Sunday, April 30, 2006

Terry Tate - Office Linebacker


We have found that office tension often centers around small things, the things this video makes fun of -- leaving the coffee pot or Xerox paper tray empty, letting your food rot in the refrigerator, wasting space, playing annoying music too loud, wearing too strong a perfume, and cell phones buzzing with personal calls on the timeclock.

The projects and deadlines have a longer lifespan and we don't feel them everyday. Trying to assemble the project you just copied and finding the scissors, redact tape and "copy" stamp missing can happen continually in a poorly run office, and adds small cumulative stress that is both continual and unsolvable, which tends to have an exponential impact.

I find it particularly stressful to abide by the company policy and rules of etiquette and clean up after myself at the worktable, replenishing supplies for the next person or, as my mother said, "leave it the way you found it." Because it's a rule, and everyone knows it, when I walk in and find someone hasn't done it, it makes me angry. 5 minutes of anger suppreses your immune system for up to 6 hours, so I use my EQ -- I note the anger, I take the information from it, and then I dispense with the emotion and do what I can, or must.

Anger is a good way of knowing what you want, but not a good way of getting what you want, and the physiological reacts that put us in the state we recognize as "anger," are not good for us. Telling a war story puts you under the same stress as you originally were...and since that's what makes it a war story, why would you do that to yourself.

Maybe from habit? Maybe because until I said that, you didn't recognize there were choices? Maybe because you wouldn't know what to put in its place? Maybe you are righteous in your anger?

THE FOCUS in Emotional Intelligence is two-fold -- on you, your awareness of your state, and your management of it, and then learning ways that increase your success in all areas of your life.

That's how it works, and how it has worked for every client I've work with, worlwide.

LET US TRAIN your staff and/or key people in emotional intelligence. Many of the things missing in your office can be supplied by emotional intelligence training. After all, it isn't exactly brain science to put the aluminum can in the recycle bin. A 2 year old could be trained to do that in a day. It does not require more than dull-normal intelligence, any advanced degrees, credentials, or certifications, yet that's where your employees are currently likely to be putting your money, and theirs.

Bring their level of emotional intelligence up, and you will not have some of the problems that probably have nagged you for years. (Because you've "tried everything"? Ah, now why not try Emotional Intelligence?)

We offer on-site coaching and programs, distance learning with telephone and email interactive support all over the world, a variety of weekly ezines, workshops, and presentations. We find distance learning works well with EQ and is an extremely efficient use of your time. for more information.==

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Labrador Retriever Top Breed in US in 2005


Dogs share a limbic connection with humans (and other mammals). Monkeys and chimps are much closer to us in DNA, but lab tests (and your own common sense) affirm that dogs are far more attuned to humans emotionally. The "limbic connection" is what you see (feel) when you look into the eyes of a dog vs. the eyes of a lizard or frog.

Dogs have been our companions for centuries. Thus, like humans we live with in close quarters, they have learned our ways and co-adapted.

Shih Tzus made the top 10 list for pets in the US for 2005. Their name means "lion," and they are indeed the small dog with the big heart. They're bred strictly as pets and they do their 'job' well -- able to withstand some roughing up from kids; loyal and gentle companions for the elderly.

We know from tapestries and paintings, they were around in China is 624 AD, part of the Chinese court, and bred carefully. By the 30s they had made their way to the UK, and American GIs brought them back home after the war.

But is there anything cuter than a Lab puppy?

Yes, it's the Labrador Retriever that's Top Dog in the US. It's hard to beat the intelligent, friendly Lab. Ask me! I have two Lab grand-dogs.

Top 10 Breeds in the US for 2005 are as follows ( with the number of registrants listed as well:

1. Labrador retrievers 137,967
2. Golden retrievers 48,509
3. Yorkshire terriers 47,238
4. German shepherds 45,014
5. Beagles 42,592
6. Dachshunds 38,566
7. Boxers 37,268
8. Poodles 31,638
9. Shih Tzus 28,087
10. Miniature Schnauzer 24,144

Wonder how many Heinz 57s there are?

Tell us what breed you like and why! Go HERE to express your opinion. (I'll be checking it from time-to-time to see if it gets Godwins-law'ed.) With German shephers at 45,014, and bloggers being bloggers, it could happen!
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What breed would be best for you? Let Semiramis help you make this important decision. She's unCANNY ... about canines, and about everything else. Email or phone readings, compatibility charts, astro, channeling and more. Visit her on the web at

The New Moon in Taurus means it's time to "take the bull by the horns," and get the bull out of your life. Let Semiramis guide you.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Career Plan: To Found Computer Corp., Take Calligraphy?

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

It bears repeating, if you haven't read it before (and according to, it's "true") --


I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 mos. or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out, they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl.

So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking, “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said, “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would some day go to college.

And 17 years later, I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Standford, and all of working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After 6 months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all the money my parents had saved their entire life.

So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting to me.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5 cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me - I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.


When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."

It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Everything else is secondary. When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.” -Steve Jobs, June 2005
To learn how to develop your intuition, take the EQ Alive! Program, 12 modules on the Internet designed to teach you abot Emotional Intelligence as it inreases your EQ.

Coach training and certification also available. for more information and to subscribe to fr** EQ ezine.

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Rumsfeld Appoints Self Retired General; Rushes to Own Defense

Rumsfeld Appoints Self Retired General; Rushes To Own Defense
Author: Tom Attea,

Donald Rumsfeld, under fire from a platoon of retired generals who have called for his resignation, went on the offensive by appointing himself a retired general.

Accompanied by a currently employed general, who, as the head of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, is his usual sidekick, he stated, “As The Secretary of Defense, I think I should at least be on an equal footing with a retired general, and, after careful consideration, I decided to become one.”

A reporter then asked, “As a retired general, what is your opinion on Donald Rumsfeld?”

“I think he’s doing an outstanding job,” Rumsfeld replied. “In fact, I think, while I’ve said no one is indispensable, there’s always an exception to the rule.”

“How about his handling of the war in Iraq?” another reporter queried.

“What war in Iraq?” Rumsfeld countered. “The war in Iraq was over the day we pulled down Saddam Hussein’s statue. What’s going on now is the post-war recovery.”

