A Letter, By George        
It's always nice to receive emails, letters and calls from people who like your work, but every now and then you receive a note that you would have never expected in a million years. Today I received a kind one from George Booth who, needless to say, remains a cartooning God to so many of us -- certainly me included. I grew up as a kid salivating over Booth's cartoons in The New Yorker, so to receive this letter, well, let's just say it's being framed even as you read this. So touched and honored.

          Robot Parts-Found Objects-Solid Brass-Steam Punk-Junk Drawer by butcherooney        

40.00 USD

All solid brass parts for your steam punk projects, robots, or whatever you want to use them for. I have too much of this kind of stuff right now and I'm downsizing so have a look around.

          House Hunters International Aug.09.2017 Yucatan Cowboy WEB-DL x264-JIVE        
“Yucatan Cowboy” A Texas couple decides it’s time to make a permanent move to up-and-coming Progreso, Mexico. She’s hoping the move will allow them to downsize but he’s bringing along a Texas-sized wish list that may delay their decision. The market in Progreso is heating up and waiting any longer could jeopardize them getting a […]
          The Carbon (dioxide) Tax: a religious perspective        
Peter Finlayson

With the die now cast for the imposition of an onerous carbon tax on the Australian economy it is timely to consider how this senseless position was reached and forecast what lies ahead for an Australian society of 22 million souls.

While the more courageous scientific and economic lobbies are protesting the rationale for the tax, there should be no doubt now that it is being forced upon this nation for political reasons simply to safeguard the majority Greens-Labor-regional independents' alliance in the federal parliament.

For the present the Greens effectively control federal policy, especially on issues that really matter, with the carbon tax but the tip of an iceberg. Consequently, those complicit in their election have much to answer for.

That the alarmist measures are unnecessary and result from a systematic Green's-driven campaign is evident from the fact that science has yet not found a clear link between man-made CO2 and climate change. There has been no increase in global temperatures, as predicted by IPCC computer modelling, since 1998, nor has there been any decline in the arctic polar bear population, nor any abnormal rise in ocean levels, nor damage to the Great Barrier Reef, etc.

Furthermore, far from being a pollutant, CO2 is necessary for plant life with a scientifically-proven positive correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentration and plant growth. Indeed, the planet supported an abundant plant life during the Carboniferous era with CO2 concentrations more than five times today's levels of less than 400ppm.

That the tax is futile in terms of any global impact on emissions is self-evident from the fact that Australia's contribution to global emissions is negligible at under 2% and Australia has failed to influence the big emitters to follow suit.

In compensating households for the increase in their utilities' costs the government provides no incentive for domestic energy users to change their behaviour; in addition, some economists are predicting that the government will not be able to meet its compensation promises.

That the tax will have a serious negative impact at all levels of the economy is becoming clearer daily. At domestic level, the cost of living will increase due to the direct and indirect impact of the tax on processed consumer goods and utilities. Despite denials by the pro-tax lobby and policy-makers the impact on industry and commerce will be variably significant depending on their energy consumption.

Heavy industry and mining will likely be at a comparative disadvantage to their overseas competitors and forced to go offshore where emissions will continue, or shut down with consequent unemployment issues.

The seriousness of many social impacts is only slowly beginning to unfold as these are not immediately apparent and the wider community has not yet realised the serious longer term implications of the relentless Greens'-driven 'reforms'.

Moreover, the UN's 'Green'-motivated international agencies such as the UN Women's and radical feminist groups, with their anti-life (abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and the like) policies are already disrupting traditional family life.

Greens' assault

With their electoral power now assured, and in accord with their Global Charter, the Greens will intensify their assault, firstly on Australian society, to ultimately create a biocentric world in which nature (landscape, plants, animals, insects) is superior to humanity and becomes the focus of humanity's development.

This means that resources and activity now used for the benefit of human society will be transferred to enhancing nature, including reversing the scientific advances that have fed, clothed and kept healthy an increasing, longer-living population.

The carbon tax is but a legal ploy for forcing our (mineral and energy) resources to remain untouched. It joins the long-time successful challenge by the Greens and other groups who demanded that water flow out to sea where its (edible) creatures could enjoy an unmolested existence!

Without coal, society will depend for its energy on renewable sources, which scientists have warned will be very expensive and cannot match fossil energy, thus enforcing a reduction in living standards. Energy-dependent industry will be forced to downsize with inevitable flow-on effects on economic development.

At the same time measures to lower national (and global) population will emerge to reduce the human 'polluters' to a level that will accommodate society within the limited resource and economic base permitted by a nature-oriented world. The Green's sustainable human population estimate for Australia is seven million.

The dilemma for many environmentally conscious Australians is that the anti-humanity focus of the Greens' policies is completely at odds with the Judaeo-Christian principles governing a balanced relationship between humanity and nature. Successive popes have stressed that nature is at the service of humanity which may use and develop its natural resources, always mindful of the obligation to safeguard nature for the benefit of future generations, while emphasising that nature must not be glorified.

The blame for the political rise of the Greens-dominated environmental lobby can include a sympathetic media, influenced by the clever Greens'-driven propaganda campaign that began fifty years ago, along with the failure of orthodox science to be more outspoken, especially those employed in the public sector.

In addition, according to anecdotal information, the religious education system, in encouraging an environmental consciousness, has failed to get the correct balance between a (Christian) humanity-centred and a (atheistic) biocentric focus, in accord with Christian principles. Sadly, a number of influential clergy and religious have also lost sight of a human development imperative within a theology of the environment.

Peter Finlayson is an active Catholic in the Ballarat Diocese and an agricultural scientist who has worked in many developing countries.

          Exterminate the Brutes: Fighting Back Against the Right        
Robert Markley

Michael Bérubé’s essay on the politics of selling out is an eloquent investigation of the dilemmas confronting left intellectuals seeking to survive the long dark night of irrelevance. My only concern is that I wish Bérubé had provided more advice about how to sell out, while, at the same time, winning political converts and influencing influential people. While there is much that is admirable in Bérubé’s piece (originally delivered in March 1995 at the Cultural Studies Symposium at Kansas State), particularly his discussion of the Right’s negation of the “public” in the name of the “people,” I would like to sketch briefly an alternative to the politics of selling out by putting pressure on the term “intellectual,” the blind spot in many romantic calls to action by left cultural critics.

A crucial point: nobody cares about intellectuals, except other intellectuals. More to the point, unless intellectuals have another source of income, most of them wind up subordinating intellectual interests to the pursuit of livelihoods, or convincing the powers that be that intellectual activity can be profitable (see Bacon, Francis). Few people, for that matter, understand, care about, or are willing to spend the time and energy to follow the intricacies of rational discourse. Think of the sad history of presidential elections since World War II. The Democrats, admittedly a poor excuse for a left of far-right party, nominate Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize Winners, nuclear engineers, and so on for President; the dominant mode of communication for Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern, Kennedy, and Stevenson has been explanation - a dubious strategy because the hegemonic rhetoric of multinational capitalism is the assurance that Life is Simple: advertising slogans, biblical homilies, capsule news summaries, crossword puzzles, billboards, true-false tests, and click on one of the following options all reinforce the belief that there are always “right” answers to be had, and that these answers can be summed up in a few words: “just say no”; “you deserve a break today”; “life is good.” Can you remember a Republican candidate for national office (since, say, John Lindsay) trying to explain anything to voters? Nixon, perhaps, but Nixon’s explanations were always corrosive and evasive.

The most successful Democrat since Roosevelt was, significantly, the least intellectually gifted and, if you have read the first two volume’s of Robert Caro’s biography, the most vicious, brutal, and amoral. What Lyndon Johnson understood far better than most cultural critics is that intellect (not to mention morality) is a handicap in politics: the purpose of policy is not to achieve moral clarity or intellectual rigor but to perpetuate networks, connections, positions of power, influence, and of course to accumulate symbolic capital and cold hard cash. The most successful, in many ways, of the handful of Left political leaders (broadly defined) in the past half century, Martin Luther King, did not analyze the semiotics of race, despite his Ph.D., so much as he evoked a religious vision: “I have a dream.” Dreams may have their own semiotics, but they do not, for audiences glued to Sightings, require complex modes of intellectual elucidation.

In my mind, then, our concern about the role of the public intellectual is misplaced. The arena in which the Left has to contest the Regime of the Right is not in the pages of The Nation or even The Village Voice but in the much devalued realm of cheap, anti-intellectual “entertainment”: tawdry talk shows, infomercials, trade shows for would-be entrepreneurs, tabloids, the Psychic Hot Line, etc. Bérubé reports that his editor at Harper’s suggested that a successful article renders the experience of reading almost non-cognitive; in any consumer culture, the separation between logic and rhetoric returns with a vengeance. In such a world, the Left needs to counter the vicious, mindless, kneecapping of the Right with vicious, mindless, kneecapping of its own: not nostalgia for JFK but a reinvigoration of the Realpolitik of LBJ.

Who better to contribute to public policy than college and university professors who are paid to study rhetoric and semiotics? Think of all the energy that cultural critics have devoted to interrogating racist, homophobic, misogynist, and classist rhetoric, values, and assumptions during the last fifteen years. This knowledge can and should be used to counter racism, sexism, homophobia, and the politics of privilege, but such an undertaking requires precisely that “we,” left erstwhile intellectuals, relinquish our stubborn faith in rational argument. Rational argument is what we do on our jobs; it is not necessarily an essential, unchanging measure of our intrinsic worth as human beings. You cannot argue morality; you can successfully challenge prejudice only by exploiting a complex psycho-social matrix that is largely unresponsive to causal reasoning. All of us know that, to varying degrees, it is often an uphill struggle to get students to distinguish between reason and bias. The mush-headed right, at least since George Wallace, has accumulated political capital by tarring and feathering “pointy-headed intellectuals” - cashing in on a politics of resentment by redirecting economic anxieties away from the unequal distribution of wealth to the distribution of specialized knowledge. For many Americans, elitists read poetry, not The Wall Street Journal. The Left will be more successful, as it has been in the (dim) past, by counterattacking the Rush Limbaughs of the world, not by noting inconsistencies in their presentations.

As Bérubé points out, the practice of left intellectuals attacking other left intellectuals for elitism, obscurity, and impracticality is old enough to have passed from history into the dark backward and abysm of myth. If the left seems doomed to repeat rituals of self-immolation, it is, in part, because we remain obsessed with the value of distinction, discrimination and purification rather than with the always impure strategies of success. What follows, then, are some suggestions to ensure that we sell out successfully:

1 Coopt the rhetoric of values, and beat the Right over the head with it. No self-styled Leftist should be allowed to offer political pronouncements without chanting the following mantra: greed, hypocrisy, and sin. Pro-Lifers who refuse to demand that the government raise taxes to provide funds for education, medical and dental care, food, clothing, shelter, and so on for each and every child who is “saved” are (repeat after me) hypocrites. Fundamentalists who ravage the environment to make money are sinners. Pat Buchanan has no values except greed.

2 Deploy the language of prejudice and exclusion by (for example) insistently feminizing right-wing males. Elected stooges of multinational capitalism are “whores”; candidates who turn a blind eye when workers are “downsized” into lower paying jobs are “cowards”; men who harass women on the job are “wimps who can’t get a date.” Officials who claim they cannot or should not intervene to help the homeless, the sick, the dying are “impotent.” The NRA should be ridiculed for playing with phallic symbols to compenstae for their psychosexual dysfunctions. Obviously, reproducing such rhetoric tends to reinscribe the dynamic of prejudice and exclusion that many of us are dedicated to overcoming. But politics is not about purity: the squeamish need to ask themselves whether living through the jihad that President Buchanan would visit upon us is a price worth paying for claiming the supposed moral high ground.

3 As Bérubé argues, the Left’s basic problem is that it lacks the financial resources of the Right; this unequal distribution of wealth and power is unlikely to change soon. Consequently, it becomes imperative for progressives, feminists, radicals, greens, pinkos, and reds to concentrate their financial resources in areas likely to have the most benefit. My suggestion, then, is that we scale back our commitments to worthy causes (ACT UP, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, battered women’s shelters, the United Negro College Fund, Ducks Unlimited, NPR, you name it), pool our resources, and…buy CBS. I wish I were kidding. But the ideology of corporate command, control, and communication renders us little choice if we want to sell out successfully enough to buy a fair share of political power and cultural capital. Left-Wing TV might bring back Gore Vidal to prime time as a Commentator on the CBS Evening News, offer variations on programs such as X-Files by hiring the best writers and producers to promote left-wing conspiracy theories: sexy agents combating corporate skullduggery; white supremacists in league with hostile aliens; mysterious conspiracies at the highest levels of telecommunications; and lonely forest rangers fighting off evil corporations intent on gutting the environment. There should be sympathetic portrayals of lesbian police officers, gay physicians, African-American labor organizers, and so on. If the Left is to counter the cultural dominance of right-wing talk shows, it needs the cultured voice of Gore Vidal intoning nightly that the political spectrum in the United States runs from the Right to the Far Right.

4 Get our own house in order by taking back our universities. One example of effective collective action. Imagine the end of the Fall Semester 1996. Professors all over the country rise up and give every scholarship basketball player in the country a real set of finals: “Discuss the influence of Hegel on Kierkegaard.” “Analyze the significance of Walter Lippman’s concept of the stereotype on the image of the African-American athlete.” “What are the implications of Coase`s theorem for negotiations between professional athletes and franchise owners?” This may sound like a vicious case of harassing the pawns by asking scholarship athletes (a high percentage of whom are African-American) to do work that almost all of their peers would fail abjectly to do, but such collective action could be the springboard to insist that scholarship athletes who generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year be paid stipends (much like research assistants). Think, too, of network executives (spending a half billion dollars a year on college basketball) stuck with a Final Four tournament that consists of walk-ons and white guys shooting two-hand set shots on national TV. Most educated Americans - doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs - have little idea of the wages and working conditions of most college and university instructors, particularly part-timers. Instead of the disinformation campaigns presented at half-time of basketball and football games - half nostalgic images of ivy-strangled halls and half glitzy promos of hi-tech venture capitalism, show lines of students trying to get into closed out classes.

5 The African-American athlete is sadly underused by the Left. Michael Jordan, Shaq, Grant Hill, and so on exist for most Americans in a depoliticized state of glamorous consumption, as though their multi-million dollar contracts and highly publicized lifestyles negate the economic and cultural disadvantages of millions of African-Americans. A trivia question for cultural critics: who is Kellen Winslow and why am I bringing up his name now?

6 Finally, counter the Right’s simplistic slogans with simplistic slogans of our own. A general purpose campaign slogan to use against Republicans: “Your jobs going overseas.”

Irving Howe? Russell Jacoby? Shana Alexander? Alexander Cockburn. Hunter Thompson. Molly Ivins. Left intellectuals need to resist the blandishments of a rationalistic politics that remain tied to models of cause and effect, to the siren song that we can reason our way into cultural and political significance. How’s this for a slogan for the resurrection of the Left? “There’s only one Party in this country, and you’re not invited.”

          Life after a career as a mortgage lender        

In January of 2000 everything seemed to be heading in the right

direction. At age 30, after a decade in the restaurant industry, I took

a job as loan officer with a prominent local lender in the suburbs of

Washington, DC. Within two years, my hard work and honest lending

practices had moved me up the company ladder and given me a loyal base

of clients; I was a senior sales manager earning a good commissioned

income. In January of 2003 I married my wife, we purchased our first

home, and had our first child in early of 2004.


After the shock to the economy on 9/11, and subsequent recovery,lending institutions began to loosen the guidelines for home purchasing

and refinancing. Unprecedented overinflation of home values created a

frenzy in the housing market over the next few years. Some, but not

nearly enough people in positions to have the appropriate foresight,

saw this as a house of cards.


Many thousands of mortgage brokers and lenders were placing a

newly created pool of credit worthy home buyers into mortgage loans.

The term "credit worthy" took on a whole new meaning to these

predators; the theory being to get them in the home with a payment they

can afford right now, regardless of their ability to pay that note when

the ARM adjusted.










In 2006 as the mortgage crisis began to permiate the economy, tens of

thousands of homeowners began to find themselves with rate and payment

adjustments they could not afford. The predators who placed these

unsuspecting homeowners in their predicaments were either nowhere to

be found or preparing to pounce again, providing short lived relief

that would come with long term and devastating consequences.





















As a mortgage lender who has always prided myself on my honesty and

integrity, I was appalled by what was happening in my industry. Never

having placed a single client in a sub prime loan, I continued to do my

best to educate my clients and provide the most sensible loan products

and sound finacial solutions the industry had to offer.





















Alas, in 2007 when the crisis was full blown and investors began to

pull out and tighten lending guidelines, my niche of financially savy

home buyers and home owners stood pat. My client pool, and referral

pool of business began to dry up and my income drastically declined.





















Early this year I was forced to sell my home in order to downsize my

life and provide for my family. Several months ago I made the decision

to leave the industry I loved. The future of my family was at stake and

I had to make a change.





















Ironically, the years of honesty and integrity as a proven producer and

manager have turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing. I have

been lumped in with the predators that largley created this crisis; a

pariah, a scoundrel, and thief. A resume that I worked eight long years

to build is barely worth the paper it's printed on; tossed aside

hundreds of times by company after company.















As I search for employement to provide for my family, I can't help but

ask myself if there was something that I did wrong or that I could have

done differently. the conclusion I have reached is that I, like most

american's out of work in this difficult time, did nothing wrong. I was

just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thankfully, most of us can

hold our heads high in the face of this tumultuous time. My integrity

is fully intact, I can only hope that an employer out there will see

beyond the stigma of my mortgage lender resume and see the man I truly











          The Angry and Sometimes Grumpy Children of the 1950's        
A bunch of us in our late 40's and early 50's got together the other night, and after the evening was over I started thinking that many of us born in the 1950's are in a crisis stage. People can't understand why we are so angry and grumpy sometimes. This article discusses some of the issues we have with society today and might enlighten others (the younger set) as to why we seem so disillusioned, and out of sorts at times.

The consensus of the group was "is this all there is." We've been working since our teens. A car costs more today than what our parents bought a house for. We work and work and still don't have enough. Food costs have risen astronomically, along with utility costs, insurance costs, and housing costs.

We started laughing at one point and said we sound like our grandparents. However, it is a very sad commentary that what took place for our grandparents over numerous decades, has only taken 20 to 30 years to occur for us. The real scary thing is that salaries for many jobs have not changed over that twenty year period, while our expenses have skyrocketed, and increased one hundred fold.

We all became nostalgic when we talked about the things we used to do to relax. How so many of those things are gone, or we can't afford to do them any longer. Our kids tell us we don't have a clue about school, sex, music, or what's going on in the world. Again, the laughter abounded with the music issues, but became very serious when we talked about the scary things kids do today, that we wouldn't even have thought of when we were growing up. Killing teachers, and other students never entered our minds. We had respect for our teachers and those in charge.

The next thing we ranted about was our health. For some of us, the ravages of time have taken place... eyesight problems, arthritis problems, blood pressure problems, "the barnacles of life". The discussion we had on the cost of health care was a lively and volatile one to say the least. Many of us who have had major illness problems also went ballistic with regards to the social security system, the disability system and Medicare system. The majority of us have worked since our teenage years. We were incredulous when it took over a year to get money from the social security system, especially when we see people playing the system who don't deserve it.

All of us are still working. The majority of our group are either self-employed or independent contractors. Many of us run home-based businesses. While we are still disheartened with the rise in costs, at least our work environment is a happy one, and one we feel in control of. For those in our group still working in corporate America, that's just an additional concern and stress for them. Is their job safe? Will they be downsized? Laid off? We went back and forth on the work issue and found that while running your own business is a risk, we have a lot more control over our destiny than if we worked for someone else, and hence, a lot less stress. Plus we can't fire ourselves.

We all wondered where it will end. So many of us thought we would be retired by now, or at least contemplating it within the next ten to fifteen years. However, with all the medical advances and hundred-fold costs of so many things, that is not an option. Retirement is no longer something people do automatically between 55 and 65. Today, the retirement age is in the 70's.
For many of us, the thought of another twenty or more years of working is a depressing one, in addition to making us very angry and grumpy to say the least.

Hopefully this article will provide some insight to those who wonder why the over 40 generation is so angry and grumpy at times.

Copyright DeFiore Enterprises 2002

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          Japan Display to slash over 3,000 jobs        
Japan Display is considering tough downsizing measures to help save its struggling business, including slashing more than 3,000 jobs. (NHK)
          Should You Sell Unwanted Gifts?        
Note: This is a post from Joan Concilio, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan. One of our readers shared the following story and question with me, and gave me permission to share it here: I’m trying to downsize and get rid of my crap to pay off my debt.  I also don’t like clutter […]
          Home Foreclosure Options Florida        
It is straightforward to lose your home in this time of financial crisis. A large amount of people who have got downsized are not able to pay the monthly amortization on their houses which give left banks and finance establishments with no other choice but to foreclose these properties. Fortunately, there are ways of stopping foreclosure. If you are one of those people that are about to lose their homes, these are some straightforward methods for you to delay or stop bank foreclosure.

Foreclosure is an hideous thing and you stand to lose a lot of things when your home gets foreclosed. To avoid foreclosure, you could need to sell your house. Selling your home may appear distressing to you but when things really get coarse, it's miles better to sell your home and earn some money out of the sale than let the bank foreclose your property. To get the most out of the sale of your home, find out how much is the present market value market value of your house. If you home is located in a prime location, its value may have increased considerably in the past few years. FL refinance

To get a fair evaluation of the market valuation of your house, interview some real estate agents. You may also hire the services of a professional broker to sell your house. The nice thing about hiring a professional broker to sell your home is that you are going to don't have to go to all the difficulties of finding a buyer and then doing the documentation once the purchaser decides to purchase your home. What's the catch? The catch here is that you want to pay a commission to the broker after the home. However, considering the sort of service that you get from the broker, it is only fitting that you compensate your broker well. Remember that there is no such thing as free service these days.

The housing market is in a bad shape and many properties across the land are worth considerably less than their original cost. If your property has been badly affected by the housing crisis, you could have to sell your home for a lesser price. Yes, a short sale isn't extraordinarily appealing but compared to foreclosure, a short sale is better. To stave off foreclosure and still be ready to get a fair price on your property, you want to put your property up for sale as soon as possible.

          Movieha! interviews Leo Adam Biga        

Today we sit down with Leo Adam Biga, journalist/author and Alexander Payne historian. We talk about Payne's body of work and upcoming film Downsizing.

          Craft Room Makeover        
Well, this will be my 500th attempt to makeover my craft room!  Those of you that know me, know how true that statement is!  To top it off, a couple of months before Christmas last year, I had the bright idea to switch rooms with Rachel.  She gets the bonus room upstairs where my craft room was, and I get her smaller bedroom downstairs (bright, and I mean bright green and all).  I also emphasize smaller!  Well, I must downsize a lot and organize even more.  It is most difficult to create anything when you cannot find the items you need!

Over the next few weeks, I will post pictures of my progress.  I have posted two "before" pictures.  Hopefully you all will cheer me on with every little accomplishment. 

Are you with me?  I might get it so organized that I can actually make crafts and film some videos of projects I'll be working on. 

Until next time, Lori 

          Video: An Upbeat Way to Connect with Baby Boomers        

In estate planning, as with funeral planning, often the biggest challenge is getting clients to address an unspoken fear of mortality. The use of humor, well before anyone dies, can help break down this resistance. Recently, Phanuef Funeral Homes and Crematorium in Manchester, New Hampshire hosted two presentations of “Kicking the Bucket List: Downsizing and […]

The post Video: An Upbeat Way to Connect with Baby Boomers appeared first on American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

          With Renting on the Rise, Amica Insurance Shares the Need for Renters Coverage        

From college graduates moving into their first apartments to empty nesters looking to downsize, renting is on the rise in the U.S. In fact, according to Bloomberg, more than half of the 100 largest U.S. cities now have more renters than property owners.

(PRWeb July 10, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/07/prweb14493571.htm

          National Women's Studies Association Statement        

The campaign for the US presidency that concluded earlier this week was no ordinary election cycle, in which candidates of the two parties debated and disagreed about policy, vision, and direction. Instead, it was a campaign that ridiculed, traumatized, and dehumanized Mexican-Americans, immigrants and undocumented people, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Muslims, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, Jews, survivors of sexual assault, women, Palestinians, and their allies. It was a campaign in which multiple women charged the winning candidate with sexual assault. Political forces including the Ku Klux Klan, the National Rifle Association, and the Alt Right – advocates of racism, gun violence, and misogyny – all openly endorsed him. During the course of the campaign, numerous threats were made against anti-racist and feminist politicians, academics and activists.

NWSA condemns the divisiveness upon which this candidate established his platform. This election demonstrated to us that the need for intersectional and decolonial feminist scholarship, teaching, and action remains vital and urgent. Before the election, women’s, gender, and sexuality programs and departments, long devalued, were being downsized and in some cases eliminated. With this massive re-distribution of power to reactionary forces, and in light of the intensifying backlash, NWSA pledges to renew its promotion and support of intersectional feminist research and teaching.

          Adrenaline - John Benedict         
John Benedict
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Nov 22 2013, $10.95
ISBN: 9781484897522

The support staff prepares patient Mr. Rakovic for a routine arthroscopy of his right knee by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sanders.  However, anesthesiologist Dr. Mike Carlucci panics when his patient suddenly suffers from a potentially lethal V-tach, something he never encountered in his six years at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital.  He and others in the operating room frantically try to save Mr. Rakovic’s life.  With tears, Mike informs Mr. Rakovic’s sobbing wife that her husband died from a massive heart attack. 

Keystone Anesthesia provides the hospital with its professional anesthesia staff; who recently begun to doubt their competency as several other egregious errors by anesthesiologists occurred.  Filled with remorse and wondering whether they are the cause of these terrible mistakes, these dedicated employees also fear downsizing due to a merger with nearby General and a potential hostile takeover of their work by rival Pinnacle Anesthesia.  Increasingly Carlucci and his BFF Dr. Doug Landry wonder if a cold-blooded maniac wants to destroy the reputation of the anesthesiologists regardless of the cost to innocent patients. 

Using surgery that seems authentic (though my credentials are on the receiving end), this superb medical thriller showcases the criticality of anesthesiologists beyond just administering pain relief.  The opening Rakovic case, another involving a woman who feels the excruciating scalpel but unable to tell anyone and several others come across very frightening.  Though the final confrontation is over the top of Mount Davis, readers will feel an Adrenaline surge throughout Dr. John Benedict’s twisting and at times shocking hospital suspense; while also looking forward to the sequel (see The Edge of Death).

Harriet Klausner

          Proven Breeders and Adults        
I am downsizing my collection of ball pythons. They were well taken care of and well loved. I have been breeding and caring for ball pythons for over 6 years. They are all fantastic eaters and in perfect health. Here is the list of what I am sell
          Ideas for Downsizing in Bloomington Normal Illinois, First in a Series of Five        
If the kids are finally out of the house and you are ready for a more carefree way of life with less yard, less maintenance and more time for recreational pursuits, you may be looking to downsize your home. You may be looking for a newer ranch style home with all the living on one level, plus some of the amenities that you have been longing for over the years. Maybe it is granite countertops, wood flooring, a gas fireplace or some other feature, but you have done without up till now and in contemplation of a slower lifestyle with more time at home, you may be ready to indulge yourself with special home feature. Great!!

There are many options for people looking to downsize in the Bloomington Normal housing market. From zero lot line homes, to condominiums to beautiful new construction ranches you have many options to choose from. The first step in your home search should be identifying your needs and the features that will really improve your life. Within your specific price range, an experienced Realtor can provide you with a nice selection of home choices.

One great subdivision that has a nice selection of Zero lot homes and ranch style homes is Wittenburg Woods at Prairie Vista. Located in Southwest Bloomington, away from the bustle and traffic, it is a great choice for your new home. Currently there are new construction ranches being built in Wittenburg Woods priced in the low to mid 200's. Many of the lots have some trees on them and there are many lots available to choose from. This subdivision is close to the Constitution Trail and there is a park planned for the Southwest portion in the future.

As always, I am a great source for information about area builders. So if you would like to customize your new home, you can consider a spec home currently under construction, but not yet finished or build from scratch with one of the great builders working this subdivision. My favorite would be Mike Temple, owner of Comfort Homes. Yes we are related. He is my husband. However, he is a terrific builder with talent for building affordable, high quality construction.

I am a great source of information regarding downsizing options. If you are looking to downsize or know of someone that will be soon, call me and I will find a great home for you or your friends!

Have a great day in Real Estate!

All my best,

Susan Temple
          CruzTOOLS Stagehand Compact Groove Tech Kit        
CruzTOOLS Stagehand Compact Groove Tech Kit

CruzTOOLS Stagehand Compact Groove Tech Kit

CruzTOOLS Stagehand Compact Groove Tech Kit Our GrooveTech series kits are the ultimate for guitar and bass players, but weren't designed to be very portable. Our new Stagehand kit addresses this, with no loss in capability and at a modest price to boot! Central to the concept is a 19-piece magnetic bit set and screwdriver-style bit holder, with both inch and metric hex wrenches, screwdrivers, and sockets to handle virtually any make and model of guitar or bass. A capo and 15-blade thickness gauge with integrated ruler permit neck measurement, which is essential to proper truss rod adjustment. Also included are downsized string cutters and a string winder. Everything fits into an uber-compact pouch that is ready to hit the road. GTSH1

          where is she? [day 251]        
I still need to get rid of some of my clothing.  I downsized by 50% a few weeks ago, but there’s still a few more pieces I could part with.  I was thinking about the clothing again after a short … Continue reading
          Sony Ericsson Has Sold Over 9 Million Android Phones, Despite Fewer Sales Overall        

sonyericssonSony Ericsson posted profits of 35 million euros ($47.14 million) in Q4 of 2010, due largely to major downsizing combined with a shift towards Android-based smartphones. Although Sony Ericsson sold fewer phones overall, Android enthusiasts will be happy to hear that they managed to sell over 9 million Android-based Xperia phones, including the X10, X10 Mini, X10 Pro, and X8, since their launch.

In the last year, Sony has made significant changes after reporting losses of 836 million euros in 2009 ($1.13 billion).

Read More

Sony Ericsson Has Sold Over 9 Million Android Phones, Despite Fewer Sales Overall was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

          Confession 277: Purging        
My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.
Galatians 5:13

During Teacher Appreciation Week, our school puts banners up throughout the school with enlarged pictures of every staff member on them.  In looking around at all of the banners, I didn't see my picture.  The idea that I wasn't on any of the banners only surprised me in that my principal is very dedicated to making all of the staff feel valued and respected.  When I mentioned to a friend that I wasn't on any of the banners she said to me, "Yes you are.  You're right over here."  Leading me over to where my picture was, my jaw dropped.  I didn't recognize myself at all!!

You see, over the past 8 months, I have been working on getting my body back into optimal health condition.  After maxing out at my heaviest weight ever, I decided that it was time to PURGE my body of all of the unhealthy things I'd been feeding it.  In so doing, I have lost 51 pounds and dropped from a size 16 to a size 10!!  Clothes shopping is actually fun again! :-) 

Yet my picture was taken pre weight loss--hence the non-recognition of myself on my part!! The thought struck me that sometimes, in order to get back to who God intended us to be, we need to go through a period of purging.

There are several definitions of the word purge.  If you're looking for a laugh, check out the definition at the Urban Dictionary!!  For my purpose, the best definition of the word purge is: "to rid, clear or free from"...  It is the complete and total opposite of gorging, which we in America have created a lifestyle out of.  Most of us are pretty good at gorging ourselves, whether it be on food, entertainment, gossip, activities, technology, etc.... 

The problem is that when we continue to put all of this extra stuff in, we lose sight of who God has called us to be.  We become defined by our career, our kids, our activities, our dress sizes, our economic status and fill our days trying to maintain and add to all of these things.  Well, most of us probably aren't intentionally trying to add to our dress sizes!  But the point is, the more we fill our lives with the excesses of our culture, the less room we have for God to live and dwell within us.

Hence, the need to purge, to rid, clear and free ourselves from those things in our lives that pull us away from being the person God created us to be and to refocus our time and energy on those tasks God has called us to do.  Sometimes, we need to downsize.  We need to take a moment to reflect and take stock of our surroundings.  We need to look at where our time, our talents, our resources, and our focus is going and determine whether or not the paths we are pursuing are the ones God has asked us to follow.

In my life, my weight loss has been the impetus for a season of purging in my life.  I've felt as if I've woken up to my life again.  I'm reclaiming the dreams and goals that God has planted in my heart.  And in order to follow them, I need to give some other things up.  I need to make time and space in my life to do what God has called me to do.

When we take the time to purge/clear/free ourselves from the things that hold us back from God, we give God room to create.  As the apostle Paul writes....

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Blessings and Peace,

          We're selling our home!        
A stunning One Bedroom Apartment at the exclusive "The Quays" development at Dockside, Chatham Maritime. 

• One Double-Bedroom Apartment
• Superb Waterfront Apartment in Exclusive West Tower
•Bright, Spacious Apartment located on the 1st Floor
•Allocated and Secure Underground Parking
•Beautifully Maintained 
•Modern, Stylish Decor - with recently decorated Living Area
•New Flooring throughout Living, Kitchen and Hallway
•Villeroy & Boch Bathroom Suite
Integrated appliances to Kitchen, including Fridge/Freezer, Oven & Hob and Dishwasher.

A beautifully maintained 1st Floor Apartment, located in the West Tower of The Quays luxury development situated at Dockside upon the Chatham Maritime Marina. An exclusive area, boasting stunning water views. Take a stroll morning or night and welcome a laid back life around the Marina, admiring your new home and the relaxing vibes it provides. Or explore further into the complex to enjoy excellent facilities such as cinema complex, restaurants, gyms, and shops - including a convenient supermarket just a short walk away. 

A fantastic location for all ages. Whether you are looking for your first home, or wanting to downsize - with excellent road and rail links into London and the South Coast, makes this location perfect for commuters too. Not to mention a fantastic investment opportunity. 

This modern, luxury living is complimented by high quality fixtures and fittings to both bathroom and kitchen. The spacious Living Area also boasts two floor to ceiling double glazed windows, adding to it’s bright, light ambiance. 

This particular property is the largest one bedroom apartment that the development has to offer. The open plan living and dining area is much sort after, and allows the benefit of a separate kitchen area which is not a common design feature at The Quays. 

The kitchen has fully integrated appliances, which are included in the price of the property. This includes dishwasher and fridge/freezer as well as electric hob with cooker hood above, and electric oven below. An added bonus of separate Utility room is located just off of the hallway. 

The bathroom, fully equipped with modern and stylish Villeroy & Boch suite, includes bath with shower above, ceramic floor tiles, heated towel rail and integrated mirrored wall units, with ample storage space. 

The bedroom features views into one of the Marina Docks and has built in double-deep wardrobe. 

An allocated parking space, in secure fob-entry only underground car park is just another plus to this fantastic apartment. 

For further information, or to arrange a viewing please contact, Paige:

O.I.E.O £185,000 

          Theresa May Honourable Brexit Deserves More Chivalrous Treatment        

This is one of AE-P’s best columns and very insightful.

I certainly agree with him about Mrs May and I hope he is right about EU attitudes towards Brexit becoming more constructive for both Europe and the UK. Obviously Europe’s elections this year will be important factors. Generally, I think new blood is more practical than old blood in politics and I hope the roles of unelected EU bureaucrats are downsized.

A PDF of AE-P’s column is posted in the Subscriber’s Area.

          Merkel Said to Close Off Banks-for-Cars Brexit Deal Before Talks        

This may be no more than yet another somewhat mischievous volley from the EU, so I would not take it too seriously. We have often seen that Angela Merkel will change the EU’s “inviolate” rules when it suits her to do so. Since EU policies are always a work in progress, I regard that as practical rather than merely cynical.

Since the EU is mired in problems, a safe rallying point is its collective dislike of the UK. After all, the British public had the audacity to defy David Cameron and vote for Brexit, without even needing any help from Vladimir Putin.

The British public was voting for self-governance because the EU’s agenda had changed. This shocked EU officials who took it personally. Some have repeatedly said that the UK should be “punished”, so that other nations in the EU would not follow our lead. In other words, the EU had become a club which European nations could join, but never leave of their own choice. This does not strike me as a compelling enticement.

EU officials are also angry because with the UK leaving, they will lose their second largest contributor to this expensive club. That means bureaucratic perks in Brussels will have to be downsized. Against this background, I maintain that it would be unwise for the UK Government to contemplate mutually sensible negotiations over a lengthy period.

This item continues in the Subscriber’s Area.

          Understanding the risks in Forex trading        

Forex: To trade, or not to trade? Many are reluctant to involve in Forex trading because of its ‘risks’. Generally speaking, there are risks everywhere in our life: Factories may malfunction, customer may not walk-in if you open a shop, stock market may crush, and if you are employed you may get fired during company downsizing. There are risks everywhere! The important issue here is how you learn and maintain your risk. So if you are considering participating in Forex market, you should learn managing the risk involved, instead of being terrified.
Picking up the right Forex dealer
One of the best methods to avoid unnecessary risks is avoid fraud dealer.
Forex is a special trading business with no centralized market. Thus, unlike regulated futures exchanges, there is no central market place for Forex buyers or sellers therefore the price offered by different Forex dealers may vary a lot. When you are trading in Forex market, you are totally relying on the dealer’s integrity for a fair deal.
Further more, you need to select a right Forex dealer to avoid scams. There may be Forex dealers that are not regulated legally and there maybe investment scams, especially on the Internet. Be very careful on who you are dealing with in Forex and always check cautiously on the investment offer.
Stop loss order
The Forex market could move against you. No one can predict with certainty which way exchange rates will go, and the Forex market is volatile. Fluctuations in the foreign exchange rate between the time you place the trade and the time you attempt to liquidate it will affect the price of your Forex contract and the potential profit and losses relating to it. To avoid losing all of your investment capital, you should have a pre-arrangement on your risk profile. A solid risk profile will limit the Forex dealer not to overtake risk that you cannot handle. For example, if you have 100,000 to invest, you can say that you are willing to risk 10,000 of that capital with the potential to gain another 100,000. This can be easily implemented by a fund manager, so your losses can be limited to 10% or 5% of invested capital.
Avoid too high margin trade
Another way to manage your risks well in Forex market is to trade without overleveraged. Forex dealers want you to trade with high leverage values as this means more spread income for them. Also, trading in high leverage may increase your profit or your losing. There are high possibilities that one lose money more than he or she can afford in margin trading.
Forex can be extraordinarily beneficial to a variety of people. It gives huge leverage rates, it gives incompatible liquidity to your money, it gives convenience to trade on the Internet, and it can definitely give you a lot of money if you trade smartly. Like any other trading business, if you are new to it, best advice you can get is to learn and practice more before you test your ‘wings’. Seminars, eBooks, Internet, papers, video courses – all these are handy to get yourself ready. You can also try out your skill on the demo account provided free. After all, Forex trades 24hours a day and there is always money to make in the market, so why not be patience until you are fully ready for it?
Diversification in Forex trading
Diversification is another way to manage risks in Forex market. Trading one currency pair will generate few entry signals. If you wish to lower your risk in Forex market, it would be better to diversify your trades between several currencies.
Try simultaneously trade on different pair of currency. Say you have capital of $1,000, instead of putting all your money to long EUR/USD, you can split the money half to long EUR/USD and GBD/USD ($500 each) as these two currencies are highly correlated and tends to move in the same directions.
Needless to say, knowledge is another key of handling your risks well. Before you get into Forex market, the best thing you should do is educate yourself. What drives currency price movement? How to read analysis data? How to read chart indicators? Learn detail about how currency price move and how to trade foreign currency exchange in order to avoid unnecessary risks.
You come to this article probably because of you are new to FOREX and were looking for some readings on the Internet. To be frank, Forex can be very profitable but the risk lie beneath is equally great. But what else in life does not involve risk? You can be fired from your job, factory may malfunctions, stock market may collapse, your boss may runaway with your wages, and hey! These are all risk. Learning in risk management is the key to handle your life.
Trade smartly, and gain the maximum out of Forex – good luck!

          After furloughs, states mull permanent cuts        
Moving from furloughs of state employees to more permanent downsizing, states are girding for the deepest workforce cuts yet when they hammer out their fiscal 2011 budgets next year. In preparation, many are taking stock of every position in state government to determine what effect job cuts and the possible elimination of whole departments will have on revenues, expenses and the quality of government services.
          5 Reasons to Downsize Before Having Kids        
5 Reasons to Downsize Before Having Kids

Hi All! One of my best friends (both online and in real life) Alexandra from My Urban Family has an awesome guest post for us today that I know you will all find fascinating. As someone who has moments where I want to downsize from our current home to live more simply with kids, this […]

The post 5 Reasons to Downsize Before Having Kids appeared first on Embracing Simple.

          Robert Pattinson on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter        

In Robert Pattinson‘s new interview with THR, he talks Twilightand more. There are also some smokin’ hot new pics. See below for all the goodness!

On Twilight:
He’d done an audition tape when he was at home in London, “with Tom [Sturridge] playing Bella.” After that, director Catherine Hardwicke called him at 2:30 in the morning, when they had “this ridicu­lous conversation, and I hadn’t read the books or the script or anything and I just bullshitted on the phone.”
Now he went to Hardwicke’s home in Venice, Calif., where he met Stewart, already cast in the lead role, for the first time. “They were doing screen tests with four people,” he recalls. “In one of the scenes, I [was meant] to take my shirt off, and I think I was the one guy who didn’t.”
Lionsgate wasn’t immediately sold on him, and some of the producers wondered whether he was too old for the role of an eternal high-schooler (he was 21 at the time), but his agent kept pushing. “Stephanie was like, ‘You’ve got to go and meet the producers and just shave 20 times before you go,’ ” he says.
The big shave worked, and Pattinson got the part: “It was basically the last-chance saloon when I got Twilight.”
The franchise’s five films changed his life, to his surprise. He’d thought this would be “like [Hardwicke's previous film] Thirteen but with vampires. I genuinely had no idea it was going to be a [blockbuster].” He says the role of Edward was unexpectedly challenging: “It was quite a constricting character, in a way. You want to make [him] as dramatic as possible, but you have someone who never loses his temper, and so it’s like, ‘How the f– do you do this?’ I think that was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.”
Pattinson spent the next four years in the Twilight zone and barely has stopped working since. He hasn’t had a vacation in years, partly because fame makes it hard for him to travel. “I don’t think I’ve been anywhere other than for work,” he says. “I have a fear of missing out.”
“Everything changed when they did the marketing, and the general public started to view [the films] in a different way when they started to push the ‘team’ aspect of it,” he says of an otherwise positive experience. “It was like, ‘I’m on Team Edward or Team Jacob.’ That saturated everything, and suddenly there was a backlash. Whereas with the first [film], there wasn’t a backlash at all.”
On Keeping Up With Kellan Lutz:
He keeps up with some of his Twilight pals, too, and occasionally plays poker with Kellan Lutz, who’s considerably better than he is, to his chagrin. “It’s ridiculous!” he says. “It’s like they basically just ask, ‘Do you want to spend $500 to hang with us?’ ‘Oh, great!’ “
Read his entire interview over that The Hollywood Reporter here!

          LOOKBOOK NO.64        

I haven't blogged in a while because I have been feeling kinda like what's the point anymore. I am feeling like when I post on my Insta, why would you bother to then come to the blog. But then I reminded myself why I started blogging my looks and remembered that it was for me! I love fashion, I love getting dressed up, I love shopping (who doesn't!?) and I love what I do and I love sharing all that with you!

I am also trying desperately to cling to the last bit of summer. Winter has had a different idea and has arrived earlier than planned. In one final attempt at bare arms and legs I wanted to show you some of my latest treats.

Summer was all about open backs and off-the-shoulder tops and dresses for me. I got this Zara dress on their summer sale and have lived it in this season. I LOVE the tie back! I've also downsized my handbag. I used to carry around a big, well, carryall. And it literally did just that and then I couldn't find anything in it! I decided I didn't really need to carry around everything I own and now stick to this chic Colette by Colette Hayman sling. It holds just the essentials and goes with everything. I love the metal chain. I also got a brown and gold sling ALDO bag as a second option.

And can we just take a moment to soak up these heels. I mean! I love them. They are so OTT, I don't know how often I'll actually wear them but I got to pick out a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes at Spitz during summer and I couldn't resist the glamour of these. I just got the updated brown winter version which I will share with you soon. Any lace-up heel is a must right now, it was a hot trend for summer and it's being carried through to winter.

That's it from me, please let me know if you prefer seeing outfits on Insta and on the blog or just the one.

P.S I am VERY excited to share a new project with you, www.fitfluencer.co.za. I am constantly asked by friends and colleagues about what workouts I am doing and what eating plan I am on because I am a fitness freak and working out is a huge part of my life. So I have decided to create an online network for fellow workout addicts. The site launches mid-April but follow us so long on Insta @Fit_Fluencer.

          LOOKBOOK NO.54        

Last night I went to the VIP opening of our first H&M South Africa. I was super spoilt 'coz I was dressed by H&M for the event. I got to go pick my look from rails of samples at their HQ. I saw this dress first thing, tried it and and new I had to wear it. I paired it with their tassel necklace. I love anything with an open back and I always love a great LBD so this now has pride of place in my cupboard.

Speaking of which. I moved and had to downsize my closet from six cupboards to two. As a Fashion Editor and girl in general this was very tough. I have literally had to store some of my clothes in suitcases and had to be ruthless and chuck out. I gave away four full black bags of clothes and sold two boxes full. On the plus side, it made me remember I own some beautiful pieces and have given them new life in my wardrobe by wearing them, after not wearing them in forever. Sometimes throwing things out is actually so important. I realized how much we have but how little we actually need.

Back to H&M. This is how it's done. I wish you could all have been there. We had to register, get an armband and then line up along the red carpet to gain access. I then had to do a proper red carpet, paps and all. So funny. And then the store. It was a bit hard to see it in it's entirety because there were over a thousand guests at the launch, I never got near the accessories and shoes, mens or kiddies sections. It's that big. You need like an hour just to get your barrings. I found a pretty white summer top for R199 and the home decor department is incredibly beautiful and well priced, I bought a marble look tray for R129. The prices are legitamitely affordable, the most expensive thing I picked up was R799, so that can give you some perspective. I'm going to let the crowds come and go and in a few weeks time I'll go back for a proper look and shop. The store staff were also super helpful and happy, long may it last. Having gone as H&M's guest on behalf of the mag to their headoffice in Stockholm a few weeks ago, I could really appreciate the magnitude of opening up here. This is how I wish all our retailers would do things, local and international. H&M have raised the bar. 

H&M expect over fifteen thousand feet through the doors this weekend, they open tomorrow. People are literally already camping out to be first in line, and you even have to regster for that! Let's hope others follow like Primark and Ikea. Yes local is lekker and all that, but I love fast fashion at good prices. Welcome H&M and thank you for dressing me, I felt sensational in this dress and look forward to wearing it out again, and again...

Madison heels, Witchery clutch.

P.S I spotted the dress in store so if you want one, it can be yours too!
P.P.S I also went braless for the first time, yikes! I found amazing little stick ons that did the trick though so don't be afraid of open back dresses for summer!

          GonnaGeek.com Podcast – #138 – Upgrade Your PS4, Downsize Your iPhone & Reuse your Rocket        
Hot on the heels of our C2E2 #podcast panel, we discuss the latest rumors of a possible upgraded PS4, the official announcement of the iPhone SE and the estimated cost savings of reusing the stage of the SpaceX rocket. Finally, SP and Chris share their experiences at C2E2 2016 with their podcast panel (and other […]
          Fantasy Money Project        
One of my most favorite projects from the 2012 spring semester at SCAD was the Money Project from my Design 101 Color Theory class.  In this project we create fictional money based on a real or fantasy country.  A narrative of the country should be provided with the original artwork of the fictional money and its downsized version. My money is based on Penrose Capital, a country from my "The Mult" story. I don't have the complete description of my country but I do have some details about it:

  • Name of country:
    • Universe Paradoxa: Penrose Capital, home of the World Traveler Academy
  • Date in time-future/present
    • 2126, founded by the first group of world travelers in 1960s
  • Where s the country located?  What is the geography? Mountains, island, etc. How big is the country - land wise and what is the population?
    • This is in a rare flat universe, a near infinite world with a sky-like dome and a vast flat plane stretched over a chaos filled void.  Paradoxa is an impossible world and its very existence violates the laws of space and time.  This violation of space and time makes it vulnerable to highly unstable wormholes, sudden acceleration and deceleration in time, strange supernatural anomalies, and unexplained creation of sentient living beings which happens every three thousand years.  These anomalies often occur at the edges of the flat universe, but the center and the area surrounding it remain stable.  This area is the Penrose Capital of Paradoxa, named so because of the triangle-like shape of the protected area and of the giant ancient Penrose triangle symbols carved in the twelve districts surrounding it.
  • Type of Government?
    • Penrose Capital is ruled not by single leader but by a group made up of the highest officials of the twelve districts.  Two officials from each district of a different species native or alien to Paradoxa.  There is a congress made up of two courts: Upper is the time and universe travelers, magic and science majors; the lower is the guardians, world builders, supernatural advisers, and hinru-darsian powers.  The upper court watches over the law making, academic studies, and multi dimensional communications. The lower court watches over god-commissioned creation of worlds and realities, god/guardian monitoring, life/death monitoring, and universe and life auctions.
  • What kind of industry is there? How do people make a living?
    • The Penrose capital is a home to the World Traveler Academy, a prestigious school to studying the Multi-verse and its inner workings down to the smallest atom and up to the most powerful gods in existence.  The entire economy, industry, and life of an average world traveler are based on solely on the academic study of the Multi-verse.  The twelve districts of the Penrose Capital contains the majors in which every world traveler can apply and study from:
      1. Brimeh District: Time travel
      2. Trunkefe District: Dimensional travel
      3. Galarchri District: Magic studies and applications
      4. Hedjohit District: Advances of sciences and science applications
      5. Jevassus District: Guardian magic and identity
      6. Saldecota District: Amhphsorsa tunnel and soul analysis
      7. Saldosah District: World commissions and creations
      8. Bameh District: Paradoxain historical and government studies
      9. Hedcasa District: Empire Planet xeno-archeology
      10. Rhamtah District: Penrose and Paradoxain technologies
      11. Sidoya: District: Penrose and Paradoxain defenses, army, and police force
      12. Hinrudarsi District: Hunru-darsiism, magic, dual soul analysis, and Pre-guardian historical studies
  • Any religious belief system?
    • Even though the Penrose Capital discovered the existence of gods, spirits and demons, souls, and other supernatural entities, the county is not founded on a belief system and the people there are free to explore any religious or non-religious ideas including agnosticism, atheism, theism, and other beliefs. The best description of this type of world is that it is Humanitarian-like or Xenoitarian.  The practice of Xenoitarian is the universal acceptance, love, and kindness of all sentient living, artificial, native and alien, supernatural, and physical individuals.  However, due to recent conflicts between gods and guardians and the rise of a single powerful leader controlled government pushed by rogue world travelers, the peace on Penrose Capital may see a horrific demise during the Golden Age of World Traveling.
Here's the penciled and colored of the Penrose Captial money:

          Emerging Opportunities for US Pharma and Biotech Sales Reps        
Since 2001 many major pharmaceutical companies have been restructuring their sales forces and laying off reps to reduce redundancies, improve efficiencies and cut costs. This downsizing, which likely ... click here to continue
          More Biotech Downsizing        
Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, one of the many companies founded on the promise of RNAi technology today announced that it will reduce its current workforce by 33 percent to focus its fi... click here to continue
          Pharma Layoffs Decline As Biotech Layoffs Rise        
This past holiday season, as usual, was rife with massive layoffs and downsizing at various big pharma companies. Interestingly, in 2011, most biotechnology companies were able to weather the economic... click here to continue
          DINOmania 1993-1994 in Romania (and other dino- foibles of the past and present)        

DINOMANIA actually started for me and others in Romania with the bogus of popular science, cryptozoology, paleoastronautics/ufology and lost civilizations 80s bestsellers of Dan Apostol. This literature was the most precious fodder for our brains. It was complementing the TELEENCICLOPEDIA series of Saturday evening science&nature&health&ancient civilization&arts program from 1965 till now. TELEENCICLOPEDIA is clearly another total Z A C A M A N T! Dan Apostol's books were on par with the most outrageous parts of the TELEENCICLOPEDIE in discussing cyclopic monuments of the past, Egyptian ancient technology and megalithic remains. Hugeness had a big role to play, so "unkonwn" or "mysterious" Pre-columbian civilizations were always central to this historical initiation ritual.
The Mayan, Olmec, Toltec, Aztec, Zapotec, Inca, Moche were all discussed with reverence and a lot more centrality that they got in the school curriculum. Basically we knew all about Mezoamerican city-states and their mythology, about the treacherous and criminal Conquistadores, about hematite mirrors and colossal Olmec heads and were glad to miss out on the drumming of "classical civilization" that with got in school. Otherwise in school we had endless Latinist or Dacian paeans to the Romanian ethno-genesis(a mainly pseudoscientific word much loved in that era meaning the formation of the Romanian ethnic group) or historical narratives of fighting off invaders and evil Empires, the grand narratives of Unification and Independence and some bloody Peasant Revolts amongst the obsessions of the day.
Only with the help of books like "Still... mysterious"(1986), "From the secrets of Nature"(1987) and "Unknown nature"(1988) was there enough supply with multivitamins keeping us interested in the iconoclastic areas of science, nature and history. It was enough to get you hooked, to instill in our young minds that there was more over there, waiting for our endless curiosity and our unsatisfied hunger for universal knowledge.

Teleenciclpedia supplied the tele-visual archive of objects, cities, manuscripts, jungles, infinitely varied life forms to put meat on the bones of our reading, and shape the visions of our youth and geeky adolescence.
I remember my oldest (lost?!!) book with dinosaurs that i had. It was full of illustrations and it was in Russian Cyrillic alphabet! My parents could read cyrillic but couldn't understand a word of it. Only later i had access to the txt with the Perestroika and after getting familiar with Bulgarian language. But it was since my earliest memories of it (even before the ATLAS ZOOLOGIC - another favorite book of my childhood) one of the most impressive and unforgettable books i had access to.
This natural history book in Russian had drawings (sort of watercolor illustrations) with ancient creatures both in sea, on land and in the sky. It featured mythical battles between Mesozoic monsters like the snake-necked Plesiosaur or the fishlike sort of crocodilian Ichtyosaur. I was quite scared imagining them in those ancient seas.
I also remember some huge sauropods. They were depicted in the "old" way - standing in deep water, with only their tiny head sticking out. Such immense creatures were not supposed to have bodies that could be supported on land, that is why they were drawn as living in a Laguna-type or marshy environment. I still remembered them vividly walking with their colossal feet on the bottom of the sea.
Ravages of sleeping with it, or sleeping on it, or carrying and trough it left deeps scars i remember, and it was naturally torn apart, its covers finally falling off.

