Monday, March 30, 2009

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

This is a nice article on the subject:

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

I always thought that unmanaged stress contributes to weight gain. Exercise really helps with this.

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Small Bits of Fitness Add Up

This really works! I do this often. It helps me get refreshed during the day or get recharged in the evening when I find my energy dwindling.

Small Bits of Fitness Add Up
Forget the "all or nothing" mentality when it comes to exercise. Fitness does not live or die by 60-minute workouts; there is middle ground. Short spurts of exercise, when they accumulate, have been shown to share similar benefits of longer workouts.

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Making the most of your day

Dr. Stephen Covey made this same point repeatedly in the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." The critical thing is to determine what are the big rocks in your life and put those in your jar first, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year. In the end it will be a successful life.

Do you often tell others (and yourself) that you just don't have enough time? If you are like most people, this is probably something you think about at least once a day. It seems like our lives continue getting busier but time never grows in proportion. This quote reminds us that great things can (and have been) done with the time that we all have. What will you do with your time today?

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

- H. Jackson Brown


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Taking care of what matters most

Your body is one of the most fragile things you need to care for. All too often we allow sickness, stress, and even other people run our lives. It's tough to consistently pursue your goals when you're laid up or constantly fighting illness. Take a preventive approach to your health. By eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and dealing with your emotions, you can build and maintain a healthy body that can help you improve other areas of your life!

A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison.

- Francis Bacon


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Don't Super-Size (even with healthy foods)

It is true: too much of a good thing is still too much!

Portion Control
Question: Is it possible to eat meals consisting entirely of healthy foods, such as carrots, fish, apples and whole wheat bread, and continue to gain weight?
Answer: Yes, because you can still eat too much, even if everything is good for you.

The food industry has made it possible for us to buy more food for less money, so they have conditioned us to think more is better. This is their way of selling more food -- that is why they are in business. But that is not a healthy thing to do. So it is wise to learn what a good portion is and weigh or measure what we eat.

It is critical that we teach our kids what a healthy portion is. They are subjected to the "super-size" mentality from many sources so it is up to us to show them how to eat properly, not only in the types of foods to chose, but also in the correct amounts to use.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Never giving up

Do you ever get frustrated because things are moving too slowly in your life? Many people don't realize that building a foundation for success does not happen overnight. It is a slow process in which you are constantly working and learning. After all, that foundation must remain strong, even in times of failure or crisis. This takes time! You may have to remind yourself that "failing" is only failure if you quit; otherwise it's a learning opportunity. So don't worry if your life seems to be moving in slow motion. Concentrate on building a solid foundation and learning from your back steps.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Over And Over Again

DailyOM - Having The Same Experiences
There may be times in our lives when it seems like we keep having the same kinds of experiences. The situation or the people involved may be different each time, yet one experience may feel exactly like the last one and the one before that one.

This is such an interesting concept. I honestly believe that our thoughts and preconceptions do influence what happens to us.
We bring ourselves and our beliefs to every situation. If we can figure out which of our beliefs are no longer serving us, we can consciously change those beliefs, make new choices, and start having new kinds of experiences that are in line with what we want in life.

I think we owe it to ourselves (and to others) to constantly examine our belief system. When we find we are uncomfortable or too comfortable, it is perhaps because of how we feel about and perceive ourselves.

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Are you making a difference?

Have you ever said "I want to help do this" or "I'd like to be involved in that"? Many people have grand intentions but forget about the importance of following through. It is far better to take the time to complete small deeds than to spend your time talking about what you want to do someday. Sometimes you may feel that a small deed will not make a difference. Just remember that every bit--even a small bit--helps. Every good deed makes a difference to someone.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Exercises for Knee Pain

These exercises have been of great help to me:

11 Exercises that Help Decrease Knee Pain
BONUS TIP: If you have increased soreness after doing these exercises, it may help to ice your knee or knees for 10 - 20 minutes. Place a bag of ice (or frozen vegetables) over the joint, with a towel between to protect the skin. Elevate your leg on a chair if ice alone is inadequate.

The ice treatment was also suggested by my Health Coach at work and it really helped me.

It's all about choices

In life, as adults we have choices and we make them every day on every aspect of life. We can choose to eat a greasy cheeseburger or a healthy salad.

As consumers, we also have choices that affect our health. One of the choices we can make is where to eat when we eat out. Here is a great article about some of the available choices:

America’s Unhealthiest Restaurants on Yahoo! Health

We should only support establishments that are willing to be forthcoming with nutritional information on the food they sell. And we owe it to ourselves to find out the nutritional information of everything that goes in our mouth. It is the best way of insuring that we are making responsible nutritional choices.

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A Great Teacher: Water

DailyOM - Living Like Water
Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passive Aggressive Behavior

I think I have experienced passive-aggressive behavior all my life. As a learned habit, I sometimes find myself doing it to others (thankfully, it is more rarely now than it has been in the past).

Here is a very nice, short, article on this type of behavior and what to do about it:

DailyOM - Claiming Our Feelings
If you’ve ever found yourself repressing your anger and behaving in other ways to get your point across, you may be someone who is adept at engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.
Procrastination, inefficiency, stubbornness, and sullenness are some of the many ways that anger can be expressed indirectly.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Trigger Foods: What are Yours?

Trigger Foods: What are Yours?
So what exactly are trigger foods? Well, for me, they are the foods that once I start eating them it is very hard to stop. It’s as if I can’t seem to get enough; foods such as chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, brownies, etc. While I would love to say I have developed the discipline to eat these in normal sized portions, I still struggle with these foods if I bring them home. But that’s OK because I have devised my own plan on how I deal with this situation.

One of my trigger foods is pizza. I always have to watch myself around that.

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Sorry, Virginia, there is no such pill

The only way to lose weight and be fit is to exercise and eat a nutritious diet:

12 Ways to Spot a Fad Diet
The next time you watch an infomercial, read an advertisement, or spot a new supplement reporting miraculous weight loss results, we wouldn’t blame you for cocking a wary eyebrow.

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Are you a computer tech or geek?

Here is a nice list of ten things you may consider for additional income during these difficult times:

10 ways techs can make extra cash (
If you’re searching for opportunities to supplement your income — or you’re in between jobs and need some work to tide you over — the tech field offers a number of possibilities. Erik Eckel runs down some of your options.

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Health Warning: Check Expiration Dates!

A friend sent me this warning recently: Pancake Mix and Allergic Reaction
I recently made a batch of pancakes for my healthy 14-year-old son, using a mix that was in our pantry. He said that they tasted "funny," but ate them anyway. About 10 minutes later, he began having difficulty breathing and his lips began turning purple. I gave him his allergy pill, had him sit on the sofa and told him to relax. He was wheezing while inhaling and exhaling. …

… Apparently, the mold that forms in old pancake mix can be toxic!

Here is the content of the email that was sent to me:

A student had pancakes and it almost became fatal. His Mom (registered nurse) made him pancakes, dropped him off at school and headed to play tennis. She never takes her cell phone on the court but did this time and her son called to say he was having trouble breathing. She told him to go to the nurse immediately and proceeded to call school and alert the nurse. The nurse called the paramedics and they were there in 3 minutes and worked on the boy all the way to the hospital. He came so close to dying. Evidently this is more common then I ever knew. Check the expiration dates on packages like pancakes and cake mixes that have yeast which over time develop spores. Apparently, the mold that forms in old mixes can be toxic! Throw away ALL OUTDATED pancake mix, Bisquick, brownie mixes etc you have in your home.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mid-week Status and C25K Report

I finished Day 2 of Week 2 of C25K. It is a beautiful day and I most definitely enjoyed the run! I definitely struggled with the last 90 second jogging period, but that is probably because it was uphill and I had already done two uphill stretches during the run. But struggling is a good thing -- it just makes me want to try even harder! :-)

Nutrition wise I am doing well. My calorie intake has been under control, although my appetite has increased some. Weight seems to be under control and I am hoping to lose another two pounds this week.

My greatest area of concern is stamina. Because of my 5K training, I stopped doing my staircase routine. I do not want to overdo things, but I feel my stamina is down a bit. Maybe it is the staircase routine, maybe something else (there are a number of stressors in my life right now).

I have also noticed that I am not drinking as much water as I should. My ST (strength training) has been pretty lax lately. Ah ... areas for improvement all around! :-)

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Taking care of yourself

DailyOM - Staying On Track
In a world where we have routines for nearly everything—our route to work, our physical fitness regimen, and our weekday schedule—it’s amazing how many people forget to create a routine for meeting their spiritual needs.

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Energy Boosts at Work

I think we all experience the occasional lack of energy during the day. Here are some great suggestions for perking yourself up as needed -- and there are no chemicals involved!

Energy Boosts at Work

This is all healthy and great for you!

Did you realize bad posture alone can give your brain up to 30% less blood and oxygen? Along with good posture, the most effective way to fight energy lulls is with heavy doses of good stretching and good breathing. Shoot for five minutes of mental or physical activity per hour, every hour at the computer.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It shows

I am not used to this at all. For the last few days, almost on an hourly basis, people stop me and tell me how they notice my weight loss and how I look great. One co-worker said: "If you keep losing weight you are going to disappear!" Another co-worker stopped me and praised me. He ended with "I am proud of you!".

WOW! I am just floored! With this much positive feedback it is easy to keep going!

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Couch-5K Week 2, Day 1

Day 1 of this second week on the Couch-to-5K program went incredibly well. I even added one 90 second period at the end of the 20-minute lap because I was far enough from my origin point to just walk back. Why not add some more training? :-)

The new shoes felt great -- I definitely need to adjust to them, but I think they made a difference. My right knee did not feel as "guarded" as with other shoes. I think it was a very good investment.

I can't wait for Thursday's run!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Aromatherapy for the Whole Family

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants and aromatic plant compounds to affect someone's mood or health. In France, where it was discovered, it has been incorporated into conventional medicine to treat infections and disease. In the US, it is widely used for its ability to affect a person's emotional state. Here are some ways you can use aromatherapy to create a healthier home.

  • In the bath: Try this bath before bed to help you or your kids (or all of you!) sleep more soundly. Dilute 5 drops of lavender oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil. Add to the bathwater, using caution to avoid slipping. Lavender helps promote relaxation and sleep.
  • Inhalation: Into a basin of steaming water, add a few drops of an essential oil, like marjoram. Lean your head over the bowl and cover with a towel, and inhale the steam for 10 minutes. Marjoram can help to clear congestion.
  • In the car: Sprinkle a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and stash it under the driver's seat. Peppermint helps increase alertness.
  • Around the house: Help to disinfect the air in your home by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to an aromatherapy diffuser.
  • For your pets: Calm rambunctious or nervous pets by sprinkling a drop or two of lavender oil on their bedding.
Although aromatherapy can complement traditional medicine, it should never be used as a substitute. Always check with your doctor or pediatrician before using any home remedies on yourself or your child.

For more information you can read this article: Aromatherapy Smells Great!

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All things pass eventually

Have you ever heard the concept of "seasons" in life? It refers to an idea that nothing in life lasts forever, and with time, all things change. Do you feel like your life is in an unhappy state? Are you stuck in a rut? It will pass! Sadly, this also applies to the good times as well. The elation of a promotion, the excitement of a new relationship--all will fade with time. Think creatively about how to maximize the sweet times and minimize the sour ones.

Sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted.
- Chinese proverb


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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another first

Yesterday, I began training for my first ever 5K race. I never imagined I would attempt something like this. Certainly, as of late last year I could barely finish the evening without collapsing on the couch and falling asleep. Now, I am exercising daily, watching what I eat, and feeling great!

I started the Couch-to-5K (C25K) program. Yesterday's session was unorthodox because I did not want to look at a stop watch to see when I needed to switch from brisk walk to jog, so I counted blocks. Looking back I realize that it was not necessarily the best way to do it, but I got through it and that was important.

On my Couch-To-5K SparkPeople group I read about free podcasts that will help you time the intervals. The first one I found was from DJ Steve at djsteveboy. These are awesome mixes! I walked to Day 1 today just to get used to the system. I love it! The site also has other running programs that bring you to 8K and 10K.

I also found another set of free podcasts at Podcasts for Running. I am listening to Day 1 while writing this blog. This is a good set. I like Robert's approach because he talks you through the changes rather than the "beep" used by Steve. But both of them are awesome and free -- what more can we ask for?

Thank you to Steve and Robert for providing these free MP3s for all of us that are training to be healthier and fit. I am grateful for their hard work and willingness to give these great music files to all of us.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Finding victory in the small stuff

Do your dreams seem far away? Does the distance between you and the finish line deflate your motivation? Often we forget that goals and dreams are not achieved overnight, but rather in a series of small steps. Progress towards your goals should also be counted as victorious! Stop looking at the end result to bring you the greatest joy. Instead, celebrate the ways in which your life is gravitating towards that desired result. Nothing is guaranteed in life, so make the most of each day and persevere. Remember that the small things in life build up to the bigger ones.


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Monday, March 09, 2009

Pledging Support for Presidente Obama

I just signed a pledge of support for President Obama's plan to renew and strengthen America's economy.

Watch the video announcing this new initiative and pledge your support now:

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Your are unique. Honor yourself.

I have always believed that it is a complete waste of time to compare myself to others. I do not compete against others. I do not try to be better than others. I am constantly trying to learn from others so that tomorrow I can be better than I am today.

DailyOM - Comparing Yourself To Others
… it is not a good use of time to compare ourselves with others because there is no one like us and this makes us incomparable.

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Sushi (2006-2009)

"Sushi" came to us as a gift from our great friend Tracy, as a way to sooth Tracey's anxiety and a way to heal her during the recovery from brain surgery in early 2007. Sushi arrived in our lives in late 2006 as we moved into our new home.

He was a pretty quiet member of the house; not the most sociable of pets, but that comes with being a Beta. He was a very good sport, never complaining when we moved him to temporary housing when we went on vacation. He did not like to be moved to his temporary tank while I cleaned his regular home, but he always showed gratitude and joy when he was back in his own tank. He was specially happy when he got new furniture (color stones and decorations).

Sushi passed away last night. The kids and I gave him a burial with full pet honors early this morning. Noah and MacKenzie dug the grave in our back yard and we laid him to rest there. We thank him for his company and for being such a great fish all these years.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Measure Progress Without the Scale

It is so very true: weight loss is not always measured in pounds on a scale:

Measure Progress Without the Scale
Losing weight usually involves a relatively simple calorie equation: burn off more calories with daily activity than you consume through food. So what happens when these numbers indicate progress, but the scale doesn’t? Before the aggravation sets in, consider why this might be the case. If you’ve been hitting the gym on a regular basis, participating in both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises, then chances are good that you have shed some fat. But the scale might not indicate this because you have also been building lean muscle. Since muscle is dense (a small volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat), the scale might not reflect your hard work.

My favorite effects from being healthier: feeling better and having more energy -- a lot of both! Just an example: today I attended a soccer camp for coaches. I was able to keep up with the 18-30 year old crowd. Despite the hot weather, I was not worn out at all. Before I started working out I would have headed straight for home and a nap. Today, I just felt great being out in the sun playing soccer with other coaches. I love being healthier and working toward my goal!

Pounds lost: 34
Pounds left: 26

Friday, March 06, 2009

Focusing on YOU!

The world is moving at an ever-increasing pace. Our days are filled
with things to do, goals to accomplish, people to see. The calls for
our assistance never seem to diminish. But how can we help others when
we are so overwhelmed? Perhaps we need to take some time for ourselves.
We need to schedule this time as our number one priority. We can only
be effective if we refresh our soul in some way everyday. Whether you
choose to pray, meditate, do Yoga, dance, sing, play an instrument, or
exercise, take the time to refresh and rejuvenate. If you sharpen the
saw you will be able to handle a lot more wood with a lot less effort.

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Dealing with Daylight Saving Time

Here are some great tips on dealing with the loss of sleep caused by Daylight Saving Time:

Don't Let Daylight Saving Time Deprive You of Sleep - 101 - Sleep Center
In the early-morning hours of Sunday, March 8 — at 2 a.m., to be exact — daylight saving time (DST) began and we turned our clocks ahead one hour, giving up those 60 minutes of precious slumber. Sure, switching to DST means another hour of daylight, but the adjustment can be tough for a few days.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is Tracey's birthday. She would have been 43 today -- she always joked that she was born the same year as the modern Super Bowl was.

Birthdays were very important to Tracey -- far more than they ever were for me. So the kids and I will celebrate Tracey's birthday with dinner at one of their (and hers as well as mine) restaurants: Moe's. We have soccer practice afterward so there will not be time for cake. We will leave that for Saturday evening.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How your body influences your emotions

There is an undeniable link between feeling healthy and feeling happy. When was the last time you had the flu, a migraine, or heartburn and felt joyful at the same time? While many of us would agree that there is a relationship between our internal workings and our feelings of happiness, many of us don't take active steps toward living a healthy, positive life. How can we meet our goals when our body isn't feeling up to par? Tiredness, aches and pains, and feeling under the weather can all be big hindrances to our goals. It is very important that we nourish our bodies with adequate amounts of the right foods, condition ourselves to maintain and build strong bones and muscles, rest properly at night, and generally adhere to a healthy regimen if we expect to feel positive emotions.


