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Can you find a good watch for five dollars?

Can you find a good watch for five dollars?

Mike Royko started this

Boss (1971), Royko's unauthorized biography of...

Boss (1971), Royko’s unauthorized biography of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley spent 26 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember Mike Royko?  He was a renown Chicago columnist.  He had a wit about him.  One day when Rupert Murdoch was buying the paper he was working at, he wrote that, “no self-respecting fish would wrap himself in a  Murdock newspaper.”

He also used to cut down Rolex watches.  These are luxury watches that cost a lot of money.  Mike preferred to wear a forty dollar Timex watch instead.  Not that he couldn’t afford a Rolex watch – he could.  But he was practical and looked on a watch as something just to keep time.

But I ran into a problem with Mike Royko’s Timex solution.

Electric shaver problem

The same thing happened when I used to use electric shavers.

Let me explain!

My plan was to use an electric shaver and just replace the key part when it broke.  And retailers would sell that part, which was cheaper than buying a new shaver.  But after buying one or two replace parts during the shaver’s life, they drop the shaver model.  They then sell a new model.  The new model resembles the old one but with a different model number.  Then you have to go through the purchase cycle all over again.  So I switched to disposable razors.

Royko watch again

Timex Field Watch

Now for the problem with Mike Royko’s Timex watch

The problem is that the band will wear out long before the watch does.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a stretch metal or leather one – they break.  If I go back to a Walmart, Target or Meijer’s store, the watch sales person can’t put in a replacement band.  And it’s hard to find a suitable replacement band there.

On the other hand, a professional jeweler will charge for labor.  Their labor costs but the replacement band can run more than the watch originally cost.


Dollar General

Dollar General (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

dollar watch

But now I have found the perfect solution – I think!

Then I walked into a local dollar store named deals.  This store chain is owned by Dollar Tree, whom I visit, along with Family Dollar and Dollar General store chains.  I admit this says something about my frugality.  And you find me buying private label brands at Walmart, Trader Joes and Aldis.

But there on a frontal display by the checkout counter, Deals was displaying watches for five dollars.  I know I’m not supporting the buy USA movement, since they are made in China.  But do they work?  Let’s find out by buying one!

Now I meet my first problem.  The watch loses a few minutes a day.  But is it just a flaw with this particular watch?  I need to buy a second watch and see if it has the same problem.  Or it has different problems.  After all, you need to really test a solution.

Link problem of the week

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Reminds me of a problem this week.

Someone contacted me and asked to remove a link.  The article was talking about the YouTube video on SpongeBob Squarepants in China.  I mentioned some links to free SEO training. I can’t name the company, but will give you a hint:  If you copy this paragraph into the Zemanta site (Zemanta website), click the demo tab and run it – then apply all recommended links – the one labeled SEO Training might point to the company in question. This would be a good test to see if this software works consistently.

I told the requester that the link was requested by the software Zemanta.  I also mentioned that I was totally confused why the request was made, as it was a free inbound link to their website.  This was also the only article I know that referenced their website.  If they wished other links to be removed, they need to point the articles out to me.

Do they do any research and testing with SEO?  Are they familiar with how Google and Bing give a website higher page rank, etc?  And to top it off, this was the CEO of a website devoted to marketing professionals.

So back to the five dollar watches.  They will solve my band problem, as I only pay five dollars to replace the whole unit.  But I need to see if more than one watch runs slower than normal.  Or if they will improve the quality over time – for a similar price.

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine (including a cleaver entrepreneur short video):

  • Tips for Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Children Blog post
  • Tricks for Getting Dinner on the Table Faster Blog post
  • How to Show Your Nanny Appreciation Without Spending a Dime Blog post
  • 7 Ways To Get Better Sleep Without Drugs Blog post
  • 7 Benefits of Teaching Your Teen to Drive Blog post
  • 30 Killer Blogs Full of Snack Ideas for Kids Blog post
  • 10 Things the NCAA Absolutely Must Change Blog post
  • 5 Ways to Get Traffic without Paying Blog post
  • 9 Ways Science Is Trying to Stop Death Blog post
  • 7 Animals Who Are Almost Human Blog post
  • 7 Smart Ways to Get Ahead at the Office Blog post
  • 8 Life-Saving Tips for Driving in the Rain Blog post
  • How to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes Without Bunny Ears Blog post
  • How to Childproof the Bathroom Blog post
  • 7 Old Fashioned Outdoor Games Everyone Should Know Blog post
  • 30 Blogs With Sample Nanny Interview Questions Blog post
  • 10 Ways to Style Your Girl’s Long Hair Blog post
  • 25 Tools That Take Tutoring To a New Level Blog post
  • The 10 Best Blogs for Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss Blog post
  • 11 Eye-Opening TED Talks on God & Religion Blog post
  • 7 Nutrients You Aren’t Getting Enough Of Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Applications that Parents Need for Date Nights Blog post
  • The Top 25 Green Business Blogs Blog post
  • Top 25 Education Activists in the U.S. Today Blog post
  • 25 Tips to Make the Most of a MOOC Blog post
  • The 50 Best Smartphone Apps for Back to School: The Teacher Edition Blog post
  • 10 Refreshing and Simple to Make Drinks for Kids Blog post
  • 10 Things Your Kids Can Do on a Rainy Day Blog post
  • Life Insurance Options for Nannies Blog post
  • 10 Professors Who Are Institutions At Their Schools Blog post
  • All You Need to Know About NannyPalooza Blog post
  • 8 Most Common Myths About Counseling Blog post
  • 12 Mobile Apps That Grammar Geeks Just Love Blog post
  • 7 Surprising Benefits of Drinking Alcohol Blog post
  • Biggest Myths About Nanny Care Blog post
  • How to Plant an Herb Box with Your Kids Blog post
  • 50 Creative Ways to Use Skype in Your Classroom Blog post
  • 10 Most Noteworthy Right-Wing Professors in America Blog post
  • The 50 Best Smartphone Apps for Back to School: The Student Edition Blog post
  • 15 Hidden Ways the Recession Is Shaping Us Blog post
  • 10 Challenges for Nannies That Could be Olympic Events Blog post
  • How to Start a Friendship Bread with Your Child Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Parents Need for Payroll Advice Blog post
  • 18 Big Ways Back to School Has Changed Blog post
  • How to Sleep Train a Child Without Crying Blog post
  • 60 Best Money-Saving Tips for this Back-to-School Season Blog post
  • 6 Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms Blog post
  • The 10 Best Colleges to Work For Blog post
  • The 50 Essential Links for Brand New Moms Blog post
  • 6 Tips for Surviving Your First College Party Blog post
  • 7 Tips for Caring For a Loved One at Home Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Applications for Early Childhood Educators Blog post
  • 30 Blogs for Toddler Activity Ideas Blog post
  • Top 10 Parent Concerns About Hiring a Nanny Blog post
  • 10 States With the Worst STD Problems Blog post
  • 6 Weird Superstitions Attached to Animals Blog post
  • 50 Fabulous Pinterest Ideas for Your Home Office Blog post
  • How to Make 5 Simple Entrees that Don’t Require the Oven Blog post
  • 10 Careers That Nannies Easily Transition Into Blog post
  • How Your Commute Affects Your Health Blog post
  • 15 Books That Take American Education to Task Blog post
  • 25 Surprising Stats to Share on Women’s Equality Day Blog post
  • Secure Password Generator http://bit.ly/2hThUE0



Wasting taxpayer resources – is this a murder scene?

Wasting taxpayer resources – is this a murder scene?

The first scene

Chicago police car

Chicago police car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I wrote a blog post entitled The best way to start an US small business at US small business story. I met each Wednesday via Skype to talk about the business and technology ventures I wrote about.  At 7 PM CST on Wednesday, August 8,2012, the party I call Jay (i.e. all fictitious names) was unavailable.  Jay lives in the same condo building I do in Carol Stream, Illinois (USA).  I called and left a voice mail to join us, as well as a Skype text message.

The next day on Thursday, August 9, 2012, I followed up via email and copied the other person I call Ray on it.  Thursday went by without a response via phone, Skype, email or in-person.  It’s unusual for them not to show up.  If they had to be away, they would usually contact me.

On Friday, August 10, 2012, I sent a fax to the condo association.  I asked them to contact the emergency contact and ensure everything is OK, as they should have these numbers.  I got a call from the condo association manager informing me he contacted his sister.  His sister said he should be at home.

Handling the situation

English: Chicago police officers

English: Chicago police officers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About an hour later, I noticed a fire truck and ambulance show up.  They departed a few minutes later, with no sirens or alarms on.  I had to assume that Jay perhaps passed away.

Shortly afterwards, I noticed that 4 squad cars – three marked and one unmarked appeared on the scene.  Perhaps they thought this was a murder investigation?  Jay’s door was locked – no forced entry.  Nobody heard any gun shots. If they did, they would have informed neighbors and called the police.  I kept an eye on the squad cars.  The drivers stayed in their respective cars for about three or four hours.  The family members were also there.  After the time span elapsed, the cars all took off.

The next day I bumped into the family members.  I introduced myself to the sister, who was also a nurse.   She informed me that Jay was found bent over the bathtub.  A later autopsy fixed the cause as suffocation, but couldn’t explain why he couldn’t get up again.

College of DuPage

College of DuPage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

College of DuPage

I have taken several classes over the years, from the College of DuPage (COD).  The courses have been in software engineering, philosophy, creative writing, literature and other disciplines.  In one class, an officer was presenting a project.  I asked the question, “what would the town of Mayberry do if they had a real murder?  Would they be able to secure help from the state police?”

The answer to the question was this: you could secure detectives from the Chicago police or the state.  Perhaps if the Carol Stream police thought a murder was committed, why not secure help from the Aurora police department?  They are very close and have much experience with gang killings.

So why have three marked and one unmarked squad car there for three to four hours, with the officers observed sitting in the car?

  • Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars and resources?
  • If you think a murder is committed, then you should secure the help of resources from either the Aurora or Chicago police homicide divisions.  Then you send in the proper resources to dust for fingerprints, interview residents, etc.


Perhaps the police department thought I was a murderer?  After all, I did report the problem to the property management company.  And I would be the most likely suspect on a typical TV crime show. I wonder if Inspector Jacques Clouseau would have handled things similarly?

But I have talked to Jay’s sister.  So far, the autopsy couldn’t pin when the death occurred.  They think it was on Tuesday, August 8, 2012.  But Ray and I noticed a database the three of us share was updated often on Wednesday, August 9, 2012.  We concluded it was on auto update.  I suggested the sister also have the computer examined.  In talking to a couple of computer experts I know, they mentioned:

  • You can tell when the computer was turned on and off (see Yahoo answers)
  • You can tell when an email was sent out.

The Carol Stream city council should tell the taxpayers of Carol Stream what was going on.  For me, a good friend and brilliant technology mind has died of natural causes.  I’ve been invited to and attended the Catholic memorial service.  And I will continue to work with the existing partner on the technology project.

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine:

  • Head Lice: Symptoms and Treatments Blog post
  • A Nanny’s Guide to Packing for a Day trip Blog post
  • Think Outside the Envelope for Your Next Party Invitation Blog post
  • Employment Rights All Nannies Need to Know Blog post
  • 7 Myths About Getting Old Blog post
  • 10 Things Every Teacher Needs to Know About Emotions and Learning Blog post
  • 5 Rules for Handling Hand Me Downs Blog post
  • 8 Best Places to Study Besides the Library Blog post
  • 5 Home Improvements That Don’t Add Value Blog post
  • 8 Things You Should Never Say to Your Professor Blog post
  • 8 Unexpected Ways to Promote Your Business Blog post
  • Pros and Cons of Divorced Parents Sharing a Nanny Blog post
  • 50 Impressive iPad Apps to Fuel Lifelong Learners Blog post
  • Steps Nannies Can Take To Prevent Common Childhood Injuries Blog post
  • What Nannies Need to Know About Bottle Prep Blog post
  • How Parents Can Attract the Right Nanny for Their Family Blog post
  • How to Make Your Own Tutu to Play Dress Up Blog post
  • How to Organize Breast Milk Blog post
  • 8 Reasons to Keep Your Live-In Nanny Out of a Spousal Dispute Blog post
  • 11 Proven Benefits of Outdoor Learning Blog post
  • 15 Facts About China’s Grueling College Entrance Exam Blog post
  • 7 Ways To Cut Down On Your Daily Driving Blog post
  • 14 Books You NEED to Read Before Pursuing a PhD Blog post
  • 15 Reasons Reformers Are Looking to Finland Blog post
  • 6 Things to Know When Starting a Record Label Blog post
  • 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Major Blog post
  • The Top 10 Happiness Experts of All Time Blog post
  • The 10 Most Impressive Athletic Buildings in the NCAA Blog post
  • How to Stop Siblings From Fighting Blog post
  • How to Keep Baby Cool in the Summer Without AC Blog post
  • Teaching Children Problem Solving Skills Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Nannies Should Try for Discipline Ideas Blog post
  • 10 U.S. Cities With the Best Alternative Medicine Blog post
  • 10 Cities Becoming Education Destinations Blog post
  • 6 Common Exercises That Are Actually Bad for You Blog post
  • How to Sell Your Self-Education to Employers Blog post
  • 9 Indisputable Reasons Offices Need Naptime Blog post
  • 5 Ways to Find and Leverage Expert Bloggers Blog post
  • How to Quit Smoking for Real Blog post
  • How Nannies Can Build Care Giving Skills During Gaps in Employment Blog post
  • The 10 Cleverest Back-to-School Promos Blog post
  • 10 Ways Data Mining Will Transform Higher Ed Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Applications for Moms on Bed rest Blog post
  • 10 Things to Consider When Traveling Internationally with Your Charges Blog post
  • How to Throw a First Birthday Party on a Budget Blog post
  • 6 Ways to Keep Your Car From Being Stolen Blog post
  • 10 Health Care Jobs Most Impacted by Obamacare Blog post
  • A Newbie’s Guide to Microfinancing Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Full of Kid-Friendly Crock-Pot Recipes Blog post
  • 100 Inspiring Pinterest Pins for Back to School Blog post
  • 30 Blogs for Creating a Safe Sleep Environment Blog post
  • 20 Colleges Embracing the Green Roof Trend Blog post
  • How to Remove Stains from Baby Clothes Blog post




Cancer Treatment Centers of America – marketing panacea or best in class cure?

English: designation mark

Image via Wikipedia

Before we begin today’s topic, I found an interesting blog post on Carrier IQ this week at Finding and cleaning out your smartphone’s Carrier IQ poison. It relates to an earlier post on smart phone spying.

If you live around the Chicago area, you will be inundated with commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

These commercials have recently gotten to my mom. She had non-malignant skin cancer a few years ago. It was treated by surgery and some radiation. Her neck bothers her but the specialist couldn’t do anything for the tightness. His advice was to turn the neck a bit.

Now she feels that the new Cancer Treatment Centers of America will solve all her problems.

A few years ago, I did call Cancer Treatment Centers of America to ask about a female friend’s cancer. I couldn’t get off the phone with the marketing person. They were asking all kinds of questions about the patient, condition, etc., when all I was trying to do was get general information. They even wanted a doctor to talk to the two of us. But this is just my first phone call.

U.S. News and World Report

Image by afagen via Flickr

The same thing happened when I was trying to find out about university tuition. If I contact a university like the University of Phoenix or Full Sail University, I’m put through my paces with the marketing staff. If I contact a private Illinois university like Benedictine University, Aurora University or Elmhurst College, it’s more laid back and relaxed.

Most of the commercials show someone who has been helped giving a testimonial. But if I look at the U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012 at U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012, I don’t see them listed. And how do they compare with the University of Chicago or other top Illinois hospitals? If I go to the University of Chicago’s hospital website at University of Chicago cancer hospital, it says “U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.” The website goes on to list other endorsements.

I looked at the U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois at U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois . I have found several hospitals listed – but not Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

I have found an interesting story in the Cancer Survivors Network about them at Cancer Survivors Network user chats. Here is what one person had to say:

“…my husband did not want to travel and be away from home for 3 days — he’s on a feeding tube and just feels more comfortable at home…I called them and told them based on the itinerary they sent it was a waste of time for us and I would prefer if they can review the records we provided them with and then tell us if there is anything they can do for my husband and if there is then we would come down, but if there is nothing they can do for us then there is no reason for us to come down. They agreed to this. Well — now I find out that they actually BILLED our insurance company for $500 to read the medical records — they NEVER said they were going to bill us and we never agreed to this.”

Interesting story!

So next time you are dying of cancer and live in the Chicago are:

Would you like to go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America based upon their excellent marketing commercials and commercialized testimonies?

Or would you prefer to visit the University of Chicago hospital, who give the following stats at University of Chicago hospital?:

  • U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.
  • We are designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute–one of only two in Illinois.
  • In addition, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded the Medical Center a three-year accreditation with commendation.
  • Our program earned the highest overall rating in seven areas, including prevention and early detection, outcomes analysis, and cancer-related quality improvements.

There are many other hospitals recognized in the US News and World Report recommendations. But they don’t run a TV commercial marketing blitz. The only other TV commercial for a cancer treatment program in Illinois is Advocate Health Care.  They are more low-key and claim to “help more  people become survivors than any other facility in Illinois.” I probably can find them in the US News and World Report recommendations.



Solution to high college costs and writing advice to gifted 14 year old

A partial solution to the high cost of

Launching Writers Academy @ Pesta Penulis 2011

Image by Chandra Marsono via Flickr

college education

If you follow the news lately, higher education costs is in the spotlight. Young people are complaining about being thousands of dollars in debt.

Some schools I surveyed

Is this correct? Is higher education costly? To find out, I decided to call a few Illinois schools. I usually talked with someone in the admissions or register’s office:

  • University of Chicago – This is a top rated school. According to them, one undergraduate course costs $5883. Two courses cost $9908, while 3 or 4 courses cost $13951.
  • Northwestern University – This is another top rated school. The tuition is $4000 per course or $13280 per quarter.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago costs $7,482.00 per semester for 12 hours and up.
  • Northern Illinois University costs $525 per semester hour. The price per hour goes down the more courses you take.
  • Elmhurst College costs $854 per undergraduate course hour. Graduate costs are much less. As it example, it is $700 per semester hour for a business graduate degree. It costs about $15000 full-time for undergraduate semesters.
  •  Benedictine University costs $750 per semester hour.
  • Aurora University $570 per semester hour. Graduate degrees cost more. It’s $625 per MBA semester hour and $565 per semester hour for an MS or ED graduate degree.
  • Harper College (in-district) costs $102.50 per credit hour.
  • College of DuPage (in-district) costs $132 per credit hour.
  • Some colleges or universities seem to have a professional sales staff. As an example, I got screened by the University of Phoenix, which has an online program office in Naperville. I got some questions asked by the first receptionist. It’s one program I didn’t follow though for cost info.

Notice anything interesting about this list? One thing I notice is that Harper College and College of DuPage both have low tuition rates? Why? It’s because the tuition is for in-district students.

How is this useful?

I recently received some literature from the College of DuPage. It talked about students transferring to well rated schools like the University of Chicago or the University of Illinois at Chicago.

They showcased how someone from their integrated engineering program. He transferred to the electrical engineering program at the University of Illinois. He mentioned he was doing well academically there.

What is the takeaway? Save money by doing your first two years at the in-district junior college. But have a four-year school in mind to transfer to. See how I used this advice to a fourteen year old on Linkedin this week.

Linkedin question of the week

Writer Wordart

Image by secretagent007 via Flickr

Don’t let my age fool you, this 14-year-old can write! I do journalism, flash fiction and novels! The only problem is I need to find ways to get paying work. I want something for my time. What should I charge? Where can I find jobs? And what is the best way to get known? Thanks for all for your help!

My answer

I have been in creative writing classes at the College of DuPage over the years. I especially remember a high school youth taking a class with me. He was a gifted writer and science student.

One thing you can do is call the adult reference section of your local library. Go down to the library and ask to see the current edition of Writer’s Market. There is a good section called “What should I charge.” Photocopy it and keep it. There’s also markets for magazine editors, etc.,in this great reference resource.

The other thing is to ask them for your local in-district junior college and local writers groups. Talk to a counselor at the college about taking any creative writing classes they offer. Take the classes (i.e. if possible) and talk to the professors. Visit the local writers groups. Share work and talk with other writers. Local area book stores are also good sources for finding local area writers groups.

Sometimes libraries and book stores have professional writers speak – ask them about this. Go to their presentations. There’s usually a time to ask questions at the end.

long-term goals

But let’s look at your long-term goals. If I was 14 and a gifted writer, I would finish high school. At the same time, I would join a local area writers group (or groups) and share my work there. It’s a good way to get and give group feedback.

I would then attend my local in-district junior college after high school. The costs are very cheap. I would focus on taking any required courses to transfer to a 4 year writing program. While at the junior college, I would take as many English literature, journalism, philosophy and creative writing courses as I can. I would also try to become involved on their newspaper as a writer and/or editor.

Best creative writing programs

The Ghost Writers Logo

Image via Wikipedia

I would transfer to a top school for writing. A good list is found in the article at The 10 best American colleges for writers. But if you want my opinion, I would focus on attending the University of Iowa. I’m not sure why it wasn’t included in the list. You can find out more at Creative Writing Track.

Let me just add this Tidbit. I once attended a talk by a business professional, who was a graduate of that program. He was also a published author and I asked him how he got published. The answer was due to the extensive connections of his professors there.

I guess I’m not losing my mind, after all. The previous list of top schools was compiled by USA Today. But another list compiled by Education-Portal at Best Creative Writing Schools in the U.S. does rank the University of Iowa as number one. It does raise a question on list compilation. What statistical data do they use to publish their results?

Fiction writers must embrace content marketing

One last comment here. Justine Musk is a writer who has an interesting blog. Recently she wrote an interesting 2 part piece, where she argues that fiction writers need to be familiar with content marketing. The piece can be found at are fiction writers screwed? and are fiction writers screwed? part 2.

While the University of Iowa is the target of choice, any school on either the USA Today or Education-portal would be a great target. An in-district junior college gives you time to dabble at a cheap cost. It gives you a chance to dabble in journalism, English Literature and philosophy. In case anyone doubts the last discipline, just look at authors like Ayn Rand, Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, or Jean-Paul Sartre.

Best graduate schools in creative writing

Front view of the Alma Mater statue

Image via Wikipedia

If you can afford to wait and money weren’t an object, you might want to target degrees through the MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in creative writing. The Atlantic recently came out with this online article entitled “The Best of the Best – A guide to graduate programs in creative writing” at The Best of the Best. What I like is that it gives the top five in various categories.

King and Rowling

One last take on King. He is a good horror fiction writer and his book On Writing is great. But I still prefer the classic horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe or H.P. Lovecraft.

Always try to see visiting writers at libraries, local book stores, etc. I personally know that Anderson’s in Naperville had J. K. Rowling visit, before she was even known. I end with a great article at Where Great Writers are Made. Perhaps you want to find a program that is well-funded, gives free tuition and pays the students to attend the MFA program (i.e. after the junior college prep and 4 year degree in creative writing – see article).



A group that scientifically validates spiritual healing?

Is spiritual healing a last resort

Is spiritual healing a last resort? Most of the time, I find people coming to this healing modality after all conventional approaches are ineffective. The doctors say there is no hope. The tests all say the disease is terminal.

Any interesting spiritual approach

Recently I came across an interesting historical spiritual healer in Germany. His name is Bruno Groening. You can find out more about him on Wiki at Wiki on Bruno Groening and their official website at Bruno Groening Circle of Friends. Some other historical spiritual healers are found at Bruno Groening and other historical spiritual healers.

Traditional Chinese medicine shop in Tsim Sha ...

Image via Wikipedia

There is a group in Chicago called the circle of friends and I recently made contact with them. If you have read my blog, you know I am a big fan of having traditional medicine, alternative/complimentary medicine and spiritual healing/prayer all work together. I’m also well versed in traditional homeopathic medicine.

What I like about them

I first learned about this group from Ron Roth’s organization at Ron Roth.  There are some things I do like about the Bruno Groening Circle of Friends group:

  • They don’t ask you to change your religion. This is something I would really need to do, should I want to get deep into something like Christian Science and join their group.
  • They urge you to still use traditional and/or alternative medical help. This means I can see conventional doctors, along with conventional medicine and surgery. Or I can use alternative approaches like TCM or homeopathy. This is used at the same time I use their system.
  • They do have doctors study the healing done.
  • There is no charge for the healing aid.

The scientific study of their healing

The only other group I know of that scientifically studies spiritual healing cases is the Roman Catholic Church. The depth of the Roman Catholic validation of healing done at sites like Our Lady of Fatima is mind-boggling. From what I learned from the Circle of Friends, most of their case validating is done by German physicians.