I recently read Stephen Jay Gould writing about DINOMANIA, a text published during that particular era (1993-1994) and published in his collection "Dinosaurs in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History"(1995). After Dan Apostol and Carl Sagan, SJ Gould became my all-time favorite popular science writer, humanist and historian of science. I joined him into vast incursions about Geological Catastrophism; the subtlety of Charles Darwin's(and Wallace's!) Natural Selection; Developmental Biologies conundrums; New Evolutionary Metaphors; Cambrian Explosions; Conchology(science of shells Gould's own domain); naturalist misrepresented by schoolbook manuals; the first critical and informed condemnation of Rasist theories/Eugenic thinking/IQ tests i ever read. From Gould i also read for the first time about Dr Kinsey and the Kinsey Reports and about the fact that initially Kinsey was an entomologist specializing in the sexual life of parasitic Gall(Cynipidae) wasps.
For many many others Gould has been a constant delight (and will be for the next generations) with his care of reconsidering the complexity of life and evolution, of sudden transformation (revolution?) and his steady critique against anthropocentric and supremacist models of evolution(ascending ladders, cones of increasing diversity, man-on-top branch and that sort of thing).
In his The Glory of Museums chapter Dinomania - is a small essay about the hollywoodian ills of dumbing down Michael Crichton's book(a joint Spielberg-Crichton enterprise as he sees it). He traces the unpredictable future of paleontology and its impact on the commercial world and mass culture of the 90s. Who would have believed and predicted that we would witness such a craze and a hype in Dinosaur shows, exhibitions, CGI, projects, documentaries with completely merchandised monsters? Well dino's where always around(buried in Hateg?!) ready to snap.
Also a big JP logo-related blunder - the T-rex is not a Jurassic dino, it lived during the last part of dinosaur reign, the Cretaceous period. But, hey, as Gould remarks, T-rex has to be there and Cretacic Park is not really it.

He not only identified a shift between his childhood and the new generation of dinomaniacs, but also acutely recognized in the new depiction and representation a dinosaur emblem of the capitalist neo-liberal ideal.
As if this ideal had to search in the deep past for worthy predecessors, Velociraptors came in handy for just this purpose. Gould was concerned about the incoming infotainment totalitarian mood, that was getting stronger and stronger, with museum shops, kitschy toys and useless junk being poured all over the world in the wake of Jurassic Park.
For him it was a real battle not between monsters of ancient eras, but about the role of the Natural History Museums and the new and much stronger and gargantuan world of the Theme-parks as exemplified by JP title. But after 1989 in the East we already had a theme-park of sorts, with every manner of new enterprise enjoying the sudden overkill of incapacitated industrial and agricultural giants.
Capitalism in Romania was turbo capitalism of the worst kind, it was a sort of stampede of the free economy. From the beginning on it was akin to a mass extinction time - everybody who cannot show fitness, economic worth, instant utility or political expertise inside the new system is thrown out, picked apart, privatized and shown in a public display as unfit and generally unadaptable. The big Romanian heavy industry was the BIG DINOSAUR of the time, fighting a loosing battle and being relegated to a catastrophic past in his complete incapacity to downsize. But as Gould observed the Velociraptor was reinvented as the new model employ and team-building expert. The name of VELOCIRAPTOR - veloci-, veloc-, velo- means quick, swift, fast, dynamic in Latin and raptor means bird of prey, a seizer. The quick seizer seizes the opportunity of prey, because this is how he can become the winner of the day.

The photos are of handmade (marker-drawn) t-shirts I made during that period while in senior high school. One of them has the DINOmania letters and a Velociraptor(what else!). Another t-shirt has an anatomical drawing (lifted off some National Geographic issue with dino's) displays the highly modified second digit with the famous sickle-shaped claw (for delivering the fatal blow). As a true JP fan i also had the JP book the original JP t-shirt, button and key-chain!
On the back of one shirt you can see a kid and a small Protoceratops dinosaur guide shaking paw-to-hand in DINOTOPIA (1993) by (National Geographic) illustrator James Gourney another venture riding high on the Dinomaniac wave of the day. Dinotopia was more utopian-fourierist sort of world. A green utopian island world were dinosaurs and people lived in, hum well... "utopian" harmony on earth. It functioned as an antithesis to the Costa Rican island hell of Jurassic Park, but it was also a complete imperial and colonial dream-world. Historicist eclectic architecture, Orientalist/North African French and British plein-air painters fantasy welcomes the resurrected ecosystem of the ecologic-minded Mesozoic. Well, one might say the Mesozoic and Dinosaurs were invented in the 19th century (or at least named by Sir Richard Owen in 1842) in the heyday of Victorian Imperialism. But is was also the time for Utopian Socialism in the vein of Robert Owen and his New Harmony experiment: "Design for a Community of 2000 Person founded upon a principle Commended by Plato, Lord Bacon and Sir Thomas More."
I will end with a very peculiar code of the Dinotopian world (every utopia has a code no?) published in the first Dinotopia book (1993). Yet, i was always smug in my knowledge that this small code owed more to Kropotkin and his "MUTUAL AID: A factor in Evolution"(1914) than to T. H. Huxley's "The Struggle for Existence". The last sentence is a small measure of interspecies hygienic discrimination of haha dinosaurs being hygienically appalled by humans nonetheless! Hm or is it angry swimming pool teachers... Don't mind the naive mnemonic device based on a agricultural & slightly eugenic babble(?!) SOW GOOD SEED:

Survival of all or none.
One raindrop raises the sea.
Weapons are enemies, even to their owners.

Give more, take less.
Others first, self last.
Observe, listen and learn.
Do one thing at a time.

Sing every day.
Exercise imagination.
Eat to live, don't live to eat.
Don't p... (don't pee in the bath)

A clear case of Z A C A M A N T!
          A Fresh Look        

We have been busy giving our new home a fresh look.
New ceiling fans, light fixtures,
even some new additions in the furniture department
have helped us to make this house a home.
One of the easiest ways to make a statement
is by painting.

Here is the living room when we bought the house.
The previous owners had a light yellow on the walls
and a bright orange on the fireplace surround.
This room doesn't get as much light as we'd like,
as the windows are on the north-facing wall
so we decided on a color we thought might brighten it up a bit.

So far, all the paint we've used in this house has been No-VOC.
This kind of paint is supposed to be better for the environment
and better for us, as it doesn't outgas like other paints.
The brand we used also contains a primer,
so one coat did an ample job of covering over everything.

The color we chose was Sea Wave.
We're going for a vintage/modern farmhouse look,
but this color just spoke to me.
In our last house we never painted,
so I had vowed that this time around,
we would paint every single room.
No white walls for me.


The color was striking,
but it's hard to know how it's gonna look on an entire wall,
much less the whole room.
We started cutting in first around the windows, ceiling
and baseboards and then filled in with a roller.
The fireplace wall is a shade darker,
so that it stands out a bit more dramatically.

It really went pretty fast.
With both Big K and I working,
we knocked it out in a few hours.

A couple of hints I'd like to pass on:
1.  use a screwdriver to poke a few holes in the top of the paint can.
This allows the paint to drip back down into the can
so that it doesn't build up inside the rim.
Paint isn't wasted and it keeps things tidier.

2.  instead of buying the specialty products the paint stores try to sell you,
simply cut the bottom off of a soda or milk bottle
and use it as your "cutting in" can.
It sits flat on any surface, and you can put as much or as little paint
as you need.
3.  refrigerate brushes when you need to take a break.
This saves from having to wash them out every time you stop painting.
Simply wrap them in plastic wrap or a plastic bag,
and place in the fridge.
We've left them overnight when we need to.
Just take them out 1/2 hour before you begin painting again
so that they can get to room temperature.

We're gettin' there.
We have a lot of tweaking to do
with furniture placement and hanging our treasures on the walls.
Once we get it all put together,
I'll write another post to show the before and after shots.
The new color motivates me to do more.
I love living in this new space.
It has so much energy and really makes the white trim pop.

Our project for August is the office.
We will paint and install something we've never done before.
It feels wonderful to be putting our stamp on this house.
So grateful to be home.

New House posts:
The New Homestead
Moving Toward Bliss
Organized Downsizing

          Organized Downsizing        

A couple of weeks ago, 
we moved into our new cozy shack.
We love the home, the property
and the neighborhood,
but the house is about 400 square feet smaller 
than our last home in Florida.
This has required some serious paring down.
I wish we were completely unpacked and
had the house in order,
but we are taking our time in completing projects
and making this a welcoming and comfortable retreat.

 Fortunately, I embrace the minimalist lifestyle,
so it was easy for me to let go of things.
I find the process freeing,
knowing that I am making room in my life
for all the good things that God has in store for me.
Although we did rid ourselves of many household items and furniture
before we made the big move,
there was still more than we could comfortably situate in this 1400 square foot space.
We have listed quite a few things on Craig's List
and one other local forum for sale or giveaway.
We are also considering having a yard sale,
so that we can clear out many items at once.
So satisfying.

To begin, we started sorting items according to the rooms 
in which they are used.
Several of our larger moving boxes were put to the task.
One box contains things that will be given away or taken to thrift stores.
Any leftover blankets or other bedding will be donated
to the local Humane Society.
They can always use towels and blankets for the animals there.

 Any items that hadn't been used on a regular basis in the last year
(popcorn popper), are put into the kitchen box.
I had a few extra casserole dishes and storage bins
that we could do without, so they got tossed in.
We also had quite a few shelves and other things
that were here from the previous owners,
so we are dealing with those as well. 
There was another box for decorative items,
garage items and bathroom items.
I'm not one for sentimental attachments,
as I choose to focus on the memories instead of the physical object.

Giveaway box
Even if we decide to go the yard sale route,
it's always good to have a giveaway box.
Kids especially love getting something for free.

With the yard sale in mind,
it's important to have great signage.
Using a bright colored background (the same color on all signs)
and bold black letters will help folks find your sale.
Advertising on free sites is also helpful.
We like to price everything ahead of time,
 so that there is no question about how much items cost.
You can use individual stickers,
or place single-priced items on a table with signs
(all items $1).
Of course, you should expect some haggling,
and be prepared to take less than you are asking,
except for high-ticket items.
Any money made at the sale can be used for 
a multitude of ideas:

1.  holiday fund
2.  vacation fund
3.  emergency fund
4.  new furniture fund
5.  donated to a worthy cause

This process has helped me appreciate all that we have
and this new life that we are living
in our wonderful neighborhood.
Organizing just makes me feel empowered.
Keeping material items to a minimum
truly helps one focus on the important things in life.

"Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow."
~Melody Beattie

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

          House: 8/201 Brighton Rd, Brighton Tasmania 7030 | Offers Over $195,000        
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Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:08:24 -0400
          Fix the Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death - Repair Your Console Today and Stop Your System From Freezing        

Fixing the Xbox 360 Red Ring Of Death (or E74 error) can be a hassle and very frustrating especially when you don't know the cause of the problem or where to start. Therefore, I'm going to give you some tips on how to fix the red ring of death. That way, those red rings will be a distant memory and you can enjoy gaming again without fear of freezing.

My tips on how to fix the red ring of death are:

1- Send your Xbox 360 back to Microsoft: This is a long and costly process. Out of warrantly, they charge upwards $140 plus shipping to fix the red ring of death and it can take up 8-10 weeks before you get your system back The worst thing about this method is that microsoft don't guarantee that your Xbox would be fixable and you might get back a refurbished console. Gamers who forget to remove the memory cards, controllers and hard drive before returning their consoles report that these items are lost.

2- Dealing with the cooling system: When Microsoft designed the Xbox 360, they downsized the heat sinks which keep the system cool to accommodate the DVD drive. After long hours of playing, the temperature reaches beyond 120 degree, the solder connection heats up, becomes soft which cause an electrical failure - and the Red Ring Of death (or E74 error) will happen.

3- Fixing your Xbox yourself: Believe it or not fixing the ring of death errors is not a difficult process and you don't need to be an expert to perform the fix. I suggest you see a professional Xbox repair guide with detailed clear HD video instuctions. They will show you step by step how to take your Xbox 360 apart safely, perform the "fix" and and put it all back together. Home repairs are safe and easy, and they are developed by technicians with many years of experiences in the electronics and video game repair industry.

Within 2 Hours, your Xbox will be up and running again and the red ring of death problem will be a distant memory, so you can enjoy gaming again without fear of freezing.


          Birthday pics with a side of mama-made        
So we had the big guy's birthday party on Saturday and it was not the best planned affair but the kids really had a blast.  I'm so happy with how everything turned out!  He said he wanted to have it at Harry Griffin Park, which was a little far from school, so I was worried that people might not come, and also that it would be hard to get a good spot with a table near the playground.  As it turned out, when we got there at 11:30, which I knew was pretty darned late to get a table, there were already like 15 parties set up.  We ended up having to take a table sort of back in the woods not all that close to the playground and pretty hard to find.  Ugh.  But, everyone did eventually find us and it turned out to be a wonderful spot because the kids didn't play on the playground at all, they stayed in the woodsy area and in the outdoor theater area near the tables and played tag and lots of pretend stuff and tons of interacting with each other, which I doubt would have been the case on the playground.  And most important, the big guy was really happy with it.  Phew!

The top pic is the big guy with two friends that he's loved since they were all babies.  We have known the little girl on the left since she was five months old (and she also turned six this month) and met the one in the middle very soon after.  Her mom has always taken the most beautiful pictures of my boys and she took these with her phone.  I can't believe she takes better pics on her phone than I do with my camera.  Sigh...

And of course I made his six shirt and it turned out just as I had envisioned!  The party was vaguely halloween themed -- halloween invites, cake, goodie bags -- and the shirt's got trick-or-treating skeletons on it.  I was afraid the "6" wouldn't pop if I put it right on the dark gray shirt-front, so I put a layer of chartreuse jersey behind it and sewed the six on with a straight stitch right on the edge of the skeleton print so the raw edges of  jersey underneath could roll.  You may see more of these in the future.  It wasn't actually that long ago that I realized how easy it is to applique onto a knit, and I'm still all jazzed up about it.  I'm also pleased that it has more of a big boy look than most of the shirts I've made with prints. 
          Dear Dear        

I've had a difficult time jumping back into blogging. Maybe you noticed. Maybe you're not there any longer.

May for Mary gave me a chance to blog without saying anything, which made it harder to jump back in.

So, yesterday, having had one of the crappiest days I've had since February 18, I decided to write a letter, to Dear, whomever Dear may be. I hope it's you, but even if it isn't, maybe some part of me will benefit from writing to Dear.

Life, Dear, has not been good, at least not in the way I have known life all my life. It's been hard, and each day I would like to disappear into myself a little more.

We had Faith's Confirmation on May 20 and family came to town, so that was a little distracting. Then  came Memorial Day which also was my mom's birthday, and that was distracting. Then we had two weeks of dress rehearsals and dance recitals and I was a backstage mom, so that was distracting. This week Faith is taking summer gym, which means she is gone all day, and while I have plenty of things I need to do, which could be distracting, there is too much quiet, and so I think.

Some people would likely be glad to have my life, bumps in the road and all. But I'm having a hard time adjusting to the hairpin turn we are making.

Since I last wrote nothing has changed. No job. Not even an interview. It's hard to believe a man can build his career for 30 years and then, well, nothing. It seems his field has been taken over by women, and, at the risk of sounding misogynistic, women in the field of fundraising (and probably many more) don't want to hire men, or at least men who have more experience than they. Every hope so far has been dashed by a woman who either doesn't want men in her department, or is intimidated by a man with so many contacts and so much experience in his field. I've always believed that to be good at what you do, you surround yourself with good people, but that's apparently not the case today.

There are a few "hopes' on the horizon, although they are very slow-moving and they are not in Columbus, but close enough to make a three-hour round trip commute each day. I'm hoping that one of these opportunities works out, even if it means my husband lives away during the week, or spends 15 hours each week driving to work and back, because at least we'll have income and medical insurance.

I have said I will pack up and move. I have said I will (gladly) downsize. My husband wants neither. It's difficult to know when to push. The lease on the car the boys used was up June 1, so we were down to my car and his truck with three drivers. Yesterday, he went and sold his truck, so, we're down to one car. It is going to prove interesting at the least. We have to keep a calendar so we don't double book ourselves.

I am looking for a job. I had hoped that once Faith was in school, I would be able to increase my stock in my shop, and sell locally through an art market, but we can't wait that long. Then I had hoped to get some freelance copyediting work, but I don't think that will happen quickly enough. So, I may just end up working for a temp agency or taking any reasonable job I can find. Being out of the field for 14 years has me pretty much starting over.

Doug is still planning on Faith attending Catholic high school in the fall, which I think is being very optimistic. There are no scholarships, as they have all been dolled out. Unless she finds herself a fairy Godmother, I'm pretty sure we're living in fairy land ourselves thinking we can pay tuition. Severance runs out this month. After June 24, we'll be on unemployment, something I never thought I'd say, and we'll have to find affordable medical insurance. Yesterday we met with our financial adviser, who handles our retirement, and he recommended connecting with the local food pantry. Since February 18, we have fallen pretty far.

Some days I cry. Yesterday was one of those days, especially, after I slammed my thumb in the car door -- the cherry on top of my crap day. Some days I just figure this is where God wants me, on a dung heap of sorts. I trust in Him. I believe He knows right where we are meant to be, but like all people suffering, even in their little way, it's hard to believe God wants that. It's the "it's going to get worse before it gets better" part that is hard to live with. I can do without, I'm my grandmother's granddaughter -- a woman who had no more than three rooms in her entire life, even with six children. I am content with little, but I am not driving this car, and frequently the driver doesn't listen to my directions.

What am I to do, Dear?

          40 películas para los Oscars 2018        

Lean on Pete, Andrew Haigh.

La semana pasada se anunciaron las principales apuestas para los festivales de Venecia y Toronto de este año, de cuyo listado se podrían además deducir buena parte de las cintas que pasarán por Telluride, aparte de la película de clausura en Nueva York, completando así el cuadro de certámenes posestivales que marcarán el pistoletazo de salida de la temporada de premios. Como es casi obligado hacer escala en ellos para intentar ser nominado o premiado en los Óscar, con esta información podemos ya predecir con cierta seriedad las que tienen más posibilidades. Inevitablemente varias se quedarán por el camino (ya sea por frustrar las expectativas depositadas en ellas o por retrasar su fecha de estreno) y surgirán otras pocas de las que apenas se sabe nada ahora. En cualquier caso, mirando sobre todo a la terna con distribución asegurada, y considerando aspectos como su temática y equipo, los rumores sobre sus pases previos, la campaña que algunos están preparando o incluso la acogida general que algunas ya han tenido, puede adelantarse el siguiente listado. Siguiendo la tradición incluimos 40 filmes, por orden alfabético, esperando al menos mantener nuestro porcentaje de acierto de pasadas ediciones. Para ello excluimos algunos filmes que probablemente no llegarán a la cartelera hasta 2018, como Annihilation (Alex Garland), Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell), The Aftermath (James Kent) o Inmersión (Submergence, Wim Wenders), u otros de los que tenemos noticias algo negativas, como El castillo de cristal (The Glass Castle, Destin Daniel Cretton), Stronger (David Gordon Green), El gran showman (The Greatest Showman, Michael Gracey) o Marshall (Reginald Hudlin)… sin descartar con su mención que alguna pudiera sorprender y unirse a las favoritas, que a priori son:

01. All the Money in the World, de Ridley Scott. Dudábamos si empezar este recuento con esta cinta o The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood), curiosamente ambas todavía en rodaje pero con la veteranía y eficacia de sendos directores que asegurarían tenerlas listas a finales de año. Nos hemos decantado por la de Scott al no haber espacio para las dos, por dos razones principales: su trama más ambiciosa, que narra el secuestro real del heredero John Paul Getty III en 1973; y su atractivo elenco, con nombres como Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey o Michelle Williams. Será de las últimas en llegar, si no median retrasos, pero podría dar la campanada.

02. Battle of the Sexes, de Jonathan Dayton y Valerie Faris. Si el año pasado fue el que intentó resolver la controversia OscarSoWhite, este podría ser el que revirtiese la tendencia de OscarSoMale. Y es que cada vez más voces reclaman una mayor presencia femenina en la industria, en igualdad de condiciones con los varones, discurso que tuvo uno de sus hitos en el mundo del deporte con la rivalidad entre Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) y Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), por cierto también en 1973. Dirige la pareja responsable de Pequeña Miss Sunshine (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006), y la película pasará por Toronto poco antes de sumarse a la cartelera.

03. The Big Sick, de Michael Showalter. Casi siempre hay hueco para el cine independiente en los grandes premios hollywoodienses, y más si se trata de un inesperado hit veraniego que reformula el género común de la comedia romántica. Tras su paso por Sundance entre otros certámenes, el filme de Showalter, sobre una pareja interracial que debe afrontar una grave enfermedad, está cosechando un gran éxito de crítica y público en Estados Unidos, sobre todo desde sus escasas pretensiones presupuestarias. Sin soñar en exceso, aparte del guion su mejor envite estaría en la categoría de mejor actriz secundaria de la mano de Holly Hunter.

04. Blade Runner 2049, de Denis Villeneuve. Una de las películas más esperadas del año es sin duda la secuela del clásico de 1982, retomando la historia 30 años después (para nosotros 35) de la desaparición de Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Un nuevo blade runner, K (Ryan Gosling), sigue su pista por los parajes posapocalípticos que a juzgar por los trailers ha sabido captar de forma impresionante Roger Deakins. A la decimocuarta podría ir la vencida para el director de fotografía, en su tercera colaboración con Villeneuve, que también repite con Jóhann Jóhannsson para tratar de emular la música de Vangelis. Sabremos si cumplen estas imposibles expectativas el 6 de octubre.

05. Breathe, de Andy Serkis. La ópera prima de la voz y los gestos detrás de Gollum o César es esta historia real del matrimonio formado por Robin y Diana Cavendish y la superación de la enfermedad de polio del primero. La temática y la ambientación nos recuerdan las de La teoría del todo (The Theory of Everything, James Marsh), cuyo director por cierto también tiene pendiente de estreno The Mercy, otro romance de época. Aquí encontramos además a Andrew Garfield y Claire Foy en papeles similares a los de Redmayne y Jones, aunque veremos si pueden repetir su éxito cuando la cinta se estrene en octubre tras pasar por Londres y Toronto.

06. Call Me by Your Name, de Luca Guadagnino. La película más alabada desde Sundance es esta adaptación de la novela de André Aciman sobre el descubrimiento sexual de un italo-americano en el verano de 1983, guionizada nada menos que por James Ivory. Otro aspecto destacable son las interpretaciones, con la pareja formada por Timothée Chalamet y Armie Hammer, y a nivel secundario Michael Stuhlbarg. Sony Pictures Classics va a retrasar su llegada a la cartelera americana hasta noviembre, tras recorrer otros certámenes, para seguir aumentando el buzz de una de las apuestas más convincentes para acumular nominaciones y galardones.

07. The Current War, de Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. El principal as en la manga esta temporada del perseverante Harvey Weinstein debería ser este recuento de la rivalidad entre Edison y Westinghouse por difundir su noción del mercado eléctrico (ojo al juego de palabras del título), sobre todo porque otras opciones de la compañía como Mary Magdalene (Garth Davis) o Tulip Fever (Justin Chadwick) parecen estar en el limbo. La nueva obra del director de Yo, él y Raquel (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) despierta en cambio mayor interés, reforzado por la presencia de Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon o Katherine Waterston.

08. The Death of Stalin, de Armando Iannucci. Esta es una de nuestras menciones más arriesgadas porque todavía no ha sido anunciada en ningún festival (aunque podría estar en las próximas ternas de Toronto) ni tiene fecha de estreno. Además su distribuidora IFC Films no es tan experimentada como otras. Sin embargo el regreso a la gran pantalla de Armando Iannucci, adaptando una novela gráfica sobre los últimos días de Stalin y sus conflictos sucesorios, viene despertando entusiastas tweets y podría encajar bien en la crítica política del curso, apoyado por su amplio reparto formado por Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough o Jason Isaacs.

Llámame por tu nombre, Luca Guadagnino.

«Si el año pasado fue el que intentó resolver la controversia OscarSoWhite, éste podría ser el que revirtiese la tendencia de OscarSoMale».

09. Déjame salir (Get Out), de Jordan Peele. No es habitual que los filmes estrenados en los primeros meses del año aguanten el tirón del resto y logren permanecer luego en la mente de los votantes. Por eso hemos dejado fuera la espléndida Z, la ciudad perdida (The Lost City of Z, James Gray, 2016), entre otras. Pero la excepción a la regla debería ser el inesperado éxito de Jordan Peele, que habla del problema racial desde un punto de vista tan terrorífico como divertido, pues se ha convertido en uno de los fenómenos del año en Estados Unidos, con un gran seguimiento que se esforzará en que la cinta no quede olvidada en los próximos meses.

10. Detroit, de Kathryn Bigelow. Hace 50 años la ciudad de Detroit se vio revuelta por uno de los mayores disturbios del movimiento por los derechos civiles, y en particular en el Algiers Motel murieron tres personas y otras nueve fueron torturadas. Bigelow y Mark Boal vuelven a colaborar para narrar estos hechos, con un reparto coral en el que destacan John Boyega o Will Poulter, conformando un intenso filme que ha sido muy bien recibido por la crítica. Con todo, su inminente estreno exigirá también unas buenas taquilla y campaña para mantener su relevancia hasta finales de año, haciéndose cargo de ello Annapurna, por primera vez en labores de distribución.

11. Disobedience, de Sebastián Lelio. El cineasta chileno podría repetir lo de su compatriota Larraín el año pasado, con un primer filme nacional ya presentado y aclamado (aquí Una mujer fantástica) y un segundo anglosajón de mayor difusión que pasará por tierras canadienses a la espera de obtener distribución bajo su frontera. Estamos ante una adaptación del libro de Naomi Alderman sobre el amor prohibido entre dos mujeres judías, una soltera y otra casada, interpretadas respectivamente por Rachel Weisz y Rachel McAdams. Es una propuesta sin duda atractiva que esperamos pueda confirmar su estreno para este año.

12. Downsizing, de Alexander Payne. Esta es una excepción a las exclusiones que hacíamos al principio, puesto que lo nuevo de Payne, un ambicioso relato de ciencia ficción sobre un hombre (Matt Damon) que con otros decide encoger su tamaño para vivir con mayor holgura, ha sufrido varios pases previos con una acogida bastante mala. Sin embargo su anuncio como apertura en Venecia, cuyo historial para los Óscar en los últimos años es prometedor, sin olvidar su paso por Telluride y Toronto, muestra que Paramount tiene fe en este proyecto, tanto más teniendo en cuenta que esperará a estrenarlo en diciembre, con varios meses desde su puesta de largo festivalera.

13. Dunkerque (Dunkirk), de Christopher Nolan. El apabullante trabajo de Christopher Nolan para recrear la evacuación de Dunkerque con una historia a tres bandas interpretada por Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy o Fionn Whitehead entre otros, es uno de los trabajos más celebrados en lo que llevamos de año y podría eclipsar otros blockbusters bien recibidos como Baby Driver (Edgar Wright), La guerra del planeta de los simios (War for the Planet of the Apes, Matt Reeves) o incluso Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins). Y es que debería ser la prioridad de Warner Bros., aprovechando el tirón de Nolan y la deuda que para muchos tiene con él la Academia.

14. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, de Paul McGuigan. Hace unos días se ha sabido que Sony Pictures Classics se ha hecho con los derechos para distribuir esta premiere de Telluride, buscando en particular sacarle rédito a su protagonista Annette Bening, una plurinominada aún sin estatuilla dorada que aquí se mete en la piel de Gloria Grahame, cuando ésta tuvo un romance tardío en la ciudad inglesa. Su compañero Peter Turner, en cuyas memorias se basa el relato, tiene los rasgos de Jamie Bell, y el director de ambos no tiene una trayectoria demasiado esperanzadora pero aquí apunta maneras. Cuanto menos, puede ser por fin la hora de Bening.

15. The Florida Project, de Sean Baker. Una de las películas que causó mayor sorpresa y agrado en el pasado festival de Cannes fue esta del responsable de Tangerine (2015), en el que prosigue con su descripción de las clases más marginales de los suburbios norteamericanos, centrando ahora el foco en unas niñas y sus padres que viven en los alrededores de Disney World. Sus intérpretes son desconocidos salvo el gerente del motel a cargo de Willem Dafoe, que en la categoría de mejor actor secundario aparece como favorito temprano. A24, que el año pasado llevó a Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) a la gloria, tiene planeada una distribución similar…

Dunkerque, Christopher Nolan.

«No es habitual que los filmes estrenados en los primeros meses del año aguanten el tirón del resto y logren permanecer luego en la mente de los votantes».

16. La forma del agua (The Shape of Water), de Guillermo del Toro. Esta nueva incursión del cineasta mexicano en el cuento fantástico, ahora ambientado en la Guerra Fría en un laboratorio donde está encerrada una criatura marina de la que se enamora una empleada (Sally Hawkins), está en una posición similar a la de Downsizing, en cuanto a su presencia en los tres certámenes de principios de septiembre antes de llegar a salas en diciembre. Pero en este caso solo hemos oído grandes cosas de esta película, que ya cuenta con un precioso tráiler y con la cual la muy fiable Fox Searchlight podría llegar a arrasar en el Dolby Theatre.

17. Goodbye Christopher Robin, de Simon Curtis. Hace unas semanas se dio a conocer cierta información sobre esta cinta, que narra la creación de Winnie the Pooh por A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) inspirándose en su hijo C.R. Milne (el del título), que llevó a enfatizar sus aspiraciones, aunque poco después salió un trailer demasiado convencional que bajó un tanto los ánimos. Fox Searchlight adelantó además el estreno en Estados Unidos un mes, de noviembre a octubre, pero al menos por ahora no tiene previsto lanzarlo previamente en los mentados festivales. No creemos que vaya a saberse mucho más hasta entonces, por lo que la propuesta es incierta.

18. Hostiles, de Scott Cooper. Este es un caso curioso, porque ha generado repentina atención en los últimos días sin ninguna promoción directa. Lo explicamos: en la conferencia de prensa de Venecia, su director Alberto Barbera comentó que este Western protagonizado por Christian Bale, en el que escolta a un moribundo jefe indio, era de lo que más se arrepentía no poder exhibir en su Mostra, omisión que le dispensaba de tal cumplido. Además su inclusión en Toronto anticipa una premiere en Telluride sin distribución aún fijada, algo infrecuente cuando se trata de un proyecto de holgado presupuesto como éste, lo cual es una señal de mucha confianza…

19. I, Tonya, de Craig Gillespie. Este biopic de la patinadora Tonya Harding tiene ciertos paralelismos con la ya citada Battle of the Sexes, al menos en lo referente al éxito de una mujer deportista que se ve entorpecido por la intervención masculina. Y aunque hasta hace poco se dudaba si estaría listo este año, el anuncio de su premiere en Toronto lo confirma y además hace suponer que llegará a las salas en otoño. Aprovecharía con ello la competitividad, esta vez en la alfombra roja, que deberían proporcionar su protagonista Margot Robbie y sobre todo la experimentada secundaria Allison Janney, que encarna a su madre en un papel bastante jugoso.

20. El instante más oscuro (Darkest Hour), de Joe Wright. No es muy habitual que uno mantenga su estatus de favorito durante muchos meses, sobre todo cuando se basa más en conjeturas que en la valoración de su esfuerzo. Pero esto es lo que lleva haciendo Gary Oldman desde que se supo que interpretaría a Winston Churchill, salvando las diferencias de físico con generosas dosis de maquillaje. Su resultado ha sido cuestionado a la vista del reciente tráiler, pero en cualquier caso estamos ante una película muy del gusto de los académicos tradicionales, con una estrategia además consolidada: paso por Telluride y Toronto y estreno en noviembre gracias a Focus Features.

21. Kings, de Deniz Gamze Ergüven. El siguiente paso que diese la premiada cineasta de Mustang (2015) suscitaba cierto interés, y la franco-turca se ha trasladado para ello a Estados Unidos, subiendo el listón (reuniendo para ello a estrellas como Daniel Craig o Halle Berry) para contarnos las peripecias de una familia de Los Angeles ante los disturbios posteriores al proceso de Rodney King en 1992. Al igual que I, Tonya, ha habido que esperar al programa canadiense para confirmar que la cinta estaría lista para la temporada de premios, siempre y cuando su distribuidora The Orchard juzgue oportuno estrenarla a tiempo.

22. Lady Bird, de Greta Gerwig. La ópera prima de una de las mejores actrices de su generación podría erigirse este año como la estandarte por excelencia del subgénero de la comedia joven independiente, en su vertiente más hipster, sobre todo si Gerwig sigue los pasos de su pareja y mentor Noah Baumbach. Para ello escribe y dirige la historia de una universitaria del Norte de California, cediendo su alter ego a Saoirse Ronan, cuyo intrigante e inesperado personaje tiene el nombre y apellido del título. Tras el consabido recorrido por Telluride y Toronto, A24 tiene programado un estreno otoñal en colaboración con IAC Films.

Mudbound, Dee Rees.

«Hemos insistido hasta ahora en la importancia de pasar por certámenes previos, pero […] puede haber alguna excepción…»

23. Last Flag Flying, de Richard Linklater. Estamos aquí ante una de las contendientes a priori más fuertes, por varios motivos: su premiere mundial como apertura del prestigioso festival de Nueva York; su estreno doméstico semanas más tarde entre Amazon y Lionsgate; su equipo artístico formado por un cineasta pendiente de mayor reconocimiento y sus tres carismáticos actores (Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell y Lawrence Fishburne); y en fin su temática de empaque social, pues aquellos interpretan a tres veteranos de la Guerra de Vietnam que recorren el país para enterrar al hijo fallecido de uno de ellos, en este caso en Irak. Sería raro que este conjunto de elementos fallase.

24. LBJ, de Rob Reiner. Si como decíamos es difícil que una película no pierda fuelle cuando transcurren demasiados meses desde su primer visionado hasta la temporada de premios, no digamos cuando ha transcurrido más de un año. Pero siempre puede haber alguna excepción, y este biopic del trigésimo sexto presidente de Estados Unidos (aquí Woody Harrelson), que ya estuvo el año pasado en Toronto, tiene algún punto a favor. El principal es precisamente que, pese a su aceptable acogida de entonces, Electric Entertainment esté esperando hasta el próximo noviembre para llevarlo a la cartelera, aunque está por ver si esta joven distribuidora podrá sacarle provecho.

25. Lean on Pete, de Andrew Haigh. Poco se sabe del nuevo trabajo del director de la maravillosa 45 años (45 Years, 2015), que baja un par de generaciones para seguir el rastro de un adolescente (Charlie Plummer) que protagoniza una especie de road movie, acompañado por el caballo del título, para encontrar a su tía y hogar. Pese al reconocimiento del cineasta, se dudaba si la ya muy cargada A24 podía postergar su puesta de largo hasta el año que viene, sobre todo tras su omisión en la terna inicial canadiense. Pero de repente fue nombrada por Alberto Barbera dentro de la competición veneciana, por lo que en principio no debería tardar luego en estrenarse.

26. Molly’s Game, de Aaron Sorkin. Nos resistimos a abandonar del todo una de nuestras apuestas tempranas para 2017, aunque han surgido datos desalentadores: la vuelta a la filmación tras haber cerrado el proceso, el despido del montador cuando ya había empezado su labor, la presumible ausencia de todo certamen importante, esperando quizás al AFI Fest, lo cual recuerda la fallida trayectoria de Miss Sloane (John Madden)… La comparativa trae causa del protagonismo de Jessica Chastain, en la piel de la esquiadora y empresaria relacionada con el mundo del póquer Molly Bloom, en el debut de alguien que pese a todo se merece casi nuestra fe ciega.

27. mother!, de Darren Aronofsky. El nuevo trabajo del director de Cisne negro (Black Swan, 2009) es de lejos el que está rodeado de mayor secretismo este año. Incluso se ha dicho que Paramount no quería ir a los festivales para evitar spoilers, aunque al final ha adelantado su estreno al 15 de septiembre para que apenas pase tiempo desde su premiere en Venecia y Toronto. Pese a la inminencia de la fecha, sólo se han difundido hasta ahora un asombroso póster dibujado y un teaser literalmente opaco, y sólo se sabe que el drama tiene que ver con la perturbación que sufre el matrimonio formado en pantalla por Jennifer Lawrence y Javier Bardem.

28. Mudbound, de Dee Rees. Otro filme bien recibido en Sundance fue esta adaptación de la novela de Hillary Jordan sobre varios combatientes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial a su vuelta al Missisipi rural, destacando de nuevo su fondo racial. La coescribe y dirige una cineasta afroamericana conocida antes por Pariah (2011), y cuenta en su cast con actores que han llamado aquí la atención como Jason Mitchell o Mary J. Blige, además de Carey Mulligan o Garett Hedlund. Asimismo se ha hecho con un buen equipo de campaña. Suena a caballo ganador, pero hay un obstáculo que hasta ahora se ha demostrado insalvable: su distribución por Netflix.

29. El muñeco de nieve (The Snowman), de Tomas Alfredson. Hemos incluido alguna propuesta de género a priori más alejada de los Óscar, aunque nunca se sabe, como es este regreso al thriller nórdico, por no decir gélido, de quién ya realizó El topo (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 2011) y Déjame entrar (Låt den rätte komma in, 2008). El talento involucrado para narrar la investigación del detective creado por Jo Nesbø, con los rasgos de Michael Fassbender, incluye nada menos que la partitura de Jonny Greenwood y un guion a tres manos entre Hossein Amini, Matthew Michael Carnaha y Peter Straughan. Se estrena en nuestro país el 12 de octubre.

30. Novitiate, de Margaret Betts. Este es el sexto y último título que enumeramos dirigido por una mujer, al igual que el citado hace dos puestos procedente con éxito de Sundance, entre los cuales por cierto podríamos haber hecho hueco para un tercero, The Rider (Chloé Zhao), aunque su alcance es menor. Centrándonos en la ópera prima de Margaret Betts, se sitúa en tiempos del Concilio Vaticano II para enfocar a una aprendiz de monja con dilemas de fe, la Iglesia cambiante y su sexualidad. Adquirida por Sony Pictures Classics, su estreno el 27 de octubre tras pasar por Toronto augura una seria candidata, al menos para la actriz secundaria Melissa Leo.

Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes.

«Amazon, una distribuidora en auge que este año se ha erigido en dueña y señora del Festival de Nueva York».

31. The Papers, de Steven Spielberg. Este filme viene situándose por defecto a la cabeza de varias quinielas, y en verdad se trata de un proyecto envidiable, desde las garantías que ofrece su realizador hasta su reparto de ensueño, encabezado por Tom Hanks y Meryl Streep pero integrado además por Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Brie, Bradley Whitford o Sarah Paulson entre otros muchos actores conocidos. Narra la epopeya periodística sobre el conflicto entre el Washington Post y varios gobiernos para informar sobre asuntos polémicos, lo cual ofrece un gran símil con la actualidad política. La única pega es que llegará tarde y deprisa, pues aún se está rodando.

32. Phantom Thread, de Paul Thomas Anderson. Lo último del gran Paul Thomas Anderson, un misterioso drama ambientado en el mundo londinense de la moda en los años 50, plantea varios interrogantes, desde su tardía filmación y estreno quizá precipitado, o la decisión del propio Anderson de fotografiar por primera vez su trabajo. En cualquier caso no deberíamos dudar de quien con apenas 47 años es ya considerado todo un maestro, reuniéndose aquí con otro titán como es Daniel Day-Lewis, que por cierto ha prometido retirarse ya para dedicarse precisamente al diseño de ropa: igual esta vez ha llevado su absorbente método actoral demasiado lejos.

33. La Reina Victoria y Abdul (Victoria and Abdul), de Stephen Frears. El veterano cineasta británico viene siendo un valor seguro, al menos en cuanto a nominaciones se refiere para sus actrices principales, lo cual debería beneficiar aquí de nuevo a Judi Dench. La todavía más experimentada actriz inglesa regresa a su personaje de la reina Victoria para conducirnos por la amistad que tuvo con un tal Abdul Karim, en tiempos de apogeo del colonialismo. Una vez más Venecia y Toronto serán altos previos al estreno en salas, previsto en casi todo el mundo en septiembre, para ir ganándose el favor del numeroso público fiel a este tipo de historias.

34. Roman Israel, Esq., de Dan Gilroy. El director y guionista detrás de uno de los debuts más estimulantes de los últimos años, Nightcrawler (2014), vuelve con otra narración centrada en las andanzas de un personaje errante, en este caso un abogado idealista y extravagante que da nombre a la película y que corre a cargo de Denzel Washington. Es un papel que a juzgar por su descripción y las fotos que nos han llegado, podría valerle a su actor una tercera estatuilla que se le resistió el año pasado. En cualquier caso estamos ante una película con serias papeletas en varios apartados, que conoceremos mejor cuando Sony la lance el 3 de noviembre.

35. Suburbicon, de George Clooney. El glamour está asegurado en Venecia con la puesta de largo de este título, dirigido y coescrito por Clooney junto a los hermanos Coen y Grant Heslov, que cuenta con el protagonismo de Matt Damon secundado por Oscar Isaac o Julianne Moore. Todos ellos son títeres dirigidos por el aciago destino reservado a la población de Suburbicon, una idílica urbanización en la que sin embargo proliferan individuos de muy mala fe. El divertido tráiler deja patente la ironía de la trama, aunque habrá que ver si estos elementos se prestan bien a los Óscar. El estreno en Estados Unidos es el 27 de octubre al amparo de Paramount.

36. Thank You for Your Service, de Jason Hall. Hemos insistido hasta ahora en la importancia de pasar por certámenes previos, pero de nuevo puede haber alguna excepción como este debut del guionista de El francotirador (American Sniper, Clint Eastwood, 2014), donde insiste en el estrés postraumático que puede generar la guerra de Iraq, con varios soldados afectados y en particular el encarnado por Miles Teller. Es un ejemplo de heroísmo anónimo que se asemeja a otros dos que cabe siquiera mencionar: Only the Brave (Joseph Kosinski) y Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (Peter Landesman), todos con estreno otoñal.

37. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, de Martin McDonagh. Se rumoreó que podría llegar a Cannes porque lleva un tiempo acabada, pero al final la nueva gamberrada del creador de Escondidos en Brujas (In Bruges, 2008) se podrá ver por primera vez en Venecia y Toronto, como mandan los cánones. Se estrenará luego el 10 de noviembre en Norteamérica gracias a Fox Searchlight, que debería garantizar una buena promoción, en particular en provecho de su protagonista Frances McDormand. Ésta interpreta a la madre de la víctima de un caso sin resolver, cuya tardanza la lleva a tomar medidas drásticas contra la policía del susodicho pueblo.

38. Wonder, de Stephen Chbosky. Terminamos nuestro recorrido con la primera de tres presuntas maravillas, ésta una adaptación del best seller de R.J. Palacio sobre un tal August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), un niño con deformaciones faciales que atiende la escuela por primera vez, apoyado por sus padres interpretados por Julia Roberts y Owen Wilson. Esta cinta del director de Las ventajas de ser un marginado (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 2012) ha batido récords en los test de audiencia de Lionsgate, aunque sorprende entonces que esta no haya querido apostar por el premio del público en Toronto, antes del estreno el 17 de noviembre.

39. Wonder Wheel, de Woody Allen. La innominada película de clausura en el festival de la ciudad de Nueva York a la que nos referíamos al principio ha resultado ser la anual de uno de sus hijos predilectos, una tragicomedia familiar de nuevo vuelta al pasado, en concreto a los años 50 en Coney Island. Dicen que es un regreso a plena forma de Allen, logrando comparaciones con Blue Jasmine (2013) sobre todo en cuanto al esfuerzo de la otra Kate, Winslet, que sería una de las favoritas al Óscar a mejor actriz. Amazon tiene previsto en cualquier caso dar publicidad general a este filme, a estrenar en diciembre tanto en Estados Unidos como en España.

40. Wonderstruck, de Todd Haynes. Aunque sea por orden alfabético, es oportuno acabar la selección con este título, puesto que hace unos meses parecía ser la rival a batir y ahora en cambio ha caído casi hasta lo más bajo. La razón ha sido su tibio paso por Cannes, aunque la bonita historia entrelazada de Haynes, sobre dos niños a la aventura en Nueva York, podría recobrar visibilidad precisamente cuando vuelva a visionarse en el certamen de esta ciudad, del que ha sido elegida centerpiece. Valga el dato adicional de que también está financiada por Amazon, una distribuidora en auge que este año se ha erigido en dueña y señora del festival neoyorquino.

          Programación completa de la 74ª edición de la Mostra de Venecia        

Angels Wear White, Vivian Qu, China.

La Mostra se rinde a Hollywood

Line-up de la 74ª edición de la Mostra de Venecia.

El director de la Biennale Alberto Barbera ha acaparado la atención de los focos esta mañana con el anuncio de la programación completa del Festival de Venecia. Ahondando en el modelo de pasadas ediciones, su equipo ha apostado muy fuerte por hacerse con las premieres mundiales de cintas anglosajonas que deberían dominar la próxima temporada de premios, al pasar luego la mayoría por Telluride y/o Toronto. Hablamos de los nuevos trabajos de Alexander Payne, George Clooney, Guillermo del Toro, Darren Aronofsky, Andrew Haigh o Martin McDonagh, todos con un hueco en competición, junto a otros pesos pesados como Hirokazu Koreeda, Abdellatif Kechiche o Frederick Wiseman. Sin duda un listado de ensueño que a priori supera con creces el del pasado Cannes. Fuera de competición se podrá ver también lo nuevo de Stephen Frears, Lucrecia Martel, Michaël R. Roskam o incluso Fernando León de Aranoa, con su filme sobre Pablo Escobar protagonizado por Javier Bardem y Penélope Cruz. Estas son solo unas de las pocas estrellas que pisarán la alfombra roja del Lido, junto a Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon o el antes citado Clooney, entre otros. Lo único malo de tanto relumbrón es que las secciones paralelas han quedado un tanto deslucidas, pese a la insistencia de Barbera por darles relevancia alargando su repaso en la conferencia de prensa. Estamos en cualquier caso ante una programación casi inabarcable, que seguramente traerá quebraderos de cabeza a los que asistan al certamen fechado entre el 30 de agosto y el 9 de septiembre. Se lo contaremos entonces en EAM.


■ Human Flow, Ai Weiwei, China.
■ mother!, Darren Aronofsky, Estados Unidos.
■ Suburbicon, George Clooney, Estados Unidos.
■ La forma del agua (The Shape of Water), Guillermo del Toro, Estados Unidos.
■ L’insulte, ZIad Doueiri, Francia, Líbano.
■ La Villa, Robert Guediguian, Francia.
■ Lean on Pete, Andrew Haigh, Reino Unido.
■ Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, Abdellatif Kechiche, Francia.
■ The Third Murder, Koreeda Hirokazu, Japón.
■ Jusqu’a la Garde, Xavier Legrand, Francia.
■ Ammore e Malavita, Hermanos Manetti, Italia.
■ Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz, Israel.
■ Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh, Estados Unidos.
■ Hannah, Andrea Pallaoro, Italia.
■ Downsizing, Alexander Payne, Estados Unidos.
■ Angels Wear White, Vivian Qu, China.
■ Una Famiglia, Sebastiano Riso, Italia.
■ First Reformed, Paul Schrader, Estados Unidos.
■ Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton, Australia.
■ The Leisure Seeker, Paolo Virzi, Italia.
■ Ex Libris - The New York Public Library, Frederick Wiseman, Canadá.


■ Our Souls at Night, Ritesh Batra, Estados Unidos.
■ Il Signor Rotpeter, Antonietta de Lillo, Italia.
■ La reina Victoria y Abdul (Victoria & Abdul), Stephen Frears, Reino Unido.
■ La mélodie, Rachid Hami, Francia.
■ Outrage Coda, Kitano Takeshi, Japón.
■ Loving Pablo, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, España.
■ Zama, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina.
■ Wormwood, Errol Morris, Estados Unidos.
■ Diva!, Franceso Patierno, Italia.
■ Le fidèle, Michael R. Roskam, Bélgica.
■ Il Colore Nascosto Delle Cose, Silvio Soldini, Italia.
■ The Private Life of a Modern Woman, James Toback, Estados Unidos.
■ Brawl in Cell Block 99, S. Craig Zahler, Estados Unidos


■ Cuba and the Cameraman, Jon Alpert, Estados Unidos.
■ My Generation, David Batty, Reino Unido.
■ Piazza Vittorio, Abel Ferrara, Italia.
■ The Devil and Father Amorth, William Friedkin, Estados Unidos.
■ This is Congo, Daniel McCabe, Congo.
■ Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Stephen Nomura Schible
■ Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The Story of Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton, Chris Smith, Estados Unidos.
■ Happy Winter, Giovanni Totaro, Italia.


■ Casa d’Altri, Gianni Amelio, Italia.
■ Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D, John Landis, Estados Unidos.
■ Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983), Jerry Kramer, Estados Unidos.


■ Disappearance, Ali Asgari, Irán.
■ Espèces menacées, Gilles Bourdos, Francia
■ The Rape of Recy Taylor, Nancy Buirski, Estados Unidos.
■ Caniba, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel, Francia.
■ Les Bienheureux, Sofia Djama, Francia.
■ Marvin, Anne Fontaine, Francia.
■ Invisible, Pablo Giorgelli, Argentina.
■ Brutti e Cattivi, Cosimo Gomez, Italia.
■ The Cousin, Tzahi Grad, Israel.
■ The Testament, Amichai Greenberg, Israel.
■ No Date, No Signature, Vahid Jalilvand, Irán.
■ Los Versos del Olvido, Alireza Khatami, Francia.
■ The Night I Swam, Damien Manivel, Igarashi Kohei, Francia.
■ Nico, 1988, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Italia.
■ Krieg, Rick Ostermann, Alemania.
■ West of Sunshine, Jason Raftopoulos, Australia.
■ Gatta Cenerentola, Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Dario Sansone, Italia.
■ Under the Tree, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, Islandia.
■ La Vita in Comune, Edoardo Winspeare, Italia.


■ Manuel, Dario Albertini, Italia.
■ Controfigura, Ra di Martino, Italia.
■ Woodshock, Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy, Estados Unidos.
■ Nato a Casal di Principe, Bruno Oliviero, Italia.
■ Suburra – The Series, Michele Placido, Andrea Molaioli, Giuseppe Capotondi. Italia.
■ Tueurs, Francois, Troukens, Jean-Francois Hensgens, Bélgica.


■ Les baliseurs du désert, Nacer Khemir (Túnez, Francia, 1984) / Restaurada por Cinémathèque royale de Belgique.
■ Batch ‘81, de Mike De Leon (Filipinas, 1982) / Restaurada por Asian Film Archive.
■ Cerný Petr, de Miloš Forman (Checoslovaquia, 1963) / Restaurada por Národní filmový archiv.
■ Chikamatsu monogatari (Los amantes crucificados), de Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan) / Restaurada por Kadokawa Corporation, The Film Foundation con la cooperación de The Japan Foundation.
■ Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Encuentros en la tercera fase), de Steven Spielberg (USA, 1977) / Restaurada por Sony Pictures Entertainment.
■  Daïnah la métisse, de Jean Grémillon (Francia, 1932), seguida de Zéro de conduite de Jean Vigo (France, 1933, 20’) / Restaurada por Gaumont.
■ Il deserto rosso (El desierto rojo), de Michelangelo Antonioni (Italia, 1964) / Restaurada por CSC-Cineteca Nazionale with the cooperation of RTI-Mediaset.
■ Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle (Dos o tres cosas que sé de ella), de Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1967) / Restaurada por Argos Films
■ La donna scimmia (Se acabó el negocio), de Marco Ferreri (Italia, 1964) / Restaurada por Cineteca di Bologna y TF1 Studio.
■ Idi i smotri (Come and See), de Elem Klimov (USSR, 1985, 143’, COL.) / Restaurada por Mosfilm.
■ Into the Night (Cuando llega la noche), de John Landis (USA, 1985) / Restaurada por Universal Pictures.
■ Non c’è pace tra gli ulivi (No hay paz bajo los olivos), de Giuseppe De Santis (Italia, 1950) / Restaurada por CSC-Cineteca Nazionale con la cooperación de CristaldiFilm por Zeudi Araya y Massimo Cristaldi.
■ Novecento (1900), de Bernardo Bertolucci (Italia, 1976) / Restaurada por 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Istituto Luce – Cinecittà and Cineteca di Bologna, con la colaboración de Alberto Grimaldi y el apoyo de Massimo Sordella.
■ Ochazuke no Aji (El sabor del té verde con arroz), de Yasujiro Ozu (Japón, 1952) / Restaurada por Shochiku Co., Ltd.
■ L’oeil du malin (El ojo maligno), de Claude Chabrol (Francia, 1962) / Restaurada por Studiocanal con el apoyo del Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée.
■ The Old Dark House (El caserón de las sombras), de James Whale (USA, 1933) / Restaurada por Cohen Film Collection / Cohen Media Group.
■ The Revolt of Mamie Stover (La rebeldía de la Sra. Stover), de Raoul Walsh (USA, 1956) / Restaurada por 20th Century Fox.
■ Sansho dayu (El intendente Sansho), de Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1954) / Restaurada por Kadokawa Corporation, The Film Foundation con la cooperación de The Japan Foundation.


■ Light Years, Manuel Abramovich.
■ Evviva Giuseppe, Stefano Consiglio, Italia.
■ La Lucida Follia di Marco Ferreri, Selma Jean Dell’Olio, Italia.
■ The Russian Revolution Through its Films, Emmanuel Hamon.
■ The Prince and the Dybbuk, Elwira Niewiera.
■ La Voce di Fantozzi, Mario Sesti, Italia.
■ This is the War Room!, Boris Hars-Tschachotin.


■ La Lunga Strada del Ritorno, Alessandro Blasetti.
■ Barbiana ’65 La Lezione di Don Milani, Alessandro G. A. D’Alessandro.
■ Lievito Madre, Le Ragazze del Secolo Scorso, Concita de Gregorio, Esmeralda Calabria.


■ Beautiful Things, Giorgio Ferrero.
■ Martyr, Mazen Khaled.
■ Strange Colours, Alena Lodkina.

          It has been a while, again.        
I hadn't posted anything new on here in ages, but thats because I hadn't added much to the Etsy shop. Life interfered, I spent very little time on any kind of social media. I sent out orders, but that was about all.

But I need to keep downsizing, and offering my many many collections, so I made an effort and started listing again :-). Here are some new addition to the shop -

Set of 4 vintage French metal cheese molds/moulds, which make great table decorations/candle holders -

Absolutely gorgeous vintage French OOAK handmade silk chiffon boudoir box -

Sweet round vintage English bonbon tin with the image of two dogs -

Set of three vintage French glass carafes / bistro bottles with stoppers -

Set of 10 vintage English silver plate buffet forks  or cocktail party forks - SOLD

Pair of gorgeous vintage French embroidered satin mittens -

Vintage French bonbon or chocolate box with religious theme, medal of the Holy Virgin -

Two vintage French cut crystal salt cellars - SOLD

I have listed a few more of my huge collection of antiqe and vintage French Holy Water fonts.

From the 1950s - SOLD

From the 1910s - SOLD

From the 1940s -

From the 1930s - SOLD

and a beautifully ornate metal benitier from the late 1800s - SOLD

Vintage French knife rests - SOLD

Huge vintage French monks rosary -

Two very long antique French keyhole covers

The biggest wine barrel tap I have ever come across, great display - SOLD

Gorgeous Art Nouveau octagonal tin - SOLD

Very unusual vintage French wall hanging cross

Also listed two darling enamel soap dishes, one pink soap dish - SOLD

and one white enamel soap dish -

Collectable vintage French Nougatines Nevers candy tin - SOLD

A whole bunch of very vintage French brass number stencils - 3 SETS SOLD, MORE AVAILABLE 

Set of 4 antique authentic French café absinthe spoons -

Rather beautiful antique French religious icon - SOLD

Phew, finished for today, lol. I really must try harder, I know. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Toodlepip xxx
          Mayor It Is!        
All nine Amherst Charter Commissioners present (one by remote participation)

After spending almost an hour discussing a compromise proposal made by Meg Gage to salvage Town Meeting --  although downsizing it from 240 to 60 -- the Amherst Charter Commission stuck to their guns about replacing Town Meeting with a 13 member Council and then after a brief discussion voted 6-3 to support a (strong) Mayor in place of an unelected Town Manager.

In 2003 the Mayor/Council/Manager proposal to replace Select Board/Town Manager/Town Meeting failed by only 14 votes almost exclusively because the Mayor was a weak ceremonial figurehead.

Two weeks ago the Charter Commission heard from Northampton Mayor Dave Narkewicz who assured them professional management comes from putting together a strong team of department heads under the direction of one leader, where the buck always stops.

Mayor Dave Narkewicz (ctr), Mike Sullivan (rt)

When asked by Charter Chair Andy Churchill for any parting advice Mayor Narkewicz replied, "Make roles very clear.  Don't come up with a diluted mish-mash.  Know where the buck stops.  Don't go with a fake Mayor."

Tonight the Amherst Charter Commission took that advice to heart and made a huge step forward towards real genuine change, one that voters will embrace.

A new MP3 sermon from Bible Way Baptist Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

Title: Downsizing
Speaker: Dennis Dills
Broadcaster: Bible Way Baptist Church
Event: Sunday - PM
Date: 4/26/2015
Bible: Nehemiah 8:1-9
Length: 41 min. (64kbps)
          Bribe Your Stuff into Your Suitcases for the Summer - HackCollege Season 3, Episode 7        
Chris and Kelly are back from spring break this week as they cover filing taxes as a student and how to hack your NCAA March Madness brackets.Topics this week:Chris and Kelly break down Bonnaroo, Sasquatch! and Lollapalooza in this week's Opposable Thumbs.Chris chalks up how to bribe your way into a club.Kelly talks about the upshots of minimalism as he tries to downsize his lifestyle.
          Changes for my Boutique        

If you follow me on Facebook or you are newsletter subscriber you already know this but it occurred to me that I did not post it on my blog.  After some careful consideration I have decided to significantly downsize my on-line website - RME Boutique.  This was not an easy decision to make but I felt it was time for a variety of reasons.  First, my private practice is really consuming more time than I imagined.  I can't complain because I love what I do and I am so grateful for the trust people place in me.  But, when I moved my practice I didn't imagine that it would grow so fast.  So, since I can't do it all (and I've tried, ha!) I have had to make some difficult choices. 

I do plan on selling my items somewhere, on a much smaller scale.  Etsy perhaps?  I am not sure yet but I will keep you up-to-date on where I am at.  I love my boutique and I love meeting new people too so I want to stay engaged somehow.

Thank you so much for all of your support over the years.  Believe me when I say I truly appreciate it!  Please stop by the Boutique because everything is at least 50% off!  Plus, I have just reduced many items to 60% off and all of our Seasonal items are now  75% off!

Have a great day!


          Comment on Breakdown in South Sudan: What Went Wrong — and How to Fix It by Khalid AlMubarak        
At a time in which graduate students whose main source of information seems to be the articles of Eric Reeves and John Prendergast fill the pages of the Washington Post and other main newspapers; it is refreshing to read this analysis by an academic who has lived in the Sudan and written about it for decades. I fully agree with the optimistic conclusion that the tragic fighting could provide an opportunity for a new beginning. The word "breakdown "in the title is well chosen . A broken down car can be fixed when the battery is recharged or a small spare part is fetched. I worry about the "friends"who can help the leadership . Today John Prendergast will appear before a Senate committee. If this is an indication that US policy will be "more of the same "the silver lining" hoped for in the analysis will not materialise easily.The White House has made a very firm and positive statement which builds on the tangible help already provided in training and general advice;but what the White House says is only part of the picture. There is the very influential civil society(eg The Enough Project, Save Darfur Coalition and others)Some see South Sudan only as a means to destabilise the Sudan.They have little or no interest in solving some of the problems outlined in this analysis like demobilisation and downsizing . This analysis says quite rightly that the South Sudanese have made extraordinary sacrifices. Equally correct is the fact that the two civil wars have also decimated and distorted the Sudan's economy and politics.
          Another Trash to Treasure Tale – Jackson Pollock Found in Garage to be Sold this Month        
A Jackson Pollock painting possibly worth over $15 Million was found in a garage in Arizona among other knick-knacks and memorabilia. The painting was located because the homeowner was downsizing and moving to a retirement facility. During the move, a friend spotted a signed L.A. Lakers poster believed to be of value, which prompted review...
          Chalk Turquoise Round bead        

Chalk Turquoise with brown matrix 20 mm round beads. Randomly selected beads. Each has a beautiful amount of brown matrix. I am downsizing the amount of treasures that I have. These look beautiful wire wrapped also!

Price: $1.25

          Want to Run Your Own Business? There’s a Book for That        
So, the time has come and you want to be your own boss. Maybe you’ve been forced into this because of a company’s downsizing or maybe you would rather work from home to have additional freedom. If you do a Google search, you are sure to find a ton of links to books and seminars […]
          The Vehicle Wrap Industry Is On The Move        
These harsh economic times are taking their toll on many industries. Downsizing, bankruptcy, and businesses shutting down have become everyday news. But while some markets are on the downswing, and others are holding steady, a select few are actually seeing expansion. One of those markets is vehicle wraps. With fast turnaround times, less expensive equipment, and […]
          Strange Love: 10 Animals with Truly Weird Courtship Rituals        
On Valentine's Day, lovers who are eager to woo their partners show their affection with traditional gifts of red roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, or with romantic dinners at fancy restaurants. There's usually some effort involved, but pulling off a memorable Valentine's Day is easier — and generally safer — than some of the courtship rituals performed by other animal species.


          Jane Mayer: "Obama’s Challenge to an Endless War"        
Jane Mayer (The New Yorker):
One first impression left by President Obama’s much-anticipated speech re-casting U.S. counterterrorism policy is that of the contrast between Bush’s swagger and Obama’s anguish over the difficult trade-offs that perpetual war poses to a free society. It could scarcely be starker. While Bush frequently seemed to take action without considering the underlying questions, Obama appears somewhat unsure of exactly what actions to take. That is not a bad thing: at least he is asking the right questions. In fact, by suggesting that, after a decade and seven thousand American and countless foreign lives lost, and a trillion dollars spent, it might be time to start downsizing the “war on terror,” he is leading the national debate beyond where even most Democrats have dared to go. MORE...

          Our Friday Five | Jen Edition        

In a good way of course. :) Kristen from Ella Claire has the most amazing shelves throughout her house. These just happen to be my most recent favorites. 

I have a big-time crush on Salty Bison right now. Everything they make is pure perfection. In fact Jodie just bought one of their signs and every time I'm at her house I try to figure out a way to sneak it out without her noticing. :)

03 | Parmesan Tortellini Bites
What?!? These look SO good. Can't wait to try them. Recipe by Damn Delicious

04 | Can't wait! May 15th!!
Loving this print from Lolly Jane. Wishing all the mother's out there a fabulous Mother's Day!!
FREE Mothers Day print! "First my Mother, Forever my Friend" |via LollyJane.com

          2017 Cadillac CT6        
Consider the Cadillac CT6 a down payment on the GM luxury brand's future. The CT6 replaced the XTS as the division's full-size flagship in the 2016 model year. Its lightweight body and downsized engines are framed by an elegant, spare design, and it's graced with great handling. It has its challenges in its sound-alike name and styling...
          Wardrobe Cleanup: Why Less Truly Is More        
So what does downsizing your wardrobe have to do with mental health? A lot actually. For some, shopping for new clothes can be an attempt to satisfy a part of their lives that feels unsettled or having a closet full of variety can calm anxiety about not having the right thing for the right event. […]
          Find Condos and Townhouses in Princeton NJ         
If you are considering buying a townhouse in Princeton NJ - this is an overview of what Princeton townhouses for sale you could find in MLS. Princeton NJ is an attractive choice for many home buyers because it offers not only single family homes but also a wide choice of condos and townhouses. Princeton townhouses could be found in many neighborhoods and many price ranges. The first time home buyers often seek these Princeton NJ homes for sale, because they represent the entry point for real estate in Princeton.  There are other buyers who are interested in these homes because they are looking to minimize home maintenance, or because they are downsizing. There are luxury townhouses such as in Governor’s Lane, with prices in the over $700,000 range. Homes in Princeton Ridge on the Stonewall Circle present an interesting option because design because they are semi-attached, not multiply attached as the townhouses usually are. They sell in the $700,000 -$800,000 range. Buyers could also find condos/ and townhouses for sale in the mid-range of over $500,000, for example in neighborhoods such as Campbell Woods. There are many other possible neighborhoods, such as Washington Oaks, Queenston Common in the Princeton Borough and Fieldwood Manors development in Princeton Township. There are several such Princeton townhouses and condos for sale available in the MLS. If you are considering buying a townhouse in Princeton - this is an overview of what you could find and a chanve to see all Princeton homes for sale in MLS. See the live feed od all Pinceton MLS listings for Princeton NJ Townhouses and Condos
          Norwegian Westward Bahama Cruise November 1993        
My mother in law passed away almost 2 years ago now. Wow time flies. We are still going through some of her things which is amazing because she downsized several times and ended up in an ALF with very few possession. Those that are left to us are mostly personal and precious - like her photo albums. In 1993 we took a cruise, everyone's first, from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas. I combined her photos and a few of ours to make this video.


          Proton Exora Bold (Turbo) tested        

There is this often heard saying of old wine in a new bottle. Also, such old wine may have been aged longer to perfection to blend in better with the new storage vessel.

Such may be the case of the long-serving Campro 1.6L petrol engine from Proton - powering the Gen-2, Satria and Persona. Now BOLD-ened with a low-pressure turbocharger and mated to a CVT transmission, plonked into this latest Exora variant.

Although no longer new in the market, the Exora Turbo (as it is known in Thailand) still serves up quite a few tricks up its sleeve. One being more cavernous/versatile than the ubiquitous Perodua Alza. Second, it is now packed with a more grunty 205 Nm of twist to things.

In this age of downsizing with turbocharging, Proton seems to have done the right thing by going the way of CFE (Charged Fuel Efficiency) along with a more efficient CVT tranny. However, direct fuel injection is discreetly absent although the 4-pot sounded clattery, much like a DFI unit on idling. Also mysteriously absent in its upgrade is the timing chain for the cam-shaft drive and the omission of CPS, variable valve timing.

Interestingly, this petrol lump behaves much like a turbodiesel. It's coarse on initial take-off with good low-end pull from 1,700rpm onwards. Then, it runs out of breath by 4,500rpm or so. In the course of accelerating, the engine note changes from being buzzy to a growl -which will be more-at-home in a Satria Neo - to a boomy hoarseness circa 5,000 rpm. The redeeming factor though is there is adequate power for a sprightly drive, overtaking and maintaining momentum even up gradients.

Comfort and suspension-pliancy wise, there is no complaint whatsoever, seeing that Lotus Engineering has sprinkled its suspension-tuning wizardry here nonetheless. It's firm yet pliant, with a manageable roll into corners, but that's fine since this a family-oriented, entry-level MPV. No excessive pitching or dips on hard-braking, no nasty surprises. Similarly, braking power is sufficiently assuring, unlike the old Gen-2' items. Like before with the 'old' Exora, I haven't discovered the fame "Handling by Lotus" DNA in this MPV - as expected.

What is glaring though is the creaks, rattle and squeks abound in the cabin of this tester. For the record, this Exora Bold CFE has only done some 5000kms. Also annoying is the - possibly - front right lower suspension arm grunting/groan at certain steering position and going over some road humps. Perhaps this particular test unit has been abused much and prematurely in its service life.

The Exora is quite a big vehicle actually, longer from bumper-to-bumper than a Toyota Innova. Its interior is also airy and capacious. With the last row of seats folded down, luggage lugging capacity is usefully flat and wide. Once again better than Innova and of course, the Alza which don't offer split folding of its 3rd row at all.

These practical factors alone scored good points for the Bold CFE, along with turbocharged zippiness still makes it a relatively good buy as a budget 2nd car (MPV) in a family. Pity there's still some doubt about its build and fit quality though.

          2012 Porsche 911 (series 991)        

Here are some initial, undisguised pictures of the all-new Porsche 911, codenamed 991 for model year 2012.

Indications are that the base-model Carrera will be powered by a marginally downsized 3.4L boxer-6 (from current 3.6L) pushing about 350hp, while the Carrera S will sport a 3.8L lump good for some 400hp. To be carried over will be the 7-speed PDK dual-clutch auto tranny, while the manual will get an uprated, extra-cogged 7-speeder.

The most distinctive change from the outgoing 997 series - noticeable from these initial pics - is the rear clam shell engine cover (hood), altering this iconic sports coupe' butt perspective quite a fair bit, along with more-squinting LED rear lights cluster. Meanwhile, the almost 100mm increase in wheelbase doesn't seem to make a lumbering dolphin of the 2012 Porsche 911 - which is reported to enable a hybrid drivetrain and battery pack to be accommodated in this new 991 series of Porsche's most identifiable, iconic shape for the last five decades and still counting...

Expect the right-hand drive version of the all-new Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S to be in Malaysia by perhaps Q3 2012.

          Downsized Veggie Gardens, Mexican Bean Beetle Control, and Don't Plant Jupiter's Beard!        
Bryan Earl
          My Thoughts on 9/11, Immigration and Jobs        
Sanjay Dalal thoughts on 9/11, immigration and jobs

9/11 happened a long time back. Our nation needs to heal and move forward. We must never forget the lives lost and and always remember the sacrifices made during that horrific tragedy. We must also continually watch out for the lone wolves or radicals who seek to destroy our peace. We must also work together on stopping new illegal immigrants coming to our country, but must do so in the right way, the human way, the peaceful way!

However, we can't terrorize our immigrants because they look different or believe they "took away our jobs." According to numerous studies, legal immigrants have not only created more jobs in our glorious republic, but also have been peaceful and at times, model community members. These immigrants work hard for a living, and moved here in the pursuit of giving a better life for themselves and their families. Immigrants also bring diversity to the workplace which results in greater creativity and opportunity. Some immigrants have made it, many are still making it, and many more are struggling to make it!

We can't ask these immigrants who have made America home for the past 10-plus years to go back to their countries. If that's the case, why don't we ask everyone to go back to where their ancestors came from. Who will be left then? Why does one race, because of the color of their skin, have a right to ask another race to go back? Who gave them that right to exclude? We can't stop the progress we have made over the last 240 years. We can't go back to hate, inequality and bigotry.

Our nation has lost meaningful manufacturing jobs over the last several decades. The responsibility of lost jobs weighs equally on the manufacturers who sought to reduce their manufacturing costs by moving their operations overseas, the technological advances in manufacturing resulting in automation of manual tasks and reduced labor, the economy that forced manufacturers to downsize and cut costs, the laws that did not provide incentives to manufacturers to "Make in USA", outsourcing and the fickle buyers who are forever looking to purchase goods at the lowest cost possible. To put the blame of lost jobs on immigrants is quite irresponsible and inaccurate.

Our nation is at dangerous crossroads. Our leadership needs to step up and stop all their dividing rhetoric. Our leadership must work on uniting our great republic. Even the slightest innuendo creates an uncontrollable crescendo. This we must not accept from our leaders. We must uphold our leaders to protecting the freedom and rights of all our people. Above all, we must welcome all immigrants and make them feel at home, right here in our great nation.

The United States of America has always been a welcoming nation of the immigrants, by the immigrants, and for the immigrants! I am sincerely hoping that we always remain a welcoming nation for all our people.

Sanjay B Dalal, An Immigrant from India
founder & CEO, oGoing, USA's Local Business Network

          PADDD and the Future of Conservation        

We know a lot of great conservation science happens out in the field. WWF is involved in efforts ranging from tracking the movements of key species to collaborating with communities to improve human lives and the environment. But there’s a side to science at WWF that we don’t always hear about—the important work that happens when scientists are back in DC, sitting at their desks. The research we do in the office can help provide invaluable conservation insights.

A few years ago, WWF started one such “desk-based” study to better understand what happens to national parks, nature reserves, and other protected areas after they are established. Protected areas are regions designated or managed for conservation purposes and conventional wisdom suggests that once one is created, it will continue into perpetuity.

But by poring over thousands of documents, reports, and maps, and speaking with experts from around the world, our team found this is not always the case. Our detailed analysis identified a poorly understood but widespread phenomenon that was affecting protected areas globally: Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement (PADDD). That is, protected areas sometimes go through a legal process that makes them weaker (downgrading), smaller (downsizing), or eliminates them completely (degazettement).

Our new research looks at when and why PADDD happens in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean—regions that are particularly important to our conservation work. We identified 543 instances of PADDD across 57 countries, affecting around 500,000 km2 – roughly the size of Spain.

So why does PADDD happen? And what does it mean for conservation?

Sometimes PADDD is a way to restore lands to indigenous communities, or to allocate land more efficiently for conservation. More often though, PADDD is a response to local land pressures and land claims, or the result of industrial scale extraction and production that may present a challenge to conservation goals. We also know there is more to learn about PADDD, and how it affects the places we care about.

There are, of course, limits to what we can do from our desks here in DC. Despite putting a lot of work into collecting information about PADDD, we realized there’s still a lot of information out there that we just don’t have yet. To tackle this problem, WWF launched the PADDDtracker.org website last year. This “wiki” style map-based website helps users learn about PADDD and allows them to add their own PADDD data. Since its launch, we’ve had over 6000 people from 143 countries visiting the site to learn about PADDD or to add new information.

This week, we’re sharing our validated data with the public. As a result, scientists anywhere can download our data on PADDD. Sitting at their desks, they can use the data for their own analyses that will help all of us better understand PADDD and its implications. 

By engaging with people from all over the world, we’re able to provide a richer, more complete picture of one of the biggest issues facing protected areas today.

          Microsoft and netbooks        

Just read a piece in ComputerWorld about the success of Google's Chromebooks and how that's bad news for Microsoft. This is where I say "I told you so."

Microsoft had this market zipped up, with the netbooks, tiny inexpensive notebooks that ran Windows XP, had lots of USB ports, wifi, a camera, long battery life. These were incredible computers. I bought three of them over the course of the craze, bought one for my mom, and urged everyone else to get one. Meanwhile, Microsoft was making noises that they didn't approve. I couldn't believe it. Here they were getting lifted up by a gift from god, and they were saying it wasn't good enough. This is a company that had killed its own laptop business by not caring about malware.

When Vista came out, an awful operating system, they forced the netbooks to use it, when they should have dropped the price on XP to $0 to own the whole market instead of sharing it with Linux. They should have ran a victory lap. Fixed the bugs in XP, downsized their OS development group, and paid a huge dividend to shareholders.

Netbooks were wonderful, but they weren't good enough for Microsoft. Now the Google Chromebook is cleaning up the market that Microsoft should own.

We all lost here. Because the new netbooks, from Google and Apple, are closed systems, where the netbooks were wide open. I could access my file server from my netbook. I could put any software on it, or take it off, same with music and movies. Apple and Google are running gulags, the netbooks were Woodstock. That probably was the back-channel reason why Microsoft struggled so mightily to kill them. They were more interested in pleasing the entertainment industry than users.

PS: I have two iPads, and buy them for my friends and family. I gave a friend a Chromebook because I thought it was perfect for what she was doing, reading books and watching Netflix. I just wish netbooks hadn't been so badly treated by the tech industry, because they were great promising products.

          Freedom of Expression?        
A guest post by frequent contributor to this blog, Barry Eisler. I chime in midway.

Barry sez: I just learned about an event put on by an organization called New America(formerly The New America Foundation): Amazon’s Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression? Ordinarily, propaganda is something that concerns me, but when it veers this far off into parody, I sometimes welcome it as a comic diversion.

Because, come on, putting your tendentious conclusion right there in the title and disguising it as a question, while an impressively textbook instance of question-begging, in this context is also pretty funny. Because, “Hey, we’ve already established that Amazon is a monopoly; we’re just here to determine how much of a threat the company poses to Freedom and All That Is Good. Is it an existential threat, like Roger Cohen said about ISIS? Or merely an extremely threatening threat?”

And who knows, maybe they’ll answer the question, “No,” right? Maybe the panelists will decide that Amazon’s “book monopoly” is actually a benefitto freedom of expression, as monopolies often are. It’s not as though they’ve structured things so that the question answers itself, and I don’t know why anyone would suspect this panel might be anything other than a diverse collection of open-minded people honestly engaging in free inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge wherever the facts may lead!

Thanks to the efforts of serious-sounding organizations like New America (and if that vague but happy-sounding name didn’t cause your bullshit detector to at least tingle, it should—see also Americans for Prosperity and the Center for American Progress), this “Amazon is a Monopoly” silliness is so persistent that Joe and I dealt with it in our inaugural post on zombie memes—“arguments that just won’t die no matter how many times they’re massacred by logic and evidence.” Half the purpose of the Zombie Meme series is to save Joe and me from having to repeat ourselves, so if you want to have a laugh about why, despite its persistence, “Amazon is a Monopoly” is so embarrassingly dumb and misguided, here’s your link.

But here’s the amazing part: “Amazon is a monopoly” is actually the cleverhalf of the event’s title. The really funny part is what follows: that Amazon poses a threat to freedom of expression!

As I said in a previous Techdirt guest post called Authors Guilded, United, and Representing…Not:

Given that Amazon’s self-publishing platform enables all authors to publish whatever they like and leaves it to readers to decide what books they themselves find beneficial, while the New York Big Five (no concentrated market power in a group with a name like that!) has historically rejected probably 999 books for every one they deem worthy of reaching the public, a few questions present themselves. Such as:

•                     Who has really been “manipulating and supervising the sale of books and therefore affecting the exchange of ideas in America,” and who has really “established effective control of a medium of communication”—an entity that screens out 99.9% of books, or one that has enabled the publication of any book?

•                     Who has really been running an uncompetitive, controlled, supervised, distorted market for books—a company dedicated to lower prices, or a group calling itself the Big Five that has been found guilty of conspiracy and price fixing?

•                     Who is really restoring freedom of choice, competition, vitality, diversity, and free expression in the American book market—an entity that consigns to oblivion 999 books out of a thousand, or one that enables the publication of all of them?

•                     And who is really ensuring that the American people determine for themselves how to take advantage of the new technologies of the 21st Century—an entity responsible for zero innovation and dedicated to preserving the position of paper, or one that has popularized a new publishing and reading platform that for the first time offers readers an actual choice of formats?

Think about it. This “New America” organization has put together a panel dedicated to persuading you that there was more freedom of expression when an incestuous group of five Manhattan-based corporations held the power to disappear 999 books out every thousand written, and indeed performed that disappearance as the group’s core function (they call this “curation”). And that, now that Amazon’s KDP platform has enabled all authors to publish virtually anything they want, freedom of expression is being threatened.

 For an organization calling itself “New America,” these jokers sure seem wedded to the old version.

In fairness to New America, I should note that their worldview is hardly unprecedented. The notion that the traditional way of doing things is ipso facto the best way of doing things was lampooned by Voltaire over 150 years ago through his character Dr. Pangloss, who was convinced (before experience in the world introduced doubts) that “All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” And Pangloss was himself based on the religious philosophy known as theodicy—a word coined over 300 years ago to describe a kind of faith that’s doubtless as old as the human race (and a word I admit I like because it sounds a bit like “idiocy”).

In fact, it was as recent as, say, the 1950s that a group of tweed-jacketed, straight white male college professors were genuinely convinced that the collection of books they deemed the most intrinsically worthy—all, coincidentally, written by other straight white males—represented the maximally possible amount of valuable expression, information, and ideas. They even called their collection the “canon,” which I admit did tend to make their subjective choices sound important and even divinely ordained. As people came to question the absence of women and minority writers from this collection selected exclusively by straight white males, I imagine the straight white males genuinely believed that broadening the “canon” to include women and minorities was a threat to freedom of expression and all that. This is just the way a lot of people are wired, especially when status and privilege are part of the mix.

And really, you do have to take a moment to applaud the mental gymnastics required of otherwise presumably intelligent people to say shit like “more authors writing more books reaching more readers is threatening freedom of expression, the flow of information, and the marketplace of ideas.” It’s War is Peace/Ignorance is Strength/Freedom is Slavery level doublethink. On the one hand, it’s sad, but on the other hand, in all the universe could there be a race as capable as humans of clinging so resolutely to faith in the face of so many contrary facts? Seen in this light, there’s something tragically beautiful about it.

And while I admit that New America’s “day is night, black is white” bizarro worldview isn’t easy to parody, I can’t resist trying. So…

Coming up next from New America: The Internet’s Dictatorial Grip: Impeding Access to Information? And The Tyranny of the Cell Phone: Shutting Down Communication? And Our Addiction to Paved Roads: A Threat to Freedom of Movement?

One more thing about this event that’s unintentionally hilarious, and then I need to get back to something worthwhile (AKA, the new manuscript). Take a look at the guest list. If you hired a team of NASA scientists to design the most rabidly, incestuously anti-Amazon panel possible, this is pretty much the group the team would propose. Though I doubt even the scientists (assuming they had a little dignity) would have gone to far as to bring in Douglas Preston and his literary agent, Eric Simonoff. I mean, this is getting pretty close to just adding clones of existing panelists and eliminating the last fluttering fig leaf of diversity.

They also have the dean of the Amazon Derangement crowd, Scott Turow. And Franklin Foer, who in fairness should be disqualified from even being on this panel because of his claim—in his much-derided “Let us kneel down before Amazon” screed—that “That term [monopoly] doesn’t get tossed around much these days, but it should”!

By the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if Foer makes the same cringe-worthy claim again, on this very “Amazon is a Monopoly” panel. The anti-Amazon crowd has never been particularly educable.

Also present will be Mark Coker, the head of Smashwords, an Amazon competitor. And author Susan Cheever, a member of Authors United, an organization that represents pretty much the platonic ideal of Amazon Derangement Syndrome. A couple of anti-trust lawyers to provide a veneer of legal gravitas (and to troll for clients, no doubt). And a second-year law student named Lina Khan who has argued that Amazon “should alarm us.”

And that’s it. That’s as diverse and wide-ranging as the lineup gets. The full gamut of viewpoints, from A…all the way to B.

Although really, even that feels a little generous.

Oh, by the way, Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, another Amazon competitor, is the chairman of New America’s board of directors, too. No conflict of interest there. Nothing to disclose to anyone who might think this is some sort of disinterested, scholarly event.

So yeah, it’s really that much of a hive-mind lineup. But that’s not even the best part. The best part is, this remarkably insular and incestuous exercise in groupthink has been assembled to speak out against a purported threat to…freedom of expression! The flow of information! And the marketplace of ideas!

None of this is an accident, by the way. It isn’t just stupidity and incompetence. There’s a reason organizations will try to take a narrow outlook and propagate it through multiple mouthpieces: doing so can create the impression that a rare and radical notion is in fact widely held—held even by ostensibly disparate groups—and therefore more trustworthy. Indeed, this form of propaganda is a favorite of some of the same reactionary groups New America is showcasing on its panel. As I said recently about the supposedly “unprecedented joint action” of some booksellers, authors, and agents complaining together about Amazon:

Which brings us to the second revealing aspect of this “propaganda masquerading as an interview” drill. You see, in the standard “blow-job masquerading as interview” gambit, it’s generally enough to hope the reader will just assume the interviewer and interviewee are working at arms-length. Making the point explicitly isn’t really the done thing. Here, however, perhaps not trusting readers to be sufficiently gulled, the ABA and AG are at pains to describe the “unprecedented joint action” of the AG, Authors United, the ABA, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives in going after Amazon for monopolizing the marketplace of ideas, devaluing books, and generally crushing dissent, democracy, and all that is good. The impression they’re trying to create is, “Wow, if so many separate organizations hate Amazon, Amazon must be doing something bad.”

But what’s critical to understand is that the most fundamental purpose of the Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and the Association of Authors is to preserve the publishing industry in its current incarnation. Whatever marginal differences they might have (I’ve never actually seen any, but am happy to acknowledge the theoretical possibility) are eclipsed by this commonality of purpose. Under the circumstances, the fact that these four legacy publisher lobbyists agree on something is entirely unremarkable (indeed, what would be remarkable would be some evidence of division). But if people recognize the exercise as a version of “No really, I read it somewhere…okay, I wrote it down first,” the propaganda fizzles. And that’s why these propagandists have to nudge readers with the bullshit about the “unprecedented joint action.” Otherwise, when Authors Guild Executive Director Mary Rasenberger cites Authors United pitchman Doug Preston as though Preston were a separate, credible source, people might roll their eyes instead of nodding at the seriousness of it all. They might even giggle at the realization that all those “When did Amazon stop beating its wife?” questions were functionally being put by Rasenberger to herself.

So no, this wasn’t remotely a cross-examination, or even a cross pollination (indeed, publisher lobbyists are expert at fleeinganything that offers even the slightest whiff of actual debate—which does make their alleged devotion to the Free Flow of Ideas and Information as the Engine of Democracy worthy of a smile, at least, if nothing else). It was just a stump speech lovingly hosted by someone else’s blog. The sole reason for the exercise was to create the misleading appearance of multiple, arms-length actors when functionally there is only one.

In fairness to the aforementioned Unprecedentedly Joint Actors, there is a rich heritagebehind this form of propaganda. For example, in the run-up to America’s second Iraq war, Dick Cheney would have someone from his office phone up a couple of pet New York Timesreporters, who would then dutifully report that anonymous administration officials believed Saddam Hussein had acquired aluminum tubes as part of his nuclear weapons efforts…and then Cheney would go on all the Sunday morning talk shows and get to say, “Don’t take my word for the aluminum tube stuff—even the New York Times is reporting it!”

So leave aside the fact that the “joint action” in question is anything but unprecedented—that it is in fact publishing establishment SOP. Anyone familiar with the record of these organizations will instantly realize that the “unprecedented joint action” in question is a lot like the “joint action” of all four fingers—plus the thumb!—of someone throwing back a shot of tequila. Like that of a little boy pleasuring himself—with both hands!—and trying to convince anyone who will listen that the Unprecedented Left and Right Action is proof that “Everybody loves me!”

Okay, I apologize for the multiple excerpts from previous posts. But what are you going to do? These bloviators keep vomiting up the same tired bullshit, no matter how many times it’s debunked. It just saves time to refer to the previous debunkings rather than typing it all out again.

My advice to New America? If you’re more than just a propaganda operation—if you really do care about freedom of expression, and the flow of information, and the marketplace of ideas—you might want to add at least a token panelist with a viewpoint that differs even just a tiny bit from that of the nine Borg you’ve assembled to intone that Amazon Is Evil and Will Destroy All That Is Good. Otherwise, your event is going to feel more like a circle jerk and less like sex. And, doubtless, with similarly productive results.

Joe sez: And just when I think I’m out…

Thanks, Barry, for turning a spotlight on this silliness, and patiently picking apart why it is so silly. I’m sure the panel will be a resounding success, much like all circle jerks and echo chambers are for those involved. Masturbation is supposed to be satisfying, and a nice “atta boy!” and backslap at the finish seems preferable to eating the soggy biscuit.

Don’t Google that if you don’t know what I mean. You can’t unlearn it.

One of the reasons I’ve largely eschewed activism lately is because I haven’t seen any ill effects from all the Amazon bashing being done by the usual spin doctoring suspects.

At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, the propaganda classic Triumph of the Will was just released on BluRay for the first time. It’s an effective piece of filmmaking, and Frank Capra imitated a lot of elements from it for his Why We Fight series.

It worked. And it is still being imitated today, both as a film, and as propaganda. Fear mongering is an old standby for getting people on your side. I wrote a whole post about alarmist terminology and spin

But I don’t think this approach works when it comes to Amazon. People aren’t so ready to buy what the pinheads are selling. Today we can have the New York Times, which I believe still has the motto “All the news that’s fit to print”, show such stunning anti-Amazon bias that the public editor has called it out more than once, and the public simply doesn’t give a shit. Amazon still gets their approval and their business, no matter how many times David Streitfeld one-finger-types his screeds while busting out knuckle babies with his other hand.

The public likes Amazon. Even if it were true that Amazon is planning to overthrow the government and replace the Bill of Rights with a guarantee of same day free shipping, its approval rating is so high that I don’t think most folks would care.

But for all the alarmist rhetoric and soothsaying predictions of world domination, I’ve yet to see anyone other than Big 5 apologists and their NY media cronies show much concern over Amazon’s mounting dominance of online retail.

Maybe that’s because—wild guess here—Amazon offers authors unprecedented opportunity to reach readers, and offers readers the widest selection at the lowest possible prices coupled with good customer service.

Authors United, and the NYT, are doing everything they’re supposed to be doing to spread their anti-Zon propaganda, but the people don’t care.

If I had faith in human nature, I’d posit that access to the Internet (and the ability for anyone with second grade spelling skills to type words into a search engine) can reveal in a click or two what utter nonsense the morons are spouting.

But I think the more realistic answer is that people simply like Amazon because it has a wide selection, low prices, and good customer service.

So I no longer feel the need to correct the greedy, self-interested 1% of authors who want to prop up an archaic, inefficient, and ruthless publishing industry with stupid organizations and articles and events. Joe Average might very well read about this panel in a Streitfeld spat of “journalism”, cluck his tongue at how Amazon is destroying freedom of expression, and then quickly forget about it when the UPS guy knocks on the door with a box of Bounty because yesterday Joe used his Amazon Dash button to order more.

The legacy publishing industry is dying. Once it lost its lock on distribution, it lost the majority of its power. The only ones who will mourn that industry are the few handfuls of authors it made rich. And when their corporate masters merge and downsize into inevitable bankruptcy, watch how quickly they jump on Amazon’s teat when the seven figure advances are gone.

But, for old times’ sake, let me fisk New American’s event description. Their nonsense in italics, my replies in regular font.

Amazon dominates the U.S. book market to a degree never before seen in America.

But does it dominate the U.S. book market to a degree never before seen in Canada?

Okay, I’m making fun of the lousy sentence, but isn’t that like saying “In my house I dusted the bookcases to a degree never before seen in my house?”

That's silly. Especially since I switched to ebooks and got rid of my bookcases.

This corporation dominates every key segment of the market.

Wow, that's a lot of dominance. I hope the public has a safeword.

We had a cartel dominating publication and distribution for decades. It was an oligopoly called the Big 6. Not only did it reject a high percentage of books submitted to it—which can be argued is a form of censorship—but when it accepted a book it fucked the author in the ass with unconscionable, one-sided contract terms. Terms even the Big 5 enamored Authors Guild has spoken out against.

And this immense size gives Amazon unprecedented power to manipulate the flow of books – hence of information and ideas – between author and reader.

OK, reread what Barry and I have written here. For over a hundred years, publishers have refused to publish the overwhelming majority of books, essentially preventing the public from ever reading them. They had a right to do that, just like Chick-Fil-A has a right to be closed on Sundays for ridiculous religious reasons.

But unlike the Big 6, or Chick-Fil-A, Amazon is allowing more traffic than ever before. More books are flowing with Amazon than flowed with the Big 6.

Plus, Amazon isn’t a monopoly, and doesn’t control the Internet, so if there were cases where Amazon decides it doesn’t want to sell something, it can’t prevent it from being sold elsewhere.

Last summer a group of authors made the case that Amazon’s actions constitute an abuse of its monopoly powers and threatens this vital marketplace of ideas.

It was a shitty case. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of good propaganda. Because if you keep repeating the same lie, some people are bound to start believing it. 

Unless they're Prime members. Then they'll cluck their tongues and ask Alexa to pre-order the new Barry Eilser book,

Amazon’s actions, they wrote, may already be affecting what authors write and say.

As evidenced by Amazon refusing to sell any work by any signatory of Authors United.

Oh… wait.

But look how Amazon has forced writers to cower in the shadows, fearful of offering any sort of critique.

Oh… wait.

Hmm. Doesn’t a panel about Amazon restricting freedom of expression prove that Amazon can’t restrict freedom of expression? Or if it can, doesn’t want to?

Oops, my bad. They used the word "may". So it could read "may already be affecting what authors write and say, even though there is no evidence or logic to support that conclusion." Like someday I "may" own my own country, which I'll name Joetopia and make our main export beer parties. If you'd like Joetopia to export a beer party to you, let me know because it "may" happen. Wait by the phone until you hear back.

The authors strongly urged antitrust regulators to take action, in what would be the most important antitrust case since Microsoft in the late 1990s.

Except for the tiny little fact that, you know, THERE IS NO CASE.

Barry and I take a lot of time to add these links to prove out points. You diligent readers are clicking on them, right?

Join New America’s Open Markets program for a discussion of Amazon’s monopoly over books and what it means for American readers and America’s democracy.

For God’s sake, someone think of the children! Because an online retailer is all that stands between the freedom to vote for representatives in government (that's the definition of democracy), and a zombie world where neighbors feast on neighbors and the only law comes from the business end of a twelve gauge. Because that argument makes as much sense as theirs.

Some of the nation’s best-known authors will discuss their personal experiences with Amazon.

And nary a one with a contrary point of view! Perhaps because they couldn't find any author with a good personal experience with Amazon. I mean, other than a hundred thousand or four. But I'm sure New America has much better things to do with their time than a little research.

Antitrust lawyers and experts in Big Data and price discrimination will then discuss the larger effects of the corporation’s behavior, and whether the government should bring a case against Amazon.

With Data so Big it’s Capitalized! Did that become a thing and I missed it?

And what could they possibly say in regard to price discrimination? Amazon fights to keep prices low. The Big 6 fight to keep them high. They illegally collude to keep them high. They print the prices on their damn books to keep them high.

Could they be going into the nefarious business practice of co-op, and Amazon charging publishers for better visibility? Is that the discrimination they mean? Or maybe loss leads?

Last I checked, both were not only legal, but commonplace in retailers.

I wonder what the antitrust lawyers will say about Amazon allowing anyone to sell through Amazon. In other words, if Amazon decided it no longer wanted to sell Big 6 titles, I could open up an Amazon seller account and sell Big 6 titles on Amazon. Can someone explain to me how that limits the flow of books between reader and author?

Follow the discussion online using #BookMonopoly and follow us @NewAmerica.

No thanks. But here's a hashtag you can follow: #StoptheStupid.

Lunch will be provided.

And it will be the only substantive thing offered that afternoon.

Now I’m going back to my WIP. When the NYT write-up of this stupid event runs, I’m going to ignore it.

          Mexico Narco Crime Compendium: June 13-20        
Note: Postings during June will not follow a Sunday-Wed-Fri Schedule.
Barbarie Política
Editorial from Noroeste June 19
Barbarie política

En todo proceso electoral se registran incidentes violentos que ponen en tela de duda los compromisos, tanto de los contendientes como de los partidos que los postulan, con la democracia y la civilidad; sin embargo, en el actual proceso la situación está degenerando peligrosamente en actos de barbarie, no solo en contra de partidos políticos, sino en contra de empresas y ciudadanos comunes, acciones que ponen en riesgo la viabilidad de la cita con la democracia que los sinaloenses tenemos el próximo 4 de julio.

El ataque con bombas molotov a las sedes del PAN y el PRD en Culiacán, y a las oficinas del candidato de la Alianza para ayudar a la gente en Ahome, es prueba inequívoca de la degeneración del espíritu de sana competencia que debe ser el distintivo de toda contienda política, y deja abierta la puerta a la sospecha de que alguno o algunos de los actores políticos, o sus seguidores, están detrás de esos incidentes.

Pero no solamente los partidos políticos han sufrido actos de barbarie de este tipo, también en este proceso electoral algunas empresas periodísticas, entre ellas Noroeste, han sido víctimas de amenazas, robos y ataques, derivados indudablemente del ejercicio periodístico en este proceso.

En las primeras dos semanas del mes en curso, siete distribuidores y repartidores de Noroeste, seis de ellos en Culiacán y uno en Mazatlán, fueron despojados de sus motocicletas por individuos que, tras enterarse de que trabajaban para esta empresa periodística, les advirtieron que ese sería su último trabajo.

Incluso a dos de estos distribuidores les hicieron disparos con armas de fuego, hiriendo a uno de ellos en el abdomen y en una mano.

Estos asaltos y amenazas sufridos por el personal de Noroeste, que indudablemente tienen qué ver con el proceso electoral, y con la intolerancia de alguno o algunos de los actores políticos en contienda, fueron severamente condenados ayer por la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, organismo que agrupa a decenas de periódicos de todo el continente y de Europa. Lamentablemente las autoridades nada han hecho hasta el momento, no solo para esclarecerlos sino para evitar que sigan sucediendo.

Todas estas acciones de barbarie contra partidos, empresas y ciudadanos, que nada tienen qué ver con la sana confrontación y discusión de las ideas, tienen que ser acotadas y desactivadas de inmediato por las autoridades electorales, si realmente buscan garantizar una elección limpia y tranquila.

Por lo que respecta al Ejecutivo estatal y sus instancias de procuración de justicia, sorprende su pasividad en torno a todos estos hechos.

No pueden ignorar que están obligadas a garantizar la plena vigencia del estado de derecho, a fin de que ninguna persona o institución sufran la afectación de sus derechos y prerrogativas, consagrados por la Constitución General de la República.
El Fisgón

Militarización · El Fisgón [La Jornada]
El Fisgón

Militarización · El Fisgón [La Jornada]

Cuentos para niños · Helguera [La Jornada]
Muere Carlos Monsiváis
El escritor mexicano Carlos Monsiváis murió este sábado. [RioDoceCuliacan]
Monsiváis es clave para entender México en EU, afirma el periodista Pete Hamill
Nueva York, 19 de junio. Para muchos en Estados Unidos, Carlos Monsiváis era guía esencial para entender México. [La Jornada]
Un adiós prolongado, con llanto y aplausos, a Monsiváis
Monsivías. Aplausos y llanto, en su despedida. Carlos Monsiváis, considerado el gran cronista de las últimas décadas en México y uno de sus intelectuales más críticos y populares, recibe este domingo un homenaje de cuerpo presente en el Palacio de Bellas Artes, el cual inició a las 10:00 de la mañana... [RioDoceCuliacan]
Rinden homenaje a Carlos Monsiváis en Bellas Artes
Carlos Monsiváis. Los adioses al maestro. La Jornada México, DF. Carlos Monsiváis, considerado el gran cronista de las últimas décadas en México y uno de sus intelectuales más críticos y populares, recibe este domingo un homenaje de cuerpo presente en el Palacio de Bellas Artes, el cual inició a las 10:00 de... [RioDoceCuliacan]
‘Monsiváis no ha muerto#39;: Carlos Fuentes
En entrevista para EL UNIVERSAL, desde Londres, el novelista destaca que un escritor no se muere porque deja una obra [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Perfil Carlos Monsiváis
La historia de la ciudad de México no se entendería en sus claroscuros sin la obra del prolífico cronista [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Muere Carlos Monsiváis
A partir de las 21:00 horas, los restos del escritor serán trasladados al Museo de la Ciudad de México, ubicado en avenida Pino Suárez 30 [El Universal: Cultura]
Reciben con aplausos a Carlos Monsiváis en Bellas Artes

Ciudad de México.- El cortejo fúnebre del escritor Carlos Monsiváis arribó al Palacio de Bellas Artes alrededor de las 10:00 horas, donde se realizará un homenaje de cuerpo presente al escritor.
El féretro del ensayista mexicano está cubierto por la bandera de orgullo gay, la mexicana, así como la de la Universidad Nacional Aurónoma de México.[MilenioNacionalEdition]
Monsiváis estaba preocupado por la violencia y polarización política en México: Jenaro Villamil Ciudad de México.- El escritor y analista Jenaro Villamil lamentó la muerte de Carlos Monsiváis de quien dijo era su amigo y maestro con quien colaboró desde hace diez años en la columna Por Mi Madre Bohemios.
“Sé que su obra y su vigencia van a estar más allá de su presencia física y es lo que hace importante la figura de Carlos Monsiváis”, expresó Villamil en entrevista con Milenio Televisión.
Dijo que el cronista y periodista estaba muy preocupado en los últimos días por la violencia social, la intolerancia y la polarización política en México.[MilenioNacionalEdition]
La vida de Monsiváis (infografía) Ciudad de México.- Autodefinido como "un simple lector", el prolífico escritor mexicano Carlos Monsiváis utilizó como herramientas la inteligencia y la ironía y se caracterizó como una de las voces y plumas críticas y narrativas de la época actual importantes del país.
El escritor y ensayista mexicano falleció a los 72 años, como consecuencia de una insuficiencia respiratoria.
Haz clic AQUÍ para ver la infografía completa.
Muere a los 72 años Carlos Monsiváis

- No hay fecha para que Carlos Monsiváis abandone el hospital
- Carlos Monsiváis, en la mira de los jóvenes Ciudad de México.- Murió el escritor mexicano Carlos Monsiváis a los 72 años de edad, tras varios meses de enfermedad a causa de una fibrosois pulmonar, en el Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición "Salvador Zubirán" donde estaba internado.[MilenioNacionalEdition]
La calidad de ciudadano. Past and Present.
From:Working Papers - [Mexico Institute Publications]
Preocupa violencia en Sinaloa ante comicios
Los asesinatos de candidatos y sus familiares, así como los ataques con explosivos a instalaciones de distintos partidos en el estado, han enrarecido el clima político en la entidad de cara a la jornada del 4 de julio [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Narco controla territorios completos: Iglesia
El crimen organizado supera en armas al gobierno que por temor reduce sus obligaciones y cede el control de territorios, considera la jerarquía católica de México [El Universal: México]
José Cueli/ II: Marginalidad y violencia
En la experiencia de la marginalidad todo pareciera situarse en el margen, al margen, en las fronteras, en el exilio, en el silencio, en la exclusión, en la tierra de nadie, en el desarraigo, en la no pertenencia, en el “no ha lugar” de la ley, en la fragmentación. [La Jornada]
'Vive Sinaloa en desgobierno'
'Vive Sinaloa en desgobierno' [Periodicos Noroeste: Culiacán - Local]
Mexico's deadly drug violence claims hundreds of lives in past 5 days
MEXICO CITY -- An explosion of drug violence in Mexico has killed hundreds of people in the past five days and prompted the country's president to issue a 5,000-word manifesto warning that the fight against organized crime must continue "or we will always live in fear."
Mexico - Illegal drug trade - People - Women - Violence and Abuse [washingtonpost.com - Print Edition]
El Universal claims Friday, June 11 as bloodiest day in Mexico

According to El Universal, 85 people lost their lives on Friday – marking it as the bloodiest day in Mexico. The previous record was on January 12, 2009 when 69 people were killed.
According El Universal’s tally in Chihuahua there were 38 deaths, 20 in Tamaulipas, 5 in Guerrero and 6 in Sinaloa. More deaths occurred in San Luis Potosí, Baja California, Durango, Morelos, Jalisco, Querétaro, and Mexico City.
The deaths of the individuals from the rehabilitation center in Chihuahua are included in these statistics. In Ciudad Juárez a police captain and two agents were killed while they guarded a seized property. Meanwhile, in San Luis Potosí, a group of about half-dozen students found themselves in the middle of a shootout which resulted in two dead.
El Universal. “El país sufre el día más violento del sexenio.” El Universal. 14 June, 2010.
Fox News. “Mexico Opens New Year With 69 Murders in One Day.” Fox News. 14 June, 2010.
[Justice in Mexico]
Drug violence, deaths in Mexico have spread to once-safe regions [Mexico News from The Dallas Morning News]
Asesinan a 15 en Ciudad Juárez, incluso dos jóvenes [AlDiaTX.com: Noticias de M�xico]
Motín en prisión deja 29 muertos en Sinaloa [AlDiaTX.com: Noticias de M�xico]
At least 10 Mexican police officers killed in shootouts
Gunmen ambush the officers in Michoacan state. An unknown number of the assailants are slain, their bodies whisked away by survivors.
Armed attacks on Mexican federal police Monday in violent Michoacan state sparked shootouts that killed at least 10 officers and an unknown number of gunmen, authorities said. [L.A. Times - Latin America]
Violencia en Juárez rebasa capacidad forense
Reportan diariamente cerca de 10 autopsias que se suman a los cuerpos de días anteriores; el pasado miércoles 23 personas fueron asesinadas [El Universal: Estados]
Ciudad Juárez: 15 ejecutados en 15 horas
Entre las víctimas se encuentran un policía municipal, un escolta del jefe de custodios del Cereso; tan sólo este año el crimen organizado ha cobrado la vida de mil 289 personas en la ciudad fronteriza [El Universal: Estados]
Sedena confirma 15 muertos en Taxco
Se presume que en el lugar del enfrentamiento entre sicarios y soldados estuvo presente Edgar Valdés Villarreal, "La Barbie", uno de los hombres más buscados por las autoridades de México y Estados Unidos [El Universal: México]
Suman 50 reos ejecutados en Sinaloa en 2010
La presidenta del Frente Cívico Sinaloense Subrayó que no se entiende cómo las autoridades penitenciaras que conocían el riesgo de tener a reos peligrosos contaban sólo con tres guardias para evitar ser agredidos por grupos rivales [El Universal: Estados]
85% de los delitos en México no son denunciados, afirma académico

Acapulco.- El investigador Miguel Carbonell Sánchez dijo que “tenemos un proceso penal que no da el lugar, ni el respeto a las víctimas, lo que provoca que 85% de los 45 mil delitos diarios no sean denunciados y con ello inicie la impunidad”.
Refirió que en México al año se presentan un millón 800 mil denuncias, de las cuales en los ministerios públicos se integran sólo 280 mil averiguaciones previas, por la desconfianza en el sistema penal.[policia]
Asesinan a 37 en una semana
La cifra de muertes violentas en Sinaloa alcanza los 1,039 homicidios dolosos [Periodicos Noroeste: Culiacán - Seguridad]
Recap of a murderous week
June 14 saw 2 firefights between a gang of narcos and the army in Los Aldama, Nuevo León, leaving 7 of the narcos dead and the liberation of a kidnap victim. Colima had 2 more killings and gunmen in the community of Carrizalillo, Guerrero, fired into a group of party-goers, killing one and wounding 3 others. In the municipality of Goméz Palació, Durango the municipal police fought with a gang who had kidnapped a police officer, leaving on police officer dead, José Luis Hernández. Chihuahua had another 10 executions including municipal police officer Jorge Alejandro Ortiz Rascón who was ambushed by gunmen.