“There are some who say you underestimated the resources that would be required in the post-war period. Can you comment on that?”

“As a retired general, the post-war scenario is not my specialty. On the other hand, as The Secretary of Defense, I can say that, while I used all of my absolutely first-rate foresight, I am not clairvoyant. Therefore, I could not know beforehand how many Sunnis, who had it better under Saddam’s tyranny, would rather destroy their own country than live in peace with the Shiite majority. Since I couldn’t know that the two warring Muslim factions would destabilize their own country, I could not possibly anticipate how much stabilization we’d have to try to establish. Nor could I anticipate how many members of al-Qaeda would come rushing in and try to turn the self-destabilized country into the next frontier of their suicidal goal of establishing a pan-Arab medievalist Islamic tyranny.”

“Would you change anything in hindsight?” another reporter asked.

“Of course, I would. Like everybody else, I do have clairvoyant hindsight. First, I would have made myself a retired general a long time ago, so I could have been the first one to stand up for myself, instead of taking all the potshots I’ve had to before I realized how to deflect them. Second, during the invasion, I would have dropped a ton of leaflets on Iraq that predisposed the population to peace.”

“What kind of leaflets?” a reporter asked.

“Ones we would have, at that early date, been able to translate into their language with an Iraqi-English dictionary: Shiite + Sunni = Nice Peaceful Country. Shiite – Sunni = Lots of Dead People.”

“Do you think those leaflets would have made a difference?” a reporter asked.

“Of course. While no leaflet is indispensable, it would have helped these warring factions realize if you can’t live in peace with each other, you can’t do anything together except kill each other.”

The final question came from a reporter, who asked, “Do you plan to retire?”

“You missed the point,” Secretary Rumsfeld replied. “I already retired. How do you think I became I retired general.”

“I mean, do you intend to retire as Secretary of State?”

“I think one retirement every decade or so is plenty, don’t you?”

About The Author: Tom Attea, creator of, has had six shows produced Off-Broadway and has written comedy for TV. Critics have called his writing ""delightfully funny"
and "witty" with "good, genuine laughs."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oh Those Bad, Rich Physicians? Think Again.


The Robert Wood Foundation is at it again, folks. This time a massive study of 6,600 physicians which discovered the following (though I do not know what it was intended to study):

68% of physicians now provide charity medical care to the indigent
That's down from 76% from 10 years ago.
Now, let's don't gloss over that ten years ago, over 75% of doctors treated people for free or reduced costs. It's more common than you would think.

Today? Over half still do, and that's probably more than the number of people who contribute to charity. If he simply gives away his time, well physicians serving as expert witnesses these days command up to $600 an hour.

But not all doctors are "rich". There are many who are struggling, saddled with huge med school debts, and loving their practice but finding if it doesn't include "procedures," they're trying to run a "business" on very shaky grounds.

"To make any money," Dr. A. told me, "I'd have to see one patient every 8 minutes, and I'm not willing to practice medicine that way." The good doctor continued to treat patients, some of whom had been with him 40 years, the way he always has, about 4 an hour, less if someone needs more attention, and recently he had to close down his private practice and go work at a clinic.

Medical malpractice takes one of the bigger bites in "overhead" and that's another story.

Now wWHY HAS DOCTOR-CHARITY DECLINED? Donald Devine had wondered about this himself, and sort of felt like he ought to know, since he's a professor of political science at Bellevue University and was formerly director of the Federal Employees Health Benefits and Civil Service Retirement programs during President Ronald Reagan’s first term.

I guess the teacher was ready because the pupil came. There happened in his class one day a woman who said SHE KNEW WHY. Her job, she said, was working for a medical practice and she had been hired to keep the firm's health professionals from defrauding the government.

Fine, you say. What does that have to do with "charity"?

You're not going to like the answer.

"It seems that Medicare and Medicaid consider it fraud if a physician charges any patient less than the government must pay for a medical service," says Devine. "If a doctor feels compassion for some poor soul and offers a discount, he must grant that 'discount' for every billing for every patient in the government programs. If he forgives one indigent from paying at all, the government never has to pay for any such procedure. The only reason the study shows so much charitable activity is that the physicians counted extra time spent at hospitals treating indigents as charity, which it really is not since treatment is requited by law." ("requited" could be a typo for "required" - I'm not up on that language.)

Devine continues: The woman wrote “I am employed as a Coding and Compliance Manager. Along with supervising nine people, I perform audits on the physicians' billing, credentialing, coding, collections, and directly supervise charge entry, posting payments, pre-certifications and referrals." [Then she talks about the horrendous job physicians have complying, and all the paperwork.]

She adds, “God help us if we inadvertently write off charges or perform services that Medicare doesn’t see medically necessary and bill the patient without an advance beneficiary notice (ABN) signed. The average citizen does not understand basic health insurance let alone all the rules and regulations surrounding it. So for them it is hard to understand why we cannot just write off their balance. They think physicians are money hungry."

Adds Devine, "When one reads about doctors being hauled off to jail for fraud, odds are this is the cause, guilty not of fraud but of charity. If a health provider bills for either government program, it is subject to a Federal audit. Every patient’s record, whether Medicaid or Medicare or not, is scrutinized to assure that no non-government patient pays less than the government is charged. If the health provider gives anyone an undocumented break this is considered 'fraud' and it is off to jail for the foolish Mother Theresa."

Think YOU'VE got a nit-picking, micro-managing, uptight boss? It looks like physicians in "private" practice do as well.

++Medicare has an unfunded liability of $30 trillion
++This dwarfs Social Security’s liability and will bankrupt the national government all by itself
++The joint Federal-local Medicaid will bring down the state governments as well
++So they went after the doctors
++There's an arbitrary payment scale to reimburse physicians regardless of the market or even local costs
++"No one pays less than the government" is the slogan
++This means no one gets a break on their bill or balance
++As doctors in smaller practices become aware of the government practices -- and audits -- (it's impossible to keep up), expect charitable acts to decline further
++As will doctors' salaries
++So we will get less competent physicians
++Yes. It isn't all "follow the money," but the doctor who lives across the street from me clears about $30k a year. She thinks she might have less stress being a secretary for that same $30k a year, but ...

Now a word here from a fundraiser. I have raised funds for various entities, including a homeless shelter. I think charitable giving is one of the best things around, not because it helps those in need, which is occasionally does, but because it helps those in need of giving. "My job," said my minister-mentor friend, "is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Yes, we helped those in need -- both those in need of shelter, food, and clothing AND those in need of connection, of giving, of gratitude, those who needed to make a difference, and those who needed to give back.

Our American heritage of private and local charity is unique, and of inestimable value. "[It] has amazed the world since the French observer Alexis de Tocqueville described it so vividly in the early 19th Centurey," says Devine.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Volodos plays Rachmaninoff

A: Because math and music are both symbolic languages.

CLUB VIVO PER LEI / I LIVE FOR MUSIC is Dedicated to Dr. John J. Alifano, Jr., a physician, a musician, and a healer.

Music is a direct connection to our emotions. Many of us use it to manage our moods -- bring us up when we're down, energize or calm us, help us with grief that is beyond words, to work out tension , or just for deep pleasure.

At Club Vivo, we're ready for spring! Enjoying Vivaldi's "Primavera" which means "first truth" in Italian, the lingua franca of music.

And exploring a great new site with some good music and performers on it, like Volodos playing Rachmaninoff, and some treats like

Ana G., just 7 years old, plays J. Strauss' "Annen Polka"

Isn't she marvelous?
We invite you to join Club Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music. Click HERE to join. You'll receive an ezine every week, and the website changes frequently. It's FR**.
The Bullfight

In bullfighting there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot.

As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar: his comfort zone. [Carly]

eMail me for "The Fight of Your Life", about Zen, bulls, bull and the trophy -- ears and a tail. and put "Zen" for the subject line.

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More Numa Numa

You all know how I love Numa Numa.

Here's the latest:

(He's got the original guy on his t-shirt.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Of Caldecott Medal Winners ... Bullfights ... and Life


I love the art in children's books, do you?

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year. It was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. Together with the Newbery Medal it is the most prestigious American children's book prize.

Here they are.

1938: Dorothy P. Lathrop, Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book
1939: Thomas Handforth, Mei Li
1940: Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Abraham Lincoln
1941: Robert Lawson, They Were Strong and Good
1942: Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings
1943: Virginia Lee Burton, The Little House
1944: Louis Slobodkin, Many Moons
1945: Elizabeth Orton Jones, Prayer for a Child
1946: Maude and Miska Petersham, The Rooster Crows
1947: Leonard Weisgard, The Little Island


1948: Roger Duvoisin, White Snow, Bright Snow
1949: Bertha and Elmer Hader, The Big Snow
1950: Leo Politi, Song of the Swallows
1951: Katherine Milhous, The Egg Tree
1952: Nicholas Mordvinof, Finders Keepers
1953: Lynd Ward, The Biggest Bear
1954: Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline's Rescue
1955: Marcia Brown, Cinderalla, or the Little Glass Slipper
1956: Feodor Rojankovsky, Frog Went A-Courtin'
1957: Marc Simont, A Tree Is Nice
1958: Robert McCloskey, Time of Wonder
1959: Barbara Cooney, Chanticleer and the Fox
1960: Marie Hall Ets, Nine Days to Christmas
1961: Nicolas Sidjakov, Baboushka and the Three Kings
1962: Marcia Brown, Once a Mouse
1963: Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day
1964: Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
1965: Beni Montresor, May I Bring a Friend?
1966: Nonny Hogrogian, Always Room for One More
1967: Evaline Ness, Sam, Bangs & Moonshine
1968: Ed Emberley, Drummer Hoff
1969: Uri Shulevitz, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship


1970: William Steig, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
1971: Gail E. Haley, A Story a Story
1972: Nonny Hogrogian, One Fine Day
1973: Blair Lent, The Funny Little Woman
1974: Harve and Margot Zemach, Duffy and the Devil
1975: Gerald McDermott, Arrow to the Sun
1976: Leo and Diane Dillon, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
1977: Leo and Diane Dillon, Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions
1978: Peter Spier, Noah's Ark
1979: Paul Goble, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
1980: Barbara Cooney, Ox-Cart Man
1981: Arnold Lobel, Fables
1982: Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji
1983: Marcia Brown, Shadow
1984: Alice and Martin Provensen, The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot
1985: Margaret Hodges & Trina Schart Hyman, Saint George and the Dragon
1986: Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express
1987: Richard Egielski, Hey, Al
1988: John Schoenherr, Owl Moon
1989: Stephen Gammell, Song and Dance Man
1990: Ed Young, Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
1991: David Macaulay, Black and White
1992: David Wiesner, Tuesday
1993: Emily Arnold McCully, Mirette on the High Wire
1994: Allen Say, Grandfather's Journey
1995: David Diaz, Smoky Night
1996: Peggy Rathmann, Officer Buckle and Gloria
1997: David Wisniewski, Golem
1998: Paul O. Zelinsky, Rapunzel
1999: Mary Azarian, Snowflake Bentley


2000: Simms Taback, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
2001: David Small, So You Want to Be President?
2002: David Wiesner, The Three Pigs
2003: Eric Rohmann, My Friend Rabbit
2004: Mordicai Gerstein, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
2005: Kevin Henkes, Kitten's First Full Moon
2006: Chris Raschka, The Hello, Goodbye Window

And a old favorite of mine ...
FERDINAND THE BULL by Munro Leaf, illustrations by Robert Dawson

For an examination of bullfighting, symbolism, Zen, the running of the bulls in Pamplona (Fiesta de San Fermin)and music, and ask me "The Song of the Siren." It's fr**, illustrated and full of the art, drama and tragedy that is bullfighting ... and life.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Appointment in Samarra

Now here's an old favorite. You've probably heard this story at least once, and could relate to it. A time when you ran right in to what you were trying to avoid.

"The Appointment in Samarra"
(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham [1933])
The speaker is Death

There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.

The merchant lent him his horse. The servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.

Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?

That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
I was prompted to look it up, because I'm doing a study of bullfighting right now. Many of the writers are Spanish, of course, and they really trace the details of unfortunate events. For instance when a matador gets killed by a bull. If you see it as "fated" that Manolete is going to be killed by the bull, Islero, you'll be looking carefully at all the choices Manolete made, and the choices Islero's owners made, that ensured the two would meet on the afternoon of August 26, 1947.

I started on this rabbit trail because I wanted to learn more about the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.

Here's a neat video showing the running of the bulls, or copy and paste this in your browser: .
You can also see the video HERE. (Or copy and paste this in your browser: .

In my reading, I found the following:

"In bullfighting there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot.

"As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar: His comfort zone."

Now that's something to think about, isn't it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Transience of Life




AND THE ENDING? See Cool Pictures > Buddhist Sand Art.
Make the most of your time, and your hard work. Emotional Intelligence helps you manage the shifting sands, tells you which way the wind is blowing, and helps you take advantage of the fact that "it's an ill wind that blows nobody good." for coaching -

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Thursday, April 20, 2006



Tondalayo the orangutan lost her mate two years ago and has been depressed.

Someone thought about giving her this affectionate tabbycat and she's been fine ever since. What does it take to be a console-mate? He's "very demanding, very loving, very understanding, a big rag doll." See video here.

In this video we see some other unlikely console-mates: a hamster and a snake; a tortoise and a hippo; a hog and an antelope.

Says the commentator, "I guess it happened because the snake wasn't hungry at the time the hamster was put in the cage for its snack."

That's got to be the most self-assured hamster on earth . . .

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It's so crazy out there now, you'd think it was a retrograde. Well, maybe it is for you. Let Semiramis clarify for you. Readings on all topics.
$25 for an email reading. $50 for phone.
Email her at . She'll be expecting you.

CLIENT COMMENT: "You were so right-on it was almost scary. It was like a crystyal - everything became crystal clear. And guess what? It worked. Thanks. MS, San Diego"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Top Dallas Lawyer Has Solid Gold Intuition


It's an article in "Texas Super Lawyers" and it's subtitled "Charla Aldous finds her way to big-money cases by listening to her heart."

Aldous is a Dallas attorney who, according to the article by Rose Niker, has been in D Magazine's "Best Lawyers in Dallas" four times, and has made the Super Lawyer list of both the Top 100 attorneys and Top 50 female lawyers statewide, has had verdicts and settlements topping more than $675 million at the time of the writing (2005).

You'd think they'd be touting her "toughness," or "grasp of legal subtleties” wouldn't you? Well, it seems times have changed. Working in the field of emotional intelligence, where intuition is one of the competencies, and the one most often questioned, this article caught my eye.

It was affirming to read, even exciting. The article is peppered with phrases like "following her heart", and "feeling like she belonged" for the first time in her life (when she stood before a jury), and her defense that being "emotionally involved" in a case was where she needed to be, not something to apologize for.

Emotions give us information, and clearly she understands hers and knows how to use the information they provide. The article cites her growing anger upon reviewing a case about a doctor refused hospital privileges after years of perfect performance. It was her motivation for taking the case. She went on to win it, and it remains a landmark re: honest peer review v. politicking in the medical profession.

It's wonderful to see articles like this, where the "soft" skills are brought into focus. It's fairly safe to assume that any lawyer who makes it through law school and passes the Boards is competent in the "hard" skills - knowing how to write a brief, plead a case, fill out the time sheet. But perhaps the ones who excel, who go for the gold, like Aldous, are the ones with emotional intelligence skills to go along with their IQ, training, and knowledge of the law.

Part of every job is relationship, and part of every job is using words to influence others. Our ability to express ourselves is important, and of course "we" are our "feelings." It's our ability to understand and express emotions (or to choose not to) that gives the edge, because no important argument is "won" by data and facts. The data is always ambivalent. It always runs out. Everyone has their own prospectus, and they always have data to support it. So what do you do?

If we want someone to accept our opinion, we need to move them to our position. "Move" and "emotion" and "motivation" all come from the same root word. It is emotions that motivate, or move us. You can argue facts till you are blue in the face, and have no effect (or the opposite of the one you intend), but if you can touch the person's heart, you can change their mind. Or rather they will change it, which is what you want. A begrudging agreement with tacit defiance is not what we want. It is worse than overt defiance because it will be acted upon, but with sabotage, let's say UNmindful malice aforethought. You will have lip service only, like the teenager who proceeds, under duress, to do the dishes, and then breaks a few, just to let you know, and/or hoping to be forbidden from doing the task in the future, or loads the dishwasher but "forgets" to put the soap in. You have not won him over, you have only exercised force, and the long-term ill effect will not make up for the short-term compliance.

A deep knowledge of people and of one's own heart, which is what EQ is all about, will give muscle to your words, important for connecting, important for arguing, and I mean "arguing" in the neutral sense - presenting a case, saying who you are, saying what you want.

EQ starts with self-awareness, not awareness of the "ego" self, but of your emotions. From this comes understanding the emotions of others, and the ability to express emotions. With this ability, you can go to the core and mine the gold, not scrape fool's gold off the surface. Thus, perhaps, the "solid gold intuition"? Intuition allows you to read people, to read between the lines, to see the writing on the wall, where all the important information is. It is "knowing without knowing how you know" and it is exponentially faster and more accurate than cognition. It is also your only recourse for the most important decisions in life, like whom to marry, what career to choose, where to retire, or when to pull the plug.

As a parent who has lost a child, I was particularly touched by Aldous' closing argument to the jury in a $268.6 million medical malpractice suit she won when a child died in hospital When my child died, also in hospital, I remember it as a time when people around me wanted to hear me say something, to put words to it. They also wanted to offer theirs and I wanted to hear them. I remember it well, and I remember it as a time of resounding silence. Why? Hear what Aldous had to say to the jury:

"If you lose a spouse you're a widow or a widower. If you lose your parents you're an orphan. But the loss of a child is so profound that there is not a word in the English language to describe you."

And the rest is silence.

Or, as someone said, "It all depends upon how you interpret the silence around you."

Intuition is our tool for interpreting that silence, which really is full of messages if you know how to read them. Intuition is an ability we all have; it's just a matter of welcoming it, developing it, and learning how to interpret your own variety. I help clients with this all the time. It is not magical (except in its results), it's based on your past experiences and knowledge, on implicit memory. Some of us are better than others, but all of us can improve.

How did Aldous know what to say to that jury? She mentions that her background, her upbringing in a small town, and having known all sorts of people, gave her the ability to relate to people from all walks of life. I would imagine too, looking in her own heart, and being a parent herself.