Eastern Christian Cross

Image via Wikipedia

A Christian theological compatibility

They also claim to tap into a healing stream. This could also be in harmony with Eastern Orthodox theology, where they distinguish between the essence and energies of God. If they attribute this healing stream to God, then it would be similar to the Eastern Orthodox understanding of energies.

Other healing groups

It does raise an interesting question on Bruno Groening. Do other spiritual groups heal by tapping into the healing stream or do we recognize other means of spiritual healing? If we explore deeply, we can say that the following can do healing that seem miraculous:

  • Christian Science (i.e. Mary Baker Eddie) and Infinite Way (i.e. Joe Goldsmith) practitioners (I do listen to the Joel Goldsmith taped lectures via the Chicago group).
  • Native American ceremonies (I have been a guest in Lakota and Ute ceremonies)
  • Chinese Qi Gong masters
  • spiritualists like Harry Edwards
  • Pentecostal services (I’ve been on the receiving end a few times.  It was a former Chicago area, Roman Catholic priest with the gift of healing)
  • shamans
  • saints of the Christian (i.e. Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic), Islāmic (i.e. Sufi) and Yoga traditions

Would we conclude that the approach of Bruno is the most effective and easiest way to spiritual healing, for average folks like me? Or do all the various approaches somehow tap into the healing stream?

We could also extend that question to any medical system that basis their system on some energy modality.  Can we say that systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine , homeopathy or Ayurveda, tap into this healing stream?

Chicago area talk

They are having a free talk on October 14, 2011 – 7:00 pm, presented by an Austrian medical doctor.. The talk will be at the Courtyard by Marriott O’Hare in Des Plaines, IL. All USA and world lectures can be found on this website link at Bruno Groening USA MD lecture schedule.



Problems with Small Business Development Centers and SCORE?

Here’s a dialogue I’ll share about Small Business Development Centers and S.C.O.R.E. It takes place on a Google and/or Yahoo group I belong to. The names will be changed to protect the incident.

Image representing SCORE as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase


I have been working with a Small Business Development coach at our local college. He knows quite a bit about business, taxes, etc., but nothing about copywriting, design, or the printing industry.

I am trying to launch a small local service part-time for a bit of extra income.

Nothing major: real estate brochures, business cards and letterheads, press releases, menus, direct mail, and such. I’ve got 14 years of in-house experience in copywriting, graphic design, and catalog management — though I have never been out in the sales force.

This coach is insisting that consulting with clients about their needs will simply end up as a pile of stolen ideas. He seems to think that when I take a proof copy by, the client will run off with it to cut me out of the loop.

I explained that I wouldn’t be creating anything without a signed contract, but he seems to think that I need to create a custom piece for each client and THEN try to sell it to them. He also thinks I’d be better off selling printing services and not creative and that I shouldn’t share the names of the printing companies that I use because clients should have to call me for any reprints.

I’m not interested in babysitting these projects long-term. I simply want to offer a creative service to small business owners that normally would not have access to quality at a reasonable price.

My coach seems to disagree with me on several important points. Am I missing something? Time to look for a different coach?

My response

The actor Sean Astin giving a talk at the Univ...

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Here’s my advice about Small Business Development Centers and S.C.O.R.E. Go to Americas Small Business Development Center Network and type in you zip code. There’s usually more than one center, in your zip code area.

Also check out S.C.O.R.E. by zip code at Service Corps of Retired Executives

Here’s the thing. The SBDC and SCORE are great organizations. But I find some counselors and centers better than others. So shop around – especially since the advice is free and courses are low-cost.

Somewhere on my blog I talk about LLC advice I received from both organizations (and different counselors, so search for LLC). One director accused me of seeking legal advice, since I asked for an attorney volunteer on staff to answer my LLC question. I was just seeking the best qualified consultant for the job – which you should also.

Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

Another response

I agree, but SCORE tends to have low standards for recruiting counselors, for the sake of maintaining a sufficient number of counselors and keeping the program going. I was a SCORE counselor at a time when, in retrospect, I lacked sufficient experience to be one. Often, I was asked for advice that I didn’t feel qualified to give, such as legal and tax structure matters.

SCORE has a tendency to fold within many small communities and the managers behind resurrecting a local chapter may get frustrated with trying to recruit the highest caliber. The most successful small business owners may not stick around during their retirement years. In XXX, the thought of resurrecting our chapter gets tossed around every few years, but always runs out of steam.

