This morning when I started working on this blog, I opened the Dashboard, as usual, to deal with the comments. Often I get great comments about the articles I’ve posted. Occasionally, I get comments by someone who thought the article was wrong, needed changing, or just didn’t measure up. I welcome and appreciate both. Always, I get spam. Spam, as most of you know and are all too familiar with, is unsolicited bulk messages, usually indiscriminate advertising.
For example, this morning I received this really nice message:
I want to show my appreciation to you just for rescuing me from this particular dilemma. As a result of scouting through the search engines and seeing concepts which were not beneficial, I was thinking my life was over. Being alive minus the solutions …
Nice, huh? It was a comment to a Holly Clegg recipe for a shrimp, avocado salad and an attempt by a major product brand to get their link on my blog. I sent it to the spam folder.
Here’s another one that comments on an article posted in 2011 – like they just read a 2 year old post! Yeah, right! It, too, was posted by a huge name brand product that could easily afford all kinds of legitimate advertising (and you can be sure that I won’t buy their product again when there are so many great alternatives). Here’s what they said that had nothing to do with the article:
This website online is known as a walk-via for all of the information you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll undoubtedly discover it… (And it, too, was marked as spam).
Sometimes the spam is funny and I get a laugh from it before I hit the delete key. But generally I consider spam to be nuisance – more than that, I consider it an invasion of my space, a violation of my blog, and a damage to this piece of Internet real estate. It is the same, to me, as theft —they steal space that does not belong to them. It wasn’t too bad when only two or three came in each day but when they come in 50s and 60s it gets to be an annoyance and I need to find a better spam filter.
But the thought came to me that we have spam in our lives, too—unsolicited thoughts, feelings, and reactions—indiscriminate input that diverts us from our purpose and takes up space in our mind.
Take meditation, for example. We sit down with all the best intentions to quiet our mind and go within. And, before we know it, the grocery list begins to come through or what we’re going to cook for dinner. What we’ll wear on the big Saturday night date or who will win the game are also great topics for what I call “mind spam.”
We don’t have to be meditating for mind spam to invade—it can come in at all times during any occasion. While we’re driving, while we’re in one of those long committee meetings, or sitting in a classroom, attending a church service, or—well, almost any place at any time. We keep trying to get our concentration back but “spam thoughts” just keep coming.
So what can you do about it?
Start by becoming aware of when and where you are allowing your mind to wander and aware of when “mind spam” is at it’s peak. Is it when you’re tired, when you in a situation that doesn’t get you fully engaged, when you’re feeling uncomfortable with what is happening around you? Sometimes awareness solves most of the problem – you try to get more sleep or you make an effort to focus on the task, for example.
You are the only one who knows how much of a problem it is for you and what you can do to remedy it. Sometimes it simply gives your mind a break – allows it a brief escape and time to recoup and regroup. If it’s interfering with your job performance or important relationships, then you may need to take steps to break the habit. The most successful tool I’ve found is brain wave entrainment. This is not a commercial but a suggestion. Google “brain wave entrainment” and find something that speaks to you. My personal favorite is Project Meditation—you can find a link in the right side bar.
Have you seen the ads for electronic cigarettes? It’s an interesting twist on the ordeal of quitting the smoking habit.
My son decided he wanted to quit and after researching a number of companies settled on a productg by LeCig.
His package arrived Friday and today he starts his adventure of quitting his long-time smoking habit using electronic cigarettes. I have watched him try to quit before. The patch didn’t work. Tapering off didn’t work. Cold turkey definitely didn’t work.
This looks like something that might give him success and we’re going to track his progress together.
Not being a smoker it’s hard for me to understand just how hard it is, but I have seen so many struggling with it that I know it’s real and very challenging. In fact it’s one of the most tenacious addictions of all.
It’s an interesting apparatus, one that can be recharged on the computer and doesn’t need batteries. It also comes with interesting flavors. My son’s first flavor to try is “blueberry” and, after sampling it myself, I must admit it tasted and smelled good. It is something I could definitely use if I needed to.
So join me as we watch the saga of “Chris stops smoking.” I will keep you posted.
Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and, as always, I am amused at all the hype. Yesterday the news was full of talk about the commercials that will be aired. In fact I heard much more about the commercials than I did about the game itself. Now, don’t get me wrong—I enjoy a good football game—but it seems that the Super Bowl, like the major holidays, has been commercialized out of proportion. Sometimes the game gets lost in all of this. However, I send congratulations, to New Orleans for getting it together so successfully. There’s a lot of expense and work involved with hosting this game and let’s hope that New Orleans turns a great profit.
The commercials are interesting. Some are entertaining, some are inspiring, some are sexy and ALL are expensive. The Associated Press puts the price at $3.5 million to $4 million for 30 seconds. I know we will see that Jared still eats Subway sandwiches and has kept his weight off for 15 years. Good for you, Jared. Coke lets you vote on how their commercial ends, and GoDaddy’s ad will be sexy. So? I have two thoughts on this: 1) That’s a lot of money that could help a lot of people. If Coke, for example, put up a picture of a CocaCola and announced “We have donated $4 M to help the homeless in New Orleans,” I would feel better and might buy a Coke even though I don’t usually drink sodas. Or if GoDaddy had the sexy girl tell us that Go-Daddy had donated $4 M to Phoenix Children’s Hospital or St. Jude’s, I might change my mind about their service; 2) You know they pass the cost on to the consumer so how much will it cost us, the buyer, to see those commercials when they air tomorrow? The advertisers will in all likelihood show a profit. Guess who pays? (Note: GoDaddy is generous in their giving, I know that for a fact, but this change would certainly make everyone sit up and take notice during the Super Bowl and other companies might get the hint).
While Alicia Keys is going to sing the National Anthem, Beyoncé is going to do the half-time show at the Super Bowl and says she is, indeed, going to sing live. There was such a big “to do” over her lip syncing the National Anthem at the inauguration that I applaud her for not immediately responding to all the criticism. I loved her Super Bowl press conference. She walked out on stage, sang The Star Spangled Banner and then asked, “Do you have any questions?” I love spunk! Don’t people have anything better to complain about? Let me tell you, some of the inaugurations have been so bitter cold that it was impossible for singers to sing, musicians to play, and anyone to enjoy the music whether lip synced or not. I think she was wise to plan ahead and give a flawless performance. Perhaps we should spend more time worrying about our own behavior and leave Beyoncé alone. All the brouhaha makes me want to enjoy watching her all the more. Talk about “Much Ado About Nothing.” Shakespeare would be proud.
These things always make me take a look at my priorities to see if I’m still on track. I am pleased with them.
I will enjoy the game. I will enjoy the commercials. But I will probably buy the generic brands at the store. I don’t want to pay for the commercials any more than necessary.
This was yesterday’s article that was supposed to be posted to go with Steve Wilson’s appearance on The Self Improvement Show. However, Cox Cable, “our friend in the digital age,” was doing some work in our area “to improve service” and, while they announced that it would be finished by 7 a.m. it was a long time after that. My Internet access was fully functional sometime in the early afternoon. It was a great test of my sense of humor and I know I will think it was funny at some point but I haven’t hit it that point yet. Actually, I recovered as soon as I could get on the Net and the interview with Steve fully restored my feeling of well being.
Anyway, I hope the following makes you laugh. Here’s yesterday’s article:
This week we have been running articles about humor and laughter to prepare for today’s Self Improvement Show with Steve Wilson, – a Joyologist and “Cheerman of the Bored.” Steve is a psychologist and an expert in self esteem and will be talking about the importance of laughter and humor in our lives. I think it’s a show everyone can enjoy and benefit from.
So this week to prepare for Steve’s appearance I have spent a good bit of time looking for things that made me laugh. I wanted to see if I could find things that made me laugh when no one else is around because many people live alone and find their days quiet, lonely and, sometimes empty. I am not alone, I am never bored and my days are anything but empty— but I don’t often laugh alone. My question was, “If I lived alone and didn’t see anyone else all day long, could I find something that made me laugh out loud?” The answer was “yes.” In fact I had such a great laugh that my son heard me at the other end of the house and came to see what I was up to.
My brand of humor may not be the same as yours but, if you take some time, you can find something that works for you —I can almost guarantee it.
Now you have to realize that I am what you would consider an “elderly lady” so I don’t like humor that’s too blue, I don’t appreciate the “F” word used in every sentence nor comedians/comediennes who have to resort to obscenity to get a laugh. If you like that, that’s your business but it doesn’t make me laugh.
Without depending on other people in the house, some things that DO make me laugh are:
My puppy, Smarty. He does crazy things all day long and is such a loving little guy that I am usually in a mellow mood and ready for a laugh. He sleeps on the loveseat in my office and often, when he wants to get off he gets his front feet on the floor and then just stands there with his whole back end still on the couch. It’s like he doesn’t want to get all the way down until he sees something to get into and can make a real commitment to chewing it up. He is always in search of something new or something new to try and it generally is worth a good laugh.
Jokes in my email. While I don’t get as many jokes as I used to, every day brings a few that are worth a big smile if not a laugh out loud. Because most of my friends are seniors, many of them are about getting old. Here is a “senior” one my brother sent me the other day: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Xv1tMioGgXI?rel=0h
YouTube is a treasure trove. You can find humor related to almost any subject you can think of. You just have to look for it. Here are some I found recently.The second one is the one that made me laugh out loud all by myself.
Netflix: My favorite comic on Netflix is Demitri Martin because he’s so different from most of them and so creative. But if you search for comedy you will get a wide range to choose from. Find movies and comics that work for you.
My point? You don’t have to sit in your house lonely, depressed and humorless. There is a lot of funny stuff around. If you can read this, you have a computer which opens the door to endless humor if you will just look.
If you need something more, go to PetsMart or your local animal shelter and get a dog or a cat. They will love you tirelessly and keep you entertained for countless hours.
Humor and laughter are necessary ingredients for a longer and happier life. It’s your responsibility to find them for yourself.
Yesterday I had the wild thought that now things can settle down to “normal” —whatever that is. We made our way through all the hype at Halloween—candy, costumes and haunted houses— and ate our way through Thanksgiving. Christmas ornaments and talk about boosting the economy with our holiday spending started before the goblins and ghosts put their costumes away and we polished off the last piece of cheap candy. But we made it through Christmas and New Year’s eve, many with every credit card maxed out, wondering how they would ever pay for all that “stuff.”
Yesterday was inauguration and MLK day and I had the wild thought that we would be free from all the media hype for a while.
But I was wrong.
Yesterday, in the midst of the celebrations for President Obama and Martin Luther King, the ads and talk show conversation was about Valentine’s Day and the Superbowl.
The message is buy, buy, buy and spend, spend, spend. (Is the only way to show love these days to buy expensive gifts? Think about it? What happened to kindness and tenderness?)
On one side we have the government telling us to save but pay more taxes. On the other side we having everyone telling us that we absolutely must have whatever it is that they’re selling. Both sides have big price tags attached.
My e-mail overflows with messages of closeout sales, 50% off sales, and going out of business sales. I don’t read them anymore. They fall victim to the delete key.
How much “stuff” do we really need?
I encourage you to consider regaining (or maybe gaining for the first time) balance in your life. Have a family meeting to talk about how you can get your finances, schedules, eating, etc. under control and back into some type of equilibrium. Take a good look at each other. On a scale of 1 – 10 how “frazzled” are you? How concerned are you about all that debt?
One way to stop the hype at your house is to turn off the TV and don’t surf the Net for more “stuff.”
I received the following in my email this week and, I can tell you, it made me pause and think about it. It made me ask the question, “What if we ran our homes and our businesses like the politicians run our country?” I generally don’t venture into politics on this blog, but I think we all need to reflect on this.
While you’re reading it, consider the fact that now, in Washington, D.C., they talk about TRILLIONS as much as billions. How much is that? Anyway, here is the email in its entirety:
This is too true to be funny.
The next time you hear a politician use the
Word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the ‘politicians’ spending
YOUR tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
But one advertising agency did a good job of
Putting that figure into some perspective in
one of its releases.
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government
is spending it.
While this thought is still fresh in our brain…
let’s take a look at New Orleans …
It’s amazing what you can learn with some simple division.
Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D) was asking Congress for
250 BILLION DOLLARS
To rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number…What does it mean?
Well … If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans
(every man, woman and child) You each get $516,528
Or… If you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787.
Or… If you are a family of four…
Your family gets $2,066,012.
Washington , D.C — HELLO!
Are all your calculators broken?
And besides the income tax we pay: Building Permit Tax CDL License Tax Cigarette Tax Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax Federal Income Tax (Fed) Federal Unemployment Tax (FU TA) Fishing License Tax Food License Tax Fuel Permit Tax Gasoline Tax Hunting License Tax Inheritance Tax Inventory Tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax) IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) Liquor Tax Luxury Tax Marriage License Tax Medicare Tax Property Tax Real Estate Tax Service charge Taxes Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax (Truckers) Sales Taxes Recreational Vehicle Tax School Tax State Income Tax State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax Telephone State and Local Tax Telephone Usage ChargeTax Utility Tax Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Watercraft Registration Tax Well Permit Tax Workers Compensation Tax (And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)
STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago… And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt…
We had the largest middle class in the world…
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
Can you spell
I hope this goes around the
At least 100 times
What the heck happened?
This is the end of the e-mail. now let me add some questions for you to ponder:
What would happen if you continued to spend more money than you earned? Those who have massive credit card debt know the answer to this.
What if you took someone else’s money to pay your bills without their permission? You would probably go to jail for theft.
What if everyone had their hand in your pocket? How long would the money last?
This year, let’s watch carefully with an open mind to see what’s happening with our money in the hands of the Washington politicians. (Whether they or you are Republicans or Democrats doesn’t enter this picture. Just watch what they do.)
And one last question. How much of the money you earn should you be allowed to keep?
One more day of November and the holdiay season is moving into high gear.
Every TV commercial says “Buy, Buy, Buy.” Some even suggest that you get a loan so you can buy those expensive gifts you think each member of your family wants (and needs?) After all, will 5 year old Tommy ever respect you again if you don’t give him his own cell phone with music, video and text messaging? (of course he can’t read or spell but so what?) Will 13 year old Jessica forgive you if she doesn’t receive those $120 designer jeans? Does your wife expect diamonds or your husband expect a Rolex even though you’re on a tight budget? Or, hey, how about having twin Mercedes sitting in the driveway on Christmas morning like the commercials instruct?
We had a “garage sale” yesterday. Some people call them “yard sales.” We sold neither a garage nor a yard. We don’t even have a garage. In some parts of the country they are “Tag sales” and I doubt if tags are sold. But you know what I’m talking about.
We put out the “stuff” we no longer used, needed or wanted outside in our driveway for other people to look at and determine if they wanted it, needed it or could use it. We had a king size comforter, a wing back chair, the children’s books Jack has outgrown. There was a bowling ball we acquired somehow even though none of us bowl. Some just-like-new ski boots that we couldn’t attach to an owner were in the mix and various kitchen items that we hoped someone else could use – a blender, a Foreman grill and a coffee maker. Office supplies, outgrown toys, some still useable pots and pans, some things we had received and never used (you know the kind of things I mean – stuff that you wouldn’t use in a million years but didn’t think you could “re-gift” either.). Lamps, some tools, tablecloths, and pictures rounded out the mix and before we even got the signs up people were here.
The first person arrived precisely at 6 a.m. (we were planning on 7 a.m.) By 9 a.m. almost everything was gone and when the next person showed up in a very old and shabby van looking for anything they could afford, my son told them to take everything that was left. The man wasobviously overjoyed and they loaded the van and we were all happy about the outcome.
And it was fun. I had a large bag that I used it when my grandson was tiny – it was black and covered with drawings of pink, green, blue and orange cats of all sizes. Garish but wonderful. It served as purse and diaper bag. I don’t need it anymore. The lady who bought it was obviously excited to find it and held on to it like she was afraid someone else would take it first. The purse had a lot of wonderful memories for me and I have an idea that it will be meaningful to her as well. She was shopping for her granddaughter who was moving into her first apartment so she filled the cat-purse up with kitchen utensils and some old silverware. Another one bought a tooled leather purse that I had made in Home-Economics in high school in the fifties. I haven’t used it since then so why was I keeping it? You would think she found the diamonds on the sunken Titanic and she thanked and thanked me for making it available.
It’s a great feeling to get rid of the clutter. The shelves and cabinets now have space and the house both looks and feels better.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could have a sale of old, unneeded, and perhaps overwhelming debilitating negative emotions? If you could, would you sell the ancient festering anger at a discount and maybe even give some bitterness and guilt away for free? What kind of grudges are you holding that clutter up your mind and close your heart? Where do you harbor unforgiveness that takes up so much space?
Take some time do do the inner search for things you no longer need. Old anger, bitterness, guilt, grudges, resentment, regret, et.al. don’t serve you. You can clean house and let it go by intention and by choice. Sometimes you need help to bring it all out and sometimes you need assistance in letting it go. If so, find a therapist or a coach because the payoff is greater than anyone can count and you’ll have new emotional currency available to spend on your own happiness and the welfare of others .
Melanie Brocklehurst, the guest on last week's Self Improvement Show, brought to our attention the plight of little girls in Nepal and Tibet. (If you didn't hear the show, it's worth listening to - click the video above and hear what Melanie has to say.)It is an opportunity for you to help someone … [Read More...]
Frontline Learning is making over 40 online learning courses available to 5000 unemployed individuals. Any currently unemployed person is eligible to receive these programs simply be registering online (see link below).
There is no hook or catch or "fine print" here - these are full featured … [Read More...]
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Thoroughly researched and carefully crafted this is a program that is designed for success in a field that sees far too much failure. How many people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol check themselves into rehab over and over and never seem to be free of the need to … [Read More...]
This morning when I started working on this blog, I opened the Dashboard, as usual, to deal with the comments. Often I get great comments about the articles I've posted. Occasionally, I get comments by someone who thought the article was wrong, needed changing, or just didn't measure up. I welcome … [Read More...]
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Have you seen the ads for electronic cigarettes? It's an interesting twist on the ordeal of quitting the smoking habit.
My son decided he wanted to quit and after researching a number of companies settled on a productg by LeCig.
His package arrived Friday and today he … [Read More...]
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