Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When The Greenback Falls

With the post election reality finally hitting home the beguiled public have started to realize what a charlatan Donald Trump really is. Aside from awakening to a new reality that seems like we just entered the Twilight Zone the simple fact is the United States is poised to enter the most sinister financial crisis we have ever faced. An economic catastrophe that is on a collision course aimed directly at these United States and Europe. A disaster of epic proportions signaling the swan song of the US dollar as the worlds first reserve currency.

Today, when you have had the main stream media continually focus all their attention on this years Presidential campaign fail to recognize the economic tremors half a world away signaling a financial earthquake is about to cause the most destructive financial crisis since the Great Depression just shows that the media is all about the money game that's played when Presidential politics are in play. Could it be that history is again about to repeat? With Trump set to assume the Presidency in January and Obama still at the helm the ship of state is in gale force winds of economic instability.

Now, while we have Trump fiddling his way around cabinet posts the United States is poised to be engulfed in ablaze of economic and financial calamity. A calamity that would wipe out practically everyone's financial security leaving this nation paralyzed. Think of the period of the 1930's, soup kitchens and the like. If a financial crisis even on the same level as the Great Depression hits and today it is already knocking on our front door mass hysteria would engulf this nation with monumental violence and horror. Back in the thirties the nation as a whole was much more civil with a basic core morality. Today, the United States has lost much of the civility that prevailed back then and we have seen a moral decay unprecedented in modern times. When this financial crisis hits and it most certainly will if measures are not immediately implemented our way of life would end.

We have to go back to 2008 when the United States was pushed to the brink of financial disaster brought on by the financial institutions themselves through blatant greed to realize it takes teamwork to solve the immediate crisis. The safeguards that were put in place then apparently now the financial world has found new ways to circumvent those same policies that were put in place to safeguard our financial markets. Today, with our national debt looming as another ticking bomb the financial world of the US is about to suffer a shock so horrific equivalent to a magnitude 12 or more earthquake and yet there is no mention of what really is apocalyptic scenario heading straight for us.

History is about to repeat as it so often does. The only difference is the names have changed but the similarities of the past are overwhelming coincidental not to realize that we as a society have failed to heed what history is supposed to teach us in the first place. The frightening fact is that today if the US dollar lost it's status as the world's reserve currency the economic and financial devastation resulting would be unparallel. Already Japan and China are discussing trading the yuan and the yen without using US dollars. Even now the International Monetary Fund has openly campaigned for the US dollar to be replaced by the SDR in the hope to boost Europe's troubled financial markets.

Another factor to consider is that the Chinese yuan has been gaining strength due in large part to the accumulation of gold that they have been diligently acquiring. The United States meanwhile all our currency is back up by nothing more than a good faith that we will pay our debts. In other words our whole financial reality is nothing more than a house of cards ready to fall down. Throw in the fact that Russia, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa are all in discussions about taking the US dollar out of circulation. All this and more has to be a real wake up call that decisive action must be taken to safeguard that the US dollar remains the worlds reserve currency before it really is too late.

We have to realize why this is happening. It should be readily apparent that for the past 25 years or more the foreign policy of the United States has been instrumental in destabilizing much of the world. When we continue to meddle in other nations' affairs for our own greedy purposes what recourse do these nations have but to retaliate in almost the same fashion that the US has imposed on them. Look what we have done in just the past 15 years. More importantly look to the sanctions we have imposed recently on Russia and Iran. What do you think that our sanctions are doing? There not helping the citizens of the United States and certainly not helping the citizens of those countries either. All we have done is antagonize the rest of the world for selfish gains. And, you can bet your bottom dollar it is all about oil and profits.

So what to do? With the United States budget deficit in excess of over $1 trillion a year the consequences of losing the dollars status as the world's reserve currency would be disastrous. The fall out would be that the Fed would not be able to print money to pay its debts. Think about all that Quantitative Easing that the Fed did in 2009. It was more like counter fitting. But, all that money that was supposed to spur small business growth just sat in the Banks vaults and as a result the Banks got bigger and the fat cats on Wall Street got even fatter. How will the US be able to pay it's debts without the ability to print their way out?

The reality of answering that question should send chills down through our society. If the government can't print their own money as we have in the past the US government will seize bank accounts, garnish 401 K's, other retirement accounts, Social Security payments would cease and other disastrous measures to horrific to contemplate would ensue. To safe guard our future and protect the US dollar from ceasing to be the worlds reserve currency it is imperative first the United States must ease the foreign sanctions we have imposed and take the necessary steps to secure our place as the top economic engine in the world. And, that starts with jobs, good paying jobs. We have to remember that ever since NAFTA was implemented back in 1994 the US has lost millions and millions of middle wage jobs. Sadly those jobs have yet to be returned. If the United States fails to recoup millions of middle wage jobs our future as the worlds top economic power will be lost and with it the dollar will surely be replaced as the worlds reserve currency. Our future lies with implementation of National Economic Reform's Ten Articles of Confederation. By Dr. Tim G Williams

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How Do I Become Successful on Twitter? Here's How

There are 284 million monthly active users on Twitter and chances are, you're one of them - we certainly are. Unfortunately, just because all of us are active on Twitter doesn't mean we're using it the right way.

