RSS

Jon Stewart Set To Storm Deadbeat Congress With Sick 9/11 Responders Demanding Healthcare

jonresponders

Jon Stewart may have left the Daily Show in August, but he isn’t quite done making a difference yet. With a post-9/11 bill aimed at helping First Responders who risked their lives on September 11, 2001, set to begin phasing out, the former TV host decided to help do something to change that.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for a New York City police officer who died of a respiratory disease linked to his participation in rescue and recovery operations after the World Trade Center was attacked, came into being in 2010 after Congress was finally shamed — including by Stewart, who spent his final show of 2010 razing lawmakers for their uncaring attitude toward those responsible for dealing with the aftermath of the greatest tragedy in our nation’s history — into passing the legislation that would provide thousands of first responders with treatment for their injuries and compensation for their economic losses.

Unfortunately, the legislation is due to expire in this Congress, with the phase-out beginning next month — an issue that could leave many families without much-needed financial assistance. Stewart has joined with lawmakers and first responders who wish to avert catastrophe by reauthorizing the bill.

This time, instead of humiliating lawmakers on his show, the comedian will be taking a more direct approach. Stewart will join 100 first responders and walk the halls of Congress on September 16 to reason with an oddly-reluctant Congress in person. The Huffington Post reports:

Stewart first broached the idea with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D – N.Y.), the 9/11 bill’s lead sponsor in the Senate. Several responders were in the audience when the senator appeared on one of Stewart’s final shows in July, said Glen Caplin, a former Gillibrand aide who is coordinating the Capitol Hill push for his new employer, the Global Strategy Group.

The last 9/11 bill, named after an NYPD detective who died after exposure to the toxic site, passed in 2010, more than nine years after the attacks, when Congress was finally cajoled into addressing the mounting problems suffered by Americans who rushed from all over the nation to help in the aftermath.

But funding for the $1.6 billion health and monitoring effort ends in October. It has enough cash on hand to keep operating for up to another year, but the resulting uncertainty could cause problems for patients and push doctors to seek more permanent work. More than 72,000 responders and survivors from every Congressional district are enrolled in health programs funded by the bill.

To make matters worse, the $2.75 billion  Victims Compensation Fund — which hemorrhaged $90 million because of the “Sequester” in 2013, is set to end on October 3, 2016. Anyone diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness or cancer after that date will not be eligible for assistance.

“This is such bulls**t. It’s insane,” Stewart told Gillibrand during a Daily Show interview — and Stewart’s vow to assist in keeping these programs alive is not of small import to first responders.

“I have no role models, no heroes, but Jon Stewart comes as close as possible to that,” said John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, a 9/11 advocacy group. “I like to think we pitched a good eight innings, and we called on Jon, who was our Mariano Rivera, to close it.”

Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, whose purpose one can easily guess, has listed lawmakers who have no pledged their support — and it doesn’t look pretty on either side of the fence. Surprisingly Republicans, who reference 9/11 almost as much as they do Benghazi, offer little support to the reauthorization act– though Democrats do seem more willing to lend a hand in getting the bill to pass.

“Jon Stewart and our first responders shouldn’t have to be in Washington walking the halls of Congress to keep the health care program running that our heroes need and deserve,” Gillibrand told HuffPo. “Congress should do the right thing and treat our 9/11 heroes who answered the call of duty with the same dignity and respect as our veterans.”

“We’re asking for a permanent bill, but lets not kid ourselves,” Feal said of the proposed legislation. “There’s nothing permanent about 9/11 responders. We’re all going to die off.”

If you would like to help convince Congress to do the right thing, there’s an app for that. Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act allows you to search for your representatives so that you can let them know how you, as a voter, would feel if they neglected thousands and thousands of brave men and women who served our nation on September 11.

“This tool will allow 9/11 responders, survivors, their families and supporters to see where each member of Congress stands on renewing and extending the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and whether ‘Never Forgetting 9/11′ is just a hollow political statement or something that members of Congress are in fact committed to doing,” said deputy chief of the New York City Fire Department Richie Alles when the app was introduced.

Stewart can be expected to go the long haul with this fight. Earlier this year he said that lawmakers’ seeming unwillingness to pass the bill makes him so angry he “can’t even think straight.”

“Let’s schedule a call, and let’s schedule a ritual shaming around that time,” Stewart said earlier this year. “I obviously at that point will be knee-deep in, more than likely, grain alcohol.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Do You Need to Dominate Your Profession on LinkedIn Search?

Because you still can! 

Unlike Google, Bing, and Yahoo, who have algorithms that weigh keyword density,
relevance, links, and SENIORITY (that’s right – if you have had dominance for a keyword for years, it’s darn hard for anyone tobump you from it) LinkedIn is still relatively virgin territory.

For business owners in the more popular competitive fields it is virtually impossible to beg, steal, or borrow a top page one ranking on Google. The smart larger firms started optimizing for SEO ages ago.  They hire rooms full of people in Bangalore or Shanghai to sit around for $2.20 a day and stuff keywords into content, Meta tags, Meta descriptions, photo titles,pop-ups, dropdowns, and URL’s.

LinkedIn is still doable, and it’s more than just keyword stuffing.  If you research the appropriate words to compete with, and integrate them into valuable content it does not detract from the integrity of your profile.  For several of my clients I have been able to get keywords like “real estate – 95131” ranked not just on the first page, but NUMBER ONE, on LinkedIn: The fastest growing search medium for professional services.  Check it out at http://bayintegratedmarketing.com

I would also invite you to check out my small business blog (great tips) at: https://bayintegratedmarketing.wordpress.com

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

How to succeed at self-sabotage.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/aastock

Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people and maybe other species, like dogs, cats, birds, and whatnot. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it, since being miserable doesn’t help them find lovers and friends, get better jobs, make more money, or go on more interesting vacations. Why do they do this? After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living conditions are stable, peaceful, and prosperous—no civil wars raging in your streets, no mass hunger, no epidemic disease, no vexation from poverty—making yourself miserable is a craft all its own, requiring imagination, vision, and ingenuity. It can even give life a distinctive meaning.

