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Welcome to the fourth edition in the series of the Water Cooler. This feature will highlight what’s hot, topical and up for discussion.

A section below is titled Photography. This section will be interactive for all my visitors. Your images with your credits (linked to your blog) can appear on the next edition of the Water Cooler. If you have taken photos (artistic, unique, related to travel, scenery, landscapes etc) that people will find interesting to look at, share it with us every Sunday on the Water Cooler. Your images may be emailed to blog.corvedacosta@gmail.com Go ahead send in those images your photo could be featured here.

Here we go.

Others in the series: Water Cooler, Water Cooler Ed. 2, Water Cooler Ed. 3

Politics

This week a video uploaded to YouTube showing children singing a tribute to the American President Barack Obama was very contentious. The children who were of all races by my eyes sang two songs dedicated to Barack Obama – one done to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with anyone showing their love for their Prime Minister or President. However, this tribute that was done to commemorate Black History Month took a turn for the wrong; it was on the borderline of worshiping Obama. We cannot ignore that Obama has made his presidency all about him. He has taken a lot of time to create an image that is respected by millions. So respected he is that opposing Obama is seen to be racist. The position he has as the leader of the free world must be respected. I get the impression from Obama that he wants to be talked about and wants to be seen as the greatest of all – the saviour. He works so hard creating an impression that with this video you cannot forget the speech he made to the children in schools recently.

Below are words the students chant to Obama:

He said that we must take a stand

To make sure everyone gets a chance

Barack Hussein Obama

He said red, yellow, black or white

All are equal in His sight

Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm

Barack Hussein Obama

The lyrics in the video are not only shocking but to see underage children without the consent of their parents sing to Obama in this way makes you flabbergasted. This tribute or act of worship does not in anyway congratulate or give credit to the black people who fought for what we have today. It serves to worship; sing the praises and rhetoric that Obama spews on the networks daily. I am saddened that these children were misled by lunatics who are not appreciative of democracy and prefer personalities over substance. I would rather here the children sing of how much the country has grown to elect a black president than to sing “All are equal in His sight”. Do we realize these children are being indoctrinated? This is what we see of Hitler and North Korean leaders and it makes us cringe in our seats. So why doesn’t this make us wonder?

We have all been ‘Obamarized’. We have fallen in love with Obama where to oppose him is racist and to disagree with him makes you a supporter of the right. What those kids did in that video is wrong. Singing Obama’s ideologies to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic makes me disturbed, a little. It does. I am not sure the President would approve it but parents for the most part should be outraged especially if you support Obama and found the video okay. It is given that mainly republican parents are going to be annoyed by it and they should. Supporters of this video should imagine their child singing praises to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I think then you will understand how crazy and absurd it is of teachers to be directing such an activity.

Love and Relationship

Have you ever seen a couple together and wonder how cute they look together? Uhhhh. When we say they are perfect for each other is it because we love their interactions and chemistry or is it that we love how attractive they are together, how well they compliment each other?

Rihanna & Justin

Rihanna & Justin

Rihanna and Justin

Rihanna and Justin

It is something that I have noticed with myself. More so, because sometimes I am asked to find potential partners for people – my own circle of friends. I do not know if it should be called judging but we tend to have our own conclusions based on one look. It is true first impression lasts but do we need to step back and observe couples longer before making our own final predictions.

They say opposites attract. I am not sure how people respond, but what if you saw a couple out and you think they don’t match. Are we ending a couple’s relationship in our psyche before giving them the time to date – before finding our own conclusions?

Julie Henderson & Simmons

Julie Henderson & Simmons

Rihanna is making the news again and it is rumoured that she is secretly hooking up with beau Justin Timberlake.  These are some photos taken on a video shoot recently. What do you think, what makes two people right for each other – keeping in mind we are looking in from the outside? The jury is out on this one.

Inspiration of the week

Last week I had an encounter that I will always remember. I went on an interview for a job in my field. After the interview session I had the opportunity to have a discussion that really moved me. For this week the inspiration has to 2072865350015798315S500x500Q85deal with focusing on what others say. This is tricky because people will tell you things that will hurt you in the future. As an individual you have to discern between what is good for you and what is bad. Sometimes people tell us good things and because we have a mental block against taking corrections or suggestions we totally ignore what they have to say – for our own detriment. This week we are going to think on the positive suggestions we get. You may not think they are good for you but consider them, evaluate the ideas and see if they make your life better or worse.