And thanks to SocialBro, we have new data from over 200,000 corporate tweets to prove what works on Twitter... and what doesn't. While some of it confirmed what we suspected, we were also shocked by some of the results. Have a read below and let us know if any of these stats were surprising to you, too.

1) Tweets from businesses that contain images are 34% more likely to get retweeted than tweets from businesses with no image at all.

Are you using images on Twitter yet? If not, keep in mind that photo file sizes can be up to 5MB and animated GIFs can be up to 3MB. You can even tag other users in your photos - just like on Facebook!

2) Tweets from businesses with a URL placed in the middle of the tweet are 26% more likely to get retweeted than those with a URL placed at the beginning or end of the tweet.

I had no idea that this was the case and upon review, I was most often placing the URL at the end of the tweet - lesson learned!

3) Tweets from businesses that include hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags.

Be clever with your use of hashtags - keep them around 11 characters (more on that later) and even try to incorporate them into the actual copy of the tweet.

4) Tweets from businesses with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweets than those with two hashtags.

When it comes to hashtags, remember that more is less.

5) Hashtags with 11 or more characters get 117% more retweets than those within 6 and 10 characters.

That gives you just enough space to come up with something catchy and on-brand for your tweets.

6) Twitter direct message campaigns get on average a 300% higher click rate than one-off email campaigns.

SocialBro actually has a tool that allows you to create really targeted DM campaigns, keeping you from annoying or spamming your audience.

7) 90% of Twitter users who engage with Twitter-based marketing campaigns will not follow the company on Twitter after the campaign interaction.

90% is a massive number! Have you got a strategy in place to retain the reach from your Twitter marketing campaign after the campaign ends?

8) Businesses will on average lose 15% of new Twitter followers within three weeks unless they make an effort to engage early.

So if you do manage to convince the tweeps from your marketing campaign to follow you, the work doesn't stop there. You need to retain your followers by being engaged with your community. Speak to them on a one-to-one basis, ask them questions, post funny, honest, and human tweets, and above all, share awesome, valuable content that they will find super valuable.

9) Over half (57%) of businesses are spending at least 50% more on Twitter marketing compared with two years ago, with 15% of respondents stating that their spending has tripled.

If you're not experimenting with content amplification on Twitter yet, you're missing out on a very big opportunity.

I hope this has been helpful. Daniel Smith.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

How to Make A QR Codes In 4 Quick Steps

This post is to help marketers reach more audience using QR codes. Learn how to create your own, and how you can augment the chance of consumers scanning them. These are the 4 quick steps to creating your QR code and a start to reaching more audience

Step 1: Select a QR code generator
There are tons of generators out there, but a few of the popular ones are Kaywa, GOQR.me, Visualead, and QR Stuff. Things to search for when choosing a code generator are whether you can track and analyze performance, if it allows you to design a code that's unique to your brand, and if it is compatible with common QR code readers.

Step 2: Design and link it up
The mesmerizing part of creating QR is customizing the design of the code to your brand. Want your code to look like your logo? Go for it. Want it to reflect your website's design scheme? Choose it.

Let's take an example of a QR code generator and walk you through the steps to creating it. I will recommend GOQR.me. When you launch it, Do these:

1. Select what type of content you want your QR to send the consumer to - you can choose a URL.

2. Insert the content (Embed the URL)

3. Check out the preview, customize as desired, then download and/or embed where needed.

Step 3: Test the QR code
With all the euphoria in creating your first QR, don't forget to check that the code "reads" correctly, and be sure to try more than just one reader. A good place to start is the free tool Google Goggles, which takes a picture and then tells you what link or item it "reads to." Another free tool is QR Code Reader, which automatically takes you to whatever it "reads." Apple's Passbook also offers a built-in code reader on iOS 7, so you should test to make sure your code is readable there, as well.

Step 4: Track and analyze performance
As a marketing ordeal, you should follow up on any campaigns using QR to see whether they're actually working. How much traffic comes from each specific code? Are people scanning your code but not redeeming their offer once they get to the landing page? Or are they not even cajoled to scan your code? Comprehending this will hep troubleshoot and churn your poorly performing QR to viable ensembles. I recommend you include a UTM tracking code on your URL so you can better measure performance - this is particularly important if you are a marketer who needs more in-depth reporting on your campaigns.

QR Code Best Practices: Some Important Do's and Don'ts
Now that you know simple the creation is, let's talk about some best practices that will help increase the precipice of your users scanning it.

QR Code Do's
1. Put codes in places where scanning is easy, and there is enough for the consumer to actually scan the code. While you incessantly see QR codes on billboards and TV commercials, they're not exactly the most user-friendly locations. Think of places and mediums where consumers have the time to scan the code.

2. Is your website optimized for mobile? Consumers will be on their phone when scanning the QR code, so they should be brought to a page with a positive mobile experience.

3. Offer a call-to-action with the code - that is to say, tell people explicitly what they're supposed to do when they see the code, and what they'll receive if they do it.

QR Code Don'ts
1. Don't require a special QR scanner. Your Qr code should be app-agnostic so anyone can scan your code with any reader. Alleviating barrier to entry makes success more likely for you and the user.

