December 14, 2010

We Hear Only What We Want To Hear

There was a member of my family who had a reputation for not really talking much to his colleagues or to the people working for him about their work except to criticize them.  Apparently, the phrase, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," was not a phrase he knew while in the office.  This member of my family was a big guy. He was tall, brilliant, articulate, and the kind of guy who probably wore a tie when he played golf (definitely when he slept).  It wasn't hard to picture this imposing figure pointing out an error one of his colleagues or employees may have made.

The description of this character trait stuck with me.  Over the years I made it a point to praise my colleagues, employees, and my children, whenever I could. It would not be unusual for me to bring flowers in to an assistant with a note telling her she was appreciated for all her hard work.  It wouldn't be unheard of for me to send one of my children some workout clothes or a fancy mouse for their computer, just because I was proud of them.

So, why am I writing about this now?  I'm writing about this now because I've recently come to believe this family member was right, and my efforts to act as his opposite (regarding this one habit) was for naught.  When I think back, it occurs to me that in spite of my efforts, the only thing people remember is the occasions when I did point out an error or criticize.  I've also found people have the tendency to only hear what they want to hear when you are having a conversation with them.  Many people seem to only focus on the negative. Maybe even create a negative where there was none.  I could give a hundred accolades and one criticism, and it's the criticism that gets tossed in my face.  Human nature?  Kind of frustrating.  I'm not really sure what can be done about it.

Nobody likes to be criticized, but in the real world, criticism happens.  No one is perfect.  We are all going to be criticized from time to time.  How else can we improve and grow as human beings?  We should be thicker-skinned, but that is not the case.  We hear what we want to hear.  We are offended by the smallest of criticisms, which we tend to exaggerate and turn into an Academy Award winning drama.  "You don't seem to have put forth your best effort," is met with a response like "I can't ever do anything right."  It's hard to believe the only solution is to walk on eggshells, thinking carefully before we speak.  Must we avoid the absolute truth when possible and sugarcoat everything.  Is that what's best for the person on the receiving end, or is the result a bunch of people who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions?

I don't know the answer to any of these questions and it's frustrating.

Photo Credit:   Ferran Traite Soler/iStockphoto on

July 20, 2010

A Canon Digital SLR Surely Requires A New Tripod

If you haven't read my post on the new Canon T1iSLR I recently purchased, scroll down to see what I think and what I've learned. As you would expect, I also found it necessary to purchase a tripod to use with my new camera. I used it this week to attempt to take some photos of a very cool looking moon. I failed miserably at this task and couldn't figure out how to photograph the moon properly. I kept gettting weird reflections and had problems getting the camera to focus. I'll figure this out eventually.

In spite of not having the necessary skills to photograph the moon, I must say I am very impressed with the Promaster T325P Carbon Fiber Tripod along with the Maglite 2 ball head. The T325P holds 13.25 pounds yet weighs 2.6 pounds. When folded, the T325P is 21.25" high. Its minimum working height is 8.25" and its maximum height is 63". Based upon my limited research, it appears the price of the T325P is fairly reasonable and there are online deals to be had.
The T325P is easy to use and has a built-in level and a compass (I'm not sure yet what I'll use the compass for). The level is a very handy feature to have. I was trying to photograph the moon and I was standing in the middle of the street in front of my house. Using the level was very easy and helpful on this uneven surface.

I am most impressed by the T325P's light weight. This tripod is easy to carry around, yet incredibly sturdy. I'm sure it will also fit in a carry-on bag when I travel. The tripod looks cool and has a nice finish. The twist locks are tight and are easy to use because of their size.

The T325P is equipped with leg spreader locks which must be pushed back to use (instead of being
spring loaded). Personally, I like this better than the spring loaded version as I seem to have more control and there is less to go wrong down the road.

The Maglite ball head are well-built but don't provide quick-release plates like a few of the other ball heads I looked at. The tension controls are easy to use but didn't always work well. It was a bit of a chore to secure my camera when it wasn't level. I had to apply some extra tension to the controls to keep my camera from sliding backwards.

Overall, I was very impressed with both the tripod and the Maglite head. The prices for both were reasonable and in my first test, they both performed admirably. I would recommend this setup to others.

July 16, 2010

My First Digital SLR Camera

I bought my first Digital SLR Camera, the 15.1 megapixel Canon EOS Rebel T1i(a/k/a the 500D). This camera is at the top of the Rebel line and directly competes with the Nikon D90, while the XS and XSi compete with the Nikon D3000 and D5000. I did several years of research, mostly because I couldn't afford to buy until now. My problem was, the longer I waited, the more I changed my mind because the technology kept changing. I finally decided now was the time, and this was the best camera I could purchase in my price range. I purchased a two lense kit with 18-55mm IS and 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lenses from Adorama. The camera arrived with a defective lens, but this situation was professional and quickly resolved by Sammy Santana. I thought I'd try to write about my new camera as a way of forcing myself to do some additional research to really try to understand how the camera works and the features available to me.

Having never used a camera as sophisticated as this one, I enlisted the help of professional photographer extraordinaire, Eric Stephenson who was kind enough to spend about three hours with me. Eric confirmed my research that the T1i was fast, would produce high quality photos and was capable of creating HD videos. Eric walked me through just about everything the camera could do, then I was off to Jamaica to test it out. The body is similar to the Canon XSi and weighs 1.2 pounds. Unlike the XSi, it has holes in the front for a microphone and a speaker on the back. The camera is comfortable to hold and offers a large 3-inc LCD with a 640X480 design with 920,000 dots, creating a very clear onscreen image.

All the buttons are positioned for use by my right hand, and every button feels different. Eventually, I should be able to do what i need to do without looking. There is a Live View button that also serves as the stop/start button when creating HD video.

Canon also included the Creative Auto mode that was originally found in its higher-end cameras. Eric explained this is a semi-automatic mode somewhere between the Auto mode and the Program mode.
He suggested this was the place to be when I wanted to experiment with shutter speed and aperture settings. The T1i accepts EF and EF-S lenses. It uses SD/SDHC cards, including Eye-Fi wireless cards. I learned the hard way it is a good idea to determine what type of cards your computer will read before purchasing. Or, you can do what I had to do, and purchase a card reader. If you want to take a look at all the features found in the T1i you could have a look at the manual.

I'd like to try explaining the T1i's basic shooting modes, mainly just to see if I really understand them:
Program: This function automatically sets the most appropriate shutter and aperture speed, while giving me some control over metering, exposure compensation, etc.

Shutter Priority: Lets me control shutter speed while aperture is automatically set; other functions can also be accessed in this mode.

Aperture Priority: Lets me control aperture while shutter speed is automatically set; most camera functions can be changed in this mode.

Manual: Allows me to control aperture and shutter speed, as well as all the camera's different settings for exposure.

A-DEP: Stands for automatic depth-of-field, which will automatically select the appropriate aperture to ensure that depth of field covers all focus points.

Auto: In this mode, everything is set automatically.
Creative Auto: Lets me change the brightness, depth of field, and color tone fairly easily.

Portrait: Automatically blurs the background in order to focus on the person I am shooting.

Landscape: Provides me with more depth of field to keep landscapes and wide-angle shots in focus.
Macro: For shooting small objects, this mode allows me to get in closer to the object I am shooting.

Sports: This puts into play the continuous burst mode so I can catch moving objects or sports, by giving me up to 3.4 frames per second. I used this mode at a Colorado College hockey game.

Night Portrait: A night portrait mode to take photos at night.

Flash Off: Turns off the flash.

I am no expert, but this camera seems wake and shoot fairly quickly. It also focuses and shoots much faster than any camera I've ever owned. I believe it is faster than the more expensive Nikon D90. One of the must-haves for me was continuous shooting speed. Something I didn't have before. The T1i seems very fast at 3.3 frames per second. This was fast enough for me to take some great photos at a Colorado College hockey game.

Canon worked to improve this camera's low-light capabilities, something my daughter, who owns an XSi was very jealous of. This, along with the higher resolution and video capture abilities where of great interest to me. Personally, I think this is a great entry-level camera for this price range, and it competes admirably with any other camera I looked at. I'd be interested to know what you think.

June 1, 2010

Tips To Write E-mail People Will Read and Respond To

Times have changed and so has my advice about e-mail etiquette. And that’s because people are now checking e-mail on their cell phones, smart phones, pda, and any number of other ways.

A few years ago I suggested that your “Subject Line” should really describe what your e-mail is going to say. I wasn’t suggesting including two or three sentences in the “Subject Line” but, instead, a pretty good summary of what was to come. Today, my advice is to be descriptive but brief. Remember, I’m reading your e-mail on my Blackberry 8800. Others are using an iPhone or other Smartphone. If your subject line is too long it won’t fit on my screen and I probably won’t rush to open it up.

Here are some ideas to get people to open, read, and respond to your e-mails:
  • I am notorious for sending e-mails that refer to an attachment but don’t attach the attachment itself. I get distracted or hurry to click send and off it goes without the attachment. Now, if I’m sending an e-mail with an attachment I attach it first, and then write the e-mail. Works every time. As long as you remember to attach the attachment first.
  • Sometimes I click the “Reply All” button, write my text and click “Send” without another thought. That is, until I get the nasty e-mail from one of the recipients who should not have received my reply. Check carefully, before clicking “Send” to be sure the recipients listed are the people you really want to receive your e-mail. This tip can save you a lot of hassles.
  • Please stop sending e-mails on stationary with all the colors and lines and mess in the background. It takes forever to open these e-mails and I can’t read them at all on my Blackberry.
  • If you are writing to me and copying others please use the salutation “Brad” so the others know the e-mail is to me without having to scroll to the top of the page. This ends a lot of confusion.
  • Even though I am preaching brevity, I still think it would be nice if you would write in complete sentences and include complete thoughts. I fear that e-mail is going to doom writing as we used to know it. Many teens today couldn’t use a pen and paper to write a thank you note if their life depended on it. What a shame. Just because it’s e-mail is no excuse to forget about grammar and sentence structure. On the other hand, if this means your e-mail is going to be several pages long, pick up the phone or walk to the office next door instead of sending an e-mail. Personal, face-to-face contact with other humans should not also be a thing of the past.
I could go on an on, but I think these tips should be enough to get you on track to start writing e-mails people will read and respond to. Now, have at it!

Got a tip of your own you're willing to share with me? Please leave a comment.

May 16, 2010

Log Your Time Tip To Improve Productivity!

Here's a tip to help improve your productivity and help you analyze your time management skills regularly to see where improvement is needed. Every 6-12 months I complete a time log for a full week to help me see where my time is going, what my habits really are and to get ideas on changes I can make to improve my productivity. Try it. You will be shocked to see how much time you waste in a typical day.

Keeping a time log is actually quite simple. Simply record all your activities in a log from the moment you get to work to the time you leave the office. Be sure to include everything including visits to the restroom, to the office next to you, to the kitchen for a soda. Include all interruptions, phone calls made and received, and tasks you perform. Include EVERYTHING you do during the day.

At the end of the day, analyze your log to determine how well you used your time and to identify distractions and things you did to waste time. Try to make improvements each day until you get to the end of the week. Give it a try, and then require your staff to do the same and to review the log with you. Use this tool as a way to mentor your staff and encourage them to be more productive.

Got a tip of your own? Feel free to share. Leave a comment!

May 10, 2010

Enhance the quality of your life with Time Management

I think you’d agree time is a much needed resource you need to get your work done, achieve your goals and enjoy your life. I believe time management is about finding the best ways to use your time to get the most from it and enhance the quality of your life.

Think about these things to help you determine if you are working as efficiently as possible:

Do you maintain a big long to-do list to keep track of your projects and tasks or do you use a productivity system allowing you to organize and prioritize everything you do?
Once you get settled at your desk in the morning what is the first thing that you do?
When you leave work each day do you feel like you accomplished what you set out to accomplish when you arrived at work that morning?
Do you have a daily plan that helps you focus only on priorities?
If you plan at all, when?
Are you a multitasker?
How many breaks do you take during the day?
How many times a day do you check your e-mail (See my earlier post on this topic)?
Is it difficult for you to meet project deadlines?

Let me know how you answer all these questions. Future posts will explore these questions further and I’ll share some of my ideas with you. More importantly, I’d like to hear your ideas.

May 7, 2010

E-Mail Is A DISTRACTION! | Manage Your Time

Did you every stop to think that e-mail was not intended for real-time communication. Most of us think it is. When we hear that "DING" we stop whatever we are doing and rush to read and respond to the e-mail. When you need to concentrate on what you are doing, e-mail can be a real DISTRACTION. Think of it as someone walking into your office, and interrupting you to ask a question or share some gossip.The simplest way to stop e-mail from dominating your day is to simply close your e-mail software. This will be difficult for most people so I suggest you do two other things.First, turn off the "DING." If you are using Microsoft Outlook go to Tools/Options/Preferences/E-mail Options/Advanced E-mail Options and uncheck the box that says "Play a sound."Next, set up your e-mail software to check for messages once an hour. By default, Microsoft Outlook checks for e-mail every five minutes meaning you can be interrupted every five minutes, 12 times an hour, or 108 times during a 9-hour workday. If you change this setting to every 60 minutes you will only be interrupted 9 times a day instead of 108, even if you didn't take the suggestion above and turn off the "DING." If you are using Microsoft Outlook go to Tools/Options/Mail Setup/Send Receive/Schedule Automatic Send/Receive Every 60 Minutes.Give these tips a try and see if you are more productive, less stressed, and have fewer unnecessary interruptions during your day.

May 4, 2010

Food For Thought | Six Tips To Become More Efficient

Here's six things to think about incorporating into your work day to make you more efficient.

1. Close your office door and concentrate on the biggest toughest project on your desk. Procrastination is a waste of valuable time.

2. Establish "quiet hours" for uninterrupted concentration and make sure people around you know what rules apply. Have all the materials you need so you can make maximum use of the allotted time.

3. Concentrate similar tasks into groups and do them all at once - things like returning phone calls, writing checks, going through mail and periodicals. These activities can often be done more efficiently once you get the appropriate pathways in your brain activated.

4. Keep track of how long you can concentrate on various tasks before being distracted. Capacity will differ depending on the nature of the task. Then set a goal to maintain it a bit longer the next time.

5. Consolidate free time into blocks to create more extended periods for deeper concentration. Maximizing concentration is a balancing act. Switching from one thing to another too often is inefficient because disconnecting and re-focusing both take time. On the other hand, trying to maintain focus for too long can be counterproductive because the mind naturally tends to shift depending on the sense of urgency.

6. Delegate effectively.

May 1, 2010

Time Management | Drive Time - Plus

When scheduling an appointment for a meeting outside the office be sure to schedule drive time before and after the meeting, plus a little extra time to pack up what you need for the meeting. I have found this tip to be very helpful. It gets me off the phone or out of a meeting in time to prepare myself for the next meeting and get there without feeling pressure to be on time. This tip also prevents others, who can see your calendar on the network, from scheduling a meeting with you that runs right up to your meeting out of the office. Give it a try and see how relaxed and prepared you are when you arrive at your destination, on time and focused!

April 28, 2010

Tips For Outcome-First Meeting Plans

I hate meetings! I am busy and don't have time to attend meetings. Most meetings are a waste of time because they are just an opportunity for the attendees to hear themselves talk. Many meetings have no agenda or the meeting leader lets the meeting get away from them and the agenda isn't accomplished. If you are meeting to hear reports - DON'T. People can read reports. Meet to take action. Make everyone's time more productive by determining the outcome you want from a meeting before you even schedule it. What is the objective of the meeting? Why are you and others going to take the time out of your otherwise busy day and meet? What must be accomplished at this meeting? Could this be accomplished without bringing these people together? What is your deliverable? Can you communicate your expectations to the others at the beginning of the meeting in two or three sentences? If, after this analysis you determine it is necessary to have this meeting, be sure to run the meeting just like one you would want to attend.

April 22, 2010

Color-Coded E-Mail Tip

Is your In Box so full you sometimes miss the important e-mail from your boss, or your wife? Try color-coding your e-mail. In Microsoft Outlook go to the Tools menu and click Organize. In the Ways to Organize pane, click Using Colors. Select the type of messages you want to color-code and the color you want them to be, and then click the Apply Color button. This simple trick could save your job, and your marriage!

April 20, 2010

Everyone Needs Tips to Manage Their Time!

In today's world of cell phones, Blackberry's, blogs, the Internet, intranets, cable television, video conferencing, web casting and many other time-sapping devices, it is more important than ever to get organized and manage your time wisely. This blog will contain some ideas and tips of mine, but more importantly, it should be a place where you can learn from others and share your own thoughts about time management and how it can be used to help balance your life. No one ever said on their death-bed, "I wish I had worked more."

April 18, 2010

What Makes Work Work?

The economic climate right now is terrible. There are signs of improvement, but I'm one who thinks we are quite a ways off from a full recovery. Its tough to succeed in today's climate regardless of what you do. Technology seems to be changing every day and if you don't keep up, you are behind. Everyone is moving at the speed of light and if you don't keep up you are behind. In the past year my office has cut about 30% of our staff and other businesses are becoming leaner and meaner to survive in this competitive marketplace. When you cut staff, the work doesn't go away, those who remain in the company must pick it up. Some people in my office are now performing tasks they weren't hired to perform but they are doing what needs to be done. Long days are taking people away from their families, their hobbies, their exercise routines, and their free time.

So, in today's climate, what is it that makes work work for you. For me, I've always felt that I need to be in an environment where I like the people I am working with and for. I like to feel needed and appreciated. Most of all, I am a fan of having "Life Balance." This means something different to everyone. To me, it means finishing my day with the feeling that I accomplished something significant. I've returned all my phone messages. I've reviewed my schedule for tomorrow and feel confident that I am ready for the day. I am going to be able to start my day tomorrow with some form of exercise. I am leaving my office at a time that allows me to have dinner with my family and still have some time to spend with my kids.

Are you wondering if this is really possible? Of course it is. Is it easy to achieve? Yes and no. Can everyone do it? Absolutely. How? Well, much of this blog is dedicated to tips and tricks that will enable you to achieve the Life Balance you are seeking. There are many other blogs out there to help too. For example, take a look at ceo blog - time leadership written by Jim Estill Jim has some excellent thoughts about time management and other things too. The resources are all around us. We also have many of the answers inside us.

What I really want to know is what type of information can I provide to help you? When I first started writing this blog my hope was it would become an interactive forum where people all over the world shared their thoughts, tips and experiences. I haven't accomplished that yet. Can you help me? Can you leave a comment, ask a question, tell your friends to do the same? I'm going to keep writing, posting tips I think you will find helpful, but a little feedback would be nice. Let's conquer this together. Leave a comment. Tell your friends to visit this blog and leave a comment. Let's work together to get through this crazy thing called work and come out on the other side a better person.

I look forward to hearing from you! Leave a comment with your own tip!

April 12, 2010

Make Time To Take Care Of Yourself | A Novel Concept

I have written before about life balance. This is a topic of great interest to me. A topic I am continually trying to get my head around. I look around me and see my friends and colleagues running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I see them taking work home at night and over the weekend. I see them continually updating the never ending "Task List." And I see them never taking any time for themselves. Some have developed health issues. Some have put on weight or find that they are ill all the time.

The one thing all these people have in common is that feeling that if they are behind at work,they need to focus on that and work even harder. They figure that if they get their act together at the office, they will be able to go to their boss and ask for some time off to focus on their life balance goals.

Seems to me we have it all wrong. Seems to me we have it backwards. Seems to me that in this situation the first thing we give up, the first thing we sacrifice is our personal life, our personal well-being. Seems to me that when we sacrifice our personal well-being we actually make it harder to succeed in our work. Personally, I find that I am more productive on the days I get to exercise. I am more productive on the days following a good night's sleep. I am more productive when I am happy and just spent the evening with my family at the movies or bowling.

Seems to me if you are feeling stressed at work, tired, unhappy, lacking energy, you ought to take a step back from work and focus on yourself. Even if all you do is catch up on your sleep for one night, it's going to help. Darren Rowse is a blogger I have a lot of respect for. Check out his Activity/Rest Matrix to get another look at what I'm writing about here (Activity/Rest Matrix).

Most of us think if we take that step back and divert our focus from work to ourselves, our job will be in jeopardy. I believe it is really quite the opposite. Taking that step back and focusing on balancing your life, feeling better, increasing your stamina, putting a smile back on your face, will increase your performance on the job and make you happier in all aspects of your life.

April 1, 2010

Time Management Thoughts for an April Fools Day

Make a list

Got some things you need to get done? Make a list. It's not hard. It is hard to remember everything you have to do without a list. Write it down. This works for the young and the old, in spite of what your kids tell you. Once you have a list it's a good idea to prioritize the things you want to do. This will help you avoid wasting time. I also like to put things in what I call "My driving order." With the cost of gasoline rising again, it makes sense to order your tasks in a way that makes driving sense. Don't run an errand in the south part of town, go to the north and then back to the south. Put all your "south" tasks together. Once you have you list, use it! Don't forget to look at it. Often.

Spend your time wisely

Make good use of your time and, who knows, you may have some free time. Do things during the day to help you make good use of your time.
  • Always have something with you to write on and to write with. Take lots of notes as you go through the day.
  • Carry your list with you so you can add and cross things off of it.
  • When you are working on something important, be sure you are in a place where you can dive in and get it done. Close the door to your office. Put the phone on "Do Not Disturb." Turn off the sound your e-mail program makes every time an e-mail arrives in your In Box.
  • Use the restroom before you get started.

Do things for yourself

If you don't take care of yourself mentally and physically you will not be able to use your time wisely.
  • Eat healthy food. Junk food may provide an initial burst of energy, but the downside isn't worth it. Eat right in order to use your time more wisely.
  • Exercise every day in some way or another. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk during lunch. Walk around the office. More is better when it comes to exercise. Join a health club and read a book while riding the bike, or using the treadmill.
  • I am not a nap person, but I have read that taking a short nap can make you more productive for the rest of the day. Up to you to try this one.
  • I like to hang around fun people. People who don't take themselves too seriously. People with a sense of humor. People who are happy. I believe it's contagious!

March 16, 2010

To-Do Lists - Tips To Keep Them Separate!

I want to share an article with you written by Lisa Montanaro.

To-do lists. Just the name of them sounds exhausting. They have become the thorn in many of my client's side. Whether they are written in long form on paper, or maintained electronically on a computer or handheld device, they cause much stress.

And here's one reason why. Most people unknowingly combine their master to-do list and daily to-do list together. This one act causes the list to become lengthy and overwhelming, which in turn almost guarantees failure. The person with this massive all-in-one to-do list will either abort the list altogether, or try desperately to get tasks done, all the while feeling inadequate and like a failure due to his or her inability to accomplish the items on the list.

What to do (yes, pun intended!)? Keep 'em separated!
Create a master to-do list and a separate daily to-do list. The master list includes tasks you plan to and want to get to, but cannot accomplish in one day, similar to a project list. Your daily list is only made up of the tasks you intend to, and can realistically accomplish, in one day, which is usually only about 3-5 items. The daily list puts your master list into action on a daily basis. That way, you get the satisfaction of actually crossing off your daily to-do's, but have a more comprehensive list so you don't forget tasks you need to tend to at some point later on.

Here's an example. You need to do a home renovation project like paint your basement. Your master to-do list reads: paint basement. But the daily to-do list will break down that master item into several separate entries over a longer period of time.

  • Monday: choose paint color

  • Tuesday: call 3 painters for estimates (this is called delegating, but let's save that for a future blog post!)

  • Wednesday: clear furniture from area to be painted

  • Thursday: buy paint.

  • Get the picture? The master to-do list names the project and the daily to-do list breaks out the action steps in a manageable, reasonable and realistic manner in order to accomplish that project. That way, the items actually get done. And isn't that what a to-do list is supposed to be for anyway?

    Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro, "The Solutions Expert," is Principal of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC, a professional services firm created in 2002 that offers professional organizing, business and life coaching, and motivational speaking to individuals and organizations. Lisa publishes the monthly "DECIDE to be Organized" e-zine for the general public, and "Next Level Business Success" e-zine for professional organizers and entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at Lisa also publishes the DECIDE to be Organized blog at Through LMOS, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how LMOS can improve your home or work environment, or help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at

    March 13, 2010

    Colorado House Bill 1193 vs.

    The Colorado Legislature is trying to bridge a $2.2 billion budget deficit this fiscal year, which ends June 30. To help this effort Gov. Bill Ritter recently signed into law House Bill 1193 requiring online retailers to tell people how much state tax they owe on their online purchase. In effect, the legislation requires online retailers to collect state sales taxes because of the punitive measures and mandates included in the Bill. In addition to notifying consumers to pay their state sales tax, online retailers are mandated to produce consumer sales records, and if consumers did not pay the tax, the online retailer will be required to pay a fine for every violation. To avoid these penalties, online retailers are, in essence, being required to collect the sales taxes themselves.

    Legislators assert online sales are significant and growing. The argument is that when the state doesn't collect taxes from online purchases at retailers like Amazon, it damages local businesses, while reducing tax revenue to the state. The result of laws like this is that Amazon and other retailers would have to deal with more than 8000 different tax computations should every state pass a law like this.

    Amazon's response to this legislation was to sever ties with Colorado and close its Associates Program (a program I, myself, participated in) in Colorado, putting over 5000 people out of work. Amazon's response was not a surprise as it did the same thing in North Carolina and Rhode Island (a state, which reportedly saw no additional revenue generated after passing a similar law). To no one's surprise both sides are hurling barbs at each other. "They've done nothing here but spit in our face," Colorado Senate Majority Leader John Morse said on YouTube, where he went on to describe Amazon's actions as "such tyranny." Interesting choice of words, "tyranny" which is defined as "oppressive power exerted by government." It's ridiculous to think Amazon has the power to impose its will on the people of Colorado. It does have the power to pick up and leave. Colorado, on the other hand, does have the power to tax and coerce corporations to follow its laws.

    I understand the "fairness" argument. It's persuasive. Why should online retailers have an advantage over stores operating in buildings located in the state? I get it. I understand why groups are launching boycott efforts that are likely to have little or no impact. I also believe that many online retailers like Amazon developed sophisticated technology, an infinite number of reasonably priced products, and a first-class delivery service. I agree their success hurts many local businesses, but it also benefits the consumer. I'd guess, the tax savings consumers reap from online purchases will be spent in these local businesses, on other products.

    On its face, House Bill 1193 is anti-capitalistic and proves the State Legislature is willing to risk thousands of jobs in Colorado for a couple million dollars.

    February 20, 2010

    Tiger Woods Speaks: Can We Move On?

    I have wanted to write about Tiger Woods since early December 2009. At that time, the world was informed Tiger had violated his marriage vows, and committed adultery on a number of occasions. At the time, I felt so strongly none of this was any of our business; I couldn't bring myself to write about it. Today, I continue to strongly feel none of this is any of our business, and I'm writing about it.

    Tiger Woods is a professional golfer. He could be the greatest golfer who ever lived. He is not a spokesperson for fidelity. He is a golfer. He should be judged on whether he wins or loses golf tournaments, not who he sleeps with. Who he sleeps with is an intensely personal matter between Tiger and his wife Elin. It is none of our business.

    Bill Clinton, as President of the United States was accused of infidelity. In 1998 Articles of Impeachment were filed against President Clinton. The President was an elected official accused of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was accused of violating his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States. One could argue this was our business. We elected him to represent the United States of America. In the end, he was not Impeached and served the remainder of his term as President. No long after his acquittal, President Clinton appeared in the White House Rose Garden and stated: ''Now that the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a conclusion, I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people."

    In the last 15 years allegations of infidelity have been brought against Newt Gingrich (while he was trying to Impeach President Clinton), Eliot Spitzer (while Governor of New York), Mark Sanford (while Governor of South Carolina), and John Edwards (Elected official & Candidate for President of the United States). These men were elected officials. They were elected by Americans to represent them before the world. Their actions were a reflection of our collective character. Their infidelities might have been our business. Notice, I am not writing about Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, or David Letterman.

    With a a prepared statement Tiger, stood before the cameras and apologized for his behavior, admitted he had let people and sponsors down, and asked us to one day find it within ourselves to forgive him. Personally, I think he went above and beyond what he had to do. Maybe his therapists insisted he do this as a first step. Maybe his handlers insisted he do this to begin his rehabilitation as a spokesperson. Maybe he owed this to Nike and EA Sports. He didn't owe me an apology, and I don't believe he owed you one either. (Photo, The Denver Post)

    "Money and fame made access to temptations easy," he said. "I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled," he said. This is probably what the men I listed above were also thinking. This sense of entitlement seems to be a part of the American culture and the culture of American sports, but I don't recall the last American athlete who stood up before the American people, on national television, and admitted it. Remember, the three major television stations cut into scheduled broadcasting to televise Tiger's apology. As did Fox News and CNN. Did this apology have an effect on your life?

    Following the apology, there was hours of analysis. Was he sincere? What did the clothes he was wearing portray? Why did he read from a script? Why didn't he cry? Why didn't his eyebrows move when he spoke? Why did he use a podium instead of a teleprompter? Where was Elin? What did his mother say to him after he spoke?

    What I want to know is when is he returning to golf? Will he be at The Masters and continue to pursue the records he is paid to pursue? The PGA and professional golfers around the world are ready for Tiger to return to golf.

    ESPN's Tom Rinaldi asserts we will all remember where we were when Tiger made his public confession. Like some people remember where they were when President of the United States John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Are you kidding me? Has the entire world lost its mind? I say, leave Tiger, Elin, and their children alone. Let them work through this on their own. But, most of all, I say, "Tiger, get in shape, get your head in the game, and get back on the course to do what we do have a right to judge you for. Play golf Tiger!"

    February 18, 2010

    Global Warming: I Can Be Skeptical But Not A Denier

    As you might expect, I have been reading, with great interest, everything I can about "Climategate." It is believed a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit ("CRU")and released 160 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet. 160 megabytes translated into about 1000 emails and 3000 other documents by some accounts. Assuming these emails are the real deal, it pretty clear why the CRU wanted to keep these emails confidential. The emails suggest some sort of a conspiracy or collusion amongst scientists who were exaggerating climate warming data and interfering with the peer review process. There is discussion they destroyed information, manipulated data, and disclosed to the public data they knew was incorrect. One of the emails even proclaimed some joy in the death of John L. Daly in 2004. Daly was an early skeptic of the global warming chatter, and the email proclaimed, “In an odd way this is cheering news.”

    In this interview I saw on YouTube, Ed Begley Jr., a staunch global warming advocate, gives me permission to be skeptical about global warming, but not a denier. Have a look.

    The CRU's Director is Professor Phil Jones. Since I'm allowed to be skeptical, but not a denier, here's an interview with Professor Jones from just a few days ago. Its a fairly long Q&A, but worth reading. Professor Jones comments on warming data taken from 1860-2009. He divided this span of years into four different time periods and says, "the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other." He still maintains there has been warming, and the warming is man made. He also agrees "Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence." As I said, this is a good read, especially toward the end of the Q&A where he explains what he "meant" in the emails he sent asking others to destroy evidence and "hide the decline." This is fascinating stuff. I'm guessing we haven't heard the end of this, and I'll have more to write about in the future.

    I'm still a skeptic. What about you? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about all this.

    The Photo above is from Getty

    February 6, 2010

    Don't Do Evil

    "Don't Do Evil." Google's corporate slogan, at first blush, appears lofty, or maybe naive. Some argue it is a smoke-screen for the true purpose behind the creation of Google which was to rule the world as a result of its control of information. Personally, I am somewhere in the middle. I, don't believe Google exists for purely altruistic reasons. Yet, I find it hard to believe Larry Page and Sergey Brin set out to rule the world. While I am impressed with the products Google has implemented, there is a voice inside me sending out warning signals. I many ways it is hard to articulate the content of those warning signals. When I try, I tend to ramble. So, I anticipate this being the first of several posts about Google and the issues raised by what they do. If nothing else, I hope what follow gives you something to think about.

    An early Google tag line exclaims "We deliver the world's information in one click." In order to do this, Google has to gather the world's information, and store it on servers located all over the world, so when we do click on a mouse, the information has only a short distance to travel to our computer monitor. Simply put, Google began as a search company. They are run by engineers who developed an algorithm enabling us to search for information we want and have it delivered to us in a matter of seconds. It appears to me Google does this by collecting every piece of data they can from the people using their products. When we perform a search, Google stores our query. When we click on an ad we see on a search results page, Google stores that information too. Google's business plan must be based in a large part on selling advertising. The data Google collects from our searches, including the amount of time we spend viewing an ad, reading something we click on, what we search for, where we go to next, what we appear to like and dislike, is invaluable to them, and more importantly, to the company paying for the advertisement. Though Google claims not to turn information over to the advertiser, they use the information themselves to help the advertiser target customers. By using Google for our search needs we are trusting them not to share our personal information with anyone. We are telling them, "Don't Do Evil."

    Privacy Issues
    I believe we must be aware of the possibilty that our personal information may be shared with others. Our privacy rights may be violated. But, have we "assumed the risk" by using Google search of our own free will. It's a dilemma.

    I read, and enjoy movies. I enjoy a good conspiracy theory. The possibilities are interesting to me. For example, for many years I've felt, in a tiny space in the back of my brain, that Google was collaborating with the United States government, or one of its information gathering agencies. My theory is Google enticed millions of people to use its free gMail product so it could gather personal information and share that information with the United States government. How else did they make money on a free service? By selling advertising? I suppose it's possible, but not as sexy as my conspiracy theory. Have you ever noticed the advertisements that appear on your screen after you perform a search. More times than not, the advertisement relates to something in your search. Have you noticed the ads on my blog (generated by Google's AdSense) change as my posts change, and they generally relate in some way to the post itself. coincidence? Seems to me Google is on very thin ice. They need to gather information about us to be the best at what they do. We need to have a tremendous amount of trust that Google isn't sharing our information. Google risks their entire business by sharing our information and losing our trust. If Google doesn't share our information how will they entise advertisers to pay for ads that generte revenue so Google can operate? See, it all fits nicely in my imagined conspiracy theory.

    Maybe Google should be required to share information, or at least some information with government agencies. If Google is in the business of gathering information and they come across information that has national security implications, should they be permitted or required to share that information with the appropriate government agency? If the government, arrests a suspected terrorist, should it be permitted to see the messages that person sent via gMail? If so, may they then see the messages received and sent by the recipients of the mail sent by the suspected terrorist? If so, where does it stop? Is someone from a government agency sitting in a room 24/7/365 scanning every message sent by the millions of gMail users. If so, my conspiracy theory gets more interesting doesn't it. Did you hear about the high school teacher who, as a class lesson, sent a phony message through gMail that hinted at possible terrorist activity? The very next day, the FBI showed up at his house. It could have happened.

    Think for a minute about the privacy implications of the following stream of thought. Google has an incredible amount of power because they developed a device to gather and store information from all aspects of your life. The data it gathers from you grows much like a multi-level marketing campaign with Google at the very bottom of the pile. The more people that use it, the more data is collected. The more data collected, the more advertisers want to advertise because Google can maximize their advertising dollars through their ability to provide data that helps the advertisers target Google users. Every time we search we provide Google with data because we choose a result. And, every time we choose a result we give Google data that they learn something from. For just a minute, assume this theory is correct. What comes to mind when you think about these words: privacy, greed, competition? What happens when I toss in the fact that I've only mentioned two of Google's products; search and gMail? What happens when you add in the data gathered through You Tube, Google Docs, Google Calendar, gChat, AdSense, Adwords, Google Analytics, and the rest of the Google product line? What happens to my theory when we learn Google purchased Doubleclick? Doubleclick provides the digital platform for websites to sell online ads and advertisers and agencies to buy advertising. What happens when we learn Doubleclick uses its database to help advertisers target prospects. Does it appear to you Google's purchase of Doubleclick may have given it the opportunity to become the foundation of all advertising on the Internet. Is that too large a stretch of the imagination?

    "Conspiracy Theory" or "Reality"
    Is my imagination creating a conspiracy theory worthy of a screenplay for a "B Movie" or is it reality? In the February 4, 2010 issue of "The Denver Post" newspaper I read an article about Google and the National Security Association (NSA), one of the United States government's largest information gathering agencies. The essence of the article was Google and the NSA were in conversations to see if the NSA could assist Google in determining how or who was responsible for hacking into the gMail system in China. It appears gMail accounts in China were hacked into, disabled, and plundered of their content. It also appears that the targeted accounts werre those of Chinese dissidents, people who oppose the Chinese government, and people who are proponents of the free flow of information in China. What happens to my "Conspiracy Theory" if Google consumates a deal with the NSA and opens up its databases to this information gathering organization? What if Google has been providing the NSA with this information all along, and this is just an excuse to get the relationship out into the open because people much smarter than me are thinking about my "Conspiracy theory?" Stay tuned.

    January 31, 2010

    While There is Tragedy in Haiti, Don't Forget Your Neighbors

    Up to 200,000 people may have died after a 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010. Over 2 million people are still in need of food and medical attention. The disaster in Haiti is hard to fathom. My heart goes out to those injured, dead, and now those millions who are still in need of food and medical attention. I can't even imagine what it is going to take to rebuild Haiti after this terrible event.

    USAID reports as of January 22, it has contributed $90 million to the U.N. appeal, including $22 million in non-food assistance and $68 million in food assistance. Additional contributions of nearly $90 million in assistance for search-and-rescue, health, and other support had also been committed as of January 22, bringing total USAID assistance to Haiti for the earthquake $180 million. Over the past several weeks I have seen television commercials imploring people to donate money, food, and clothing to Haiti. I have seen movie stars, professional athletes, musicians, rap stars and others announcing that they personally have donated money to Haiti and asking us to do the same. The outpouring of support for the people suffering from this tragedy is unbelievable. Especially in light of the number of Americans out of work or devastated by the economic downturn here in the United States. Americans have a lot to be proud of for the efforts being made to help the Haitian people, and it appears we have only just begun.

    I was in San Francisco the day after the earthquake struck Haiti to celebrate my daughter's birthday. I had a wonderful three days celebrating with Lauren and her friends. We played and ate and generally just had a very fun time going places and doing things. During the day, it seemed everywhere we went someone was asking us for money to eat, drink, or get somewhere. At night, everywhere we went we saw people sleeping in doorways of stores and office buildings. There is poverty and homelessness in San Francisco, and, I would venture to guess, every big city in the United States, and probably small cities too.

    About 3.5 million US residents (about 1% of the population), including 1.35 million children, have been homeless for a significant period of time. Over 37,000 homeless individuals (including 16,000 children) stay in shelters in New York every night. This information was gathered by the Urban Institute, but actual numbers might be higher.

    A study conducted in 2001 by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 27 major cities showed that homeless shelters turned down 37% of individuals due to overcrowding. This number has increased 11% compared to the previous year, while the number of places available in homeless shelters changed insignificantly. Statistics for homeless families are even graver -- 52% were turned down by homeless shelters, an increase of 22% since 2001. Experts believe that the number of homeless people is significantly higher than the number of places available in shelters. Furthermore, outside of major cities there are very few shelters, despite the high number of the homeless.

    Some important information gleaned from Sermon’s video above:

    • On a given night, an estimated 672,000 people experience homelessness. This means 22 out of every 10,000 people are homeless in America.

    • 42% of those 672,000 are unsheltered (meaning they live on the streets or in other forms of shelter not meant for human habitation), while 58% are living in shelters or transitional housing.

    • 37% of the homeless are people in family units, while 63% are individual adults.

    • The most common makeup of a homeless family is a mother with one or two children. This certainly goes against the image of homelessness most perceive; we’ve noticed that people typically picture the homeless as a single male standing on the street corner, not a single mom with kids in tow.

    • Those meeting the federal definition for chronic homelessness make up just 18% of the entire homeless population.

    • Sermon explains that the chronically homeless, as defined by the federal government, include individuals with physical or mental disabilities who have experienced homelessness multiple times or have remained homeless for a significant amount of time.

    • 8 out of 10 homeless persons are in urban or mostly urban areas.

    • Overall, homelessness decreased 10% from 2005 to 2007. This does not show the influence of the current economic slump.

    • In July 2009, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a mix of 2007 and 2008 homeless count numbers, the first official attempt to reveal the affects the recession has had on the homeless. These preliminary numbers show that the number of homeless had not changed between 2007 and 2008. However, Sermons points out that this stalemate (after a period of significant decreases in homelessness) demonstrates a significant step backward in efforts to end homelessness.

    The recession will force 1.5 million more people into homelessness over the next two years, according to estimates by The National Alliance to End Homelessness. In a 2008 report, the U.S. Conference of Mayors cited a major increase in the number of homeless in 19 out of the 25 cities surveyed. On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase of homelessness since 2007.

    Although homelessness is a difficult number to measure definitively, it appears that more people—especially families—are sleeping in shelters, living in their cars, and taking up residence in tent communities. See also: "Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University: The State of the Nation's Housing 2009."

    I could go on and on, but by now I sense you get the point. Things are not great right here in the United States of America. We may not be suffering from a tragic 7.0 earthquake, but there are homeless hungry people right here in America. There are people right here in America who need food, clothing, and medical attention. I can't help but wonder what that $180 million dollars could be doing right here in America.

    Many different religions provide guidelines for giving charity. We've all heard "Charity begins at home." Religious teachings agree. After things are secured at home, we are told to look for those in need in our community, in our city, in our state, in our country, and then, and only then, to those throughout the rest of the world. I hope those who have given to those in need of assistance in Haiti have helped those in need right here in America. If not, it's not too late. There's a woman out on the street not two miles from my house holding a sign that says "Dreaming of Chicken."

    January 27, 2010

    Health Care | A Simple Solution For Congress To Consider

    Tucker Hart Adams was the chief economist for US Bank. She was also once the chief economist for United Banks of Colorado. She is president of a prestigious economic consulting firm and she serves on several boards and is active with numerous professional and community organizations. I had an opportunity to hear Ms. Adams speak at a lunch I attended a few weeks ago. She is engaging, intelligent, and takes a no-nonsense approach to addressing the issues we are all facing.

    Ms. Adams is retired so she indicated her remarks were just some thoughts she had. It was her "Non-Economic" forecast for 2010. When she was done, she answered questions. One of the first question asked for her views on the health care proposals currently before the Congress. I'm very interested in this topic, more so after tonight's State of the Union Address. A lot of what Ms. Adams said, rings true with me. A lot of what I've read and heard about this issue makes no sense. I believe the President said tonight that he will not raise taxes this year. I believe he said no one, rich or poor, will have their taxes raised. I also understand the current proposal before Congress provides for tax increases to start in 2010, although the actual plan won't start until 2013 or 2014. So we will be paying for services that we won't be getting for four years.

    Since this debate began I've wondered if we are talking about reforming health care, or reforming the health insurance industry. I'm still not sure. I am sure that Congress is taking a very complex problem and trying hard to come up with a complex solution. Maybe something simple is in order. Maybe the final bill should focus on the problem and not address all the special interests of the Congressmen and Women voting on the proposals.

    Citing a National Health Interview Survey, "USA Today" reported on December 17, 2009 there are more than 45.4 million Americans of all ages - or 15.1% of the population - with no health insurance. 58.4 million (19.4%) people of all ages had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to the interview, and 31.9 million (10.6%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of the interview, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Ms. Adams stated that of the 45 million uninsured people, 15 million of them were uninsured because they had pre-existing conditions, and 30 million people were uninsured because they can't afford the insurance. Many of the 30 million uninsured people are in there 20's and 30's and can't afford the insurance because they live in expensive homes, drive expensive cars, and have big screen televisions in every room. They don't believe they will every get sick. Their children won't get sick or injure themselves. They prefer to have nice things instead of purchasing medical insurance. And when they do get sick or their child does break a bone, it is you and I who pay for the medical attention they receive.

    The proposals before Congress to resolve this problem are thousands of pages long. Maybe there is a simple solution. First, let's agree we are trying to reform the health insurance industry, not health care. The health insurance lobby is just going to have to back off and face facts. Next, let's require every American to purchase health insurance, regardless of age or economic circumstances. We are already required to purchase car insurance and pay into Social Security and Medicare. Why not require everyone to purchase health insurance. Even if that means owning one less big screen television set or driving something other than a Mercedes.

    This will eliminate those people who simply choose to be uninsured. There will still be some who simply can't pay the premium, and we'll have to provide subsidies just like we do for so many other things right now.

    Next, this mandatory insurance will have to have a large deductible to keep the price down. I believe Americans must take responsibility for their own health care expenses, just like we are responsible for paying our mortgage, our credit card debt, and our car payments. Health insurance needs to be something every American puts in their personal budget. Some people still won't be able to do this and will need our help, but that number is significantly less than 45 million.

    Finally, health insurance companies need to be regulated and required to provide a basic policy at a set price to anyone and everyone who applies for it. Even those with pre-existing conditions. The price of this insurance needs to be low enough for people to afford, while still providing a small profit for the insurance companies. In addition to this basic policy, insurance companies should then be permitted to offer additional bells and whistles to those who want to pay more for these benefits. They should be able to charge whatever the market will support. The wealthy will get the insurance they desire while everyone will at least have a basic policy.

    This idea takes care of the 15 million people who have pre-existing conditions and are excluded from the market today. It also takes care of 20 million or so who can afford health insurance but have decided to spend their money on other "necessities" like cars and television sets. There will still have to be a pool of money available to assist the truly poor, but we will all have better health care for less money than we are spending today.

    January 17, 2010

    What Is The Cause Of Global Warming?

    I've been doing some thinking about global warming. I'm concerned about the environment. I'm concerned that people act like we have unlimited resources. I'm concerned about our frivolous use of water. I try to recycle as much as possible. I enjoy the outdoors a lot and do not litter. When I fish, I always do my best to leave the area like I found it. I am slowly replacing all the light bulbs in the house with energy-efficient bulbs. With all this in mind, I'm having some difficulty with what I'm hearing about global warming.

    I consider myself a spiritual person. I wouldn't say I am "religious" or "ritually observant," but I am spiritual and somewhat knowledgeable about religion. I believe in God. I believe there is a higher being. I'm not totally convinced God created Earth, but, even if the Earth resulted from some "Big Bang" or other scientific event, when it was created, it was pure. It was clean. It had water and vegetation. It had a hot molten core and there was an atmosphere above the Earth.

    Later, Earth was inhabited by animals that lived and procreated. The animals drank the water, ate the plants, some lived in the water, and some ate other animals. Later, Earth was populated by people. They ate the animals and plants, and drank the water. Later they used resources they found on Earth to build homes, and eventually they built roads, cities, and all the creature comforts we have grown used to.

    During all this change, Earth itself went through changes. One of my favorite places on the planet is Rocky Mountain National Park. When visiting the park one can learn a lot about the history of Earth. At some point in time, the beautiful Earth we envision as The Garden of Eden, cooled and was in an Ice Age. Later, Earth warmed, and the ice melted. In Rocky Mountain National Park, there is evidence of this in places like Glacier Basin and Moraine Park. Both were formed when glaciers melted and moved down the mountain sides taking everything in sight with them. History seems to suggest Earth goes through periods where it cools and warms. Even if you believe there is a scientific reason for this, instead of God making this happen, I am not aware of any dispute over Earth's tendency to warm and cool over many many years.

    If all this is true, even if most of this is true, it seems awfully arrogant to think humans now have the power to effect climate change because of the cars they drive and the factories they operate. The cooling and warming of Earth has occurred over hundreds of millions of years. To think that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, humans have effected climate change, is almost unbelievable. On the other hand, why would educated people make all this up? Can you believe in the theory of global warming and believe in God?

    I've been accused of being cynical. More than once. For example, I have a theory about sports teams. I believe sports teams re-design uniforms in order to generate revenue from the sale of jerseys and caps. I believe teams keep their uniforms until they believe they've saturated the market with the sale of the uniforms to fans. Once the market is saturated, they re-design the uniform and start all over again. Is it possible someone at General Electric believes they have saturated the light bulb market? Could this person have realized this and helped spread the word about global warming to generate revenue for energy efficient light bulbs. Could people support the theory of global warming because by doing so they are helping to create new businesses that are using wind and alternative clean energy to run our home and cities? Could the theory of global warming be used to stimulate a struggling economy?

    I don't know the answer to any of these questions. Maybe it means something that I am asking the questions. Maybe I'm out of my mind and should just go-along-to-get-along. If you've read all this, I'd be interested to know what you think. Leave a comment.

    Thanks to for the photo.

    January 8, 2010

    Here's A Tip | Reward Yourself!

    Reward yourself when you finish you daily tasks. Feel good about what you have accomplished - You deserve it!
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