It's somewhat more fashionable to call it "psycho-drama" - this putting oneself in the shoes of the other person. If you do it in your head, without moving bodies around, it's empathy, another EQ competency.

Develop your EQ. Then you, too, can go for the gold.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

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Indigo Children

Here's little ABBY giving Martin Luther's great speech on OPRAH at just 4 years of age.

Watch her HERE. It's charming.

Do you have an Indigo child? It's so important to raise them right, and perhaps a little more challenging. You need all the help and information you can get.

Check out Nancy Fenn's horoscopes for indigo children HERE. Tell her I sent you!

Sibling Rivalry

THE BIG SISTER, by Bougeureau

"Sisters & Brothers Who Missed Out,"
by Susan Dunn, Life & Wellness Coach, EQ

Life in the United States -- we keep reading the statistics. Depression is at an all-time high. 85% of visits to doctors are stress-related. The divorce rate is over 50%. We change jobs like we change socks; it isn't the change itself, any more, it's the pace of the change. Our immune systems are being assaulted and auto-immune diseases proliferate. Toxins in the environment increase daily assaulting the immune system from the outside, while internally, our emotions take their toll. Did you know that five (5) minutes of anger will suppress your immune system for up to six (6) hours? The grief of divorce and loss ... will suppress it much longer than that.

Amidst lifestyles that can seem like an attack, we are humans, beings who need anchors of stability, emotional anchors. We were not meant to live alone, and the "aloneness" is not assuaged simply by bodies, it means emotional connection. Emotional connection of course takes time with someone to develop.

We will hope for a permanent life partner, and each of us will commit, at the time, to this, but we can't count on it. 50% of us will lose this connection, which is wrenching. And for those who go through it once, it is likely to happen again, unless emotional intelligence and relationship skills are learned.

If things go according to nature, out parents will predecease us.

We spend up to 70% of our time at work where even if the atmosphere isn't hostile and competitive, intimate relationships are not appropriate. Caring is, of course, and friendliness, but we are there to work, after all, and there's the matter of time. (Though of course I affirm EQ in the workplace; it makes it all work better.)

So who do we turn to for connection? Our children? One of the most dire statistics I read when working with the homeless, was that a child was the sole source of emotional support for 75% of the single parents. This is both inadequate for the parent, and asking way too much of a child. Yes, our children nurture us, but it must not be their job. If so, they will be robbed of their own childhood.

I have midlife clients who are single, who attempt to establish this connection with their grown children, who are glad to provide it, but they end up following their kids all over the country, as their jobs change.

There is one connection that could be sustaining that we, as a society, have been poor in developing: siblings. We in the Western World seem to be particularly adept at setting up competitive relationships. Or, let's say that's the natural state of things with siblings - after all they are competing for scarce goods (parental attention). We have not known how to nurture something different - brothers and sisters who are true friends, who care and take care of one another, who can become a life-long support system. A real buffer in an uncertain world.

How do we do this? Start teaching and living that "blood is thicker than water." Friends, even partners will come and go, but siblings are forever, potentially lifelong friends. To do this, you must live it, which means paying close and constant attention to the relations between your kids. You want to guide them away from hostility, aggression and competition with each other. You want to guide them toward becoming, for one another, teachers, helpers, comforters, ministers, playmates, co-workers, distraction and entertainment. All the things we can be for one another.

To do this you must first use Intentionality, an Emotional Intelligence competency. Intend to create a harmonious atmosphere in your home. You will set your vision and your heart on this goal, and then set about taking the practical steps to make it happen.

Here are some steps. There are others in my ebook, "Turning Sibling Rivalry into Sibling Support."

1. Have gatherings. Call it a "family meeting" if you like. The point is to establish yourself as a group, a group that cares, works together, laughs and cries together, and has a group consciousness or sensitivity. Typically this has been for setting chores and going over schedules. Add to this comforting the person who needs it at the time, i.e., when Marcy complains, "Nobody cares about me. They never..." Get the family together and take care of this child.

2. Show them how. Some children are born comforters and nurturers. Others need to be taught. It can be learned. It's part of EQ.

3. Establish that fights are not allowed. Most parents forbid acts of physical violence and theft of and damage to possessions. Be sure and include emotional mayhem. Put-downs, name-calling and snide innuendos are not permitted, and it is your job to notice. You must be the one to label it for the children, i.e., "That's a put-down."

4. Explain, but also act. There are times to go over your theory and explain why. At other times you simply act, and do so with confidence. "OK, that's enough," is what I use. It means my limits have been reached, the limits I have set for proper pro-social behavior. Move on this immediately. To ignore is to condone. Things can move quickly from a joke to a slam, because kids get carried away. You are teaching them EQ. You are teaching them not to get carried away and say something they will regret. This is a lifelong skills. At the same time, you are teaching them "what they say they WILL regret."

5. Teach self-awareness. "We are our feelings." Self-awareness is knowing your feelings. Teach your child about his or her feelings. Don't deny them, denigrate them or ignore them. Welcome them, label them, listen to your child vent. It's the action on the behavior that must be controlled. Listen first. Then you can move into policeman or therapist. But let the feelings see the light of day and give them names.

6. Teach empathy. From self-awareness, and only from self-awareness, comes empathy. Start early, talking about how their sibling feels. Ask them why the baby's crying. ("He's unhappy. He wants something. What might he want?) Ask them why their older brother just hit his friend. Ask them how their little sister might feel when she got pushed off her tricycle. It is crucial to understand things from the inside of another person. The future social implications of this ability cannot be over-estimated.

7. Celebrate personal victories together. Success is relative. Big brother just got into Stanford; little sister just got her green belt; baby brother just got a star-sticker in pre-K. All are worth celebrating.

8. Be on guard. It's your watch. It is your job to notice. Children can fall into victim-perpetrator patterns if you aren't paying attention. Because older siblings are smarter, bigger and stronger than younger ones, they can become petty tyrants, inquisitioners and terrosrists. Teach them to use this advantage to teach, nurture and mentor younger ones. They will learn there is much the younger ones can give. I remember one time we had disciplined our older son for some teen infraction. He was furious and inconsolable, not open to conversation or soothing. It was baby brother who toddled over, patted his knee and cheek saying "Nice Marshall, nice Marshall" in his cooing tone of voice. Our sons were ten years apart. The older was protective of the little one, but the little one was often his comforter and solace as he bounced against parental limits as a teenager.

I see in my practice an escalation in (1) requests for my advice as Step-Parenting Expert on; (2) an increase in clients who want to know what to do about a hostile sibling they don't want to excommunicate because "She's my sister, I love her"; and (3) those who would like to connect or re-connect with a "lost" sibling.

If you have disordered relationships with siblings, can it be repaired? Yes, slowly, but that's a topic for another article (see my website - ). However, if you're a parent, start learning right now how to do it differently, so this pattern is not repeated in the next generation. That would be such a waste. I recommend you start with my EQ Alive! Program - 12 interactive modules on the Internet to develop your EQ, and prepare you to pass on positive, healthy relating.)

Now I'm going to go call my sister, my favorite travel companion and lifelong friend. I'm single, and I've often been told how lucky I am to have someone so compatible to travel with.

Indeed I am!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Develop Your Child's EQ


If you'd like to know how to develop your child's emotional intelligence, order my ebook, "How to Develop Your Child's EQ: Simple How-to Instruction."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

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Friday, April 14, 2006


"I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” . . . Thus reads the tombstone of George Friderick Handel.

Handels Messiah[1] is often heard at Christmas; however, it was originally associated with Easter, and many of us will be hearing it this Sunday.

Don’t forget to stand for the Hallelujah chorus. Notice how I wrote that? Technically, the name of this section is Hallelujah, and it happens to be a chorus, but you can’t really call it that (except everyone does).

Standing for the Hallelujah chorus is exactly what you feel like doing, and so did King George II of England, at least as the story goes. He was so in awe when he heard the words, “the kingdom of this world,” he rose to his feet and remained standing. And, as you know, if the king stands, so must we all. So that’s how that tradition got started.

Click here to hear And the glory … (or copy and paste into your browser: )

Later when Haydn heard it in Westminster Abbey, he stood, exclaiming with tears in his eyes, “He is the master of us all.”

Beyond doubt the most highly esteemed and popular work of Handel, if has become a mainstay of English sacred music, and is “the most performed music and message in all history” according to one source. It was Handel’s favorite, and of it he said, “I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God himself.” Many of us feel that way when we hear it.

At a low point in a previously successful career, he was approached in 1741 by his friend Charles Jennens, who was a literary scholar and editor of Shakespeare, suggested to him that he compose an oratorio based on some Scriptures he had arranged.

Handel agreed, and incredibly, he completed the entire work in about 20 days, between August 22 and September 14. It does seem “divinely inspired,”
doesn’t it?

A huge man in stature, his servants said of him that summer: "He was praying, or he was weeping, or he was staring into eternity."

You may be surprised to know that The Messiah has been tampered with – first by Mozart, in 1788. Mozart had been commissioned by Baron van Swieten to arrange several of Handel’s oratorios into a private performance for himself and friends. Originally the oratorio was associated with Easter, and was sung by a group of thirty men and boys.

Later, locals were added to the professional singers to form huge performing forces up to 300 in number; imagine the power! Other changes were made as new instruments, or types of instruments were invented. By 1834, when it was presented at the Royal Music Festival at Westminster Abbey, there were 644 performers.

This idea of huge performances kept growing until eventually gigantic festivals were held, like the one at the Crystal Palace[2] where 3,000 might perform, and 10s of 1000s might attend.

During Queen Victoria’s reign, there was an effort to bring music to the masses, including oratorios, and this included teaching The Messiah to children in school.

Then came the purist movement and in 1883, Sir George Grove pleaded that it be performed as written and intended by Handel. It was performed this way in December 1885, without the Mozart additions or any other modifications and with its orchestra back.

Since we might think of it these days as for the aficionado, it’s interesting that its greatest contribution is considered “the movement of music away from a pastime of the elite to a significant part of life for people of all classes."[3]

Here are some of the words of the Hallelujah chorus:

Hallelujah[4]; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of King, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah[5]

At the time he wrote it, Handel was suffering from insomnia, depression and rheumatism. He was also beleaguered churchmen who denounced his opears as profane and unseemly.

When he arrived in Dublin to have the first performance at the New Musick Theatre in Fishamble Street, the Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dr. Jonathan Swift[6] protested, writing the following:

…wheras it hath been reported that I gave a licence to certain vicars to assist at a club of fiddlers in Fishamble Street, I do hereby annul and vacate the said licence, intreating my said Sub-Dean and chapter to punch such vicars as shall ever appear there, as songsters, fiddlers, pipers. trumpeters, drummers, drum-majors, or in any Sonal quality, according to the flagitious aggravations of their respective disobedience, rebellion, perfidy and ingratitude.

It did occur, however, with 26 boys and 5 men singing and was a great success raising money for a debtors’ prison, a hospital, and several other charities. It has often been used as a fund-raiser since.

Handel’s fame grew after his death, along with love of his oratorio. During the period 1784-1791, when another George (III) held the throne, who was just as appreciative of Handel, there were commemorations held at Westminster Abbey involving over 500 professional musicians.

The USA premiere took place in 1818 – in Boston, of course – given by a volunteer singing group.

Establishing its tradition as a fund-raiser in perpetuum, Handel bequeathed The Messiah in his will to a charity for the relief of poverty.

[1]Messiah” is Hebrew for “the anointed” just as “Christ” is Greek for “the anointed”

[2] Sound like a modern day arena? Similar. The Crystal Palace,built in 1985 for the Great Exhibition, was a huge, magnificent structure with over a million square feet of glass. After the Exhibition it was transported to Sydenham Hill in south London and rebuilt as a huge theme park. It was destroyed by fire in 1936, but the district is still known to Londoners as Crystal Palace, as is its football club.

[3] Smither, p. 347

[4] This is Hebrew for "praise ye the Lord"

[5] The text is taken from the New Testament Book of Revelation, 19:6, 11:15, 19:16.

[6] Author of “Gulliver’s Travels”
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The Man Who Standardized American English


INTENTIONALITY: AN EQ COMPETENCY...if you think one person can't make a difference

In the America Noah Webster grew up in, people in one state couldn't understand people from another. Accents were thick in various regions, plus native tongues were still being spoken -- Italian and Irish in Boston; Dutch in New York; German in Pennsylvania; French in Vermont. There was not standard spelling or punctuation.

It was in April, in 1828, that Noah Webster produced his American Dictionary of the English Language. He had worked alone on it for 20 years, doing all the research himself and writing it by hand.

It accomplished what he hoped it would. We have fewer dialects in the US than in any major country in history.

A grand symphony is playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy when the part comes where the bass players don’t have to play for a while, so all three of them head out the back door and around the corner to the nearest bar.

After a few shots of the strongest whiskey in town, the first bass starts to get worried. “We should get back,” he says.

The second one replies, “No, I took the last part of the score and wrapped a string around it and tied it with a big knot.”

The third one looks at the clock and says, “No, really, we are going to be late. We gotta go.”

So they run back in and stand waiting at their instruments, a little unbalanced from the whiskey.

Two patrons who are sitting in the front tow are curious about what is going on. One looks at the other and asks, “Has the music stopped?”

“Well,” replies the other, “it’s the bottom of the ninth, the score is tired, and the basses are loaded.”


An English major was being released from prison. The nice looking female clerk was about to give him the $100.00 they give to all released prisoners.

Since the inmate had not had female attention for a long time, he suggested that she could keep the money if she would have sex with him.

He was immediately thrown back in jail.

Everybody knows you should never end a sentence with a proposition.


A guy lands in Boston, gets in a cab, and realizing it’s a great seafood town, asks the cabbie, “Know where a fellah can get scrod around here?”

The cabbie says, “Yeah, but I never heard anyone ask in the pluperfect subjunctive before …”

What is the Meaning of Life?

Let's talk about the MEANING OF LIFE ...Is it about peace? The peace that passeth understanding?

What is the meaning of life - and could you sum it up in 25 words? What if someone offered you $10,000 for your best description?

The website is running such a contest, and while it may be a marketing ploy, it's an astute one. Who isn't intrigued by this question? Who hasn't struggled to figure out his or her true purpose?

Like Arthur Dent in A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, we wish the meaning of life could be reduced to one simple solution: in his case, "42."

What if there are no meanings to life, except those we choose? As new-age gurus assert, "It's all made up, anyway!" Or, as religious doctrines proclaim, "Follow God's will for you. This is the true meaning of life."

Between "any which way you want" and "His way or the highway (to hell)," many decisions must be made along the way.

Even if we turn over some parts of our lives to leaders, religious or otherwise, other parts and decisions remain. What do you eat? What kind of work do you do? What about play and having fun? Marriage and relationships? How do you manage
spending and saving?

So many decisions, so little time!

What are some of the guidelines for exploring and giving meaning to your life? How can you decide who and what you should be, and which principles will keep you on track?

If you clearly understand where you want to be, you can make sure your actions each day bring you closer.

Here are three key steps to exploring meaning in your life:

1. Examine your identity. Who are you? Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence, contributing more to your success in life than any other social competency. [My note: and "knowing yourself" means knowing your feelings ... because we are our feelings.]

If you know yourself well, you can choose a path aligned with your strengths and weaknesses. [and in accord with yout "heart" and "intuition"] You'll avoid distractions by people, places and things that are incongruent with your true self.

2. Define your values. What are your most fundamental beliefs? Identify three important moral values. The more clearly you define them, the more energy and focus you'll have to meet your goals.

While the pursuit of power, wealth or fame motivates many people, these goals are external, filling deficiencies instead of addressing one's needs for growth and development.

Seven groupings of values have been universally admired across cultures, religions and history:

* Integrity
* Generosity
* Courage
* Humility
* Compassion
* Loyalty
* Perseverance

3. Answer these questions to define your true values:

1. What do you do at work that gives you great satisfaction? What would you continue to do if you weren't paid for it?

2. What three personal qualities others recognize in you?

3. Who are you when you're at your best?

4. What are the three most important lessons you've learned in life?

5. What would you like to see on your tombstone that best captures who you really were in your life?

6. Cite three small incidents that gave you great pleasure today. What about these events ignited your passion?

Once you identify what truly matters to you, look at how you express these strengths and virtues in your daily life. Prioritize your values, distinguishing the top three to five that are most important to you today.

Now, go write that 25-word statement about the meaning of life - and good luck in winning the $10,000 prize!

About The Author: Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. writes articles for life, business and executive coaches and consultants. She provides articles on for sale, and formatted into customized newsletters. Get Patsi's Secrets of Successful Ezines 7-Step
Mini-Course to learn what you need to know to publish a successful ezine. .
Want a quick reading on this? Drop-in coaching works. Sometimes just one phone call does the job. Email me at to schedule a time. Email coaching, $25 per interchange. What a value!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Develop Your Child's EQ


Be an angel and read to your child. The literacy rate in this country has been increasing at the basic level, but things like the SAT scores have not. It's not just being able to read a road sign or catalogue, but being able to express oneself deeply and accurately with words, and the ability to appreciate beautiful words, lyrical prose, "the well-turned phrase," the rhythm of speech, and tone. The conversation of our youth is punctuated with "doh," and "like" and "dude," and while we can read, it doesn't appear that being able to write has kept up with the pace.

We learn to write by reading. We learn volcabulary by hearing good speech, reading and being read to.

"The Reading Mother"

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings —
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

- Strickland Gillilan

Part of emotional intelligence is the ability to express your emotions in words. This is one of the ways we contain and manage our feelings. Paucity of speech limits us. Use big words and correct grammar with your children; that's how they'll learn it best. It will stretch you, too, and bring you up as well.

EXERCISE FOR THE KIDS: Make some flash cards of words for emotion, and get beyond "angry," "sad," "happy." Put in some nuances, like "dejected" or "pensive." All words are new to kids, so feed them some gourmet language, not junk food. Just listen to what this little doll can do with words: .

Watch those SAT scores go up. And that is said half in jest. We don't learn in order to pass a test, or to impress, we do it for the enrichment it gives us.

Most of all pass on THE JOY OF LEARNING to your kids.

Click HERE to buy my ebook,
Developing Your Child's EQ: Simple How-to Tips.


My website is back up - - thank heavens, and I continue to do internal repairs. Bear with me.
There will be a full moon in Libra tomorrow. Someone may be reading your mind tonight, and get ready for big, long-lasting, life-changing things to happen in May. Get a reading from Semiramis, just $25 for an email reading. Email her at You can pay via PayPal. She'll tell you how. It's a great time for a relationship reading.
Overheard today from a client: "I was talking to a co-worker today who was really upset. I kept thinking, 'What would Susan say,' and how to hook it in to emotional intelligence. I mean it worked for me."
Nobody seems ready for Easter this year ... maybe because it's so late. It's one time of year when I feel like a real transplant. In South Texas, the tradition is to have a barbecue, a cookout, at someone's house, or at a park. Growing up in the MidWest, it was usually still cold. I don't feel like standing around a grill for my Easter dinner. That's the way it is with "culture." It's in our bones and we feel it. Intellectually I know it isn't right I should object and there's no good reason for it except habit. I know there's nothing 'wrong' with standing around a barbecue grill at Easter ... but it doesn't FEEL right ... like a man in love with the wrong woman, my head isn't very good at correcting my heart.
My son died a couple of years ago on Good Friday. It was April 1 that year. This year I seem to have made another hurtle in the recovery. I found out April 1 is Rachmaninov's birthday, and I think I'll celebrate April 1st that way henceforth. Whatever 'mind tricks' it takes to move forward

John would approve, though I do it for myself. Dr. John Alifano is the honorary head of our CLUB VIVO PER LEI/I LIVE FOR MUSIC, and a great fan of Rachmaninov -- to listen to, and to play. Why don't you join us at Club Vivo? We appreciate music and enjoy learning more about it. It's free and there's a signup place on the website. And tune it at work, via computer, at I especially like the noon hour, when Garrison Keillor tells us what happened this day in history, and then reads us a poem.
What happened to day in history? Galileo Galilei went on trial. He died in 1650, blind and under house arrest. In 1835, the Roman Catholic Church removed his book from the banned list. In 1992, The Church joined the rest of the world in agreeing that Galileo was right.
We have a special on ARBONNE through the end of this month. The entire NutriMin RE9 system (anti-aging skincare) for just $250 mailed to your home. This is a significant savings to you, just this month. Check out the NutriMin system HERE but email me at to take advantage of this special.
Susan Dunn is an Independent Arbonne Consultat. You can be too. Sign up HERE.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


We like this look at the google of the future. Heaven knows we could all use this?

Hunting for something? Like your future? You can always ask Semiramis.EMail her at Email readings for just $25.

After two weeks of problems with computer, hard drive, and website, my website is now DOWN completely. Hang in there. It should be up tomorrow!

We're following the Italian election with interest. In keeping with our earlier theme of nonverbal communication and finger gestures, Berlusconi came through with the "coglioni" statement right on cue. The blogs are full of opinions as to what it means, in translation, and just how strong an insult it is. Does it mean they have no cajones? Or they're d***heads, as one op ed article said? People describe it more or less in terms of which candidate they support - never forget the natural human bias. Opponents say it's inappropriate for a PM. Some think Berlusconi gets to write NEW RULES.

At this point it looks, ah hem, a hung jury, with the vote being contested.

Hi Susan,

I'm working on a team that is developing manager training materials at Intel & we really liked your article "Using Your Emotional Intelligence To Get & Retain the Best Employees" which we came across in smallbusinessnewz.

We were wondering if it would be ok with you if we use the article as pre-reading for our class. Also, assuming you approve, could you send us a copy of the article suitable for emailing to our class?

Tyler Welt
Intel Capital Finance

Of course I said "yes." Nice to know we're helping. BTW, did you know we give presentations, workshops, teleclasses, teleseminars, Internet courses, and personal, individual and group coaching via telephone or on-site? JUST ASK.

Found this great website while roaming around on the Internet.

It has great information for encouraging your daughter or grand-daughter to pursue a career in math or the sciences, where females are still under-represented. They say that girls, as we know, start to lose interest in math and science at about 10 years of age.

I always have a bit of a tug on the heart-strings when I read that stat. At that age, math was my favorite subject and I was very good at it, intuitively. I "just knew" the answer; I couldn't always "show my work."

Since I came from a "liberal arts" family, where writing, reading and verbal skills were praised, I received no encouragement at home. It's odd because my father, a lawyer, told me late in life that when he was in World War II, in the artillery, he found the math "easy," and had loved it himself.

At school, I was "punished" for shouting out the math answers too fast. The teacher told me I couldn't answer a question any more. (True story!)

Every time I have taken a career assessment, it has shown that I would enjoy being a theoretical physicist. Indeed I used to keep a photo of Einstein on the refrigerator -- my kind of "hero". The writeup on the career assessment cautions (and I know this well, since I give assessments) - the assessment indicates what you would have a passion for, but does not show if you have the skills ore prerequisites to do well in it. ... and the rest is history.

However, I love what I do now very much. Things probably turn out for the best in the end.

If you're wondering what career field you would enjoy -- for beginners, for college, or instead of what you're currently struggling with (!!) take the StrengthsFinder(r) profile. (Available when you order the book, "Now Discover Your Strengths." Code is in the book, assessment is online. ( Do NOT buy a secondhand book as the code will have been used.)

The StrengthsFinder (r) is an outstanding assessment, my preference. It gives me a quick and accurate look at the client. You receive your top 5 strengths, in descending order. These are touchstones you can go back to when you hit a wall; they're a way to plan a career with EQ; they will tell you where your passion lies, because we love what we do well, and vice versa.

These are categories you haven't heard before, such as Focus, Deliberative, Intellection, Activator, Harmony and Relator.

Have your partner (personal or professoinal) take it, and/or members of your team, let me coach you, and you will understand much better how to get along with the other, how to use their talents for the common good, how to talk to them, how to make use of "opposites attract," and basically WHAT MAKES THEM TICK.

Be sure and let me do a coaching session with you on the results, as the clients I've given it to say, "But what do I do with this?" That's what coaching is for. To get your from where you are, to where you want to be.

p.s. One of my top 5 strengths is STRATEGIC. Let me map out a strategy for you. It's second nature to me. :-)