There is definite truth in these thoughts. Before I started working out, I would be tired all the time. Now I rarely ever feel exhausted in the evenings. And I am getting far more done everyday than I ever was before.

I have also noticed that when I feel a cold coming it gets resolved quicker and I have milder symptoms if I keep exercising as much as possible every day.

Do I feel better emotionally ever since I started exercising and living a healthier lifestyle? You bet!

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Make Smart Substitutions

One of the things I have learned in the last few weeks is to make smart substitutions. The following article talks about making smart food substitutions:

Food Substitutions
Smart substitutions are small (seriously) changes to your diet that can really add up. Did you know that by using one teaspoon of mustard instead of mayonnaise, you save 54 calories? Or that one cup of airpopped popcorn has 100 fewer calories than one cup of buttered popcorn?

There are other substitutions you can make in your life to be healthier:
  • use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • park at the far end of the parking lot and walk more to the store
  • go for a walk rather than sit for lunch
  • schedule workout time rather than watching TV

These are all small, smart substitutions that will make a huge impact on your overall health.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hope, Patience and Perseverance

My friend Tim hit it on the nail again:

Hope, Patience and Perseverance
Keep on working toward your goals. Your perseverance will pay off, your patience will grow and your hopes will be realized.

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Winning victory against yourself

No one likes to lose. The thrill of victory after competition is hard to match. But the wins that leave the most significant, long-term impressions are the ones where you win against yourself. Beating a friend in a game of hoops is much less meaningful than setting a personal best time while running. We live in a highly competitive world, and everything around us screams that we've got to be number one in order to feel successful. Truly though, the best measuring sticks are your past and your potential--not against someone else's standards. Raise the bar for yourself!

I have always thought that competing against yourself is the best way to succeed in the long run. Comparing ourselves to others is unproductive and self-destructive.

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Stressed? Bust it!

7 Simple Stress Busters
Stress happens. No matter how organized you are, how good your systems are, or how friendly your work and living environments are, stress can find a way to poke its ugly head in from time to time. What can you do? Turn to a convenient Stress Buster – a small, simple activity that clears your head and calms you down. When you feel a stress attack coming on, it’s the perfect time to turn to one of these busters and kick that stress out the door.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

This is why I do not buy music

For the last few years I have boycotted the music industry. The following article shows one of the main reasons why I made that decision:

Who Is Ryan Sit And Why Is EMI Suing Him? — Michael

Here are other reasons for not endorsing the music industry:

  • Over-priced: CDs should not be priced at $15 when they cost pennies to produce.
  • Artists receive little of the money we pay for CDs — the label houses, managers, promoters, and other blood-suckers take most of it; sadly, the majority of these people have little to do with making the music happen.
  • The music industry is controlled by a mafia-style group of monsters that are driven by nothing but greed. They care nothing about the consumer, the artists, the musicians. They chew all of them up until there is no more, and then they spit them out as waste.
  • Speaking of quality, music labels have been producing garbage CDs for many years. If two out of 10 songs in a CD are passable you can count yourself as lucky. Mass production, not only of the CDs but of the music itself, has replaced quality by far.
The music industry heads caused the problem of music piracy by failing to ensure quality and fairness in the product they promote. They also ignored the huge advantages of digital distribution of individual songs and instead tried to fight such marketing model with lawsuits and harassment.

Customer loyalty? They killed it.
Artist loyalty? They killed it too.
Lawyer loyalty? Oh, they have that, no doubt about it!

The above are my opinions. Until record labels make a substantial shift in their business model, I will not from them. I used to buy an average of five CDs per month at one time. That was at least five years ago. Let's see, 5 CDs per month * 12 months * 5 years * $12 = $3,600. How many of us in the world have done the same? Millions? Is there any wonder the music industry is desperate for revenue? Would it not be easier to fix the problems (internal to their organizations and their marketing philosophy) rather than filing crap lawsuits against innocent people?

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This could save your home!

I was a volunteer firefighter for several years. One of the most common causes of house fires is one that starts in the kitchen. Watch this video and learn how to extinguish a cooking oil fire. It is so easy!

I want to thank my supervisor for sending this to my work team.

A Kitchen Oil Fire

Food for thought

Chinese Proverb:
'When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009