If you can find a great SCORE counselor with many years of experience, you just might have a gold mine. You can tell when you have a good counselor because of their in-depth curiosity about you and the inner workings of your business.

The quality of SBDC staff can vary drastically. The one in XXX has a high turnover rate and the people rarely know the answers to my questions, so I often call the XXX office. There’s a woman down there who’d rather give up her children than be unable to correctly answer my question.

Teachers, coaches, mentors, and counselors are people and no two are exactly alike and no one is right all the time. Keep looking until you find the resourceful folks you can depend on to move your business. They’re out there – they really are.

My response:

I do agree with XXX assessment of SCORE. The limited time I counseled with them in person was very unproductive. Having said that, they have brought in some good local resources to teach seminars – most were free.

I have found good advice from SCORE, if I use their online service. This way I can check their qualifications and pick someone to answer a question by email. I got excellent answers on my LLC questions.

I find diversity the best usage of Small Business Development Centers.

The person heading the Harper College branch is a marketing expert and has her own Internet business. I consult with her about marketing direction.

The person heading the College of DuPage branch used to be a geologist, then became a business consultant for many years. He’s good at business plans.

The person heading the Elgin Community College branch is a CPA. He’s good at tax and legal issues.

The Jewish Vocational Service is an excellent resource for those in the city of Chicago. They also teach a free entrepreneur course, based upon Core Four. I’ve also heard the same is true for the University of Illinois.

Shop around. It will be worth the effort.





Tier V 99ers – Tea Party? Let Them Eat Cake

What is a Tier V 99er? It’s someone who has gone through 99 weeks of unemployment help but is still without a job.

Hard to imagine? Not if we still have statistical numbers, talking about 10% unemployment. There’s an interesting article at worldnewsvine.c…. Notice all the reader commentary! What are they saying? “Help, I’m drowning in a sea of debt.”

But wait! Remember what happened when the plight of peasants, was brought to the attention of Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV (see en.wikipedia.or…).

Remember the scene? She was told that the peasants have no bread to eat. Her remark? “Let them eat cake.” Some reflections on what this phase met are found at phrases.org.uk/….

The evidence shows that the poor queen probably never uttered these words. If she were alive today, she may say something like this:

“Why worry about jobs, when your health is in Jeopardy? Isn’t health care a more pressing need?”

Or maybe she would say something like this:

“Never mind. Help is on the way. Look at the numbers. Can’t you see all the jobs the government is creating?”

Meanwhile, back at the Tea Party

So I’m working on this creative video project for a client. One of the creative folks is a popular Chicago radio personality, whom I will nickname Steve.

Steve was talking about the Tea Party meetings and how the news media was portraying them.

The media portrays them as gun loving conservatives, each carrying a picture of Rush Limbo.

But Steve protests.

There are black folks there, welcomed with open arms. There are democrats there, also welcomed with open arms.

In fact, one black democrat voted for Obama, but was welcomed with open arms.

Should I believe Steve? Why not? Heck! I could attend a tea party convention and see if he was telling the truth.

On to the history channel – Invisibility

They were talking about experiments, to make a Navy ship disappear. Did the experiment ever take place? Was it successful?

We will probably never know. But I did find out this:

  • The History Channel issued a famous magician this challenge. Make some large object disappear in plain view. He did succeed in making a car disappear, with 30 people forming a circle. He had a curtain covering the car. Then it disappeared from both eye view and radar images.
  • Some Ivy league professors have created magnetic devices, that can bend light waves. If you put some items in a certain area of the electromagnet – they disappeared. I think there were some new metallic structures utilized.
  • Some Japanese professor was working on a coat – it looks like Detective Colombo‘s raincoat – that can bend images. It you look at the coat this professor wore, you can see right through it. It was time for the first public demonstration in years. After working for hours, he told the assistants that “things were not quite right.” Then he made some adjustments and demonstrated his coat, in a public setting. It worked. I’ve seen it on the History Channel.

Meanwhile, back to our soap opera.

  • Has the current administration abandoned the 99ers to a fate of starvation and homelessness?
  • Will the 99ers discover the Tea Party and work with them during the upcoming November election?
  • Will the current administration don those invisibility suites and disappear?

Stay tuned for the next exciting segment of Let Them Eat Cake.