2. Don't use a QR code just for the sake of using one. For instance, it's common for marketers to think, "How can I bridge the offline experience with the online experience? " That's not wrong... but it's not always right, either. If you have content that is valuable to a mobile user, then use the QR. It will not only spur new consumers but also create a colossal success for you because most people don't do it.

I hope this has been helpful. Daniel Smith.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

7 Hot Apps That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity At Work

You can't avoid new technology these days, especially from a marketing standpoint. While it can seem intimidating to stay on top of the times, it is emphatically laborious for any marketer to be on top of his game if he is not palpable to new trends.

Here are seven marketing apps that you'll want to get acquainted with sooner rather than later.

1. Jelly

Google does a pretty good job answering all of our questions from "Why is the sky blue?" to more advanced queries like "How can I prove the ROI of inbound marketing to my boss?"

However, sometimes we are troubled by questions that don't translate well into a traditional search engine field. Jelly app is the solution to this predicament.

I'm not talking about fruit preserves here, but rather an innovative social Q&A app derived from the creative mind of Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone.

The crowdsourcing style app allows you to query your social network contacts, and lend them a helping hand when they're in need of an answer. Jelly doesn't rely on just text-based questions, but it actually allows users to use pictures to probe their questions.

Let's say, for example, you see someone in a magazine sporting a jacket you really like. Simply take a picture of the jacket, and post it alongside a question like: "Does anyone know who makes this jacket, or where I can find one like it?"

While Jelly is a promising app, the potential for marketing incorporation appears to be enthralling. Customer service, product marketing, and crowdsourcing are a handful of ways many people are making use of the Jelly app from a business standpoint.

2. Pocket

You just stumbled upon an awesome article on how to increase your conversion rates, but your next meeting starts in 2 minutes. No worries, just put it in your pocket.

Formerly known as Read It Later, Pocket is a bookmarking app that makes it easy for users to store articles and videos to queue up at their convenience. The read-later experience doesn't rely on an internet connection, so you can revisit your findings pretty much anywhere. Sounds like a great way to increase your productivity on lengthy plane, train, or automobile rides, huh?

Best of all, Pocket will sync across all of your devices, providing users with a hassle-free way to resume reading on their preferred device.

3. Directr for Business

Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Wolf of Wall Street, what do all of these box office hits have in common? Scorsese.

Behind every great video production is a talented director, and the Directr for Business app is aiming to be just that.

While 71% of consumers feel positively about brands that publish videos, 85% of consumers are more likely to buy after viewing product videos (Source: Inbound Marketing Agents). If bandwidth is holding your business back from producing quality video content, Directr for Business has an entire library of production templates to make it easy for just about anyone to make video content.

The templates are divided into categories that range anywhere from product announcement, to how-to tutorials, to company culture insight. Each template contains a storyboard style shot list that lays out how to approach each shot - for example the first shot in a "how-to" video prompts users to answer the question "who are you and what are you teaching?"

Aside from a prompt, each shot comes complete with directors notes, and visual suggestions that explain how to position the shot. They've pretty much covered it all, all that's left for you to do is look pretty and nail your dialogue.

4. Any.Do Moment / Cal

I don't like to think of Any.do as an app, but rather a morning ritual.

The first stop in any Monday morning grind should be this user-friendly planning tool. On paper, Any.do can best be referred to as a to do list application designed to help you plan out your busy day, but it's really more than that.

Any.do helps you manage your life, both professional and personal, by inputting tasks into it's sleek and simple interface. Users have the option to schedule tasks into 4 categories, (Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday) making it fun to plan tomorrow's blog post and someday's vacation. Tasks can be sorted into different folders to optimize organization, and notes and contacts can be added for added clarification.

Additionally, Any.Do is highly integrated with the calendar application, Cal. So much so that one might say they're "going steady." You can even sign into Cal using your Any.Do account, and all of your tasks will carry over into its interactive internal calendar. Adding events to the calendar is simple, and it even gives you the option to enter a location name so that Cal can map out a route for you. Any.Do Moment and Cal provides busy marketers with a lens through which they can focus their tasks and interactions.

5. Asana

Asana is a task management tool that makes collaboration on team projects easier than ever.

Created by Facebook co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz, Asana is a free* application that provides real-time interaction through a user-friendly interface. Asana users can create tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates, add notes, attach files, create internal checklists, and communicate with others through comments. Once tasks are created, you can group them into projects, and invite team members so that they can brainstorm, assign subtasks, and work toward accomplishing their goals.

The thing that makes Asana the perfect tool for marketers is its ability to present conversations and projects side-by-side, eliminating the hassle of scattered emails and missed messages. No more digging through your inbox to find that file John sent you, and that set of images Bobby wrapped up last week. Asana keeps everything you need neatly in one place.


Pronounced like gift without the 'G', IFTTT is a innovative new app that stands for "if this than that."

IFTTT provides users with a tool to mix up custom "recipes" that trigger a particular action. Sound confusing? It's not.

The average IFTTT recipe contains the following elements:

Channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Evernote, iOS photos, Weather, Dropbox, Email, Feedly, iOS Reminders, LinkedIn and 70 more.
Triggers: "I upload a photo to Instagram", "I'm tagged in a photo on Facebook", "I set an iOS reminder"
Actions: "Send me a text message", "Add it to my Dropbox", "Post to Facebook"
Let's say you want to keep your branding consistent across the board, and you want your Twitter avatar to match your Facebook profile photo. Simply use this "recipe":

If my Facebook profile pictures changes, then update my Twitter profile picture.

A lot of the time when I am working on a "how-to" blog post I reference screenshots from my phone. Oh, you do too? Use this recipe:

If I take a screenshot on iOS, then save it to my Evernote notebook.

With seemingly endless combinations, IFTTT provides busy marketers with a way to automate simple tasks that save a lot of time.

7. LIfe Graphy

Life Graphy presents users with a totally unique approach to the average productivity app concept.

The colorful app breaks your tasks down into mini pie charts that can contain up to ten segments (1 segment per task). As you complete tasks, the individual sections within the chart begin to fill up. A completed circle is something to smile about.

Life Graphy offers users 3 views: Day, Month, and Year. By switching between the 3 views, you can get a good visual idea of how much you have accomplished.

While the functionality of the app is enough reason to try it out, it's the interface that really does it for me.

Committing to a task-based planning app is easier said than done, but Life Graphy makes you want to keep trucking along because its fun!

New technology isn't going to slow down anytime soon. As the pace for innovation quickens, we can expect that there will be a whole lot of new advances coming our way whether we think we're ready for them or not.

It isn't possible to know everything, but if you equip your team with the right tools, you'll notice how much easier it is for your business to remain relevant and increase productivity.
By Daniel Smith

Sunday, January 01, 2017

How Did the Devil Get My Cell Phone Number?

I am not one easily rattled. When I am rattled, look out for anything can happen.

For the most part, I try to stay calm, cool and collected. Then there are times when I have had enough and I am not going to take it anymore.

When I am rattled about something, it is not small or insignificant. I can swat pesky little bugs all of my life and never get rattled by a bug.

Lately, some things have been developing "in my world," that has me more than a little concern. In fact, it is bordering on the territory of being rattled. Something needs to be done because if I am rattled in this area, look out!

I am not sure, if I am just now noticing it or if it has been here for a while. When I got my cell phone, I was under the impression the only people who would have my cell phone number would be those I gave it to. I am not one to give out my cell phone number to just anybody. If you have my cell phone number, you are in a high-level category of BFFs.

I believe sincerely that the devil has hacked into my cell phone, collected my cell phone number and is selling my number to the most despicable people he owns.

Lately, I have been getting political calls. People trying to interview me concerning the up coming election. They want me to contribute to political polls being evaluated. They want my opinion and they have a whole slew of questions they are going to be asking me.

I know they do not want my opinion because all of these calls are what is called Robo calls. In other words, is not an actual person asking these questions, but rather a machine. If you think for one moment that I am going to carry on a conversation with some machine, you do not have all your wires connected.

How they get my cell phone number, is beyond me. It probably is their close connection with the devil himself.

I have also been getting calls from some company that feels I am in some sort of pain. They call and say I requested on their website this pain solution. Now, what they want to know is it my back pain, or elbow pain, or a knee pain?

I have been so fed up with these calls that I finally said, "I do have a pain in the neck." To which, I got an excited reply as to how they could help my pain in the neck.

You know what's coming. I told them that the pain in my neck was them calling me and if they want to help this pain in the neck go away to stop calling me, for Pete's sake.

I just about had it with this. The question I wrestle with is, should I lie to these people calling me?

For instance. Somebody called me last week telling me they noticed a certain virus on my computer and if I would allow them access to my computer they could fix my computer. Talk about a pain in the neck!

This was about the 15th time this company called me offering to fix my computer. So, I thought if they are going to waste my time by calling me, maybe I should waste their time by trying to get them to fix my computer.

"Oh yes," I said as excited as I could sound, "please fix my computer for me."

Now they wanted me to turn my computer on and so forth and so on. I must confess that at the time I wasn't your my computer I was on my cell phone.

They gave me instructions and I obeyed them, or at least I told him I was obeying him.

"All right," I said, "My computer is on what I do next?" I will confess to you if you promise not to tell anybody, but I did not have my computer on.

Then they gave me instructions that I was to go to a certain website.

"Okay," I said, "I'm there, what do I do now?"

They gave me a password I was supposed to use to get access to them so they could get access to my computer.

"Have you done it yet?"

"Yes, I punched it in and what I do next?"

"Something's wrong," the person at the other end of the phone said. "You must not have put in the right password. Let me give it to you again."

He gave it to me again, which in turn I gave it back to him, again.

This went on for about 20 minutes and the person on the other end of my cell phone was getting very frustrated and borderline anger. I, on the other end of the cell phone, could hardly control my laughter.

By the time he hung up, he was very frustrated and could not understand why it was not working.

After this person hung up on me and I quit laughing, I thought of what David said. "Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert" (Psalms 28:4).

Sometimes giving back what you get can bring you to a certain level of joy you did not have before.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34483, where he lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-866-552-2543, e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. Website is http://www.jamessnyderministries.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Laundromat

Doing laundry is probably the most mundane chore that man is regulated to by their wives. Every week it is my dutiful obligation to keep the sanctity of marriage that I obediently comply in venturing off to the laundromat. In keeping with those never ending honey do lists there is no respite from "when you finish could you do this." I am constantly being at the beckon call. Never before in my wildest imagination would I have ever thought of being coerced into what many a man would deem as women's work. But, here I am every week at the laundromat.

I wile away the hours until the last sheet is dry. I really don't mind gazing our the floor to ceiling glass windows watching all the cars go by. Today though practically every car looks the same as any other car. It's not like it was when I was growing up. In those days you could actually tell a Chevy from a Jaguar, a Ford from a Cadillac. But, now the days of individualism much like our society has morphed together where the individualistic traits that set the Automobile industry apart, a rugged individualism that symbolized what America use to be is no longer apparent today.

As I turn away from the window the hypnotic tumbling of the dryer grabs my attention. If it wasn't so busy in here one could fall asleep being mesmerized by the dryers constant spinning. I have met many an acquaintance in my weekly trek to this laundromat. Held many an interesting conversation with the people I meet. We often talk about not only local affairs like the constant increases one sees in either their water or electric bill but what this years race for the White House means for our nation. The people I talk too all concluded that the world is filled with so many unfulfilled dreams. We have also realized the chaotic existence of today much of what is actually happening is being distorted by every major news outlet there is. That brings a very serious question do we really know the actual facts or circumstances surrounding many of the news items we hear on TV or read in the newspapers?

As our conversations dwell on the future we focus on this years Presidential election. On one hand we have a candidate who is viewed as despicable and the other deplorable it makes us wonder what kind of future will tomorrow bring. It is as though this whole election cycle is nothing more than a low level soap opera playing out the fraud, corruption, lies and deceit that is all to commonplace in politics and in our governmental officials today. It really is a very sad commentary for our society to have to endure two of the most incorrigible public figures seeking the highest office in America.

I often talk about how my parents were able of survive the Great Depression, managed to live "well" into their 90's and do so with very little financial or health difficulties. When we look around today the actual life expectancy for so many impoverished is not as long as it was just 30 years ago. The processed and GMO food sources has unleashed a treasure trove of health related diseases that were minimized back when I was young. Compound this is the fact that millions of Americans are living from a miserably small paycheck to paycheck and thousands more with no paycheck at all. And, when you throw in the fact that many retirees are subsiding only on their Social Security which has yet to keep pace with the ever rising cost of living makes for a very depressing situation for the majority of Americans. But, all we hear or read is how great everything is.

While our clothes continue spinning in the dryers the TV comes on and reports that news coming out of Russia a strong supporter of the Russian President is threatening the American Voter to vote for one main candidate or face the prospect of a Nuclear War. As we stand stunned at this new revelation coming from Russia commandeering our democratic process we begin to further our discussion on what is actually happening to the United States today. When we read of WikiLeaks, those infamous e-mails that substantiate Clinton's distain for the common good all the while the newspapers and the candidates themselves continue to send this election down into the gutter just makes us wonder even more about how our future will play out.

We keep asking where is the decency, the decorum that prevailed in years past? But, all we hear today are accusations of various improprieties that have no bearing on the welfare of us here in this laundromat. We came to the conclusion that every candidate should come to any laundromat and actually listen to the issues that are important to the patrons of the laundromats. Maybe if they would actually sit down and listen to the concerns of people like Tom, Rebecca or my self and actually commit to implement solutions to the everyday problems we all face like lowering our water or electric bills maybe this country could get it's act together. But, until then we here in the laundromat like the spinning of those dryers view the political season today as actually spinning out of control.
By Dr. Tim G Williams

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to Pick This Year's President

Many folks on social media are inundating me with political propaganda this month; I've been guilty of sharing a few tidbits myself and I get it: You want your candidate to win, or you hate both of them and want to revolt.

The problem is that 90% of this stuff is pure garbage (or satire) from both sides.

So who do you support when both options make you want to hold your nose?

Hillary's integrity issues are completely different, from Mr. Trump's, but they are on their own merit deeply repugnant to many of us just the same. While Hillary's skeletons have until recently been under lock and key behind closed doors, Trump has played out each and every one of his personal melodramatic gaffes & predatory business dealings in the gleaming light of the public eye.

This really doesn't paint the idyllic scene we hoped for, but it is the result of our own choices because whether we want to admit it or not; as a people we do ultimately control how it ends.

If you didn't want Trump or Hillary, the time for deciding that was during the primaries, so there's really nobody to blame but ourselves for this lose-lose choice we have this year.

So what do we do with this choice? I can't believe it's come to this, but: ignore integrity... That's right. There is little to be had on either side, so if your most important quality in a leader is integrity, then you candidate never made it out of the gate this year.

Instead, look at these qualities and make your decision:

  • Who gives you the Supreme court choices you want?
  • Who gives you the immigration policy you want?
  • Who champions the social policies you cherish?

The list goes on and on, but the point is that this year, character has been thrown aside. So what are we left with? We are truly left with only one defining question: What will they do for or to the country if they win?

Many of you hate one or both of them and are foaming at the mouth to point out their every flaw on either side, but it's pointless. To some degree that can be personally cathartic, but we all have an A vs. B choice to make this year unless you choose some other option and effectively remove yourself from the process & allow the rest of us to choose for you... Heck, as much as half the nation sits out nearly every election and doesn't even bother to register, so what's a few million more watching from the sideline snuggling with their favorite lost cause?

The choice is fairly clear when you look at the policies each candidate promotes. No matter which side you personally stand behind, this year integrity will not be a factor because they are both critically flawed people and make all of us pray to God that the choice we make won't go horribly wrong for us all in the end.

No matter what; one thing is nearly always certain: You're not going to change my mind and I cannot change yours either, but let's at the very least be adult about it and keep the conversation civil. Stop throwing insults at each other just because we pick one "Bad Choice" over the other. Let's not be like our current candidates; let's be civil with each other and respect each other's choices in the way we each exercise our collective right to vote our own conscience.

You may think I'm an idiot and I may think some folks are confused & betrayed, but our choice of politics doesn't make us good or evil, it just makes us Americans; doing the best we can with what we have.

I've seen family members disown each other over political views and that's pure foolishness. When the dust settles, we are all in this together and good or bad; we will all end up paying the same price for our collective decision in the end, whatever that may be.

You will ultimately do one of three things: hold your nose and chose A or B, or run from the decision and sit it out and watch the rest of us choose for you. Don't kid yourself; choosing some other candidate IS sitting it out.

Just remember: Every time we make a choice, the people of this country take a chance and the hope we all share is that by coming together as a nation to exercise that right, we can also help make this nation better and stronger for all of us, and our children as well.

God bless the voters; every one...

Want more? Join in the conversation and make your own opinions known on this and many other topics by registering on Bob's blog: The Duker Review

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Body Piercing - Everything You Always Wanted to Know

Elaine Davidson wasn't content with holding the Guinness World Record for having the most piercings in 2000, when she was verified as having 462 piercings all over her body - including 192 just in her face. No, she went one step further, and in 2001 she broke her own record with 721 piercings in all.

But even that wasn't good enough for the Brazilian nurse, who claims she hates being pierced. Amazingly, as of February, 2009, Elaine was found to have a whopping 6,005 piercings, including more than 500 in her genitalia, both internally and externally. The total weight of all her piercings today is over six pounds of hardware - ensuring that she jingles when she walks, and sets off metal detectors in airports.

"I don't enjoy getting pierced, but to break the record you have to get to a high level," Elaine said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph from Edinburgh, Scotland as she helped open a new piercing studio. "My family don't even like tattoos or piercings. But I am happy. I decided to change myself and be me."

If you want to be you - or be like Elaine - you may be considering getting some part of your body pierced, be it your ears, your tongue or even your genitalia. But before you do, make sure you it's the right decision for you - and that you have the procedure carried out safely and correctly.

Many people are thrilled with the body piercings they get, believing they make them infinitely more attractive, both physically and aesthetically. But some people end up with a lot more than just a cute little stud in their belly button or clitoral hood - such as an infection, excessive bleeding, keloid scarring or even worse...

All types of piercing carry an inherent risk of disease if the equipment is not sterilized properly (see below), which can result in life-threatening illnesses such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV, as well as tuberculosis and syphilis. Piercings can also cause infection, sometimes a systemic one such as sepsis, as well as splitting of the skin and scarring. Allergies to specific types of jewelry can also be problematic.

Popular Piercings

Below are the most popular types of piercings explained, along with risks inherent to them:

Belly Button Piercing. The upper bend of the tummy is pierced with a needle. This can take up to one year to heal completely due to bending etc, so be patient. RISK: Jewelery can get caught on clothing and take even longer to heal, causing infection. Sometimes excessive bleeding and/or nerve damage can result.

Ear Piercing. The only piercing that can safely be done with a piercing gun. RISK: Allergies to certain jewelry can occur so only use stainless steel stud in the beginning, and make sure you follow after-care instructions carefully.

Mouth Piercing. Usually the lip area, either around the lip or on the lip itself. Takes about one month to heal. Piercings are given specific names, called bites, according to the location of the piercing on the lip. RISK: Can increase risk of periodontal, or gum, disease. Can also increase possibility of tooth chipping.

Nose Piercing. Nostril piercing is the most common, and takes second place in the piercing stakes after ears. Nasal septum and bridge piercings are considerably less common - and less attractive as well! RISK: having the wrong type of jewelry placed in your nose can cause pain. As the nose is full of bacteria, it's easy to get an infection. And there is also the danger you could inhale a stud into your lungs.

Eyebrow Piercing. Usually the piercing is at a right angle to your eyebrow line. Rings or barbells are used. RISK: If positioned wrongly can cut nerves in the face.

Cheek Piercing. Often called the Madonna, the Crawford and the Monroe, to look like the beauty spots or moles on these famous people. RISK: Cheek piercings can contribute to gum disease and infections are common.

Nipple Piercing. Suitable for both men and women, either one nipple or both. RISK: The nipple can harden and scar, which could eventually result in difficulties breastfeeding (if you're female, that is).

Female Genital Piercing. Several types are available, depending on the type of clitoris you have (hooded or one that sticks out) and if you want an internal or external piercing. RISK: Can cause condoms to split and increase risk of sexually-transmitted infection and pregnancy. Clitoral or triangle piercings are not always recommended as they can result in loss of clitoral sensation. Safer ones are labia and inner labia piercings, as well as the clitoral hood.

Male Genital Piercing. A plethora of male piercings exist, either through the head of the penis, the foreskin, at the back of the testicles, though the shaft etc. Ask and ye shall receive. RISK: Can cause condoms to split and increase risk of sexually-transmitted infection and pregnancy. Nerve damage can also occur, resulting in a loss of sensation in the penile area.

Guide to Proper Piercing

ALWAYS make sure the facility is licensed by the Board of Health as a piercing studio, that their credentials are up-to-date and that they are members of professional piercing organizations.

ALWAYS make sure the surroundings are clean and hygienic, that the equipment is up-to-date, and that staff are willing to answer all your questions courteously and knowledgeably. Tools should be sterilized in an autoclave, and spore testing carried out monthly, at least. The piercing area should be sterile and kept spotlessly clean following every piercing.

ALWAYS make sure sterile disposable gloves are worn throughout the entire procedure. Ask your piercer to don new gloves if he or she leaves the room to do something else.

ALWAYS make sure that jewelery made from non-corrosive metal is used for your initial piercing. Stainless steel is usually a good choice.

ALWAYS make sure you know about the right after-care procedures. You should be given material to take home with you and re-read, as often there is too much information to take in all at once. Following it to the letter is important.

ALWAYS make sure that if you are under 18 you have a parent or guardian with you if the law in your state requires you to be of a certain age to have a specific piercing carried out. Piercing studios that do not enforce state laws and ask for proof of age are not to be trusted.

Body piercing, in most cases, can be safe and worry-free. Most piercings can be reversed simply by removing the jewelry, although scarring may remain. If you decide this is the route for you, play it safe and choose a safe place. If you're not sure, leave. Don't gamble with your appearance - or your health.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Logistics As It Applies To The Military

Logistics. Most people don't really even know what it means let alone what's involved. If you look up the definition of logistics in the dictionary you will find the following:

1. The aspect of military operations that deals with the procurement, distribution, maintenance, and replacement of materiel and personnel.

2. The management of the details of an operation.


You have the noun which is...

Handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials be supplied as needed.

So what exactly is involved in doing all that?

A lot.

First we start with design and development. Let's take the military as an example. Suppose the military wants to design new weapons systems that will be more accurate than the systems they currently have. The first thing they have to do is get a team of scientists and whatever other personnel are needed to design the system. Then, after they come up with a design they are pleased with they have to get the engineers to develop it. All these people either have to be hired or contracted. Some of the work may be sub contracted.

Then there is the acquisition of the materials needed. Some of the materials may already be on hand while others have to be purchased. Some will be purchased domestically and others will need to be purchased from overseas. In many cases bids will be put in to various companies to see who can supply the materials at the cheapest cost.

After the materials are acquired there's the matter of storage. In many cases the material is either of so large a quantity or so large in size that the storage facilities need to be specially built in order to adequately provide the needed space. This of course has to be figured into the equation.

Then there's the matter of movement and distribution to maybe the various military bases around the country or even overseas. Trucks or planes need to be acquired in order to distribute the materials if there aren't enough ready made transportation vehicles. Transportation costs alone can be astronomical.

Then of course there is the maintenance of these systems. Specialized tools and personnel may be needed. In many cases safeguards need to be installed to make sure the systems don't malfunction.

Then you have the actual operation of the system itself. This may simply be a matter of assigning personnel the task of doing so. But usually in the case of a new system the personnel need to be trained. That usually involves transporting those involved in the original design and development to the various bases around the world in order to train the men and women who will be using these systems.

Finally, there is the deployment of the new system, making it ready and available for use. This may require a second transport if the system is actually used in the battle field. This might require special trucks or other vehicles to mobilize the system.

All of the above makes up logistics. As you can see it's a very complex word in itself.

Think about that the next time you hear about a new missile that was just developed.

Michael Russell

Monday, December 01, 2008

Does Your Handbag Reflect Your Personality?

It has been said, and probably by a man, that a woman's handbag reflects her mind! This is rather worrying. While my three children were young, my bulging hand bag was full of an assortment of strange things. Wet wipes, a piece of lego, half a biscuit, hair bands and that is before we go into all the usual paraphernalia of purse, mobile phone, make-up bag, hair brush, nail file, diary. No wonder my shoulder ached by the end of the day.

Hand bags come in all shapes and sizes and are purchased for many different reasons. Although I cannot entirely agree with the idea of a handbag and its contents reflecting a woman's mind, I do think you can tell a lot about a woman's personality from the hand bag she chooses.

If you like unusual handbags with perhaps an ethnic feel to them, made from a variety of materials from painted silk to woven wool or even bamboo or wicker you are probably "creative" in your approach to dressing. Perhaps you have artistic tendencies and work with people or in a creative environment.

If you have to have the latest bag as seen in magazines in the clutches of a celebrity, you have a "dramatic" personality. You probably like to make a statement with your clothes and be noticed when you enter the room. Perhaps you work in journalism or a media related field.

If you cannot go out unless your handbag matches your shoes and is conservative in its colour and shape you have a "classic" personality. You are probably very organised and may even favour bags that have a special place for your pens, mobile phone, keys and purse (which probably matches too!).

If you love pretty bags with plenty of detail, perhaps floral or beaded in the evening, you probably have a "romantic" personality. You enjoy the whole process of getting ready to go out and shopping for clothes is a hobby. You are probably quite gentle in nature and work in a caring role.

If you only own one or two bags and favour a rucksack style bag so you don't have the bother of carrying it, you probably have a "natural" personality. You possibly don't spend much time getting ready to go out and favour comfort over style. This may be your general personality but it may just be a phase if you are a mother of small children and really don't have time!

If your bag is elegant, understated, chic and neutral in colour, you are probably very "international" in your dress and approach to life. You are probably calm and unflappable and take a pride in looking smart yet comfortable. You probably work in the hospitality industry.

The above is very generalised and some people may have a tendency to more than one personality type. It can be quite useful to identify your style personality, as it can explain why you buy certain items and how you can accessorize outfits with bags simply and easily.

Joanna Steele-Perkins is a senior image consultant with Colour Me Beautiful image consultants.

Based in Taunton, Somerset, she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers. She offers advice on all aspects of personal image and her services include colour analysis, style consultations, make-up lessons, bridal advice and personal shopping.

Friday, October 10, 2008

College Student Internships - Top 5 Tips For Interns

If you've landed your perfect student internship, you're no doubt looking for some solid advice about how to keep it and be successful. If this is your first job, the office can seem like a scary place, and you may not know where to begin or who to talk to. If you follow these five tips, you'll be sure to fit right it and get the most out of your placement.

1. Shake hands

One of the best ways to make a great first impression is to introduce yourself with a firm handshake. It's easy to get caught up in an awkward "should I or shouldn't I battle" with yourself, particularly when meeting a large volume of people for the first time. As long as you remain consistent with your greetings, you will minimize awkwardness. It is also best etiquette to stand when being introduced to someone new who has come into your office or over to your desk. It is also important to do your best to learn names. You may no be able to remember everyone's names on the first day, but repeating their names after they are introduced is a surefire way to commit it to memory.

2. Take initiative and take risk

There will be many tasks and assignments that you are given that may not seem important, and some that are downright boring. This kind of work may also be easy for you, or at the very least not challenging. Too many interns realize that they can probably get by doing the bare minimum and are encouraged by the "grunt work" they are given. Keep in mind that in your first few weeks, no one knows exactly what you're capable of, and you'll need to prove yourself. If after a few weeks you still haven't been trusted with anything challenging, ask for something different; talk to other staff members about what they are doing and think of ways that you could help them. Supervisors will look favorably on your initiative and willingness to take risks as an intern.

3. Remember that you're learning

It's important to keep thinking of yourself as a student (even if you are well out of college) during your internship. This will keep you in the constant frame of mind that you're learning something new, even when it seems like you can't possibly be learning anything from a copy machine or a coffee maker. Have you stopped to read the document that you're copying? Or stopped to listen to what you're boss is talking about in his big meeting? If people trust you to be around information, you should feel free to ask about it. If you don't make an effort to ask questions, people will assume that you are bored and uninterested, and you'll most likely not be asked back.

4. Have fun

Even in the stuffiest of offices, it is important to be positive and have fun at your internship. Chances are there are others in the office who take some time during the day to unwind a little by gossiping about celebrities in the break room or making jokes. Spend your first few weeks feeling out what is appropriate and what isn't, and make some friends that you can joke with. If you have a positive attitude, the file room doesn't have to be so bad.

5. Network

It is possible that your current internship may not be for you, but there is still potential for you to find a job after it is over. As long as you keep working hard, stick to deadlines and stay positive you will attract positive attention from some higher ups. Make it clear that you don't "not like" the position, but that it isn't necessarily the right fit. Hopefully that will lead to some discussion about what you are going to do next, and if you've done a good job most supervisors will be happy to pass your name on to another company or organization to which you might be better suited.

Follow this tried and true advice and your college internship could open doors to a career after graduation. Learn about student internships from Lisa Jenkins, a career writer for JobMonkey. She explains how important the intern experience is, and how to take maximum advantage. There's even information about internships abroad for those who want to really expand their horizons.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Superstition sparks toilet cleaning craze

Cleanliness has long been next to godliness for the hygiene-conscious Japanese, but fortune-tellers are now advising those who want to succeed in life to start by scrubbing the smallest room.

"Cleaning the toilet to attract luck" published this month is the latest in a series of books advising readers on how to attract good fortune using a brush and an array of cleaning fluids.

"Don't just wipe the floor, polish it," the book instructs. "It's important to maintain a positive mood while cleaning."

The books are inspired by Buddhist teachings and feng shui, a traditional Chinese belief that people's fortunes are determined by their surroundings.

The idea that Lady Luck may be hiding in the lavatory has been taken up by magazines and television programs.

"I won the lottery! I married my ideal person! I got pregnant!" read some of the claims on the cover of another book on the topic, published last year.

The idea that a clean toilet can bring good fortune, or even make you more beautiful, has existed in Japan for many years, according to Yuka Soma of Makino Publishing in Tokyo, editor of one of the toilet books.

But she is still waiting for a big stroke of luck.

"I've always cleaned my toilet every day, so it never really gets dirty," she said. "At least it's easy that way and it probably helps keep my family healthy," she said.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited.

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