Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Rock of Ages: Musical Influences of Guitar Hobbyist Jim Spencer

In Music on October 30, 2011 at 6:30 am
Jim Spencer St. Louis

Jim Spencer St. Louis

Sitting comfortably on an old wooden chair at the Busch Guitar Studio in St. Louis, Jim Spencer gently strums the steel strings of his Spruce top acoustic. The notes are unmistakable: Here Comes the Sun.  The Beatles, says Spencer, are an influence on his playing style left from childhood. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, Spencer found music a part of everyday life, and it has followed him well into adulthood.

Jim Spencer credits groups like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and more contemporarily, Nirvana as having a major impact on him.  There is something about music, says Spencer, that sets the soul free and allows the mind to clear. St. Louis is a town full of musical history, and he is proud to call the Gateway City home. Many talented musicians hail from St. Louis, including Cheryl Crow.

Playing for fun, muses Spencer, is just that. Fun. He is learning the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” and from the look in his eyes, he’ll get it quickly. Spencer is lost in the melody; anyone familiar with the tune is sure to understand why.

The 90s brought the alternative group Nirvana into Jim Spencer’s play list. The nervous sound of Kurt Cobain’s voice belting out confused yet beautiful lyrics intrigued him. Jazz music, says Spencer, is another genre that has a direct impact on his guitar playing style, and as luck would have it, St. Louis is a fantastic city for catching Jazz festivals underneath a clear summer sky. A favorite of this St. Louis native is Al Di Meola, a talented Jazz guitarist and an artist that Spencer often tries to emulate in his guitar play. In fact, Jim Spencer has many musical influences and, as he grows as a musician, their predominance will no doubt begin to fade, allowing his own personal style takes shape.

Advice from Dr. Naveed Fazlani: How to Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

In Health and Beauty on October 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm
Dr. Naveed Fazlani

Dr. Naveed Fazlani

Have you ever been in the room with a person that snores? Not just any snore, but the kind of snore that rattles the walls? A common myth, Dr. Naveed Fazlani has found, is that snoring is a sign of sleep apnea. But Dr. Fazlani is quick to point out to his patients that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Conversely, he adds, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores.

The misconception stems from the fact that snoring is often the issue that brings a sleep apnea patient into the office for a sleep study, Dr. Naveed Fazlani states. In fact, bed partners are often the ones who uncover a patient’s sleep apnea, he has found, as patients often fall back to sleep so quickly after waking that they do not realize they have the sleep disorder. He explains that sleep apnea causes a patient to wake up multiple times throughout the night with an inability to breathe or a choking feeling. This may or may not be accompanied by snoring loud enough to be disruptive to a bed companion, Dr. Fazlani says.

In order to learn how to spot sleep apnea, Dr. Fazlani believes the first step is to understand what causes the condition. He explains that sleep apnea occurs when the individual’s airflow is obstructed by having a small upper airway. This causes the patient to wake up, catch his or her breath, then generally fall right back to sleep.  According to Dr. Naveed Fazlani, because many sufferers fall asleep so quickly, they often have no idea they woke up numerous times during the night.

If a patient lives alone or cohabitants are heavy sleepers, sleep apnea may go undetected. This can be dangerous, Dr. Naveed Fazlani says, as the breathing obstruction causes long-term health impairments in addition to the daily dangers of loss of sleep. According to Dr. Fazlani, health risks can include heart problems, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of stroke. He explains this is thought to be because of the changes in heart rate and blood pressure that occur during sleep.

Feeling fatigued during the day could be an indication that you have sleep apnea, adds Dr. Naveed Fazlani, although fatigue can be traced back to a number of other issues, as well. Other symptoms he has seen include morning headaches, a feeling of dry mouth, sore throat, and awakening frequently during the night to urinate. If you are aware of waking up during the night feeling as though you are choking, Dr. Fazlani warns, this is definitely something to discuss with your physician.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a simple sleep study and treatable without surgery, Dr. Naveed Fazlani says. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, Dr. Fazlani emphasizes the importance of contacting your medical professional as soon as possible for an appointment.

Dr. Naveed Fazlani is a founding partner of Midwest Medical Group, a practice that currently does a half a million dollars in outpatient revenue. A Cincinnati resident, Dr. Fazlani was named 2004 Physician of the Year by Mercy Hospital in Mt. Airy. For more information, visit

Tips on Cold Reading a Script

In Music, Professionals on October 21, 2011 at 6:30 am

Aspiring actors know that they must become accomplished in cold reading a script. That means fine tuning the ability to read for a part from a script you have never seen. Cold reading is not as easy as it seems, but it is an essential skill for an actor. Here are some basics to help you shine on your next audition.

In regular theater, actors are giving a long time for memorization and preparation. Theater actors often have a prepared monologue in their repertoire that they recite at auditions. There is a difference in film and commercial auditions, however. In a film audition cold reading is the accepted format. There is usually no monologue portion.

Typically, the industry convention is to give actors their script at least one day before the audition. But this seldom happens. The film industry is so busy and extemporaneous, that actors simply have to adapt to the flow and demands of producers and directors. If you can hone your cold reading skills, you’ll never need to go into an audition worried.

How do you learn to cold read? The best way to learn to cold read is to jump right in. Just grab a script, read a line, memorize it, then immediately recite the line without reading the script. The only way to master cold reading is to practice. With much practice and repetition, you will advance from cold reading a few words at a time to cold reading several lines at once. Once you have practiced some cold reading alone, then find another actor to work with. Practicing the skill of cold reading will someone else will improve both of your skills.

Rick Siskey Tells Charlotte, NC Entrepreneurs How to Succeed in Leadership

In Finance on October 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Rick Siskey Charlotte, NC

Rick Siskey Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC’s Rick Siskey has two words to describe leadership: lonely and tough. Quoting life and experience as his primary teachers, Charlotte, NC-based Rick Siskey draws on thirty years in business in his work helping others.

One of the biggest mistakes Rick Siskey of Charlotte, NC sees leaders make is getting caught up in the little things. Micromanaging managers turn their employees’ brains to mush, Charlotte, NC’s Rick Siskey explains. These managers, Charlotte, NC-based Rick Siskey thinks, end up getting so caught up in the details, they end up getting nowhere.

According to Rick Siskey, the key to taking your mind off of the little details is hiring people you can trust. To be more specific, the Charlotte, NC businessman suggests to hire people more intelligent than you are, if possible. Good leaders surround themselves with experts in the subjects-at-hand, freeing themselves up to focus on the business of leading, Rick Siskey of Charlotte, NC says.

“Arrogantly pretending to have all the answers will stunt growth,” Rick Siskey of Charlotte, NC says. “Confident people, not arrogant ones, can admit they need other people to be a success.”

Pride—and, specifically, the ability to set pride aside—is one of the biggest keys to success, Charlotte, NC’s Rick Siskey says. Charlotte, NC resident Rick Siskey tells clients that the ability to put business ahead of self is what makes true leaders. Instead of building self, Charlotte, NC’s Rick Siskey says, a leader builds people, which is most important of all.

Rick Siskey of Charlotte, NC, believes true success comes in win-win situations, where everyone has a stake in the outcome. In order to be a good leader, one must have followers.

Finally, while many of those in the business world shy away from failure, Rick Siskey advises his Charlotte, NC clients to embrace failure as the learning experience it is. Siskey believes the true failure is in not learning from your mistakes. This, Rick Siskey of Charlotte, NC says, is what makes a successful businessperson and leader.

For more information, contact Rick Siskey in Charlotte, NC by visiting

Timothy Powers Asks: Short Sale – Haven or Hassle for Home Buyers?

In Finance, Real Estate on October 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm
Timothy Powers

Timothy Powers

Timothy Powers of Alamo, a California mortgage expert and Realtor® says buying distressed can often mean stress for a homeowner.

Short sale was a term relatively unknown until the market collapse of 2008, says Timothy Powers. Alamo distressed properties are now in high demand, he adds. Unfortunately many are in terrible shape and may need more TLC than the average buyer can afford, points out Timothy Powers. Some Alamo homeowners in a short sale situation have let the property deteriorate due to diminishing finances.

Also, according to Timothy Powers, Alamo investors have a tendency toward buying short sale homes and foreclosures with cash, often beating out families who need bank financing. As the saying goes, “Money is King” and banks are happy to take cash over a promissory note in a short sale circumstance, says Timothy Powers. Alamo banks are already losing money and can’t afford to risk losing more.

Another issue with distressed sales, says Timothy Powers, is Alamo’s bank approval process. Most banks take quite a while to approve a short sale – sometimes many months. According to Timothy Powers, Alamo’s MLS system now requires agents to note a short sale status on the listing. Many buyers will steer clear of an unapproved short sale for the time involved in pushing it through. It’s a catch 22 though, notes Timothy Powers, as Alamo homeowners often wait to receive an offer prior to approaching the bank.

Often, claims Timothy Powers, Alamo banks are not even aware that the homeowner is trying to sell short of what they own. Real estate agents may puff up the property status by saying that it is a short sale to get offers on the table – sometimes just to look good to the client. When the bank hasn’t pre-approved a short sale, says Timothy Powers, Alamo real estate agents often note “offers subject to review by third party” on the listing.

Other problems that may delay a short sale process, says Timothy Powers: Alamo residents with a second mortgage or equity credit line. A secondary lien holder may stop a short sale in its tracks if they are not willing to settle for less than they are owed. Also, if a homeowner is still paying on the loan, reports Timothy Powers, their Alamo bank or mortgage company have no real incentive to accept less money. A buyer may find it helpful to determine whether or not the property has fallen into default, says Timothy Powers. If Alamo sellers can still afford the home – the bank likely won’t accept a short sale.

Says Timothy Powers, Alamo short sale buyers should be prepared for a long and drawn out home search. It is possible, however, and having an experienced Realtor® in the ring can make the difference between being knocked out or lasting until the banks ring the bell on a short sale.

Timothy Powers began his real estate career in 1989 three years after receiving a BS in Business Administration from St. Mary’s College. His passion and natural talent for real estate led him to open a franchise of Intero Real Estate Services and later Paragon Mortgage Bankers. On top of his professional duties, Timothy Powers also donates his time and skills to a project called East Bay Foreclosure – a firm he established to aid our nation’s military that are facing eviction and foreclosure. Timothy Powers is an Alamo Realtor® and mortgage broker who may be reached by calling (925) 855-1810 x22

Inga Freise Stahle | Grateful for the Gift of Being Multilingual

In Media, Professionals, Travel on October 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Inga Freise Stahle

Inga Freise Stahle

Inga Freise Stahle hasn’t yet found the need to purchase language CD’s online or over the phone. Growing up with German speaking parents in the French speaking part of Switzerland provided a solid foundation for Inga Freise Stahle to become multilingual at a very young age. In school, Inga Freise Stahle learned a third language, English, which was further perfected via traveling and work.

Later, as an adult, Inga Freise Stahle moved to Stockholm where she became proficient – and then fluent – in a fourth language, Swedish. This was made easier, relates Inga Freise Stahle, by the fact that Swedish is a Germanic language. Moving to Portugal allowed Inga Freise Stahle to master Portuguese as her 5th language. Portuguese is one of the “romance languages,” and is one of the more difficult languages to learn. For Inga Freise Stahle, it came a bit easier since she already spoke another Romance language – French. Inga Freise Stahle explains that “Romance languages” are the 25 different existing languages that derived from common Latin. Common Latin has lasted longer than upper class Roman, because it was the written form of the language – and that’s what has passed down through generations, Inga Freise Stahle explains.

When Inga Freise Stahle was living with her husband in Moscow among “ex-pats” (people from foreign lands, grouped together) she gained exposure to the Russian people and their native tongue. And, although Russian is a notoriously difficult language to master, Inga Freise Stahle was able to learn some basic Russian. Inga Freise Stahle is more than a little humbled by her good fortune to travel, and the opportunity it has brought her to study and learn languages around the world. “The best language school is living in the country,” concludes Inga Freise Stahle.

About Inga Freise Stahle

Inga Freise Stahle speaks five languages, with fluency in French, German, English and Swedish. It’s a talent that has proven to be valuable for Inga Freise Stahle, vocationally speaking. As administrative assistant to the director at Haut-Lac International School, Inga Freise Stahle is often appointed to greet new students and their parents, a responsibility that requires the ability to communicate in a variety of languages.

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, Inga Freise Stahle has also lived in Sweden, Portugal, and Russia.

Inga Freise Stahle graduated from Goethe-Institut with a diploma in German teaching, which led to service as a German tutor in Switzerland and Moscow. From 2006-2007, Inga Freise Stahle worked as a French assistant at the British International School of Rosinka, Moscow. At Siemens-Elema AB, Inga Freise Stahle assisted with translations from the Swedish language into German, French and English.

As part of her duties at Haut-Lac International School, Inga Freise Stahle organizes all administrative work for the school. This provides Inga Freise Stahle with an opportunity to use all of her known languages in communicating with the international student body. French is Inga Freise Stahle’s first mother language and German is her second. Inga Freise Stahle is also fluent in English and Swedish, and possesses a working knowledge of Portuguese and some Russian.

Prior to her work in the field of education, Inga Freise Stahle enjoyed a career in marketing and public relations. Her work with Phillip Morris SA included market research and trend analysis, as well as solid one-to-one marketing experience. She also managed consumer promotions. With Special Events Mgt., Inga Freise Stahle organized seminars and VIP trips, as well as organizing VIPs at Formula 1 Grand Prix in Europe. For M.I.S., Inga Freise Stahle conducted opinion polls for the Swiss-German-speaking region, once again putting her multilingual skills to use.

Always interested in furthering her education, Inga Freise Stahle is currently studying advanced Excel, PowerPoint and Word. She has trained as a pharmacist, executive secretary and travel agent, in addition to her extensive study of various languages. She received a diploma from the Athena tourism and executive secretarial school in Lausanne, after beginning a career as a travel agent with Havas Voyages, also in Lausanne. In 1989, she received a diploma from the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce for the Intermediate Business English Examination.