So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it? Let’s exclude some obvious ways, like doing drugs, committing crimes, gambling, and beating up your spouse or neighbor. Subtler strategies, ones that won’t lead anyone to suspect that you’re acting deliberately, can be highly effective. But you need to pretend that you want to be happy, like everybody else, or people won’t take your misery seriously. The real art is to behave in ways that’ll bring on misery while allowing you to claim that you’re an innocent victim, ideally of the very people from whom you’re forcibly extracting compassion and pity.

Here, I cover most areas of life, such as family, work, friends, and romantic partners. These areas will overlap nicely, since you can’t ruin your life without ruining your marriage and maybe your relationships with your children and friends. It’s inevitable that as you make yourself miserable, you’ll be making those around you miserable also, at least until they leave you—which will give you another reason to feel miserable. So it’s important to keep in mind the benefits you’re accruing in your misery.

• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you. Not only that, they often feel obscurely guilty, as if your misery might somehow be their fault. This is good! There’s power in making other people feel guilty. The people who love you and those who depend on you will walk on eggshells to make sure that they don’t say or do anything that will increase your misery.

• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.

• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general. You can project an aura of someone burdened by a form of profound, tragic, existential knowledge that happy, shallow people can’t possibly appreciate.

Honing Your Misery Skills

Let’s get right to it and take a look at some effective strategies to become miserable. This list is by no means exhaustive, but engaging in four or five of these practices will help refine your talent.

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. In hard economic times, many people are afraid of losing their jobs or savings. The art of messing up your life consists of indulging these fears, even when there’s little risk that you’ll actually suffer such losses. Concentrate on this fear, make it a priority in your life, moan continuously that you could go broke any day now, and complain about how much everything costs, particularly if someone else is buying. Try to initiate quarrels about other people’s feckless, spendthrift ways, and suggest that the recession has resulted from irresponsible fiscal behavior like theirs.

Fearing economic loss has several advantages. First, it’ll keep you working forever at a job you hate. Second, it balances nicely with greed, an obsession with money, and a selfishness that even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Third, not only will you alienate your friends and family, but you’ll likely become even more anxious, depressed, and possibly even ill from your money worries. Good job!

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and, for 15 minutes, meditate on all the things you could lose: your job, your house, your savings, and so forth. Then brood about living in a homeless shelter.

2. Practice sustained boredom. Cultivate the feeling that everything is predictable, that life holds no excitement, no possibility for adventure, that an inherently fascinating person like yourself has been deposited into a completely tedious and pointless life through no fault of your own. Complain a lot about how bored you are. Make it the main subject of conversation with everyone you know so they’ll get the distinct feeling that you think they’re boring. Consider provoking a crisis to relieve your boredom. Have an affair (this works best if you’re already married and even better if you have an affair with someone else who’s married); go on repeated shopping sprees for clothes, cars, fancy appliances, sporting equipment (take several credit cards, in case one maxes out); start pointless fights with your spouse, boss, children, friends, neighbors; have another child; quit your job, clean out your savings account, and move to a state you know nothing about.

A side benefit of being bored is that you inevitably become boring. Friends and relatives will avoid you. You won’t be invited anywhere; nobody will want to call you, much less actually see you. As this happens, you’ll feel lonely and even more bored and miserable.

Exercise: Force yourself to watch hours of mindless reality TV programs every day, and read only nonstimulating tabloids that leave you feeling soulless. Avoid literature, art, and keeping up with current affairs.

3. Give yourself a negative identity. Allow a perceived emotional problem to absorb all other aspects of your self-identification. If you feel depressed, become a Depressed Person; if you suffer from social anxiety or a phobia, assume the identity of a Phobic Person or a Person with Anxiety Disorder. Make your condition the focus of your life. Talk about it to everybody, and make sure to read up on the symptoms so you can speak about them knowledgeably and endlessly. Practice the behaviors most associated with that condition, particularly when it’ll interfere with regular activities and relationships. Focus on how depressed you are and become weepy, if that’s your identity of choice. Refuse to go places or try new things because they make you too anxious. Work yourself into panic attacks in places it’ll cause the most commotion. It’s important to show that you don’t enjoy these states or behaviors, but that there’s nothing you can do to prevent them.

Practice putting yourself in the physiological state that represents your negative identity. For example, if your negative identity is Depressed Person, hunch your shoulders, look at the floor, breathe shallowly. It’s important to condition your body to help you reach your negative peak as quickly as possible.

Exercise: Write down 10 situations that make you anxious, depressed, or distracted. Once a week, pick a single anxiety-provoking situation, and use it to work yourself into a panic for at least 15 minutes.

4. Pick fights. This is an excellent way of ruining a relationship with a romantic partner. Once in a while, unpredictably, pick a fight or have a crying spell over something trivial and make unwarranted accusations. The interaction should last for at least 15 minutes and ideally occur in public. During the tantrum, expect your partner to be kind and sympathetic, but should he or she mention it later, insist that you never did such a thing and that he or she must have misunderstood what you were trying to say. Act injured and hurt that your partner somehow implied you weren’t behaving well.

Another way of doing this is to say unexpectedly, “We need to talk,” and then to barrage your partner with statements about how disappointed you are with the relationship. Make sure to begin this barrage just as your partner is about to leave for some engagement or activity, and refuse to end it for at least an hour. Another variation is to text or phone your partner at work to express your issues and disappointments. Do the same if your partner is out with friends.

Exercise: Write down 20 annoying text messages you could send to a romantic partner. Keep a grudge list going, and add to it daily.

5. Attribute bad intentions. Whenever you can, attribute the worst possible intentions to your partner, friends, and coworkers. Take any innocent remark and turn it into an insult or attempt to humiliate you. For example, if someone asks, “How did you like such and such movie?” you should immediately think, He’s trying to humiliate me by proving that I didn’t understand the movie, or He’s preparing to tell me that I have poor taste in movies. The idea is to always expect the worst from people. If someone is late to meet you for dinner, while you wait for them, remind yourself of all the other times the person was late, and tell yourself that he or she is doing this deliberately to slight you. Make sure that by the time the person arrives, you’re either seething or so despondent that the evening is ruined. If the person asks what’s wrong, don’t say a word: let him or her suffer.

Exercise: List the names of five relatives or friends. For each, write down something they did or said in the recent past that proves they’re as invested in adding to your misery as you are.

6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to help someone, contribute to a charity, or participate in a community activity. Don’t do it, unless there’s something in it for you, like the opportunity to seem like a good person or to get to know somebody you can borrow money from some day. Never fall into the trap of doing something purely because you want to help people. Remember that your primary goal is to take care of Numero Uno, even though you hate yourself.

Exercise: Think of all the things you’ve done for others in the past that haven’t been reciprocated. Think about how everyone around you is trying to take from you. Now list three things you could do that would make you appear altruistic while bringing you personal, social, or professional gain.

7. Avoid gratitude. Research shows that people who express gratitude are happier than those who don’t, so never express gratitude. Counting your blessings is for idiots. What blessings? Life is suffering, and then you die. What’s there to be thankful for?

Well-meaning friends and relatives will try to sabotage your efforts to be thankless. For example, while you’re in the middle of complaining about the project you procrastinated on at work to your spouse during an unhealthy dinner, he or she might try to remind you of how grateful you should be to have a job or food at all. Such attempts to encourage gratitude and cheerfulness are common and easily deflected. Simply point out that the things you should be grateful for aren’t perfect—which frees you to find as much fault with them as you like.

Exercise: Make a list of all the things you could be grateful for. Next to each item, write down why you aren’t. Imagine the worst. When you think of the future, imagine the worst possible scenario. It’s important to be prepared for and preemptively miserable about any possible disaster or tragedy. Think of the possibilities: terrorist attacks, natural disasters, fatal disease, horrible accidents, massive crop failures, your child not getting picked for the varsity softball team.

8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. Optimism about the future leads only to disappointment. Therefore, you have to do your best to believe that your marriage will flounder, your children won’t love you, your business will fail, and nothing good will ever work out for you.

Exercise: Do some research on what natural or manmade disasters could occur in your area, such as earthquakes, floods, nuclear plant leaks, rabies outbreaks. Focus on these things for at least an hour a day.

9. Blame your parents. Blaming your parents for your defects, shortcomings, and failures is among the most important steps you can take. After all, your parents made you who you are today; you had nothing to do with it. If you happen to have any good qualities or successes, don’t give your parents credit. Those are flukes.

Extend the blame to other people from your past: the second-grade teacher who yelled at you in the cafeteria, the boy who bullied you when you were 9, the college professor who gave you a D on your paper, your first boyfriend, even the hick town you grew up in—the possibilities are limitless. Blame is essential in the art of being miserable.

Exercise: Call one of your parents and tell her or him that you just remembered something horrible they did when you were a child, and make sure he or she understands how terrible it made you feel and that you’re still suffering from it.

10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures. Taking pleasure in things like food, wine, music, and beauty is for flighty, shallow people. Tell yourself that. If you inadvertently

find yourself enjoying some flavor, song, or work of art, remind yourself immediately that these are transitory pleasures, which can’t compensate for the miserable state of the world. The same applies to nature. If you accidentally find yourself enjoying a beautiful view, a walk on the beach, or a stroll

through a forest, stop! Remind yourself that the world is full of poverty, illness, and devastation. The beauty of nature is a deception.

Exercise: Once a week, engage in an activity that’s supposed to be enjoyable, but do so while thinking about how pointless it is. In other words, concentrate on removing all sense of pleasure from the pleasurable activity.

 

11. Ruminate. Spend a great deal of time focused on yourself. Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems. This will help you foster a pessimistic view of your life. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any positive experience or influence. The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous.

You can ruminate on the problems of others or the world, but make them about you. Your child is sick? Ruminate on what a burden it is for you to take time off from work to care for her. Your spouse is hurt by your behavior? Focus on how terrible it makes you feel when he points out how you make him feel. By ruminating not only on your own problems but also those of others, you’ll come across as a deep, sensitive thinker who holds the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair and seek out negative feelings, like anger, depression, anxiety, boredom, whatever. Concentrate on these feelings for 15 minutes. During the rest of the day, keep them in the back of your mind, no matter what you’re doing.

12. Glorify or vilify the past. Glorifying the past is telling yourself how good, happy, fortunate, and worthwhile life was when you were a child, a young person, or a newly married person—and regretting how it’s all been downhill ever since. When you were young, for example, you were glamorous and danced the samba with handsome men on the beach at twilight; and now you’re in a so-so marriage to an insurance adjuster in Topeka. You should’ve married tall, dark Antonio. You should’ve invested in Microsoft when you had the chance. In short, focus on what you could’ve and should’ve done, instead of what you did. This will surely make you miserable.