Photography

We start this week with photography from Craig A. Bloomfield from Jamaica. Click here to view his blog.

Sunset in Negril Jamaica

Sunset in Negril Jamaica

Caribbean Sea

Caribbean Sea

Scene from Mikuzi - Portland, Jamaica

Scene from Mikuzi - Portland, Jamaica

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How September 11 changed the world?

This piece is dedicated to all who lost their lives and who lost families, friends in the 9/11 attacks on the United States of America.

The entire world changed on this day, September 11, 2001. I was standing on what is called the ‘front page area’ of my school when I heard what happened on this sad day. I saw teachers running about to offices to view live coverage from New York and other parts of the USA that were attacked. Back then I heard the World Trade Centre was attacked and I remember wondering “What is that?”

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Today, our rights have been altered in some way, how governments handle events, economies shaken, diplomacy, security procedures, travel rules, etc have all changed because of the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.

I watched footages from the major networks who replayed the exact coverage as the events unfolded. What struck me was the moment President Bush was told by his aide that the country was being attacked. You saw a man that was shocked and scared but at the same time who had to hold his composure. He had to because as a leader but more so a President you do not want to be seen in a frantic mode that is not in control of the situation. I found that very interesting that even in a moment where you are being attacked certainly not in control he gave an image that was thoughtful, and composed.

Many in the western world were sad and saw it as unbelievable because no matter how independent your nation may be; we are in some ways affected by what happens in the United States of America. As people grieved thousands in Israel celebrated the loss of lives shouting “God is good.”

On September 11, 2001 for those who thought terrorism was not an immediate threat instantaneously saw the impact of this because it happened to the greatest nation in the world the mighty USA. President Bush’s presidential term was now aimed at this attack; finding the perpetrators. The 9/11 attacks dubbed Bush the war president as he was fervent in finding the attackers. This attack changed US politics as Bush’s approval ratings shot up to the highest in history plummeting to over 90%; but we all saw in times coming to the close of term, his numbers trended downwards.

Years later millions of people all around the world remember the events that took place on this day. We regret the passing of so many lives but we are even more cognisant of the fact that there are evil men and groups in our world whose aims are to kill and terrorise people. We must support efforts and wars that will bring to justice those who will kill us in a moment. How we fight wars that is another issue.

Water Cooler

Van Jones

Van Jones

Van Jones

The world woke up to news that Van Jones the green czar for the Obama administration resigned from his position. In recent times, television’s pundits have been at Jones for his numerous controversial statements and ideologies. This comes at a shock to some who expected him to stay in the position. It is quite alarming that the prudent research that Obama’s team should be doing to find out an applicant’s past is not being done efficiently. Although his resignation was not forced by Obama it would appear that on air talk shows are keeping the administration honest with their activities.

The tapes that came to the fore of Van Jones calling republicans ass holes were not hidden tapes. These were recordings done recently which he was aware of, which would have documented for the vetting team to view. Clearly thing went wrong with this process because the moment Jones was announced to advice the president there were clear oppositions to his appointment. Good riddance, someone who is a tyrant and supports communism should not be welcomed in the government, especially in America.

Bigger Issue

Obama in the presidential run had to defend his pastor and many other radical relationships he had in his past. The media was so in love with Obama that these were not cutinised and the truth sought. Recently, his appointments of czars and his policies are being questioned not only by his oppositions but also those in his own party. Show me your company and I’ll tell you who you are – a thought for Obama. We want young black men to be successful and serve their country; but for crying out loud, young, black and honourable please.

Compromises

After a long hard day at work, Sarah walks into her home. She kisses her husband and says “Good evening”. After the brief greeting she hurries to the kitchen grabbing the refrigerator door taking out a fresh can of coke. Moments after drinking the juice she tosses the can in the bin. She notices burnt cigarette buts in the garbage bin. She storms to the room shouting “Roger, Roger!”

man-smoking-7810Roger was on the balcony talking on the cell phone when she saw him. She hurries over to him and begins to shout. “Why were you smoking?”

