retirelazyandhappy

There are lots of things to think about.


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Care for the Environment

Welcome back!

Today I want to say a few words about two great websites that I found that address environmental concerns.  They are fun, provocative and stir the imagination.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first I found in an article in the New Yorker Magazine, the May 20, 2013 issue.  The article is called Form and Fungus, and it is written by Ian Frazier, which is a good clue that you are in for a good time.

In his article Ian introduces us to Gavin McIntyre, and Eben Bayer, two inventors of a process for making materials that are completely biodegradable, use little energy in their manufacture, use waste materials, and mushroom fibers.  Yes, that’s right, mushrooms.  Their website is http://www.ecovativedesign.com.  Go and visit it.  They discuss all of the things that they are making now, such as packaging materials that will take the place of styrofoam which takes multiple years to degrade, and which is a petroleum product.  Other products are building materials, and eventually, consumer products.  It is possible to go to their store and buy some of their products to play with and try out for yourself.  Have fun with that.  It is a beautiful, clean looking and inviting website.

My other discovery is Life Edited.  I found this in the New York Times editorial section.  Life Edited is a company that promotes space saving, elegant living with a small footprint.  Take a look at http://www.lifeedited.com and look around their website.  It is another one that is clean, pretty, and stirs the imagination.  The products range from skinny bikes, to tiny apartments, to apartment buildings which provide tiny living spaces, and more generous community spaces, complete with lending libraries for “stuff” that takes up a lot of space but isn’t used on a daily basis.  The furniture in these apartments share many uses.  Very neat!!  Have fun.


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Political reflections

Welcome back.  I want to say a few things about the many political controversies that are on the news lately.

I will start with the IRS.  I have to wonder, since the IRS was evaluating whether organizations which were applying for favored tax treatment on the basis of the fact that they are social service organizations rather than political organizations, why they wold be surprised at getting extra scrutiny when the words Tea Party are in their name?  My impression of Tea Party groups is that they are political.  I think most people working for the IRS might think the same thing.  So when the job is to identify quickly those organizations which qualify for a favored tax status I am not surprised that a political sounding organization would get more attention, in the service of efficiency?  What do you think?

Second, the Associated press emails.  Evidently the leak was a serious one, that endangered the life of an undercover agent.  There were eight months of searching for the source of the leak using more conventional means.  Only 2 months worth of emails were taken, and those were the 2 months around the time of the leak.  This may be a bad thing to do, and I do believe in first amendment rights, but it was a not an uncontrolled hunt through private emails to find anything at all.

Next, food stamps.  Saving money by restricting the access to food is not just cruel, it is out and out bizarre!

On top of that is has just come out (!!Really???) that some corporations such as Apple make billions of dollars in profits, but can stash them in safe havens

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

and don’t pay taxes on them.  Especially when one party especially although both ore guilty of this to some extent) is trying to cut expenses by cutting food stamps, I have to wonder what kind of country do we want?  I think we can do better.


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I want to do a shout out for two webites that I found.  The first is

Chopchop magazine  www.chopchopmag.org  I found this one through Mark Bittman’s blog on the New York times (www.nytimes.com).  Here is the mission statement of the parent organization: ChopChop Kids:

“ ChopChopKids is an innovative non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and teach kids to cook real food with their families. We believe that cooking and eating together as a family is a vital step in resolving the obesity and hunger epidemics.” (seen on the home page of Chopchopmag.org.)

These are attractive and very easy recipes meant fro children to do with some parental supervision.

Why do I like it?  Because I want to find some easy, quick, and healthy recipes for myself.  Being the lazy sort, the simpler, and quicker, but healthier, the better.  This magazine provides fuel for three of my passions:  Laziness, because they are quick and easy, Nutrition, because they are healthy, and aesthetics, because the magazine is beautiful

Try it out.

Another website:

www.goodguide.com.   The goal of Good Guide is Find safe, healthy, green & ethical products based on scientific ratings. (As seen on the home page of the Good Guide.)

GoodGuide | Ratings of Natural Products, Green...