Vilifying the past is easy, too. You were born in the wrong place at the wrong time, you never got what you needed, you felt you were discriminated against, you never got to go to summer camp. How can you possibly be happy when you had such a lousy background? It’s important to think that bad memories, serious mistakes, and traumatic events were much more influential in forming you and your future than good memories, successes, and happy events. Focus on bad times. Obsess about them. Treasure them. This will ensure that, no matter what’s happening in the present, you won’t be happy.

Exercise: Make a list of your most important bad memories and keep it where you can review it frequently. Once a week, tell someone about your horrible childhood or how much better your life was 20 years ago.

13. Find a romantic partner to reform. Make sure that you fall in love with someone with a major defect (cat hoarder, gambler, alcoholic, womanizer, sociopath), and set out to reform him or her, regardless of whether he or she wants to be reformed. Believe firmly that you can reform this person, and ignore all evidence to the contrary.

Exercise: Go to online dating sites and see how many bad choices you can find in one afternoon. Make efforts to meet these people. It’s good if the dating site charges a lot of money, since this means you’ll be emotionally starved and poor.

14. Be critical. Make sure to have an endless list of dislikes and voice them often, whether or not your opinion is solicited. For example, don’t hesitate to say, “That’s what you chose to wear this morning?” or “Why is your voice so shrill?” If someone is eating eggs, tell them you don’t like eggs. Your negativity can be applied to almost anything.

It helps if the things you criticize are well liked by most people so that your dislike of them sets you apart. Disliking traffic and mosquitos isn’t creative enough: everyone knows what it’s like to find these things annoying, and they won’t pay much attention if you find them annoying, too. But disliking the new movie that all your friends are praising? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to counter your friends’ glowing reviews with your contrarian opinion.

Exercise: Make a list of 20 things you dislike and see how many times you can insert them into a conversation over the course of the day. For best results, dislike things you’ve never given yourself a chance to like.

—–

I’ve just listed 14 ways to make yourself miserable. You don’t have to nail every one of them, but even if you succeed with just four or five, make sure to berate yourself regularly for not enacting the entire list. If you find yourself in a therapist’s office—because someone who’s still clinging to their love for you has tricked you into going—make sure your misery seems organic. If the therapist enlightens you in any way or teaches you mind-body techniques to quiet your anxious mind, make sure to co-opt the conversation and talk about your misery-filled dreams from the night before. If the therapist is skilled in dream analysis, quickly start complaining about the cost of therapy itself. If the therapist uses your complaints as a launching pad to discuss transference issues, accuse him or her of having countertransference issues. Ultimately, the therapist is your enemy when trying to cultivate misery in your life. So get out as soon as possible. And if you happen upon a therapist who’ll sit quietly while you bring all 14 items on this list to life each week, call me. I’ll want to make an appointment, too.

Cloe Madanes is a world-renowned innovator and teacher of family and brief therapy and one of the originators of the strategic approach to family therapy. She has authored seven books that are classics in the field: Strategic Family Therapy; Behind the One-Way Mirror; Sex, Love, and Violence; The Secret Meaning of Money; The Violence of Men; The Therapist as Humanist, Social Activist, and Systemic Thinker; and Relationship Breakthrough. Contact: madanesinstitute@gmail.com.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A woman dragged from her wheelchair for protesting the health care bill speaks out.

It’s an unforgettable image.

Just a few hours after Senate Republicans released their health care bill, a woman in a wheelchair chanting “No cuts to Medicaid” is rolled down Capitol office building hallway by police.

About 10 seconds into the shot, the officers lift her out of her chair and carry her off-screen and outside as her chants grow louder and louder.

Her name is Stephanie Woodward. She’s a disability rights lawyer and activist.

She had traveled to D.C. with a group of around 60 protestors to call on the Senate majority leader to preserve the program.

“People with disabilities depend on Medicaid for our lives and for our liberty,” she says in an interview.

The group piled into McConnell’s office with others lying down on the floor just outside. Members were taken into custody about 20 or 30 minutes later.

View image on Twitter

Medicaid is important to disabled people. We raise our voice and get answered with handcuffs

The Senate bill contains major cuts to Medicaid, a program that funds a large portion of medical care for Americans with disabilities.

The current proposal caps the amount of money the federal government provides the states to cover the program, which funds home care for disabled adults in addition to general medical care. With drastic funding reductions, Woodward fears, many disabled adults would be forced into nursing homes, losing their independence in the process.

“My parents were working-class people,” says Woodward, who was born with spina bifida. “They couldn’t afford to keep me alive if it wasn’t for Medicaid. Medicaid paid for all my surgeries growing up, paid for my wheelchairs. I wouldn’t be who I am today … without Medicaid getting me here.”

Woodward would like to see senators revise the bill — and bring people with disabilities into the process.

High on her list is making sure the law does not reduce the ability of people who need intensive, frequent medical care to do more than just survive.

Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images.

“We have the right to not only live, but live just as every other American in the community,” she says.

In the meantime, she has no regrets about the protest.

“I’m certainly a bit sore, but it’s worth it,” she insists. “It’s what we need to do to fight for our lives.”

For her, it’s about the values in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“We don’t see that as just restricted to people without disabilities,” she says. “I think that’s for all Americans.”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What are Thinking Distortion’s, how do they really affect me, and if intellect alone is not the answer, what is?

by Stephen Ulrich –

I spent the day yesterday, a long day, with good friends and family.   My buddy invited me fishing up at Lake Merwin.  My wife was going to be up there anyway, with his and a few of their old girlfriends.  It is really sweet, they are all in their 50’s and have been together since high school.

I had been working on my own boat all week to get ready for the season, so the conversation started, but Ricky said he was taking his boat up early for the girls, so I didn’t need to bother with mine.  Sweet.  I know Ricky is a solid guy and a good friend, his equipment is all top notch, and he doesn’t do anything half-assed so there is nothing to worry about.