He ignores her and hangs up the phone. He then shouted “What is your problem?”

Smoking is not only an issue for those who don’t but it can be a breaker. It is normally an addictive behaviour that just creeps on you not allowing the smoker to let go. Sarah is clearly at her wits ends because she thought Roger was over his smoking tendencies. Not only is she thinking it can harm his life but it was deal for him not to; and don’t forget the fumes are dangerous to her health as well.

I am currently training employees how to be tolerant to both smokers and non-smokers within their establishments. Businesses create an environment conducive to both because they want to make a profit at the end of the day. Although relationships are based on compromises, what compromise would you not make?

Swimming!

If you follow my blog then you would have read weeks ago that on my vacation I did learn how to swim. Well, I have a picture below to prove , not that I needed to but it would add supn supn to the blog. I have videos but I will try to edit before posting at the next Water Cooler session – every Sunday.

SDC11286

Celebrities and Drugs

The life of a celebrity is by far no means easy. Apart from being talented, entertaining, attempting to balance their own lives and being role models to those who look up to them there are other sides to the life that makes people wonder why they crave that lifestyle. There are hardly any celebs today that appear to be leading balanced lives and if they are they become unpopular and are not recognized as such. Mind you, there are some exceptions because they have not built a career based on being frivolous.

Recently, celebs have been making rounds in the news in the worst ways possible – end results drugged deaths. Michael Jackson, DJ AM, Keith Ledger just to name a few, all celebrities who have ended up dead because they abused drugs in their lives. We must be cognisant of the fact that they are humans and they do make mistakes. That out the way, why drugs? Celebrities today are forced by the media, paparazzi and fans to constantly make the headlines. The more ridiculous or entertaining their actions the more they are talked about and the longer they live in the media. When you make your career making entertainment headlines you better top the last act to remain alive – like releasing a nude picture or leak a sex video.

The monies these celebs are demanding and controlling are vast. Not only are they commanding this wealth, they set up their own world around them – hospital, school, mall (homes) etc. In their world shut off from normalcy they command doctors, have access to illegal/banned substances and perform crazy acts to remain on a high.

MJ

MJ

If being a celebrity will cause you to end your life using drugs then it is not worth the journey. For many of the fans who laud these people finding out their favourite person in the world was taking propofol to sleep is not comforting. I think M Jackson was an idiot, his doctor must be charged but he also should carry some of the blame. He was acted stupidly to say the least. Taking drugs not only places one on a high for the moment it does what these celebs fail to understand it kills. For many of the young today who find prescription drugs hip they are treading a path to destruction – which can be led privately.

We all have a right to privacy and we all must respect one’s right. The popular saying ‘what is in the dark must come to light’ certainly is true when it comes unto celebrities and the private lives they lead. I am tired of hearing of celebrity deaths caused by drugs. They are adults and they should therefore act as such – mature with responsible behaviours. Fans should really think twice before worshiping some of these celebrities. The standards we hold them to, quite frankly, they don’t make the cut. Maybe looking in the mirror is the best solution.

Since the development of the internet it would appear that reality television came after. Reality television features unprofessional actors, most times celebrities or created ones to show unscripted reactions in various scenarios. In recent times we have been seeing many newly wed couples deciding to film a reality series to be picked up by the major networks. However, it would appear that the usage of reality television for any couple in Hollywood is a divorce sentence for their marriage. Of course we can list all the victims of reality television these days. The question is, did reality television cost them their marriage or was it for different reasons. Most times children are the biggest cash cows for these series as they are also paid for the gig.

Giuliana & Bill

Giuliana & Bill

I am a huge fan of reality television. I would say I like the productions, not a fan of all the drama but I appreciate the wonderful and creative ideas that they are based off. Two reality television series that I have been following and I will be referring to in this piece are The Real Housewives of Atlanta (not really a fan) and Giuliana and Bill (can be seen on the Style Network). The Real Housewives of Atlanta is filled with drama as the show follows five Atlanta housewives on their lives and friendships with each other. The celebs on the show are always in conflicts and they lead unstable lives financially and emotionally. On the other hand, Giuliana and Bill; this reality show features both Bill Rancic – winner of the first Apprentice and Giuliana from the E Network. The show is about this couple as they lead successful careers and attempts to balance their marriage.

There are hundreds of reality shows on television, some are sane and the others are insane. One would think the sane ones would get stellar reviews and constantly being booked for another season. Hell NO! The insane reality shows, filled with wanna be celebrities, people that live unstable lives, people who you would warn your kids to stay far from are playing huge roles in what network executives are constantly booking for another season. They do this because this is the garbage that society wants. I do not know but I would never sit for hours on end and enjoy a show that shows humans behaving despicably, acting in selfish ways to their neighbours. It alarms me to know that we have reached a stage where this is what we demand daily. I would agree that this is entertaining but networks that run these series for endless hours the show becomes insipid.

The show Real Housewives of Atlanta is depressing and we wonder why we still have certain issues in our society today. When a show can glamorise black people to be irrational thinkers, uneducated, gold diggers and unproductive to society we have a huge problem on our hands. We then wonder why people are hateful of black people; they are because they have not seen anything positive of the black race. They have not seen hardworking, educated people rising to the top (apart from Obama and a few others) and the images we should be portraying of our race are absent. So they have associated with being black all the negative ideas we can think of.

The sane reality shows and images we should be desperate for are all being chopped by business executives because they have a business to run. They cannot fund sane reality shows because it is the unpopular decision to do. After all a business is not charity organization. As a people we should start demanding productive programming. I will agree that there will always be a market for insane material but we should have options. I enjoyed watching Giuliana and Bill because it never had any crazy drama scene where they were fighting each other down and the constant bickering was absent. Whatever your tastes are you can find it. If you want to see adventure, a loving couple, hardworking people who are balancing their lives check it out. I am sure you can find other sane reality television shows to watch where it can be worth your entertaining and leisure time.

The world is now an open space. With cable television comes with advantages and sore disadvantages for any society. Cultures will begin to change and people will act differently because of the diverse influences that will now be present. The cultural values that some societies were proud of will soon go away because there are other new sometimes bad values to adapt. The images and values that these insane shows project into our societies must be challenged by positive role models (which we so lack) and shows that depict what living a stable life looks like; that is reality. There is no way we can continue to accept the negative images of our race and remain silent with it. As young people we need to separate positive entertainment from negative entertainment and break the rising trend of insane reality television.

Love’s Actions!

LoversGazeREX_468x304Love is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you feel you had never felt before. If that is love then you shouldn’t be feeling that feeling too often. For many of us, finding love is a dream, that aspiration to meet the one who connects and feels your inner emotions, your ultimate soul mate. Humans need affection, love and companionship which we all seek daily. If love never existed the world would be at war, and many of the unions and offspring would not be here today to continue humanity. Apart from love towards our neighbours, closest friends and families there is a special love we all reserve for the ones closest to our hearts. Finding the person to share private moments with can be a thrill for some, devastating for others and a journey that makes you look crazy.

In the book Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks the main character Theresa Osborne finds a bottle with a love letter in it. As a columnist she publishes the letter in the newspaper and finds out there are other letters out there written by the same gentleman. She admires the writer from reading the love letters and begins a journey to find the man who she thinks will be the perfect match for her.

I am sure you have seen couples together and they have that spark that says they are definitely in love. I am quite sure that many readers of this blog right now might even be in love. Love stories will always be told but there are times you hear of a wild experience of someone in love and make you ponder; is it real love?

So you did what?

For those seeking love it can be a whirlwind, it stirs everything up blinding your next move. Dating partners from your financial class/level will be critical sometimes. A love story is told some time ago where a top level bank executive asked this particular female on a date. They went to a very expensive restaurant in the city and they had a good time. Perfect! If you have to withdraw a huge amount of your savings or investment to get someone’s attention, to prove you care then they are not worth your time. Many times partners find themselves all in a moment. We are on a high to the point where we are no longer in control of our actions because this person may be the hottest on the market, maybe the one with the personality you’ve been looking for or whatever. I do believe in the notion of going all out for the one you love but never to the point where you suffer financially in the future.

So you’ve changed what?

We all know love makes us do some ridiculous things. However, we should always be in a position to distinguish between the feeling of love and infatuation. If loving the person you are chasing means changing your friends – the good ones, changing your outlook on life, being honest and persistent about your own personal goals then you might not be looking in the right place. When you’ve found love in a partner they should never influence you negatively. Many families are at the bitter end of this stick who confess most times that when members of the family get married or begin to date someone they change overnight into different people because of the huge influence their partners hold over them. I vehemently believe in listening to your partner and respecting those decisions but there comes a point when you should be able to think straight and see through things and make the best decision for your life.

So you’re not happy?

It might take you days, weeks, months to figure out that this person who you have been investing your time and effort in is not making you happy. There is no way someone should stay in a relationship when they are unhappy. This state not only affects you personally but it trickles over in your work, and your relationship with others. Life is too short to sit around and have someone in your personal space eat away at your happiness and you enjoying life. For some, this may take years for them to realize that things have not been developing into what they desired it to be. At this moment you need to sit down and figure out what was blinding you, what has changed and what you can do now to make this work.

Love do sometimes makes us do crazy things I tell you. There is someone out there for each person and the quest to find them can be a thrill, can be devastating, and it could last a lifetime. Find someone who shares similar interests, will love you, who is a lover of life and someone who compliments and will compromise. Live life happily ever after and feel the feeling you have never felt before.

Salary Packages

1232069670.typepadI need your urgent feedback on this issue. It surrounds the issue of salary packages on an interview. I was interviewed for a position in a firm today and overall it went well. The interviewer was pleasant throughout and I maintained that atmosphere. As per usual, salary expectations are discussed. This is so because the interviewer will get the chance to find out if the company can actually afford this individual among other reasons.

The interviewee is advised to avoid this question by throwing it back to the interviewer in the form of a question. The interviewee is advised to say “I will accept your best offer, seeing that it is an objective one. What will be your offer?”

I took that suggestion and gave the opportunity to the interviewer to make the first offer. This however, can backfire for the interviewee because the management personnel may say “You must provide an offer for this interview to continue!”

What do you do in that situation? Do you potentially hurt your employment opportunity by avoiding the question and still wait on the firm to make the offer? Do you give in and provide a figure?

The risks are great. You may provide a figure that will make you look desperate for a job and you may provide a figure that will make the employer overlook you. What is the best advice for young professionals entering the work force?

Now on Twitter.com

So after many months of trying to avoid Twitter I am officially tweeting. This will be incorporated in my blog here and updates will be provided.

My official twitter page is http://twitter.com/corvedacosta

I can’t wait to start tweeting and sharing with others in this amazing medium.

Obama

Obama


Health care reform is taking on new heights, more town hall meetings and the tension just seems to be rising. For those Republicans, health care reform is a nightmare. They build their ideology on proper financial maintenance and fewer government interventions in citizen’s lives promoting the private sector. The Democrats however, have another thinking on health care reform; they intend to provide public health care while allowing tax payers (Americans) to pay for it through the payment of taxes to the government.

This is causing a huge debate especially at this time when the economy is in a recession and most plans are failing because of lack of funds. This has resulted in all the sides going in a brawl with persons from the left, the right and all independents fighting at it. Most persons have their own plans as it relates to how the President should approach health care reform. Most people will agree that the system needs drastic reform to provide equality in the system.

In recent times angry and supportive voters have been showing up at these town hall meetings to express their feelings on the issue. What is disingenuous about the process is that citizens who disagree with health care reform are being demonized. This is not correct and this does not add any value to the discussion if you’re going to make voters who are genuinely upset or unhappy about such a policy appear to be horrible people. I believe Obama who campaigned on an open policy of respect for all and bipartisanism should take hold of this conversation. But he can’t! His administration is promoting this backlash and they should be ashamed of themselves. If the Obama administration does not accept people who will be disapproving of some of his policies then public administration is a bad area for him.

