Friday, November 9, 2012

Winning The Lottery Will Help You Live Longer

A friend of mine told me that people were lined-up 10-deep at her news agency waiting to get their hands on what they hoped would be the winning ticket in a $112 million Lotto. We're told that more than one-in-three people in The Land of Oz invested their hard-earned for a chance to be a winner.
While most people know that money alone will not bring happiness, the turnout to win 112 million dollars seems to suggest that, for most people, possessing enough money is more appealing than the alternative. Apparently, most agree with Mae West's observation: 'I've been rich and I've been poor. And rich is better'. Or, perhaps Spike Milligan struck a chord when he said, 'All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy'.
The eighteenth-century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau drew attention to what most of us have come to realise: wealth is not a question of having lots of many; it's about having what you want. And John Ruskin (1819-1900) challenged the central idea of his age (that there was something admirable about being rich), by advocating a different kind of wealth-defined in terms of kindness, intelligence, sensitivity, and godliness.
Money may not be able to buy happiness or love (according to the Beatles, that is), but it (money) can buy a better life: rich people do live longer than poor people.
Research suggests that people on higher incomes are happier and tend to live longer than those on low incomes. Even when the source of wealth is a lottery win, increased longevity and life quality can be expected. A survey of lottery winners indicated that money, by itself, does indeed buy weeks, months, even years of extra life.
It's the relationship between money and other things that's the key issue; to balance what we really need for ourselves with what we can do for others. (Could this be the reason why many Lotto-winners opt to share their winnings?) More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle remarked that people had been destroyed by their money, but said that it was difficult, if not impossible, to do fine deeds without any resources. Epicurus alerted us to the difficulty of achieving a balance among competing attractions. And the Franciscan Friar Justin Belitz emphasised the need for balance among what he called the 7Fs-Finance, Friends, Fun, Faith, Fitness, Family, and Formal and informal education. He indicated that he understood what the ancients and others have been saying for centuries: wealth is more than money.
Whether or not you've won or shared-in the $112 million, try to keep everything in context. Even though you may live longer, if you're a winner, J. Paul Getty's said, 'If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars'.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Introduction To E-Commerce

We have come a long way from the first attempts at e-commerce in the early 1990's, when the web was in its infancy. In fact, many of the e-commerce sites which can be built in a matter of hours now are far more advanced than sites that took months to build just a few years ago.
Creating an e-commerce site has never been simpler than it is now. You can have anything from a simple store setup with manually generated buttons on payment services such as PayPal and Google Checkout all the way to a totally custom design with custom functionality tied into your business model.
There are e-commerce news sites, forums, mailing lists, communities, open source software, proprietary software, out of the box solutions, custom solutions, and basically more information than one person could possibly digest in one lifetime.
With all of the advances made in e-commerce over the past 20 years, many people are more in the dark than ever. There is an overload of information about different software, platforms, SEO, social media, and other topics.
Who should you listen to and how can you possibly make sense out of all of the contradicting ideas out there? This book was written as a guide to help people answer many of these questions and get themselves pointed in the right direction when it comes to e-commerce.
Whenever possible, I will not be addressing particular technologies or software. These change far too often to write anything meaningful about them in any great detail. If I did so, this book would become irrelevant six months from now.
What I will address are tried and true techniques for choosing the appropriate software (whatever it may be), hiring developers, using social media (even as new sites become the 'next big thing'), search engine optimization techniques that are always relevant, and how to convert more sales.
After reading this book you should be able to objectionably compare different e-commerce solutions, know how to hire a competent developer if you need help with your site, how to leverage social media regardless of what new social media outlet pops up, and how to use well written copy along with sound SEO techniques to drive traffic to your site and convert that traffic to sales.
I also encourage you to continue your education in this field. There is no "magic bullet" that will automatically bring you big profits and high conversions in the e-commerce game. You need to constantly stay on top of trending technologies, learn about your customers, assess your competition, and tweak your product lines.
Types of E-Commerce Sites
All e-commerce sites are not selling the same type of product. As such not all e-commerce sites have the same needs and goals. This is not a comprehensive list, and in fact many of the most successful e-commerce sites are the ones that create their own revenue model and niche.
This is your traditional e-commerce site. This is the site that most people think of when they think e-commerce. This type of site deals in the sale of tangible, physical products. A traditional e-commerce site usually is defined by the following features:
A listed of tangible, physical products usually divided into categories and sub categories
A product details page for each product. This page usually contains a description, product specs, an image gallery, and product reviews
A 'shopping cart' that holds a customer's items they want to purchase until they checkout
A checkout process that allows users to enter their billing and shipping information
Tax and/or shipping charges are usually collected at this stage.
The site owner is notified of a purchase and handles fulfillment, either through an automated process or manually.
Virtual Products
The virtual products e-commerce site is very similar to the traditional e-commerce site with one main exception. This type of site deals in the sale of virtual products such as music, images, videos or e-books. This type of site is usually defined by the following features:
1. Listing similar to that of a traditional e-commerce site
2. Shopping cart and checkout process are also similar
3. Checkout usually does not include shipping or tax charges as there are no tangible goods being shipped
4. Fulfillment is automatic with the customer usually being emailed a link to download the virtual item.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Who Benefits From a Skilled Nursing Facility

A skilled nursing facility can provide individuals with the help they need to get back on track. Often, family members cannot provide the type of expert aid that their loved one needs. They need more specific or ongoing care. These are times when such a location can be the ideal choice. If you are unsure what your loved one needs, schedule some time to visit such a location. What you will find is that this type of location can give your loved one the type of care he or she needs to live the quality of life deserved.
Long Term Needs
One of the main reasons for investing in a skilled nursing facility is because these locations can provide for the long-term needs of the individual. Some residents are unstable. They have a chronic condition that keeps them from living an independent lifestyle. They need substantial daily assistance to live a quality life. This can be found in this type of organization.
Short Term Care
Another instance in which it may be necessary for this type of service is when there is a short-term need, but the amount of assistance necessary is significant. Those who are receiving any type of rehabilitation, for example, may need such a location to help them to get back to living their life. For example, those who need nursing care while they heal or need therapy to get back on their feet will benefit from this type of setup. This includes those suffering from acute diseases as well as injuries or surgeries. If you plan to go home but need physical or occupational help first, this is the place to get it. Even language and speech options are available.
There are some conditions too difficult to deal with at home. For those with long term or short term needs for people who are suffering from dementia, it is critical to obtain the proper type of education. These facilities can offer help for those who are at risk of wandering or becoming confused easily. Be sure to look for a specific location that is able to help individuals to deal with this specific type of concern since it is such a trying time for all who are involved.
Take into consideration the needs of your loved one. When there are needs you may not be able to meet, it is time to start thinking about a skilled nursing facility. The good news is that people can feel at home and happy in such a setting. If they are given the right type of help, they can be successful there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Tips to Succeed With Futures and Commodities

Trading in Futures and Commodities has advantages not found in more traditional forms of investing. In fact, investing may be the wrong word to use. Most who trade in Futures and Commodities are more like speculators, because the time a trader will hold onto a position is usually much shorter than the time investors tend to hold positions.
One of the big advantages of trading Futures and Commodities is the leverage. For a relatively small amount of money, the futures trader can control many times that of the underlying product, may it be Wheat, Crude Oil, Gold or one of the Currencies.
This type of leverage provides the opportunity to make a lot of money from a small amount of money. However, leverage is a two-edged sword, and that means you can also lose a lot of money if you do not know what you are doing.
In this article I will touch on 10 tips to help you avoid unnecessary losses and give you a head start towards being profitable. But beware that this is just the beginning. When it comes to training in futures, there is no end to education.
1. Read all you can about how the Futures Markets work and get familiarized with the products and their specifications. You can learn much of this by visiting websites of the exchanges where these futures are traded, such as the Commodities Merchantile Exchange (CME).
2. Be sure to shop around for a good discount broker. These days you will find more services being offered for much less than what it was just a few years ago. Be sure they specialize in futures and provide good electronic and phone trading support. You will not only want to pay as little as possible for each "round-turn" in commissions, but you also want to be sure you can get ahold of someone at anytime, day or night, to get you out of a position in the event your Internet goes down or you lose connection through your trading platform. If you are new to trading, see if you can trade a dummy account with the brokerage to get familiar with the platform they offer and to practice trading before you use real money.
3. Be sure your trading account is well-funded. Most traders who start with an account that is under-funded end up being wiped out. The reason for this is that when you trade with a small account, you will have the tendency to trade scared (fear). These days where many of the markets have big daily ranges and often are volatile, it is difficult to enter a trade with a tight stop-loss unless you day trade using minute charts. This is one reason why many opt for daytrading. But even if you decide to daytrade, you should not open an account for anything less than $5000, although more is better.
4. Trade with the trend. Let me say this again. Trade with the trend! It is a statistical fact that you will have better odds of making profits with less losses if you trend with the wind at your back. Learn methods and indicators that will help you discover the trend and then take only trades that are supported by that trend.
5. Always use a stop-loss order at the same time you enter a trade. Never, ever enter a trade and put off entering an opposing stop-loss order. Even if you are uncertain as to the best place to put it, at the very least you should put it at a price that works as an "emergency exit" in the event some news comes out and causes the market to move violently against you. Whatever you do, do not put your stop-loss beyond the day's maximum move threshold, the limit price level. Futures markets have daily limits that if price were to move to that limit that prices would not be allowed to go any further. Often, the reason that prices went limit in the first place can also cause prices to go LOCK LIMIT due to price pressure. If this happens against your position, you may not be able to get out and could face additional days of limit moves against you. This is a trader's nightmare! So be sure you have your stop-loss at least at some price level BEFORE that limit price to avoid being stuck in multiple limit moves. There are several strategies for deciding on where to put your stop-loss. Learn them to help you effectively use them.
6. Learn about support and resistance, especially when it comes to trends and retracements. If the trend is bullish, for example, the bullish waves will usually be greater than the bearish retracements (moves against the trend). According to W. D. Gann, prices tend to retrace in increments of quarters and eights. The major levels are 38%, 50% and 62%, especially in strong trends. These mark your support and resistance levels, and they provide good levels to look for prices to enter trades as well as places to put your stop-loss orders for protection.
7. Learn Money-Management. This is very, very important. With a good money-management system, even a trading method that has less than 50% win/loss ratio can result in overall profits. The key is to determine the right percentage of the total account to risk on any single trade and to stick with that formula. W. D. Gann advocates 10%, although these days it is suggested that you not risk more than 2-3%. This is another reason why you need a well-funded account so that you will not end up with stop-loss orders being too close to your entry or having to miss lots of good trade setups due to the risk exposure exceeding your risk allowance. If you spend enough time learning good money-management and you stick with it religiously, you can do quite well even when your timing skills are still lacking.
8. Learn Top-Down Analysis. This is one of my favorite tips to give to traders. If you trade on a DAILY time-frame, it would be to your advantage to view the WEEKLY, even the MONTHLY charts to get a sense as to the longer-term direction of the market. Focus on trading your chosen time-frame in the direction of the longer-term time-frame. It is not difficult to get a sense of trend direction. For example, you can simply apply a 20-bar and 50-bar moving average and note the slope of the lines as to whether they are moving up or down, and whether the 20 is above or below the 50. Whatever method you use to determine trend, having the longer-term trend in mind is extremely valuable when trading the lower-time frame.
9. Never chase a trade and never move a stop-loss deeper into negative territory. If you planned a trade and then missed the price area you wanted to enter from, DO NOT chase it and enter at the worse price. This is a big mistake and is usually motivated by emotion. The same for your stop-loss price level. Suppose you decide a good place to put your initial stop-loss. Once that order is placed, suppose the market starts moving against you and now you see that your stop-loss order may get filled. Whatever you do, DO NOT change your stop-loss order to allow for even greater losses. This is how many traders become ex-traders. They do not want to accept losses, and they get it in their head that if they just give the market a little more room, and a little more, that they may not have to experience a loss at all because the market should turn soon in their favor. Bad bad emotional trading. Do not do this. You have decided ahead of time what your risk will be, and if it reaches it, so be it. This is what separates the winning traders from the losers.
10. Keep learning to be better at TIMING. This is my speciality, timing the market to the very day when a bottom or top is highly likely to occur. There are many timing methods. Naturally, I am biased towards the FDates timing method. However, I respect that many will want to try all kinds of methods out, and that is fine. Keep working on this, because a good timing method, such as FDates, allows you to trade with less risk exposure. When you can keep your risk exposure down, this enhances any money-management plan and allows for greater flexibility. In addition, the less risk you are exposed to, the less effect your emotion of fear will play in your trading.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

6 Facebook Page Features You're Overlooking

Facebook makes changes and adds new features so often that it's hard to keep track of them all. But there are a lot of features that could be very beneficial in managing your Facebook business page and your marketing strategy.
Here are six features that you might not have noticed:
New Insights Metrics
You can see the performance of your posts based on the reactions of your fans, including:
  • Lifetime of post reach
  • Lifetime of post paid reach
  • Lifetime of post impressions
  • Lifetime of post paid impressions
  • Lifetime of post stories
  • Lifetime of people who engaged with posts
  • Lifetime of people talking about your posts
To find these metrics, click on Page Insights, then Export Data, choose data type, then Post Level Data, choose the data range, and click Download.
Onsite Notification
If you combine your personal profile with your business page management. You can get notifications of fan messages and comments, new posts and likes. To start getting these notifications, click on Admin Panel, then Edit Page, hit Manage Notifications and then Onsite Notification. Just check off the box to enable these notifications.
Arrange Posts By Metrics
You don't have to view your posts only in chronological order anymore. Now you can have them listed based on certain metrics, such as Engaged Users, Reach, Virality, and Talking About This. This lets you see what posts are performing better without having to scroll through date-by-date. You can change the order simply by clicking on the label on the table.
Use The "Voice" to Change Identity
You can switch between your brand profile and your personal profile when you want to engage with users on your Facebook page by clicking on Voice at the top of your profile. This lets you respond to comments as your company or yourself.
If you want to post as your brand outside of your own page, click on the dropdown arrow at the top of your profile page and click Use Facebook As and then your page.
View Page Subscribers
People can now subscribe to your Facebook page without liking it. This adds your page to their Interest List. You can see your page subscribers by clicking New Likes, then See All. Click Subscribers from the dropdown menu. To see the total number of subscribers in your Insights.
Targeted Page Posts
You can now target your posts based on several criteria: relationship status, gender, interests, education level, age, language and location. This can be really helpful if you use Promoted Posts to ensure that you are reaching a specific part of your audience. This feature is available to pages with more than 5,000 fans. The post will only appear in News Feeds of fans who meet your targeting options but will also be visible to anyone who looks at your Timeline.
To stay on top of your social media marketing game, you need to keep up with all of the new changes to Facebook pages. Know what tools they are making available to you and you will have more success from all the effort you are putting in.
What Facebook features do you think are the most helpful? What types of features would you like to see in the future?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Planning Canada Migration As Teacher?

The procedure of the overseas movement may be rather long and exhausting, despite the fact that which nation one could be making efforts to gain admission into. On the basis of the given drive--at the time of the filing of a petition for citizenship--some applicants could have a somewhat briefer waiting time frame, as compared to others.
The Federal Skilled Workers, or the FSW, are of much value to a nation, and hence of a superior priority--more so in the industries which may be recession-proof. For instance, dentists, doctors & teachers are the professionals which will always be in much need. It's positive news, in case one happens to be a teacher and keen to shift to the Maple Country, i.e., Canada.
Selection Grounds for the FSW Sanction
1. Topmost level of education concluded; superior to high school diploma.
2. Work experience which reveals not less than 1 complete year of work which comes into one of these vocational classes, namely, professional, managerial or skilled/technical.
3. Fluency in French English and/or (both used for speaking purposes in the Maple Country)
4. Existing age
5. General compliance (regularly tested, via an appraisal quiz)
6. Existing state of job (or offer)
Existing Restrictions
As of July, 2012, the concerned organization, the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), has stopped the acceptance of petitions for the program of the FSW. When the revised requirements of the program become effective, the petitions will be admitted one more time. It is believed to be in full force towards the starting of 2013. Still, this stop does not impact the candidates who: 1. Have an existing job offer (already arranged inside the Maple Country) or 2. Are globally enrolled, or were registered inside the past year in a program for PhD of the country.
Cost of Living Evidence
Since the Maple Country does not permit anyone to sleep or loiter around inside its borders aimlessly, it will wish to find out how one intends to start his life once he has entered the country. Any dependents one may have will also be duly taken note of. Having lots of money, minus a paper trail, is a speedy manner to get one's submission rejected; while not having sufficient funds to suitably maintain one's family for over 30 days or a month will usually conclude in the same manner.
Automatic Dismissal
In all likelihood, some candidates will be refused right away. It is essential to make certain that none of such inconsistencies get in one's path, prior to moving ahead: 1. A case of human/international rights violation, 2. A criminal background, 3. DUI charges--either due to alcohol or drugs, will most likely get one rejected, 4. Ties or past involvement with organized offense, 5. Showing certain, more so infectious, health implications, 6. Lack of evidence of, or not sufficient financial backing, 7. Discrepancies in submissions, 8. Non-compliance with Immigration & Refugee Protection Act of the nation, also called the IRPA, 9. Relation with a prohibited individual

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Understanding The Forex Time Zones

You want to trade currency, because you understand it's markets are a 24 hour 6 days per week markets that are liquid to the magnitude of about 4 TRILLION DOLLARS daily. You also understand that there are four primary sessions, world time clocks, and Greenwich Mean Time GMT to consider. Add to these a little trick called daylight savings time and you can become a bit confused.
While understanding session times is seems daunting at first, learning them will improve trading outcomes. There are four sessions that can be considered major sessions.
The Forex week begins Monday morning at 8:00 am in Sydney Australia ( 5:00 PM Sunday eastern standard time; 9:00 PM Greenwich mean time). Think of Sydney as being the start of the Forex day. The Tokyo session opens three hours later. The London session opens 7 hours after that and finally the New York session opens 5 hours later. Each session runs nine hours. So:
Sydney runs from 9:00 PM till 6:00 AM GMT
Tokyo runs from 12:00 AM till 9:00 AM GMT
London runs from 7:00 AM till 4:00 PM GMT
New York runs from 12:00 PM till 9:00 PM GMT
NYC is in the Eastern Standard Zone see below
If it helps see it this way as an example of the conversion necessary:
New York opens at 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST (EDT),
Tokyo opens at 7:00 pm to 4:00 am EST (EDT),
Sydney opens at 5:00 pm to 2:00 am EST (EDT),
London opens at 3:00 am to 12:00 noon EST (EDT).
Here is a helpful chart reproduced from The site is a wonderful source, having as much information about the GMT as any self- reliant trader will ever need. Another even more interactive chart can be found here AT Live Forex Market Hours Monitor. The real beauty of the web to me is that information is accessible to anyone and everyone in the way you best can accept it.
You need to know the number of hours your current time zone is away from GMT. Then know the GMT time for the session or sessions you wish to trade and make a simple addition or subtraction. Example (USA EST NYC ) is 5 hours earlier than GMT So to trade the open of the London (8:00 am )session need to be ready to go at 3:00 am EST. I learned to convert my from review of the Forex Factory sessions chart. It's easy to remember if you do it this way. Another way to get good at it is to download an app to your smart phone called the world clock. Set the clocks for the cities of the zones and you do not need to even think... you can spend more time on AG homework.
One more important aspect to calculating the sessions is the topic of DST. In March April of each year a majority of the world observes Day Light Savings Time (DST) until September November. The tricky issue is that one of the four major sessions is located in a city that does not observe it. (Tokyo) has no DST in 2012. More over,the directional movement of the clocks is not uniform either. Here is the line up for 2012. It is also subject to change every year so you must check every year.
Sydney Oct 6th 2:00 am move clocks forward to 3:00 am
Tokyo No DST in 2012 so you will need to verify each year
London Oct 28th Move clocks backward to 1:00 am
NYC Nov 6th Move clocks back to 1:00 am
This year in the USA DST began on March 11th 2012 at 2:00 am and DST continues until November 4th 2012 at 2:00 am. You can always remember how to move your clocks with the phrase Spring forward Fall back in Western Hemisphere meaning to always set time ahead one hour and set time back in November. Now since the dates are not uniform and there is not room in this brief article to fully address every time zone for all of our many ACE Gazette citizens I am providing an all-inclusive comprehensive link to more about DST than any trader could ever wish to know. So as DST approaches check in and get it right. You can always consult a world clock site.
Each trading session has a personality and unique characteristics that you should learn. One of the most important is volatility or as I call it "pip swings". If you begin to keep records you will see that certain pairs are more active and pip swings more and less violent dependent on the session trading. There are charts on the web to help you with this but my advice is to chart the four major pairs and the pair or pairs you trade for 60 days by session high and low and you will grasp value in these facts better than reading any chart.
The Aussie session, while the start of the trading day, can be considered to be a mere "opening act" as the world money is far quieter than any other time of the day. However when the Asian power begins to move in with the open of the Tokyo session get ready for more action. Be mindful that with the yen, the third most traded currency behind the EURO and the USD, power volatility and opportunity increases for the astute trader. When the Asian world begins to wrap up their trading day, the main acts are ready to take the stage.
If Sydney is an opening act, and Tokyo is Act 2, then London open is the main show for many if not most of the traders of the world. London is the Forex capital of the world. Pip ranges, liquidity, and opportunity increases dramatically. Placing trades at this time frequently can be done with smaller spreads. Beware... the pros are here ready to take the money of the novice trader. Consider what a shark must think when he is near shore with hundreds perhaps thousands of unsuspecting people swimming a few yards away. He has one thing on his mind... lunch. The professional speculators and traders are eager to separate you from your money so before trading the London session make sure to do lots of homework at Ace Gazette Traders Academy or similar location for education and support.
When New York begins and the overlapping of London occurs think the perfect storm... opportunity and risk rise dramatically and you need to be on your toes. Trend reversals, breakouts and news events again create a wide ranges that can yield great profits or cause great loss.
The most currency trades per hour occur typically during the overlap. Since a large percentage of all currency involve USD on one side of the other the swings often are really violent. Traders from the previous sessions are taking profits or losses.
So there you have it... when the FOREX world begins and ends. One last thing when you think you have it all figured out... think again Forex is a living breathing organism that is continually changing. The session times are fixed but the traders will and often do move to a session when there are unsuspected and pounce on the novices. Find the session or sessions that best fits your personality and ability. Consider the spreads and opportunity but also consider the risks. Please contact me if you have questions or suggestion for improvements for the content of this article.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 Strategies To Keep Your Writing Productive

As I write this article I'm camped out in my den trying not to focus on the sights and sounds of "Super Storm Sandy" wrapping her wrath around all sides of my house. I had spent part of two days securing items in my yard that could become flying missiles, protecting my plants, and wading alongside other last minute shoppers collecting batteries, ice, and edible rations that would stay fresh in a cooler.
Distractions are a part of everyone's lives. Some you can choose to ignore. Others, like a schizophrenic Mother Nature on the warpath from all directions, demand your attention no matter what else is going on. The best defense you have depends on how prepared you are. As the Red Cross phrased it, "The more prepared you are you'll be ready before the storm and the quicker you'll recover after it's all over." My take from a business perspective is, if you plan before hand you'll be able to continue being productive throughout the storm and you'll be much farther ahead of schedule when your world calms down, than if you allow that time to slip by without working.
These suggestions will help you maintain a productive perspective, before, during, and after the squalls settle. Obviously, this advice may not be appropriate or possible if you're in a shelter or while in the treacherous throes of being pelted with blustery winds and relentless rain. But if you're hunkered down in your house, at a friend or families home, give them a try.
It seems like over the last year and a half I've experienced far more brushes with weather disturbances than in the several years before. It drives me crazy to sit in the dark and do nothing. These tactics keep you from watching the clock and will change your posture from one of discomfort to one of determination.
I know how inconvenient it is to be without electricity for days. I'm even familiar with the fear and dread of abandoning all that you own to evacuate, afraid of what you'll return to. But being a notch on the path of destruction from one of the country's worst natural disasters, yet ending up one of the fortunate ones, evokes an emotional combination of grief, guilt, and gratitude in me.
Grief, for all the heart wrenching loss and pain I see on the news.
Guilt, for being battered by the same tumultuous system that's been wreaking just about every kind of weather havoc possible across nearly a third of the country, throughout which, my lights never even flickered. In the beginning the meteorologists weren't sure if Hurricane Sandy was going into Virginia Beach, New Jersey, or New York. So it could have been us.
Gratitude, because with so much devastation being caused by tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods that literally have knocked on my doorstep but exited with debris left behind but no destruction. Why are some spared misery while others are inundated with it? I come away feeling that I have more to be thankful for than I can find words to express.
I now plan if I hear a storm is approaching so I can shift into alternative modes of productivity. I hope that the following 5 ideas help you get organized so you can sustain your productivity as a writer during the stormy distractions that you cannot control:
1. Be grateful and don't waste a minute. If you have a house, if you're warm tonight, if you can cook a meal, chat on your cell phone knowing you simply have to plug it in to charge it. If you're able to take a shower, if you're watching television while reading this article on your laptop, say thank you right now. If you complained about traffic today, got frustrated with delays, complications in your schedule, or computer problems, let it roll off and be grateful, as there are so many who cannot do the simplest of everyday tasks.
2. Don't dwell on it but accept that disasters of all proportions will happen. The best defense you have is in how much you prepare. Artisticpreneurs always have business chores to tackle that do not require a computer. If your electricity is zapped, light some candles, pull out pen and paper, brainstorm and let the ink flow. Touch up your list of goals, writing projects, and your weekly and monthly schedule. When things are crazy with deadlines, appointments, and phone calls, it's hard to fit in time for these items.
3. Something else that's hard to handle on a daily basis is reading. Catch up on that tantalizing fiction novel, that folder of 'to read' business material, or choose a personal development article or book to strengthen your mindset during this challenge. People read by oil lamps and flickering light for many years. You can do it temporarily.
4. Dark, depressing, and dangerous situations can lead to fantastic creative output of expression. Your imagination may run wild with emotion as words and images pour from your right brain that must be eventually shared to empower, educate, and entertain. Let them escape from your mind onto paper or a blank canvas. You may end up with something amazing, and the act will help keep your mind off of what's happening outside.
5. Insert batteries into a radio or CD player. Turn on a flashlight or just candles if that's enough light. Straighten a room, a desk, do paperwork, filing, or clean the bathroom. We all have some tidying up that can be done. When you cannot get outside and have no access to computer toys what better time to whip out the dust cloths, mops, file folders, and labels. Action keeps your mind concentrating on the positive motion of progress.
Like many others across the country, I cannot begin to fathom what those that were pummeled and leveled by Sandy are facing in the months or possibly years to come. We're a power driven society... touching, browsing, clicking, flashing, viewing and connecting. That technology makes it possible for people all over the globe to be affected by the devastating stories out of the northeast.
We're inspired by those residents who triumph over tragedy and the enduring speeches we hear from state leaders that are hundreds of miles away. I just hope that those passionate words of resilience, dedication, faith, and encouragement can find a pathway to the residents of those debilitated communities who need so badly to hear and believe them.
Jennifer Darden, owner of The Queens Empire, is an artist, author, and food, flavor, and alcohol pairing connoisseur.
Want to expand on these 5 strategies with 78 powerful exercises? My book is not just for idle reading. It is an action tool. I developed it for all those story scribes out there who have been distracted by life, circumstance, people, relationships, work, tragedy, mistakes, and unresourceful choices. It's never too late to get back on track and adopt a "Do It Now" existence.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Take This Self-Assessment and You Will Know for Whom to Vote

Introduction: The Undecided Vote

November 6 is almost here. The fate of the Republic could depend on your vote. Who is going to get it? Pundits continue to, well, pundit, over the greatest mystery of the young 21st century. Pundits are as obsessed with, mystified by the fact that you are undecided. Will you favor Obama, Romney or a third party candidate, such as Gary Johnson (Libertarian) or Jill Stein (Green Party) for president?
How can this be, the experts wonder? You have had so much time to observe and assess the candidates. There were three presidential and one VP debate, and on the Republican side you got to assess Romney dealing with the likes of Rick, Michelle, Herman, Newt and the Donald, among others. Then there were the conventions, a bazillion ads and a year or more of non-stop campaign stories in print/tv/and other media. I confess - I'm skeptical - I wonder if perhaps you don't enjoy the attention that the undecided identification entails. By declaring yourself undecided, you got to ask questions in a town hall debate. You are basically a minor celebrity. You and other undecideds are the folks who appear every night on national news broadcasts.
Whatever accounts for this mystery, the challenge seems to be: What will bring you to resolution, to a firm and final choice to go blue, red or something else on Nov 6?
Will it be on based which candidate you decide is most likely to lead with the best policies on Iran, Israel, immigration, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women's reproductive rights, Medicare, climate change, green energy, the environment, separation (or integration) of church and state - what?
Well, none of the above, in my opinion. I think it will ultimately depend on the your character. Those of a certain character will definitely go with the president; those of a quite different character will vote Republican.
For your benefit in choosing, I offer a REAL Wellness Character Self-Assessment (RWCSA). After you have completed the RWCSA, you will know who deserves your vote.
Simply add your score, read the interpretation and your struggle is over. You'll know, based on the character analysis, how you must vote on November 6, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
If you, like me, decided long ago who you favored based upon the issues, the nature of the political parties and your clear preference for the personality of one of the choices, please take the test anyway. It will serve as a confirmation that you are indeed poised to do the right thing on November 6.
A REAL Wellness Character Self-Assessment
Indicate your position about each of the following twenty statements on a scale of one to three. Let "1" represent the strongest possible disagreement with the statement; let "3" represent unreserved agreement with the statement. Choose "2" if you don't feel strongly or are undecided.
A line is provided for marking your numerical assessment at the beginning of each statement. After reading the statement, return to this line and enter your numerical ranking on it. The line has been placed at the beginning of the sentence to make it easier to score the assessment upon completion.
All twenty statements begin with the words:
I favor or am predisposed to...
  1. ___ the application of reason and science to understanding the universe and solving human problems.
  2. ___ the enjoyment of life here and now while developing my talents to the fullest.
  3. ___ respect for common moral decencies, including altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness and responsibility more so than commandments or other rules based upon revelation or religious tenets.
  4. ___ an open and pluralistic society.
  5. ___ the idea that democracy is the best guarantee of human rights against authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
  6. ___ a culture that cultivates the art of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
  7. ___ efforts to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
  8. ___ support for the absolute separation of church and state, as affirmed by JFK in 1960.
  9. ___ environmental protections, even if safeguards temporarily limit job creation and access to energy sources that reduce our dependence on Mideast oil.
  10. ___ explanations about the world that are not supernatural in nature.
  11. ___ the right to privacy for all citizens.
  12. ___ adult freedoms to exercise reproductive choices with access to comprehensive and informed health care information and services, to express their sexual preferences, to fulfill their aspirations and to die with dignity.
  13. ___ the notion that scientific discovery and technology are the surest paths for the betterment of human life.
  14. ___ the idea that ethics, moral principles or normative standards to live by are best discovered together, tested by their consequences and amenable to critical, rational guidance.
  15. ___ a conviction that the moral education of children is best nourished by reason and compassion.
  16. ___ ending the unconstitutional practice of opening or closing public events with prayer or religious symbols (as well as opposing the imposition of references to God on currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance, participation in the annual National Day of Prayer, funding of faith-based initiatives.
  17. ___ skepticism about untested claims to knowledge while being open to novel ideas and new ways of thinking.
  18. ___ a disdain for philosophies/theologies of despair and ideologies of violence.
  19. ___ a preference for optimism over pessimism, hope over despair, learning instead of dogma, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness and reason over blind faith.
  20. ___ a commitment to promoting opportunities for all citizens to fully realize their best and noblest capacities as a human beings.
Scoring and Interpretation
If your score is between 20 and 34, Romney is your guy but please vote for Obama anyway!
If your score is between 46 and 60, you will want four more years for Obama. The president is your clear choice on November 6.
If you scored between 35 and 45, you really earned the title undecided. However, now you can go boldly forward, confident that the choice is clear. Your score reveals values more Democratic than Republican. Even if you are not thrilled with the president, the platform of his party is more in line with your priorities. You really should vote for Obama.
My own score of 60 puts me at odds with the president on many matters I consider of grave consequence for REAL wellness and the kind of society I favor. I much prefer Jill Stein of the Green Party and, if she had any chance, she would get my vote. But, alas, she does not so she won't. I consider the election of the Romney/Ryan ticket a potential catastrophe almost beyond belief. It's too bad we do not have another viable political party for those who want a secular government consistent with the United States Constitution and a president who does not feel he has to end every speech by asking God to bless everybody and to bless the United States of America. What the hell does that mean, anyway? Is Obama pandering to the pious prejudices of the majority or does he think a sky god of some kind sends a blessing now and then, if asked to do so at the end of a speech and what happens if a blessing is sent? It's maddening.
The Secular Coalition for America (SCA), a lobbying group that represents atheists and non-theists, released its 2012 Presidential Candidate Scorecard last week. The scorecard graded the candidates on scales of A to F based upon the candidates' public statements and actions in five areas and seventeen issues were considered. Many were similar to the above REAL Wellness Character Self-Assessment. Romney, not surprisingly got an F, Obama a C, Gary Johnson a B and my favorite, Stein, a magnificent A.
So, there you have it. If you are undecided, this should help you become decided. If you were clear and firm before, you might be clearer and firmer now.
All good wishes, be well and let's hope for the best, as we see things, on November 6.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hypnosis As a Tool for Weight Loss

With so-called miracle, fly-by-night diets often leaving people feeling defeated, using hypnosis to aid weight loss has started to grow in popularity.
This is because more and more hypnosis is in the mainstream media and news.
Unlike 20 years ago, hypnosis is no longer mysterious or misunderstood. If you haven't tried it yourself, you probably know someone who has, and it is becoming more and more accepted, even appearing in hospitals as a side therapy or being recommended for patients suffering from stress, depression, and even physical ailments.
Hypnosis is finding it's place alongside regular medical treatment.
It is becoming so popular, possibly because of its ease of use; because you can listen, lie down and zone out. There is no educational requirement, no work you have to do, it is also quite an enjoyable, relaxing experience.
How it Works
Hypnosis bypasses the little voice inside your head that tells you that you can't do something - i.e. your conscious, or logical mind.
Your brain will look at each previous attempt to lose weight, and it will try to use logic to project your past results as if they're indicative of future performance. If you ever want to have greater success, it's imperative to silence this voice, and to bypass it with the assurances that you can lose weight.
Since hypnosis works by communicating with your subconscious mind, you're able to re-program the way your brain looks at a difficult task such as weight loss. Of course, it takes more than just hypnosis to lose weight. Real, lasting weight loss is the result of proper diet and exercise, and an entire lifestyle change.
Hypnosis simply helps you to do this. It gives you a push to help you make changes in your life, to increase your willpower and help you to break away from negative and limiting habits. It opens up the door to a new kind of weight loss potential, one that had previously been hidden behind your own personal doubts.
When including hypnosis into your weight loss tool kit of proper diet and exercise, studies have shown that you are statistically likely to lose more weight than if you weren't using hypnosis at all. Self hypnosis is a great tool for weight loss. It allows you to conveniently practise hypnosis by yourself, in the comfort of your own home or even at the gym.
It's Not for Everyone
It isn't right for everyone - if you are looking for just quick fix, then it probably isn't right for you, but if you want to make serious changes in your life and are prepared to take action yourself then hypnotherapy can be an excellent tool to help stimulate your mind and push you towards your goals.
This information is brought to you from Natural Hypnosis, who take a natural, but serious approach to losing weight with their hypnosis recordings:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Worldwide Pollution Facts

It is no surprise that every country in the world contributes to worldwide pollution. From the most populated cities, to the Sentinelese islanders of the Andaman Islands, every living organism in some way contributes to the pollution that is exerted on the world. Today I had a discussion with a colleague of mine relating to worldwide pollution and the areas, including city, state, and material, that we believe has the most significant impact. After some going back and forth on what we thought was more accurate, I decided to do some research to prove myself right (ps. I like to think I am ALWAYS right).
In relation to materials, Artisanal Gold is the highest pollutant which primarily impacts the region of Africa. Of the top 10 list of largest polluters in the world, I also found out that lead in some form or process accounted for 40%. The most impacted continent? Asia. South Asia is hands down the most impacted continent in the world with 50% of the 10 largest pollutants in the world directly affecting S. Asia.
Now when looking the 10 most polluted cities in the world and the 10 post polluted countries in the world, there is no direct correlation between the two. What I mean is, you would assume the country that is the most polluted would have at least one of the world's most polluted cities. However, this isn't the case by any means. The most polluted country in the world, Mongolia, doesn't have one city in the top 10 list of most polluted cities. In fact, the two countries that each has 2 cities in the top 10 list are Russia and China, neither of which is among the top 10 list of most polluted countries.
The final topic we discussed (bickered) about was the most air polluted cities in the United States. Now being from New Jersey and relocating to California, I am constantly plagued by this reputation that NJ has acquired. Everyone thinks New Jersey is extremely polluted and "the armpit of America". My friend is from California so naturally he was defending his state as well. Although, I definitely consider myself a California resident now since I had decided to call this my home, it is difficult to overlook or argue against the fact that California takes the cake in that area. According to a top 10 list of the most air polluted cities in the U.S., California accounts for 70% of the cities. That is 70%!!! The only 3 other states include, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg), Hawaii (Hilo), and Alaska (Fairbanks).
So regardless of our disagreements, we both learned something. Google is awesome. I'm kidding. We learned to the world's pollution isn't the blame of one single source, but rather a collective effort of all nations.