Ricky told me he would pick me up at 4:20AM, and I grumbled just enough that he shouldn’t get used to this kind of hour, but FISHING after all…    I set the alarm, chased the dog upstairs at 9:30 and pulled the blackout curtains to get a good night sleep.  Sleep is critical for me.

3:40 came, and I popped out of bed to pee, slapped the alarm off the table and fed the dog.  The dog eyed me incredulously as she is used to waking ME up. Hour later we were up at the lake and my wife was out in the driveway in her nightgown ta meet us.  It was a hot evening, never got below 75’ all night, so the girls were all up.  We said our hello’s and jumped down to the boat and got out on the water.   It was a gorgeous warm morning, and watching the sunrise neither of us really gave a darn about fishing.  We got a cycle of putting all the gear together, and considered it good prep for someday when it was cooler and the Kokanee might be a little bit more important.  They eat good, but not much of a fight.

The rest of the morning was spent touring on the lake, some of the favorite places of Ricky’s youth.  Leisurely ride back, replete with local Fried Chicken Tenders at Amboy Booze and Bait dumped me home around noon.  We were just in time to meet my wife’s brother and his wife and kids downtown Vancouver for one of their weekend get togethers at Esther Short park.  Great flea market type atmosphere and an amazing violinist (Aaron Meyer) that reminded me very much of the 1960’s phenom David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day fame.

Point being that it was a wonderful, fulfilling, day.  Crashed and burned and woke up positive and hopeful.

I have a morning meeting I go to at Kaiser, to help me with some anxiety issues.  Seems like drinking too much for much of my life was at least in part, self-medication for some other issues.  Like Ana says, we all have our demons.

The therapist has us list what our feeling number is, and mine is an 8.  I am happy, focused and optimistic.  What is working for me?  I made a conscious decision to enjoy the drive down to the meeting.   At the stop lights, I was enjoying my sports talk radio and the fact that people are still making fun of LeBaby for not being a team player, and trying to run the NBA on his own.  I am thankful my heart is back to sinus rhythm, and when I get telemarketing calls I am thankful for having a roof over my head to take the calls under, and a phone to take them on.

The Distorted Thinking we discuss runs the gambit around all sorts of delusions that range from overgeneralization and expecting perfection, to either/or thinking and other forms of straight negative thinking.  We banter back and forth all of the tools we can us to tell ourselves we are OK, to remind ourselves that most of our phobias are just that, and to predict triggers and convert all of this exercise to good old-fashioned practice.  If this sounds a bit like mindfulness practice, of Buddhist influence, that is because it is.  Kaiser has taken great strides towards incorporating its wellness programs with substance abuse and general mental health programs, and this is no exception.

I asked the therapist point blank:

“OK, I get the recognition of the negative, and the need to remind myself of the fallacies of distorted thinking. I get the logic. I do the practice.  I breathe. I meditated for an hour and a half this morning –  I get that part.  NO WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO.?

There was a palpable hush in the room.

She finally broke the silence, “Well, just practice.”

Me: “Yeah, I get that.   That does not seem to be working, I still feel totally messed up.”

“Well, you are not the only one.   75% of all human thought is negative.”

“Even the Dali Lama?”

“Yes, that is why he practices all the time……”

I had left for the meeting in a wonderful mood.  The self-hypnosis was actually working.  This deflating news hadn’t broken my spirit.  I chose to enjoy the drive home as well, and it worked.

Then a few other things started going wrong.  My dog is still upset that my wife left us for three days, so to punish her, (the dog) won’t eat.   My wife is now going to have to be in Boston at the end of next week, and not only do we have our own puppy, we have another.  It will be fine but its just another thing. The Myrtle Tree between our house and the neighbors looks like it is dying from the 95+ heat of the past few days….

I got depressed.  Something I never do.  Went in and told all of this to my wife who basically said, “Honey, it’s something we all struggle with day to day.  Get used to it.  You are not alone.”

Yeah, I think:  Misery likes company.   So, I am relegated to a life of meditation, counseling, meetings and self-help.  This sucks.  There is nothing more I can do.

Then, the little light bulb goes off.

That is why people pray.  There IS something else.  I know that, because the last time I was in the ER for a week with Pneumonia, it WAS a miracle I survived.  ALL THAT IS, still has the power and has never let me down.  All, I need to do is tap into the I AM and things always work out.  Maybe not the way I want or expect them, but they work out.

It is hard to feel alone when I remember my place in all that is.  Not larger, or smaller.  Not smarter or more important, or less important.  Just part of.  Humility is not a weakness, it is a blessing.

Yesterday was a good day.  So Is today.  I am happy to be present.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Your Retail Experience Just Changed Forever — Amazon Swallows Whole Foods

The Whole Foods Market in Midtown New York. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Last Friday, Amazon.com AMZN +0.93% sent another shock wave rippling through all retailers. The e-commerce giant announced the intention to purchase health foods grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Share prices for Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Costco all tumbled. The New York Times described Amazon as the “new breed of Silicon Valley conglomerates.”

The size of the deal is atypical. Since listing its stock publicly in 1997, Amazon has acquired nearly 80 other companies, including movie-and-TV information provider IMDB, the video game streaming site Twitch, and the audiobook service Audible, among others. In all earlier acquisitions, Amazon has eschewed big takeovers. The biggest deal thus far has been the 2009 purchase of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, for roughly $1.2 billion — dwarfed significantly by the Whole Foods announcement.

Stranger still was the market reaction. Economists and financial analysts routinely conduct “event studies,” examining how markets react to firm announcement, whether the market views the investment announced by a company as value-enhancing or value-destroying.