Town Hall

Town Hall

There are however some things right about this health care reform plan. Certainly there are millions of people in America who are without a health care plan and they should be given the opportunity to have a good health care system. That is a human right I believe. The problem arises now where you will increase taxes to cover these new people and also illegal citizens which is absolutely wrong. Obama is getting flogged and his ratings are taking a beating. Will there be health care reform? We do not know the answer yet but if there is a law to overhaul the system then the government better put all the steps in place to make it work. You would not like what happened to the stimulus package to happen to the health care system where people who are in dire need are not receiving the benefits; or to the cash for clunkers system where government had to pay out more money for the system to work efficiently.

Do we need health care reform? Absolutely and we need it now. Anything you do Obama, do not tax stressed Americans.

Customer Service at its Best!

customer_serviceBusinesses often say customers are the most important aspect of their work. If this is so why is it that some firms do not place much emphasis on Customer Service? Customer service is a key factor in any organization’s operations. The lack of it will make the company go under and if the company appreciates the value of customer service it clearly distinguishes that particular company from the others within the industry. I believe in a few years more companies will understand how critical this aspect of a company is. As customer service moves to the forefront of every organization, companies are going to employ stringent guidelines in hiring employees as the friendliest and most courteous workers will be hired. How are you able to communicate the company’s values to the customer with a smile in the fastest time?

Most fast food outlets attempt to operate efficiently. The operation is all about time. Preparing that meal to the customer at the fastest time; after all it’s fast food. I happen to have been at a particular outlet of KFC in Portland, Jamaica and was stunned and shocked at the level of customer service that this branch has. Most fast food outlets have average customer service but this outlet in particular was just outstanding. Lining the walls of the branch were the various awards and plaques the outlet has received over the period of its existence. I cannot believe the service I was receiving. In a country where most people accept mediocrity and any standard of service it is amazing that this company stands out among the others in setting the right standard of service quality for the others to see. At this particular branch the employees smiled with you each time they communicated, they had a fast serving time and the food was very good. This was genuine among the employees; nothing about the service was fake. I am very meticulous when I walk into any service organization. I observe the employees and just analyze how things are going. It’s just a habit. The employees were laughing and smiling with each other. This shows the kind of atmosphere and work environment that the management has cultivated which makes the service offering to the customer even more appealing.

You know, you might be thinking Oh they were nice to me because they were having a good day or the employee was trying to flirt, or because I was a good customer. I told someone else who would be going to that same branch about the quality of service and low and behold the service was the same. This simply means this is a norm for this branch of KFC and it is most heart warming to be served in such a great way. What is amazing about great customer service is that the customer’s perception of the product or service increases. So even the meal tasted better, and you would like to purchase a meal from this branch all the time simply because of the service they provided. In the end the customer is king and firms should act likewise.

I am sure you have encountered great customer service and some horrible ones. It is true we expect so little of service providers that when they give us mediocre service quality or poor product delivery we say nothing. I am amazed that when we receive great customer service we are so shocked like it was a gift. Companies should begin to understand that customer service alone can make their business succeed even or out of a recession. It should be the norm when companies offer great customer service. We shouldn’t be talking about it, it should come and go. But customer service is never like that; some leaves a bad taste in your mouth, allowing you to think how come people got employed in the first place. As the world opens up and the internet begins to be the place where employees vent, companies will understand how important it is to deliver on customer service to all customers. More websites are being launched where customers can comment on the service quality delivered and websites that will allow customers to rate the business. If companies think customers are entitled to shop or purchase their product or service think again! There are tens and hundreds of other firms just like yours who will offer the same product on a better customer service level. Companies are going to lose out if they continue to allow front line employees to offer insipid customer service. Service comes with a smile and a courteous attitude.

The next time you are offered great customer service spread the word and when you were not served with gratitude spread that bad news and allow the company to suffer. The more we support companies who show no respect and little and low customer service quality the more we are rewarding their bad business. Let us congratulate those who show great service quality and spread the word about companies who offer service beyond the call of duty. Companies like Ritz Carlton and the thousands of others that can be added to this list must be congratulated and rewarded with more business for showing the customer is still king!