[Police Accountability and Reform]
Despite Killing, Mexican Backs Drug Policy
Faced with a surge in drug-related murders in recent days, President Felipe Calderón offered a spirited defense of his government’s antidrug offensive on Monday.[NYT > Americas]

Mexican President Calderón urges nation to fight organized crime [Mexico News from The Dallas Morning News]
Informe Almanza de CNDH, incompleto: Segob
El secretario de Gobernación considera que el organismo no registró todas las evidencias existentes; está descontextualizado [El Universal: México]
Sedena pide denunciar a narcotraficantes
La dependencia federal pone a disposición los números 01 800 831 1521 y 01 800 831 1473 para que se realicen las denuncias [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Niegan que violencia afecte turismo de Acapulco
El titular del ramo de Guerrero refiere que lejos de inhibirse las visitas a la localidad, se han incrementado con respecto a las registradas en 2009 y 2008 [El Universal: Estados]
Mensaje del presidente Felipe Calderón [El Universal: México]
Lucha anticrimen es de todos: FCH
En un mensaje en cadena nacional, el Jefe del Ejecutivo pide a la ciudadanía que denuncie y haga llegar información al gobierno para actuar contra los criminales [El Universal: México]
Army accused of lying about the death of two minors by Mexico’s National Commission of Human Rights

The National Commission of Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos –CNDH) determined that the deaths of Martín and Bryan Almanza Salazar, nine and five years of age, were a result of discretionary and direct fire by elements of the army and not by crossfire between army forces and organized crime as stated by the government of Felipe Calderón. The young boys were shot to death on April 3 in Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas.
In a press conference Raúl Plasencia, President of the CNDH, said that through an investigation, the CNDH arrived at the conclusion that the vehicle in which the two minors traveled, along with eleven others, was directly attacked by military forces between 116 and 117 kilometers off the highway to Nuevo Laredo in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. According to testimonials by the victims and inquires made by the CNDH through 326 proceedings, the National Defense Secretariat (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional – Sedena) lied by stating that the minors died in crossfire. Because of this and Sedena’s refusal to provide information about the operation, the CNDH issued a recommendation, which requires the National Defense to repair damages done to the victims and their families.
The report also recommended that Sedena carry out regular drug and psychological exams for those who participated in the operation and opened fire on the vehicle that Bryan and Martín traveled in. It also asked that Sedena accompany the complaint that the CNDH will present before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República) , to punish those responsible for the death of the two children on April 3, in Tamaulipas.
El Porvenir. “Emite CNDH recomendación a Sedena por niños asesinados en Tamaulipas.” 16 Junio, 2010.
Rodríguez, Yadira. “Militares mataron a niños Almanza: CNDH.” W Radio. 16 Junio, 2010.
Prodigy MSN. “Mueren niños por balas de Sedena: CNDH.” Prodigy MSN. 16 Junio, 2010.
[Justice in Mexico]
Human Rights Defenders Seek Protection in Mexico
Mexico’s human rights activists have their hands full as they grapple with a growing class of victims: themselves. [NYT > Americas]
HRW apoya críticas de CNDH al Ejército
HRW manifiesta que esa conclusión resalta la necesidad de dejar de confiar en el Ejército para que investigue sus propios abusos [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Sedena analiza recomendación de CNDH
Confirma que recibió la recomendación relacionada por los hechos en los que fallecieron los menores Martín y Brayan Almanza, y en su oportunidad determinará si se aceptan o no los términos de la misma [El Universal: México]
Con autogobierno, 100 cárceles: CNDH
Daniel Romero, tercer visitador de la CNDH encargado del seguimiento de los penales en México, dijo que este sistema de autogobierno ha sido uno de los factores de la violencia que existe en las cárceles [El Universal: México]
Urge terminar con protección ilimitada a militares: AI
Amnistía Internacional (AI) afirmó que es hora de terminar con la protección ilimitada a militares que violan los derechos humanos y con la cual se les evita la rendición de cuentas. Así se sumó el organismo al reclamo de que estos casos sean investigados “de manera minuciosa, transparente e imparcial” por juzgados civiles. [La Jornada]
Preocupa a la CIDH la libertad de prensa
Washington. La relatora especial para la libertad de Expresión de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Catalina Botero, calificó hoy como “alarmante” la situación de los periodistas en Honduras, tras participar en una audiencia en el Congreso de Estados Unidos; el martes fue asesinado otro periodista en el país centroamericano, el noveno en lo que va de este año. Botero dijo ante los legisladores que Venezuela avanza rápidamente hacia “límites intolerables” contra la libertad de prensa, aunque estimó que la situación todavía no es “irreversible”. [La Jornada]
Mató Ejército a niños en Tamaulipas: CNDHMéxico.- La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos señaló a militares como los responsables del ataque del 3 de abril a una familia de 13 integrantes que viajaba en una camioneta sobre una carretera en Tamaulipas, del cual resultaron muertos los niños Bryan y Martín, de 5 y 9 años, respectivamente.l[MilenioNacionalEdition]
Identifican a asesino de hijo de Joan SebastianMorelos.- El odontólogo Javier Ramírez Abdalá, quien acompañó al hijo de Joan Sebastian, Juan Sebastián Figueroa González, al momento de ser asesinado, reconoció a Guillermo Vargas Rivera como el asesino del empresario.
A través de diversas fotos durante su declaración dijo que efectivamente es el mismo personaje que el Cartel Pacífico Sur señaló como asesino de Juan Sebastián.[MilenioNacionalEdition]
Mexico moves to curb cartels' cash flow
CULIACAN, Mexico - In a step aimed at thwarting money laundering by drug cartels, the Mexican government on Tuesday announced strict limits on the deposit and exchange of U.S. dollars in banks, noting
[AzStarNet Border]
On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas
The immigration debate points to a fundamental truth: perception often trumps reality, sometimes affecting laws and society in the process.
[NYT > Americas]

Transactions With Dollars Face Scrutiny in Mexico
Mexico announced tough restrictions on dollar cash transactions in an attempt to fight money laundering that is fueling an increasingly bloody drug war.
[NYT > Americas]

Mexico limits dollar transactions
The new measures are designed to reduce drug traffickers' money laundering by 'closing the path to illicit resources' funneled into Mexican banks.
In a step aimed at thwarting money laundering by drug cartels, the government of Mexico announced strict limits Tuesday on the deposit and exchange of U.S. dollars in banks, noting that the nation's economy is being flooded with illicit drug profits. [L.A. Times - Latin America]
Deception and Misreporting in a Social Program
From:Working Papers - [Mexico Institute Publications]
Millonario golpe al narco
En diversos operativos realizados en el fraccionamiento Barcelona, el Ejército decomisó 1.04 millones de dólares, tres casas de seguridad de narcotraficantes, 20 kilos de cocaína entre otras cosas [Periodicos Noroeste: Culiacán - Seguridad]
Parents of Mexican preschool fire victims angry about ruling
Justices say they lack evidence that shows 'generalized disorder' in the federal agency that oversees the Hermosillo school, and that top officials are not responsible for the blaze.
Parents of some of the 49 children killed in a preschool fire last year reacted angrily Thursday to a decision by Mexico's Supreme Court holding top federal officials blameless for rights violations related to the blaze. [L.A. Times - Latin America]
Cronología del caso ABC
5 de junio. Un incendio en un bodegón habilitado como guardería, la ABC, subrogada del IMSS, provoca la muerte de por lo menos 31 niños y lesiones graves a unos 40. [La Jornada]
Caso ABC La politica le gano a la justicia
En el que pudo ser un historico debate de un lado estaban el secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes Juan Molinar Horcasitas el director general del IMSS Daniel Karam y el exgobernador de Sonora Ed [Feed RSS - proceso.com.mx]
Narcoamigos en el Senado
MEXICO DF 15 de junio Proceso Algunos senadores de la LX Legislatura quienes en 2006 hicieron campana al lado de Calderon han sido senalados publicamente por su cercania con capos de la droga pProce [Feed RSS - proceso.com.mx]
Border watch in Pinal worries officials
A Phoenix man described as a neo-Nazi is calling for people to bring "plenty of firearms and ammo" to a border watch operation in Pinal County that he is promoting as the "Minuteman Pro
[AzStarNet Border]
La venta de armas en EU, una religión, dice congresista gringo
Armas. Activistas a favor del derecho de poseer armas. Campeche, Camp., 12 de junio. Congresistas demócratas y republicanos de Estados Unidos rechazaron la solicitud de senadores y diputados nacionales de modificar la legislación de su país para acotar la venta de armas de fuego, especialmente las de asalto, utilizadas por el... [RioDoceCuliacan]
Gammon fires almost 400 miners in Mexico
Canadian firm says it is filing criminal charges against 7 union executives[The Globe and Mail - Front Page News]
Cost of 'virtual fence' on U.S.-Mexico border 12 times higher than first estimated [Mexico News from The Dallas Morning News]
Mancha nueva ley de Arizona la imagen de Estados Unidos [AlDiaTX.com: Noticias de M�xico]
Baker Institute Policy Report On U.S.-Mexico Border
From:Reports - [Mexico Institute Publications]
A Blueprint for Action on the U.S.-Mexico Border
From:Reports - [Mexico Institute Publications]
EU: frontera con México requiere financiamiento
El documento, "Un proyecto de acción en la frontera México-Estados Unidos", dado a conocer en rueda de prensa en el Centro Woodrow Wilson, incluye 63 recomendaciones a todas las agencias federales de ambos gobiernos [El Universal: México]
EU perfila apoyo a México más allá de 2012
En un "Reporte al Congreso sobre México y el (periodo) post-Mérida", el Departamento de Estado destaca el compromiso de trabajar con el país para que la asistencia en seguridad apoye las prioridades del desarrollo económico [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
EU plantea ampliar Plan Mérida tras elecciones
El Departamento de Estado envió esta semana al Congreso estadounidense un reporte en el que sostiene que las metas a futuro son darle más énfasis al fortalecimiento institucional por la ola de violencia [El Universal: México]
Matan a canadiense en Coahuila
La víctima fatal recibió dos balazos en la agresión cometida cerca de la ciudad de Allende, al sur de Piedras Negras [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Ordenó el cártel de Sinaloa la muerte de zar antidrogas: Honduras
Tegucigalpa, 16 de junio. Capos del cártel de Sinaloa ordenaron el asesinato del zar antidrogas de Honduras, general Julián Arístides González, el 8 de diciembre de 2009 en esta capital, reveló hoy el ministro de Seguridad, Óscar Álvarez. Este miércoles, precisó que los ejecutores fueron sicarios del narcotraficante hondureño Héctor Amador Portillo, El Gato Negro, quien fue asesinado con seis de sus guardaespaldas el pasado 18 de abril. Por conducto de radioemisoras locales, el ministro Álvarez precisó que el zar antidrogas dio la orden de destruir una pista clandestina de propiedad del cártel de Sinaloa en el departamento de Olancho, lo que habría motivado su asesinato. [La Jornada]
Suman 28 reos muertos en el penal de Mazatlán: PGJE
Mazatlán. Aumenta la matanza de internos, entre ellos muchos zetas.La violencia en el penal de Mazatlán arrojó un saldo de 28 internos muertos, entre ellos 20 presuntos integrantes de la organización de Los Zetas, y tres policías heridos, en una jornada que incluyó grescas y ataques directos... [RioDoceCuliacan]
Murder by hanging in Guadalajara

At around 10:30pm local time in Guadalajara, a body was found hanging from an overpass above the road Chapala. Initially, investigators thought it was a suicide; but a further look into the case revealed it to be an execution.
Unconfirmed reports state that the man had been hung alive. He is thought to have been between the ages 35-40. The man was completely stripped of his clothes and had a message near his abdomen written in black marker which referred to Los Torcidos (The Crooked), an organized crime group that formed from members of Los Valencia (The Valence).
About five miles from the scene of the hanging was another murder in which a young man, identified as Roberto Ballardo Mariscal, was shot in the head while driving his truck.
Patiño, Martin. “Ejecutan a un hombre lanzándolo desde un puente vehicular.” Informador. 17 June, 2010.
Castro, Madrigal Rodolfo. “Aparece colgado en carretera a Chapala.” Milenio. 17 June, 2010.
Zamarroni, Ulises. “Cuelgan a un hombre en Guadalajara.” El Universal. 17 June, 2010.
Justice in Mexico]
Six die after a drug rehabilitation center in Juarez is attacked

Yesterday evening an armed commando attacked the Integral Clinic Against Addictions (Clínica Integral Contra Las Adicciones), a drug rehabilitation center in the Mexican city of Juarez, Chihuahua, killing six individuals, two of which were women. The Municipal Police (Policía Municipal) stated that the attack occurred on one of the most important streets of the border, that of Manuel J. Clouthier and Filodermo, while the victims where entering the clinic. They noted that according to witnesses at least six hooded individuals with long firearms were following the victims and fired their weapons at them once they began to enter the building. The victims had a baby with them during the attack that remained unharmed.
The victims have been identified as: Adrián Rodríguez Camarillo (28 yrs old), Erick Sánchez Cháirez (34), Sergio Arturo Soto (39), Rosa Isela Pineda Téllez (32), Adriana García Acevedo (35), and Luis Eduardo Medina Sosa (39).
When federal agents arrived they surrounded the crime scene while a convoy of municipal police officers combed the area for the attackers whose location still remains unknown. This is the second attack on a rehabilitation center in Chihuahua in the past week. On the 10th of last week nineteen interns were killed in a similar attack in the capital of Chihuahua. According to the Municipal Police of Juarez (Policía Municipal de Ciudad Juárez) this is the forth attack on a detox center that has been recorded in the past eight months in Chihuahua.
Ansalatina. “Matan a seis personas en clinica de adictos.” Ansa. 17 Junio, 2010.
Notimex en Ciudad Juárez. “Matan a 6 en clínica de rehabilitación en Juárez.” La Cronica de Hoy. 16 Junio, 2010.
AFP, and El Mexicano. “Asesinan a seis personas en clínica para adictos en Ciudad Juárez.” El Heraldo de Tabasco. 16 Junio, 2010.
[Justice in Mexico]
Five are executed in Nuevo Leon; four were police

Early Wednesday morning five dead bodies were found executed in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon. There were three men, one of which was beheaded, and two women. The head of the decapitated was placed at the feet of another body. Three of the bodies, including the two women, had written messages on their chest pinned by ice picks. All five corpses showed signs of torture.
The five bodies have been identified as Roberto Rodríguez, José Vélez, Reyna Reyes, Roberto Escobedo, and Dulce Lira. Four of the dead were employed with the local police and one was an ex-agent. The Zetas have claimed responsibility for these deaths.
Cedillo, Juan. “Policía, los 5 ejecutados en NL.” El Universal. 16 June, 2010.
Milenio. “Ejecutados eran policías de Apodaca.” Milenio. 16 June, 2010.
El Porvenir. “Ejecutan a cinco en Apodaca, cuatro eran policías.” 16 June, 2010 [Justice in Mexico]
Confrontation between inmates leaves 29 dead in Sinaloa

The secretary of Public Security for Sinaloa (secretaria de Seguridad Pública de Sinaloa), Josefina García Ruiz, told the Mexican radio station Radio Fórmula that a confrontation between inmates in a Sinaloa prison, in the locality of Mazatlán, left twenty dead. The event occurred around 9:50 this morning after a group of inmates broke into Special module 21 (modulo 21 Especial), an isolated area conditioned to separate presumed Zeta members who have not yet been sentenced yet are considered highly dangerous from the rest of the inmates. The group of aggressors, according to Ruiz, used pistols in order to subdue a guard and two federal police officers after which they disarmed the cameras and attacked those inside, killing seventeen and injuring one. Three of the aggressors also died totaling twenty deaths. It is not yet known whether the aggressors are members of a cartel.
According to several news sources an estimated nine other bodies were found in several other modules, five of which were found in module 11. These deaths are said to be responses to the attack in module 21. According to La Jornada of the twenty-nine killed, twenty-one were shot to death and the remaining stabbed. Governor Jesús Aguilar Padilla accused the Federal Secretariat of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Federal) of ignoring repeated requests to transfer dangerous criminals out of that prison stating that the Sinaloa prison system is designed for common criminals not for housing federal prisoners considered highly dangerous. Padilla also noted that the event is a consequence of the countries high-security prison deficit.
According to La Jornada the victims include the following:
Alejandro Acuña, Alfonso Lucas García, Alfredo Félix Díaz, Antonio Rafael Ibarra, Arturo Vázquez, Darío Mendoza, Diego Sarabia, Felipe Lizárraga, Francisco Félix Lizárraga, Ignacio Cruz Acuña, Javier Nearez, Jesús Alberto Adame, Jesús Antonio Reyes, Jesús Hernández, Jesús Osuna Beltrán, José Ambrosio Navarro, José Sánchez, José Sebastián Cázarez, Lisandro Peña, Mario Márquez, Pablo Algredo Castro, Pedro Sambrano Ojeda, Refugio Salinas, Rodolfo Patrón, Rolando Mirabete, Ronanlo Lizárraga, Said Sánchez and Santiago García.
Sources: El Economista Online. “Balacera deja 18 reclusos muertos en Sinaloa.” 14 Junio, 2010.
Dóriga, López. “Confirman 20 muertos en penal Mazatlán:SSP Estatal.” Grupo Fórmula. 14 Julio, 2010.
El Universal. “Aumenta a 20 los muertos en penal de Sinaloa.” El Universal. 14 Julio, 2010.
Carlos, Adriana. “Culpa gobernador a SSP por no atender traslado de reos peligrosos.” 14 Julio, 2010.
Sánchez, Irene, and Javier Valdez. “Guerra de cárteles en el penal de Mazatlán deja 29 internos muertos.” La Jornada. 15 Junio, 2010.
[Justice in Mexico]
Mexican Army Kills 15 Suspected Drug Gang Members
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Fifteen suspected drug gang members were killed in a shootout with Mexican soldiers on Tuesday in western Mexico in the latest fatal clash between warring cartels and federal forces. [NYT > Americas]

Shootout leaves 14 dead in Mexico tourist spot
News reports said the shooting broke out when troops went to search a suspected criminal hide-out in Taxco, a picturesque town that draws thousands of visitors. All the dead were said to be gunmen.
A shootout between Mexican soldiers and gunmen Tuesday left at least 14 people dead in the scenic mining town of Taxco, known to tourists for its silver jewelry.[L.A. Times - Latin America]
Asesinan a yerno del alcalde de Hermosillo
Cosme Almada Gutiérrez, yerno del edil Javier Gandara Magaña, fue interceptado presuntamente por un grupo armado que intentó secuestrarlo, en el Municipio de Guasave [El Universal: Estados]
Matan a alcalde en Chihuahua
Un comando ejecutó al alcalde de Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, Jesús Manuel Lara, de 48 años, en el interior de su casa, en Ciudad Juárez [El Universal: Estados]
Mueren 12 en balaceras en Tamaulipas
La Secretaría de la Defensa señaló que una patrulla militar fue atacada cerca de un lago artificial al otro lado de Río Bravo, Texas, muriendo tres soldados y nueve atacantes [El Universal: Estados]
Ejecutan a 6 en clínica de Juárez
Un comando acribilló a cuatro hombres y dos mujeres cuando salían de un centro de rehabilitación en la ciudad fronteriza; todos eran presuntos adictos que iban a recibir tratamiento [El Universal: Estados]
Al menos 15 presuntos sicarios muertos en Taxco
El enfrentamiento ocurrió en las inmediaciones de la localidad de Taxco, a unos 180 kilómetros al sur de la ciudad de México [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Matan a 10 federales en Michoacán
Los sicarios "sellaron" con camiones la salidas Oriente y Poniente del municipio de Zitácuaro; reportan 15 policías lesionados y varios sicarios muertos [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]s
Matan a 6 adictos más en esa urbe fronteriza

Chihuahua.- Integrantes de un comando ejecutaron a cuatro hombres y dos mujeres en el exterior de un centro de rehabilitación de Ciudad Juárez, informó la Procuraduría de Justicia de Chihuahua.
Las víctimas fueron sorprendidas por sus victimarios cuando salían de la Clínica Integral contra las Adicciones. Vecinos del lugar indicaron que sobrevivieron dos menores de cuatro y dos años de edad, quienes iban con las víctimas al momento del ataque.[MilenioNacionalEdition]
Acribillan a 29 reos en penal de Mazatlán Mazatlán.- Un total de 29 reos muertos fue el saldo de ataques y enfrentamientos entre grupos rivales del penal de Mazatlán, Sinaloa, incluidos 20 presuntos integrantes de Los Zetas.
Un grupo de reos asesinó a balazos a 17 del módulo 21. En el ataque los homicidas destruyeron las cámaras de vigilancia, la puerta de acceso y dispararon a corta distancia.
En la refriega resultaron heridos dos agentes de la Policía Estatal Preventiva y un celador, quienes antes fueron tomados como rehenes, informó la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del estado.[MilenioNacionalEdition]
The King of Gasoline is captured in Monterrey

Francisco Guizar Pavón, the King of Gasoline (el rey de gasolina), was captured after 20 years of stealing oil from Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). The Ministry of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública – SSP) confirmed that the capture was made a week after seven individuals were arrested for stealing 90,000 liters of gasoline from the state of Jalisco. Information exchanged between the detainees and police authorities led to the arrest of Pavón.
Pavón had been stealing oil for the past 20 years and is accused of buying various properties and luxurious cars with money earned from selling the oil. Pavón had worked for PEMEX from 1974 and 1993. He had started as a part-time employee and was later promoted to work at the department of drilling. He was later dismissed due to downsizing and having been suspected of stealing oil. There have been reports that Pavón had close ties with crime groups such as Los Zetas and La Familia and received protection from them.
MSN Noticias. “El ‘Rey de gasolinas’ es capturado.” MSN Noticias. 14 June, 2010.
ABC. “Capturan en Mexico al ‘rey’ del robo de gasolinas.” ABC. 14 June, 2010.
La Jornada. “Detienen a El Rey de las Gasolinas.” La Jornada. 14 June, 2010.[Justice in Mexico]
Ejército asegura 1 mdp en Sinaloa
Además del dinero, se incautaron seis vehículos 20 kilos de cocaína, ocho relojes finos en Culiacán; ninguna persona fue detenida por este hecho [El Universal: Minuto x Minuto]
Violencia en Nayarit, por #39;efecto cucaracha#39;
El secretario general de Gobierno de esta entidad, Roberto Mejía Pérez, aseguró que quie
          make an extra $8,760 a year! [downsizing update]        
I’m on day 224 of 365 days in this challenge.  Today marks a milestone, not in the days or numbers, but how I feel about this process. Difficulty.  It’s increasingly more difficult to find areas in my house that I … Continue reading
          minimalist challenge update… 88% depreciation?!        
With a goal of 365 items, downsizing one item a day over a one year period, has proven to be more difficult than I imagined.  With the exception of my garage, there’s just not much left to downsize in my house.  When I … Continue reading
           - In Venezuela, Tal Cual newspaper under pressure but not defeated        
Facing government lawsuits, spiralling costs, diminishing advertising revenue, and the illness of its founder, the 15-year-old newspaper has downsized in a last-ditch effort to survive.
          Finding More Power for Your Chevrolet Equinox Means Waiting a Little Longer        

General Motors will happily let you configure a newly downsized 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, but moving up a step in power means cooling your heels for a few more months. The third-generation crossover bowed this spring with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder as its base powerplant, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel-drive traction. […]

The post Finding More Power for Your Chevrolet Equinox Means Waiting a Little Longer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

          Audi Offers Its Smallest Engine For Its Biggest Crossover        

Audi’s Q7 can now be optioned with a downsized motor — which is perfect for that tiny cross-section of America that doesn’t feel the need to prove itself with a big engine but also wants to own the largest and most expensive crossover Audi offers. Huzzah? Audi America announced today a new 2.0-liter turbo four-pot is incoming on […]

The post Audi Offers Its Smallest Engine For Its Biggest Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

          Russia Retaliates For Sanctions Approval, Hitting At U.S. Diplomatic Corps        
Updated 9:40 p.m. ET Stung by new American sanctions, Russia's Foreign Ministry says the U.S. must downsize its diplomatic and technical staff in Moscow and other cities. The ministry is also suspending the U.S. Embassy's use of two sites — a storage facility and a dacha on an island in the Moscow River. President Trump said Friday night he would sign the sanctions legislation because Congress was responsive to his input on the bill. The ministry says the U.S. has until Sept. 1 to cut the number of its staff at the Moscow embassy and at three consulates to match the exact number of Russian diplomats who are working in the U.S. — 455 people, according to the ministry's announcement. After Aug. 1, U.S. staff will also be barred from using a recreational property on the bucolic island of Serebryany Bor, along with being barred from using warehouses on Moscow's Dorozhnaya Street. More retaliation could come: The ministry added that it will mirror any further cuts to its staff in America.
          Birthday Boys!        
This wonderful boy had a birthday yesterday!
He is now four.
When asked about turning four he replied,
"Now I can drive a car aaannnndddd I can do whatever I want!"

Happy Birthday Isaiah! We love you all the way to the moon and back again.
We are so happy to be your Daddy and Mommy!

The guy on the right turned AHEM on the same day.

Happy Birthday Peter!
We missed celebrating with you.
We all love you and are grateful for you in our lives.


This is the view from my kitchen window.
These are my neighbors steps.
This is my 6 year old son shoveling her steps.
I love it.

          My Hero.        

Yes! We have water!

          There’s The Beef! Disney Smacked with Huge $177M+ Beef Settlement        

ABC News learned that sliming a company can cost a lot of money. An attorney for Beef Products Inc. told CNN Money, BPI was awarded more than $177 million in the settlement of its defamation lawsuit against ABC because its beef was called “pink slime” by the network.

CNN found a footnote in Disney’s corporate earnings report that the parent company of ABC paid $177 million “incurred in connection with the settlement of litigation.” That is roughly the annual ad revenue for World News, CNN said. Disney did not specify how that amount was spent or respond to CNN’s request for comment.

BPI attorney Dan Webb told CNN based on their research this award was the “largest” media defamation settlement in U.S. history. Food Safety News reported that it appeared the $177 million was Disney’s payment on top of the amount its insurance covered.

The beef company sued ABC over a series of 2012 reports in which ABC programs and often reporter Jim Avila disparaged its lean finely texture beef (LFTB) by repeatedly using the description “pink slime.”

BPI sued ABC over its coverage, especially news segments on March 7, 8, and 9, 2012. ABC reporting against LFTB spanned two entire months, often driven by correspondent Jim Avila and the “whistleblowers” he interviewed. Avila and his colleagues often called the meat “pink slime,” saying that term 52 times on air in just two weeks. The networks even took a victory lap when grocery stores stopped utilizing LFTB. Following the broadcasts, demand for LFTB dropped and the company was forced to downsize dramatically.

The firm sued ABC for $1.9 billion in South Dakota, which can award triple damages for disparagement of a food’s safety. The jury trial in South Dakota began June 5, 2017, and was settled June 24, 2017. ABC continued to stand by its reporting and at least one of the many videos remains online.

The exact settlement terms were not made public, but BPI spokesperson Tom Becker told The Media Research Center at the time it was “a great point for the company. They’ve been vindicated.”

Becker also said, the settlement allowed BPI to move on and “rebuild the business that was taken away from them.” He emphasized that the safety of the beef the company sells was, “a crucial part of the case.”

“This is a good product — 100 percent beef, 100 percent safe,” he added. “That didn’t get lost on the jury.”

The liberal broadcast networks protected their own, by not reporting on the trial or the settlement in June.

          5 Best Resources for Your First Big Move        

To view images more successfully on Google Chrome, keep your zoom setting at 90%. Working to resolve the issue! This whole moving thing has been a bit of a challenge. Now,  that might seem obvious but I have to tell you a true and honest confession: the last time I moved was from my parents house to my current house. A mile away. Nine Years Ago. Which, ultimately, means it doesn't count.  I've put together a list of sources from a variety of places to help out other people who may be in a similar situation- or at least that need some help narrowing down the field!

I've turned to friends and family for a lot of help and guidance on what to do to get my house sold as well as have an organized and manageable move to Denver. Here are some of the best tips and tricks I've heard of or found on Pinterest thus far:
  1. This blog post from Making Lemonade has been an awesome resource! I literally went out and bought the stickers for each room immediately. It has made a big difference! I luckily work at a high school and have thus far avoided having to buy any boxes. But seriously. Click here to check out all of her great advice.
pinning these genius moving hacks and tips to make our next move easier!

 2. This website has a great infographic for helping you map out a timeline of your move. That has been a huge help for me! I had no idea where to start and this definitely made a big difference! It helped me keep from getting overwhelmed in these last four weeks before the move. Check out the image below but to read the entire article go to the original source Hire a Helper .

3. Since we had the great timeline for moving we were able to get a jump start on cleaning out the house and getting rid of unwanted items. After having had a series of roommates for the first 6 years of living in the house I had a strange variety of items that I didn't personally ever purchase or need. For example: 3 sets of pots and pans. I like to cook but it was way too much. So my friend and I were able to camp out in her garage for three days and sell some of our stuff. We made a pact that anything that didn't sell went to the thrift shop after. I think we made just over $600 total. There were definitely things we should have done better but this blog post here at Wholefully made it much easier for us to get it all figured out! 

I mean for real, we were eating waffles we were so prepared. 

4. BB and I are definitely downsizing in terms of square footage for this house. It was a trade off, we get a larger private backyard and garage, one less bathroom and bedroom. Downsizing was certainly something we had to look into and be aware of. Here are a couple great references for making the most of it:
  • The first great source for going from 2000 to 980 sq ft (my downsize isn't that dramatic but it is great advice regardless!). Check it out and the source to the image below here!

  • An additional great source to help with the psychology of going to a smaller space or just getting rid of a lot of extra clutter and stuff is Money Can Buy Me Happiness. The article is really refreshing and inspiring. Click the link above to see the article and the source for the image below! 

5. Trendy Millennial Minimalism: For Real Life Millennials. I have a confession- I know minimalism is a trend right now for my generation. But I have personally really started to embrace it. Living with a guy who has packed all his stuff in a duffel bag and moved to Hawaii for 6 months really helps change your perspective. All of the stuff we are packing to move is basically MY STUFF. It's really weird to think about. There are a lot of great sources for starting the minimalism idea (I'm not going full in and only having 33 clothing items) and you can adjust it to meet your own needs for this life. 

Read the full article and it's takeaways here!

I've becoming addicted to YouTube since I've been able to stream it on my TV. Here is a great compilation of YouTubers that are all about that Minimalist Life. Check out the list and full article here!

Hopefully this helps anyone else out there that was a bit overwhelmed after making the final decision to make a big move! If you have any other great resources- drop them in the comments below for others to see! 

I suppose I'll go pack some stuff now. 

          Eastward Bound & Down: Relocating a Life        

It has been nearly 365 days since my last post, meaning that mostly just my  mom will see this. But hey, that's fine! My mom is pretty awesome!

As of this month I have officially owned my home for 9 years and it has been a remarkable experience. I was able to go to college, learn to install my first dishwasher, remodeled my first kitchen, replaced counters, installed flooring, and repainted the living room and bathroom 3 or more times. It has been totally wild, but it is time to announce that I am officially selling my house in Grand Junction, Colorado and moving my entire life to Denver. Like all the other millennials in the entire United States. However, I would like to claim that I am already from Colorado- so it's less annoying.

Image result for denver colorado

We are so excited to go! Brennan (BB) and I have found a rental and I have found a new teaching job over there. It's a scary big move but we're excited. We have been working really hard to get our house market ready and I will be sure to do a blog post about that soon.  Here's us looking all cute and stuff at the Denver Botanical Gardens:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

If you have any tips or advice for making a move to a new city please share it with me! I could use all the help I could get. I've grown up in Grand Junction and have never been anywhere else. It's an exciting change. 

Here are the big things I'm excited about:
  • More stuff to do (Red Rocks Amphitheater, Baby!)
  • Closer proximity to family
  • Better work to life balance.
  • New house has a large backyard and a garage! (YAY!)
  • Master's Degree opportunity.
  • More time to bloggggg!
Any tips from people who have moved and downsized? What did you do to sell your house fast and get settled into a new city?

          Episode Three: Revenge of the Fifth (Amendment) -- A One Act Sci-Fi Play        
SCENE:  The Death Star orbits over Downtown Houston.  [Interior]  A galactic conference room for a Tuesday Show & Tell Meeting.  EMPRESS OGG sits at the head of the table, as the rest of her Imperial Officers sit to the sides.

EMPRESS OGG:  Tell me, Vice Admiral Berg, where do we stand on our budget?

VICE ADMIRAL BERG:  Well, Empress, after farming out the Goforth case, we took another big hit on the budget.  With that and the Irsan case in Planet 184, we've had to outsource two death capitals.  There's a possibility that the tab on the two cases could reach well over a million dollars.

EMPRESS OGG:  A million?!  Mother of Yoda!!

VICE ADMIRAL BERG:  Yes, the numbers are concerning.  We may need to downsize your Imperial Guard.

EMPRESS OGG:  By how many?

VICE ADMIRAL BERG:  Well, um, like all of them?

EMPRESS OGG:  Unacceptable.  There must be another option.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  We could stop recusing ourselves off of death capital cases.

EMPRESS OGG:  That would cause a disturbance in the Soros.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  You mean the Force?

EMPRESS OGG:  No, I mean Soros.  George Soros.  Guy gave me a TON of money!  What we need is a good, high profile case, that I, the Imperial Empress Attorney can personally try, so that the good people of Houston will know that sometimes we keep cases.

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  Well, we do actually have a case you might like.  I see that beloved Houston Rockets point guard, James Harden, was robbed at the Toyota Center.

EMPRESS OGG:  Hot damn!  I'm all over it.  Call Jar Jar in here for a press conference.  Do we have a suspect?

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  Um, looks like the suspect is J.J. Watt.

EMPRESS OGG:  Nope.  Get me my "Recusal" stamp.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  What are the grounds for recusal?

EMPRESS OGG:  My cousin's neighbor met J.J. once.  Got to avoid that appearance of impropriety, ya know.  No special treatment around this place.  No sirree, Bob.

VICE ADMIRAL BERG:  On to the next order of business . . .

EMPRESS OGG:  Yes, I'd like for you all to extend a warm Oggnacious welcome to our newest employee, community liason, David Temple.


DAVID TEMPLE:  Howdy, y'all.

EMPRESS OGG:  David comes highly recommended by Jabba Denholm and Boba Clappart.

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  Doesn't he still have murder charges pending?

EMPRESS OGG:  For just a little bit longer.

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  So, are we recusing the Office now?

EMPRESS OGG:  No.  Why do you ask?


VICE ADMIRAL BERG:  So, on another topic, apparently we've made Viceroy Kubosh angry over this whole Murder for Hire case where the newspaper revealed he was our Informant.

EMPRESS OGG:  How did the newspaper know?  Tom, I thought we agreed you weren't to speak to the Press again after the whole Buzbee Debacle.

VICE ADMIRAL BERG:  It wasn't me, this time.

EMPRESS OGG:  Then what happened?

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  Kubosh's name was in the Probable Cause warrant for the arrest.

EMPRESS OGG:  Why was his name put in the warrant?

JABBA DENHOLM:  No way around it.  Gotta put that confidential informant's name in the old warrant-roosky.  Says right there in Penal Code section something or other.

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  Actually, you never put a confidential informant's name in a warrant.  That's why they are called "confidential."


LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  We draft narcotics warrants all the time where we protect confidential informant names.  It is standard practice.

JABBA DENHOLM:  Agree to disagree.  Hey, Jimbo, are you going to finish that breakfast taco?

CORPORAL LEITNER tries to protect the remains of his breakfast taco, only to have DAVID TEMPLE snatch it out of his hand and give it to JABBA.

TEMPLE:  Interception!!

JABBA DENHOLM:  Thanks, buddy.

TEMPLE:  I owe you huge, bro.

JABBA and TEMPLE high five.

EMPRESS OGG:  From now on, no more putting confidential informants' names in warrants so the press can read them.  I'm very disappointed in you, Denholm.  Corporal Leitner, write up a memo detailing Jabba's transgressions and put it in his file.

JABBA DENHOLM:  Oh come on!  How was I supposed to know this?

LIEUTENANT MITCHAM:  Are you sure that you're a lawyer?

JABBA DENHOLM:  Screw you, C3P0.

CAPTAIN KING:  Don't worry, Jabba.  I'll re-write the memo and tone it down so much that it won't even seem like a complaint was ever even filed.

JABBA DENHOLM:  Thanks, Vivian.

EMPRESS OGG:  Okay, good meeting everyone.  We are adjourned.  And remember, what do we say if anyone ever asks us about what we talk about here?

STAFF (IN UNISON):  We plead the Fifth!

EMPRESS OGG:  Excellent.  Dismissed.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  Sigh.  This is just like the Lykos Death Star.

          Phase 2!        
So, let's recap, shall we?

I met SirW accidentally on line.  We dated over skype and very few visits for 6 months, then He collared me.  One year later, I moved to Canada and we were married.  This year, We celebrated Our 3/2 (3 years collared/2 years marriage) and couldn't be happier!

We based the decision for me to move to Canada on His children not being fully grown and my wanting the opportunity to taste motherhood and the fact that He had a long-time career that He planned to retire from in the not too distant future.

Well, 2 years later, both kids have graduated high school, have jobs and are living successfully outside Our home, so We downsized!  We found the perfect apartment with breathtaking views and all the amenities We wanted.  

His retirement is in a few years, then who knows where life will take Us.  All i know is i am exactly where i want to be...living my dreams.

          Neurotic kitten?        
Perhaps living life to the fullest, making it count as if there was no promise of tomorrow comes as a double-edge sword...

There are moments...not many of them (thankfully), where i...hmmm: i probably need to start further back...hang on...OK, here it is:

Today, for example, i had a pretty awesome day at work, got home with more energy than i expected and sat and enjoyed an afternoon movie - so relaxing!

Then, i get a box taped and start packing (We're moving in 9 days!)...wait...I need to go further back, damn it (Sorry)  OK, here it is:

So my move to Canada was phase 1 of our journey together.  Phase 2 would happen after both kids graduate high school, work and live successfully outside our home.  This has happened (yey!). 

We are now about to downsize (Phase 2) into a gorgeous apartment on the top floor with a river view to die for, sunken living room, underground parking (bye bye shoveling and scraping), indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzi, a complete gym, sauna - it's a slice of heaven and We will be there in 9 days!  Thus the packing :)

Now then, so i turned the music on and danced and packed and danced and packed. Then i incorporated the making of dinner into the mix - i was feeling fantastic...until...i look at the clock and it's a tad later then usual with no call/text to say He was on His way.

i call and leave a message at work.  i call and leave a message on His cell.  Why am i hyperventilating?

It's that moment i hate...the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when for a split second, i think something has happened to Him and it begins to pick at me internally.

That's why, each time these feelings creep in, when eventually He walks through the door, i run to Him and hug Him tight, so grateful to have even just one more day with Him.  That's why, when ever We part to go to work, etc., i repeat, "i love You!" (a little too often perhaps).

Anywhooo, He just texted to say He was in a meeting, so i just let out a sigh of relief :)

Just being real with some pretty negative feelings - feels good to get it off my chest!

          The Globalist Agenda Revealed.        
Finally the Globalist Corporate Fascist agenda is revealed - the British Army will be downsized and replaced by cheap foreign mercenaries, the same as the British economy has been globalised and replaced with cheap foreign workers.
This is the globalist corporate agenda exposed - and it is being imposed by traitor filth governments elected by moronic British people at the behest of the globalist media.
The Army will have to rely on help from private contractors and foreign soldiers in future wars, the Defence Secretary will announce today.
Several regiments will be axed or merged as the Army downsizes from 102,000 personnel to 82,000 by 2020.
Private military contractors, Nato allies and Territorial Army reservists will be employed to plug the gaps, Philip Hammond will say.
In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London, Mr Hammond will outline plans for paid civilian soldiers to provide ‘logistics support’ for regular front-line soldiers.
He will promise that the UK will maintain ‘teeth’ for any future military operations, but add that others will have to help with key tasks to keep soldiers armed and fed.
This could lead to recently retired soldiers being rehired as mercenary contractors to deliver kit to front-line soldiers.
Britain could also be forced to rely on other countries for vital transport and logistics tasks, which are currently undertaken by soldiers’ own countrymen.
Mr Hammond will tell the think-tank’s conference on land warfare that the Army will ‘rethink the way we deliver every aspect of military effect in order to maximise capability at the front-line’.
He will say Army chiefs are now ‘thinking innovatively about how combat service support is provided, using more systematically the skills available in the reserve and from our contractors.’
He will add that commanders are ‘working closely with partners to operate logistics more rationally through Alliance structures’, as the Army looks ‘to others to provide the tail, where Britain is concentrating on providing the teeth’.
The long-mooted cuts to personnel were detailed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010. However, the plans for greater involvement of private military contractors will fuel fears that the economic crisis will leave the UK saddled with a cut-price Armed Forces, placing our soldiers in danger.
Hammond is also braced for a bitter fight over Army reorganisation when he publishes a plan to slash the number of regiments before the summer.
The reorganisation of the British Army will reduce numbers from 102,000 to 82,000
The reorganisation of the British Army will reduce numbers from 102,000 to 82,000
He will pledge to maintain the vital links between regiments and the communities from which they recruit – but he will also acknowledge that some historic cap badges face the axe.
He will say: ‘There is no question, of abandoning the regimental system. But that does not mean that we can avoid difficult decisions as the Army gets smaller.
‘A regular Army of 82,000 will have a different structure to one of 102,000. And some units inevitably will be lost or will merge. In making those decisions, the military voice must prevail.’
Mr Hammond also wants to beef up the reserves, investing £1.8billion in the TA and doubling the number of members to 38,000. This would leave a total of 120,000 soldiers at commanders’ disposal.
Reserve units will be twinned with regular Army regiments, so that members of the TA will train with soldiers they would be deployed alongside.
Mr Hammond will say his Army 2020 proposals provide ‘the opportunity to transform the role of reserve forces’.
He will continue: ‘The future reserves must be structured to provide, as they do today, some niche specialists capabilities that aren’t cost-effective to maintain on a full-time basis – for example in areas of cyber, medical, or intelligence.
‘The integrated Army concept means that light infantry battalions will be reinforced on deployment through a permanent partnership with reserve battalions.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2155593/Slimmed-Army-rely-foreign-mercenaries-fight-Britain-future-wars.html#ixzz1x5w2lTBN Add to Technorati Favorites
          Unemployment: China’s Biggest Economic Woe        
By He Qinglian on December 29, 2015
Source article in Chinese: 2015年中国经济关键词:失业
This abridged translation first appeared in the Epoch Time on February 2, 2016

If you are looking for a single word to summarize China’s economic situation in the year just gone by, it is “unemployment.” The flood of bankruptcies, flight of foreign investment, 300 million migrant workers losing their jobs, the government forcing troubled state-owned corporations to remain open, its giving jobs to veterans, and policies encouraging migrant workers to return to their hometowns to start new enterprises—these are all about unemployment.

Coal and Steel Industries Broke

China’s coal and steel industries have been the country’s biggest employers. The coal industry workforce used to be over 5.8 million, and steel employed another 3.3 million. Bankruptcies of businesses in these two industries will inevitably lead to massive unemployment.
On Aug. 24, 2015, the State Council issued a briefing of an investigation into the risks in the coal mining industry and how to manage them. The report stated that 4,947, or 48 percent, of Chinese coal mines have shut down or stopped production. In other words, nearly half of China’s coal production has closed. Shaanxi, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, and other coal-rich provinces are seriously affected. In Inner Mongolia, which has the country’s largest coal reserve, half of all mines have shut down or are in a state of suspension. As a result, more than 100,000 people have become unemployed. The coal industry depression began in 2013; many companies struggled to hold on until now, but they can survive no longer.
The situation in the steel industry is similar. Serious excess capacity has led to low profits through the entire industry. According to insiders, there is a five-year inventory stockpile of all types of steel. In early August, the price of steel was at 1,800 yuan ($273) per ton, or 0.9 yuan ($0.14) per pound—cheaper than cabbage.
This is a snapshot of China’s economic slowdown and weak industrial demand. Industry professionals say that things will get even worse for the steel sector. At present, China has 2,460 steel companies. This number is expected to eventually drop to 300. This indicates that more than 80 percent of businesses are up for mergers and acquisitions, and in the next three years the steel industry will go through a process of restructuring and elimination.

World Factory Moves to Other Countries

In recent years, with the rise of labor costs in China, many companies have moved their factories to Vietnam, India, and other Southeast Asian nations so as to maintain their profit margins. According to data from the Asia Footwear Association, one-third of orders from Dongguan, known as the “shoe capital,” has moved to Southeast Asia. Having been a main workshop of the “world’s factory,” Dongguan’s decline began in 2008, with 72,000 enterprises closing in the next five years. In 2014, no fewer than 4,000 businesses closed. In October 2015, more than 2,000 Taiwan-funded enterprises left Dongguan, and ­five million workers were laid off.

The printing and packaging industry comes at the end of the manufacturing process and serves as a barometer of the rise and fall of the manufacturing sector. China has 105,000 printing enterprises, employing 3.4 million workers. With the decline of manufacturing, the printing and packaging industry gets fewer orders, and its unemployment rate has gradually been going up. Printing and packaging is a major industry in Guangdong Province. With declining demand since 2010, employment in the industry has decreased from 1.1 million in 2010 to 800,000 in 2014 in Guangdong.

Unemployment Data

The following three separate sets of data most likely come close to providing a true picture of unemployment in China.
In 2010, then Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang stated that 45 million jobs in China were created by foreign companies. With supporting businesses also included, foreign investment has provided over 100 million jobs in total. This matches the number mentioned by Justin Lin during the World Economic Forum in January 2015. Lin said that China would lose 124 million jobs if the entire manufacturing sector moved out of China.
Prior to 2010, there was already a huge unemployed population in China. On March 22, 2010, former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told U.S. representatives at the 2010 China Development Forum: “The U.S. government is worrying about two million unemployed people. But China is facing the pressure of 200 million unemployed workers.”
Miss Lu Tu, a researcher of China’s migrant worker population—that is, those whose homes are in the countryside, and who work in the cities and live in shantytowns due to residence restrictions—says that China has 300 million new migrant workers. When including their parents and children, the number reaches 500 million. Their impact on Chinese society must not be overlooked. In other words, the condition of these 500 million people affects China’s social stability.

Social Instability

If a factory lays off 10 percent of its workers, people may think that the workers are probably not the right fit for the position. If 50 percent of companies downsize, it can be attributed to a market downturn. But if capital leaves, as is the case today, and hundreds of millions of people become unemployed, then this is the beginning of a great depression. In that situation, unemployment is not just a problem for the unemployed workers, but also a social problem the government must face.
China’s economy is now nearing that point. China currently has no advantage in technology, resources, or human capital for a quick recovery. Therefore, China needs to prepare for the pain of long-term unemployment.
Too many people being unemployed leads to the emergence of a group of disenfranchised, internal refugees. The Communist Party should not forget that the social basis of China’s communist revolution in the 20th century was also a huge number of such people.

          Kraft Heinz Notify about Closing 7 Factories in U.S., Canada        
Kraft Heinz stated that it will close seven factories, which are currently fully functional, in the next two years in North America. The closing of these factories is announced as part of downsizing, which will take away 2600 jobs. These include factories that produce both foods and beverages.  As stated by a company spokesperson earlier in this week, in the U.S., Kraft Heinz will close production facilities in San Leandro and Fullerton in California state, Federalsburg in the state of Maryland, Campbell in New York, Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania state, and in Madison in Wisconsin state. In Canada, the plant slated to close is in St Mary’s, Ontario. The dropping sales is forcing the company to take this step. The closing of production units will happen across a few states in the United States. The closing of the food and beverage production plants s happening in the move to downsize the workforce.  The closure of these production facilities will happen in the next 12 to 24 months. In addition to this, the company also has plans to close some operations in Davenport, Iowa. In accordance with this, the meat processing plant at Davenport will be closed and production will move to a new facility that will be built close by. Another plant is slated to close at St Mary’s in Ontario in Canada. The closing of the  Earlier in the year, Kraft and Heinz came together and merged to form Kraft Heinz. The new company Kraft Heinz, which is co-headquartered both in Pittsburgh and Chicago made an announcement earlier in August. The closing of the Davenport meat processing plant will move production to a nearby facility that will be built later nearby. As per the announcement made in August, 2500 non-factory jobs cuts will happen following the merger.

Original Post Kraft Heinz Notify about Closing 7 Factories in U.S., Canada source Twease
          South African Public Sector Unions Protect Wage Deal, Deterring Strike Action        
At Cape Town, South Africa's administration fixed a concurrence with unions on Tuesday to raise public sector wages by 7 percent this year, the leader of the bargaining council said to turn away a conceivably injuring strike by 1.3 million specialists.  Public sector unions had at first looked for a 15 percent expansion before bringing down their requests to 10 percent amid extensive transactions since September. Laborers, including educators, medical caretakers and policemen, will likewise show signs of improvement lodging and medicinal guide recompenses under a three-year bargain. Under the decision, the government consented to expand compensation this year by anticipated consumer price expansion, which the Treasury figures at 4.8 percent, in addition to 2.2 percent.  The government has additionally consented to build restorative guide cover by 28.5 percent per laborer and expand a lodging remittance to 1,200 rand ($100.81) a month, from 900 rand. Leon Gilbert, spokesman for the largest independent union, the Public Servants Association said that for him a decent deal is a deal that no one is truly grateful about. He further said that there are things that could have been exceptional however considering the present situation this is the best deal that was on the table.  South Africa's economy has been hurt by an influx of modern activity in its key mining and manufacturing segments in the course of recent years. Monetary development is figures at a sluggish 2 percent during the current year and any strike activity by public sector workers could have hurt financial sentiment and business certainty.  The public sector wage bill has risen more than 80 percent in the course of the most recent decade as yearly increments have arrived at the midpoint of more than 6 percent above expansion and the government is under weight to rein in spending and check costs as evaluating rating agencies flag conceivable downsizes ($1 = 11.9030 rand).

Original Post South African Public Sector Unions Protect Wage Deal, Deterring Strike Action source Twease
          Learning to control my portions        
29 Well, doing pretty well. Drinking lots of water and downsizing portions. Picking healthier foods and eliminating soda, sweets, etc... Feeling good! My biggest problem is portion control. I love food and enjoy eating lots of it. I have to retrain my mind that more is not better!
          Paring Down         
These days I try to pay more attention to the "in between" periods in life. Embracing them because they usually entail major life lessons that come attached to loss, change in general, or unexpected circumstance that arise randomly throughout our life. Be it in the form of death, job loss, money issues, personal conflict, depression, relationship problems, you name it. Whenever circumstances falter, and the frame of routine starts to dissolve, experience tells us the best we can do is learn from it. Surely nothing new in the land of self help philosophies, I know, but worth the reminder from time to time simply because we ( ) need help keeping it in mind.

I'm alluding specifically to the past two months, where we up and sold our home without any clue where exactly it was we were headed next. Because my intuition told me it was time. And promoted a move where even people like us - who cling to the grand notion of spontaneity in just about every aspect of life, couldn't help but stress the impending outcome. Partly for reasons I noted here in previous posts - regarding us being tossed into a seller's market in an endlessly hiking So Cal real estate bubble, combating bidding wars that tend to overshadow what should be a pleasant hunt for a new house. Where it ends up being a very easy place to feel defeated. But I also worried about all the typical things that go along with a big move - finding new (good) schools (the one we pulled them from was amazing, so I knew the replacement one had to compare) a decent neighborhood, a warm, welcoming home, as well as a hundred other things I worried about late night on long nights I couldn't sleep along the way.

What I didn't anticipate though, during the 2 month period in which we were fortunate enough to shack up with the in laws while searching for the "perfect house," was the accidental enlightenment that arose under such circumstances. How I would wake to realize - inside of this strange, fleeting & chaotic period - that we could live, and thrive, and be perfectly content without a huge percentage of the possessions we owned. That a small selection of "stuff" was really all any of us even needed. Without much consideration we left most of what we have in storage and decided to live similar to how we do while camping. For as long as it took. Leaning solely on the bare necessities to get us by: a select & minimal wardrobe for the entire family, a few favorite toys, books, computers, and a couple craft bins to get us through. What became quickly apparent as the weeks passed was just how easily the boys were entertained by what surrounded them. Minimal as the options were. And how much we adapted the same way. Wearing a handful of items over and over again in what ended up becoming a refreshingly basic rotation. Easy and unthought. Me, having but a single pair of shoes I wore for weeks on end without much care. How freeing it proved to have to keep track of and consider so much LESS on a daily basis.

It was the kind of awakening that would coincided perfectly in this next chapter of our lives. Just when we needed it most. Seeing how we were facing fact of a major downsize, square footage wise, in whatever home we could find in our budget, in the cities we were seeking. The thought of which honestly stressed me slightly, imagining such strict storage space, and having to be smarter and more practical about what and how we accumulate things from here on out.

And yet I know now that we can. Because we have to. Because it feels quite liberating to own a lot less. And because it doesn't necessarily entail the sharp sacrifice I envisioned. So we continue to weed though what we have. Eliminating furniture. Donating clothing, editing the array of knick knacks and clinging to a new sense of freedom in the sparseness of new beginnings. Nearly two weeks in and we're still without Internet. Or television. Or clean laundry, or excessive toys. And yet blissfully happy in it regardless. Waking on stiff mattresses plopped on the floor. Seeing dim layers of fog painting our windows white in the morning. Consumed in the endless possibility this new dream house brings. Wearing the same overalls and frayed denim shorts to the beach early morning before the crowds pile in. Boys caught playing with orange peels in the slow roll of a mid week afternoon nap. Building towers out of blocks in the sun spilt corner of the front room, where the blue glint of the harbor boats hang in the corner window, day dreaming about the beauty this new house will eventually encase. New beginnings, paired down. Slowly, steadily, with nothing but our own hands here to shape it. Living simply, minimally, gratefully, here all summer in the meantime.

          Win £50 to spend at John Lewis!        
Larkfleet Homes - The Croft Baston

Four lucky winners will be spending £50 at John Lewis shortly! 

Larkfleet Homes is an award-winning housing developer with a number of eco-friendly developments concentrated in the East of England, predominately in Cambridgeshire around the thriving city of Peterborough and pretty smaller towns in the adjoining counties of Lincolnshire and Rutland.

The company has two developments specially designed and built for those wishing to downsize and who want to look at new properties which are more manageable as their lifestyle changes.

Larkfleet Homes - The Croft Baston living roomThe award winning Croft developments at Bourne and Baston in Lincolnshire are exclusively for buyers aged 55 years and above. Both offer a selection of one, two and three-bedroom properties including villas, bungalows and chalet bungalows for people who prefer a little more space. They are within easy reach of London, Essex, Bedfordshire or Buckinghamshire as well as nearby Peterborough, Cambridge and Stamford - voted one of the best places to live in Britain.

These new homes are arranged around attractively landscaped courtyards and gardens, with linking walkways around the development. At The Croft development at Baston there are also allotments and private gardens for those who want to dabble in a little gardening or home growing.

Competition closing date

Sunday, 6 March 2016 - 11:59pm

Competition prize

To win 1 of 4 John Lewis £50 vouchers, take a look at The Croft Baston website and simply answer the question below:-


Harriet Ludford, Peter Regin, Julie Feathers and Aaron Milne

          BMC SLX 01 52 cm        
Downsizing! Aluminum and carbon mix frame. Rides very smooth but can still handle the power. Outfitted with: Shimano 105 5800 groupset Zipp Service Course SL-70 Ergo bars WH-RS330 wheels Bontrager Race stem Specialized Sitero saddle

          Downsizing Tips from a Professional Organizer        
  The ups and downs involved with downsizing your home mean you could probably use some help navigating the trek. It can be both exciting and daunting to let go of stuff and simplify. The key to a less stressful move is to break the process into increments. As a professional organizer, I’ve helped families […]
          Hubble Shows that Jupiter's Great Red Spot Is Smaller than Ever Seen Before        

Jupiter's monster storm, the Great Red Spot, was once so large that three Earths would fit inside it. But new measurements by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the largest storm in our solar system has downsized significantly. The red spot, which has been raging for at least a hundred years, is only the width of one Earth. What is happening? One possibility is that some unknown activity in the planet's atmosphere may be draining energy and weakening the storm, causing it to shrink. The Hubble images were taken in 1995, 2009, and 2014.

Join Hubble astronomers for further discussion about Jupiter's shrinking Great Red Spot at 4pm EDT on Thursday, May 22, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9coSaxpQ8DQ. Please bring your questions and comments.

          blackberry playbook seharga 1 juta        


apakah mungkin blackberry playbook di jual seharga 1 juta…
1. RIM telah membeli 1.5 juta unit playbook. http://www.phonearena.com/news/Quanta-downsizing-its-Taiwan-production-line-due-to-diminishing-orders-RIMs-PlayBook-to-blame_id22301
2. RIM hanya berhasil menjual 200ribu unit playbook selama 3 bulan. http://www.phonearena.com/news/RIM-opens-up-earnings-season-without-a-bang-misses-analysts-expectations_id22161
(dan jumlah tersebut termasuk yang demo unit di toko2, analyst mengatakan RIM mungkin hanya berhasil menjual kurang dari 10ribu unit).
3. Hal yang sama terjadi pada HP WebOS tablet, HP hanya berhasil menjual 100ribu, dan memiliki stock 500ribu, lalu tabletnya di jual seharga US$99. http://www.phonearena.com/news/HP-TouchPad-reduced-to-as-low-as-99.99-starting-tomorrow_id21378

saya bener2 tunggu kalo playbook di jual seharaga 1 juta.
bagaimana dengan saudara2?

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          Leg Room        
For the last year we had been talking about trading in our vehicles.  They are both 10+ years old this year and my van is really starting to show the age. I started doing my research:  best rankings, safety, handling, leg room, gas mileage, etc.  I have been thinking about downsizing because we will be […]
          Planet Mercenary: Uplifted Warfare        

In Planet Mercenary, the new RPG based on the Schlock Mercenary comic, a down on their luck team of mercenaries are desperate for some coin after some unexpected downsizing. A slowly building civil war may be just the break they need. Thank you to Alan Bahr and Howard Tayler for allowing us to playtest Planet Mercenary - check out their Kickstarter, and check back soon for a special guest post from Alan reacting to our playtest experience.

The post Planet Mercenary: Uplifted Warfare appeared first on Fandible Actual Play Podcast.

          Yet Another Facility Closes: CafeFX        
We received an email today from Jeff Barnes and David Ebner, announcing that CafeFX/ComputerCafe have decided to shut down. This comes after a downsizing earlier this year. It saddens us here at fxguide to hear the news of their closing and wish everyone the best. The outstanding company has wor...
          Further homogenizing/downsizing at NBC-owned KXAS        
          CBS11 lays off three newsroom staffers as part of latest downsizing (updated)        
          Supporting player: Dallas Morning News downsizing no longer the prime focus of Stop the Presses doc        
          Ericsson borks 3,000 Swedish jobs        
Ericsson borks 3,000 Swedish jobs

Swedish double decimation job death

The Swedish phone maker Ericsson has taken the axe to 3,000 jobs or nearly 20 percent of its local workforce.

 It will downsize operations at several plants as part of its global plan to cut costs by a billion dollars next year. .

The Swedish network company employs 115,000 people globally, of which 16,000 are in Sweden, and said the layoffs are a necessary part of its transformation to meet "fast technology shifts and the digitalization of the telecom industry". The cuts will be made in research and development, sales and administration.

Ericsson said it has plans to recruit 1,000 people in Sweden during the next three years in the R&D sector.

CEO Jan Frykhammar said the company would continue to have "a strong focus" on research and development in Sweden. He described the cost cutting measures as "necessary to secure Ericsson's long term competitiveness as well as technology and services leadership."

In addition to the overall $1 billion cost cuts, Ericsson has said it would double previously announced savings of operating expenses "to reach a reduced run rate of operating expenses of 53 billion kronor during the second half of 2017."

Ericsson, one of the world's leading mobile network operators, has been struggling to improve earnings amid tightening competition. It sacked its previous CEO in July to find a new leader "to drive the next phase in Ericsson's development."

The company's share price was virtually unchanged at 61.65 kronor in morning trading in Stockholm.

Ericsson employs people in 180 countries and has 2.5 billion network subscribers. It has 16,000 employees in Sweden.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-ericsson-jobs-sweden.html#jCp

          Spring Cleaning        
Is there such a thing as the “pre-downsizing” phase in life? If so, we’re there. We are planning on downsizing soon, but have a few things to take care of first. Things like getting a 70-year old house ready to sell. Things that I had just learned to ignore can’t be ignored any longer. I
          How to pack light – Downsizing: Toiletries        

Everything I own fits in a small 34 liter day backpack, yet I consider myself having a lot of stuff. So many people ask me how I do it, and there are many ways to downsize. These are some of the changes I’ve done with my toiletries. While some things might not look like it’s [...]

The post How to pack light – Downsizing: Toiletries appeared first on Earth wanderess.

          By: OTGO        
Downsize MP numbers to 75. Problem solved.
          Super Sphere        
  Mr. Karen and I did a pretty good job downsizing our Christmas decoration collection before we moved (wish we’d done as well with other things, but too late now, better luck next time). One of the survivors was this purple light ball, currently lurking behind the television, where it will stay for the duration […]
          And We’re Off        
Several hours after I posted yesterday’s entry, Mr. Karen and I finished loading up our vehicles and headed west. Our house is not yet sold, but it’s being taken care of by people we trust, so we’re going to Idaho for the winter to ski. Consistent with our theme of downsizing, I only have two […]
          Are Big American Sedans Finally Making Their Swan Song?        
It’s happened before. Venerable nameplates such as Sedan de Ville, Buick LeSabre, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler Imperial, and Lincoln Continental once ruled American roads. They were repeatedly downsized starting in the 1970s and most eventually became extinct. Now, amidst tanking sales, it appears the current crop of large American sedans might face such an ignoble end as well. More than ever before, Americans are buying “trucks,” a category that includes crossovers, SUVs, ...
          Wow, it's been a year!        
I was looking at my blog today and it really has been a year since I've been on here and updated my life! The last 2 years have been quite the journey for me. I left anything and everything I ever wanted and cared about to come to nothing. Well I would ask myself everyday what in the world I was doing here in Utah. It only took me a year and four months to forget about why I moved here and let life take me where it needs to go. In November 2009 my great aunt that lived up here went through a rough surgery and I went and saw her in the care center. She was recovering and getting better. I went home for an early christmas and she was supposed to be home by the time I got back to Utah. I called her house to check on her and nothing so I called the care center and she was still there. Her heath was declining and she ended up passing away. Through all of this I began to realize why I came here. I met an amazing family that took care of Larsen and became mine. I had a place here. I didn't feel so alone. I had a family to be with, to tell my trials, to go to church with, to have sunday dinners and take sunday naps with. I also met my best friend through all of this and he has been such a great answer to my prayers. I have learned and I have grown so much in the past few years and now I know it is again time to move on.
As I was driving home to Utah from a quick 4th of july visit to Arizona, I reflected on the last few years. I really miss being close to my family and being apart of my niece and nephews lives. I am here 13 hours away from my family and the only thing that I am staying here for is a job. I realized that its time to come back to Arizona. I feel like I have accomplished the things that I came here to do and I'm ready for the next chapter in my life. I don't know whats to come for me but I know I need to start progressing toward something different right now and I'm excited to find out what it is.
I have really made so many good friends here and I am going to be really sad to leave. Today for some reason I was reflecting on all of the people that I have become friends with that have had an impact on me and helped me progress. I wouldn't be the person I am today with out them!

Me and Morg

Amie, Mickelle, & Me

Anna, Me, & Nicole

Me, Jenna, & Ailli

Me and Chad

          Top 5 Housing Markets for Retirees        

After working a lifetime to finally reach the lazy days of retirement, a homeowner is more than likely looking to downsize and move somewhere more suitable to their new lifestyle. To help retirees looking for their next place to call home, Zumper, a company specializing in apartment and home rentals, recently published a study revealing ...

The post Top 5 Housing Markets for Retirees appeared first on theMReport.com.

          Business skills 6/7 to #GoPro in #DirectSales #NetworkMarketing Get Your New Team started http://JackieUlmer.com/233 #Podcast        

Facebook is Still Your Number One Social Media Platform for Direct Sales 

You’re Listening to the Street Smart Wealth Podcast, show 268. Some people will tell you that Facebook is dead for Direct Sales and Network Marketing. That everyone has moved on to Snapchat and Instagram. Is this true? It’s neither true or false, and here is why Facebook is Still Your Number One Social Media Platform for Direct Sales. 

Need some coaching to move you forward? My one on one and inner circle programs are LIVE! Are you looking for coaching to be successful in your Network Marketing business? Want to also learn how to generate your own leads online? My Inner Circle Coaching Program may be just what you need. Or, maybe it's one on one coaching. Learn more about both at StreetSmartWealth.com/coach 

And, DirectSalesBootcamp.com is open! 

Check the podcast archives on the blog at JackieUlmer.com for previous episodes if you missed any or are new to the show. 

Facebook is Still Your Number One Social Media Platform for Direct Sales 

I’m deviating a little from the topic I have been so focused on lately which is mindset, and there is a reason. 

When I started this series, I mentioned BE, DO and HAVE as the key components to success in your Network Marketing business. We have covered much of the BE - who do you want to BE in network marketing? Who do you want to BE in life? Where is your business ultimately going to take you, beyond the STUFF and process of building? 

As we begin to move into HOW, things should be showing up for you. Go back and listen to the show archives, shows, 264-267 and I’ll have links in the shown notes. 

Get your mindset straight on who you want to BE and what we are becoming. As you do this, your mind is going to begin to give you downloads on what you will DO to create this. 

Pay attention to this. 

Facebook and Social Media will be a big part of this, most likely. And Facebook really expands your ability to attract and allow the right people into your business who are aligned with you, your mission and your goals. 

It’s universal law and principal and it must happen. 

I’ve shared my story of taking my business online before. The internet fell into place for me because I had become very aligned with my vision for my life and who I wanted to become. But, I was struggling with making it happen. 

I stayed committed though and things began showing up. 

I started learning the internet. Why? Because I was being guided to do this. 

Today, I am being guided to build my business through my Facebook business page, and Facebook Live, Youtube, my Blog and even some offline networking and in home events. 

And, I am paying attention.  

So, let’s focus on Facebook. 

It’s dominated by women, FYI, which of course is perfect for me and my business. Over 1 billion daily active users. Does that sound dead to you? 

EVERY single day, someone in your exact target audience, who may have been saying no yesterday is saying YES today. Why? Something changed in their life. Downsized, death in the family, illness, birth, relocation, frustration, whatever. It’s happened.  

When you stay consistent on Facebook, sharing your message and your vision, you will attract those right people to you! 

Get my guide to shortcut things - http://JackieUlmer.com/fbforbiz 

Here are some ways to use Facebook to attract your right prospects. 

First, create a Facebook business page. This is your “store” on Facebook and the first and easiest place to take people to learn more about you and what you do. Brand yourself and your company and create engaging content and videos. Create custom photo albums that you can easily guide a prospect to, online or offline, to learn more and share your products. And, the business. 

Create a Facebook group for customers and would be customers. Teach, entertain and educate. Notice I didn’t say sell. This is the best way to sell. People will buy when they are given a solid reason. Build trust through education and entertainment. 

Never EVER add someone to a group without their permission. Ask them first and if they say yes, add them. Or give them the link directly after you ask and they say yes. 

Videos are an awesome way to do this and the internet, and facebook love video. Especially live video. Tweet me or message me if you want to see how I am using this in my own business. 

Through your business page and groups you can host events, and events are a great way to expand your message even further. 

Did you know that events you host on a Facebook business page get picked up by Google? Think about powerful keywords when you do this and make it count! 

What about your personal profile or Timeline? Should you be sharing there? 

YES, but in a careful and well played way! 

Post selfies and photos of your family and friends using your products. Make the text that accompanies these fun and light hearted, and not a sales pitch. 

Give a call to action in the text area that takes them to a VIP group or your Facebook Business Page. 

Use the 80/20 rule, with only 20% of your content at the MOST about your business. 

Engage and reach out to those who comment and like, but do it privately. You can comment back or like when they comment, but don’t pitch them publicly.  

I cover how to do this in depth in my Facebook for Direct Sales guide. 

So, you may be asking, do you need all three? A personal profile, a business page and a group? 

YES, and they all serve their own purpose and give you ultimately many ways for multiple exposure. 

Learn more on all of this and how to be more effective - 


And, if you want a fabulous tool to preschedule and store your posts so you can set it up once a week and go about your other business, check out http://JackieUlmer.com/cinch - and use the code CSfree for your first month free while you test it out. 

You can learn more about my new why and vision at the http://100WealthyWomen.com project! 

I LOVE and appreciate reviews! 

Go to JackieUlmer.com/itunes or JackieUlmer.com/stitcher to leave your review and be entered into a drawing for a free month of coaching. 

Show notes http://JackieUlmer.com/268 

I really do want to hear from you. This world and business needs more connection! Do you have a question or comment for me? Feedback for the show? 

Tweet me - @jackieulmer let me know what's on your mind. I'll respond! 

and if you have a question for the show, add the hashtag #JackieUlmer 

or, ask them at JackieUlmer.com/question and include a link to your blog for a link back! 

Has this been helpful? I would REALLY appreciate it if you would rate the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or wherever you listen. 

Just go to http://JackieUlmer.com/iTunes - click to view in iTunes and you’ll see the link to reviews 

And, share the link with friends and team partners! 

On Stitcher - 


Until next time - remember this - Hesitation Never Cashed a Check!

          Ice Breakers for Network Marketing Conversations        

Your Listening to the Street Smart Wealth Podcast, show 97



One of the biggest areas of struggle for some people is knowing what to say when they first start a network marketing business. From starting with that warm market list, to talking to strangers we meet while out and about - knowing what to say will give you the confidence to crack open that door and have much more success in your business.


We’ll be covering some ice breakers and how to get the conversation started on today’s show.


Welcome to the show! 


Is this your first time listening, or have you listened for a while? Currently, the show goes live twice a week, Monday’s and Thursday’s, with tips, tricks, solid concepts and interview from top income earners.


Send me a tweet - @jackieulmer and let me know where you are when you listen and what your big takeaway is from the show!




We’ll cover how to get the conversation started with people you know, and people you don’t know today, and most specifically how to do it in a way that creates interest and puts everyone at ease.


You can find more in my training program - StreetSmartScripts.com 


IF you want even more coaching and insights on how to become a true Network Marketing professional, earning that gangster income, consider joining my coaching community! We cover everything A-Z on Network Marketing and A-Z on Social Media, and how to set up an online marketing system so YOU become the hunted and not the hunter! In other words, people come to YOU, pre-sold on network marketing and pre-sold on a business. Learn more -





Ice Breakers for Talking to Others About Network Marketing




Making your list.

What to say to warm market and life styling!

Building rapport

Asking for Referrals



Here is my mantra about it - Relax, Have Fun, Detach from the outcome! Your JOB is to notify and stay in touch. That's it. The more people you notify and keep in touch with, the faster your business will grow.


I know, I hear this all of the time - ”My family and friends are different; people are different where I live; I'm going to recruit cold market first and then I'll let my warm market know.” Sound familiar? Don't make this mistake.


Just know how to contact as a professional and watch your business soar.


Warm Market


Get started with your list. Get it out of your head and onto paper.


Develop your success language “script!”


What was it that made you get out your credit card and sign up? Think about that and develop 2 or 3 sentences that flow easily for you when speaking to someone.


Think about your reasons; which could be:

Downsized and looking for the right job.

Disability that is forcing you to develop a career from home.

Want to be home with children.

Need to diversity income, due to economy.

Retired, looking for something fun to create income.

Entrepreneur, and excited about what this company offers.


Why did you join? What are you expecting to get out of it? Why are you contacting them?


I’ve launched a new business and I am looking for some feedback. I have wanted to get out of corporate America and home with the kids for a long time, and believe I have found something that is going to allow me to do that. I am calling you because….


You have strong business skills.

I admire your professionalism.

You know a lot of people and probably have some great ideas.


Make it a legitimate compliment.


The power in “Because.”


I’m working on a business project. I’m in a hurry, and have a quick question for you….


This sentence will work whether you are asking them to look at the product; inviting them to take a look at the opportunity; inviting them to a hotel meeting, etc.


"I don't know if you would be open to this but..." The word "open" is more effective than “interested” because everyone likes to think they are at least " open" to things!


Now, you add in what fits for YOU based on what you are sharing.


Build Rapport


If you are specifically calling about the business, get that on the table and also build rapport -

“Hey Suzy, I’m calling today with a business question to ask you and would also love to catch up, is now a good time?”


Now it’s okay to ask some simple questions that you both relate to, such as about the family and such, before diving in. Spend a few minutes and then YOU be the one to move the conversation to business.


The reason I called today Suzy, is that I have been working on a new business project for the last few months. I work with a lot of women who have left corporate America to work with this company and I know you have mentioned for a long time that you would love to leave your job. Would you have about 15-20 minutes some time soon that I could share some details with you? I think it could be a fit for you, but that’s something only you can decide.


Don’t be afraid to say the name of your company -


What do you know about a company called XYZ?


They will either say - nothing, what is it? Or, they will say - I’ve heard of it.


Either way is good, have your plan ready for what to say next.



If I, would you…


Don’t blow it and try to explain it yourself. 

Know your tools and know your system that you will take them through. Don’t get bogged down with system. It typically consists of some format of the following -


Contact and invitation.

Tool you will use to expose - DVD, Webinar, Website Video, one on one, home meeting, hotel meeting.


Caution on Hotel meetings and events - this work BEST as a second look.


Ask for decision. Scale of 1 - 10? What would it take to get you to a ten? What do you need to know? Listen…


Schedule next exposure/follow up. Never leave one exposure without a next appointment schedule, and be consistent in your follow up.


What happens when it drags on? Give the “Ball in your court” message, conversation.




We all meet people all of the time, as we are out living our day to day lives! 


Think about - Waiters, service staff, sales clerks at retail outlets, cleaners, grocery, nail tech, hairdresser, post office, etc.


Be prepared with a business card, a compliment and a question -


“Hey, you did a great job serving me today and I appreciate it. Have you ever heard of XYZ company? (It doesn’t matter if it’s yes or no.) Great, we are expanding in this area and are looking for people who are fun, motivated, outgoing.,, people just like you. I know you are busy at work now, but would you be interested in learning a little more at a later time? Great, do you have a card or can you jot down a good number and time for me to call and give you some details?”


We also meet people at other events such as -


Kids sporting and activities


Social Events and Parties


Set a goal to meet people and LISTEN for FORM.


You meet someone; they are a stranger, you strike up a conversation with general questions – how about this weather we are having; what do you do? Etc.



Always use a no or any type of hesitancy to ask for referrals.

Are you open to looking?



Reply: "That's great, thank you for your honesty. Who are three people you know who would be interested in making money on the side?"


Always ask for referrals!  Word it just like that for maximum power.



We cover much, much more on ice breakers for starting the conversation; how to share the success stories of other’s in a similar profession to create interest; what to do when you’ve been in more than one company in the past and contacted them; how to move from the product to the business; and more in StreetSmartScripts.com


Objections, included as well.





Know your “system.”


Make your list - have you done that?


Develop your “pitch!”


Start calling and have fun!


Go out to dinner, shopping and out and about and start practicing talking to people about your business!


iTunes reviews shout out!



Mobile Jazzman - Outstanding. Jackie, I want to do business with you. This podcast is informative and practical. Jackie, you are a gifted teacher and coach, what a great use of this podcast.


Go to JackieUlmer.com/itunes to leave your review and be entered into a drawing for a free month of coaching





My one on one coaching is about to re-open, so stay tuned for those details! I’m super excited to get back into the trenches with you!



Show notes http://JackieUlmer.com/097  



I really do want to hear from you. This world and business needs more connection! Do you have a question or comment for me? Feedback for the show?


Tweet me - @jackieulmer let me know what's on your mind. I'll respond!


and if you have a question for the show, add the hashtag #JackieUlmer


or, ask them at JackieUlmer.com/question and include a link to your blog for a link back!


Has this been helpful? I would REALLY appreciate it if you would rate the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or wherever you listen.


Just go to  JackieUlmer.com/iTunes - click to view in iTunes and you’ll see the link to reviews


And, share the link with friends and team partners!


On Stitcher -





Until next time - remember this - Hesitation Never Cashed a Check!




Good luck in your business!

          Saturation in Network Marketing        

Your Listening to the Street Smart Wealth Podcast, show 93


Have you ever felt like - oh no, I’ve joined this fabulous network marketing or direct sales company, but it’s saturated….everyone already is using the products, heard of it or building the business. uhhh. nooooo, let’s chat about this a bit….


Welcome to the show! 


I am often asked about the issue of saturation, both about a company, its products and on Social Media. And, a real key to this is the Social Media piece.

I am going to share some thoughts on this topic and always love answering your questions.


IF you want even more coaching and insights on how to deal with these types of issues, consider joining my coaching community! We cover everything A-Z on Network Marketing and A-Z on Social Media, and how to set up an online marketing system so YOU become the hunted and not the hunter! In other words, people come to YOU, pre-sold on network marketing and pre-sold on a business. Learn more -




Is Saturation a problem in Network Marketing and Social Media?


To answer this, I'm going to share a few stories and analogies.


The whole issue of saturation is a complete myth. It just is non existent.


Think of household brand names you know right now. And, think of more household name network marketing and direct sales companies and products you know of. Look around your home.


How many products from any companies that come to mind do you see?


When I shop at my local Target; Barnes and Noble; Pier 1 shopping center, there are 4 Starbucks within that oneintersection. There is one in the Target store; one in Barnes and Noble; a stand alone in the food court area of the shopping center, and across the street, where the Marshall's and JoAnn's stores are, there is another stand alone Starbucks store. It's located in Redlands, California, with a population of under 75,000 people.


A few years back, that well known household name, Starbucks  closed quite a few stores that weren't doing so well, and yet all 4 of these stores in my small intersection of the world remain open. And, each one hits a different demographic and "timing" for its customers.

Fresno, California, with a population of around 500,000 had 7 top earning representatives from my first company, back in the 90s.

Now, compare that to the Internet. We know that over 1.5 billion people are on Facebook. There are nearly 2 billion internet users worldwide.

Remember that success in sponsoring into your business is based on a few key components:

Timing of the prospect. I could not have been less interested in Network Marketing when it was first presented to me. Fast forward 15 months; home with a new baby and I want to make sure I never have to go back to work outside of my home. My timing was perfect at that moment and I joined.

You and the relationship you have with the prospect. People join people. Far too few people remember that online. They think that Social Media is about "spamming" everyone with their opportunity; throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks.

The opportunity you offer – make sure you have something solid, both in products and compensation plan; support and training, etc.

There are some other factors sometimes, but these sum up the bulk of what's important.

There are many ways to build a solid business and the internet is just one tool in your tool box. Everyone should start with at least letting their warm market know about what they are doing. You don't have to ask them to join or buy, just let them know and ask them to keep you in mind.

From there, be aware of people and situation as you are out and about and if the timing is right, have an idea of what you will say and give to someone you meet so you can contact them later and see if they might be a viable candidate.

Offline networking groups and meet-ups can be a great place to connect with people; develop a relationship and then see, over time, if there might be a business fit together.

Now, we move to the internet and Social Media. Again, a great tool and a MASSIVE ocean of potential prospects.

The power in Social Media is that you have the ability to leverage your time and efforts in a way that "stays" out there. What I mean is this: if you attend the Tuesday business meeting and invite a few guests and no one comes, that time is lost to you forever in terms of showing your business to someone or making a connection.

However, if you write a valuable article about the skills needed for network marketing; or how to give an effective business overview; that content is viewable online from the time it is posted until removed. A viable candidate for your business can find it at any time; become interested in you and click to learn more about your business. This prospect may not have been looking for a business 6 months ago, but time and circumstances have changed and now it's a different ball game.

The secret to success in sponsoring online is in developing your "brand or message"; building relationships with others where your brand becomes obvious; and seeing where those relationships take you over time. It involves consistency and commitment to showing up and interacting with your target audience.

Join groups and forums where you can associate with like-minded people. "Attend" regularly, just like you would you local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Always be asking "what can I contribute here?" Get to know people and be genuinely interested.

Over time, you'll begin to attract your right audience and sponsor some into your business.

Good luck and see you out there!






Expand your contacts on Social Media so that you are not just friends with people already in your company!


Do your own survey - ask friends and acquaintances, co-workers - have you ever heard of XYZ company? And, what do you know about them?


Develop your own way of handling this when someone says they have heard of the company - Wow, that’s fantastic, so have you experienced the products already then?


Remember that every day - new people turn 18, graduate college, become a parent, get downsized and any number of things that will take them to the point of looking for a business.



iTunes reviews shout out!


Use Your Words Kathy Kendrick - I have been listening to Jackie for about 8 months now on a regular basis. Her information is always very straightforward and relevant. I am excited that she now has regular podcasts that I can subscribe to so I font miss a thing. Her training has helped my business so much. She is very generous with her information.


Go to JackieUlmer.com/itunes to leave your review and be entered into a drawing for a free month of coaching




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Mastermind tickets and event -I have discounted tickets available - nearly $100 off regular price -




Show notes http://JackieUlmer.com/093 



I really do want to hear from you. This world and business needs more connection! Do you have a question or comment for me? Feedback for the show?


Tweet me - @jackieulmer let me know what's on your mind. I'll respond!


and if you have a question for the show, add the hashtag #JackieUlmer


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Until next time - remember this - Hesitation Never Cashed a Check!



Good luck in your business!



          QA006 How Do I Sponsor People On Facebook        

Hey, it’s Jackie Ulmer and welcome this Q and A edition of the Street Smart Wealth, Profit in Your PJs Podcast, where I answer your burning questions and get you on your way to the Network Marketing Hall of Fame. 


Welcome to Episode QA006.





Did you know that Social Media Mastery BackStage Pass coaching is now open? Visit SocialMediaBackstagePass.com for details.



Today’s question is….


How do I GET PEOPLE on Facebook?






Good question because everyone wants to know how to use that phenomenal tool called the internet to find people who are already looking for a business? Right?


And they are out there, to the tune of over 3 million people a day who go to google and start searching. That doesn’t even include Facebook!


Here is the thing to remember about Facebook and Google and how they are different.


Google is a search engine; a place people go specifically with the intent of finding something, something they are looking for.


They sit down, they type in a word, or most often, a keyword phrase such as - how do I start a business from home.


Facebook is a social site where people go to hangout, to party, to reconnect, to catch up, to kill time, and so on.


How many people a day do you think go to Facebook and type in - how do I start a business from home?


Probably very few to none!


Does that mean people on Facebook aren’t looking? Well, many of them ARE, so the key is to become attractive in their eyes. and create enough curiosity to have them click to know more.


So, it starts with creating an attractive, power profile. This is your prime real estate on Faceook. Your headshot, profile picture, your cover photo, your ABOUT  section, work and education, basic info and contact info. Keep in mind that the groups you belong to, movies you’ve watched, places you’ve been and so on are also visible.


Use that space to make yourself compelling.


Then, use your status updates and how you engage with others the same way.


Practice FORM on Facebook - Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money - what do you see other’s sharing about their lives, jobs, and where they might want to make changes? When you see something, reach out and engage, but do so over time. Don’t spam with a link, engage with a question.


“Hi Susan. I recently saw your status update about being downsized from your job and wanted to reach out. I work with several people who went through the same thing, and decided to head down the entrepreneurial path instead of looking for a job, and it has worked out well for them. They can work from home, or anywhere and no more glass ceilings. I don’t know if it would be right for you, but you should probably decide that for yourself. Would that be something you might be interested in hearing more about?


Do the same for cities and areas where you want to expand your business or where your company might be having an event, and reach out.


But, ask engaging questions and NEVER just spam them with a link or information until they specifically say yes to learning more. Then, and ONLY then do you play your cards.


More information on this can be found at JackieUlmer.com/fbforbiz



Don’t forget about groups and pages, which are a great way to expand yourself out of your friend’s list and gain exposure from a whole new audience.


Also, eliminate the phrase - get people - from your vocabulary and even your thoughts. We aren’t out to “get anyone” but rather to create a win win with those we encounter.


Whatever you do, don’t post your opportunity link, or calls on your profile, hoping that you’ll catch a few people interested. You might, but the chances that you will repel others is much greater. 


Remember that you are coaching people every step of the way on how they will build a business. And, some who say no now will be interested later. But if you have turned them off NOW, and they have blocked you from their newsfeed, you’ll never have the chance to capture them when their life situation changes and they become interested.


If they see you doing something that doesn’t appeal to them, they may think that will be required of them to be successful. And, for now, they won’t be interested.


Just like you wouldn’t walk into a party with a megaphone shouting out to everyone about your business, don’t do it on social media. It brings down the integrity of not only you, your company, but also out entire profession.


Facebook is a fantastic sponsoring pool, when done right!


Good luck out there



Do you have a question? Ask it at JackieUlmer.com/questions


Hey, if you’re looking for 8 easy steps to create and build your network marketing business online then Grab the free guide over at ProfitInYourPjsNow.com 


Until next time - remember this - Hesitation Never Cashed a Check!


          Wow I have really been wacky this past 6 ...        
Wow I have really been wacky this past 6 week challenge. Soon I hope to rein myself back in before too much damage has been done. We have downsized from 5 kids to 1 and we have really been enjoying him play baseball and it has gotten easier and easier to eat out and of course that leads to poor eating habits, which leads to tiredness, which leads to lack of excercise...... I hope everyone else is staying on track. Congrats to everyone who put out all their efforts on this challenge. I hope everyone is doing well. Talk to you guys soon. I really MISS you guys. Cynthia
          Partnering Qualitatitive and Quantitative Methods in Environmental Anthropology        
This is from a presentation I gave at the 2008 SfAA meetings for a session entitled "Methods Madness."

Partnering Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Environmental Research
Urban Environmentalism in the Calumet Region of Chicago

Urban Environmentalism

Local level environmental activism in an ethnically mixed working class region of Chicago – how are the networks of activism formed and maintained; when and where, if at all, these local-level groups mix; and why they don’t join together on issues of common interest (as stakeholders in the environmental health of the region); how to encourage broader activism.

Further delineating the behavioral factors that contribute to maintaining network boundaries among ethnic groups; core environmental attitudes and interests among different social groups, particularly which institutional resources they use to carry out their goals (toxic waste clean up, industrial emissions, clean water, economic development, etc.).

“Not Good At Partnering?”
Original project
SfAA/EPA Technical fellowship
EPA wanted to know what a ‘legitimate’ community representative was
The “take me to your leader” approach to community outreach
Concern that minority groups were not involved with the EPA
“Communities are too busy with lack of jobs, gangs, drugs, to be interested in environmental issues.”

Why Anthropologists?
Tracing emergent relationships and beliefs that are so significant in political interactions
Often not ‘discursive knowledge’ – not easily consciously expressed
Our Motto: “When you have fuzzy data, you need a fuzzy scientist.”

Why Quantitative Methods?
Policy significance
In a diverse urban setting, numbers speak
Assuring policy-makers that analysis is based on a representative portion of a politically significant population

Goals of the Project
Training students in a mixed methods – the method to suit the problem
Training local people in methods for community service and environmental activism
Calumet Higher Education Environmental Ed Initiative, a consortium for science education in NW Indiana/SE Chicago
Facilitating interdisciplinary cooperation in researching environmental sciences (GCC!)

Goals of the Project
Policy & Education @ Chicago State University
Providing training, data, and tools for analysis to community activists
Fred Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center
Calumet Environmental Resource Center
Putting research and analytical tools in the hands of community activists
When community leaders take their plans to government agencies, they need solid research to support their plans

Research Goals of the Project
Research Topic
Explore the ethnic boundaries enacted/expressed in separation of White Ethnic and African-American community organizations and environmental groups
The everyday practice of difference

Use of Public Space
From Interviews: Original project noted people of different ethnic groups used space differently
Different activities, durations, and spatial and temporal segregation of public spaces

Debates about ‘ownership’ and ‘appropriate use’ of public space are flashpoints in ethnic relations
Definitions of public/private space
Neighborhoods and their parks as extension of domestic space
Issues re: freedom of access/civil rights.
Such green space is often urban people’s main point of contact with ‘the environment’ and is seen as environmental activists as key in encouraging greater interest in ‘greening’ Chicago.

Hypothesis re: Use of Parks
There is a significant difference in use of parks based on ethnicity
Will avoid class at this time as most local people are working and lower middle class

Instantaneous scan sampling based on activity
At set times, follow people on entry to park and record activity as soon as it is clear what they are doing.
Randomized sampling in terms of time, as time of day is a key issue; also need to consider season.
Do across school semester, but then must consider inter-observer agreement if different groups of students collect data over time
Difficulties: park is spread out; age, gender, and race of observer/observed; safety issues for observers
With sufficient # of observations, should be able to determine duration
Training and Education
Useful in giving students ability to gain knowledge, become ‘experts,’ understand research, etc.
Taking control of the production of scientific knowledge / and learning to be scientists …

Meetings & Networks
In diverse urban settings where family/home and work are separated, meetings become constitutive of community (Eve Pinsker)
We observed very different networks of meetings
Original method: snowball sampling
First entry point: Lake Calumet Ecosystem Partnership, carried us into predominantly white ethnic groups
Re-start for entry into Black networks
Role of “brokers” – social positionality congruent with info between multi-group (govt agency) levels and neighborhoods
White ethnic – retired, self-employed, laid off
African-American – ‘welfare mothers,’ ‘unemployable’ men
Each network has links to different sets of agencies
White ethnic – national, regional, and governmental environmental groups
African-American – civil rights groups and govt health agencies

Research Goals
Results for activism, connections with government agencies
White Ethnic more tied into and skilled at negotiating with regional and national environmental organizations and EPA
Activists: teachers, retired, self-employed, downsized (underemployed)
African-American ties with county/state health centers, local non-profits
Activists: “Welfare mothers,” young men unable to get regular employment

That different settings/atmospheres affect communication in multi-group meetings; African-American and White Ethnic are listened to differentially in settings that are mediated by upper middle class professionals and experts
Goal is to see who gets to speak, when, what reactions are, etc., to trace out cultural conflict and power relations as expressed in policy oriented meetings. Whose view gets validated and reinforced, and whose is cut out, and how?
Attention sampling
Observe speaker (demographic characteristics), who listens (length of time of looking at speaker), length of time speaking, interruption
Note of type of meeting
Location / setting
Organizer – who is at the front of the room?
Analysis: Is there a significant difference in attention paid to speakers based on identity of speaker and meeting setting?

Education & Training
Accessible to students
Different sort of behavioral observation experience from scan sampling @ parks
Experience in attending large multi-group meetings (umbrella organizations, government agencies)

Values, Beliefs
Observation and interviews showed different ways of talking about the environment and how people saw themselves in it
White Ethnic working and middle class
Discourse of rehabilitating their place in the interests of community development (regaining strong economic base)
Pride of place
Economic and social vibrancy
African-American working and lower middle class
Physical health, individual control
Community solidarity, community development
Civil rights (environmental justice)

“Hypothesis” (not there yet)
Is there a difference? What is it?
Interviews with community activists on their work, their perception of their environment, how they came to this form of activism, why it is important, desired end goals
Generally open-ended
Analyze the texts for key phrases
‘Discourse’ analysis – how often words/phrases are used and what other words/phrases they are in association with
Secondary: Main focus is members of different ethnic groups, but at another time might be useful to carry out similar set with ‘economic growth’ oriented activists? That is, specialist groups with different sorts of interests in environmental issues
Developers, aldermen, business owners
Extract important or controversial or opposing ideas from interview transcripts, continue to sort into a core of statements
Use this as basis of “fixed form survey” Cf. Kempton et al. (mapping from semi-structured interviews to corresponding survey questions)
Survey questions based on these statements in various forms
Strong, weak, opposite
Agree or disagree?
Which groups to survey?
Endless supply: academics, church-goers, women at Altgeld Gardens, fishermen, people involved in “Good Neighbor Dialogues,” developers, small businessmen, former steel workers (union lodge on 110th), neighborhood organizations
Focus, though, on community organizations

Goal is to determine agreement among individuals and groups – do data fit a cultural consensus model?
Is there evidence of shared knowledge within each group? (That agreement reflects shared knowledge.)
Is there evidence, therefore, of a common culture within these groups?
Provisionally assume there is, but be prepared for heterogeneity!
What patterns of shared cultural knowledge arise?

Methods / Training & Education
Interviews and analysis of interviews
This will be more intensive for students

Also consider: Cultural domain analysis
Free-listing, pile sorting
At entry level, this could be accessible to students and for informants
Especially as we move into study of non-specialist informants

Initial observation: Differences in ways environmental activism took place – interests, issues, partners

The PowerPoint looked better. As you can see, this is a work in progress.
          2006 Idiot Express        
The Idiot Report...... .. Number One Idiot of 2006 I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the poison control center. Today, this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter into the hospital. She calmed down and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to e at in order to kill the ants. I told her that she better bring her daughter into the emergency room right away. Here's your sign, lady. Wear it with pride. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~ Number Two Idiot of 2006 Early this year, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing. Here's your sign, guys. Don't get it wet; the paint might run. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ Number Three Idiot of 2006 A man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the Branch and wrote this, "Put all your muny in this bag." While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller's window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to the Wells Fargo Bank. After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit sli p or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, "OK" and left. He was arrested a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America. Don't bother with this guy's sign. He probably couldn't read it anyway. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ Number Four Idiot of 2006 A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that; measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture, this time of handcuffs. He immediately mailed in his $40. Wise guy........ but you still get a sign ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ Number Five Idiot of 2006 A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, "Because I don't believe you are over 21." The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because she didn't believe him. At this point, the robber took his driver's license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and she put the Scotch in the bag. The robber then ran from the store with his loot. The cashier prom ptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he got off the license. They arrested the robber two hours later. This guy definitely needs a sign. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ Idiot Number Six of 2006 A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him. This guy doesn't even deserve a sign ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ Idiot Number Seven of 20056 Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back knocking him unconscious. It seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape. Yep, Here's your sign (Please note that all of the above people are allowed to vote) IDIOTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: I live in a semi-rural area. (probably Weyauwega, Wisconsin) We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: "Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! - I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore." From Kingman, KS ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ IDIOTS IN FOOD SERVICE: My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce. He was a Chef? Yep...From Kansas City! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ IDIOT SIGHTING: I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, and "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask." Happened in Birmingham, Ala. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ IDIOT SIGHTING: The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?!" She was a probation officer in Wichita, KS ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ IDIOT SIGHTING: At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear co-worker. She was leaving the company due to" downsizing." Our manager commented cheerfully, "This is fun. We should do this more often." Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the- headlights stare. This was a bunch at Texas Instruments. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ IDIOT SIGHTING: I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her own life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office no less. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ IDIOT SIGHTING: When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I announced to the technician, "its open!" His reply, "I know - I already got that side" This was at the CHEVY dealership in Canton, Mississippi! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ STAY ALERT! They walk among us.........and they REPRODUCE... !!!
          Information Based Services        
You could turn your ability to gather information into a business. You may be thinking of starting a business as an information broker known also as Information Brokering business one of the many in the information based services industry.

For those of you considering Information Brokering (IB) as a new career, you will need to do some research about the field before deciding whether to begin an IB business. Starting an IB business requires investing time and dollars for business development. For example, many IBs sign on to various online database vendors and commit to online database training, collections of documentation, and a substantial learning curve.

Or, you may decide to pursue seminars or educational programs to learn how to become an information broker. Some prospective IBs decide that going to graduate school to obtain a masters degree in library and information science or a field of specialization is important. Becoming an IB can also mean investing in new hardware and software. You may also decide to launch a sophisticated marketing program, which often involves significant up-front costs.

To facilitate some of your research efforts, Hineni Media through Light Your Life, is an experienced information broker, author, and teacher answers some frequently asked questions about the field of information brokering. HM recently developed an mentoring program which she teaches about here.


Information brokering is a popular new field that is experiencing attention. Although a few information brokers began their businesses some 20 twenty years ago, Ellen Bates is considered the pioneer. Only during the past 10 years or so did the information explosion has occurred, creating the growth in online databases, personal computers and a telecommunications technology with high speed modems that has evolved to a point where all kinds of information can be brought right into your own office and most importantly into your home office. In addition to the increasing popularity for information brokering as a career, there is a growing market for information brokers. Information is now an essential commodity. Major trends in both society and the economy are paving the way for the information brokering profession.

As a result of the recent and continuing information explosion, for example, many individuals in business find themselves affected by "information overload." They require the help of information brokers who find and filter needed data quickly. Other trends demonstrate the market for information brokering: in corporate downsizing, for example, many people who have lost jobs are the same people who will wind up being hired to provide consulting or other services such as information brokering to the very corporation who let them go.

Nevertheless, the market is still a missionary market in most cases. That means you must identify clients and educate them. You need to tell prospective clients, through skillful marketing, what services you have to offer and how the client will benefit from these services. You need to market and sell.


1. The ability to define and implement goals. Being an "idea" person is not enough. You must be able to follow-through.

2. An inclination to take risks, at least calculated risks.

3. An outgoing personality is beneficial.

4. You must be open to new ideas and potential business relationships. The trait of "being open" can bring you many business opportunities.

5. You must be creative in business development ideas to grow your business.

6. The four D's - Determination, Discipline, Dedication, Drive.


Information Brokering requires having or learning how to do some of the following:

1. Operate a small business

2. Market and sell your services

3. Develop skills in research so you will know where and how to find information.

4. Be able to assist your clients in finding solutions through the use of information.

Liking research and being good at it, being comfortable with computers, even being fairly good at spelling and typing are important skills. The key, to success in information brokering, however, centers on an ability to market your business and develop a client base.


If one lacks some of the needed skills, there are ways to compensate. For example, you can team up or form strategic alliances with others, or hire or subcontract parts of your work to those with applicable skills.


There are many possibilities with regard to services you can offer. Some specialize in patent, chemical, legal or public records research. Others know about specific industries such as telecommunications or aviation. Some information professionals do library consulting, document delivery, indexing, or database design. Some IBs combine information brokering with other services they offer. For example, some of my students who have existing freelance businesses in computer or other types of consulting, technical writing, journalism, or translation services have expanded their services by offering information brokering services to existing clients.

Many IBs are generalists and provide all kinds of information. Being a generalist is fine but remember you cannot market generally You must target particular markets.


Many people begin as part-timers and build their client base slowly, sometimes taking a couple of years or more before they are ready to go at it full time.

Some people start by moonlighting. Most of your time in the beginning focuses on marketing and business development. You can build the business slowly while generating income from other sources and in some situations even subsidize your IB business development.

At some point, however, most IBs find that it is logistically difficult to operate part-time. Clients demand that an IB be available throughout the day; it may be stressful to split yourself between different environments. How you choose to develop and operate your business can depend on your ability to adapt yourself to circumstances.


An IB working from home can do online research as a key method for developing a home business. You can either learn how to do online research or you can subcontract jobs to other information brokers. Some information brokers decide that they are not interested in doing their own online searching and instead become "marketeers" for their business by bringing in new clients. Other information brokers take classes in basic online training and develop a passion for online research. There is a considerable learning curve for using online databases efficiently and cost-effectively . Online searching is both an acquired technical skill and an art. Prospective information brokers will need to factor in the learning curve time as part of an investment in his/her business.

Another aspect of the learning curve has to do with pricing your services and estimating prices for online databases in particular. Estimating online costs is a skill you develop over time as you learn how to do online research. Pricing is addressed in detail during the mentoring program.


Since the market is wide open, the possibilities and opportunities are great. In reality, it takes time to build a client base. IBs will gross anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 or more for a one-person business, once established.

How well you do depends on how much time you spend, whether you are capable of building a business profitably and your long-term commitment to your business. A profitable business depends on you and your business skills. The larger incomes are a result of a long-term investment in your business.


Personal satisfactions include the opportunity to make a good living and new and exciting daily challenges. For those who love the idea of working at home, information brokering offers a way to reach out to clients and colleagues throughout the world while maintaining a home-based business.


How fast you create an IB business depends on several factors including:

1. How much time and/or money you put into the process.

2. Whether you perceive and identify potential sales opportunities and then follow-through on such opportunities.


A mentoring program has been established by Hineni Media  Workshops
was created to train new information brokers. This program is also available and
delivered via e-mail. The program covers many topics including market planning, marketing strategies, pricing and more.

Each program is tailored to an individual's particular interests, strengths and weaknesses on a one-to-one basis through electronic communications, assignments, review of assignments, etc.


Those who take the complete mentoring program will benefit by being taught by someone who has been in the information field for nearly 15 years and who has carved out a successful information brokering businesses during the past 10 years. Learning from a mentor's experience and broad-based knowledge will enhance chances for succeeding more quickly. Your success, is, however, also strongly dependent on your efforts and talents in the development of a small entrepreneurial business.

About the Author:
Mari Diaz is a free spirited entrepreneur and business owner committed to helping individuals discover personal and financial freedom through infopreneurship, online business, web-based business, information biz and membership sites. If you would like to learn more about setting up a membership site, contact me and also visit:

          Sidestepping Risks From Job Loss After Age 50        

When people in their 30s and 40s think about their earning trajectory through a normal retirement age, they should take into account the tendency for income growth to taper after age 40 in many fields, and the risks of unplanned early retirement, caused by health problems, corporate downsizing, or otherwise. Job loss after age 40 […]

The post Sidestepping Risks From Job Loss After Age 50 appeared first on Ruml + Bozell PLC.

          Starting with a Small Business        

At the rate that recession has been hitting us these days, no one is safe as far as being employed is concerned. In fact, if you are not careful or have been performing below par, chances are you may be among the millions of employees who have been laid off for due to corporate downsizing. Once that happens, finding another job or source of income may perhaps be the hardest thing to do especially if you are the bread winner of your family. So what are your options and how ca

          A Mid-Century Modern Bookcase         

My mother bought this bookcase sometime in the 1940's, I think. It was sitting in my parents living room for over 40 years before they downsized and gave it to me. I brought it to the shop because my apartment already has too much stuff but I liked having it around. In our former location I had an office and had room for the bookshelf and a need for a place for my tool books, but at our current location I've struggled to put it to good use.

I still love the bookcase but I admit it's now in the way.

What continues to charm me about the bookshelf? I'm old enough to remember Scandinavian modern BI -- that is, Before Ikea. I had a Wim & Karen bed. Blond wood, simple and elegant lines. Nowadays the Scandinavian look has been co-opted by Ikea - though to be fair Ikea has also rummaged extensively in Japanese and other nationalities' aesthetics - so much so that some people assumed that the pricey Wim & Karen furniture was Ikea's. But Ikea stuff never had the details of this bookcase.

I love the carved in recessed handles of the glass doors.

I love the glass top. Were the mod-century owners expected to put a highball glass on their bookcases? Of course. No wonder they needed a glass top.

Historically, this piece dates from the early days of "modern furniture". Unlike a modern piece, everything is solid. The shelves are pretty thick but chamfered at the bottom to give the appearance of a lighter design. That's a good trick and worth remembering. Since this is the early days the shelves, pins are turned metal, not stamped out.

I find the details at the bottom - a base that mimics the main carcass but is upside down, very interesting, and the large miters at the corners perfect for a peice that is modern in look but not really in construction.

The bookcase is in pretty good shape, albeit with a lot of nicks and dents. So it might need some refinishing. The glass is in very good shape and moves smoothly on its track, which of course is the key. If you are interested in having it for yourself, $199 or Best Offer takes it away. (Actually, you will need to take it away. We will not ship it though we will help you pack the glass for safe transit.) If it doesn't move in a week or two, off it goes to a charity thrift store and later into a new home of admirers.

In other news - this Saturday is my free sharpening class and on Saturday July 29th master luthier Ian Kelly has volunteered to come to the shop and Carving a Guitar Neck for us and anyone who want to see how it's done. Lutherie is one of the most interesting branches of woodworking where everything is a combination of science, craft, & sculpture. So that's going to be real exciting and it's free.

          Renault Megane RS é flagrado sem nenhuma camuflagem        
Novo Megane RS vaza em fotos publicadas no Facebook (Foto: Reprodução)


Eterna promessa para o mercado brasileiro, o Renault Megane RS está prestes a ganhar uma nova geração na Europa. Os flagras são cada vez mais frequentes, caso do material obtido pelo pessoal da comunidade francesa Virtuel.Car do Facebook. As imagens do hatch esportivo parecem ter sido feitas de dentro de uma das instalações da Renault, mas a revelação oficial deve vir em setembro no Salão de Frankfurt, onde o carro fará a sua estreia presencial diante do público.

Já dá para ver que o desenho será bem mais arrojado do que o apresentado pela versão civil do hatch. O RS tem faróis de neblina em leds que formam o emblema da Renault Sport, tal como os protótipos que rodam camuflados. A divisão também é referenciada na moldura em lâmina característica do para-choque dianteiro, algo presente também no Sandero RS nacional.

Visto de lado, o que mais chama atenção é o alargamento dos para-lamas, dotados de dutos de saída de ar comuns em modelos que precisam de soluções aerodinâmicas especiais para diminuir o turbilhonamento em altas velocidades e, de quebra, também dar aquela refrigerada no conjunto de freios.

Enormes extensores de carroceria abrigam as rodas largas e dutos de refrigeração (Foto: Reprodução)


A despeito da baixa qualidade das imagens, dá para notar que esse é um Megane RS de quatro portas, algo prático que se tornou cada vez mais comum entre os hot hatches europeus médios. É basicamente o mesmo estilo das imagens de patente vazadas em julho. O modelo francês já teve configurações de quatro portas no passado e não dava para esperar menos de um carro que deve enfrentar o Volkswagen Golf R não apenas em desempenho, como também em praticidade.

Kit aerodinâmico agressivo do novo Megane RS inclui difusor central (Foto: Reprodução)


O kit aerodinâmico contém saias baixinhas, que evidenciam a altura de rodagem bem reduzida. As rodas também podem ser admiradas de relance e os pneus prometem ser de alto desempenho, não esperamos menos que os Michelin Pilot Sport.

Atrás, os para-choques têm fendas nas laterais, enquanto um enorme extrator central funcional integra as saídas de escape. Completa o pacote um grande spoiler traseiro e a inscrição R.S. à direita da tampa do porta-malas.

Por ora, a Renault ainda não confirmou os dados mecânicos do RS. O motor poderia ser o 1.8 turbo de quatro cilindros e 258 cv usado no novo Alpine 110, esportivo concorrente do Porsche Cayman também feito pela Renault Sport. Mas a cavalaria deve ser maior, afinal, o Alpine tem cerca de 1.100 kg e o Megane deve pesar bem mais. O próprio pessoal do fabricante antecipou que a cavalaria deveria ficar em torno de 300 cv, lembrando que o 2.0 turbinado antigo chegou a 275 cv na versão Trophy.

Ao contrário do Ford Focus RS, que vem sempre com tração integral, o Megane RS deve continuar a enviar a força apenas para as rodas da frente. O câmbio ficará a cargo do manual de seis marchas ou o automático de dupla embreagem e sete velocidades com enormes borboletas na coluna de direção.

Renault divulga novas fotos do novo Megane RS camuflado (Foto: Divulgação)


O que nós já sabemos é que a dinâmica será ainda mais apurada e inclui novidades como as rodas traseiras esterçantes, sistema eletro-hidráulico batizado de 4Control. Quando esterçadas na mesma direção das rodas dianteiras, as traseiras ajudam a aumentar a velocidade e estabilidade em curvas de alta, mas podem virar no sentido contrário das frontais para diminuir o diâmetro de giro em manobras - como é no Porsche 911 Carrera 4S testado por Autoesporte.

Você pode dar uma olhadinha como funciona o mecanismo no vídeo da Renault Sport logo abaixo, onde o piloto de Fórmula 1 da Renaut, Nico Hülkenberg, fala um pouco sobre os protótipos. Vale a pena dar uma olhadinha no vídeo e ver o quanto o RS faz curvas.

Sem falar de uma opção mais purista de ajuste de suspensão e freios, um pacote Cup, perfeito para Track days. Tudo para cravar um novo recorde entre os hatches desta categoria no circuito de Nürburgring, onde a Honda, Volkswagen e outros tentam manter a coroa do segmento com o menor tempo possível.


          Downsize fuel bills - buy an SUV!        
It was easy for the (mainly electronic) media to jump on the figures released yesterday by the NZ Transport Agency about SUVs being the market's largest vehicle segment, and assume that the public was leaving big cars and opting for gas guzzlers instead.
          Going Tiny?        

When this tiny cabin made the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest a couple years ago, I saw it as the perfect hide away - a place to retreat from the world temporarily.   It was the first I had heard of the oncoming trend toward full-time tiny house living.  

Now that there are so many options for affordable, available small homes, I'm fascinated with the idea of downsizing.  I'm probably not ready for life with Hubs and two dogs in a house this small (or white), but I could learn to love the tiny house life...couldn't I?  The biggest attraction is simplicity.  

Less space requires less stuff.  Less stuff takes less time to clean and maintain.  Less time on housework means more time to do the things I enjoy.  But where?  Does my tiny home have room for a sewing machine or an artist's easel?  And what about my books?

One solution is to make use of outdoor living space.   Reading or hosting a dinner party on a patio or rooftop deck sound so inviting, but only in temperate weather - which happens approximately 30 days/year in Kansas and Nebraska.  Could I move to a state that doesn't have four distinct seasons?  

Speaking of less stuff, I have gone through my current home, which isn't exactly huge, and culled out everything I considered excess, but there's still a lot of stuff that isn't used daily.  I struggle to let go of the "good" dishes or the "good" table linens.   What do tiny-home owners do with Christmas decorations?  

Maybe my perspective on "stuff" is what really needs to be purged.  Maybe that al fresco dinner party would be just as enjoyable if served on the same dishes I use every day - or paper plates.  If I could remove the sentiment from objects - see them as tools to accomplish the necessities of life rather than having intrinsic value - the downsizing process would be easier.  

Living in a tiny home would be financially rewarding.  The cut in mortgage/rent, utilities, upkeep and insurance would make funds available for travel, charity and upgrading our remaining possessions.  If I only have space for dinnerware for 8, make them good quality and beautiful.  

Then there's the issue of guests . . . 

We probably won't start tiny-house hunting today, and "tiny" is relative - but it's an idea I can't completely escape.
          That's Progress!        

When I was a child, one of my favorite things was to visit the "Variety Store" while my mom was at the grocery store down the street.  Mom handed out three nickels to three little girls and we slowly perused the candy choices in the glass cabinet.  Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, Milky Way, maybe a chewy Bit-O-Honey, or M&M's.  Or how about licorice sticks, Tootsie Rolls and Bazooka Bubblegum - two for a penny.  The choices seemed infinite.

A few days ago, I browsed a convenience store candy aisle for a little treat with my gas fill-up.  The choices weren't infinite, they were overwhelming!  Snickers, Snickers Bites, Snickers Almond, Snickers Peanut Butter Squares, Snicker's Ice Cream Bars, Snickers Eggs, Snickers 2 Go, Snickers Fun Size, Snickers Miniatures, Snickers King Size.  And that was just one brand.

The same comparison can be made with television channels.  In the 60's and 70's we had four channels (if the weather was clear) - ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.  When we got married in the early 80's, we got cable and expanded our lineup to about twenty channels.  Today we have hundreds of channels.  The time required to sift through them all uses up all of our viewing time, so we usually just watch the same four or five channels.

Eating out used to mean visiting a locally-owned restaurant.  Today, every city has block after block of franchised eating choices - from burgers to steak to pizza to sushi.  Children no longer go home from school to play with the other kids in their neighborhood.  They choose from sports, martial arts, music,  gymnastics, dance and dozens of other activities.  The expansion of options also applies to gas stations, car manufacturers, and even beer.

I didn't need shelf after shelf of sweets at the convenience store.  To me, it was "noise".   The volume and pace of life has increased a hundred-fold in the last fifty years.  And so has the accompanying  exhaustion.  Stress relief has become a mammoth business. 

Ironically, one of the newest trends in stress management is to simplify - downsize, live smaller, have fewer choices.  Maybe progress isn't all it's cracked up to be.

          The First Ever Tiny House Hunters        
Here is the transcript for the first ever Tiny House Hunters in 1978.

Ted, a former university professor, is looking for a lifestyle change. He wants to downsize and live a simpler life. On his wishlist is a tiny house with under 200 square feet deep in the woods. Can he find his dream tiny house on his $3,000 budget?

Ted: I'm looking for something rustic out in the middle of nowhere, so I can get away from it all and tackle some projects.

Ted's agent, Julie, is taking Ted to the first tiny house. But it may not have the rustic feel Ted is looking for and it may have too many appliances for Ted's liking.

Julie: It's 367 square feet and costs $12,000.
Ted: Oh, that's a lot of money! And I don't know what I'd do with all that space.
Julie: Let's take a look inside before you make up your mind, Ted.

Inside the house, Ted sure has some strong opinions.

Julie: Here we see a farmhouse sink atop a stainless steel dishwasher. Here's a functional mini-fridge.
Ted: Ooh, Julie, I told you I didn't want a dishwasher or refrigerator. The technological revolution has been a disaster for the human race and has led to the destruction of the planet.
Julie: Ok Ted, but just have an open mind. Now let's check out what you might call the dining room. See the table can be folded down? And up the ladder leads to a loft.
Ted: It's too modern.

Ted's agent Julie took him to see a tiny craftsman for his first option. But Ted thought the modern appliances would spell doom for the human race. Plus it was over budget and Ted didn't know what to do with all the extra space. Now Julie is showing him another option that might meet Ted's desire for a rustic feel.

Julie: Hi Ted! This log cabin is 222 square feet and is $8,000. Isn't it neat?
Ted: [Unintelligible]
Julie: The log cabin theme has been continued in the interior as well as you can see.
Ted: There doesn't seem to be room for shelves.
Julie: There are places for storage in this model though, Ted.
Ted: I'd prefer to keep my ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, nails, tacks, and lead on shelves for easy access.
Julie: Love doing scientific projects, do we? Ok. Here's the dining/living area.
Ted: There seems to be no room for my L3 Smith-Corona portable manual typewriter.
Julie: Uh huh. Well, in your price range, it's hard to get everything you're looking for.

After two tries, Ted isn't sold on any of the two options his agent, Julie, has shown him. The first tiny house didn't satisfy his neo-Luddite worldview and the second tiny house didn't have space for what can only be described as bomb-making material or room for his typewriter, on which he will no doubt write some rambling manifesto. So Julie has a third option lined up that should be more up Ted's alley.

Julie: This is 120 square foot cabin a few miles south of Lincoln, Montana. It's not much to look at, but it's only $3,000.
Ted: On budget. I like that.
Julie: Let's take a look inside. Remember, just keep an open mind.
Ted: Oh wow! I'd put my potassium nitrate over there. My barium nitrate would go over there. I see my L3 Smith-Corona portable manual typewriter here. I would keep stamps in this drawer near the typewriter. Julie, you've hit the jackpot! I'll take it.
Julie: But... there's another segment of the show where you're supposed to say the pros and cons of each tiny house.

Yeah, and I need to recap each option in that next segment. Don't take away my air time! There's so few jobs for female voice-over announcers.

Ted: Never mind that! Here's the cash, now beat it, I've finally found my "forever house." Or until they catch me anyway.

          Can You Bounce Back?         

Are You Good At Bouncing Back?

After reading Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha's The Start-up of You where they point out that our lives, resumés and certainly our LinkedIn profiles will show lots of ups and downs in this global and turbulent economy, I've been thinking about resiliency.  By the way, it's a great book. Even if you aren't the least bit entrepreneurial, we're looking at a world of work where you better be good at bouncing back. I'm saying it twice. You better be good at bouncing back and quickly.  You must be resilient.

When you get down, do you know how to get up again quickly?  One thing I learned from sales was getting back up quickly after being rejected.  Seriously, sales is all about being rejected and the most successful salespeople have proven strategies for bouncing back. And bouncing back FAST. I was taught that nine "no's" usually meant the tenth time might be a "yes" -- so after I've been rejected about eight times, I can get excited and happy as I think, "Yes, yes, yes!  I'm closer and closer!  I'm almost there!" I really do think that way!

Studies have shown a most fascinating metric of success -- the shorter the time it takes people to recover from a failure or disappointment and get back in the game the better -- and it is predictive of overall lifetime success.  In sales, you have to have strategies for bouncing back, or you'll never make it.

Sometimes, you just get down and feel a little hopeless. Everybody does. I have a mental list of things to do that get me back on track, and I think we all need to make that list and revise it every few years. It's more important than revising your resume.  We need to build out a foundation of resiliency, like a foundation for a house we plan to build. The foundation of resiliency for me is reading, exercise (dancing in particular), being with friends, being in nature, faith and more than anything, having a very supportive partner.

I know so many people who are not happy in their relationships and since I've "been there, done that" and did get divorced, I know it matters a lot to have a good partner. I bet you didn't think I was going to talk about divorce (or break up) but honestly, maybe it's time to downsize your partner. If they don't make your life and home a place to rest, relax, restore yourself and bounce back, you need a new partner.  It makes a world of difference. Make a list of ways to bounce back today and if your partner isn't on the list, well ... you know where I'm going. Time for them to appear on someone else's list.
          Comment on Squeeze more readable space out of Google Reader’s new layout by Azri Rashid        
<b>How To Get Back Old Google Reader Layout and Maximise Reading Area</b> <i>sort of</i>I love using Google Reader to get updates on the latest posts from sites and blogs. Google Reader team has introduced a refreshed look that follows the same look and feel with Gmail and other Google services. The new colour palette is refreshing but a lot more can be improved with the reading area. The reading area has actually downsized vertically due to a bigger search bar etcThere is an extension made for Chrome that address this issue by compressing the top part. Check it out here <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/makmndpcndgheboeifhhgehleeabhoab">https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/makmndpcndgheboeifhhgehleeabhoab</a>there is another method for Firefox user here <a href="http://jj.isgeek.net/2011/11/squeeze-more-readable-space-out-of-google-readers-new-layout/">http://jj.isgeek.net/2011/11/squeeze-more-readable-space-out-of-google-readers-new-layout/</a> <a href="https://plus.google.com/photos/117214786905965618530/albums/5670396733860269873"> 2011-11-02 (1 photo) </a> <a href="http://jj.isgeek.net/2011/11/squeeze-more-readable-space-out-of-google-readers-new-layout"></a> <a href="https://jj.isgeek.net/2011/11/squeeze-more-readable-space-out-of-google-readers-new-layout/"></a>
          Catch up post four = Small space living        
Hello readers
As my regular readers will know I have just spent two weeks living in a one bedroom apartment with four other people. There was three adults and two children in a small one bedroom apartment. I wanted to do a post on this as minimalism and small space living is something I have read about in the past and is a subject that I am very interested in.  Here are some pictures of the apartment.....

The living room/ bedroom/ kitchen

The bathroom

The bedroom

Sleeping arrangements were as follows Brad had one of the single beds and Ben and Brandon shared the other single bed whilst Lee and I shared the double pull out sofa bed in the living room. Now whilst small space living has always interested me I have never really thought of it as a viable option with the three boys. Especially as two of them are autistic and one of them has suspected ADHD on top of his autism. After spending two weeks living in a one bedroom apartment with the boys I have come to the conclusion that it very much is a viable option.

Don't get me wrong I'm not about to give up my lovely three bedroom house just yet. But I know if worst came to worst and I was forced to dramatically downsize our living quarters we would manage. It would not be as hard as I once thought it would be. 

I like the idea of only living with what we need and dramatically reducing our possessions. I also like the idea of paying a third of the rent that I do now. Did you know you can rent a one bedroom apartment in Cyprus for €200 which is about £145 sterling. Whilst I don't envisage any of this happening anytime soon here at Tilly Towers it has definitely given me food for thought.

So readers what are your thoughts on small space living ?

Much Love
Claire xx xx xx

          Just over 3 years. Just over 3 weeks.        

The amount of time since my last blog post. The amount of time since I’ve returned to Korea. I’ve decided it’s time.

For those of you back in the U.S. or Spain who would like to know how I’m getting along, this is for YOU! Thank you for your support, prayers, love, well wishes, and for checking up on me and staying in touch. The past few weeks and months have really been a whirlwind of activity, emotion and decision making. Packing up belongings. Downsizing. Saying goodbyes. Uprooting. Yes, again. Then moving, traveling, and adjusting to a new city and a new job. It has been a lot to take in. Not in a bad way, but I have needed time to get into a routine and let the dust settle a bit.

What can I say? It feels incredible to be back in Korea. I have caught myself walking with a grin on my face, looking around, taking it all in, almost in disbelief, and saying to myself, “You’re really here!” Time and time again I have been thanking the Lord for giving me this wonderful opportunity to return. My first experience in Korea had a profound impact on my life and definitely changed me for the better.

I am sure that the second time around will be no less of a challenging and growing experience. This time I am working a longer schedule (by choice) where I teach 10 to 11 classes per day. I teach kindergartners until around 2 o’clock and then from 3:00 - 6:40 PM or 7:25 PM (depending on the day), I will teach various elementary classes. I even have 3 classes spread out over the week where I teach a small secondary level class of 13-year-olds. Every week I’m teaching everything from phonics, reading, grammar, and writing to vocabulary, debate and even a social studies class!

These are busy times for me. The days are long and packed with few breaks or times to plan. As a result, the days have been flying by and I can’t believe I’ve already been teaching for 3 whole weeks! While I think I’ve gotten myself back into teacher-mode fairly quickly, I hope to not only regain the previous skills I had acquired in the classroom, but also build on them and grow professionally. I feel invigorated and excited by the challenge of having so many classes and students. I find it very motivating and enjoyable to have a direction in which to push and challenge myself. There is plenty, and I mean plenty, of room for me to grow as a teacher and it’s pretty much up to me to take the initiative to do so. Everyday I am motivated to do better and be better. It’s exciting!

I have taken an exorbitant amount of pictures since my arrival, so I am having difficulty deciding what to post. For now I’ll just post a couple of my favorite shots so far. If there are requests for pictures of anything in particular that sparks someone’s interest, just let me know. One of the things I love about exploring Seoul is that it’s virtually impossible to go wrong. You almost don’t even need a plan. Just venture out and you’re bound to stumble upon history, culture, hiking trails and ultra-modern architecture or some other exciting thing around nearly every corner.

By the way, Seoul is full of mountains and hiking is a popular, national past time, so I aim to do my fair share of hiking while in the country.

Enjoying the view atop Achasan Mt., the one nearest my apartment


Achasan Ecological Park


Overlooking part of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in downtown, Seoul. It is very impressive and much larger than my camera can adequately capture.


A stream runs through Guri City, making it’s way to the Han River


Walking up the steps of a train station


Dongnimmum Gate in Independence Park


Panoramic view near the top of Ansan Mt. (Inwangsan Fortress in the left background. N Seoul tower in the right.)


Until next time!

          TaxPayers' Alliance calls for stamp duty to be abolished to improve housing market        
Following the report by the LSE (covered in the Daily Telegraph this morning) that stamp duty is a negative burden on the UK economy, TaxPayers' Alliance Chief Executive John O'Connell said:

"This pernicious tax prevents younger people from getting on the housing ladder, and stops older people downsizing to more manageable homes. This hurts people at every stage of life and has slowed the housing market in the UK, greatly damaging the economy. Brits are struggling under the heaviest tax burden in 30 years, and this is in part because the UK has the highest property taxes in the developed world. If the government wanted to help people to buy their own homes and get on in life, they should scrap this relic of a tax completely."

The TaxPayers' Alliance has long campaigned for the abolition of stamp duty:
  • The TPA first called for stamp duty to be abolished in 2012 with the final report of the 2020 Tax Commission.
  • The TPA began the 'Stamp Out Stamp Duty' campaign in 2013, with events across the country and support from estate agents.
  • Reforms called for by the TPA in 2014 reduced the burden on hard-pressed taxpayers, but failed to end the damage caused by stamp duty, 

TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

          Demand for Family Homes Surges in Melbourne, Australia        

Family homes are in hot demand in Australia, being snapped up enthusiastically in some of the busiest property auctions the country has ever witnessed, particularly in the metropolis of Melbourne.

Property in Australia is increasingly sold by auction in preference to the traditional 'offer and acceptance' method conducted through estate agents. Property auctions are particularly popular where there is a strong supply of property and in some Australian states, auction is the dominant method of sale.

Sales of houses and redevelopment sites continued to outclass Melbourne's apartment market last Saturday, which saw the busiest property auction since May this year. Almost 1,100 properties were up for grabs on Saturday and buyers zoomed in on houses, with 78% falling under the hammer with a lower 59% clearance rate for units and apartments. Senior economist Andrew Wilson commented that the volume of sales at the auction was a ‘solid result' given the high number of auctions taking place in Melbourne.

Although auction property clearance rates have improved since the beginning of September, real estate agents suggest there are significantly more family home buyers than sellers.

Demand for renovated 'turnkey' houses and well located land is resilient in many areas of Australia, although some established units are struggling to sell due to heightened competition from new housing units on the market. Property sector insiders suggest that the strongest bidding and sales activity is in the middle ring of Melbourne's suburbs such as Doncaster and Mount Waverley.

However, some market commentators have noted that buyers are not displaying the sense of urgency that was apparent at auctions earlier in the year. Agents said 'fear of loss' was causing buyers to up their budgets because they believed house prices were increasing on a weekly basis at that time.

However, some market watchers say the urgency to buy is not as strong as it was in May because of the large increase in housing stock in the city's suburbs. According to data from Australian estate agents James Buyer Advocates', measuring how many bidders there are per auction for million-dollar-plus properties, the figure is down from three bidders per auction seen earlier this year, to two bidders.

" Every agent will say, 'there is not that much stock', " the company's head Mal James said. " But that is just a standard line. As you come into spring, it is high stock level time and high-quality time. If you can't find a house in the next few months, you are either unlucky or unrealistic ".

Several prominent agents in Melbourne suggest that its property market peaked a few weeks ago, with evidence that some wealthy home owners think that selling this spring may be a better strategy than waiting until 2016 or 2017.

Jellis Craig, director of Melbourne-based agents Craig Shearn said wealthy vendors are prudent and well advised. " When you see their properties hitting the market after 20, 30 or 40 years, it can't be all because they're getting old, " he said. "I am sure some of them are downsizing but I suspect there is an element of opportunism in there as well ".

Melissa Opie of Keyhole Property Investments said the Melbourne property market was patchier compared with April. In some areas properties were cheaper than they were four or five months ago. " The AUD1m to AUD1.5m home market was a really tough market a few months ago but it has now come back a little ", she said.

Michael Cooney director of auction organisers Hodges said that last Saturday's open house attendances were high and increased buyer activity is expected to continue. " Stock levels are up by 20% to 30% this year. More stock means more buyer activity and we're seeing a lot more higher-end family homes coming to the early October market ".

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) commented that house price inflation was concentrated on detached houses in Sydney and Melbourne. " Members noted that rapid growth in the construction of new apartments had helped to hold down inflation of their prices”, September's board minutes said. “There had been a notable decline in the growth in lending for investment housing in July ".


Article by +https://plus.google.com/104516603036446499629?rel=author on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com
          24" 1080P Full HD PC Monitor - KRW70,000        

WeCube branded (Korean Brand) 24" 1080P Full HD monitor with built in speakers.

Great condition, no damage to screen, speakers work, full brightness and no colour issues.

Selling as downsizing and it is no longer needed. 

It has DVI input and 3.5mm audio input for speakers (no HDMI) but a HDMI to DVI adapter is included in the sale, can't find the 3.5mm audio cable but the are cheap at Daiso to get the speakers working. had it conencted to my laptop for use and it worked fine. The stand tilts forwards and backwards, but has no height adjustment. 

Is currently packed up and boxed ready for delivery/collection and can meet at a local subway station for the sale. Or collect from Mulmangol on Line 3. 

Pictures are here: http://imgur.com/a/Fgppe copy the link into new window...

Thanks for looking. 

          June Monthly Report        

Happy July! It's time for June's monthly report. See past reports here.

I did quite a bit of sewing this month. I started working through my big stack of knits by stitching up three t-shirts. I've really hit a groove when it comes to working with knits. Looking forward to continuing to sew basics for myself.

I used the free Plantain T-Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe for the t-shirt shown above.

I also finished two big quilts, including my Little Folks Voile Quilt that I shared mid-June. It's been getting daily use!

I can finally start sharing some of the gift sewing I've been doing lately. For now, here is a pouch I made for my Brother's birthday. It's a downsized version of Anna's Open-Wide Pouches. I sized the large size down by 50% and used a 7" zipper. I made it for him to hold his headphones and the colors match.

 I buy all my zippers from Zipit.

After making my block for The Fussy Cut Sampler quilt along, I decided to make at least one block from each chapter to add to my fantastic quilt voyage project. Here are the four blocks I've made since posting my block from chapter 2! (see that post here)

This month, Jacey and I set a small challenge for each other. Her challenge to me was to get my feet wet and practice some improvisational curves. I stitched up my experiments into this little block. Another addition for my fantastic quilt voyage!

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I'm tracking my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track my here. Here is how I did in June:

June Fabric
Used up: 37.25 yards
Brought in: 27.5 yards
Net: -9.75 yards
Year to date: -14.75 yards

June Yarn
Used up: 1348 yards
Brought in: 225 yards
Net: -1123 yards
Year to date: -2912.5 yards

I used up a lot of fabric this month! Finishing those two quilts really helped. I did still bring quite a bit in. I bought most of it while I was home in Ohio visiting family. Going to try to bring that number down this month. Continuing to make good progress on reducing my yarn stash. Bought my third skein for the year, but finished a few small projects and destashed a couple skeins.

On my other goals I've made a little progress. I pulled out my double wedding ring quilt again, although I only made four wedges. As we enter the second half of the year I need to recommit to that project. I really want to get the wedges done and move on to putting it together! I still have a stack of garment patterns to stitch up too. I did cut out a Gemma tank, am hoping to sew that up this month.

Around the Web

Something to eat: Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop
Something to sew: Urban Zoologie Pouches by SewVery (free pattern)
Something helpful: Make Bias Binding From a Fat Quarter by Radiant Home Studio
Something to knit: How I Roll Socks by Mara Catherine Bryner
Something super cute: Fiona the baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo
Someone to follow @littlepincushionstudio on Instagram, super excited for her Daisy Chain line with Windham coming this Fall.

I was home in Ohio for about a week and a half this month. Blackie helped me break in my newly finished quilts. She's really good at holding down quilts. That's the Modern Plus Quilt that I gave her on the end of the couch. So spoiled!

Last but not least, George the bun! He's as sweet as ever. Always keeping me company and begging for treats.

Have a Great Month!
          Creating Multiple Streams of Affiliate Marketing Income        

Have you ever heard or read the phrase “multiple streams of income” before? Do you know what this phrase means? For many businessmen, creating multiple streams of income online or offline is one way of securing themselves as well as their businesses in the future. They also believe that it can also save them from the so-called famine effect in the business industry. Once you are engaged in affiliate marketing business, it is advisable if you have multiple streams of affiliate marketing income so that if one of those income streams vanished, it will not upset you the way losing your sole stream would. If you depend on just one source of income and this single stream has been downsized or has lain off, you’ll surely find yourself bankrupted and hopeless. Try to ask the most successful online entrepreneurs, and you’ll discover that they have established multiple streams of online income.

There is a businessman that said and attested that the very first step you must take in creating multiple streams of income is to assess or evaluate your resources. Start by assessing yourself first. Jot down your answers to the following questions: What are the talents, abilities, strength and gears that you possess? Are you gifted with excellent and creative writing skills? Can you do well at sales? Are you good in communicating with people? Are you born with an artistic skill or unique ability that other people don’t have? Through this, you can determine the kind of business where can possibly excel.

Next, look around and write down you assets and physical resources such as computer, color printer, scanner, digital camera, cell phone, CD or DVD burner. Write these all down because it can be used as a resource. Consider also your friends and family. Find out what do they possess that you have access to. Remember that no man is an island. You can use the talents, abilities, knowledge and resources of everyone you know.

That’s basically the initial step if you want to create multiple income streams. But if you’re already a webmaster or a site owner, you definitely have an edge. Why don’t you join affiliate marketing business to help you gain extra income out of your own website?

Use One Week Marketing Plan to Make Affiliate Money Online!

Being involved in affiliate marketing is one of the most desirable ways to make multiple sources of income. It is because affiliate marketing programs come in various shapes and forms. There are a large number of affiliate marketing programs that you can sign on with and start gaining bucks right away. In affiliate marketing, you can make money by promoting and reselling your affiliate products and by recruiting new affiliates. What’s good about this is that you can find widest array of training materials that can enhance your marketing abilities. In affiliate marketing, you can be sure that there are genuine products to promote and sell and there is real income to make.

Either part time or full time, being an affiliate marketer is an excellent way to create multiple income streams by means of promoting products and services from web merchants. Here, you can get affiliate commission without investing big bucks in making your own product and without worrying about book keeping, customer support and ecommerce. All you have to do is to promote and resell the products and services in your site and pass on potential customer’s the merchant’s site.

In affiliate marketing, it is advisable to promote more merchants in your site so that your visitors will have variety of destinations to choose from. Using multiple merchants in the same site or niche means only one thing – you have multiple streams of affiliate income. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this business strategy because this is one of the best ways to protect your business and expanding your horizons. Through this, you can be assured that you won’t experience crisis if ever one of your web merchants closed his/her program.

However, you should choose only those affiliate programs that interest you so that you can effectively advertise and promote them. Don’t ever be tempted into signing up for numerous affiliate programs in the hope that one of them will bring income. Select wisely and don’t be engaged in selling products you know nothing about. Go with the stuff that jives with your enthusiasm; your passion can capture your client by the nose and guide him/her to your affiliate link.

You should also work hard to make your multiple streams of income more stable. You can do this by embracing some strategies and tactics and by developing within yourself, some traits that can help you become successful in any kind of business such as patience, persistence and thirst for knowledge.

Lastly, just remember the adage that says “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” So that if one of them is lost, you can still have some to make omelets. And what do these eggs have to do with multiple streams of affiliate income? Well, it goes without saying that the more streams of income you possess, the bigger and better your money lake becomes.

One Week Marketing Plan is the easiest way to start building your affiliate business!
          Idea For Outdoors: Hanging Gardens        
What can be more charming than a garden that doesn’t only surround you but also gently falls as it would seem from the sky. A hanging garden is a great way to create a piece of paradise in your backyard or even home. Hanging Gardens There are quite a few ways to build a hanging...
          Reply #542        
Good job Matt, I wished you had posted it a tab bit earlier, I would have gotten a box hit. I downsized my list and as usual I pick the wrong ones. 169 was on the list but I didn't pick that one. Keep up the good works
          Gear talk, and trimming down my list of equipment        
Todays photo don’t really have any cohesive theme to them, rather they are just a small set of images I happen to like, and I hope you feel the same. I’ve started to recently think about doing some drastic downsizing of my camera gear.  I’ve accumulated quite a bit of it over the years, and […]
          Invincible at Stamford Arts Centre        

Produced by The Original Theatre Company and The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, and directed by Christopher Harper, Invincible tells the story of Emily and Oliver who – with the recession biting hard – have decided to downsize and shift their middle-class London lifestyle to a small town in the north of England. One night […]

The post Invincible at Stamford Arts Centre appeared first on The Moment Magazine.

          Comment on Which is better Capture One or Lightroom by Neil Snape        
C1 in most cases outperforms Adobe Lightroom in terms of IQ. There are only two drawbacks or quality problems with C1. Firstly the problem that is easily fixed is sharpening. The images downsized to web images you may think are sharper but intact they have artefacts due to the excessive sharpening. Simple enough you simply turn the amount down and radius. The other problem with Canon cameras and perhaps others is rendering saturated reds with detail. I am sure you remember certain ICC profiles that could not discern details in greens like grass, and some reds like hair. This is still problematic as C1 bounces in and out of detail to flat mushy areas then back to detail. To make it worse Canon cameras 5D etc all have a steep loss of dynamic range into shadows. This too is easily fixed, shoot Nikon, Sony or other. There are many tools in C1 that make shaping the image easier and possible that LR misses. The reason I may have mushed the image a bit in LR is I painted negative Clarity on her cheek, and chin as she had some bumps. I did not do that in C1. Yet I can assure you C1 pulls more detail on every image regardless, just tone down the sharpening to avoid artefacts.
          Jumble sale        

My flat has been a jumble sale for the past week, as I tried to get rid of my possessions. At first, this was kinda fun, but after a couple of days, living in a junk shop with *stuff* everywhere was starting to grate. By Sunday Emma and I had had enough. We called around …

The post Jumble sale appeared first on Narrowboat Swallow.

          Downsizing (1)        

Okay. So I rent a tiny flat in Todmorden – it’s not like I have a house full of stuff accumulated over a lifetime the way some people do. But still, moving from a land-lubbing home to a teeny tiny boat is a major downsizing project. I’ve got a wardrobe plus baskets plus boxes plus …

The post Downsizing (1) appeared first on Narrowboat Swallow.

          Pinkslipped: When Executives Get Fired        
This is a cover story I wrote for BC Business magazine. The article appeared January 2004.
Executive ShapeShifters
Pinkslipped CEOs draw upon their skills to re-invent themselves

The print and broadcast media regularly feature stories of corporate downsizing with the CEO announcing so many hundreds to be cut from the payroll. But once in while the boss gets his or her walking papers as well. Once in a while the head honcho who grew the company from scratch into a thriving enterprise gets shown the door by the board. And, as anyone who has lost a treasured position knows, the loss can be personally devastating. BC Business wanted to know what it was like to be a high profile CEO who was fired. We called some of the bright lights in B.C. spanning politics, government corporation, high tech, health, sports and education to find out what happened to them, what they’re doing now and how they got back in the game. In many cases we found these executives have drawn upon their many skills and successfully launched themselves in a new direction. They spoke candidly on their career change, what is was like to leave their previous jobs and offered us their first hand advice on getting back to work.

Brian Burke
After six years as the Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager, Brian Burke lost his job this spring after the team failed to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Update TK.

What are you doing now?
Just doing what every unemployed executive says he’s doing: I’m consulting. I’ve been doing some public speaking and I did some media work for TSN at the draft.

Have you had any job offers?
I’ve been approached. It’s been flattering because I’ve been offered some opportunities on the pure business side where people have watched my performance, respected the business man in me and I’ve received some offers that way. I’ve received one offer to practice law but I’m trying to sort through those things.
If you want to become a G.M. you’ve got to wait. There are no vacancies. That part is easy. You wait. I don’t think anyone is going to hire a GM until they start playing again and no one knows when that’s going to be. So that one, you just got to wait it out.

Do you miss your old job?
I don’t miss the spotlight that comes with the job. It’s not something I ever craved. It’s part of the job and you have to handle it but that’s not why I got into this business. As I’ve told other people, at the start of each year, if they said you’ve got to be anonymous and invisible so your team can win the championship, I’d be “O.K. Where can I sign up?” So that part I don’t miss.
People have been wonderful in Vancouver. People have been so kind. People you meet on the street: “Geez. We’re sorry to hear the news and we wish you luck,” and, you know, “This is wrong.” So people have been great.

What’s next?
I’m just trying to sort out what’s next. It’ll be some time before a GM job opens up, and then you hope you’re the top candidate. A lot of people want to be a GM
In the meantime I’ve been approached about doing some media work. I did some work for TSN - which I enjoyed – and by some other media outlets in Canada as well. So I’m trying to sort through that. I might do something in the media between jobs.

Was it a surprise to be fired?
It was no surprise to Jennifer, my wife, and I. We feel the decision was made back in October. So despite what anyone at Orca says to the contrary, we believe that this decision was made a long time ago and we expected this.
But it doesn’t matter how prepared you are, it’s still a kick in the ass. I’d never been fired before. Well, technically, I still haven’t been fired. They just announced they weren’t renewing my contract. No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much you expect it, it’s still a big league kick in the ass, and it was for us too.

Burke’s Advice
The key is that you hope that what you accomplished in your prior life and your reputation will buy you another opportunity. That’s what you hope, and then you have to wait and see if that’s true.

Robert Bakshi,
Robert Bakshi was the founder and president of Surrey-based Silent Witness, a leading provider of video monitoring technology. The company was acquired by Honeywell International in November 2001 in a friendly takeover. Bakshi was dismissed shortly thereafter and is now pursuing a wrongful dismissal suit against Honeywell.

What are you up to now?
I’m doing real estate development in Calgary. That’s my new passion now. I want to learn a totally different industry, which is real estate development. So I’ve bought about 3 1/2 acres of commercial land and I intend to put in retail building over the next two or three years.

What happened at Silent Witness?
I started Silent Witness back in 1985. So when Honeywell bought it I was the president, CEO and one of the largest shareholders. They had offered me a position to run the global video business and of course after about a month, there was a change, whatever, they didn’t want me anymore and they sent me home.

How did you feel when Honeywell fired you?
You’re getting into a soft spot now. (My initial feeling) was disbelief. You feel that your trust has been betrayed. You know they promise one thing and they buy the company and they gave me a position and all of a sudden, of course, I don’t have a position. So you feel like you’ve been taken advantage of.

What’s the first thing you did?
I saw my lawyers and initiated a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, which is in process now.

I’m more concerned about my employees: 165 employees in three countries, and now they’re down to about 60 I think.

Bakshi’s Advice
The sun will shine the following morning as well. At first it seems like the end of the world. You are, of course, depressed and questioning yourself and questioning other people’s motives. But you get over that and find life is still good and worth living. New opportunities will come. For example, I’m involved in so many things now, and I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to do that if … still working 9 to 5.

Bruce Chambers
Former Vancouver Police Chief Bruce Chambers was fired by the police board in 1999 after two years into a three-year contract. Today, Chambers is the regional director for the British Columbia Ambulance Service out of Prince George.

What happened after you got fired?
After I left Vancouver, I retired. I was retired for four years. And it just happened one day, I was looking on a website and they were looking for someone, and I said that’s interesting. I sent in my resume and I ended up being successful.

Was finding a new job tough?
I guess the biggest challenge was just for me to convince the new employer was that my skills were transferable: “Okay, after many years in police service, how is that relevant to what we’re doing.” So that was the challenge for me.

I was (chief of police) on a contract. Part of my contract said that they had to let me know within a year of the end of the contract if they were going to renew, and they told me they weren’t going to renew so we parted ways.

It was disappointing (not to have my contract extended) because I thought there was work that wasn’t complete. It was disappointing.

Chambers’ Advice
I think probably I should have spoken to some professional in the consulting business. I didn’t get any of that (advice) when I left and I didn’t seek any. I think it might have helped me focus on how to address that issue of transferable skills. Because I think that many people have a perception of the police as a police officer and maybe not the fact that you were a general manager or CEO for those years.

Glen Clark
Glen Clark resigned as B.C. premier in August 1999, a day after the release of a court document alleging he used his influence to help a friend get a lucrative casino license. Clark is now president of Jim Pattison’s The News Group Canada, a magazine wholesaler.

How did you get your new job?
Mr. Pattison offered the job to me. You may recall he hired me initially as the British Columbia manager of the Pattison Sign Group, which makes illuminated signs. About a year and a half later I became vice-president of the Pattison Sign Group, responsible for western Canada.
And then a little more than a year after that, he asked me if I would move to another company, which was The News Group, and take on the presidency of that company. So I did that. So, I’ve been with Jimmy for about three years and this is, I guess, my third position.

Was it difficult to leave your job as premier?
In some ways, there’s similarities between all these positions (including the premiership of the province.) It might sound funny, but it’s all about teamwork, leadership and working with people and relationships.
The difference is of course, in the public sector and the government, you’re operating in a fish bowl with a very difficult media environment in British Columbia. People are looking through your garbage, you know, literally.
I had a very difficult year or so there so it wasn’t as hard to leave as it might have been otherwise. But each move you make, I won’t say difficult, but it comes with its own challenge. I’ve been very privileged to be able to move around between jobs.

I have to say each move for me personally has actually been wonderful because I’ve had the opportunity to learn a new position and you realize that each of these positions lets you grow as a person, develop and learn.

Did you face any particular challenges finding your new position as a former politician?
For an NDP politician, I think it’s harder. I think this is a problem for our province actually. This works just as strong, or equally stronger with the current government’s relationships with the trade union movement or environmental movement. Those solitudes are pretty real in British Columbia and I think a problem for it.
So, in the case of being an NDP Premier I think it’s more difficult to move into the business sector because you haven’t developed those business relationships. And there’s a certain amount of hostility, rightly or wrongly, built up, so I was extremely fortunate that Mr. Pattison chose to offer me a job.

Clark’s Advice
My only advice is that never forget that everybody that you come into contact with, could potentially be your employer. In other words, there’s no relationship you have in your current job that isn’t potentially important, so you’ve got to treat people well, and listen carefully to what they say. Work hard because at the end of the day, the world is moving very fast and positions move very fast, so there’s tremendous opportunity there. So you should remember that sometimes today’s competitor is your employer tomorrow.

Katy Bindon
UBC president Martha Piper announced in March, 2004 that the North Kelowna Campus of Okanagan University College was to become the new University of British Columbia (Okanagan). Despite her many successes of guiding OUC through a period of growth and positive change, the current OUC president Katy Bindon was summarily dismissed.

What are you doing now?
I am a tenured professor of history. So it’s a little different in the university sector because you usually have your academic position as well as your administrative position. I had administrative leave coming to me anyways so I’m working on a book now that I haven’t been able to work on for the eight years I’ve been here. So that’s good; it’s good for you mind and good for your head. And of course, OUC was 24/7 so I’m learning how to have a life again.

How do you go about getting a new job?
There are 3 or 4 headhunters in the university business and they connect with you and are interested to know that you’re there. Every so often they call you and ask you if you’re interested in this, that or the other thing. So that’s probably pretty standard, right? They’ve contacted me and I’ve let them know I’m no longer president here.

How tough was it when you first let go as head of an organization you had grown and shaped?
I’ve been most interested in speaking with a number of colleagues who’ve been through a similar thing and yeah, when you’re working at 150% and it all drops off, it’s quite shocking. I think it’s just a huge stress. But what you do is get on with other stuff.
It was very tough (to leave the institution). But the other thing is that a lot of the goals (of UBC Okanagan) are the goals that we had outlined as being necessary for (OUC) and the region. So, on the other hand, you look at this and say, ‘yeah, okay.” So there’s a number of ways that things can work.
I think one of the things in the university is that you gain a very deep and diverse experience as an administrator. On the other hand, I think it’s hard to cross sectors. A lot of the people don’t hold the universities in high regard in business terms these days.

What challenges do you think as a former university president does that present in your job search?
I think it’s fair to say that there’s an assumption that public institutions are not just as tightly managed as private sector. I don’t care who you are; if you don’t have the resources, you can’t sustain the programming.

Bindon’s Advice
It’s like anything in your life. You’ve got to look back at what you’ve accomplished and feel proud of those. I guess it’s a bit like that old aphorism, God grant me the wisdom…I think anyone who’s been in an intense institution-building capacity exercise, when it works as well as what we did here works, you’ve got to take the good stuff and say, ‘Wow. Look at what I’ve learned.”
And the other thing is that no one is immune from the fact that we all have many careers these days. There are things really exciting about that. And once you get on with it, it just ends being the next stage.

Elisabeth Riley
Elisabeth Riley lost her position as president of Children's & Women's Health Centre of British Columbia in 2002 in an organizational reshuffle. After 13 months between jobs she was hired last year as Dean of Health Sciences at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She recently launched Navahealth, a company that helps patients navigate through the maze of their medical care.

How did you get your new job?
Actually it was through networking plus seeing the announcement in the paper and contacting the recruitment agency. And the recruitment agency for BCIT, I had previously interviewed with them and they had my C.V.

The way it works generally, at the executive level, is you approach the various search firms that are searching in your area of interest. I was using Providence. It was somebody I knew from before. She had come to me as a recruiter trying to sell her services to me when I was formerly CEO of Women’s. So, you know people and you contact them and let them know you’re in the job market.

Was it difficult for you to get another job?
When anyone in a senior position has lost their position for whatever reason – and although this was definitely not for cause, my position was eliminated – it makes it difficult to move around within the same business. It’s unlikely for you to get hired back into the same business where you’ve previously been let go at a senior level.
And I was told this by people in the business sector, not the public sector. But I think it’s the still rule of thumb in the public sector as well. If you’re in a senior position it’s difficult to get back with the same employer. Because they paid you severance, let’s face it. Because if they paid you to go away, it’s difficult for them to rehire you later.

What did you do in your year off?
I used it as a sabbatical, is the way that I would word it. I haven’t taken any time off in my thirty-year career except for normal absences. I’ve never been in between jobs before so I used it as a time to refresh myself and to regenerate and rejuvenate and then to begin my process of thinking about my career. And I invested heavily in the time it took to go through the services that were provided which involved really reflecting on your career, on what you enjoy doing and having you really identify what you would like to do next, and what you were good at. So I really enjoyed that process. It was very helpful and I felt very privileged to have it offered as part of the severance package.

What was it like to lose your previous job?
Frankly, with reflection, I don’t care how (the lay-off) is done, it’s going to be hard. It’s hard because it’s not something you choose. When you choose to move on, it’s a totally different thing: You’re in control, you’re in the driver’s seat. And what I did find, it’s extremely different. Because, I’ve been in the position, all my life, where every single job I applied for, I got.

So when you’re in the situation where you’re unemployed and you’re applying, it’s totally different. Then you saying, ‘I’d like to take a look at this job but I don’t know if I really want it or if I’m a fit, but I’d like to explore it.’ You’re coming at it from a very different angle.

Riley’s Advice
Take the time between jobs. Just about all of my colleagues including Murray Martin and Bob Smith and many others who have gone through it have all advised me: Take the time. And those who hadn’t, have kind of regretted it. It’s easy to say, I’ll just jump in and take the first thing that comes along. Take the time and let the trauma and the impact of the job change settle in before you make a major decision.

Barry Jinks
Barry Jinks was formerly head of Spectrum Signal Processing, a position he held for 10 years while he grew the company from $1 million to $40 million in annual sales. He says he and the board of Spectrum agreed to a parting of ways. Jinks is now CEO of Colligo Networks of Vancouver.

How did you come to leave your old job?
It became pretty obvious that I was better suited and personally enjoyed much more the small company in start-up phase than operational phase. It was pretty apparent as well that the company needed to get some new blood in there.

What’s the first thing you did after leaving Spectrum?
I went out and started a new company, Colligo Networks - back to the roots - and started building it up from there. What I did was, I had learned a lot about different technologies when I was at
Spectrum. We had lots of different customers in different markets. The one area that I thought was about to explode was wireless.

How did you start the business?
We raised venture capital from Growth Work Capital and the Business Development Bank of Canada and we had quite a few local relatively high profile angels involved like Paul Lee from Electronic Arts. Sierra Wireless made an investment in the company.

What advantage did your background provide?
Actually, one of the things we did at Spectrum, and was quite instrumental in the early success of the company, was we spent most of our effort landing customers and bringing in very little venture capital in the process so by the time the company was on its feet we had a really good understanding of what the market was looking for.
We did the same thing at Colligo. We actually built the company based on our relationship that we had established with Price Waterhouse Cooper and today every auditor at PWC in the top 20 countries of the world uses our software.

Jinks’ Advice
I think it depends on your skill set. Again the realization that I and the board had was that I was much more comfortable in a start-up role. That’s where my talents are. For me it made sense to go out and start another company.
Other guys may have different talents, They may be operationally focussed. Obviously what you want to do is assess yourself, decide on your strengths and weaknesses, and play to your strengths. Get in to a role where you can succeed and play to your strengths.

Nick Geer
The former president of ICBC was abruptly fired this past summer after just 2 ½ years at the helm. During his term, Geer finessed a financial turnaround at the government-owned insurance company, shaping ICBC into a leaner, more efficient company and putting it back into the black. But when he disagreed with his government bosses on the future direction of the company, he was shown the door.

What are doing now?
At the moment I’m on three or four boards, and I’m choosing my options. Various bits and pieces are coming up, and I’m taking it easy and seeing what I do next.

What do you like about what you’re doing now?
I’ve not yet gotten used to getting up at eight o’clock as opposed to six.

How did you come to leave your last job?
That’s a matter for the press. I’m not allowed to say anything by contract.

What was it like for you to lose your former position?
It was difficult. It came as a complete surprise. We’d turned the company right around. Gone from a loss of $200 million to a profit this year for the first six months of over $167 million. Taken about 1800 people out of the company. Everybody was up and things were going very well. So it came as a complete surprise.

Was it hard to tell your family?
Oh, no, no, no. My wife and I talk about everything. But when you’re involved in effectively what is a quasi-political situation, you expect surprises.

What did you do in the days following your job loss?
The word was dropped at the end of May. I left ICBC June 30th. So I got myself organized. I’m not troubled by cash. That isn’t an issue.

Tell me about your current job search?
I’m not on a job search. I’m coming up on 63, although that doesn’t mean anything. I’m on three boards, which I enjoy, I’m on two or three other charity boards, so those keep me partially busy.

And I’ve had a couple of offers already of running companies which I’ve turned down.

Did losing your job as a CEO carry any stigma to it.
No, not at all. Quite the opposite. Everybody I bump into on the street keeps telling me what a wonderful job I did. So there’s no stigma attached whatsoever.

What advice do you have for other displaced CEOs?
Never look back. What is, is. Understand what you’ve learned. Understand how you’ve grown through it. Because you grow through adversity, you don’t grow through constant success. Understand internally what pleased you and displeased you. Because you’re only ever good at what you enjoy doing, in my view.


How to get ‘em back to work

Companies that lay off personnel, especially at the executive level, routinely hire outplacement services, not to find a job for the displaced but to show them how to look for one. Knowing how to find a job is a skill many CEOs lack because they spend so little time in the job market, according to Angus McPherson, a consultant for CCD Corporate and Career Development of Vancouver. “They don’t know how to network so they have to learn how to do that. They’re very good in the business world when they’re employed but they don’t how to do it for themselves,” he says.
But first, says McPherson, the task at hand is to help the executive client overcome the psychological challenge of losing his or her job. He says, “There is a range of things that they go through. First is obviously shock, followed by anger, then more shock. Especially the higher the level, they’re completely amazed that they would actually be terminated.”
Accepting the loss of a treasured position is a grieving process but given enough time, the CEO’s mental state eases with time. Says McPherson, “At this point, they begin to get resignation. They’re resigned to the fact okay I’m out of this job.” With that acceptance comes a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.
Another Vancouver outplacement agency is Maragaret J. Livingstone and Associates. Livingstone says, “Our job is to teach the individual effective job search techniques and assist them in that process so it’s everything from career planning, figuring out where they’ve been and what they’ve done and what they like and what they don’t like and what they never want to do again.” After that, the agency teaches their clients the more practical aspects of finding a new job like how to access the hidden job market
Standard services at outplacement agencies include secretarial support and individual offices where the executives can get busy, working the phone and polishing their resumes. “We find people write terrible resumes. Executives write some of the worst, because they get involved in all the details,” says Angus McPherson.
Livingstone does not believe there is a particular stigma attached to executives looking for a new job. Quoting a newspaper article she says, ‘Any stigma about executive layoffs went away about 2000 lay-offs ago. I thought that was a very good remark and in fact one that I say to our own candidates who worry about the stigma that might be out there.”
But finding an equivalent job for former company presidents can prove a real challenge. Says McPherson “We have quite a few (executives) coming through here all the time. …The higher you are on the food chain, the longer between jobs. Definitely. Because you’re looking for that much higher paying job and there’s just not many of them out there.”
          Hotwire (And Other Online) Customer Relations -- Where Art Thou?        
In the Internet age, many companies have dramatically downsized their customer service operations. Sometimes, it requires an investigation even to locate a real human responsible for interacting with the public. The ability to automate traditional customer relations has certainly reduced costs for companies, but has left many customers frustrated by unresponsive [...]
          Weatherization Funding Has Been Slashed        

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), sometimes referred to as the “Obama stimulus funding.” Among the bill’s many provisions was a $5 billion allocation over three years to the Weatherization Assistance Program. Since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has historically funded the weatherization program at between $210 million and $230 million per year, the $1.6-billion-per-year stimulus funding was a sevenfold increase over the usual funding level.

The federal weatherization program is now 37 years old. The program pays for weatherization specialists to perform air sealing work, to add insulation, to seal leaky duct seams, and to replace inefficient appliances in the homes of low-income Americans. The services are provided at no charge to recipients. The weatherization program is administered by state employees; in most states, however, the actual weatherization work is performed by employees of local nonprofit groups known as community action agencies.

The weatherization program has an excellent track record. Studies have shown that every dollar spent on weatherization yields about $2.69 in energy savings and other benefits.

The massive increase in federal weatherization spending received widespread attention in the press, including here at GBA. (GBA has written at least 30 news articles on the effects of the ARRA funding on the weatherization program; links are provided in the “Related Articles” box below.) But the national media have mostly neglected a more recent news story: in the years since the ARRA funds ran out, weatherization funding has fallen off a cliff.

By now, the program is in worse financial straits than it would have been if the stimulus funds had never been allocated. DOE funding for weatherization has plummeted to $62 million a year — less than a third of pre-ARRA funding.

“A budget-cutting mentality”

According to Bob Scott, the director of energy services at the National Association for State Community Services Programs, Congress was in no mood to maintain high funding levels for the weatherization program in 2012. “There was a budget-cutting mentality in Congress, and the idea was that weatherization programs should be able to maintain themselves through 2012 with $68 million, because the states still had some money in the pipeline,” Scott told me. “But then Congress passed a Continuing Resolution instead of a new federal budget. Now we are looking at a program that is one-third the size of the pre-recovery program. If there is no spending bill passed again by Congress this year, and that’s what most people are predicting, then the $68 million will be the benchmark for any Continuing Resolution going forward. It’s discouraging.”

(On March 14, 2013, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators who support the weatherization program wrote a letter to Steven Chu, who at that time was the DOE secretary, objecting to the sharp reduction in weatherization funding. To read more about the senators’ efforts, see “Senators ask Obama administration to help fund weatherization program.”)

Steve Payne, the managing director for the weatherization program in Washington state, explained the circumstances leading up to the current weatherization funding predicament. “DOE is getting caught in a budget stranglehold,” Payne told me. “Congress saw an opportunity to save. ... The first year of the cuts, a lot of states had Recovery funding to tide them over. But once the dollars were gone, the states expected that funding would get back to normal. But Congress was using the Continuing Resolution to meet federal funding needs. So we ended up being held at a much lower finding level than we would have if the stimulus funding had never happened.”

“Everything came to a grinding halt”

According to Scott, local weatherization agencies are struggling in many areas of the country. “The reduced funding levels are certainly affecting the ability of states and local agencies to implement their programs,” said Scott. “Some local agencies will only be able to do a few jobs a year, and may not be able to stay in the weatherization business. In some of the smaller rural areas, it seems they won’t have a program unless someone travels in from a long ways away, and there are a lot of layoffs going on. … At some point, a state may have to decide if it will supplement the DOE funding with state funds, because with just the DOE funding they can’t even afford to pay one person to administer the program.”

One company that has been riding a roller coaster over the last few years is The Energy Conservatory, the manufacturer of the Minneapolis blower door. “After the ARRA funding, we got really, really, busy and had to hire people,” said Gary Nelson, the president of The Energy Conservatory. “The agencies had to spend the money in 18 months or two years. Our sales more than doubled for a year and half. Then everything came to a grinding halt. Sales are now down to below what they were before the ARRA funding. We hired seven people after the ARRA funding came in, and now we have laid off two.”

Nelson added, “I think a lot of the blower doors that were bought with government money are sitting in a closet somewhere, not being used.”

Nelson clearly found it painful to have to lay off employees. Be he is also aware of the larger picture. “A lot of the weatherization workers who had been trained lost their jobs, and now they have to do something else. This is stupid. It is a good thing to spend money on, but it would have been better to spend it over a longer period of time. I heard from people who should know that Obama’s intention was to keep the program going at ARRA levels, but then the Republicans had other ideas. They said, ‘Deficits will lead to inflation.’”

Trained workers are being laid off

Many of the people I spoke with when researching this story had “hiring and firing” stories. “Training was a huge part of the Recovery Act,” Scott told me. “The amount of training was very high and was a big investment. At one point there were 15,000 new jobs attributed to the Recovery Act funds. But the number of weatherization jobs has diminished greatly. There were a lot of trained people who are no longer in the weatherization program.”

I asked Michael Furze, the Green Initiative manager for the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, about weatherization layoffs in New Mexico. “Yes, there were layoffs,” Furze told me. “That happened across the country. The people who had training ended up looking for work in the trades.” In a follow-up e-mail, Furze wrote, “The number of [weatherization] jobs at the height in New Mexico was 145, which includes our weatherization agencies, MFA state-level staff, and our Training Academy staff. We now have 27 employees.”

Brett Jackson, the program administrator for the Virginia weatherization program, also described layoffs. “At the local level, the ARRA funds resulted in probably three times the usual number of weatherization employees. Many agencies went from one crew to three crews. We saw a huge increase. But now the funds are spent. An agency just laid off ten people last week, and that was their third round of layoffs. In terms of state employees, we used to have a staff of eight, and now we are going back down to one employee.”

Jackson continued, “There were some people hoping for a green boom. We put a billion dollars into training people nationwide, and now these people are going into work as laborers, if they are lucky. Many are unemployed. Very few have gone into the industry we trained them for.”

In a few states, including Vermont, DOE weatherization funds are supplemented by additional funds from state coffers or utility programs. Weatherization programs in states with diverse funding sources tend to be in better financial shape than weatherization programs that are 100% funded by DOE. "The ones who depend on DOE funding are the ones we are worried about," Scott told me.

Seesaw funding

In response to the huge influx of ARRA funds, some states had difficulties ramping up their weatherization programs. Inevitably, stories of mismanagement and even corruption appeared in the news. Yet overall, the weatherization program has been a notable success.

“The seesaw effect in funding has certainly been a frustration for the program historically,” Payne told me. “Too many decision-makers saw the program as a failure instead of the real success it was. A million homes ended up being weatherized. There were some examples [of problems] that caught media attention, but they were a small fraction of the homes that were weatherized. It was ironic and unfortunate. The success of the program became a political football, at a time when the whole economy was going over a cliff. And now, because of the Continuing Resolution and Sequestration, the program is not getting the funding it needs.”

We have no energy policy

The legislative gridlock in Congress no longer raises many eyebrows. Our national budgetary stalemate elicits jokes on late-night television rather than voter outrage. But the de factodefunding of the weatherization program is just one element of a much larger problem.

For the past 40 years, ever since the oil price shocks of the 1970s, our country has lacked a coherent energy policy. While the governments of Sweden, Denmark, and Germany have make consistent investments that bring them closer to achieving their countries' national energy goals, the U.S. has been lurching from one misguided incentive to the next, with a boom-and-bust cycle that creates and destroys industries with wanton abandon.

These days, thoughtful voices advocating a national energy policy are unlikely to find a sympathetic ear in Congress. Lobbyists appear to have the upper hand. As a result, the federal government has in recent years offered ill-considered incentives for equipment like ground-source heat pumps and for windows with low-solar-gain glazing (even in cold climates).

At a time when global climate change presents us with a historic challenge that will require a huge national investment in weatherization, we have spent tens of millions of dollars on worker training. But instead of taking advantage of the skills of these trained weatherization workers, we've decided to lay off thousands of them. In spite of the fact that weatherization agencies have long waiting lists of low-income families living in substandard housing, dozens of local weatherization crews are now downsizing or disbanding. We are in the process of gutting an admirable federal program with a proven track record.

If our legislators’ neglect can cause a fiasco on this scale, it's hard to imagine that our country is equipped to face the looming climate challenge.

Martin Holladay Musings of an Energy Nerd, GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

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          Comment on Downsize Your Footprint While You Drive by Lois Hodgson        
Hey! I Love Your website. I'm gonna post a link on my MySpace Site.
          Sequestration leads to SCHRA office changes        

The Manchester-Coffee County Neighborhood Service Center, the part of the South Central Human Resource Agency that distributes USDA Commodities in the county, moved Monday to the agency’s Tullahoma satellite office in the Marcum Building at 414 Wilson Ave.

Officials, however, do not foresee a change in the distribution location for commodities, which will still be in Manchester at the Ada Wright Center, on Woodland Drive.

The next commodity distribution is scheduled for August.

The consolidation comes in response to a reduction in funding.

“We’re downsizing because of sequestration,” said SCHRA executive director James Anderson. “We’ve had funds cut that we were used to having in the past. We are having to rearrange our service centers.”

He said that the move to Tullahoma was because it had more room and “will serve the clients better.”

Anderson added that the Tullahoma location would also handle Moore County.

When asked if thought was given to the trouble low-income residents of the outlying areas might have getting to Tullahoma, Anderson said, “Thought was put into all of it. We don’t do things just on a haphazard method.”

Anderson advised that the South Central Tennessee Development District centered in Columbia provides rural public transportation to all central 13 counties.

Locally, rural public transportation is based out of Tullahoma and can be reached at 455-1787.

Public transportation suggests that reservations be made a week in advance of the appointment. Fare for a trip to Tullahoma is $2.50 per person, one way. Rides are scheduled to arrive at the person’s home one hour before the appointment. The rider then calls after the appointment for the return trip as available.

The SCHRA budgetary squeeze has also had an effect on the agency’s staffing.

While Manchester office director Melissa Rhinehart said that her office was fortunate and did not lose any positions in the consolidation, regionally, the crunch has had a harder effect on SCHRA.

Anderson said that over the 13-county SCHRA area, several positions saw reductions in hours. He was, however, somewhat vague about how many positions were cut outright.

“We cut several [people] to fewer hours than they were normally getting and cut one or two completely out.”

He said that according to his recollection, “Coffee County only had a few hours cut, because those ladies are going to help pick up Moore County.”

The move will not affect the local SCHRA Community Corrections office, which will remain at the Manchester location.

USDA commodities are distributed every three months.

Given away are nonperishable items such as canned vegetables and fruits, peanut butter and sometimes powdered milk and dried beans, depending on availability.

Last quarter, SCHRA distributed food to 345 Coffee County residents.

“I believe we had 654 people signed up for distribution,” Rhinehart said.

She said that each of the 345 people was given 25-pound bags for a total of 8,625 pounds of food.

All of the agency’s programs that were handled by the Manchester office, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program that helps the less fortunate with their utility bills, will now be offered through the Tullahoma office.

The energy assistance program is a two-fold program offering heating assistance to “eligible households through payment to a utility company or through the purchase of coal or wood.”

A second part of the program, crisis heating assistance, provides emergency funds to prevent the immediate shutoff of eligible residents’ fuel.

Money is credited at participants’ utility company, then applied towards monthly bills until depleted.

Coffee County is second only to Maury County, and almost doubled the number of the remaining counties’ energy assistance applications in 2012.

According to the agency’s annual report, Maury County low-income residents received $500,400 in light bill assistance, compared to $446,250 in Coffee County.

Coffee County is fifth in amount of commodities distributed.

The office also handles the Weatherization Assistance Program that contracts out winterization for low-income homeowners.

“We have a lot of different programs,” Vicki Harris said, adding that they are managed through several offices in the area.

Eligibility for SCHRA assistance is based on a total household income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Those seeking aid should bring proof of current household income, current utility bill(s) (including electric, gas, propane, etc.) and social security cards for all household members, as required by federal law.

Anyone receiving SSI, SNAP, Families First or is a resident of Public Housing is eligible for commodities.

The Tullahoma office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. During slow periods leading up to October, appointments are not generally needed.

For more information about SCHRA programs or to make and appointment, call the Tullahoma office at (931) 461-0041.

Tullahoma, Tennessee

John Coffelt


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          Sequestration is hitting home        
Sequestration is finding its way to Franklin County.

One of the organizations that will be hit hard because of the automatic federal cuts that resulted from the budget stalemate is STEP Inc.

Jon Morris, director of STEP, said the organization will lose about $350,000 agency wide, about 5 percent, as a result of sequestration.

"These cuts will affect many programs," he said, including Head Start, Section 8 housing, homeless programs, Virginia CARES senior meals and the weatherization program.

Head Start will lose about $100,000, and the Redwood Early Head Start classroom has already been closed, Morris said.

"We will lose eight EHS (Early Head Start) slots for children and families," he said, "and three full-time staff positions will be downsized."

All Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms will also be closed one day each month from August to December to cut costs, he said, and all Head Start staff will be furloughed those five days.

Other cuts will be coming over the summer.

"We will have to reduce services in senior meals and other areas to meet our 5-percent cut," he said. "Other staff may be furloughed as well, but we hope we will not have to downsize any more employees."

It's too early to tell about the exact cuts to the homeless programs, but "we know they are coming," Morris said.

"With a lot of the federal funds that are being cut, information on how much to cut has not been released to us yet," he said. "As of today (May 1), we received an email concerning our Senior Meals cuts. We have to cut nearly $4,500 from our meals program for the remainder of this program year, which lasts until September 30."

"The longer it takes us to hear about these cuts, the harder it is on us to make the cuts without inflicting greater damage on our staff or clients," he added.

Weatherization cuts will actually occur during the next program year, which will begin on Oct. 1.

"The reason for this is because of the way funding is approved on a federal level and when it is allocated to the states to use," he said. "What the cuts mean to weatherization and homeless services is a reduction in services to those who need it most ... how much we reduce those services is determined on the amount of cuts. It's very possible we could lose approximately $30,000 between the two programs."

Congress has acted to intervene on behalf of meat inspectors and the airline industry air traffic controllers, but without that intervention, the cuts are considered permanent, Morris said.

"I fully don't expect Congress to do anything to restore our cuts in funding and to the low-income families who are still struggling in our region," he said.

Morris said it was shame to close the Redwood classroom.

"Redwood has been an amazing partner and if, by some crazy chance, we get funding restored, we plan on returning there and they would welcome us back," he said. "Like the other cuts, these will continue in the future for us. However, after this year, we don't anticipate any further staff furlough days or additional reduction in services."

Charles Boothe
Franklin County, Virginia
The Franklin News Post
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          One of Bronx’s Original ‘Green’ Building Programs on Chopping Block        
In her 10th floor apartment in Keith Tower on Southern Boulevard, Marge Marcone wipes her hand across the long windowsill in her living room, and is still amazed by the lack of dust.

It has been more than a year since a local community organization installed all new windows in her apartment for free — a major improvement from her old, faulty windows.

“Those huge windows were monsters for me, they were very difficult to open, but air still got in,” Marcone said. “My window sills would be filthy, even on the 10th floor.”

Created to help low income residents of ailing buildings in the early 1980s, the Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition’s Weatherization Assistance Program was one of city’s first “green” building programs. It received a burst in funding from the economic stimulus package in 2009, allowing it to install new energy-saving boilers, lights, appliances and windows for tenants like Marcone and countless others.

But with funding set to expire in December, the program could be forced to downsize on all sides.

By the late 1970s, decrepit, unlivable buildings were becoming the norm in pockets of the Bronx.

John Reilly, executive director of Fordham-Bedford Housing Corporation, remembers back when they bought their first dilapidated Bronx building for $100.

“The systems [of the building] were in terrible shape,” Reilly said. “There were a lot of old boilers, a few coal burners were still around in some buildings, and the roofs needed insulation. Fuel costs had gone up and the whole weatherization issue was a big one.”

Building owners were faced with both disrepair and the inability to apply for a loan due to the small income base of their tenants, says Fran Fuselli, who runs the Coalition’s Weatherization program.

“In the 1970s, owners made more money burning their buildings down than maintaining them,” said Fuselli.

The Weatherization Program attempted to fill the void left by neglectful owners and banks.

The program only takes on a building project where at least 50 percent of tenants have less than an income of 150 percent of the national poverty line, which is a total income of $33,525 for a family of four.

Installing new boilers, Energy Star appliances, low flow showerheads and faucets, and switching out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents are among the repairs WAP makes to its buildings. On a building that the Coalition retrofitted prior to the stimulus funding, the building’s owner had a 25 percent savings on his heating bill within the first year, according to Fuselli.

With the stimulus money, they hired and trained 12 new staff members from within the Bronx community, and took on bigger buildings such as the Keith and Kelly Towers on Southern Boulevard. Gone were the days of entering an apartment and choosing what to repair and what to leave as is.

“Prior to the per unit cost increase, we would have to look at a building and sort of triage what we could do there,” Fuselli remarked. “We might have been able to do a pipe wrap, but we couldn’t put in a new boiler.”

Despite the burst of funding, the Coalition has hardly made a dent to the five-year wait list that they have maintained throughout the life of the program. Jumping from completing 300 units per year to 1,800 in a two-and-a-half-year period, the program is now faced with looming budget cuts when the stimulus funding reaches its end in December.

Fuselli painfully says she has already had to lay off trained employees who were recently hired. She likes to think of WAP as one of the few federally funded programs well liked by both political parties, with job creation, housing rehabilitation and energy saving at the forefront of its campaign.

The national WAP receives funding from the Home Energy Assistance Program, the Department of Energy and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), all of which still have undetermined budget’s for 2012, according to Fuselli. “We need to keep weatherization in the forefront and let our elected officials know that this is a program at the direct benefit of the neediest in our community,” she said.

“The improvements should not be stopped,” Marcone said. “We could have become slums too, but the fact that they’re doing so many improvements gives us a lift. It makes us want to take care of the place.”

Emily Piccone
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          What if … the Islanders never hired Mike Milbury? (NHL Alternate History)        

(Ed. Note: Thus begins another summer series here on Puck Daddy. We’ve had Mount Puckmore [what, no Jagr?] and Weird NHL and A-to-Z and so many others. And now, for 2017, one of our more ambitious ones: NHL Alternate History. We’ve asked fans and bloggers from 31 teams to pick one turning point in their franchise’s history and ask ‘what if things had gone differently?’ Trades, hirings, firings, wins, losses, injuries … all of it. How would one different outcome change the course of history for an NHL team?

First up: Our old FanHouse buddy Kevin Schultz presents an alternate history of the New York Islanders. Enjoy!)

By Kevin Schultz

How do you choose just one moment or decision to revise in Islanders history?  Is it possible to go back and save the Titanic by jumping in the icy water and pushing your hands against the hull?

The 2017-18 season marks the franchise’s 45th season in existence, the first half littered with Stanley Cups and Hall of Famers while the latter half has been mostly known for poor personnel decisions, never-ending arena sagas, and generally mediocre hockey save for John Tavares. Thanks for choosing me to jump in that icy water Greg. This must be some kind of cruel joke.

There are so many ways to go, that my one Golden Ticket to put one revision into in Islander history is not nearly enough ammunition. But after some careful thought, there’s really only one option that would fix this franchise for the long run.

So, what would a retired and cranky Islanders writer chose to do with said Golden Ticket? We can start with the obvious choice and the one that anyone who follows my rants on Twitter can guess:

Not hiring Mike Milbury.  

Believe me I’ll get to that one, but let’s look at some other options as well.

There’s a fun one – the Drive for Five. What if the Islanders beat Gretzky & Co. for a second straight year, securing a fifth straight Stanley Cup? Or what if a number of different playoff series went another way? (The 1993 series against Montreal, 2002 versus Toronto, 2015 against Washington).

Or there’s more obscure changes that could be made. How about a fun fact: that Nassau County had thought about building a state-of-the-art arena as far back as 1956 but decided against it after private money financed Island Garden? Or we can go with avoiding the various contract disputes with star players throughout the years (John Tonnelli, Pat LaFontaine, and Ziggy Palffy immediately come to mind).

There’s a number of different owners that could be nixed. John Spano, a literal criminal, for one.

Let’s start with the Big Mouth Mike Milbury, whose tenure is probably the biggest trash fire in recent hockey managment memory aside from whatever it is the Leafs were doing between 2005 and 2015.

The idea would be to never hire Milbury and avoid a disturbing amount of bad personnel decisions, right? Right.

A quick glance of the potential missed pitfalls of this non-hiring are obvious, but for the sake of fun and having my childhood die a little bit more inside, let’s quickly list what may have been avoided:

  • Not trading Zdeno Chara or JP Dumont or Todd Bertuzzi or Roberto Luongo
  • Drafting Jason Spezza instead of trading that pick to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin and buying him out
  • Not making Tommy Salo cry during an arbitration meeting
  • Presumably not missing the playoffs for 7 straight seasons and, presumably, winning a playoff round somewhere between 1994 and 2015
  • Not having to be pissed off on a weekly basis from having to watch one of the biggest trash fires of a GM get paraded around as an expert on NBC. (To really sum up the depths and depravity of Milbury’s mismanagement, here’s a lovely flowchart of all his moves from @webbard. The final summation of his moves is practically nothing.)

That list even cuts Milbury slack on the Zigmund Palffy trade, which was mostly management directed (and if at this point you’re wondering where the 15-year DiPietro contract is, that was actually under Garth Snow’s rule). Maybe in some alternative reality the Islanders could have potentially fielded an All-Star team if they had a GM that sat on their hands instead of trading away any young player who didn’t immediately score 50 goals.

What’s that you say? The Islanders did have someone in the organization at the time Milbury was hired who may very well have been a GM who could have handled this better?

Here’s Newsday from December 3, 1995 the day after then-GM Don Maloney (also a crap Islanders GM, can’t let you skate by on this one, Don) was let go:

On the July day that Don Maloney presented Mike Milbury as the sixth head coach in the history of the Islanders, there was rampant speculation that the general manager also was introducing his successor….. Certainly, co-chairman Robert Rosenthal left the door open yesterday after he announced that Maloney was relieved of his duties. Although he promised the Islanders would conduct a “thorough” search before naming a new GM, Rosenthal indicated the names of both Milbury and Darcy Regier, the assistant GM and director of player personnel, would appear on any short list.

(*screen fades to black and the credits roll while telling us about the future outcomes of the characters involved*)

“Darcy Regier would be fired by the Islanders in 1997 and become the GM of the Buffalo Sabres for 16 seasons, running them reasonably well, reaching one Stanley Cup Final and winning one President’s Trophy”

“Mike Milbury would be fired by the Islanders in 2006 and go on to.. Well, you know…”

So would never-ever going within 100 miles of Milbury fix the Islanders?

Yes in some capacity, because anyone willing to either sit on their hands or throw darts at a board could have done better, but in the long run, no.

The only thing that might reasonably fix the Islanders in the long-term is a stadium deal. A good one, too. Not the half-cocked basketball rink in Brooklyn. An actual stadium that is (1) convenient to Long Islanders and mass transit, (2) doesn’t have crowded concourses, (3) is made to fit a hockey rink, (4) doesn’t financially suffocate the team, and (5) is located on Long Island.

I can at least dream of having all those things, can’t I?

A franchise can survive an Idiot-in-charge. Those come and go. Hell, the Islanders have survived multiple strikes from Idiots-in-charge. However, a franchise cannot survive if it physically does not have a place to play, or if it does manage to survive, it will do so in a perpetually uncertain and nebulous state. The Islanders are the latter and have been dogged by relocation rumors and stadium troubles for much of their existence.

Here’s Newsday’s Mark Herrmann just 10 days after the Maloney firing on December 13, 1995, when Milbury was officially appointed GM:

If Milbury fails, it is quite conceivable the other “S” word will come into play: sale. Or South, as in Nashville or Atlanta. Although the Islanders’ unique lease with the Coliseum runs through 2015 and is considered ironclad (Nassau County has authority to veto a sale, and therefore a franchise shift), a hockey source said: “In this day and age, any lease can be broken.”

The arena troubles of the team really date back to it’s origin in 1972 in the new Nassau Coliseum, built by the County. To put it very succinctly, here’s Nick Giglia who chronicled the saga throughout the early 2000s.

“The Islanders exist wholly because Nassau County wanted to keep the upstart WHA out of the soon-to-be-built Nassau Coliseum, and the NHL was all too willing to oblige… The Coliseum itself is a compromise and an accident that became obsolete minutes after the ribbon was cut.  County Executive Nickerson, who envisioned a county-wide destination on that land ever since it was ceded to the county by the Kennedy Administration in 1962, was rebuffed in his efforts to build a 20,000 seat arena with an underground station for the Long Island Rail Road.  Some undoubtedly assumed the Islanders were a placeholder and would leave the area as a distant memory once the WHA folded and a major metropolitan area came calling.”

There’s been many twists and turns to the Islanders arena saga, it’s too hard to go through them all, but here’s a few choice cuts. In the late 90s, owners desperate for a real estate deal tried to get the Coliseum condemned, threatening to play games in another location until the State Supreme Court blocked the action. In the 2000s, owner Charles Wang, after striking out with the Lighthouse Project and, later, a public referendum for a bond issue, moved the team to Brooklyn in 2015. That move was preceded by years of uncertainty related to Wang’s true intentions as he kept silent (also remember this is around the time Jim Balsillie was trying to buy his way into the NHL).

Despite the move to Brooklyn, the arena was never built to properly host hockey and hasn’t drawn in the Long Island fanbase in big enough numbers. To that end, the saga continues as the arena looks toward an opt-out clause in the team’s contract and the team looks toward a potential RFP at Belmont Park. Not only that, but even the Coliseum the Islanders left was refurbished in a way that is not suitable for NHL hockey. The Islanders search for a good arena deal is an unkillable zombie and we will be writing and talking about it until the undead are purged from the earth.

So if I could go back and use Greg Wyshnyski’s Alternate History Golden Hockey Ticket™ on the Islanders, if I’m not using it on Mike Milbury, I would build the Lighthouse Project.

The Lighthouse Project was a massive real estate-arena combo deal that would have totally revamped the 60 acres that the Coliseum sits on proposed by Charles Wang in the 00s. It would have not only redone the arena but would have also built shops, housing, offices, a hotel, and a giant 60-story lighthouse tower. It was a massive project to revitalize what is known as ‘the hub’ of Nassau County. That gigantic vision, and the never ending political corruption and NIMBY-ism on Long Island killed the project. The project was later downsized and approved by the County but died a long, slow death at the hands of the Town of Hempstead. The Town delayed, and delayed, and asked for revisions, and asked for more downsizing, and asked for more environmental reviews, ad infinitum until Wang and his partners gave up and walked away.

Here’s Nick again:

I had never dwelt on the dead Lighthouse Project for long enough to come up with a pithy synthesis of what had happened.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, I had a moment of perfect clarity, and blurted this out:

“Because there are people who would let Long Island sink into the ocean, while they sat on their decks and preened to nobody in particular about what a great place Long Island is.”

It’s hard to really imagine what this project would have looked like at completion, especially since the “new” and renovated Coliseum that is there today sits on the same foundation and acreage of asphalt that it has since 1972. And also when you consider that such a large project could hit financing issues, delays in construction or other problems, it may not have been the grand plan that was first proposed.

But dammit, this is my Golden Ticket and I’m going to use it how I please. In this timeline The Lighthouse Project gets built, it turns out to be all that was promised and more, so that the Islanders have a shiny new arena, an owner with cash to spend on players who does not need to pursue real estate deals, and we all live happily ever after in Nassau County, killing that damned arena zombie once and for all.

Kevin Schultz is the former editor of Islanders Point Blank. He is an avid Islander fan and can be found yelling into the void on Twitter @schultz88. Please direct all hate mail to @Wyshynski.


Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.


          Travel Agents Online        

Travel Agents Online

are the wave of the future, as more and more people turn to the internet in search of the best rates for airfare, vacations and discounted travel.

Over 85% of internet users are booking travel at least twice a year, utilizing the services of travel agents online to ensure that certain details don't fall through the cracks.

The online travel agent industry has become a lucrative alternative to the traditional brick and mortal travel agency, and becoming a travel agent online is easier now than it ever has been.

Travel is a recession proof business, simply because people love to travel, and for many, travel is a necessity for their jobs, businesses and income.

Even with the present state of the economy, travel continues to grow as a global industry, growing 23% faster than the global economy.

The recession has also created the perfect storm so to speak - with job stability becoming more uncertain, many are branching into the home based business arena in order to stabilize their incomes, and to generate incomes lost through job cuts, downsizing and job outsourcing.

Travel Agents Online
- How Do I Start?

There are many ways you can get into the world of travel agents online - I am going to cover a model that offers a legitimate opportunity, with outstanding training, certification, plus the ability to profit from your efforts, and the efforts of others you bring into your organization.

Do your research, and then

Join Traverus Travel


Traverus is an outstanding travel agency, with outstanding training, and travel agent certification. Certified travel agents online are able to book travel with all vendors in the travel industry directly, and in addition, the new compensation structure is fantastic.

Get additional information on the industry of travel agents online:

Travel Agents Online

          Legit Work From Home Jobs        

Legit Work From Home Jobs

In the past few weeks, I have received an ever increasing amount of calls, and many of the nice folks that I speak with have the same question, "Is this a legit work from home job?"

I need to let people know that while the business that you decide to do is important, ultimately it is the people that you surround yourself with that is MOST important.

There are work from home jobs that offer traditional employment, and a traditional paycheck, however, I choose to work for myself, and utilize the skills I possess to put money in my pocket, as opposed to the companies bank account.

One of the most rewarding aspects of this is the realization that I can make as much money as I want, or as little as I want, but I do it with the liberating knowledge that I do it for me and for my family.

I understand that the traditional thought process of a legitimate job is one that challenges many when they look at the work at home realm and decide whether it is for them or not.

It was that very thought process that kept me in the Corporate world for so long. It took me surrounding myself with others who were self-employed, to realize that I am NOT the person that Corporate America wanted me to think I was.

Corporate America wanted me to think that I would not survive without them.

It took me being challenged by those who were successful and free from that mindset to show me that that simply was not, and is not true!

If you recently lost your job due to downsizing, you must remember this - that while there are scams out there, the majority of work at home jobs that require you to embrace an entreprenuerial mindset, that require that you work HARD but reward you financially are not scams.

A simple but true bible verse comes to mind - if you don't work, you don't eat.

Find a work at home job that matches your skills and what you are passionate about - and the more you succeed, the more legitimate that work at home opportunity will be.

I created this video series to illustrate how powerful and effective you can be online, when you know exactly what to do to get the message about your work at home business out to the masses.

It doesn't take a lot of money to really start making money on the internet, just the knowledge of what to do, and how to do it.

I admit, that utilizing these free methods is a time consuming process, but well worth it.

Here is the first in my video series:

Little did we know, within a few months of starting the project in January of 2015, at only 36yrs old, WakeJunkie would suffer from three major strokes that would forever change his life. [Editor’s note: We did an article about WakeJunkie on The Klipsch Joint last year.] He was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. The strokes affected WakeJunkie's short term memory in that he could only remember about three days. After three days, any memories made during those days would simply fade away. What used to take him one hour, now takes him about five-six hours due to the strokes without any ability to retain short term memories. Fortunately, he remembered everything pre-stroke as those memories, knowledge, skills were stored in his long-term memory.

Over the next nine months, WakeJunkie would begin the road of rehabilitation and therapy.  In October of 2015, he contacted me to say that he thought he was ready to begin working on the project again. He asked me if I had plans for New Year’s. Although he didn’t want to make any promises, his goal was to finish the cabinet before the New Year. Jokingly, I told him let’s not specify which year.

It wasn’t long before WakeJunkie realized he would not be able to finish this project alone. His strength, memory and problem solving skills were not anywhere near what they used to be, so he began to recruit help from his dad and several local friends to assist with the project. Over the next eight months, they would continue to build the cabinet that would soon be the new home of the LaScala Trio and four Klipsch RSW-15’s.

On Saturday, June 18, the special day had finally arrived! My dad and I hooked up a 20’ enclosed trailer and headed for Alabama!

During the trip, we met up with WakeJunkie and his wife, making a side trip to pick up his very own Klipsch LaScalas and made a stop to visit the home theater of Superdave, another friend of ours from the Klipsch forum. Within two days of leaving Florida, we had arrived in Alabama, loaded up the cabinet and thus began its journey to its new home.

On Tuesday, June 21, WakeJunkie, myself and my father began the build. Over the next seven days, we ran a 20 amp dedicated circuit, wired five Lutron Dimmers to five Lighting Zones, constructed the front wall and screen and moved the projector outside the room in between a hall closet and my son’s closet.

Obviously, there struggles here and here of which you can read about them on my thread in the Klipsch forums. (You can also see my daily video recaps on my YouTube page.) It was only a one week install which meant nearly-sleepless nights and plenty of energy drinks.

Everything turned out so much nicer than I could have ever imagined. The custom cabinet features hand carvings, a beautiful diamond pattern that surrounds the screen, arch lighting, lighting behind the screen, LED lighting around the screen, the ability to raise the 150” AT Screen that is supported by gas shocks to gain access to the speakers and a drawer that extends to allow easy access behind the components. WakeJunkie’s cabinet is truly a work of art and his craftsmanship and attention to detail is to be admired.

My journey to build my LaScala Trio home theater was so much more than just building a cabinet and setting up some speakers. It was about friendship, family, the Klipsch community, determination, hope and beating the odds. I’m truly grateful for the friendship that I have with WakeJunkie and his family. He is living proof that you can overcome adverse circumstances by surrounding yourself with people that believe in you and are willing to support you through the process.

What do you think of Michael’s La Scala home theater build? Post in the comments!

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 4

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 1

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 5

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 2

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 6

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 3

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 11

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 13

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 20

Michael Stevens La Scala Home Theater Build 21

          Honesty is the Best Policy        
In today's down market, news of firm layoffs have unfortunately become all too common. If you are one of the unlucky ones who have been downsized, there is nothing to be ashamed about, especially if it was the result of the worsening economy. It is widely known that firms are laying off very qualified associates solely for economic reasons and not for performance reasons. The natural tendency for laid off associates is to want to hide this information from friends and family, as well as potential employers. However, you should fight the urge to hide the fact that you were laid off from your legal recruiter. I cannot overstate how important it is to be as honest and forthright as possible with your recruiter from the very beginning of your relationship about all aspects of your job search, including the reasons why you are looking for a new position.
          The Trump Card?        
Since the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential election the Internet has been ablaze - unlike this blog - with articles about the possible defence ramifications of his win. Indeed the Internet in general has gone into utter meltdown about Trump, but it's the more extreme ends that have amused me the most, those touting the end of the world as we know it.

Personally I think Trump is a massive arse, not that Hillary was much better, but luckily he's also still a politician. This is important because it guarantees two things. Firstly, that he'll inevitably back track on the majority of the promises he made during his campaign, so some of the more bonkers stuff is likely to quietly disappear in time. Secondly, that behind closed doors Trump is likely to be a very different person to the one we see in front of the cameras. He'll likely still be a massive arse, but probably one who spends a bit more time thinking about coherent policy and its implications, as opposed to the stage show that is a Presidential election. Or indeed any election. 

Of course this hasn't stopped people having a fit over phone calls to Taiwan, as if this was somehow a highly dangerous step in comparison to China's aggressive actions across the South China Sea in recent years. And it hasn't stopped people speculating wildly that America will abandon Europe to its fate under Trump. Some of the reactions by various outraged types have been truly amusing and much rubbish has been written about the impending start of world war three, which is to both misunderstand how the USA works and how Russia works.

It's inevitable that sitting as we do on the "blue" side of what was once the Iron Curtain, we have a tendency to view Russia as having its designs on our soil. It's the old good vs evil pantomime played out on a grand scale. But while Russia is certainly a concern for a variety of reasons, an impending invasion of the west is not one of them. Russia has struggled to flex its muscles properly in Ukraine despite being virtually unopposed by any kind of serious western intervention and is in no fit state (nor has it been for a long time) to go gallivanting across the Rhine and making a dash for the channel. Nor has Russia ever really desired to, which is where a lot of people get truly confused.

The rise of the Warsaw Pact is even to this day still largely misunderstood, in the context of what it was designed to achieve. During the second world war Russia was nearly brought to its knees by Germany and her allies. By the time the conflict was over the USSR alone had suffered more deaths - military and civilian combined - than most of the rest of Europe combined. Armed with this knowledge it's much easier to put the rise of the fabled Iron Curtain into its proper context. The reality is that the Warsaw Pact was - like NATO - a measure designed for mutual security assistance.

Naturally both sides of the cold war went out of their way to portray the other side as being the evil aggressors, when the reality is both sides were genuinely more interested in defence than attack, and both sides of course went out of their way to try and limit the others influence globally and interfere in each others interests. Fundamentally though both sides were trying to put up a shield.

This brings us to modern Russia and Vladimir Putin. Russia - and indeed Putin - is still stuck in the cold war mentality of trying to build up a shield to protect the homeland from aggression, the buffer zone it hopes will protect it from harm. What Putin thinks NATO is going to do only he knows, but its fairly transparent that while NATO has increasingly closed in over time on the border with Russia, it has neither the will nor the capacity to invade Russia, anymore than Russia has either against say, Germany.

This is not to say that some NATO members are not at risk. Those closest to Russia live with the spectre of the Russian bear hanging over them constantly. Nor does this mean NATO should simply allow Russia to eat away at the alliance, or allow Russia's low level aggression to go unchallenged. It's simply meant as a reminder to the more hysterical types that neither Trump nor Putin is about to kick off another world war. Both are likely to be more subtle than that in their designs. 

Yes, I know I just used Donald Trump and subtle in the same sentence, but trust me. 

What does this mean for European defence? Everyone is soiling their underwear at the prospect that the US might abandon Europe to its fate, which I find oddly amusing because it presupposes that a Europe minus the USA could not protect itself. While Russia has some fancy toys in its arsenal and a decent number of troops - both regular and reserve - to call upon, the reality is that European NATO members have fancier toys for the most part, more of them, and a decent number of their own troops to call upon.

It's unlikely that Trump will activate a full scale removal of US forces from Europe. There could be some significant downsizing, but it's worth bearing in mind that US forces in Europe provide a handy forward reserve for deployments, as well as maintaining a wide range of facilities that have proven their usefulness numerous times over the years. Cool heads in council and a realistic assessment of the facts are likely to ensure a US presence in Europe for many years to come.

And frankly would a US downsizing be as terrible as some imagine? For one thing it would give many NATO members a much needed kick up the arse, including our own esteemed (stop laughing) government. A partial withdrawal of US forces could in the long run be the most positive thing to happen to Europe in a long time, as bizarre as that may sound. A bit like the inevitable moment when a pair of adult birds begin to gradually shove the little ones out of the nest, to gently encourage them to f$%£ off and start making their own way in the world. 

All in all I guess the summary of this post should be this; calm your tits. The end is not nigh.

          Turnaround for Transactional Lawyers        
I think nearly every attorney in the United States would agree that the past few years have been difficult times for associates in the legal profession, especially for transactional attorneys. Since the transaction market peaked in 2000, there has been a steady decline in transaction jobs, as the same law firms whose size had galvanized the legal market in the late 1990s now found that their clients were no longer generating the same amounts of legal work, forcing firms to downsize their associate ranks.
          A NEW POST!!!!        
Yes, it's me. I'm back. Where to begin.....

There is a very complicated reason for my absence, but I will try to explain. Life has been complicated for the past few months. I wouldn't say bad. Life has been pretty good actually, but, well, complicated.
I have been completely swamped with work and Isaac. I have not been a good picture taker at all, and for the most part, I have been behind on work all the time. On top of that, we moved to Lehi 1 month ago. This has further put me behind on work. I don't know if anyone else has this weird personality thing that I do, but I am, and I am coining this phrase, a "Self Punisher". Many people like to pride them self on discipline, but I think I take it a step further. I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. Basically, if my life is not perfect, I am not allowed to enjoy fun things or extras. So, as life became more swamped and complicated, I decided that blogging was a privilege I was not allowed to have until I got completely on top of things and life became perfect. I have actually been doing the same thing with recreational reading for the past couple of YEARS!!! I have tons of books that I have continued to purchase but have not allowed myself to read, and I finally stopped allowing myself to buy them too. Kind of crazy, I know.
Yesterday, I heard Pres. Monson's talk on Sunday morning about enjoying life every day. He referenced a quote from "The Music Man" that really hit home. "You pile up enough tomorrows and you'll find you have nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays"
I decided immediately that I was going to start blogging, reading, and enjoying life again. It has been a difficult concept for me lately because life just seems put on hold. I feel like nothing can start until sometime in the future. I just think of everything in terms of "when we buy a house" (we are leasing for this year), "When Bryce finishes with his MBA", etc. I have had a sense that our life is not our own right now. Anyway, enough with that. Whatever the case, I am going to start acting like it is ours.
Our Home.....
As I started mentioning around November, we have had to downsize a lot. We were very blessed to find a home to rent in Lehi. I am actually very happy here, but I have some mixed feelings. Leaving my dream home in Pleasant Grove was not as hard as I thought it would be. I was ready to move on with life and go back to square one if necessary so that we could move forward. The thing that I am having a hard time with is the location. We are WAAAAY up in Lehi, actually north of Thanksgiving Point. Nothing is close by. The great thing is, our new neighborhood and ward are WONDERFUL! It is basically all young families and everyone is much closer together, so Isaac and I go outside to play every day and we always find lots of friends to play with. He is having a blast!
Bryce is still working as an Operations Manager in SLC and is doing great. I am really so proud of him (and not writing this to flatter him because he doesn't read it ;)). Being so much closer to SLC is great. He gets a bit more time with us and we are saving money on fuel.

I am still working from home, but it has become more difficult as Isaac has gotten older. I get most things done when he is napping because when he is awake, he does not like me working. He is such a funny boy. He doesn't mind much if I am working around the house, cooking, etc. but when I go in the office he gets angry because he knows I will not be able to stop and play with him. After one week trying to work and take care of him in our new house, I got on CraigsList and found a babysitter! She is awesome. She lives nearby and has two children right around Isaac's age. So now, 3 days a week for 3 hours a day, Isaac goes to play with his friends. He loves his playtime and I love working (and taking a shower some days) uninterrupted.

Isaac is the light of our life. There are so many cool things I want to share about him, but I would not want to bore you with all my kid bragging, so I have composed a short list... :)
At his most recent appt. Isaac was in the 50th percentile for height and weight, but was in the 98th for head size! This is actually a trend that emerged when he was 6 months old. We love his giant head though. He is a genius for sure!
Molly, our dog, is Isaac's BFF. He loves to give her hugs, throw her ball to (or more accurately described, at) her, and get her to chase him around. I will get it on video and post it as soon as I can. It is hilarious. He does this squealing laugh that cracks me up. She is so patient with him.
Fav Foods
We have been so lucky to have a boy who loves all food. It is such a fun thing to let him try new things and see his reaction. That has been one of the best things about having a 1 year old. He loves bananas, chicken nuggets (thanks Costco!), orange juice, waffles, and he still loves veggies too, Yay!
Isaac is still not talking much. It is the last milestone I need so that I can stop worrying! But, he becomes more talkative everyday. He uses a lot of gibberish and his new word is "pop". Not as in dad or soda, but as in Pop, goes the weasel. He has a little Pop, goes the weasel toy and he likes to say, "Pop!" when the weasel comes out. I have heard it is normal for boys to take longer to talk, but I sure hope he starts soon. He does great with signing, though.
Issac asks to watch TV a lot, but then he doesn't actually want to watch anything. If we can get him to watch a show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is still #1. He also likes Bunnytown and The Wiggles. He loves dancing and he can actually dance along and do all the motions for the Wiggles song, "Rock-a-Bye Your Bear". I explained to Bryce that he is a natural dancing prodigy and we should put him in classes but Bryce said only one in HS to help him with balance for football. Oh well, so much for my dreams of being in the "So You Think You Can Dance" audience for the entire 2028 season.
I would say Isaac's other favorite hobby right now is "taking things out and putting them in". I can best describe this hobby by explaining that he likes to take everything out of the bathroom drawers and put it all in the tub, or take everything out of the kitchen cabinets and put it in the garbage. As you may guess, I am sometimes a tired and grouchy mommy.

Well, I think that's enough reading for you! Now go do something fun. I promise the next blog with have pictures, which are waaay easier to read, and will be more upbeat.
          The Truth About Me: The Face of Homelessness Part One        

The Truth About Me: Homeless, Frustrated, Broken, but Faithful
The Face of Homeless

I was so blind back then. I thought homelessness had a certain face. It was the face of the begging mother in the Wawa parking lot. It was the face of the dirty, grungy man who stood in 100 degree temperatures on the side of the road. It was the gay teen working the streets, because his family kicked him out. You see them everyday. You drive by them in your BMW's, you roll your eyes when they hold their hands out, and when you go back to  your safe homes you forget about them. I am here to tell you these are the not the only faces of homelessness, and if you aren’t careful one day the face of homelessness could be you.

We live in a world where nothing is guaranteed. We could lose our jobs to outsourcing or downsizing. We could lose our pensions in the stock market. We could work 40 hours a week and still be broke. We go to the college and somehow are still not be able to get a job in our profession. You could be wearing Jordan’s in one minute and be on food stamps the next. That is the America we live in. I saw it first hand as a television reporter, and even more so when I became homeless myself this year.

Yes, I Lauren Hope AKA Lauren Compton is homeless. My parents sit in a safe home in Virginia Beach. They have 4 cars, together they make over $100,000, and they want for nothing. Yet their oldest child is homeless. I have begged my family in Texas, Kentucky, and Mississippi to intervene. I am not saying this to be malice or petty. These are the facts of my life. I hide the dysfunction, the emotional abuse, and worse in my family in the name of saving their reputation. As I sit here typing this I do not know where I’ll be staying tomorrow, so I’m sorry family I will hide this no longer. We won’t pretend our family is perfect. We won’t pretend we don’t have flaws. And, I am done
pretending that I’m OK. What follows is the brief synopsis of how I became homeless, how depression destroyed my family, and how with faith I’m fighting to get my life back.

My parents took over my life in December of 2015. They demanded I move in with them because my depression was slowly killing me. They watched my spirit die and my ambition to live sliver away. I know it killed them to see their usually over achieving daughter falling apart this way. They couldn’t understand. I walked out of my high powered television job at a number one station in Virginia. I told Lyric (my ex) to continue fucking his mistress, a married woman, cause I wouldn’t stand for being second fiddle any longer. I cut off my fake friends, stopped calling television people, and I secluded myself in a world of misery. I tried cutting, pulling my hair, hanging, overdose and worse. I survived those suicide attempts, and I know now God has a higher purpose for me. I have apologized profusely to my parents even gotten on my knees and prayed.  They called me a bible thumper, told me to stop blogging, said I was a whore for dating, and worse. As much as I love my family, loving them was draining me.

My mother threatened to beat me, set me on fire, and slander 
my name if I ever told. Her behavior terrified me, and finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I called police, non-profits, anyone who would listen. May 23, 2016 I left my parent's Virginia Beach home at the advisement of a crisis interventionist. I didn’t know where I was going to sleep, eat or pray but anywhere was better than my parent’s home. I made a choice that day, and I stand by it even now.

This is the Sparknotes version of how mental illness is slowly ruining my already dysfunctional family. This summer has been the hardest few months of my life. I’ve jumped from couch to couch, bed to bed, hotel to hotel. I’ve made bad choices, trusted bad people, and been lead down bad paths. I humbled myself before my so called friends and they publicly used my pain to embarrass me on social media. I have trusted friends when they said they could help only to be humiliated over a roll of toilet paper. I am a former journalist and Cum Laude graduate, but I've slept in my Volkswagen Beetle more nights than I’d like to admit. My parents repossessed my car, ( a car they gifted to me) then told police I stole it. I have been hospitalized five times this year due to fear of blood clots and anxiety attacks. My parents slandered me to protect their cushy jobs.  My spirit is growing weary. I can no longer carry the weight of this homelessness, the shame it brings, and the judgement it sparks. In writing this I am releasing myself, from this pain. I am trusting my Heavenly Father to break me from these chains of restless nights, foreign beds, and a beggar’s life.

If you want to help you can donate to my GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/teamgoodgirl or Venmo (LaurenHope84)

1. Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:32). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

2. Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones). For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.
I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, with the consequent risk of being misinterpreted, detached from ethical living and, in any event, undervalued. In the social, juridical, cultural, political and economic fields — the contexts, in other words, that are most exposed to this danger — it is easily dismissed as irrelevant for interpreting and giving direction to moral responsibility. Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.

3. Through this close link with truth, charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations, including those of a public nature. Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space. In the truth, charity reflects the personal yet public dimension of faith in the God of the Bible, who is both Agápe and Lógos: Charity and Truth, Love and Word.
4. Because it is filled with truth, charity can be understood in the abundance of its values, it can be shared and communicated. Truth, in fact, is lógos which creates diá-logos, and hence communication and communion. Truth, by enabling men and women to let go of their subjective opinions and impressions, allows them to move beyond cultural and historical limitations and to come together in the assessment of the value and substance of things. Truth opens and unites our minds in the lógos of love: this is the Christian proclamation and testimony of charity. In the present social and cultural context, where there is a widespread tendency to relativize truth, practising charity in truth helps people to understand that adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful but essential for building a good society and for true integral human development. A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance. In other words, there would no longer be any real place for God in the world. Without truth, charity is confined to a narrow field devoid of relations. It is excluded from the plans and processes of promoting human development of universal range, in dialogue between knowledge and praxis.
5. Charity is love received and given. It is “grace” (cháris). Its source is the wellspring of the Father's love for the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Love comes down to us from the Son. It is creative love, through which we have our being; it is redemptive love, through which we are recreated. Love is revealed and made present by Christ (cf. Jn 13:1) and “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). As the objects of God's love, men and women become subjects of charity, they are called to make themselves instruments of grace, so as to pour forth God's charity and to weave networks of charity.
This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church's social teaching, which is caritas in veritate in re sociali: the proclamation of the truth of Christ's love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth. Truth preserves and expresses charity's power to liberate in the ever-changing events of history. It is at the same time the truth of faith and of reason, both in the distinction and also in the convergence of those two cognitive fields. Development, social well-being, the search for a satisfactory solution to the grave socio-economic problems besetting humanity, all need this truth. What they need even more is that this truth should be loved and demonstrated. Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present.
6. “Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church's social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action. I would like to consider two of these in particular, of special relevance to the commitment to development in an increasingly globalized society: justice and the common good.
First of all, justice. Ubi societas, ibi ius: every society draws up its own system of justice. Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting. I cannot “give” what is mine to the other, without first giving him what pertains to him in justice. If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is inseparable from charity[1], and intrinsic to it. Justice is the primary way of charity or, in Paul VI's words, “the minimum measure” of it[2], an integral part of the love “in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18), to which Saint John exhorts us. On the one hand, charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples. It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice. On the other hand, charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving[3]. The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God's love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world.
7. Another important consideration is the common good. To love someone is to desire that person's good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society[4]. It is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally, making it the pólis, or “city”. The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practise this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis. This is the institutional path — we might also call it the political path — of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbour directly, outside the institutional mediation of the pólis. When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have. Like all commitment to justice, it has a place within the testimony of divine charity that paves the way for eternity through temporal action. Man's earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations[5], in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.
8. In 1967, when he issued the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, my venerable predecessor Pope Paul VI illuminated the great theme of the development of peoples with the splendour of truth and the gentle light of Christ's charity. He taught that life in Christ is the first and principal factor of development[6] and he entrusted us with the task of travelling the path of development with all our heart and all our intelligence[7], that is to say with the ardour of charity and the wisdom of truth. It is the primordial truth of God's love, grace bestowed upon us, that opens our lives to gift and makes it possible to hope for a “development of the whole man and of all men”[8], to hope for progress “from less human conditions to those which are more human”[9], obtained by overcoming the difficulties that are inevitably encountered along the way.
At a distance of over forty years from the Encyclical's publication, I intend to pay tribute and to honour the memory of the great Pope Paul VI, revisiting his teachings on integral human development and taking my place within the path that they marked out, so as to apply them to the present moment. This continual application to contemporary circumstances began with the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, with which the Servant of God Pope John Paul II chose to mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Populorum Progressio. Until that time, only Rerum Novarum had been commemorated in this way. Now that a further twenty years have passed, I express my conviction that Populorum Progressio deserves to be considered “the Rerum Novarum of the present age”, shedding light upon humanity's journey towards unity.
9. Love in truth — caritas in veritate — is a great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized. The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value. The sharing of goods and resources, from which authentic development proceeds, is not guaranteed by merely technical progress and relationships of utility, but by the potential of love that overcomes evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), opening up the path towards reciprocity of consciences and liberties.
The Church does not have technical solutions to offer[10] and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States.”[11] She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. Without truth, it is easy to fall into an empiricist and sceptical view of life, incapable of rising to the level of praxis because of a lack of interest in grasping the values — sometimes even the meanings — with which to judge and direct it. Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce. Her social doctrine is a particular dimension of this proclamation: it is a service to the truth which sets us free. Open to the truth, from whichever branch of knowledge it comes, the Church's social doctrine receives it, assembles into a unity the fragments in which it is often found, and mediates it within the constantly changing life-patterns of the society of peoples and nations[12].


10. A fresh reading of Populorum Progressio, more than forty years after its publication, invites us to remain faithful to its message of charity and truth, viewed within the overall context of Paul VI's specific magisterium and, more generally, within the tradition of the Church's social doctrine. Moreover, an evaluation is needed of the different terms in which the problem of development is presented today, as compared with forty years ago. The correct viewpoint, then, is that of the Tradition of the apostolic faith[13], a patrimony both ancient and new, outside of which Populorum Progressio would be a document without roots — and issues concerning development would be reduced to merely sociological data.
11. The publication of Populorum Progressio occurred immediately after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and in its opening paragraphs it clearly indicates its close connection with the Council[14]. Twenty years later, in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, John Paul II, in his turn, emphasized the earlier Encyclical's fruitful relationship with the Council, and especially with the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes[15]. I too wish to recall here the importance of the Second Vatican Council for Paul VI's Encyclical and for the whole of the subsequent social Magisterium of the Popes. The Council probed more deeply what had always belonged to the truth of the faith, namely that the Church, being at God's service, is at the service of the world in terms of love and truth. Paul VI set out from this vision in order to convey two important truths. The first is that the whole Church, in all her being and acting — when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity — is engaged in promoting integral human development. She has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities: all the energy she brings to the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity is manifested when she is able to operate in a climate of freedom. In not a few cases, that freedom is impeded by prohibitions and persecutions, or it is limited when the Church's public presence is reduced to her charitable activities alone. The second truth is that authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension[16]. Without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space. Enclosed within history, it runs the risk of being reduced to the mere accumulation of wealth; humanity thus loses the courage to be at the service of higher goods, at the service of the great and disinterested initiatives called forth by universal charity. Man does not develop through his own powers, nor can development simply be handed to him. In the course of history, it was often maintained that the creation of institutions was sufficient to guarantee the fulfilment of humanity's right to development. Unfortunately, too much confidence was placed in those institutions, as if they were able to deliver the desired objective automatically. In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone. Moreover, such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development. Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature[17], to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that “becomes concern and care for the other.”[18]
12. The link between Populorum Progressio and the Second Vatican Council does not mean that Paul VI's social magisterium marked a break with that of previous Popes, because the Council constitutes a deeper exploration of this magisterium within the continuity of the Church's life[19]. In this sense, clarity is not served by certain abstract subdivisions of the Church's social doctrine, which apply categories to Papal social teaching that are extraneous to it. It is not a case of two typologies of social doctrine, one pre-conciliar and one post-conciliar, differing from one another: on the contrary, there is a single teaching, consistent and at the same time ever new[20]. It is one thing to draw attention to the particular characteristics of one Encyclical or another, of the teaching of one Pope or another, but quite another to lose sight of the coherence of the overall doctrinal corpus[21]. Coherence does not mean a closed system: on the contrary, it means dynamic faithfulness to a light received. The Church's social doctrine illuminates with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging[22]. This safeguards the permanent and historical character of the doctrinal “patrimony”[23] which, with its specific characteristics, is part and parcel of the Church's ever-living Tradition[24]. Social doctrine is built on the foundation handed on by the Apostles to the Fathers of the Church, and then received and further explored by the great Christian doctors. This doctrine points definitively to the New Man, to the “last Adam [who] became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45), the principle of the charity that “never ends” (1 Cor 13:8). It is attested by the saints and by those who gave their lives for Christ our Saviour in the field of justice and peace. It is an expression of the prophetic task of the Supreme Pontiffs to give apostolic guidance to the Church of Christ and to discern the new demands of evangelization. For these reasons, Populorum Progressio, situated within the great current of Tradition, can still speak to us today.
13. In addition to its important link with the entirety of the Church's social doctrine, Populorum Progressio is closely connected to the overall magisterium of Paul VI, especially his social magisterium. His was certainly a social teaching of great importance: he underlined the indispensable importance of the Gospel for building a society according to freedom and justice, in the ideal and historical perspective of a civilization animated by love. Paul VI clearly understood that the social question had become worldwide [25] and he grasped the interconnection between the impetus towards the unification of humanity and the Christian ideal of a single family of peoples in solidarity and fraternity. In the notion of development, understood in human and Christian terms, he identified the heart of the Christian social message, and he proposed Christian charity as the principal force at the service of development. Motivated by the wish to make Christ's love fully visible to contemporary men and women, Paul VI addressed important ethical questions robustly, without yielding to the cultural weaknesses of his time.
14. In his Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens of 1971, Paul VI reflected on the meaning of politics, and the danger constituted by utopian and ideological visions that place its ethical and human dimensions in jeopardy. These are matters closely connected with development. Unfortunately the negative ideologies continue to flourish. Paul VI had already warned against the technocratic ideology so prevalent today[26], fully aware of the great danger of entrusting the entire process of development to technology alone, because in that way it would lack direction. Technology, viewed in itself, is ambivalent. If on the one hand, some today would be inclined to entrust the entire process of development to technology, on the other hand we are witnessing an upsurge of ideologies that deny in toto the very value of development, viewing it as radically anti-human and merely a source of degradation. This leads to a rejection, not only of the distorted and unjust way in which progress is sometimes directed, but also of scientific discoveries themselves, which, if well used, could serve as an opportunity of growth for all. The idea of a world without development indicates a lack of trust in man and in God. It is therefore a serious mistake to undervalue human capacity to exercise control over the deviations of development or to overlook the fact that man is constitutionally oriented towards “being more”. Idealizing technical progress, or contemplating the utopia of a return to humanity's original natural state, are two contrasting ways of detaching progress from its moral evaluation and hence from our responsibility.
15. Two further documents by Paul VI without any direct link to social doctrine — the Encyclical Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968) and the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975) — are highly important for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes. It is therefore helpful to consider these texts too in relation to Populorum Progressio.
The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life[27]. This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II's Encyclical Evangelium Vitae[28]. The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that “a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.”[29]
The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, for its part, is very closely linked with development, given that, in Paul VI's words, “evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man's concrete life, both personal and social.”[30] “Between evangelization and human advancement — development and liberation — there are in fact profound links”[31]: on the basis of this insight, Paul VI clearly presented the relationship between the proclamation of Christ and the advancement of the individual in society. Testimony to Christ's charity, through works of justice, peace and development, is part and parcel of evangelization, because Jesus Christ, who loves us, is concerned with the whole person. These important teachings form the basis for the missionary aspect[32] of the Church's social doctrine, which is an essential element of evangelization[33]. The Church's social doctrine proclaims and bears witness to faith. It is an instrument and an indispensable setting for formation in faith.
16. In Populorum Progressio, Paul VI taught that progress, in its origin and essence, is first and foremost a vocation: “in the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfil himself, for every life is a vocation.”[34] This is what gives legitimacy to the Church's involvement in the whole question of development. If development were concerned with merely technical aspects of human life, and not with the meaning of man's pilgrimage through history in company with his fellow human beings, nor with identifying the goal of that journey, then the Church would not be entitled to speak on it. Paul VI, like Leo XIII before him in Rerum Novarum[35], knew that he was carrying out a duty proper to his office by shedding the light of the Gospel on the social questions of his time[36].
To regard development as a vocation is to recognize, on the one hand, that it derives from a transcendent call, and on the other hand that it is incapable, on its own, of supplying its ultimate meaning. Not without reason the word “vocation” is also found in another passage of the Encyclical, where we read: “There is no true humanism but that which is open to the Absolute, and is conscious of a vocation which gives human life its true meaning.”[37] This vision of development is at the heart of Populorum Progressio, and it lies behind all Paul VI's reflections on freedom, on truth and on charity in development. It is also the principal reason why that Encyclical is still timely in our day.
17. A vocation is a call that requires a free and responsible answer. Integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples: no structure can guarantee this development over and above human responsibility. The “types of messianism which give promises but create illusions”[38] always build their case on a denial of the transcendent dimension of development, in the conviction that it lies entirely at their disposal. This false security becomes a weakness, because it involves reducing man to subservience, to a mere means for development, while the humility of those who accept a vocation is transformed into true autonomy, because it sets them free. Paul VI was in no doubt that obstacles and forms of conditioning hold up development, but he was also certain that “each one remains, whatever be these influences affecting him, the principal agent of his own success or failure.”[39] This freedom concerns the type of development we are considering, but it also affects situations of underdevelopment which are not due to chance or historical necessity, but are attributable to human responsibility. This is why “the peoples in hunger are making a dramatic appeal to the peoples blessed with abundance”[40]. This too is a vocation, a call addressed by free subjects to other free subjects in favour of an assumption of shared responsibility. Paul VI had a keen sense of the importance of economic structures and institutions, but he had an equally clear sense of their nature as instruments of human freedom. Only when it is free can development be integrally human; only in a climate of responsible freedom can it grow in a satisfactory manner.
18. Besides requiring freedom, integral human development as a vocation also demands respect for its truth. The vocation to progress drives us to “do more, know more and have more in order to be more”[41]. But herein lies the problem: what does it mean “to be more”? Paul VI answers the question by indicating the essential quality of “authentic” development: it must be “integral, that is, it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man”[42]. Amid the various competing anthropological visions put forward in today's society, even more so than in Paul VI's time, the Christian vision has the particular characteristic of asserting and justifying the unconditional value of the human person and the meaning of his growth. The Christian vocation to development helps to promote the advancement of all men and of the whole man. As Paul VI wrote: “What we hold important is man, each man and each group of men, and we even include the whole of humanity”[43]. In promoting development, the Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, nor even on the merits of Christians (even though these existed and continue to exist alongside their natural limitations)[44], but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed. The Gospel is fundamental for development, because in the Gospel, Christ, “in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals humanity to itself”[45]. Taught by her Lord, the Church examines the signs of the times and interprets them, offering the world “what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race”[46]. Precisely because God gives a resounding “yes” to man[47], man cannot fail to open himself to the divine vocation to pursue his own development. The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development. This is the central message of Populorum Progressio, valid for today and for all time. Integral human development on the natural plane, as a response to a vocation from God the Creator[48], demands self-fulfilment in a “transcendent humanism which gives [to man] his greatest possible perfection: this is the highest goal of personal development”[49]. The Christian vocation to this development therefore applies to both the natural plane and the supernatural plane; which is why, “when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose and the ‘good' begins to wane”[50].
19. Finally, the vision of development as a vocation brings with it the central place of charity within that development. Paul VI, in his Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, pointed out that the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order. He invited us to search for them in other dimensions of the human person: first of all, in the will, which often neglects the duties of solidarity; secondly in thinking, which does not always give proper direction to the will. Hence, in the pursuit of development, there is a need for “the deep thought and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew”[51]. But that is not all. Underdevelopment has an even more important cause than lack of deep thought: it is “the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples”[52]. Will it ever be possible to obtain this brotherhood by human effort alone? As society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers. Reason, by itself, is capable of grasping the equality between men and of giving stability to their civic coexistence, but it cannot establish fraternity. This originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is. Paul VI, presenting the various levels in the process of human development, placed at the summit, after mentioning faith, “unity in the charity of Christ who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all”[53].
20. These perspectives, which Populorum Progressio opens up, remain fundamental for giving breathing-space and direction to our commitment for the development of peoples. Moreover, Populorum Progressio repeatedly underlines the urgent need for reform[54], and in the face of great problems of injustice in the development of peoples, it calls for courageous action to be taken without delay. This urgency is also a consequence of charity in truth. It is Christ's charity that drives us on: “caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5:14). The urgency is inscribed not only in things, it is not derived solely from the rapid succession of events and problems, but also from the very matter that is at stake: the establishment of authentic fraternity.
The importance of this goal is such as to demand our openness to understand it in depth and to mobilize ourselves at the level of the “heart”, so as to ensure that current economic and social processes evolve towards fully human outcomes.

21. Paul VI had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy. From the economic point of view, this meant their active participation, on equal terms, in the international economic process; from the social point of view, it meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from the political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace. After so many years, as we observe with concern the developments and perspectives of the succession of crises that afflict the world today, we ask to what extent Paul VI's expectations have been fulfilled by the model of development adopted in recent decades. We recognize, therefore, that the Church had good reason to be concerned about the capacity of a purely technological society to set realistic goals and to make good use of the instruments at its disposal. Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable. It is true that growth has taken place, and it continues to be a positive factor that has lifted billions of people out of misery — recently it has given many countries the possibility of becoming effective players in international politics. Yet it must be acknowledged that this same economic growth has been and continues to be weighed down by malfunctions and dramatic problems, highlighted even further by the current crisis. This presents us with choices that cannot be postponed concerning nothing less than the destiny of man, who, moreover, cannot prescind from his nature. The technical forces in play, the global interrelations, the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing, large-scale migration of peoples, often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention, the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources: all this leads us today to reflect on the measures that would be necessary to provide a solution to problems that are not only new in comparison to those addressed by Pope Paul VI, but also, and above all, of decisive impact upon the present and future good of humanity. The different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. The complexity and gravity of the present economic situation rightly cause us concern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future. The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time.
22. Today the picture of development has many overlapping layers. The actors and the causes in both underdevelopment and development are manifold, the faults and the merits are differentiated. This fact should prompt us to liberate ourselves from ideologies, which often oversimplify reality in artificial ways, and it should lead us to examine objectively the full human dimension of the problems. As John Paul II has already observed, the demarcation line between rich and poor countries is no longer as clear as it was at the time of Populorum Progressio[55]. The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of “superdevelopment” of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation. “The scandal of glaring inequalities”[56] continues. Corruption and illegality are unfortunately evident in the conduct of the economic and political class in rich countries, both old and new, as well as in poor ones. Among those who sometimes fail to respect the human rights of workers are large multinational companies as well as local producers. International aid has often been diverted from its proper ends, through irresponsible actions both within the chain of donors and within that of the beneficiaries. Similarly, in the context of immaterial or cultural causes of development and underdevelopment, we find these same patterns of responsibility reproduced. On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care. At the same time, in some poor countries, cultural models and social norms of behaviour persist which hinder the process of development.
23. Many areas of the globe today have evolved considerably, albeit in problematical and disparate ways, thereby taking their place among the great powers destined to play important roles in the future. Yet it should be stressed that progress of a merely economic and technological kind is insufficient. Development needs above all to be true and integral. The mere fact of emerging from economic backwardness, though positive in itself, does not resolve the complex issues of human advancement, neither for the countries that are spearheading such progress, nor for those that are already economically developed, nor even for those that are still poor, which can suffer not just through old forms of exploitation, but also from the negative consequences of a growth that is marked by irregularities and imbalances.
After the collapse of the economic and political systems of the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the end of the so-called opposing blocs, a complete re-examination of development was needed. Pope John Paul II called for it, when in 1987 he pointed to the existence of these blocs as one of the principal causes of underdevelopment[57], inasmuch as politics withdrew resources from the economy and from the culture, and ideology inhibited freedom. Moreover, in 1991, after the events of 1989, he asked that, in view of the ending of the blocs, there should be a comprehensive new plan for development, not only in those countries, but also in the West and in those parts of the world that were in the process of evolving[58]. This has been achieved only in part, and it is still a real duty that needs to be discharged, perhaps by means of the choices that are necessary to overcome current economic problems.
24. The world that Paul VI had before him — even though society had already evolved to such an extent that he could speak of social issues in global terms — was still far less integrated than today's world. Economic activity and the political process were both largely conducted within the same geographical area, and could therefore feed off one another. Production took place predominantly within national boundaries, and financial investments had somewhat limited circulation outside the country, so that the politics of many States could still determine the priorities of the economy and to some degree govern its performance using the instruments at their disposal. Hence Populorum Progressio assigned a central, albeit not exclusive, role to “public authorities”[59].
In our own day, the State finds itself having to address the limitations to its sovereignty imposed by the new context of international trade and finance, which is characterized by increasing mobility both of financial capital and means of production, material and immaterial. This new context has altered the political power of States.
Today, as we take to heart the lessons of the current economic crisis, which sees the State's public authorities directly involved in correcting errors and malfunctions, it seems more realistic to re-evaluate their role and their powers, which need to be prudently reviewed and remodelled so as to enable them, perhaps through new forms of engagement, to address the challenges of today's world. Once the role of public authorities has been more clearly defined, one could foresee an increase in the new forms of political participation, nationally and internationally, that have come about through the activity of organizations operating in civil society; in this way it is to be hoped that the citizens' interest and participation in the res publica will become more deeply rooted.
25. From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI's day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today's profoundly changed environment. The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State. Systems of social security can lose the capacity to carry out their task, both in emerging countries and in those that were among the earliest to develop, as well as in poor countries. Here budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers' associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.
The mobility of labour, associated with a climate of deregulation, is an important phenomenon with certain positive aspects, because it can stimulate wealth production and cultural exchange. Nevertheless, uncertainty over working conditions caused by mobility and deregulation, when it becomes endemic, tends to create new forms of psychological instability, giving rise to difficulty in forging coherent life-plans, including that of marriage. This leads to situations of human decline, to say nothing of the waste of social resources. In comparison with the casualties of industrial society in the past, unemployment today provokes new forms of economic marginalization, and the current crisis can only make this situation worse. Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering. I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world's economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: “Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life”[61].
26. On the cultural plane, compared with Paul VI's day, the difference is even more marked. At that time cultures were relatively well defined and had greater opportunity to defend themselves against attempts to merge them into one. Today the possibilities of interaction between cultures have increased significantly, giving rise to new openings for intercultural dialogue: a dialogue that, if it is to be effective, has to set out from a deep-seated knowledge of the specific identity of the various dialogue partners. Let it not be forgotten that the increased commercialization of cultural exchange today leads to a twofold danger. First, one may observe a cultural eclecticism that is often assumed uncritically: cultures are simply placed alongside one another and viewed as substantially equivalent and interchangeable. This easily yields to a relativism that does not serve true intercultural dialogue; on the social plane, cultural relativism has the effect that cultural groups coexist side by side, but remain separate, with no authentic dialogue and therefore with no true integration. Secondly, the opposite danger exists, that of cultural levelling and indiscriminate acceptance of types of conduct and life-styles. In this way one loses sight of the profound significance of the culture of different nations, of the traditions of the various peoples, by which the individual defines himself in relation to life's fundamental questions[62]. What eclecticism and cultural levelling have in common is the separation of culture from human nature. Thus, cultures can no longer define themselves within a nature that transcends them[63], and man ends up being reduced to a mere cultural statistic. When this happens, humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation.
27. Life in many poor countries is still extremely insecure as a consequence of food shortages, and the situation could become worse: hunger still reaps enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man's table, contrary to the hopes expressed by Paul VI[64]. Feed the hungry (cf. Mt 25: 35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church, as she responds to the teachings of her Founder, the Lord Jesus, concerning solidarity and the sharing of goods. Moreover, the elimination of world hunger has also, in the global era, become a requirement for safeguarding the peace and stability of the planet. Hunger is not so much dependent on lack of material things as on shortage of social resources, the most important of which are institutional. What is missing, in other words, is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water for nutritional needs, and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises, whether due to natural causes or political irresponsibility, nationally and internationally. The problem of food insecurity needs to be addressed within a long-term perspective, eliminating the structural causes that give rise to it and promoting the agricultural development of poorer countries. This can be done by investing in rural infrastructures, irrigation systems, transport, organization of markets, and in the development and dissemination of agricultural technology that can make the best use of the human, natural and socio-economic resources that are more readily available at the local level, while guaranteeing their sustainability over the long term as well. All this needs to be accomplished with the involvement of local communities in choices and decisions that affect the use of agricultural land. In this perspective, it could be useful to consider the new possibilities that are opening up through proper use of traditional as well as innovative farming techniques, always assuming that these have been judged, after sufficient testing, to be appropriate, respectful of the environment and attentive to the needs of the most deprived peoples. At the same time, the question of equitable agrarian reform in developing countries should not be ignored. The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination[65]. It is important, moreover, to emphasize that solidarity with poor countries in the process of development can point towards a solution of the current global crisis, as politicians and directors of international institutions have begun to sense in recent times. Through support for economically poor countries by means of financial plans inspired by solidarity — so that these countries can take steps to satisfy their own citizens' demand for consumer goods and for development — not only can true economic growth be generated, but a contribution can be made towards sustaining the productive capacities of rich countries that risk being compromised by the crisis.
28. One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty[66] and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.
Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. In economically developed countries, legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress.
Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition.
Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away[67]. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.
29. There is another aspect of modern life that is very closely connected to development: the denial of the right to religious freedom. I am not referring simply to the struggles and conflicts that continue to be fought in the world for religious motives, even if at times the religious motive is merely a cover for other reasons, such as the desire for domination and wealth. Today, in fact, people frequently kill in the holy name of God, as both my predecessor John Paul II and I myself have often publicly acknowledged and lamented[68]. Violence puts the brakes on authentic development and impedes the evolution of peoples towards greater socio-economic and spiritual well-being. This applies especially to terrorism motivated by fundamentalism[69], which generates grief, destruction and death, obstructs dialogue between nations and diverts extensive resources from their peaceful and civil uses.
Yet it should be added that, as well as religious fanaticism that in some contexts impedes the exercise of the right to religious freedom, so too the deliberate promotion of religious indifference or practical atheism on the part of many countries obstructs the requirements for the development of peoples, depriving them of spiritual and human resources. God is the guarantor of man's true development, inasmuch as, having created him in his image, he also establishes the transcendent dignity of men and women and feeds their innate yearning to “be more”. Man is not a lost atom in a random universe[70]: he is God's creature, whom God chose to endow with an immortal soul and whom he has always loved. If man were merely the fruit of either chance or necessity, or if he had to lower his aspirations to the limited horizon of the world in which he lives, if all reality were merely history and culture, and man did not possess a nature destined to transcend itself in a supernatural life, then one could speak of growth, or evolution, but not development. When the State promotes, teaches, or actually imposes forms of practical atheism, it deprives its citizens of the moral and spiritual strength that is indispensable for attaining integral human development and it impedes them from moving forward with renewed dynamism as they strive to offer a more generous human response to divine love[71]. In the context of cultural, commercial or political relations, it also sometimes happens that economically developed or emerging countries export this reductive vision of the person and his destiny to poor countries. This is the damage that “superdevelopment”[72] causes to authentic development when it is accompanied by “moral underdevelopment”[73].
30. In this context, the theme of integral human development takes on an even broader range of meanings: the correlation between its multiple elements requires a commitment to foster the interaction of the different levels of human knowledge in order to promote the authentic development of peoples. Often it is thought that development, or the socio-economic measures that go with it, merely require to be implemented through joint action. This joint action, however, needs to be given direction, because “all social action involves a doctrine”[74]. In view of the complexity of the issues, it is obvious that the various disciplines have to work together through an orderly interdisciplinary exchange. Charity does not exclude knowledge, but rather requires, promotes, and animates it from within. Knowledge is never purely the work of the intellect. It can certainly be reduced to calculation and experiment, but if it aspires to be wisdom capable of directing man in the light of his first beginnings and his final ends, it must be “seasoned” with the “salt” of charity. Deeds without knowledge are blind, and knowledge without love is sterile. Indeed, “the individual who is animated by true charity labours skilfully to discover the causes of misery, to find the means to combat it, to overcome it resolutely”[75]. Faced with the phenomena that lie before us, charity in truth requires first of all that we know and understand, acknowledging and respecting the specific competence of every level of knowledge. Charity is not an added extra, like an appendix to work already concluded in each of the various disciplines: it engages them in dialogue from the very beginning. The demands of love do not contradict those of reason. Human knowledge is insufficient and the conclusions of science cannot indicate by themselves the path towards integral human development. There is always a need to push further ahead: this is what is required by charity in truth[76]. Going beyond, however, never means prescinding from the conclusions of reason, nor contradicting its results. Intelligence and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in intelligence and intelligence is full of love.
31. This means that moral evaluation and scientific research must go hand in hand, and that charity must animate them in a harmonious interdisciplinary whole, marked by unity and distinction. The Church's social doctrine, which has “an important interdisciplinary dimension”[77], can exercise, in this perspective, a function of extraordinary effectiveness. It allows faith, theology, metaphysics and science to come together in a collaborative effort in the service of humanity. It is here above all that the Church's social doctrine displays its dimension of wisdom. Paul VI had seen clearly that among the causes of underdevelopment there is a lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis[78], for which “a clear vision of all economic, social, cultural and spiritual aspects”[79] is required. The excessive segmentation of knowledge[80], the rejection of metaphysics by the human sciences[81], the difficulties encountered by dialogue between science and theology are damaging not only to the development of knowledge, but also to the development of peoples, because these things make it harder to see the integral good of man in its various dimensions. The “broadening [of] our concept of reason and its application”[82] is indispensable if we are to succeed in adequately weighing all the elements involved in the question of development and in the solution of socio-economic problems.
32. The significant new elements in the picture of the development of peoples today in many cases demand new solutions. These need to be found together, respecting the laws proper to each element and in the light of an integral vision of man, reflecting the different aspects of the human person, contemplated through a lens purified by charity. Remarkable convergences and possible solutions will then come to light, without any fundamental component of human life being obscured.
The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner[83], and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone. All things considered, this is also required by “economic logic”. Through the systemic increase of social inequality, both within a single country and between the populations of different countries (i.e. the massive increas
          Signs that Now is the Time to Sell Your Home        

There are many reasons why it may be time to sell your home. You may need more space to make room for a growing family or you need to downsize after your kids leave the nest. Whatever your motivations, you want to make sure that you’re timing it right. If you sell when home prices […]

The post Signs that Now is the Time to Sell Your Home appeared first on brookingscoastalhomes.com.

          The Wearin' O' The Grey        
I haven't made a blog entry since the Christmas holidays.  Life has been pretty busy - I was ill the 1st two weeks of the new year and my scope of responsibility has increased at work.  Here in NE PA, we've had non-stop snow events; I don't think I've worked a single Monday in my office because of our weekly Sunday-into-Monday snowstorms.

Today's blog entry is inspired partly by a post over at Debbie-Dabble, but more so by what I think was a very rude comment on her post.  You see, Debbie had the temerity to "go gray" and post about it.  One reader couldn't quite wrap her brain cells around this fact and wrote that "you can look ten years younger blonde".

Alrighty then.  We'll skip the part where I throw a 1942 edition of Emily Post's "Etiquette" in the general direction of this "lady", and get to the hair stuff.

My original hair color was an auburn reddish-brown.  

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

In the Florida summers (I grew up in Jacksonville), it would get gold and bronze highlights.

"...beach baby, beach baby here in the sand - from July to the end of September..."

Senior prom - 1979

high school graduation photo - 1979

Around the time I turned 25, I started going gray.  It started with a "Lily Munster" streak on my right temple and I wasn't going to let it get any further.  L'Oreal's "Extra Light Beige Blonde" was my friend for 20 years.

circa 2003

After a traumatic period in my life finally ended in 2008, I wanted to simplify - simplify everything.  When I had to downsize my life, I also had to downsize a lot of other things.  I had a very carefree, financially secure life that suddenly didn't exist any longer.  I had to take stock of the things and decide was was a want and what was a need.

Long tired of the expense and time involved in keeping my hair blonde, I decided that coloring my hair was a want, and would be the first thing I'd simplify.  I stopped coloring it. It took about a year to grow out and I will state right here it was an awful year.  What was once a pale lovely blonde looked brassy and fake against the new hair that was growing in.

Was it worth the wait?  You bet it was.  I drew the lucky card - I have a head full of healthy, beautiful silvery white hair.

(My apologies for the "selfies".  When you live alone...yadda yadda yadda...

men love that librarian look ;)

leopard is my favorite color!

It's hard to take a selfie and remember to smile  :D

with my favorite singer - Nick Lowe

off to see Lyle Lovett last summer

And the kicker is that if it were still blonde, I'd still look like I was 53 (54 in June).  I'd look like a 53 year old woman who colors her hair.  Now, I look like a 53 year old woman who simply doesn't color her hair.

If you color your hair because it makes you feel better - I think that's great, because feeling better is what it's all about.  If you don't color your hair because it makes you feel better, I think that's pretty damned great, too.  I'm not against enhancing our beauty - but that's just it.  Our beauty is our beauty - not yours.  As a women, we should understand and embrace this in our "sisters".

What's not great is women not being supportive of other women.  My mother (and all her gray hair, God bless her) was of an upbringing and generation where if you couldn't say anything nice, you didn't say anything at all.  If a woman chooses to change or stop changing something about her appearance, that's her business.  It seems that women are expected to be beautiful until the grave, yet no matter how they try to achieve their own personal beauty, they're condemned for it, and sadly, by their own sex.  So stop that merde - be supportive or move on.

By the way - here's a photo of one of my biggest fashion idols - the legendary model Carmen Dell'Orifice.  She's 83 and still on the runways.  Has she had work done?  Absolutely - as she says "if your living room ceiling is falling down, wouldn't you fix it?".  It's her hair that is insanely gorgeous and I would love to be around if anyone ever said to her "Hey - Carmen...you could look 10 years younger blonde" ;)

I'm linking up at:

          What Future Buyers Are Looking For In Orlando Homes for Sale        
Owners of Orlando homes for sale are wondering, “What are buyers looking for?” This is especially true if the home has been on the market for a while. Well, homeowners aren’t the only ones. Several companies, including Better Homes and Gardens and Avid Ratings, the exclusive research provider for the National Association of Home Builders, have researched this question.

So, what are buyers looking for in national and Orlando homes for sale? In a 2010 Avid Ratings homebuyer’s study, over 22,000 homeowners, who bought their homes in the past nine years, provide some clues. In short, the study says practicality beats out extras any day.

The days of formal dining rooms, oversized backyard patios and community clubhouses are gone. Swimming pools aren’t that big a deal, but neither are upstairs laundry rooms or home theaters. These extras have been replaced by practicalities such as:

• Children’s playground
• Walking paths
• Large kitchens (with island if possible)
• Home office or study
• Main-floor master bedroom
• Two-car garages
• Oversize showers with seating

As well, although buyers are willing to have less space, they’re big on “green” features such as high-efficiency windows, insulation and appliances.

The home survey by Better Homes and Gardens reveals much the same information. Homeowners and potential buyers pointed towards downsizing into smaller, greener homes. Again, high-efficiency appliances topped the interest levels, with a lean towards Energy Star appliances.

The home office is still a priority, although it doesn’t have to be dedicated space; many would be perfectly happy with a multi-purpose space, instead. The real key, however, is no wasted space, along with ample storage.

If you’re considering doing any amount of remodeling to excite potential buyers, the information contained in these surveys are priceless. If you’re one of the owners of Orlando homes for sale thinking your house is too small, it’s great news. If you thought you might upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances, you’re on the right track. Consider what you can do to make your home more “future buyer” friendly!

If you’d like to sell your home or are looking for a more energy-efficient home, we can help. Call us now at 407-876-5771 for more information.
          Tackling Your Unemployment Creatively        
Are you unemployed or been laid off You are not alone if that is any comfort to you Worldwide millions of people are in the same predicament as you are Unemployment and lay offs are stark realities of the downsizing reengineering restructuring and automation in a sluggish global economy ..

Link to the original site

          Reply #225        
the lottery bible has 899 998-079 790 610 016 listed as followers or potentials for the day and are in my boxes.

I also see as potential plays today, 296 618 454 *167* 162 *416* *978* 622 323. Sorry I can't downsize anymore than that. I use several different workouts and process of elimation to downsize sometimes I get a small list of numbers sometimes I don't. The numbers with asteroids showed up in more than two workouts. Good luck today
          How to Double Your Income in 2017 - Ep.138        

Here are the 5 things that will help you DOUBLE your personal and/or business income in 2017


1.) Hire Someone to do EVERYTHING in Your Business Besides Sales


You've gotta focus on the key drivers of growth and the #1 item you must pay attention to is sales and revenue generation. Yes, payroll, expense tracking, web design, office organization etc are all important but having a clean desk or perfectly design Profit/Loss Statement won't double your business in one year. Outsource clerical/admin tasks or hire someone to do them for you.


2.) Call Your 10 Dream Clients/Customers


Which companies or persons would blow your business up if they became paying customers? Write them down -- call them. Better yet, walk into their office and show them you mean business about doing business with them


3.) Track Your Time and Work 8% More Per Day


8% is just 2 hours per day. That might mean cutting out some TV time or mindlessly fingering through magazines or watching sports highlights on YouTube, but the results of this ultra productivity will pay big dividends -- not just financial ones either. Get your focus on time, it' the one thing you got!


4.) Cut Your Monthly Expenses by 25%


That might mean selling the big house in the nice neighborhood or downsizing from the Mercedes E-Class to a Honda Accord. Or it might just mean not eating out and going to the movies 3-4 times/week. Decrease your expenses, limit you junk, live a more fulfilling life.


5.) Know You Numbers and Set Bench Marks


If you want to go from $30K / year to $60K per year you will need to increase your income by $2500 per month. Set benchmarks. In the next 6 months you need to increase your monthly income by $1250. Seem hard? That just means you need to make $42 more each day. Know your numbers, break it down, set benchmarks.

          Downsize With Dignity        

When you have to terminate an employee, you can do so in ways that respect their dignity and leave your remaining staff members with a sense that you’ve handled things professionally and sensitively.
          Why I had to switch to iPhoneSE        
Om Malik on downsizing his device: Over past few months, I have been experiencing increasing pain in my left wrist and thumb. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night in extreme pain. I thought it was a broken bone or something like that. I mean it was painful and it forced […]¶
          6D ISO200        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
3.2 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO400        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1.6 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO800        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO1600        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1/2 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO3200        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1/4 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO6400        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1/6 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO12800        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1/13 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          6D ISO 25600        

Canon 6D, tripod, remote release
EF24-105/4L lens @105mm f/10
1/25 sec, autofocus
RAW capture
Hi-ISO Noise Reduction off
Downsized in Digital Photo Professional
Avila Beach,CA

          Helping Homeowners Accept the Realities of Downsizing        

Downsizing can be difficult for clients to accept. Their memories and belongings may be unable to fit into a smaller home. Many are unsure how to proceed and need your help. As their real estate agent, you must provide support to help them accept their new reality. Read on to learn some key tactics to […]

The post Helping Homeowners Accept the Realities of Downsizing appeared first on Clean Slate.

          The Tiny House Craze: Zoning Laws Could Be a Tiny Impediment        
The “tiny house” movement is all the rage right now. The cause of the craze may be many faceted. Whether the popularity and demand is being driven by a shift in peoples’ preference to downsize to a more simplified lifestyle (remember Henry David...
By: Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
          No more ’til death do us part, no more retirement? We must redefine what old age is | Suzanne Moore        

Ageist stereotypes of greedy boomers prevail. But it is the connections, not the conflict, between generations that will matter as life expectancy continues to increase

Too many of us are not dying before we get old. Talkin’ ’bout my generation. A lot of us will hang about, pricing young people out of housing, squatting in family homes with empty rooms. We had grants, tuition fees paid, cheap housing, access to jobs, travel, a smidgeon of social mobility. That’s the ageist stereotype largely taken for granted. We are boom; our children are bust. Actually, though life has not been so bad, we still fear the diseases of old age: dementia and cancer. It is obvious that much of my cohort does not have the means to have a relaxed old age.

Those 10 years older than me really hit the jackpot, retiring on golden pensions in their mid-50s, property bought, and now they have a lot of disposable income. Imagine that. Property developers understand that income, even though the world of fashion doesn’t. Thus we have the flogging of flats around London Fields, east London, discounted for the “over 55s”. These new “hipsters” will presumably be blasting out some superannuated grime from their balconies while they check their Isas. Once again, everything seems skewed against young people. Boomers are greedy and self–obsessed. The only thing the young have going for them is their actual skin.

Related: The new retirement: how an ageing population is transforming Britain

Related: How can politicians face up to the challenge of the ageing population?

Continue reading...
          Right Now        
Right now I am supposed to be blogging for my job. I am supposed to be coming up with some content on Downsizing. I am supposed to inspire, and motivate and promote and inform. Right now I just don't have the mental discipline. Right now I want to take the dog for a walk and pray the Rosary. I think that would be much more inspiring, motivational and productive.
I just don't have any ideas and I am drawing a complete blank. If I were actually in the home of a client, and we were discussing an upcoming move that was going to require a serious attempt at downsizing, I would know just what to do. I would make lists and we would set goals and I would share resources. We would walk through the house and discuss the size of the new home and the amount of stuff in the old one. We would talk about what needs to be distributed to family, what to do with what they don't want, who to contact to sell valuable goods and how much stuff is just trash.
I would have ideas, because I would have to have ideas. I have no ideas because I have no one to look at and share them with. So, I think I am going to take the dog for a walk and say the Rosary. Maybe Mary has some ideas about downsizing. I know she had to move a few times. Maybe that's not what she will tell me at all, but it will be what I need, I know that.
          Easy and Functional Small Spaces        

Small spaces are always challenging for many consumers who are used to the “bigger is better” mentality. College students moving out of their parents house into a cramped dorm room, where you eat, sleep and study all in a mere 200 square feet, can be hard. Or even “empty nesters” downsizing to a condo. Whatever […]

The post Easy and Functional Small Spaces appeared first on Chad the Handyman LLC.

          Trump's budget cuts to domestic, aid programs draw Republican scorn        
Washington: President Donald Trump's first budget outline, calling for a security-heavy realignment of federal spending, drew resistance on Thursday from his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Congress as many balked at proposed deep cuts to diplomatic and foreign aid programs.

Conservatives have plenty to like in the White House plan, with its 10 percent increase in military spending next year and beefed-up funding to help deport more illegal immigrants and build a wall on the border with Mexico.

It also takes steps to downsize government, a central goal of conservatives.

But the gaze into Trump's priorities for the next four years proved too savage for many Republicans' taste, foreshadowing an intense battle between Congress and the White House over spending in coming months.

Although Republicans control both the Senate and House of Representatives, Congress holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents' budget plans.

The administration asked Congress for a 28 percent, or $10.9 billion, cut in State Department funding and other international programs to help pay for a 10 percent, $54 billion hike in military spending next year.

"These increases in defence come at the expense of national security," said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has not hesitated to take on Trump. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who like Graham ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016, levelled similar sentiments, as did some prominent Republicans in the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Paul Ryan sidestepped reporters' questions about whether he supported State Department cuts, saying the White House blueprint was just the start of the budget process.

The budget also drew criticism internationally. The French ambassador to the United Nations, Francois Delattre, warned that cutting funding of global programs could fuel instability.


The White House shrugged off concerns about the impact, saying Trump was making good on election promises.

"The president said, specifically, hundreds of times - you covered him - 'I'm going to spend less money on people overseas and more money on people back home' and that's exactly what we're doing with this budget," Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters.

Democrats, whose votes would be needed later this year to sign off on the spending bills that implement any budget blueprint given the slim Republican hold on the Senate, attacked the proposed reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency and programs that benefit the poor.

The White House proposal would inflict a 31 percent, or $2.6 billion, cut on the EPA.

Some veteran Republicans, including Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a White House budget chief during the administration of President George W. Bush, vowed to preserve the EPA's Great Lakes restoration program that Trump wants to eliminate.

Moderate Republicans expressed unease with potential cuts to popular domestic programs.

Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, attacked plans to cut or eliminate programs that help the poor pay heating bills, provide aid for localities to deal with wastewater and subsidize air travel in rural areas like her home state of Alaska.

"We need to remember that these programs are not the primary drivers of our debt," Murkowski said.

In fact, those "discretionary" programs that must be renewed annually by Congress, account for about $1.2 trillion out of a $3.9 trillion federal budget.

The biggest portion of the budget - about $2.4 trillion - is for "mandatory entitlement" programs that provide Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare and Medicaid healthcare for the elderly, poor and disabled.

Conservatives have been clamouring for years for reforms to those programs to save money. Trump vowed, however, to protect them as he campaigned for president last year.

Trump was silent on those programs in the plan released on Thursday, but they will be included in a fuller fiscal blueprint due out in mid-May that will project spending and revenues over 10 years. It is unclear if any reforms for those programs will be part of that budget.

Other discretionary cuts proposed by Trump included community development grants at the Housing Department and more than 20 Education Department programs. Funding would disappear for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional programs.

"Throwing billions at defence while ransacking America’s investments in jobs, education, clean energy and lifesaving medical research will leave our nation weakened," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.


Trump also asked for $25 billion more for core Defense Department programs for the current fiscal year, as well as $5 billion more for combat operations. A detailed copy of that request seen by Reuters showed some of the funds would be for procurement of technology such as F-35 fighter aircraft and drone systems.

About $13.5 billion of the supplemental request was earmarked for aircraft, missiles and ships. It included THAAD missiles, Blackhawk helicopters and F-35s made by Lockheed Martin Corp , as well as F/A-18 warplanes and Apache helicopters manufactured by Boeing Co .

Also for this fiscal year, Trump requested $3 billion more for the Department of Homeland Security, with some of that money intended for planning and construction of the border wall that he made a major part of his 2016 election campaign.

Congress will likely consider the supplemental request by April 28, when regular funding expires for most federal agencies.

The budget outline also does not incorporate Trump's plan for sparking $1 trillion in investments to build roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure projects. The White House has said the infrastructure plan is still to come.

The planned defence increases are mainly matched by cuts to other programs so as to not increase the $488 billion federal deficit.

Despite the proposed big cuts to the EPA and the State Department, Mulvaney said their "core functions" would be preserved.

Reflecting Trump's repeated election campaign pledge to reduce illegal immigration, the Department of Homeland Security would get a 6.8 percent increase, with more money for extra staff needed to catch, detain and deport illegal immigrants.

Trump wants Congress to approve $1.5 billion for the border wall in the current fiscal year - enough for pilot projects to determine the best way to build it - and a further $2.6 billion in fiscal 2018, Mulvaney said.

The estimate for the total cost of the wall will be included in the upcoming full budget.

Trump has repeatedly said that Mexico will pay for the wall. Mexico has adamantly said it will not. Since Trump took office in January, the White House has said funding would be kick-started in the United States.

          More like the best 'kuche!        
Wurstkuche! I yelled in the car with my girlfriend and her friend Renee while circling downtown trying to find some fast good eats. Pronounced worst-coochay, I know... I have visited this purveyor fine sausages and German and Belgian beers before and on such a nice summer night nothing sounded better.

My last visit was when they were still setting up shop and fine tuning and there was only one person ahead of me in line. When we walked up the door we saw a group of four waiting just outside the entrance so we stepped behind them and calmy waited. Suddenly the line was starting to form behind us and just as we stepped in we realized there were MANY people ahead of us in line! I have waited in worse (Kogi BBQ, Pink's, Philipe's) and we were moving along. I got the bratwurst with spicy peppers, caramelized onions, and belgian dipped fries on the side. All fries come with dipping sauce so I chose the pesto mayo. As for what to wash it all down with I got the Bitburger pilsner. Perfect pilsner, not too heavy. Tastes like something common they'd have lots of on hand in Germany nothing too impressive but gets the job done. Compared to the other beers I have sampled there it was ok. Having trouble deciding on which beer is right for you from the menu? Ask for a sample! The staff is very friendly and great with recommendations.

We got our ikea designed looking table number and sat in the large wooden benches in the back awaiting or sausages. We formed our collection of mustard bottles from the tables around us. Yellow, dijon, honey mustard, and a dark grainy unlabeled mystery mustard. The dining room was filled with hipsters, business men, families, and loft dwellers. A laptop in the corner was pumping out barely audible tunes by Air. They had the back area bar set up with taps and only taking beer orders. Our sausages soon arrived and set forth before us was a glistening sausage delicately nestled in a fresh soft roll. Colorful peppers and brown onions sprinkled atop looking like a pinata ready to explode with flavor in my mouth. The verdict: Mmmmmmm... The sauasage had that crispy snap to it and the flavor was all 100% german in and around my mouth! The fries had undergone vast improvement since my last visit! They proved to be thicker, browner, and less greasy!! I got the Klein (small) sized ones and they were plenty for 2! Overall Wurstkuche is a serious beer and sausgae experience not to be missed. Stroll in for late night bite or make it a beer tasting destination with friends after work!

800 E 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Parking: Plenty of street parking by Crazy Gideons

          What is the Future of Truckload Transportation?        
There’s been a common thread in my conversations with shippers over the past few years: their desire to take freight off the truckload grid — i.e., minimize the number of one-way truck shipments they make. This desire is driven by a number of factors, including: Capacity concerns: A lot of capacity has left the market since 2008, with many carriers going bankrupt when the recession hit and others downsizing their fleets. This hasn’t been a […]
          Manuel Bruschi und Christian Schlögl im Skydive-Interview        

Warum die Komfortzone eines Entrepreneurs nie endet. Manuel Bruschi (Timeular) und Christian Schlögl (Kreisel Electric) im The Red Bulletin Skydive-Video-Interview.

          Florian Gschwandtner im Innovator-Skydive-Interview        

Wovor hat Florian Gschwandtner Angst und wie geht er mit Druck um? Der Runtastic-Gründer im The Red Bulletin Innovator Skydive-Video-Interview mit Daniel Cronin.

          Die besten Bar-Touren Europas        

In diesen Metropolen kannst du dich gediegen durch die Stadt trinken. Hier findest du die vier besten Pub Crawls Europas.

          5 Gründe für ein E-Bike        

Skeptiker halten es für unsportlich, aber hier sind 5 Gründe, warum auch du Gefallen an einem E-Bike finden könntest.

          Resort Manshausen        

In diesen Zimmern am Rande der Arktis auf der Insel Manshausen wirst du beinahe zu einem Teil der Natur. Aber stör bloß die Seeadler nicht!

          Tipps für die Gamescom Köln        

350.000 Besucher in fünf Tagen: Kölns Gamescom ist die Digitale-Spiele-Messe schlechthin. Insider Matthias Regge verrät, wie du den Irrsinn überlebst und sogar Spaß hast.

          3D-Druck, die Zukunft industriellen Designs        

Ende der Achtziger sparte American Airlines 40.000 Dollar pro Jahr ein – indem man beim Bordmenü eine Olive wegließ. Heute helfen 3D-Drucker dabei, Gewicht, Treibstoff und Geld zu sparen.

          NitrOlympX: Dragster-Highlight am Hockenheimring        

Beschleunigungsrennen auf allerfeinstem Niveau: Am Hockenheimring gibt Europas Dragster-Elite drei Tage lang Vollgas. Night Race, Fahrerlager-Besuche und Show-Events inklusive.

          Spinbox: Plattenspieler zum Selberbauen        

ViNYL-Sound aus der Pizzaschachtel: In fünf Schritten einen Turntable selbst zusammenbauen? Ist bald Realität. Ein Kickstarter-Projekt aus Taiwan macht‘s möglich.

          Wie VR Sportlern beim Training hilft        

Beim Sport geht es um richtige Entscheidungen in Extremsituationen. Ein Team der Queen’s University Belfast entwickelt Virtual-Reality-Trainings, um diese Situationen realitätsnah zu simulieren.

          Schlechte Filmideen, schlechte Filme        

Das konnte doch nur schief gehen! Warum diese Hollywoodstreifen mit Ansage zum Megaflop wurden und “Emoji - Der Film” auf ihren Spuren wandelt.

          Guisepi Spadafora: Mit dem Tee-Mobil durch Amerika        

Warum Guisepi Spadafora seit Jahren mit seinem Tee-Truck durch Nordamerika fährt und was seine Gratis-Teepartys bewirken.

          Tipps gegen Ausreden fürs Fitnessstudio        

Keine Ausreden im Gym: 4 Techniken, mit denen du garantiert nie wieder das Fitnessstudio schwänzt.

          Rebell Ryan Reynolds im Interview        

Der „Deadpool“-Super(anti)held über Respektlosigkeit als Wachstumsbeschleuniger und seinen Großvater, der sich vom Landstreicher zum renommierten Arzt emporfokussierte.

          Hollywood-Stars, die Stunts selber machen        

Diese Schauspieler lassen es sich nicht nehmen, ihre eigenen Stunts zu drehen. Doch Ryan Reynolds bekommt jetzt Stunt-Verbot!

          Neue Abenteuer von Biker René Wildhaber        

Der ehemalige Weltklasse-Biker René Wildhaber verliert sein Herz an neue Kulturen, Menschen und Landschaften und lebt eine zweite Karriere als Abenteurer – in Regionen, die noch keine Radspur ziert.

          Kayakfahren in Kalifornien        

Wer Wasserfälle und Stromschnellen liebt, findet sie im American River in Nordkalifornien.

          Leistbare Oldtimer        

Auf der Suche nach einem leistbaren Klassiker? Experten raten zum Kauf dieser Oldtimer-Modelle.

          Norbert Kunz über die Macht von Social Entrepreneurs        

Wie Entrepreneure den sozialen Wandel fördern. Und welche Probleme sie jetzt anpacken sollten. Ein Gastbeitrag von Norbert Kunz, Geschäftsführer von Social Impact.

          Extremskifahrer Davo Karničar        

Einem Menschen ist es bisher gelungen, auf Skiern vom Gipfel des Mount Everest hinunter zu fahren – dem Slowenen Davo Karničar im Jahr 2000. Nächstes Ziel: der K2.

          Stierspringen in Spanien        

Bei den traditionellen Wettkämpfen der spanischen Stierspringer kann jeder Versuch in einer Katastrophe enden. Reportage aus Madrid.

          Bossaball: Trendsport für jedermann        

Kunstliebhaber, Fußball-Zauberer oder Fitness-Junkie. Egal, was deine große Leidenschaft ist, der Trendsport Bossaball wird auch dich begeistern.

          Red Bull District Ride: 10 Top-Facts        

Beim Red Bull District Ride in Nürnberg misst sich die Slopestyle-Elite. Wir haben den Profi-Guide von Legende Martin Söderström zum Rad-Event des Jahres.

          Red Bull Dolomitenmann: 30 Jahre, 30 Fakten        

30 Jahre alt und frisch wie einst: der „härteste Teambewerb unter der Sonne“ für Bergläufer, Paragleiter, Mountainbiker und Kajakfahrer.

          Wie Biohacker Dave Asprey 180 Jahre alt werden will        

Dave Asprey arbeitet daran, 180 Jahre alt zu werden, nach strikt wissenschaftlichen Methoden mit dem Namen „Bulletproof“. Erfahre hier mehr über Aspreys Diät- und Fitness-Vorschläge.

          Patrouille Suisse: Präzisions-Teamwork        

Warum uns Teamgeist weiter bringt als Egoismus und wieso dafür weiße Socken unerlässlich sind: ein Teamtraining mit der Patrouille Suisse, dem Musterbeispiel für perfektes Zusammenspiel.

          Noomi Rapace: Multiple Persönlichkeit        

Noomi Rapace weiß herausfordernde Rollen zu meistern. In einer neuen Netflix-Produktion verkörpert sie sieben Schwestern. Wie tickt eine Frau, die so schräge Charaktere spielt?

          Valentino Rossi: Fakten und Anekdoten        

Valentino Rossi ist eine lebende Legende. Einige Facetten des „Dottore“, der 2017 vielleicht letztmals live in Österreich zu sehen sein wird.

          Chinas geklonter Superdog und seine Folgen        

In China wurde zum ersten Mal ein Hund mit manipulierten Genen geklont – herausgekommen ist ein echtes Muskelpaket.

          Andreas Wolff über die Macht des Selbstvertrauens        

Deutschlands bester Handball-Torwart hält, was er verspricht. Uns verrät Andreas Wolff sein Rezept für starke Nerven und ein großes Selbstvertrauen.

          Transition From Employee to Company Owner Can Be Smooth Sailing        

When 16-year-old Mike Fly stopped into a septic service supply store in 1983 hoping to sell some batteries to owner Bud Sweet, he came away with more than the gas money he was hoping for. “He asked me if I wanted to come to work. I said yes. He said show up Saturday morning at 8 o’clock. I showed up Saturday morning at 8 o’clock and I haven’t left.”

The Placerville, California, company was undergoing rapid expansion at the time, as the retail and pumping business Sweet had started 11 years earlier expanded into manufacturing precast concrete septic tanks. By the time Pumper ran a feature story on the company in 2004, they had three locations and 20 employees. But things changed a few years later after a rough ride through the 2007-08 recession, and the company came full circle back to its roots, as Sweet gave up on manufacturing and downsized to one location — the original storefront.

By that time, Mike was president of the company and very familiar with all aspects of the business. In 2011, he and his wife, Annette, became the new owners when Sweet retired.

The store continues to be the heart of Sweet Septic’s operation. The Flys feel this unique way to engage with customers gives them a competitive edge. People can wander in, get advice, ask questions and pick up supplies. Or just pet Lexi, the couple’s black Labrador, and visit awhile.

The 2,000-square-foot building sits on 1.5 acres. The company provides pumping, locating and inspection services throughout all of El Dorado County, which runs about 80 miles from the outskirts of Sacramento to the Nevada state line. Technician Dennis Alberty, who’s been with the company 33 years, works with Mike in the field, while Anne Darr spends three days a week helping Annette with bookkeeping, running the store and scheduling. They’re in the process of replacing a driver who recently left for health reasons, but it’s been difficult as there’s currently a shortage of truck drivers in their county.


Mike’s first job at the company was working in the yard, but by age 19 he’d had enough of that and asked Sweet if he could drive a vacuum truck. After getting approval from the insurance company, he stepped into his next role and over the years progressed into management and then into the office doing scheduling and payroll. By the time he was 25, he was president.

Sweet took Mike under his wing, mentoring him and encouraging him to go to college. “He treated him just like family,” Annette says. “In fact, everyone thought Mike was his son.” And likewise, Sweet knew he could count on Mike for anything. “He just said, ‘Go do this,’ and it got done.”

The recession difficulties in 2007 were compounded by the escalating cost of housing permits, Annette says. “In our county it went from $2,000 to over $10,000. That put a damper on new building.” Sweet tried to keep the manufacturing going, laying people off then starting up again, but eventually had to shut the plant down. By 2009, there were only a handful of employees left. After getting the business stabilized, Sweet was ready to retire.


Prior to buying Sweet Septic, Annette had been a freelance bookkeeper and says the only thing she knew about septic systems was that she had one. Sweet wanted her on board so Mike would have someone to handle the business side of things. Annette admits she and Mike had to really think about what it would mean to spend every waking moment together, but it’s worked out fine as they each have their own areas of expertise.

The first order of business was handling details of the sale. “It was a lot of work,” Mike says, “and Annette came in and did her magic.” It was a lot of grunt work, she says — “and filling out about a thousand pieces of paper.” The local bank, familiar with the company and having a good relationship with Sweet, was instrumental in helping get the deal done. The whole process took four or five months.

The setup at first was that the Flys would buy the business and lease the store/property — “Bud said he could only sell so many things at one time,” Annette says — but a couple years later, Sweet was ready to sell everything. Today, he still enjoys stopping by the store to visit.

The couple chose not to tell their customers. “We just wanted a nice smooth transition,” Annette explains. “Hardly any of our customers knew because Mike was always the face anyway. We just let it happen naturally.”


Three vacuum trucks came with the purchase of the business, one of which immediately needed a new motor. A few years later when it blew a third motor, the Flys knew they’d have to replace it. The process turned out to be a little more involved than they imagined. They knew they couldn’t buy a used truck because it wouldn’t conform to strict California air quality regulations. And they were surprised to find it would take three or four months to have one built. “And that wasn’t even with the tank on it yet,” Mike says. They were a little desperate making do with their small truck — a 2001 International 4900 with a 2,500-gallon aluminum Lely Tank & Waste Solutions LLC tank and Masport HXL75 water-cooled pump — which resulted in a lot of extra work.

“Our county’s very big, so it’s hard to do multiple jobs with that truck without going to the dump,” Mike says. “Plus, we have big jobs we do with three trucks and we couldn’t do that, so we had to do something fast. I ended up looking through Pumper and calling up manufacturers to see what they had in stock.” He found a truck from Progress Tank — a 2015 Kenworth 5370 with a 3,600-gallon aluminum tank. Progress obligingly switched out the pump to a Masport HXL400 water-cooled pump — the same one Mike had on his other high-capacity truck, a 2007 International 4400 also with a Progress 3,600-gallon aluminum tank — and he had the vehicle within two weeks.


About one-third of the company’s work is inspections. They also provide locating services using Prototek AR‑1 analog underground locators. On the pumping side, about 20 percent of the work is for commercial accounts. While their residential work tends to be responding to emergencies, commercial customers are put on regular schedules in order to avoid problems that would affect a large number of people.

Customers include the wastewater district, mobile home parks, golf courses, campgrounds, schools, as well as the U.S. Forest Service for its cabins, dorms and vault toilets. On large jobs, Mike prefers to send all the trucks and get the job done in one day or less. Disposal is at the county wastewater facility.

For marketing, the company relies on word-of-mouth and a longstanding reputation in the county, but they also run ads in the local paper and sponsor a lot of kids’ sports and dance programs. Mike says they maintain a good name by giving great service. “We’re on a schedule, but we always try to go the extra mile,” he says.

Annette handles the scheduling and routing. “I literally do it on paper,” she says. “We write it down, which I know sounds antiquated, but we always know where the trucks are and we do a really good job about grouping jobs together.” Every night the team talks about how the day went and what’s coming up for the next day. It’s family oriented, Annette says, adding they try to reward the hardworking employees that keep the business going.


While Mike and Dennis are out servicing customers, Annette and Anne are doing the same at the store as they field questions and troubleshoot problems. Customers love that there is always someone there to talk to. The shop is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customers also stop in to buy septic products and supplies. The company buys risers from TUF-TITE Inc., and sells their own enzyme product Sweet named Bugs to You.

In addition to minding the store, the office team takes care of the books. Thanks to the foresight of Sweet and his wife, Sheila, the company has detailed computer records going back to the late 1980s on every tank pumped. The original digital records are now being transferred to QuickBooks. Daughter Kaitlyn, in between college semesters, is scanning all their older paper files into the computer. “It will take years, but it will be well worth it,” Annette says.

The detailed information is helpful for the drivers, and customers are grateful to be able to get information on their system — where their tank is (the most common question), when it was last serviced, how deep it is and how many risers it has. Even the county calls them to get information on someone’s property when a request comes in to put on an addition.


Buying the business was a natural step for Mike. And, when the time is right, it looks like they have now found the perfect person to succeed them. “Our daughter, Becca (Russell), who has a business degree and is currently a project manager for a solar company, has expressed interest in taking over the business and carrying it on for us,” Annette says. “Not anytime soon, but that’s what we’re going to be grooming her for.”

For Annette, the most rewarding aspect of the business is helping customers — “hearing the relief in people’s voices when we can help them.” Mike agrees. “I’m very glad we bought it,” he says. “There’s times that it’s tough and you’re stressed — but I’m my own boss and I prefer it that way. And I get to work with my wife and my dog.”

Weekend septage storage

Most wastewater treatment plants are only open Monday through Friday. Septic companies, on the other hand, often need to work weekends and holidays responding to emergencies or catching up on backed-up workload. The difficulty then is what to do with the septage until the plant opens on Monday morning. In some cases, a company might have to turn down work.

Mike and Annette Fly, owners of Sweet Septic in Placerville, California, are fortunate to have a solution to the problem — underground storage. Bud Sweet, the previous owner, manufactured concrete septic tanks and had a number of them installed on the company’s storefront property. “We’re the only company in the county who has that, because we’re the only ones with a yard and a storefront as well,” Annette says. The underground tanks have a total capacity of 10,000 gallons, giving the company the ability to handle any emergency.

There is always someone on call at Sweet Septic after-hours. Annette says they try to limit it to one person — “because everyone needs time off” — but it doesn’t always work out that way. “We do our best to help as many people as we can on the weekends,” she says.

          Home Ownership: A Retrospective and Beyond        
My wife and sold our home in early 2015, and we did it mostly to enable us to comfortably quit our jobs. Although it’s a normal thing for people to downsize, it is most decidedly not typical for professionals in their late thirties to do … Continue reading
          Recession rock        
Anyone else started listening to sledgehammer post punk and 80s drums as a soundtrack to increasingly weird recessiony times? Or is it just me? It all feels so early 80s at the moment, so my tunes appear to be doing the same. Not that I really need an excuse to play Orange Juice, The Smiths, Vic Godard, Echo and The Bunnymen and Felt, of course. Vic Godard, of course, knew there was no future in rock n' roll by becoming a postie. He must be nearing retirement now, if his role hasn't been downsized or his hours reduced.
          I can say at this point....        
That I have downsized quite a lot over the last year and a half! I was just looking at some of my old photos of makeup. I no longer have a traincase, but a smaller (much much smaller) makeup tote, I don't have all of the shampoos and toiletries that I used to have, and I have gotten rid of...
          Fatback Corvus the Orange Crush        

It happened again... Another bike seems to have wandered into my bike shed. I keep telling myself that I have to stop doing this, but my addiction consumes my strongest super powers. Yeah I know I can't believe it either.

Amazingly this is my 4th (yes fourth) Fatback that I've owned. I've tried many other fat bikes, but all seemed to have inherent flaws in their geometry. And in comparison to the Fatback they quite frankly suck on snow (which is where I ride a fat bike).

The Fatback Corvus attracted me for several reasons, primarily I love the geometry for snow biking. Next it has rack mounts and the fork has mounts ready for pure adventure. Also the Corvus can take 29+ wheels which greatly appeal to me (coincidentally there is a new wheelset waiting to be built in my saintly bike lab).  I'm always looking for the do-everything bike and I believe that the Corvus will meet that challenge.

In the meantime I am looking at selling my Fatback Titanium. I'm reluctant to do that because I like it so much, but I do need to downsize my bike collection. I'm also looking at getting rid of my Trek Stache 7 (29+ bike) since the Corvus will take it's place too.

Get out and enjoy the winter, ride your bike

          Who Is Pat Carr        
Welcome to Pat Carr's WhoIs Page

Hello! My name is Pat Carr, and I created this page so people could get to know a little about me.
I think it's important to build relationships and trust, and this is one way to do it.

I was born and raised in Louisiana. I grew up in a Southern Baptist family and started singing in church choirs at an early age. I also heard a lot of southern R & B, soul, and blues music on the radio that influenced my musical development. I learned piano and then picked up the guitar as a teenager.

I also developed a love of bass fishing on the beautiful lakes around northwestern Louisiana and east Texas.

I started playing music professionally in the 1970's. After starting a family, though, I decided I needed a little more steady income and went back to school to learn electronics. I became a computer test engineer with a company in Colorado. At the same time I was still playing guitar in a blues band and playing guitar and bass in the worship band at my church.

A few years ago, I lost my job due to company downsizing and decided to promote my music full time. I started a music publishing company called PWCarr Music. I learned computer recording technology and released two CDs of my songs. My music now gets airplay on internet radio stations worldwide.

Pat Carrphoto by Ann Nightingale

And That, my friends, is how I got into internet marketing.
A pastor in Tasmania heard one of my gospel blues songs on the radio, got in touch with me, and told me about My Power Mall.
Since then, I've learned a lot about networking and found some great companies to work with.
I've also been ripped off, scammed, and otherwise "learned the hard way."

Why is it most people never make much money in network marketing?
It's because they are selling their opportunity first. They're so desperate to get people to join their business that they hound everyone about how great it is.
But people are naturally resistant to being "sold" on something.
You have to develop relationships and trust first. You have to sell You, not your business opportunity.

Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to prospect, but instead have people coming to you as an expert?
This free book explains exactly how to do that.

The 7 Great Lies of Network Marketing

I am a representative for a company that offers exceptional all natural health products.
You can find out more about it Here.

Follow Me on Twitter
PWCarr Music Blog
          Best Auto Trading Robot-Point And Figure Charts For Forex        
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          Students build tiny home for Fond du Lac couple        
From fdlreporter.com: "Home sweet (tiny) home" -- When Peter and Abby Simon decided they wanted to downsize, they weren’t kidding. The young Fond du Lac couple is in the process of building a tiny house and they can’t wait to move in. Given the state of the current economy, they are among a growing number of Americans with ordinary lives who choose to scale down — way down. [...]
          Comment on How to pack light – Downsizing: Toiletries by earthwanderess        
Yeah, I honestly don't even use all of these but will use them until they've used up. The shampoo bar works as washing face as well, and an extra conditioner is not necessary. I'm still trying to downsize all the time but I'll probably keep my 34L backpack cause I like having space for snacks and to put my hiking boot in - and they take up a lot of space
          Comment on How to pack light – Downsizing: Toiletries by Amanda        
I love this post! I'm trying to downsize from a 44L to a 28L backpack so this was super helpful. When my toiletries start running out I can't wait to switch to solids - that seems so helpful! I've downsized my toiletries a bit in the last year but I am always looking to downsize even more :)
          Tess's Tidbits: New Rooms        
Hello and a heartfelt welcome to all of our beloved readers!

  I must begin by apologizing for our long absences on this blog. :(  Maggie already explained our earlier reason for being so quiet in the previous post, so I will not discuss that again.  However, I know that many of you were eager to hear from us again right away, and we made you wait almost two whole months before putting up another post.  I wish I could fully express how truly sorry I am for our lack of posting.  :(

When we first got back to our normal selves, it took us some time to get into our usual habits and routines.  Then, in the middle of everything, Mama discovered mold in and around one of her bedroom windows and had to completely change her entire room.  As a result, she decided to move all of our rooms directly on top of each other.  This meant that we essentially lost two whole doll rooms.  As you can imagine, much rearranging and downsizing was needed to make sure everyone had a place, especially since we now had to fit three dolls to a room instead of two.

I must confess, I found this move quite distressing.  It's always difficult to be uprooted and have items replaced or taken away altogether (I'm still mourning the loss of my curio cabinet, which is now being stored above the rooms).  However, now that things are where they belong and where they will stay, I finally feel I can move on and work on enjoying where I am.  Also, now that everything is settled, you should be hearing from us a bit more frequently.   

One wonderful blessing from all of the rearranging is that Ella is now in our room with us! :D  Hailey, Ella and I are thrilled to finally be together once again. :)

Here is what our rooms looked like when Mama first stacked them and started helping us arrange them.

Our room looked like this originally.

Hailey's Hello Kitty nightstand was beside the bed.

The bed was in the back corner.

My Caroline doll with our mini dollhouses. ;)

My dresser was in the other corner...

...and the white shelf that used to belong to Hayden and Jenna was on the other side of the room.

Oh, and I supposed you've already noticed that Hailey, Ella, and I are now in Hayden and Jenna's old room.  We enjoy it overall.  It's lovely to have colored walls instead of white ones.  However, it's taken me some time to get used to being so high up!

Mama wasn't particularly pleased with the way our room turned out, so she helped us rearrange it one more time.  This is how it looks now.  I must admit, I prefer this arrangement myself.

On one side, we have my dresser.

The bookshelf is behind it.  Each of us had one shelf to fill with our special treasures.  My figurines are on the top shelf, Hailey's Hello Kitty collection is on the middle, and Ella's doll collection graces the bottom.  The very top of the shelf has Ella's Wizard of Oz collection and my favorite picture of the three of us.

Hailey's nightstand is still beside the bed.

Here are Hailey and Ella, enjoying a sisterly chat on the bed. :)

At the end of the bed, there was just enough room for our dollhouses, my laptop, and Ella's new Isabelle doll from McDonald's.

Now that I've gotten used to the new arrangement, I'm quite content there with my sisters.  I still miss my curio, but I'd much rather have an extra sister in the room than another piece of furniture, no matter how special it is. ;)  

I thought you might enjoy seeing the other rooms as well.  Mama very graciously allowed me to use the photos she took.

Here is Emma, Hayden, and Charlie's new room (formerly Emma and Charlie's).  

The bed is on one side of the room, covered with dolls and stuffed animals from all three sisters.  Since they had to add Hayden's posters to the room, they each chose their very favorite posters to hang and put those up. 

Next to the bed are their art and craft supplies. 

The black shelf that was against the side wall before is now against the back wall.  Because it has three shelves, it is the perfect place to display their amazing collections.  Just as in our room, each sister has a shelf of her own.

Next to the shelf is a tub with extra toys and Hayden's Aladdin poster.  Since the time of these pictures, the Aladdin poster has been exchanged for a Strawberry Shortcake fuzzy poster that Hayden colored, and the Aladdin poster is now over the dresser. 

Next to the toy tub is the dresser that looks as though it was made for this room.  :)  You might also notice that the Hathaway girls have the rug that used to be in the room I shared with Hailey.  I've always loved that rug, but I think it looks wonderful in their room. :)

Our last room, formerly the one Hailey and I shared, belongs to Rachel, Jenna, and Maggie.  Isn't it lovely how all of the sisters have been reunited? :)

On one side of the room is the tall floral dresser that was in Maggie and Rachel's room.  The top has some of Jenna's extra things since she has the least amount of space.

The bed is in the back, against the wall.  This side of the room also holds all of Rachel and Maggie's posters. 

At the foot of the bed is the tub that holds all of Rachel and Maggie's extra action figures.  Maggie's collection has grown quite large since you last saw it. ;)

Maggie and Rachel's shelf is in the corner.  Jenna got to use one shelf for her My Little Ponies.  

This side of the room has all of Jenna's musical posters.  Didn't she hang them up nicely?  It looks so bright and cheerful.  Hmm, perhaps we should find more posters for our room...

Jenna has the same special fold-out bed she did in her old room, with the crate behind it to store some of her special treasures.

There are things we all miss about our old rooms.  We enjoyed having more space and more room for our belongings.  However, I think Mama did an excellent job of condensing things in a way that was as painless as possible.  It could have been much worse.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, Coral and Alice have a small room on the other side of Mama's room.  It's not nearly as roomy as ours are, but they seem to enjoy it just the same.  They also have the luxury of being on ground level and therefore have easier access to the rest of the room. :}

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour.  In the coming month, we'll be working on getting all of you caught up.  Hayden will do her post about her vacation she took this past January, and we'll also share a bit about Coral's arrival.  

Also, Mama and her family are heading out for their yearly vacation to the coast next week.  Mama still has not announced which of us will be going with her.  As soon as we find out, we'll let you know!

Until next time, my dear friends,