To successfully acquire a target company, bidders often resort to paying an acquisition premium, that is, the difference between the estimated real value of the target and the actual price paid to obtain it. Amazon’s offer represents a 27% premium to Whole Foods’ closing price on Thursday. Similarly, when Microsoft MSFT +0.51% acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, it represented a 50% premium. Last year, when AT&T T -1.32% announced their acquisition of Time Warner, it also paid a 35% premium.

In the short-term, therefore, the target tends to win, while the bidder loses. For example, as expected, LinkedIn’s stock rose 47% to $192.21 while Microsoft’s stock fell 2.6% to $50.14 immediately following Microsoft’s announcement. Between October 19 and October 26, 2016, AT&T’s market capitalization shrank by nearly $20 billion, while Time Warner’s surged by $8 billion. Traditionally, that is exactly what happens after a takeover is announced. Except, that is, when you are Amazon.

On Friday, Amazon’s shares jumped by 2.4%, adding another $11 billion to its market valuation, thus making the whole acquisition nearly free. Whole Foods’ stock, meanwhile, soared by 29% to $42.68 a share, the highest level since May 2015. Then on Monday, it closed even higher, at $43.22 a share.

So exactly what is so special about Whole Foods — which has been struggling with a long slump in sales and a recent reshuffling of its top management — that could take Amazon to new heights? Why are investors warm to what CNBC’s Jim Cramer has called “the most disruptive deal in ages?”

Not All Acquisitions Are Alike

In 2001, Harvard Business School’s Joseph Bower wrote an influential piece in the Harvard Business Review where he described how managers often mistakenly lump all mergers and acquisitions (M&A) together, which in fact, represents very different strategic activities, each presenting differing challenges. Mixing them only makes it harder for an M&A to pull off. That explains, in part, the abysmal track record confirmed by nearly all studies: 70% to 90% of mergers and acquisitions fail.

When a CEO wants to boost corporate performance, the most common form of M&A in a mature industry is to consolidate capacity. In May 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan said, “We have the potential to be in [the] top three.” Such is the business logic of “to eat or be eaten.” The parent company closes the less competitive facilities, eliminates overlapping functions, shuts down idle capacity, and improves operational efficiencies. The goal is to achieve greater economies of scale to lower overall costs.

Alternatively, top management may use M&As to jump-start long-term growth by embarking on a “geographic roll-up” or “product-market extension.” The parent company lets the newly acquired entity leverage the existing model to turbocharge growth. When Spinbrush was acquired, it gained immediate access to the distribution channels that P&G had nurtured over the years. When VMware was acquired, it tapped into a long list of existing EMC customers. Few changes with respect to strategy or operating models were required on either side. Synergy was immediate and apparent.

Obviously, what may seem a perfect match on paper may not be so in reality. The success of Pepsi-Cola’s acquisition of Frito-Lay, owing to the direct store delivery logistics system which PepsiCo had honed over the years, didn’t translate well when PepsiCo later acquired Quaker Oats. As the latter acquisition unfolded, managers at PepsiCo painfully discovered that its traditional warehouse delivery method had very little in common with that of Quaker’s, and consequently, the acquisition failed to meet the financial expectations.

Most interesting perhaps is the third type of M&A. It entails investing in a company whose business model has yet to be proven. The target company is often an upstart poised to disrupt an existing industry. The acquisition is as much about preempting future competition as it is about buying a disruptive business model. That’s what drove Wal-Mart to acquire Jet.com for $3 billion in 2016. The same can be said for Unilever’s $1 billion takeover of the Dollar Shave Club, or for General Motor’s $500 million investment in Lyft—made in the hopes of doubling down its ride-sharing efforts. Growth prospects notwithstanding, these startups were far from achieving profitability. However, they offered a promise to pivot the outmoded business of the established companies.

Acquire to Reinvent

Viewed in this light, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is truly in a class of its own. None of the conventional reasons can explain the acquisition. For one, Amazon won’t be consolidating the grocery sector. By the end of 2016, Walmart commanded the lion’s share with 14.45% in the food and grocery market. Whole Foods had a paltry 1.21%, while Amazon’s share was negligible at 0.19%. The product categories between Amazon and Whole Foods are also so distant that it’s hard to imagine a viable “one-stop shopping” strategy. It’s unlikely that quinoa lovers would pick up an e-reader or set of Wi-Fi speakers while shopping at Whole Foods. And Whole Foods itself is definitely not going to disrupt Amazon.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WARNING: Bullshit alert – how do they get away with this crap? JOANNA GAINS TO QUIT FIXER UPPER AND SELL FACE CREAM

Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper Breaches Her HGTV Contract, But You’ll Never Guess Why

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: HGTV has ousted Joanna Gaines for breaking her contractual agreement, not even Chip knew what was going on. News broke of this legal whirlwind just a few days ago. Apparently, things have been going downhill for a while; but now it’s safe to say the boat has sunken.


It all started late last November when Joanna Gaines, host of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, signed a deal with Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner. The deal states that Joanna’s New Cosmetics Line will be picked up and promoted by the shopping channel QVC. Joanna is very proud of her line. She has been quoted as saying, “This is more than just a beauty line. This is what every woman has been dreaming of for most of her adult life.”

The problem is: HGTV and QVC are rival competitors. There is a clause in Joanna’s HGTV contract that clearly says she is forbidden from promoting or doing business with any other channel or media company. It was later discovered that not even her husband, Chip, knew what she was constructing in the background. When her hidden secret surfaced, it caused a rift in their marriage. Because of this, HGTV has decided to let him carry on the show by himself, without her.

The decision doesn’t seem to bother Joanna at all. She says the show was just a stepping stone to her real dream; which is running her beauty line. When the executives at HGTV discovered she has no intention of canning her cosmetics business, they fired back with a law suit. The law suit claims that she is contractually obligated to request permission of the network before she can start any new business. In response, Gaines has filed a counter suit. She says the only reason HGTV is giving her a hard time is because her miracle face crème really works, and they want to own a portion of her company.

What Is Her Beauty Product And What Does It Do?.

We were able to do a little snooping and found out what this mystery line was all about. The company is called Luminary and it is a cutting-edge Wrinkle Reducer And Anti-Aging Serum. Her product line is becoming so popular, even top beauty experts such as Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan are singing Luminary’s praises.

“Something was just telling me this is the next chapter of my life.” Joanna said in a recent interview. She continued, “There are lots of skin products out there that didn’t work for me… So, I got some of the world’s leading skin experts together to create Luminary. And this one actually works. I truly feel like the show was holding me back from realizing my true potential. But my new path feels right.”

But What About Chip?

Chip is such a great husband that he’s decided to decline HGTV’s offer to do the show by himself. Instead he’s opted to work alongside wife and become the director of operations at her new company.

Since her secret has been leaked to the public, Joanna has decided to break ties with QVC and focus on promoting Luminary herself.

We asked Joanna if she could provide coupons that would allow our loyal readers to try Luminary at a discount. Her response was better than we could have imagined. Joanna went a step further by agreeing to give 150 of our readers a supply of Luminary absolutely Free! You just cover shipping. TRY OFFER FREE NOW

Gaines said she is certain her magical face cream will work wonders for anyone who tries it. And she is so certain, that she is willing to let you try it for free.

So We Decided To Put her rising product to the test

Our interns sent out a companywide email asking both men and women if they’d like to try Luminary for our test. Some wanted to try it, some wanted to see how it worked for other people first. However, nobody wanted to be the first to try it… Except one brave soul. Brenda Talarico, our 54-year-old Senior Editor. She volunteered to go first and give this magical elixir a shot.

Here Are Brenda’s Results:

DAY ONE:

“It’s just the first day and I could already see a big difference. Within seconds my loose, saggy skin began to tighten and firm up. I could literally feel the difference as soon as I put it on. It was a slight tingle, but nothing over-powering. To be honest it was actually kind of soothing and therapeutic. My husband even took notice, he said I look just like I did when we met 25 years ago! I’m already in love with Luminary and it’s just day one… Let’s see how tomorrow goes…”

DAY SEVEN:

After five days of using Luminary, I was shocked at the drastic results.

“Within my first 5 days of using Luminary, I was a total believer. Now it’s day 7 and I’m still seeing my appearance improve daily. I used to have blotchy, dry skin… But now my skin-tone is even, and moisturized. Those yucky fine-lines and dark circles under my eyes are beginning to vanish too. My results haven’t stopped yet, so I’m going to keep going and see how young I can truly look.”

DAY FOURTEEN:

“This is incredible! I ran into an old friend from college and she told me I look exactly the same as I did back then… She went on to ask me which plastic surgeon I used. I explained to her that I didn’t have any cosmetic surgery done, but she didn’t believe me… I had to show her my bottle of Luminary just to prove it to her. Wow! This stuff is truly amazing. Words can’t even begin to describe.”

Brenda’s Final Thoughts:

“I’m only 54 and had already given up skin products… I was convinced that none of them worked… However, I must admit; Luminary has proved me wrong… It has truly improved the texture of my skin dramatically. The dark spots have all disappeared and the puffy bags under my eyes have been deflated. I’m so glad I put my skepticism to the side and decided to give this amazing face saver a try. – Brenda Talarico, Senior Editor – PEOPLE Magazine

The Verdict:

Using the Luminary system has removed over 87% of Brenda’s fine lines and wrinkles. It has also tightened and smoothed out the skin on her face and neck. All while removing the sagging, aging, and dehydration from her skin

Here’s How It Works:

Decades worth of sound science has been used to develop Luminary. This incredible face cream contains high concentrations of Proprietary Biosphere and QuSome, which are well known for their age defying properties. This topical treatment also contains Dermaxyl (better known as a facelift in a jar), and Ester-C (an active anti-aging compound in Biosphere). When these ingredients combine, wrinkles and fine lines stand absolutely no chance whatsoever.

But Will This Work For You?

The short answer is yes. We asked Joanna if Luminary will work for anybody, and here is what she had to say. “If you have a face, and your face has skin, Luminary will work for you. Guaranteed. It doesn’t matter your skin type, skin condition, race, or age. Luminary was created with everybody in mind. As a mixed-race person, that was the first thing I made sure of.” – Joanna Gaines

NOTE: In order to achieve the best results, you have to use the entireLuminary system for a minimum of 30 days.

There are less than 150 free bottles of Luminary left, so act now in order to claim yours. .

offer

(*EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR OUR READERS*)

Note: Brittany used both Luminary to erase her wrinkles, we suggest to use both products together to get the best results possible.

Update: Only 6 Trials Still Available. Free Trial Promotion Ends: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Receive A Free Bottle Of Luminary

Take advantage of our exclusive link and pay only $4.95 for shipping!
Risk FREE Trial!

This special offer ends: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What exactly did happen to Uncle Ed? Or, Fear and Loathing while growing moss between the fingers in the Pacific NorthWest.

What exactly did happen to Uncle Ed? Or, Fear and Loathing while growing moss between the fingers in the Pacific NorthWest.

by Stephen Ulrich

Another beautiful rainy June day in Vancouver.   Washington, not Canada.  For some reason, we live here.  OK, I know why we live here:  Family, friends, Wide Open Spaces, Affordability…… certainly NOT the weather.

The month of February where it didn’t get over 28’F for two weeks, and marked the wettest weather in recorded history, was entertaining in it’s own right.  Not unlike Oakland (where I was born) boasting the Greatest Basketball Team of all time, the Pacific Northwest is smashing records left and right.  Trump be damned (please) we are hellbent on being singularly responsible for refuting global warming…. but I digress.  Suffice it to say that grey weather in the farking winter is just fine, but the middle of June?  No esta’ bien!

While waiting for my Gardner’s aid, helper boy, skilled laborer, (i.e. my hands) to arrive, I find that the caffeine has once again drawn my fingers to the keyboard.  I was, honestly, just stopping by to check the weather to see if it could possibly be drier this afternoon so we could plant the Dogwood.  Dogwoods are a most resplendent ornamental tree, and given the grey nature of the sky in this area, they are a modest accoutrement for an otherwise dreary backyard skyscape.  No wonder the wife has “bedazzled” the interior of our spacious abode with the maximum lighting the square footage would allow.  The photo above depicts the exact amount of light normally required to depilate the nose and body hairs from an adult male homo-sapien.

The weather being confirmed as abysmal for the remainder of the day, the timing of the planting of said Dogwood has become secondary to its placement.  According to those in the know, the root system of a Dogwood is extremely shallow and likely not to require the three-foot pipes full of rocks I was intending to supply to direct the water to a deeper root system.  This is a blessing not to be taken lightly.  What it means is that I really don’t have to install a separate drip line/system for a Dogwood, rather it needs to be insured that the lawn gets watered regularly during those hot dry summer months which are apparently feigning complete avoidance of the entire area, all up in here!

Now my lovely and attractive wife is concerned that the placement of the Dogwood will not only interfere with the Badminton net/players that grace our yard at least twice a year, but endanger our view of the entire sky itself. I guess if we lay down under it?

The trees are gorgeous.  It is 80 degrees in San Francisco and I miss it.  The waterfalls are beautiful here and the trees are green all year long.   Except for the ones that lose their leaves completely. How am I supposed to spend the day in the garage working on my boat to enjoy the sunny lake we are visiting on Sunday when it is raining outside?  Maybe I should eat something.

What DID ever happen to Uncle Ed?

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What did I ever do to deserve this girl?


by Stephen Ulrich –

My wife is the most wonderful, inelligent, strong, loving, attentive, patient, beautiful, sexy, and dependable partner a man could ever ask for. Did I mention that I like her too?  And that her job pays for my health insurance?  It just doesn’t get any better than this.

I must admit I did work my ass off during the selection process.  Being a crusty 30 year veteran of nuts and bolts sales and marketing, I treated dating and Match.com like any other sales vetting process. The process was not romantic at all.  I sent out a simple statement “I like your smile” to dozens of probablle matches, and evaluated their responses for creativity and suitability.  There were dozens of meetings for coffee, scores of dates, and not a minor amount of frustration.

The sample population ran from those who wanted to boss me around, those who wanted a sugardaddy, those who wanted a “friend” to those who had a monicum of possibility.  A couple that were really suitable in my mind, did not share that opinion of me, but most never got to the second date stage.

When I first communicated with Mary, I thought “what a lovely, solid, professional girl.”  She had a great job, was quite sharp, was well polished in her commnication and seemed to be honest and of good character.  We had both been on Match for so long that we had pretty much given up the ghost, but felt it was worth “one last try.”

Our first meeting was coffee (per usual) at a Starbucks that ended up beind just below the window of ther apartment building.  Coffee after dinner, turned into another quick snack, followed by a nightcap at one of my local blues bars.  There had been no planning, but my flute happened to be in my car, and the band was on a break.  A quick conversation with the band leader sent me scurring to my car, only to arrive back to the table with a dozen red roses (from a street vendor) and a little black box containing my axe.   A couple of songs later, it was announced that “we would like to invite our friend Steve to come up and sit in on a song with us” and up I went.  They performed “Sweet Home Chicago” in the key of C so it was easy for me, and I’ll have to admit I crushed the song.

Arriving back to the table my date was suitably impressed, we kissed, and the rest is history. The storybook date was followed by her announcement that her entire month of November was spoken for……hmmm. Not the follow-up that I had expected, but it never got me down and the fact that it didnt ended up working to my advantage, as the month long absence never materialized either.  Aparantely there were plans with an old lover in Australia that were far more in her mind than his, but that again was MUCH to my advantage.

As the months, then years flew by I asked her to marry me.  She refused.  I asked again.  She refused again.  I am persistant, and for the sake of brevity in this writing suffice it to say that she did finally relent.  The wedding was as storybook as the first date had been.  

There have been ups and downs.  It is told that I am not the easiest man to live with. There is a certain critical nature, and inate arrogance in my otherwise perfect Arian demeanor that some find less than attractive.  That, and my propensity to consume massive amounts of spirits at even the slightest suggestion of a party, or celebration, or boredom, or frustration, or…  left me asleep on the couch far to many an evening. That, by the grace of a higher power I choose to call God, has been lifted and life has gotten far better as a result.

I have mastered the three words that make a marriage work, “that’s right dear.”  The work on my cynicism is, regrettably, ongoing. It is, however, generally accepted that it’s good to be me.  My wife is as good as they come, my dog is the same, we live in a beautiful home with great family and friends, and our basketball team is among the greatest this planet is likely to ever see.

Then there’s the Vancouver WA weather, but as stated previously, I’m still working on the negativity. 🙂

The secret to a wonderful marriage is simple.  Work your ass off to find the best woman in the world.  Get lucky beyond your wildest expectations. Work your ass off to get her to marry you. Get lucky again.  Work your ass off to keep your head out of said ass, and give FAR more often and far more than you percieve to be the “fair” 50% and there is hope for you yet!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: