Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Obama should say to Islamic Terrorists.

In light of all the terrorist activity of late, there is a presidential speech we want to hear. It goes something like this:

“There exists in our world multiple radical islamic groups engaged in the murder of innocents while claiming to be loyal to the teaching of Islam. Their behavior is abhorrent to all peoples of conscience. This behavior will no longer be tolerated. So today, I am announcing a new branch of the Armed Forces. Delta Assassins. An advanced army of covert assassins tasked with the eradication of all radical militants.  We aren’t going to talk with you any longer, we’re going to take you out, and you'll never see us coming."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Success Secrets

Sophie, you can't be successful if you don't get out of bed!

     Everyone is looking for the secret to being more successful, even Sophie. Sophie doesn't like to get out of bed, and for a little dog, that may be the pinnacle of success. But you want more than Sophie! Following the example of successful people there are five very distinct traits they possess. None of this is rocket science and none of it is hard. The difference between very successful people and the rest of us is focus and dedication. They practice these five secrets every day. That's right, every day! With just a little dedication and resolve, you can do it too. We are so blessed to live in a country where this is possible, it is almost criminal that more of us don't use these tools to achieve the success we all want. So let's get started!

1. You need a Plan, Man
     But you knew that, right? But did you do it? No. No more excuses. Sit down and make a plan for the next 30 days to reach a goal. Paste it on the wall, make it the wallpaper on your phone. Make it simple. When you make a plan, write it down and review it each morning and throughout the day, it lodges itself in your subconscious. Once this happens you are aware of things happening that will aid you in the successful completion of your plan. It's like having a helper looking out for all the little things around you that will aid you to your goal.
     What should be in this plan? Fair question. This plan is for one goal. Here's an example. I want to change my job. Simple. What steps do I need to take to accomplish this goal? The first step is to clearly define what the goal is. "Change Job" is fairly vague. "Move to a management position in my field, either with my present company or another company". Now, this is a clear goal. So your next step is to figure out the steps you need to take. It's like a road map.

2. Follow the Yellow Brick Road of Your Plan
     Here we go! Make the steps in your plan and follow them. What steps need to be taken to reach the goal of a management position? These are logical and easy to determine. We need to learn what any company wants in a manager. This is a generic want. Then we determine the steps needed to acquire those qualities. Maybe companies want Six Sigma training, or management experience leading groups. Here's where the plan becomes interesting. The goal remains the same, the steps to achieve the goal are fluid. They will be determined by the journey.
     You're scratching your head, I can see it now. Plan with movable steps. Yes, it will have steps that change and morph. That's because any plan is a living thing. As you move along the steps, learning and discovering more about the requirements to reach your goal you will either add or delete steps along the way. Think of the moving staircases at Hogwarts that Harry Potter hand to navigate.

3. Document, Document Document
     On your journey up the road of your plan, you will learn new things. There will be Ah Ha moments. You want to document these. This will build a library for you on how you solve challenges and how to achieve your goals. The first plan is the hardest, with the knowledge you will gain from this first plan, the next goal plan will be much easier.
     Keep this documentation of what works and what doesn't in a notebook for future reference. Give it an interesting name and title your discoveries with memorable names. My personal book is call "The Book of all Knowledge".  So you're drawing a blank as to what to document. Say you talk with your boss and ask what you need to do to be considered management material and your manager laughs at you. That's something you want to write down. Direct managers are not the best sources for information.
     So you move on and after tossing some ideas around you hit on the idea to ask one of the HR professionals. This person takes you seriously and gives you good advise providing several of the steps you need to take to reach your goal. You want to write that down, HR can be a great resource. Undaunted you move on with your quest and ask a vice president. You find this source gives you good information that is different from the information you got from the HR professional. You want to document this also. Use multiple sources. Easy.

4. Brighten the Corner Where You Are
     Your mother taught you this. Your Sunday school teacher taught you this. It's not rocket science. You are not a island, you are part of a group and you need to rally your minions to reach your goal.  That's right, you can't do it alone. So you want to attract people to you who will help you. This means that part of your goal is to become a positive, nurturing person. Oh, the humanity! I'm telling you to be kind and stop complaining. Suck it up Buttercup, strap on the honey bucket and go forth and make the world a better place because you live in it.
     Ok, you don't think you can do it. You can and you should! Everyone flocks to positive people. You have a plan. You have a goal. You're moving up. You can afford to be kind and supportive to those around you. What you are really doing is gathering your minions. Yes! you need minions! Not just for this goal, but for all the goals you have yet to reach. You will rise on the tide of the people supporting you. Think of it like a mosh pit at a concert. You can jump in, but without all the hands to catch you, you break your neck.

5. Assimilate, Add Diversity
     The Borg had it right. "Resistance is futile, we will assimilate you and add your uniqueness to the collective." You are the Borg! And, even though you are the most intelligent person in the world, you need a source for ideas. Different points of view will add to your goal, round it out. What the heck am I talking about?
     As you move through the process of achieving your goal, you will run into other ideas. These will be like bright stars on a dark night. IF YOU DON'T WRITE THEM DOWN YOU WILL FORGET THEM! When you find one of these diverse ideas that acts like a springboard, assimilate it into your goal process. No! I'm not saying get off track, I'm saying add it to what you want with your goal. What would that look like? Our goal is to land a management position. As we walk through out steps to the goal one of our minions makes a comment that management has no idea what the workers do. Hmm you think it true. So as you move toward your goal you tuck this little gem into your bag of tricks and work it into your plan.

That's it. Now, go forth and be successful.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Can you earn a living with Ebay

So you find yourself in the same boat as so many of us, rejected by standard employment opportunities - a Corporate Reject. As you scan the non traditional skyline for a glimmer of hope to earn cash, you come upon Ebay. You've sold some stuff on Ebay, a cell phone here, a video game there but it was all used item that you sold for way under value. Aside from selling all your possessions, can you really sell on Ebay and pay the bills? You can, and you can make big money, but it's not easy. Sorry, but that's the answer.

I have been selling on Ebay with a fair amount of success for the past 2 years. I have friends who have been selling for 10 years and their Ebay business supports them. Before you start, here are some facts to consider: In whatever category you choose to sell in, Ebay will take 25% of the gross and that includes the shipping cost. This is a fact of selling on Ebay. No matter what the fee calculators say, it will end up being 25%.

 Here's an example: For items that costs you $3.50 a piece lets say you will be selling 20 of them.

  • Shipping weight - 1 oz USPS First Class large envelop shipping cost of $1.64 through Ebay (a perk of selling on Ebay) 
  • The packaging costs you $2.50, this includes the envelope, packing, paper labels, ink to print the labels and your time to pack and ship.  
  • Time spent listing the item: if you are quick, you can take the picture, crop and correct it, write the description for Ebay in 15 minutes: cost of $5 per item.  
  • Your total cost in this piece is now $12.64 
  • The fee for listing your item is 50 cents if you list it at auction.  
  • Half your  items sell for $15, the other half do not sell - Ebay final fee is 1.50 each 
  • Your Ebay fees will be $15.00 sold items  + $5 for unsold items total $20 
  • Now we add the Pay Pal fee of 2.9% - 44 cents each sold item for $4.40. 
  • Your cost for the 10 items that sold is 126.40 and you sold them for a total of 150.00 for a net loss of 80 cents. (we will assume the other 10 items will sell the next time they are listed)  

Ebay has the highest fee structure of any auction site but they also have the highest visibility.  You are more likely to sell items on Ebay. To make money you need to figure the costs and how to work within the fee structure.  Ebay has a Fee calculator on it's website - it's hard to find so here's the link

If you are not totally turned off by the fees there is another little pitfall with Ebay I feel compelled to mention. They like to discontinue categories. This essentially puts you out of business. They do this as an edict from corporate with no discussion and in a very short period of time. Last year there were many sellers of electronic images doing a brisk business on Ebay, they were summarily shut down in a two month time frame. There is no warning so you can't plan for this kind of action. If you sell on Ebay, you do so at the pleasure of the Corporate King. Another fine point is that Ebay is courting the big box stores like Wal-Mart. Their attention is not on the little seller anymore. This is sad because it is the little seller that made Ebay what it is today.

Is Ebay the only player in the arena? The answer is no. Etsy is a vibrant craft and vintage item market and it is fast approching Ebay for visibility. The fees on Etsy are much lower and Etsy does no offer auctions so if you sell on Etsy it's like selling in a large retail boutique. For Etsy you open a store, list your items with a listing tool that is fast (5 minutes tops) and your items enjoy being visible for one fee of 20 cents for 4 months. Final fees are 3.4% of final selling price excluding shipping.  Much better deal here. There are many other sites for non handmade like Bonanza. Their fee structure is even more interesting - Open a booth for $10 per month, this give you background burns and access to google analytics to see how many people are viewing your items -  final fee of 3.5% with a minimum fee of 50 cents. The minimum fee pushes Bonanza items up over the $10 mark and it doesn't have nearly the page view that either Etsy or Ebay have. There are more but Etsy and Bonanza are the two I have experience with. Bonanza has another interesting feature - It will import items listed on Ebay and Etsy into your booth on Bananza. No need to list twice.

If you are still interested after all this news. I suggest spending some time with the blog Ecommercebytes.
They report all the news on E commerce on a daily basis and are a great source of information on this industry. Selling on line is a great opportunity but you must go into it with your eyes wide open, it can put dinner on the table or leave you homeless.

Disclaimer: the fees and fee structures are to the best of my ability as of the day posted. Please visit the fee structure of each auction site you wish to list on. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grandmothers and Cleanliness - A lesson to learn

This is going to date me, but both of my Grandmothers never donned a pair of pants in their lives. Each day they would rise, put on their foundation garment (girdle) seamed stockings, heals, slip and dress. The dresses were Lantz and purchased at Marshall Fields. This was the attire to do house work in.  They didn't come out of their bedroom until they were dressed, with their hair perfectly quaffed and face powdered with just a touch of lipstick.

The house was always clean, nothing was left out after each day. The dishes were done, the counters wiped, the table set for breakfast. Dusting was done each day as was vacuuming and sweeping. The solution used to wipe down counters, door knobs, light switches and any other surface hands came in contact with was bleach and water. Soap and clean towels were at each sink. Laundry was done each Saturday, with the clothes hung on the line winter and summer. There was an ordered cleanliness to life.

At trip to the store required the addition of pearls, earrings, bracelets and gloves. I still have a box of my Grandmothers white gloves, some fancy and many for every day wear. This may be why they were seldom sick. They put on white gloves to leave the house and their face was powdered. Their hands were covered and the gloves never touched their face.  Next time you go shopping make a mental note of all the things you touch and how ofter you touch your face, it's scary.

If the occasion was dressy, like Church a hat was added and the dress included a jacket, no bare arms allowed. Their posture was erect, most likely caused by the stiff foundation garment. After Church only gloved hands were shook and coffee drunk with gloves on. These ladies lived well into their 90's with few health issues. Maybe we should take a page from their book? Something to think about

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Sausage Factory

This is a script idea for a movie, book or play.  
The Sausage Factory.

Plot line

Opening scene.

• Beautiful home (use Hutch’s home)

• Mother, Betty Fine Father John Fine and two children one boy Matt Fine one girl Patty Fine: all pretty. Children are 15 and 10. There is one dog Gus, a golden retriever and one cat Tuna an orange tabby.

• Daughter Patty is on the phone with her boy friend Paul Mission

• Son Matt is playing Spiro on the Playstation.

• John Fine comes home with the news that they are all going to Disneyland for vacation in two weeks.

• There is some family time and then they sit down to dinner.

• The phone rings

• Bill Sail, the Fine’s neighbor knocks on the door. He want to remind John about the city council meeting next week. They are talking about funding the new park equipment.

Next day, John Fine’s office.

• Fine works for the Cheese Company in town (use Taylor cheese)

• Father Pride stops by to visit with John. Wants to talk about the new park equipment. They discuss the park, the church, John is a Deacon with St. Frances of the wounded soul Catholic Church. The conversation turns to the needs of the community and the poor that St. Frances and Father Pride take care of.

• The conversation turns to the vacation plans of the Fine’s. And then they discuss their favorite Disney movies ending with the Black Cauldron. They laugh about the improbable plot lines and how very odd fairy tales and myths are.

The Weekend

• It’s a sunny winter day. The Fine children are in the back your building a snow fort while John Fine is in the garage (man cave) engaged in his favorite hobby building bird houses. Today he is painting several that resemble the cottages in Disney movies. Betty comes to the back door with a tray full of mugs of hot coco. The kids get their chocolate and she takes a mug to John in his Man Cave.

• As Betty walks to the Garage the shot pans to the outline of the Sausage Factory

• Bill Sail drops by and the three of them discuss the playground, and the vacation and John’s birdhouses.

• Bill and John discuss possible future usages of the Old Sausage Factory and it is decided that John should talk to the owner Thompson Curd about it.

Next Week

• John Fines office. He is on the phone with Thompson Curd. The conversation is about the old Sausage Factory. Thompson wants to unload it and the city wants it to be either used or torn down. Thompson is elderly and unable to visit the property. He asks John to take a walk around and see what the property is like. He will send the key over so John can go inside. He suggests that John take a structural engineer with him. They decide the city engineer will be ok.

• John calls City hall and makes an appointment with Jake Joiner to meet at the Sausage Factory on Friday.

Thursday Evening

• At the Fine home. The family is packing for the Disneyland Trip.

• John calls the limo company that will take them to the airport.

• They will be leaving early Saturday Morning..

• Patty is on her cell phone talking with Paul

• Matt is playing on his DS. Mom Betty reminds him to pack all the games and that he better also pack some underwear reminding him of the vacation last summer when he forgot and they had spent a day looking for a Wal-Mart in Death Valley.

• In the children’s rooms there are posters from the Black Cauldron

• Conversation about leaving Saturday morning. John mentions he will be looking the old sausage factory over in the morning tomorrow.

Friday Morning

• Early morning, Kids and Betty are eating breakfast and getting ready for a day of school and work.

• John kisses them all Good by, then makes a few phone calls and putters around the house

• Door bell rings, Jake Joiner is there. Jake and John go to Thompson Curd’s house for the key to the Sausage Factory.

• There is a brief discussion about the hay day of the factory and they look at some old pictures Thompson has on his study wall of work at the factory.

• The men have some coffee with the old guy and let him reminisce then they take their leave of him

Friday Mid Morning Sausage Factory

• The two men start walking around the Sausage Factory in the Snow. They check for cracks in the foundation and discuss possible uses for the building. The day is overcast now

• As they check the building they hear faint noises. They don’t even comment on them. But as they are walking a noise will startle them. The day gets darker.

Cut to High School

• Patty Fine is a sophomore at Faulksburg High. She is chatting with some friends when her boy friend Paul Mission comes up and drapes his arm possessively across her shoulder.

• Paul is sad that she is leaving him for 2 weeks. She asks him to go with her to the office so she can pick up her assignments for the two weeks she will be gone.

• In the Office, Superintendent Payne grills her about leaving school for two weeks. She is sorry and there is a very unpleasant scene

• Patty caller her mom who calls Mr. Payne.

• The assignments are turned over.

Sausage Factory

• The men are still checking out the outside of the buildings

• John gets a cell phone call from Betty about Mr. Payne and the problems Patty is having.

• John calls the school and is talking with Mr. Payne when he suddenly steps in a hole. It is deep and the phone goes flying – his one leg is thigh high in the hole.

• Jake pulls him out, hands him the phone and with an uncomfortable grunt John finishes his phone call.

• John tell Jake he is fine, just surprised. The day gets a little lighter

• They have completed the outside of the building but they are now cold and decide to get some lunch.

The Coffee Shop

• As they enter the Coffee shop the day is once more sunny.

• They meet towns folks at the coffee shop and the talk turns to the old Sausage Factory.

• Stories are told of how profitable it was, how their relatives worked there and of the three men who were killed there.

• John and Jake take it all in.

• Clarence, an old guy who worked at the sausage factory for years speaks fondly of Thompson Curd. What a great guy he was. When there were families who fell upon hard times he would hire them until they were back on their feet. Then he would find them jobs in other towns, buy their homes if they had one and help them move. Clarence remembered many such families. Thompson Curd was a hero.

• Clarence, who has been to Thompson’s house remembers that many of their pictures were hanging on the wall in his study. That’s how he knew Thompson was proud of what he had done and kept in touch with the families. Thompson was always able to share news about where the families had gone and how well they were doing.

The Sausage Factory

• John and Jake are back at the Sausage Factory. As they drive to the factory the day becomes overcast and dark – ominous

• They open the door and switch on the large torches they have brought with them

• They make their way from what was the front office. Into the changing room.

• When they open the door to the factory floor – hundreds of bats fly at them and they drop to the ground. Nervous laughter.

• They move on into the factory floor. They are now checking for the structure of the building

• There is a large area where the meat was ground and made into sausages. Jake touches one of the large pans he vanishes in bright light

• John is stunned, where is Jake? Lots of calling and looking


• He is outside the Sausage Factory, the sun is shining, the grass is green, flowers are blooming and a family is having a picnic. No sound, just children playing in the grass

3:00 At the Fine home

• Patty and Paul are just walking into the kitchen, It’s their last night together and they want to spend it together. They are in the process of getting a snack when Matt walks in playing his DS.

• John bursts into the kitchen. He tells the kids Jake is missing.

• People start to gather in the Fine kitchen.

• Patty and Paul volunteer to help find Jake, John says no, it’s too dangerous. The adults go to the living room to organize a search party

• Patty and Paul slip out and head for the Sausage Factory. They are sure Jake is just playing a joke.

Sausage Factory

• Patty and Paul enter the office area. It’s exciting and they are sure they will find Jake.

• They stand still and just take in the office, panning their lights around. In a corner they notice some motion.

• They turn to see what moved, there is an open door and they decide to explore in that direction.

• The door leads to a supply closet. The kids notice the floor is clean and not dusty like the office area. Shining their lights around the see a hole in the wall and a dim light .

• The crawl through the hole into an old test kitchen. In the corner there is a woman with 2 children. They know her.

• Mrs. Singleton was crouched in the corner with her daughter Melody and son Josh. Melody was in Patty’s class

• They are sorry but they didn’t have a home any longer and this was the only place they could come and live.

• Patty and Paul fill in the Singletons about Jake being missing.

• They promise not to tell they are living there and will lead the search party away from them.

• They ask the Singletons to keep an eye out for Jake

Fine Living Room

• Betty Fine comes home in a rush. She asks where Patty and Paul are – no one knows

• Patty and Paul come in the door flushed. They tell the group they have been to the Sausage Factory and think they know where Jake is.

• They all leave for the Factory


• There are more families having picnics around Jake. They still don’t talk but more and more of them appear, spread their blankets and set out lunch.

The Sausage Factory

• Paul and Patty lead the search party away from the closet and back into the plant floor.

• They walk around, a cooler door slams

• They stay away from the sausage machine.

• It is 4:30

• Matt walks in with his flashlight, goes into the factory and heads right for the Sausage Machine. He stretches out his hand and is gone in a flash of light

Jake and Matt

• They are surrounded now by families at picnics, we see now that each picnic is serving sausage. The faces of the families are the faces in the pictures in Thompson Curds office

Search Group

• Mrs Singleton has now joined the search group with her children. None of the searchers are aware they are living in the factory.

• Betty Fine rushed in screaming for Matt. She saw him come in

• No one has seen Matt.

• They all move to explore the factory floor. As they near the mixing area, Mrs. Singleton shins her light on the floor where the two disappeared. There is a rubber matt that is deteriorated over a hole in the floor.

• Where does that go is asked.

• There was a trap door here where the bones were dumped into the lower level for shipping.

• When the flash lights are shined into the hole, both Jake and Matt are visible – along with many human skulls of all sized..

• They move to the stairway lead by Mrs. Singleton to the basement and enter into the bone pit where Jake and Matt lay.

• The two were knocked unconscious but are now coming to.

• Someone has called for an ambulance

• The police come with big lights and examine the bone room

• The bones are human –

Last Scene

• The police are taking Thompson Curd to jail

• Clarence is talking with John

• Thompson made his money by grinding the down and out families into sausage. Just like the economy of the time did.


Friday, October 02, 2009

As Bill Clinton learned – It’s the Economy Stupid. Obama wake up!

As Bill Clinton learned – It’s the Economy Stupid. Obama wake up!

How long do we believe in the dream? “I bring change you can believe in.” Candidate Obama
I don’t believe in the dream or the change anymore. Unemployment is at 9.8% and climbing. The stimulus that was passed, without being read by anyone in congress, has done nothing to stop this horrific hemorrhage of prosperity. How can we continue to spend spend spend when we are bleeding tax revenue.
In 2008 there were 138 million taxpayers. The 9.8% unemployment translates to 12.2 million workers collecting unemployment instead of paying taxes. 5.4 million workers have been out of work for over 26 weeks. The U.S National Average Wage Index puts the average wage in 2008 at $39K or $750.00 per week. We are bleeding $9,150,000,000 (Nine Billion, One Hundred Fifty Million – a really big number) in income to families, not to mention the taxes we are not getting and the unemployment benefits we are paying out.

Numbers tend to put things in perspective. How can the President ignore this. We don’t need any more legislation other than legislation that creates jobs. Get out of the way of the job creation engine and bring this country back to prosperity. If I were the President I would be working 24/7 to find that engine and get it going. I would not be giving speeches, flying here and there, spending money, or going on Letterman.  To put this simply, Do Your Job!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Corporations - In the Business of Health Care and Life

Health care is a big topic of discussion this summer. Hysteria, lies, accusations, name calling and if throwing the kitchen sink would help, that too. We know insurance companies are in the business of cutting costs and they are not doing it in a kind or decent way. If you want to know what the abuses are, just ask a sick person, or someone who lost their job because they were sick. There are lots of examples. The system we have now is neither efficient nor kind. People are kind, corporations are not.

We are not making any progress in the debate. Congress is writing bill after bill each one worse than the rest. I think this is due to a basic lack of understanding of the core problem. We are a generous nation to everyone else but ourselves. We will go anywhere and help if help is needed. But we have come to feel we don’t deserve to be cared for. We have some crazy idea we can take care of ourselves. You’ve heard people say: “I never go to the doctor, just take an aspirin and I’m right as rain.” This just shows how little we think of ourselves. We have a high regard for everyone else but ourselves and that has to change. There are people who are actually trying to put a value on the quality of life. You can’t quantify a life at any stage, only the creator has that option.

So how do we fix this? The first thing we do is learn as much as we can. Washington will be of no help here. Lobbyists are dropping tens of millions of dollars to protect their interests. The Congress and President are in their pocket and are doing the Washington two step. Talk radio is just as corrupt and the news media is on vacation. We need to take this in steps and the first step is to resolve that we, as an enlightened people, must make health care available to everyone, even ourselves. Everyone who sets foot on our soil, without regard to nationality, age or status, must be cared for. That is not a popular thought, but life is sacred and we have an obligation as our brother's keeper to safeguard that life. The second is to come to the realization that Life can not have a value placed on it. Each minute of every life is as valuable as every other minute of every other life. Once we embrace and understand this concept we, as a people, will know the right course of action for this country. We have a big job ahead of us. Call your congressman and let them know you want them to agree with you that health care is a right, not a privilege, life can not have a value placed on it, every minute of every life is precious, beyond value and must be protected at all costs.