts it.

The good news is this; those who are passionate about writing can learn it, and become better writers than those who naturally tend towards writing during their formative years of childhood (those who are talented writers) but never trained further on writing.

  • Writing is a continuous process, in which the writer learns new and innovative skills each time they settle to write. 
  • Writing is intuitive as well as formative.
When I see someone who doodles every now and then, and I read their doodle, of course it wouldn't make sense at that time, I see a great writer who is building his career in writing.
Writing a I earlier said begins with willingness. It is an art that can be interesting and fruitful with each time dedicated to it.
The more you write, the more you tend towards perfection.


No one can be a perfect writer, though some people can be better writers than others. Fact is that no one can be perfect in the art of writing. Each day as we write, we find out new skills, new grammar and new styles. These help colour your work as well as portray you as a good writer. To be a perfect writer means to know everything there is in the world. Do you know anyone like that in this world? I really would love to meet that individual.

Over the years, people keep telling me that my writing skills have improved. Yet I never saw myself in the light of a writer with increased skills. But as I went back to my early articles, prose, and poems, it dawned on me that I had truly grown as a writer.

The best standard with which to measure your writing skills is to compare and contrast your more recent write ups with much older ones. You will be amazed at the level you have reached. You can achieve a lot in so short a time with constant writing.

If there is a panacea I have given to anyone, or will give for anyone to become a better writer, it is to write often. Write what? Anything at all! Just write. In fact, penning down how frustrated you are about writing could be the best way to write an article suitable for publication. As the reader reads the piece, he is filled with mercy for your inappropriate vocabulary and poor sentence structure, he is filled with compassion for your mood, tone and diction. By doing just this, you have touched a heart, you have registered your name in the papers, and you have written! Well, it could be you alone that will read it. It still makes no difference. The fact is that you have written. Reading your article gives you a clear insight as to what corrections need to be made. As a good writer, make the corrections immediately you notice them. By doing so, you have learned something about writing, something that would boost your next article, prose, poem. Something that will boost your image, and that will stick with you for a long time. Now, imagine that you didn't write, how would you have learned these new things.

Writing as an art that can be perfected by constant writing cannot be over-flogged. Just like the best treatment for an electric shock victim is another dosage of electric shock, the best panacea for inability to write, or what is literally described as writer's block, is to write. The answer to a puzzle lies there in the puzzle; you cannot invent an answer to a puzzle outside the puzzle. It is in you!

It has been a privilege writing on the art of writing. I believe as a writer, I have a lot to learn from you guys. I really will welcome contributions on this article so that we can better each other. Remember, the summary of man's duty here, is, making impact. Correct a notion today, educate a mind today!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Top 5 Writing Tips For Entrepreneurs

Top 5 Writing Tips For Entrepreneurs

For a long time now, I have been wanting to copyblog, but never found an article suitable for this site, I mean, that matches the standard of this blog. And of course, bearing in mind the the calibre of people who visit this blog to learn new things, contribute, and digest our material.
Two days ago, after writing a short play, I decided to surf the net before going to bed. In the process, I came across something that left a mark in my heart, on Forbes website. I decided I was going to share it with my esteemed readers as I believe it is a catalyst. Enjoy!.

Writing to Reach You
Travis: Writing to Reach You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I READ THE BELOW AND AM LIKE 'WOW!' Am amazed at the truthfulness and factuality of the below datum. Enjoy!
Can you be a terrible writer and still be successful as an entrepreneur? Sure. You can also be short and play in the NBA, but it helps to be tall, and you will be a better entrepreneur than you would otherwise be if you can write well. I’ve been told that I write well. I haven’t taken the time to analyze whether that’s true or not, but what I do know is that I enjoy writing, and that I see the value in it for my business, inasmuch as I run an online marketing firm and “content marketing” is all the rage these days, which means lots of writing.
Writing a lot means making lots of mistakes in terms of spelling, grammar, and more ambiguous ways. Correcting spelling is generally easy enough what with spell check, although as anyone knows spell check won’t tell you if “your” or “you’re” is the correct verbiage to use. For checking my work for improvement beyond the simple spelling errors, one of the services I use is Grammarly. It’s an online services that quickly and easily makes your writing better and makes you sound like a pro, or at least helps you avoid looking like a fool.
I believe good writing skills can enrich anyone’s life, but are particularly important for entrepreneurs. According to a recent study from Grammarly there may be a strong correlation between accurate writing and career success. Professionals with fewer grammar errors achieve higher positions. For entrepreneurs, this could mean the difference between gaining or losing a customer—or even succeeding or failing at the business. So I asked Allison VanNest of Grammarly to give me some tips on writing for entrepreneurs. Here are her top five:
  1. Be brief. As Shakespeare wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” The most effective entrepreneurs are those who can communicate the value of their business succinctly to a variety of audiences. Try using the Paramedic Method, as outlined here, to perform triage on unwieldy sentences. Also, avoid meaningless buzzwords, like “operationalize” or “synergize.” Here are 65 words to cut from your writing.
  2. Use bullets. Often, bullets help to simplify the presentation of information. One of the easiest ways to highlight the benefits of your product or service is to share the information in short “sound bites” that users can scan quickly. Bullets break up text visually and make it easier for people to read—and don’t forget, everyone loves a numbered list!
  3. Always use spelling and grammar checking tools. One of the fastest ways to undermine your credibility as an entrepreneur is to make spelling or grammar mistakes in communicating your message. Show customers—and potential customers—that you are accurate, professional, and credible by checking (and double-checking!) your written work. As a business owner, your word is both your bond and a reflection of your reliability. Don’t undermine yourself with sloppy writing.
  4. Be positive and specific. People respond best to positive reinforcement, so try saying, “please be sure to…” rather than “make sure you do not…” Additionally, it is important for an entrepreneur to be clear. Rather than saying that you will provide information “later,” be specific and provide a date and expected delivery time. A vague disclaimer is no one’s friend!
  5. Know when to take conversations offline. Written communication is a simple way to loop several people in on an important topic or decision. However, when your team is divided over certain issues, it is integral for an entrepreneur to know when to call for face-to-face interaction. Also, be aware of email etiquette and only hit “Reply All” when everyone on the list really does need to receive the message.
“For many entrepreneurs, your writing is a reflection of your professionalism, your attention to detail, and even your brand,” VanNest says. “Taking care to write accurately is one easy way to move your business in the right direction. Even if you find the (admittedly complex) rules of grammar to be fiddly at best, others will notice when you mix up your homonyms or dangle your participles.”
I owe my passion for writing to my mother who taught me to love reading when I was young, but passion without skill merely results in a bigger mess. Whatever skill I have in the craft of writing I owe to my father who was, and still is, a stickler for proper grammar and clarity when it comes to wordcraft. Even though I’m approaching my 40′s, my father still corrects me, and in fact reads all these posts I make on Forbes and sends me a list of errors he finds, along with suggestions for improving my future writing.
Writing has been a blessing to me as an entrepreneur. I use it every day as I send emails, write posts like this one, create content for a client’s website, or send out a tweet. In addition to VanNest’s tips, I would also recommend following websites like Copyblogger and ProBlogger, and investing time in reading the books If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland, On Writing by Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King), and On Writing Well by William Zinsser. And while you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to listen to a bit of Travis’ hit single Writing to Reach You.
How important are writing skills to your role as an entrepreneur? What writing tips have helped you?
About Allison VanVest
A self-proclaimed word nerd, Allison VanNest works with Grammarly to help perfect written English. Connect with Allie, the Grammarly team, and more than 859,000 Grammarly Facebook fans at
Connect with Joshua: 
Google+ | @donloper | Facebook | Linkedin | Goodreads | Medium

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  • Cheryl Conner Cheryl Conner, Contributor 1 month ago
    You knew I’d love this article, Josh. And I’m so glad you’ve connected with @GrammarAllie – she’s one of my favorite people, of course :) Love their program. I got connected with Allie when she was pitching me about older/younger entrepreneurs. She’d proposed I write about the company’s young founders, but I was far more intrigued that neither are native English speakers, yet they created the top ranking grammar program. At any rate, nicely done and these are excellent points.
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    Joshua Steimle Joshua Steimle, Contributor 1 month ago
    I did not know that about the founders. That’s interesting because I know that for me, I never learned so much about my native English language as when I learned my second language, Portuguese. I also think in learning Portuguese as a second language I saw some things more clearly than the Brazilians I was living with, who “just spoke” but didn’t have to think about what they were saying. Perhaps it’s the same with Grammarly’s founders. I’m not sure we truly appreciate our first language the way someone else learning it as their second can. Thanks!
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  • domino domino 1 month ago
    Great advice, author. I used to a stringer reporter for my hometown newspaper before I became a businesswoman, and I will always remember the editor’s constant refrain: “Writing is thinking”.
    It took me some time to truly comprehend what he was saying with three short words, but I am happy to say I finally did.
    As a businesswoman, writing business plans to attract investors is job one. One needs to be articulate and a good writer to help others understand your vision. Texting your business plan will not work.
    As an employer, I am often dismayed at the lack of basic writing skills of applicants. Many cannot print legibly let alone construct a simple sentence. My favorite grammar book is E. B. White’s “Elements of Style”. It was given to me by one of my co-workers at the paper. I treasure it still.
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    Joshua Steimle Joshua Steimle, Contributor 1 month ago
    Great comment domino, and thanks for the book recommendation!
    I too am amazed at the poor writing skills I see so frequently. I’m afraid we’ve let our standards slip much too far. I am often impressed when I read the words of people from 200 years ago at how eloquent and gifted they were with words, beyond anything I see today in our private or public discourse.
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  • Allison VanNest Allison VanNest 1 month ago
    Joshua, I loved your comments about your dad: “Even though I’m approaching my 40′s, my father still corrects me, and in fact reads all these posts I make on Forbes and sends me a list of errors he finds, along with suggestions for improving my future writing.”
    If our parents look critically at our writing, it is so easy to see that others’ are doing the same — employers, partners, vendors, VCs. Except when you jump on the phone with your dad you can explain why you wrote what you did; in the workplace, you may not get that chance.
    Thanks for a great article!
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