A graduate of Pully High School, Inga Freise Stahle currently lives in Switzerland with her two children, Petter and Emilie. Her hobbies include skiing, swimming, tennis, and travel.

St. Louis Resident Dean Spasser Offers Tips on Starting Your Own Business

In Marketing on October 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Dean Spasser

Dean Spasser

According to St. Louis businessman Dean Spasser, statistics show that those who own their own business lead happier, more productive lives. This information comes at no surprise to Dean Spasser, who has seen this firsthand in his work with aspiring entrepreneurs.

Working from home in general can bring greater happiness, Dean Spasser believes, because of the personal satisfaction that comes from self-motivation. A St. Louis resident, Dean Spasser has seen the difference in his clients who have been able to go from having a boss constantly hovering to being able to work independently.

Dean Spasser also points to studies that have shown that starting your own business can lead to greater wealth. While business ownership certainly comes with risks, business owners also have the satisfaction that comes from building something from the ground up and reaping rewards from it, Dean Spasser says. But in a downtrodden economy, Dean Spasser is often asked how to find the capital necessary to start a home-based business.

Investment capital can be one way to start a business for next-to-nothing, Dean Spasser says. Investors are eager to find entrepreneurs with great ideas, according to Dean Spasser, and all you’ll give in return is a percentage of the profits. Dean Spasser advises weighing your start-up costs against how much you’re willing to give up on the backend. You’ll also want to consider how much control you’ll allow any investors to have over the business. Dean Spasser advises putting all of this in writing up front so neither of you have surprises down the road.

For those who are able to, Dean Spasser recommends starting small. Is your idea one you can do on the side at firstuntil you’re making enough money to quit your day job?Dean Spasser tells clients to keep in mind that a new business can also take a while to turn a profit, as start-up costs must be paid off using any income. If possible, find a business idea that costs as little financial investment as possible at first. St. Louis’ Dean Spasser reminds clients that by using modern technology, today’s start-up can avoid traditional expenses like print mailings. Consider doing business by phone and Skype when able, Dean Spasser advises, which will defray travel expenses and allow you to interact with people in a wider range of locations.

About Dean Spasser

St. Louis entrepreneur Dean Spasser has dedicated the last two decades of his professional life to the serving people through a direct mail marketing business. In the early 1990s, Dean Spasser saw the need for a centralized hub of trustworthy home worker information. Spasser witnessed, and personally experienced, the frustration that hard working Americans were feeling in their quest for financial stability. Dean Spasser’s St. Louis, Missouri-based firm, American Publications, offered people a comprehensive list of reliable work from home opportunities. Dean Spasser’s company provided information about which corporations and small businesses were hiring remote workers and warned about which companies were nothing more than a scam.

Dean Spasser’s real estate background as a commercial leasing agent in St. Louis gave him valuable people and business experience. Dean Spasser spent ten years uniting shop owners seeking affordable retail space with malls looking to fill empty slots. Additionally, as a real estate professional, he helped St. Louis office buildings thrive by effectively marketing workspace to business owners. Dean Spasser soon saw he had a talent for successfully matching groups searching for each other, and set out to build his own home based business focused on bringing employers and workers together. Dean Spasser continues those efforts today.

Educationally, Dean Spasser earned a degree in Business Accounting from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Spasser graduated in 1982 after working his way though college while finding time to actively participate in academic and other activities, including his fraternity. While Dean Spasser was a student in St. Louis, an interest in finance played alongside a desire to succeed by planting seeds that root this well-rounded businessman today. Spasser is grateful that he chose to pursue an accounting degree, as it helps him manage his business responsibly.

Living in St. Louis, Dean Spasser considers himself fortunate to be surrounded by a great music scene, as he is an accomplished guitar player. The Busch guitar studio in St. Louis is Dean Spasser’s favorite place for gathering with like-minded individuals, relaxing with a 6-string, and plucking off retro rock tunes and jazzy beats. Dean Spasser’s passion for fitness is another aspect in his life he takes pride in.  Working out and staying away from his weakness, potato chips, are two small choices he makes to keep his body healthy.

For mental well being, Dean Spasser is passionate about literature and performing arts. Sydney Sheldon’s novels and screenplays are among this St. Louis businessman’s favorite entertainment materials. Architecture is another interest of Dean Spasser; St. Louis has the Gateway Arch, a masterfully designed courthouse and a variety of eclectic structures sprinkled though the city and its surrounding suburbs. Dean Spasser is sometimes found at the Arch, thoughtfully reflecting on the sheer manpower and ingenious design implemented in its construction.

Dean Spasser is active in the St. Louis community, and donates his time and money to organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army – both of which have branches in St. Louis. Above all, Dean Spasser cherishes spending time with his daughter.