GoodGuide | Ratings of Natural Products, Green Products, and Healthy Products (Photo credit: Doc_Chris)

Good guide provides ratings on household products, including cleaning, cosmetics and apparel.  These ratings feature each product’s impact on health, the environment and the society.  In light of the number of toxic substances in the world today, and the poor conditions in many of the factories that produce the products that we consume, these ratings will help us make purchasing decisions that respect our values.  The rating can be filtered to reflect those values that are most important to you.  There is even an application for mobile devices that will allow you to scan the barcode of a product and access the ratings for that product.  Alternative products can be suggested, ones that reflect the values that you used as a filter.

Have fun with both of these.


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Our Future in the Digital World.

Meanwhile I am reading a new book by Eric Schmidt (executive chairperson of Google, and Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, and adjunct senior fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations).  The book is The New Digital Age, published by A Knopf, in 2013. To give a hint of what is to come the reviewers in the Advanced praise section were, instead of the book reviewers from the  press, people like Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Madeleine Albright, and Michael Bloomberg.  So you know that you are on a different oxygen level.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

The book is very high  level, intriguing about the future (and Google brings the future closer every day, have you seen the computer glasses?) and scary about the problems with privacy and elf revelation that will be our future.  I have just started the book, so more about that later.

For fun I am rereading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.  How did she do that??

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Related articles


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Cover of "The Six-Figure Second Income: H...

Cover via Amazon

I said that I would say more about how t increase your wealth, and what programs help you do that.  A while ago I described AWAI which stands for American Writers and Artists Inc.  The website, which I do recommend is:  www.awaionline.com.  That is a good place to start if you are interested in a side job while you are working, a full time job when you are ready for that, or extra income when you are retired.

Here are some other resources which I recommend:

The Six Figure Second Income by David Lindahl and Jonathan Rozek.  Published by John Wiley and sons, 2010.  The subheading is: How to start and grow a successful online business without quitting your day job.

This book, available on Amazon, is a clear, specific step by step roadmap for creating, promoting and selling products online.  There are many specific suggestions for promoting your ideas, presenting your ideas, and attracting customers by giving them specifically what they want.  They go on and give you some very helpful information about making money through advertising.  This is a great How To book.

Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy.  Published by QUE in 2011.  The subheading to this book is: How to use social Media to invent or reinvent yourself.  This is a book primarily about being successful in promoting yourself in traditional business, although their discussions also incorporate individual businesses.  This book is about slf promotion, and they give very specific step by step instructions about how to use Linked In and Twitter (for business connections) and Facebook (for social connections).  They start by helping you identify your brand, who you are, and what you want to be known for.  This book is also available from Amazon.


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Beware of wealth building programs

Be careful of companies that promise wealth.  The secret is that you are charged an excessive price for empty promises.  The seller of the program is the one who makes the money.  The buyer is the one who is taken for a chump.

How do I know?  From sad experience!! Several years ago I bought Loral Langemeier’s wealth building program.  Admittedly, it was later than the agreed on time limit when I looked at the material and decided to send the package back.  Fair enough, right?  It was sent back late.  However:

The material was expensive: and was made up of a series of workbooks, with lots of vacant space to write in your answers, and very little real information.

The content that was there consisted of Positive Thinking: believe that you can do it, and you will do it.

A second theme: use their coaching and more advanced courses: Much more expensive.

A third theme: nonsense:  one example is that she got a contract with a large oil drilling company to provide health and wellness programs, without any history of success in that field or any knowledge or experience.  But she tied into her success thinking, and of course she was successful.  Well good for her!  Personally, I am having a little trouble with that story.

There are few facts and no research backing up her program, but be sure that you follow this program exactly, step by step, and stage by stage.  Think positively and do what Loral says.

So why did I send it back?  Well besides the empty promises and poor content of the material, the workbooks that they sent me were used, they were already written in!! Really!!

When I sent them back and refused to pay for this defective material, my account was sent to collections, even though they had the materials back.

Be careful about these promises.  My lesson: look at the material well within the time limit.  If necessary, send it back well within time to get a refund.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow,