Friday, June 30, 2006

Boundin' - Trailer to "The Incredibles"

So glad I was finally about to find it in English. So many of you have asked.

Emotional Intelligence


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Cell Phone Driving More Dangerous than Drunk Driving: July 4th Warning

The studies are piling in folks. Using the cell phone in the car, it turns out, is more dangerous than drunk driving. Insurance companies and actuaries study this sort of thing and the evidence is becoming incontrovertible. If you use the cell phone in the car, you are taking your life, and the lives of others, in your hands -- which are not free to do what they're supposed to be doing. It interferes with thinking, with reaction time, with motor abilities ... with safe driving.

Hang around a law firm and you'll get a clue. The first thing to be subpoened now in a traffic accident, may be your cell phone records. If you need external urging to do what's safe, and what's right, there you have it.

Your cell phone records can be subpoened, like anything else electronic these days; and they can last as long. (You know how your employer can find out where you've been on the Internet for ... probably years.)

Studies have shown that driving with a cell phone is extremely dangerous, and it doesn't matter whether you're placing the call, taking the call, talking or listening and it applies to all age groups. No one has an edge, though seniors may be slightly worse off. I've written articles about this before.

As the 4th approaches, one of the big driving holidays of the year, turn the thing off. Give us all a major break.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Emotional Intelligence: Are you a diamond in the rough?


DIAMOND CUTTER: “Diamond, what should you become?
DIAMOND: “I should become the most beautiful.”

Is our new ebook, REdeFINE YOURSELF right for you?


Gabi Tolkowsky is a master at his craft, probably the best in the world. He's a diamond-cutter.

One stone he cut was originally called “The Unnamed Brown.” Diamonds straight from the mine are so non-descript you probably wouldn't know you were looking at a diamond. Then it became known as “The Ugly Duckling.” When it was presented to the King of Thailand at the celebration of his 50 years as King, it was called “The Golden Jubilee.” It is now referred to as “The Magnificent Swan.” This is because of the hand, eye and heart of Mr. Tolkowsky.

Gabi Tolkowsky lives in Antwerp, Belgium, which is not surprising since it's the diamond-cutting capitol of the world.

A young man wrote him recently about one of the diamonds he had cut, called The Centenary Diamond. The first thing Tolkowsky said was how glad he was to see someone using a pen "to put [his] thought on paper.


“[T]he Centenary Diamond," Tolkowsky wrote, "is shaped like a heart-shape, but it does not have a groove. The image I had in my brain was a shape which would adorn the turban of a Sultan or a Maharaja, legendary personalities of the past which only a few still exist in our times…[T]he inspirations which I get as to the designs of my various cuts are the result of an imposed fact. Every diamond, large or small is a unique individual.”

Once a diamond has been mined, cut, and mounted, it is displayed. Usually it is laid on a dark surface (black velvet is ideal) and an illuminating light is shown upon it.

Above you can see how the famous Hope Diamond is displayed. A lighter blue display background was probably chosen because of the darkness of the stone. The material it’s laid upon is called a “foil.” It is chosen to show the diamond in its best light.

Tolkowsky says, “Every diamond, large or small, is a unique individual. None is similar to another. Its shape, volume, hue, inclusion, or purity in the rough appearance have a combined effect on the mind.” He revolves the rough stone between 2 or 3 fingers and peers onto and into it, asking it the above question. “My answer should be,” he says, “the result … every rough diamond requests the same demand. My answer is the final result.”

The diamond's qualities "challenge" him, he says. The rough shape volume, color and purity of The Pink Sunrise Diamond, which he cut, demanded more than a year of cutting and polishing.

The secrets of bringing out the best in each diamond, Gabi says, “are deep inside my heart and brain, as well as behind my eyes.”


Coaching is like being a diamond-cutter. In my new ebook, REdeFINE YOURSELF, we take the challenge of you, and add the cut and the polish, to bring out the best in you, and let you shine in the best ligh. REdeFINE YOURSELF is currently available at the low introductory price of $11.99. Order your copy today by emailing me at or click here to order and pay through PayPal.

How to Say the Truth

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders, than from the arguments of its opposers. – William Penn, 1644-1718, English Born Founder of the Colony of Pennsylvania Good words from one of our forefathers.

Emotional Intelligence is about understanding and using emotion, in yourself and others. Emotion gives us information, in its raw form. We then think through it. We want to reach a logical conclusion, make the best decision, and choose the wisest course of action.

When you have a truth to deliver, consider using a soft tone of voice. Emotion motivates and convinces, but only in its moderation. It is especially effective when the general tone is that of respect for the other, caring about them, and curiosity for their position and concerns.

We like to consider ourselves Thinking Beings, and when aroused by the emotion of someone's heated appeal, we will feel "yes," then think we're being "too emotional."

"I 'm a Thinking Being," that left-brain says, and so I must resist this emotional appeal and not say 'yes' as a knee-jerk reaction." Then the logical thing to do , we surmise, is to say "no" or to wait. We want to think it over, just to show we're a Thinking Being, and can't be pushed around.

Confusing? Well, that's what too much emotion engenders.

Consider making your appeal with "just enough" emotion. Try a metaphor, a story, or something more subtle. Your audience will appreciate it, and be more inclined to agree and go along with you.

The women screaming and pointing her finger, and the male chest-pounding are not effective. You become the "show," and your words and reasoning are lost.

Develop your Emotional Intelligence with The EQ Foundation Course.


If you're confused, schedule a reading. Get clarity so you can take advantage of opportunities and get what you want.

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"Uncanny. You were right on. Thank you so much. Your reading made it crystal clear. He called! I'm so glad I had a reading and took your advice. -- SD in San Diego

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Independence Fever

Get ready for the 4th of July with an Independence Quiz.

1. What event do Americans celebrate with a national holiday on July 4th?
A. George Washington’s birthday
B. King George III’s ascension to the throne of England
C. Formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence from England
D. Official signing of the Declaration of Independence

C. Formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence from England

TOPICS: The official signing actually took place over several days.

2. What country celebrates a national holiday in July in honor of an 1867 act that unified the nation?
A. United States
B. Canada
C. Russia
D. Korea

B. Canada

TOPICS: On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act unified Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as the Dominion of Canada. The holiday was formerly known as Dominion Day but changed to Canada Day in 1982 when the Canadian Constitution was changed.
3. What country celebrates an independence day that originated
13 years and 10 days after America’s July 4th holiday?
A. Australia
B. Canada
C. England
D. France

D. France

TOPICS: Bastille Day is a national holiday in France celebrated on July 14th. It dates back to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789.

4. Every revolution worth its salt has a flag for its supporters to display. What do you call a person with an expert knowledge of flags?
A. Vexillologist
B. Flagman
C. Flatulent
D. Flagellin

A. Vexillologist

TOPICS: It doesn’t make much sense until you think about revolutions. After all, vex means to agitate and you must admit a rebel flag will do that to the powers that be.

5. In 1581, the Dutch provinces within the Union of Utrecht declared their Independence from what nation?
A. Spain
B. Belgium
C. England
D. Germany

A. Spain

TOPICS: Political dissatisfaction combined with growing Protestant support caused the movement, although this battle for Independence lasted decades and was not won easily.

6. Bernardo O’Higgins was a famous revolutionary leader for what country?
A. Chile
B. Ireland
C. United States
D. None of the above, he was made up by The QuizQueen

A. Chile

TOPICS: He was a Chilean revolutionary leader and in fact declared Chile independent of Spain in 1818, although somewhat prematurely as the last Spanish forces were not expelled until 1826. He was named director general but his rule did not outlast the Spanish as he was ousted by popular opinion in 1823.

7. Between 1821 and 1829 the people of Greece battled for their independence from what empire?
A. Catholic
B. Roman
C. Russian
D. Ottoman

D. The Ottoman Empire

TOPICS: An uprising fifty years previous had failed, but during the intervening years the empire had weakened and the mood of the world had shifted to sympathize with rebels following the American and French revolutions.

8. What country celebrates its Independence Day on September 16 in honor of a martyred priest’s failed attempt to overthrow the government?
A. Ireland
B. Italy
C. Mexico
D. Spain

B. Mexico

TOPICS: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla led a crusade to free Mexico from the oppressive Spanish colonial government in 1811. His memory was honored after Mexico attained independence in 1824.

9. How many colonies were there at the start of the American revolution?
A. 3
B. 13
C. 23
D. 33

B. 13

TOPICS: No Americans better have missed that question…

10. What country marks August 15, 1947 as its Independence Day?
A. Guatamala
B. Australia
C. Puerto Rico
D. India

D. India

TOPICS: That day marked the end of British rule in India.

11. January 1, 1912, marks what important event in Chinese history?
A. The end of imperial rule
B. Establishment of the Republic of China C. Establishment of the People’s Republic of China D. Establishment of the People’s Democracy of China

C. Establishment of the People’s Republic of China

TOPICS: The new Republic of China was inaugurated on that date (under a Republican form of government) although the end of imperial rule would be acceptable (even thought that ended by all effects some time in late 1911. The People’s Republic of China (under a Communist form of government) was not created until 1949.

12. The Russian Revolution of _____ resulted in the formation of the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?
A. 1895
B. 1905
C. 1917
D. 1927

C. 1917

TOPICS: There was a Russian Revolution of 1905 that did earn some concession from the Czar but did not end the rule of Czars. That event came about in 1917. If you think that is nit-picky just be glad I didn’t ask what month (as there were both February and October revolts in that year!).

About The Author: Enjoy more Trivial Topics trivia questions from Deanna Mascle by visiting

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Music and the Mind

Professional musicians have more gray matter than the rest of us, including in cognitive areas.

Listen to Dr. A. Patel from the Institute of Neurosciences talking about "Music and the Mind." What music can teach us about the brain, and the brain, about music.

All cultures that have ever existed have had music. In the absence of instruments, they sing. We are the only species that does. (Birds are doing something different, basically structured, rigid, and hormonally dictated. )

Music lights up the pleasure center of the brain generally reserved only for survival functions like eating and mating.

Nietzche said, "We listen to music with our muscles," and it appears to be true.

Music engages many brain functions, more than any other domain. It increase IQ points.

Club Vivo Per Lei / I Live for Music, dedicated to Dr. John J. Alifano, founded by Susan Dunn. For your elan vital.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Emotional Intelligence

Will Smith: "What you're sayin' ain't comin' out of your mouth!"
EQ teaches you to see more than the tip of the iceberg.

It is great to study how to parent for EQ, because it wasn't done even 15 years ago, and likely if you're reading this, you missed it. So ... as with all things, you're an adult now, go get it! I'm happy to coach EQ! (I also have an ebook on "How to Develop Your Child's EQ.")

This is such a great article, I couldn't wait to share it. Enjoy!

The Feelings Vocabulary
by Steven Tobias, Psy.D.

This article is based on the information and techniques presented in Emotionally Intelligent Parenting: How to Raise a Self-Disciplined, Responsible, Socially Skilled Child By Maurice Elias, Steven Tobias, and Brian Friedlander.

One of the most important skills in emotional literacy is the ability to correctly perceive feelings, both in oneself and others. If you misperceive feelings in yourself, it will cause you to react in a way that will likely not get you what you really want. For example, many people confuse frustration and anger. Frustration means that something is hard to accomplish. Anger usually means that someone is trying to hurt you (even yourself, as in when you berate yourself for doing something wrong). What do you do when you are frustrated? Take a break, ask for help, keep trying. What do you do when you are angry? Yell or withdraw. If a child is working on difficult homework and they label themselves as angry, they will likely act out or quit. If they can label themselves as frustrated, they will more likely cope more appropriately and complete the homework.

If you misperceive feelings in others, it also can lead to aversive and unintended consequences. Some children have what is called a "hostile attribution bias." All this means is that when confronted with neutral social stimuli, the child perceives it as aggression towards them. This primes them to respond in kind. Obviously, this becomes self-reinforcing because if the child responds aggressively, then the other person will also become aggressive which then confirms the perception (or rather what was initially a misperception) that the other was really provoking them.

In order to identify feelings in yourself, you first have to have words for those feelings, a feelings vocabulary. Many children are either okay or mad and miss all the subtle gradations of feelings in-between because they do not have labels for those feelings. Therefore, parents and educators have to make a conscious and deliberate effort to teach these words and their emotional definitions.

This can be done in several ways. One way is to paraphrase back to children what they are saying to you but in an appropriate way. For example, you might ask a child how he feelings when his sister will not include him in her play and he replies, "She’s such an idiot. I hate her." The parent can then paraphrase this back as; "It sounds like your feelings were really hurt and that you are very angry with your sister." If you address the way the child expressed their feeling at this time, the communication will stop. If you ignore how the child expressed himself but indicated understanding of the underlying feeling, you not only reinforced the child for talking to you but also modeled an appropriate way to express himself and helped him label the feeling more correctly.

[My note – some parents still, unfortunately, try and negate the feeling – “No you DON’T hate your sister, you love her.” This really cripples the child’s ability to understand their feelings, and you do them a great disservice.]

Another way to help children learn to identify feelings is to talk about them at the dinner table. If the family talks sports, children will learn that this is important to you and they will learn about sports. If the family talks feelings, children will learn that these are important and will learn about different feelings. It should be noted that some children learn to identify and express feelings more easily than others do. Some children have more difficulty in this area and require more deliberate time and instruction.

Children can learn about feelings when watching television, sitting on a bench in the mall, or when reading. Point out the feelings that you see around you and talk about them. Talk about how the characters on TV or in the book are feeling and why. Look at people you see and try to guess how they are feeling.

Another technique for teaching how to identify feelings is to watch if people are being their "BEST." This is an acronym for:

B — Body language
E — Eye contact
S — what is Said
T — Tone of voice

By attending to each of these, one can usually figure out how the person is feeling. Feelings are complex and communicated in many ways. We often have to be detectives in order to understand how people are feeling. The feeling might be expressed more in the Body language or the Tone of voice rather than in the specific words used.

In a sense, "feelings" are what it is all about. If someone asks you how you are feeling and you can truly answer, "Good," then you are probably doing better than most. But the first step in feeling good is to be aware of your feelings and all the wondrous gradations and variations thereof.


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Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Benefits of Being Stuck


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"The Benefits Of Being Stuck,"
by Claudette Rowley

You know what you want. You have a vision and a plan. You try to implement that plan but for some reason you can’t. You are officially "stuck" You feel like you can’t move forward, but can’t discern why. You say to yourself "Okay, today I’m going to get that proposal written. No matter how I feel, I’m going to sit down and do it." But you can’t – not matter how hard you try. You might feel grumpy, confused or mad at yourself and possibly the world.

Consider my advice to give yourself a break. Being stuck is different than good, old-fashioned procrastination. And it’s not a sign that you lack self-discipline, determination or perseverance. You might be persevering with the best of them and still feel like you’re getting nowhere fast.
While being stuck may feel uncomfortable, it’s actually an opportunity. It’s your soul’s way of pointing out that there is something you need to see, understand, learn or experience before you’ll be ready to make your vision a reality.

How does being stuck serve you? Being stuck:

- Forces you to step back and reflect on what you really want.
- Gives you time and space to let an underlying issue emerge.
- Gives you an opportunity to receive the help and assistance you need.
- Lets you pause and focus on any fears.
- Lets you rest and recharge. The well of energy has run dry and this is your body’s way of enforcing its need for sleep and stillness.

So what should you do? Stay put. Relax. Keep an open mind. The reason for being stuck usually becomes clear when the timing is right – and that’s usually not until after you stop thinking about being stuck.

Personally, I find few things more frustrating than feeling really stuck. It reminds me of being caught in the middle of a boxing ring, rushing the ropes and being bounced back into the middle of the ring. Argh!!

Having recently triumphed from my own bout of being stuck recently, I’ll offer some ideas and steps that I found helpful:

- Listen to what you really want in each moment. For example, deep down, I really wanted to do nothing at all for a few days.
And nothing worked until I took that break.
- Identify what kind of help you need, if any. Do you know someone who could shed some light on how you’re feeling or offer you some practical or technical assistance?
- Ask yourself "Am I bored?" "Am I scared?" "Am I just tired?"
- Also ask yourself "What do I need right now?"
- Notice if there’s anything in your life that you’ve been avoiding, no matter how small.

Although it isn’t fun to experience, the result of being stuck can actually be as rewarding as winning a platinum title belt during a first-round knockout. Being stuck can bring many new insights and self-knowledge. Most of the time, being stuck is a precursor to spectacular mental breakthroughs and a heightened awareness that leads to a successful life outside of the boxing ring.

So if you’re feeling stuck, give yourself a timeout. Coach yourself to lighten up a bit to get refreshed and recharged.

The reward could be well worth a few days spent being down for the count.

About The Author: Claudette Rowley is a professional coach, speaker and author who helps savvy professionals like you identify their true purpose and calling and mobilize the courage to pursue it. Sign up for her free monthly ezine "Insights for the Savvy" at or contact her directly at

Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's Hurricane Season. Are You Prepared?


I have been running behind lately. A computer problem really threw a monkey-wrench into my ordinarily well-organized life.

When this article crossed my path, I just loved it and wanted to pass it on. I'm not in a place that gets hurricanes of the weather type, but things happen. I remember two years ago having to leave for a family emergency within 2 hours. If I had had things prepared like this article talks about, it would have been helpful. I'm going to sit down tonight and make a list of what I would need if I had to get out the door on a moment's notice, and get some things organized.

It would be bad enough to cope with the disaster without not being able to find the things you need.

"It's Hurricane Season. Be Prepared"

It’s hard to believe it’s already hurricane season, and it’s also hard to believe that this season is projected to be as bad as or worse than last year’s season that saw hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. We’re here to help you prepare, but rather than repeat the usual "flashlight and first aid kit" disaster preparedness checklist, we’re going to give you a few details that will help your family plan an efficient evacuation should a severe hurricane threaten your area.

One of the most crucial assets in any emergency situation is time, and nowhere is time more important than in an evacuation.

When the evacuation order is given, all you want to have to do is go. A safe and speedy evacuation does two things. First, it gets you and yours out of the way before the massive traffic gridlock takes place, and two, if enough people evacuated earlier, this gridlock won’t be as bad for the people who did not prepare as they should have.

Let’s look at a few ideas that will save you considerable time in an evacuation scenario and help keep your family safe. Going with that theme, let’s use the word S.A.F.E. to cover these hurricane preparedness topics, namely Shutters, Accessories, Fuel, and Evacuation.

1. Shutters.

Get your shutter materials today. If you plan to protect your windows and doors before you evacuate, get the materials you need now, and prep so you can put these shutters up by yourself. For example, if plywood is your choice material, you should already have it on your property somewhere and cut (for fit and manageability) and labeled as to which opening it covers. Have small hooks over each window and corresponding holes in the plywood so you can hang the shutter in place by yourself while you drill in the screws. During an emergency, you shouldn’t waste time and money gathering materials you should already have, and you don’t want to tie up other people performing chores that could be done by one person.

2. "Accessories" covers both your household supplies and your evacuation gear.

One common time waster is standing in line at the grocery store for consumables you should already have, so get your food and water now.

You should always have between 2 and 4 weeks worth of food in your home (including pet supplies), and you should continually rotate your stock so you don’t have a separate stash that reaches its expiration dates and is lost. Besides, if you’re stocked ahead of time, you’re helping others by being out of their way when they make last-minute shopping trips. Also, you want to have adequate supplies of food and water on hand after the storm when stores will be closed or empty, and you won’t have the time, money, or gasoline to shop.

Next, keep a "Bugout Kit" packed 24/7 with a "last-minute list" on top. In an evacuation, you should grab your kit, your few last minute items that could not be prepacked (such as perishable medications, etc.), and be out the door. Your kits should be inexpensive, second-hand backpacks or wheeled suitcases, and they should be packed as if you were going on a two-week trip with only "carry-on luggage." Pack what you need, but pack lightly.

Also, you must have copies of important documents (hardcopies and computer disks) including insurance papers, household inventories (with photos), child ID kits, etc. Having your paperwork with you is the only way to make sure you get your life back in order as quickly as possible.

(For the very basics, see, or

For a "Last-Minute List," write us at

3. Fuel.

Always keep your car’s gas tank full. Forget everything you’ve heard about the "half-tank rule" and make it a firmly entrenched habit to top off your tank about 3 times a week, even if it only needs a gallon or two. When it’s time to leave you don’t want to waste time in line at a gas station that may not have gas when you finally get to the pump. Also, if you have gas-powered lawn equipment at home, keep a 5-gallon gas can rather than the 1-gallon size. This will let you top off your tank before hitting the road.

4. Evacuation means worlds more than "get out of the house."

For this short article, we’ll focus on your destination. Line up your evacuation destination today, and choose one that provides the best balance between protection, accessibility, and economy, selecting a location that offers protection from the storm, but yet is close enough for you to get back home quickly. A friend or relative’s house tops our list since you’ll save money and you’ll be around loved ones. Balance your options, but make your choice now, so you’ll definitely have a place to stay, and make this destination a prominent part of your plan. (For a destination criteria checklist, email us at

Put these ideas to use today as you make your family’s evacuation plans, and plan now so when the hurricane is heading your way, all you have to do is act. Time is that critical.

About The Author: Paul Purcell is a security analyst and preparedness consultant and is the author of "Disaster Prep 101" ( Copyright 2006 Paul Purcell.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

90% of What You’re Saying Ain’t Coming Out of YourMouth

90% of What You’re Saying Ain’t Coming Out of YourMouth
by Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach

So said Will Smith in “Hitch.”

Judge Bob Frost would agree. “There’s a lot more that goesinto determining whether a venire-member can be fair thanjust listening to what the person says,” he says.

Judge Frost discussed his decision-making process inallowing or eliminating people to serve on juries who admit bias. The rules have changed since the passage of Cortez, et al. v. HCII-San Antonio, Inc., and now, you don’t haveto eliminate someone because they say they don’t think they can be fair. You’re allowed to figure out if they mean it, or if they can be “rehabilitated” (made fair).

One of the lawyers interviewed called it “rules by nuance.” That's so funny to me, because I see it all as nuance.

When Judge Frost decides, he says he “doesn’t go strictlyby the words of the person.” What he does is read theirnonverbal communication, part of EQ which includes gestures, expressions, tone, pitch, etc.

If a person replies, “I think I can be fair,” nearly any delivery besides a flat one will change the meaning. Said sarcastically it would mean the opposite. Let’s see what happens when we emphasize different words. Read the following out loud:

1. I think I can be fair.
2. I think I can be fair.
3. I think I can be fair.
4. I think I can be fair.
5. I think I can be fair.
6. I think I can be fair.

The second one sounds highly debatable. The first one sounds like the person’s ability to be fair has been questioned in the past. The third one, like he’s the only person who can be fair. And so on.

The judge’s decision may be questioned in Appellate Court by a judge who will see only a written transcript. “I’mlooking at the juror,” Judge Frost says. “...I hear them say ‘I THINK I can be fair.... [T]he inflection in the prospective juror’s voice when saying the word ‘think’ and watching body language makes all the difference.” He admits to reading everybody’s body language, including the lawyers’ reactions to opposing counsel’s questions.

And surely the attorneys will be watching the judge, trying to read him, and later, the jury. How good are lawyers and judges likely to be at readingnonverbal? On average, not very, according to ProfessorChris Guthrie, who teaches at the Vanderbilt University LawSchool. “Lawyers are analytically oriented, [and]emotionally and interpersonally underdeveloped,” he says. Judges might be even moreso; there are few jobs in the US with more power, so if a judge needs to learn some empathy and communication skills, who’s going to tell her?

Trained to remain objective, rational, logical, and tonarrowly advocate, lawyers’ understanding of emotions and their purpose is minimal. One article about EQ I read by an attorney admitted “[lawyers] have a demonstratedunwillingness or inability to tap into emotional data” andthen proceeded to discuss the history of the philosophy of emotion, not mentioning the tremendous strides in neuroaffective (brain-emotion) science which make this more than speculation. The structure of the brain is like theFederal Statues. Determining everything, it must beunderstood.

I can attest that at first it’s slow going working with a lawyer in this area. “Emotions” are devalued by attorneys nearly as much as by physicians, but physicians are being forced to learn it because EQ is directly related to wellness. Interest is growing.

Ronda Muir, Esq., writes in her article entitled, “Emotional Intelligence,” “EI refers to the ability to process emotion-laden information competently and to use it to guide cognitive activities like problem-solving.” This is true, but narrow. What it’s actually about is the interface between emotions andintellect. Emotions give us information. There is not some “information” out there (like a journal) that becomes“emotion-laden” that we then use. When weg et angry, we know we’re getting something we don’t want, or not getting something we do want. “Anger is a good way of knowing whatyou want [emotion] but not a good way of getting it[intellect].”

The most important thing is that EQ can be learned. Statistically, lawyers are low in resilience, menare low in empathy, women are low in stress tolerance,younger people have less EQ than older people. In one ofthe “low” groups? Don’t get mad, go learn it. It can belearned. EQ coaches teach it. Teaching lawyers EQ is challenging because lawyers arearound twice as likely to be INTROVERTED, INTUITORS, andTHINKERS, and 10% more likely to be JUDGERS as otherpeople. Therefore as the stereotype, I face an introverted(rather be alone), intuitor (as opposed to “sensing”),thinker (intellectual) who judges (rather than perceives). Addto this that lawyers score 90 for Skepticism on the CaliperPersonality Profile while the average person scores 50. According to Muir, lawyers also score HIGH on urgency(impatience) and autonomy (independent), and particularlyLOW in resilience and sociability.

It is likely they use masses of data to make cognitive decisions, and make instant ill-formed judgements about people.

Bundling this, I am teaching something NEW about EMOTIONS to an iNTj who is skeptical, risk/change-aversive (she knows she won’t bounce back well if it fails) person who would prefer to be alone and has no patience for process.

Motivation can be high though. Lawyers see it can give them the edge (everyone in their firm has an IQ of 140), or they’ve learned the hard way they need it (divorce, sanctions), or their senior partner has required it, or, my favorite, they were given me and the EQ program as a Christmas present by a loving son who hoped it would make it possible to engage emotionally with his old man before he passes away and it’ s too late.

What price that?

Emotions' other "job" is to connect us with other people, which sustains our life and gives it meaning.

The program consists of interactive Internet courses withpersonal coaching via telephone. EQ cannot be learned by reading alone. That’s like the U. of Chicago student who showed up to take the swimming exam (grad. requirement), nearly drowned, and when rescued and quiered as to what he was thinking, replied, “But I’d read how to.” He had never been in the water.

Emotional Intelligence is actually extremely well tolerated by intellectuals. It’s the missing piece they’vebeen looking for. It is an intellectual and scientific explanation for something that can’t be touched, but now can be “seen” via fMRI, and of course can be felt, once you know where to look. (This we teach as well.)

The empirical data is there, and they like the direct link to wellness. Considering how important EQ is for health, client contact, collegial relations, and trials, it’s a natural for lawyers. In fact one law school now has a course called “Emotional Intelligence.” As a group lawyers score lower than average in EQ, scoring lowest on “accurately perceiving their own and others’ emotions”, and highest in“understanding emotions” (more cognitive).

Analyzing something you got wrong in the first place is like trying to ride a box you thought was a horse. The place where I consistently see this faulty perceptioncome up is when an innocent person who is scared is interrogated. Fear shuts down their thinking process, but it looks to lawyers and judges like they have something tohide. They miss the key differentiators like … well, take my Difficult People course and find out.

©Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology, Life & EQ Coach,, . Susan offers EQ coaching, internet courses and ebooks with real-life solutions to cluelessness, faulty perception, Difficult People, personality conflicts, stress, relationship and work issues. She trains and certfies EQcoaches. Come learn with the teacher of the teachers. eMail for FR** EQ eZine.


Go HERE to register for the Difficult People Internet course.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

New York Judge Says Internet OK at Work

LANDMARK DECISION ... about what?

You’ve been hearing about it – the Muslim Guy in New York whose Department tried to fire him "for being on the Internet" and the Judge who reversed the decision.

That’s how the media has chosen to report that story. There’s a lot more to this landmark decision that you need to know. We will deal with:

--The biased reporting
--The problems with alphaspeak in the courtroom
--What about “excessive” don’t you understand?
--The answer to “what” can be one word.
--Defiance and fear are often mistaken for one another.
--Dealing with Difficult People in the workplace

Read actual Report & Recommendation of Judge John B. Spooner in the NY City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, in the matter of Dept of Education v. Toquir Choudhri: .

POINT ONE: Here is what the man was actually charged with: (1) disobeying order to cease using the Internet and insubordination in replying to an explanation for Internet use; (2) Excessive absence; (3) Excessive lateness; (4) Submission of an improper leave request in violation of agency rules.

While he was off the hook re: using the Internet and the rest of it, he was charged with the insubordination, and wait til you see what that looks like.

POINT TWO: Now we move to alphspeak. Much re: Mr. Choudhri’s behavior was documented and not contested. It appears he was getting his work done. Management said they were “backlogged.” Choudhri said work was slow. Management has a budget to justify. Choudhri has lots of time to get his work done AND play on the Internet. (It’s your tax dollars, folks.)

Policy said no personal Internet and Choudhri ignored this. We’ll get back to this and the “insubordination “ part but first let’s take a look at the excessive absence and lateness. (And your reaction may be like mine – how can I get a job like this? ... and would you want Choudhri working for you? Well, maybe you would because as you’ll see there are workers out there that make Choudhri’s behavior NOT “excessive.”)

“Alphaspeak” is a madeup word, so your sense of what it means is as good, or better, than my definition. Strictly speaking it’s used by alpha males in the workplace (See “Coaching the Alpha Male”, Harvard Business Online). They define it as charts, graphs and metrics.

I define it as how the guy in authority, with high IQ and low EQ, who uses words poorly, attempts to communicate.

You know the expression, “Do I need to draw you a picture?” We say this to our recalcitrant teenager who doesn’t seem to be ‘getting’ that “breaking the rules” means “restriction.” With teens, attitude is usually served up with the cluelessness. But you may legitimately need to make this query of the alpha male because of his often-tenuous connection to words, as you’ll see. Of course you can’t be copping an attitude, so you want to say, “With all due respect, sir, I‘m not sure I understand…”

Please, let us continue. And prepare to get lost.

Here is what “excessive” is NOT, according to Judge Spooner:

--In 18 months, 33 days absent. Particularly it is not “egregious”. Really?
--Being late 38 times in 11 months. “Excessive” is 60 or more latenesses in one year. One wonders why they bother to pretend to require promptness when it is rendered meaningless. You also must understand that 5 minutes late is not “late.” (What about the word “late” don’t you understand?)
--Leaving work early 23 times.

Now check out this conclusion: If you don’t come to work a lot it proves you’re sick. Could I make the following up? “The high number of documented absences corroborates respondent’s statement that he was genuinely ill and felt unable to work.” HUH??

Now try and unravel this one. Obviously Choudhri and one of his bosses, Mr. Nelson can’t stand each other. Therefore Choudhri starts seeing a therapist. They are Difficult People to one another (see my course on Difficult People).

Nelson issued a memo saying “If you plan to travel, do not make arrangements (purchase tickets, reserve accommodations, etc.) until you have receive approval of requested days.”

Choudhri did, of course. Nelson then charged him with “insubordination.”

Haven’t these people had teenagers? It’s the oldest manipualtive trick in the book and you simply ignore it. You let them commit their folly (this isn’t something life-threatening!) and then you say “I warned you,” i.e., if the person goes ahead and purchases their plane tickets, and their leave is denied, then they eat the $500. And they don’t try that trick again.

HOWEVER, check out the interpretation: Judge Spooner writes, “no authority was provided for the novel notion that a supervisor was somehow obliged to approve any leave request which was phrased as a declarative statement rather than as a tentative question.

Isn't that peculiar? Did Nelson actually think he could forbid someone from buying a plane ticket? Does he feel hamstrung if they do? If he meant “IF you buy a plane ticket assuming you will be granted leave, and you aren’t, you’re going to be very sad” or “We suggest you not make reservations or commit to plane tickets until (and unless) your leave I granted,” then why didn’t he say that? Sentence that man to Writing 101.

After penning this poorly written directiven, it’s then out of Nelson’s hands. Predictably Choudhri defies. If Nelson felt pressure to then grant the demand, he’s fallen for the oldest trick in the book. Sentence him to Management 101.

Choudhri is denied, of course, and takes it to a higher level, where leave is granted. Nelson ought to retaliate against that person, but Choudhri, instead, charges retaliation with the Internet thing.

This sort of personality conflict is unfortunate.

Please, let’s continue with the language problem here, the insubordination re: the Internet. Recall now, workers are forbidden to use the Internet, Choudrih does, is caught, and there’s proof. This time supervisor Barton confronts Choudhri with evidence and (quoting His Honor) “wrote respondent [Choudhri] a memo asking ‘what you were doing on the Internet.” Choudhri returned the memo to Barton with the word “reading” at the bottom.

Judge Spooner decrees that this was insubordination, writing, “Under the circumstances, it was impertinent for respondent to reply only that he had been reading. This reply failed to answer the question asked as to why respondent had been accessing the web for non-work-related reasons and was intended to be sarcastic.”

There was no WHY there. That was a WHAT question. Sentence Mr Nelson to Interrogation 101 and the Judge ... ?? And wouldn’t you Mirandize yourself at this point in time? Sarcastic? Wouldn’t you say Nelson was “provocative”? You catch me with my hand in the cookie jar and ask, “What are you doing?” It’s obvious WHAT I am doing. If you want to know WHY, you have to use this word – “why”. It’s spelled W-H-Y. And why would I be? The sarcasm belongs to Mr. Nelson, in my opinion. It's like the PA, "Why did you break that cup?" How can you NOT flip back with, "To drive you nuts?" "Because I'm clumsy?" "Because I wanted to?" There is no reply to's a set-up and you remain silent. At this point, Choudrhi exercised restraint.

They all kind of deserve each other. What’s needed is an interpreter of the English language.

BTW, Dreizehnermuss writes on blog, “I knew people in my company which are surfing the net for 6+ hours a day at work. Dreizehnermuss can’t write English no better. Is there anyone out there who can read this … or who cares? ______________________________________________________

Need some help withDifficult People? Paddling as fast as you can and getting nowhere?

Click HERE to register and pay for this new Internet course, interactive. ($39.99) You need all the help you can get!

Susan Dunn, personal coaching, Internet courses, ebooks.

Just for you!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Isolation - a Big Killer

From "The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History" by Howard Bloom:

"Even mere distortions in the bonds of social connectedness can affect health.

"According to a study by J. Stephen Heisel of the Charles River Hospital in Boston, the activity of natural killer cells--the body's defenders from disease--is low for people who, on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Test, demonstrate depression, social withdrawal, guilt, low self esteem, pessimism and maladjustment. Those who withdraw have pulled away from the embrace of their fellows. Those with guilt are certain that their sins have marked them for social rejection. The maladjusted have failed to mesh with those around them. And those with low self-esteem are convinced that others have good reason to shun them.

"In the study, low natural killer cell activity wasn't linked to use of medication, alcohol, marijuana or recent medical treatment--just to measures of impaired social connection."
EQ helps us manage "killer" emotions, and keeps us from social isolation which is equally detrimental to our health.

Take THE EQ COURSE and learn more.
Having trouble with Difficult People? Take my Internet course, "It's A Jungle Out There" and be prepared. Introductory offer - $39.99. Click HERE to register and pay.
Or paste:

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tiger Nurses Piglets After Losing Cubs

This is the saddest story

But it has a happy ending

A female tiger in a zoo in California gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she could come back to life.

After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there wereno tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans" that could be found quickly, were a litter of weaner pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babiesaround the mother tiger.

Would they become cubs or pork chops?????????????

Take a look........
you won't believe your eyes!!!!

But …

Yes .. and no.

The photos are genuine (See more below) but the story's not true. She just likes pigs!

The photos were taken at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi, Thailand (near Bangkok), known for its tiger-breeding program, but also because they like to mix species, partly as a tourist attraction (it works).

So, no, there was no lost tiglets and no mourning mother ... in fact this tiger mum is happier than ever. Her name is Sai Mai and she's 2 years old.
She was suckled by a sow when she was a cub, and thinks pigs are family.

Samai is 2 yrs. old and was suckled by a sow when she was a cub. Evidently she considers pigs “family.” This democratic start in life allowed her to form a companionable relationship with pigs, and even a dog. All can be seen caged together at times.

Says our Thailand reporter: “This is living proof that under certain circumstances differences in life don’t have to create friction. Surely the Sriracha Tiger Zoo is sending a message to us Homo sapiens that we can also live in peace and harmony.”

A tiger now protects something it would ordinarily grab for a snack. Of course tigers in captivity aren’t hungry like they would be in the wild, but do you have to be hungry to eat something delicious?

If the tiger can unlearn “eat it” and learn “love it" think what you can unlearn and learn.


· hold your temper …
· stop ranting and raving …
· quit falling in love with women who don’t love you …
· ignore distractions and focus on your studies
· stop grieving and start living
· forgive someone
. learn to deal with difficult people


It’s a thought.

Take the EQ Course© and learn more. Let your tiger learn to live with your piglet.

GRRR ... Are you dealing with a Difficult Person. Perhaps you could learn to live with those tigers ... Take the Dealing with Difficult People course. It's on the Internet, interactive, simple and effective.

Click HERE to sign up and pay. Introductory price: $39.99.

There's the Tiger, the B**** Diva, The Whiner, the Passive-Aggressive, Your Worst Nightmare-the Drama Queen, the EEOC-Protected Slacker, The Creature from Outer Space,
The Control Freak, The Depressed, the Potentially Violent, the Boring Pedant …
and more. In fact, send me In your suggestions, we’ll add it.

Great value at $39.99. To take the course, click HERE.

Help spread the word. Tell someone who needs it about this course.

They’ll thank you later.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fritz Wunderlich

THE WAY they write about him tells you the most. We cannot stand the death of someone before their time, and when they had a special gift, an uncommon something the world is sorely in need of, we are silenced by the thought that perhaps it is true that who the gods love, dies young.

His voice is, indeed, as smooth as the photo I have chosen.

Little is written of him, and what there is has une tone certain to it.

"The esteemed German tenor," begins one writeup. Wunderlich was German, of course, with a violinist mother and choir director father. Urged to pursue classical voice training by theater people who heard him singing as they passed the bakery where he worked, he was granted a scholarship and studied from 1950 to 1955 -- late -- he was born in 1930. He also studied the classical horn which explains his almost supernatural breath control.

"When I listen to Wunderlich's recordings," writes a Ph.D. teacher of singers, and student of the human voice, "I sense a level of excellence and precision never achieved by any other tenor. The clarity of his phrasing, the combined brilliance and velvet-like quality of his tone,and the consistency of his articulation, are unmatched."

In his short, 10-yr. career he "gained the highest respect as a Mozart singer (his first role was Tamino), lending lyrical brilliance to Bach, Schubert and Mahler and melodic tenderness to Bel Canto and light opera roles."

His debut at the Metropolitan, as Don Ottavio, was planned for October 8, 1966, Tragically, on September 17, 1966, a week before his 36th birthday, he died in an accidental fall down a stone stairway at a friend's castle in Heidelberg.

That is all that is said.

One wonders. Our teacher-writer wonders what would have happened had he had 20 more years of the public and critics to spiral him ever more upward.

"Based on his technique," he writes, "my guess is that he would still be singing today. The instrument [his voice] seemed totally immune to the early decline. Based on his personality, I have no clue. Perhaps some of you readersknow what psychological, physical, or emotional baggage he carried, if any. "

So, you see, there are hints.

Another writer writes, "His vocal quality and strength combined with effortless expression and touching lyrical beauty make him one of the truly great tenors of the 20th century and probably of all time.


You can hear clips of his recordings here. Prepare for an experience.

Please join us at Club Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music where we're always learning something new about the music we love ... and live for. Founded by Susan Dunn, and dedicated to Dr. John Alifano, composer, pianist, and physician extraordinaire.

Got a Difficult Person in your life? Start an easier life tomorrow, with Susan's Dealing with Difficult People course. It's on the Internet, simple to understand and use. We treat them all -- the B**** Diva, the Drama Queen, the Whiner, the P-A Infuriator, the EEOC-Protected Slacker, the Potentially Violent, the Alpha Male ... who have we left out? Send it to us and we'll include it.

On the Internet, interactive. Life changing. Click HERE to register and pay at the introductory rate of $39.99. What price peace of mind? for more information or to schedule a Drop-in coaching session.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yakkey Yak Don't Talk Back


Do you have to deal with a Difficult Person, and you are at your wits end? Every day the same thing. It's a game you can't seem to win and it's draining you?

You aren't alone. I have so many clients struggling with Difficult People, I created an interactive Internet course to help you learn how to handle them better.

Speaking of coping with Difficult People, wasn't the SNL "Celebrity Jeopardy" just about the epitome? This one has the Most Difficult Sean Connery, the others give him a run for his money. Watch Will cope with Difficult People. The videos been taken down, so I can only give you the link:,_Jones,_Connery.htm .

To take the Dealing with Difficult People Internet course, click HERE. It's a real value at just $29.99. Far more comprehensive than what you'll find out there, with all the types you're likely to encounter and specific ways of dealing with them. From Control Freaks to B**** Divas, to Drama Queens to the Alpha Male, the EEOC-Protected Slacker, and the Passive-Aggressive ... they can make your life miserable, until you take this course and learn how to take the upper hand.

We'll tell you how to take care of yourself while still being you; how to get someone off your back; when and how to set boundaries; what to say and what not to say; how to avoid "taking the bait," and the one thing all mobbing and bullying victims say that's a dead giveaway. You might as well put a sign on your forehead!!

ORDER IT NOW while you're thinking about it. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Privacy on the Internet at Work?


You’ve probably read about the man who was fired by the NY City Department of Education for being on the Internet at work. A judge overruled it, saying he was checking the weather, and he’s been reinstated (at last check).

"It should be observed," Judge Spooner wrote, suggesting that the man only get the slightest reprimand, "that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work." (read the pleading here: .

So how’s it looking?


Q: So I can’t get fired for using the Internet?

A: First let’s get this straight. In Texas, which is an employment-at-will state, IF my employer wants to fire me because I’ve been abusing the Internet, if he’s smart, he ignores his reason and just walks up and says, “You’re fired.” In an employment-at-will state, your employer can fire you for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. So why quibble about why he wants me out of there.

That having been said, companies can and do fire people over the Internet. According to the American Management Association (AMA), ¼ of companies surveyed in 2004 had terminated an employee for violating their email policies. That was up 22% from 2003.

There are state laws. There are federal laws. It’s E-A-W as long as you don’t violate some federal law. (Check with a lawyer about your state law, as well as federal law.)

Q: But if I erase my path, I’m OK, right? I don’t think they’re monitoring us. Anyway that’s against the law isn’t it?

A: No, No, and No. According to the AMA again, about 2/3rds of companies say they currently monitor where employees go on the ‘net. Software like WebSence and SurfControl can block sites and also tell where you’ve been, and this is done at the network level. You won’t be able to tell. Generally they don’t have to tell you. Connecticut now has a law that they must notify you. The California Assembly passed one but Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

Q: But my email’s ok, isn’t it? And IM? That’s really safe.

A: IM really safe? LOL. Email safe? ROFL.

52% of companies scan emails. Most backup the computers. That stuff stays around forever. And since stuff on the computer is useful in lawsuits, there’s a market, so there are companies that specialize in this, and new equipment all the time to find anything that was once there. (Cell phones, too.)

There’s something called a “sniffer” that can read unencrypted data as it passes down the wires, so hotmail won’t buy you privacy either.

Enjoy your IM now. Only about 20% of companies monitor it, but IM Director and Akonix Enforcer can record conversations and/or block certain activites on IM. Health firms and security brokers are already required by federal law to retain records of some IM conversations, so it’s coming.

Q: Well, I’ll be OK if I stay reasonable right? Like no porn sites?

A: Most companies (90%, says the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College) allow “reasonable personal usage,” but more than half of them don’t define “reasonable personal usage.” Realistically, your employer is not going to define it the way you do. Surveyed companies, BTW, said news was OK, but half thought banking online and shopping wasn’t.

Q: Good grief. What else can they monitor?

A: There’s something called a keystroke logger that records everything you type. There’s also something that periodically takes a photo of what’s on your screen (like a nightmare, isn’t it?) A giant ctr+prt scr in the hands of Big Brother.

Q: We don’t have a policy on it now. What should I do?

A: I’m such a believer in “reasonable,” and so annoyed with those people that abuse privileges and ruin it for everyone else; however, there are security issues as well.

It doesn’t have to interfere with your work. One study even showed that Americans spend more time at home on the Internet doing work (5.9 hours a week) than they spend doing personal things at work on the Internet (3.7 hours). (However, here comes trouble: people with no computer at home spend about 6 hrs. a week on the ‘net at work.)

You’d think if someone were getting their work done, why worry about it. The problem is those who don’t. Someone who works in a huge law firm told me they were all reprimanded because “somebody” had gone into the library, viewed porn for 2 hours, “and even bookmarked it.” Now I ask you … could a secretary disappear for two hours? It had to have been a lawyer, but guess who’s access was taken away.

Certainly you should be able to tune to, or check to see what's new in IQ, or this blog!

It's so much a part of our lives, we ought to be able to use the Internet at work, reasonably, when it doesn't interfere with the work. For online banking, the occasional purchase, to research a subject, get an address, check the news ...

That having been said,

1. Find out what your company’s policy is and adhere to it.

Chances are it will have loopholes in it. If it says “Internet use is forbidden during work hours,” employees will construe that it’s OK during breaks and lunch. (If you’re an employer reading this, get a lawyer to write your manual.) There will undoubtedly be a test case in that office before long. Don’t let it be on you.

2. If you use the ‘net, use common sense, emotional intelligence.

Don’t visit porn hate or creepy sites, don’t disturb others with noise, don’t send emails that are in poor taste.

3. Get your work done.

Exemplary employees always fare better when it’s someone’s call. Besides it’s the right thing to do.

4. Don’t run around sharing things with others.

In other words, don’t advertise you’re on the net. Don't brag about the great travel deal y ou just sealed, or the great ebay purchase you just made. Someone will use it against you, sooner or later.

5. How serious are you?

There are anti-products: Anti-keylogger: , Internet eraser: . (I haven’t tried them.)

6. If you intentionally defy a clear written policy, you’re on your own.

7. Choose your company culture carefully. Choose one that suits yours.

A recent law magazine ran an article on law firm’s attitudes toward Internet use. One manager said they were in a lock-down. Another said she had good workers, and personally she had better things to do than monitor people on the Internet.

Which company would you rather work for?

Bottom line: "There's no expectation or privacy" and, if you're in an employment-at-will state, yeah, they can fire you any time they want to (as long as they don't violate another law).

CHECK WITH A LAWYER FOR LEGAL ADVICE. I am not qualified to give legal advice.

I am qualified to coach. In fact I train and certify coaches. Email me for personal coaching, or for information on my coach certification program. It's simple, fast, affordable, with no residency requirement. I have trained coaches all over the US, in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Beijing, the Phillipines, the UK, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, and more. (EQ is hot all over the world -- it's our common language, and our best shot for dealing with the globalization.)

Or call 210-496-0678.

Having a hard time with someone at work? Take my Dealing with Difficult Internet course. It's interactive. It tells you what to say and how to say it, what to do and what not to do, what you can change and what you cannot. It tells you how to survive and thrive. Order it HERE, a great value at $19.99.

I specialize in keeping you safe in shark-infested waters. We'll talk about handling the Office Gossip, the Alpha Male, the B**** Diva, the Slacker, the Passive-Aggressive, the Control Freak, the Clueless, the Bully, the Whiner, the Potentially Violent, and more.

Monday, June 05, 2006

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

How to Learn Opera

The Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
Join us in our study of emotional intelligence and music at CLUB VIVO PER LEI/I LIVE FOR MUSIC

Opera is the highest art form and offers experiences commensurate.

Like to know more and don't know where to start? We're here to help.

“Screeching women in helmets” – that’s a lot of people’s impression of opera. I must admit several years ago I wasn’t far from that myself. I’d taken piano for 12 years, and been “exposed” to opera, as my parents called it -- “Madame Butterfly” at a puppet theater, where I was a lot more interested in the buffet. Then my to-be husband took me on our second date to “The Flying Dutchman,” but I was a lot more interested in my husband-to-be.

Fast-forward many years and I meet the next husband-to-be, an Italian pianist who can play Rachmaninoff’s 3rd, and cut his teeth on opera. I get interested – in both – and start learning.

Here’s how:

1. GO to an opera.
An opera is meant to be experienced. And it’s worth saving up so you can buy the best seats, usually referred to as “dress circle.”

2. DON’T start by reading.

A well-meaning client sent me her college textbook on opera. It was worse than useless. It’s like reading a recipe thinking you’ve had cake, instead of tasting and smelling a freshly baked cake.

3. AUGMENT with tapes, books, research, and like-minded people.

While attending operas, I listened to tapes, and read about the operas and composers. I quickly founded Club Vivo Per Lei / I Live for Music and created the website to share the experience. It was a natural since I coach emotional intelligence, and music is so important to our health. My research for the weekly ezine keeps me learning. Membership is international, and has doubled in the past 6 months. (You’re invited to join. It’s fr**.)

I rummaged in the closet and found an old Verdi VD, bought some Puccini CDs and my sister sent me her used Teaching Company’s tape course , “Understanding Opera” with Dr. Robert Greenberg, which is go helpful, I started a second-hand tape store on my website.

4. Italian opera is a good place to start, with Verdi. His work is simple and clear, expresses eternal themes, and has incredible energy. The darling of his nation, and then the world, the man was indomitable. He lost his wife and two babies in the span of a couple of months when he was in his late 20s, and then lived during the Austrian occupation of his homeland. Listen to the resurgent energy in 250,000 people attended his funeral . In 1830, a performance of Auber’s opera “La Muette di Portici” in Brussels sparked off the Belgian Revolution. Liszt had followers the way rock stars do today.

Opera is a powerhouse of emotion, the ultimate artistic experience, providing moments you won’t experience elsewhere. A top-staged opera is an extravaganza, serving up to us our deepest longings, fears, excitements, sadness, and joy, across all time, across all cultures.

As Wagner said, “[’Tristan und Isolde’] speaks not of the passion, love and longing of this or that individual in this or that situation, but of passion, love and longing in themselves.” (Prepare to ache.)

6. Work up to Wagner.

German opera is Wagner, that incomparable genius who composed his own lyrics as well as music. (Other composers had librettists write the words.) Wagner’s operas are so dense they’re almost ordeals, for singers and audience alike. In German opera, the orchestra figures as prominently, or moreso, than the arias (which are LONG).
There is no language problem.

It actually helps that operas aren’t in English. Opera is the music, the words are secondary (just like in real life). You’ll get translations at the opera, and can read librettos on the Internet. Be prepared for stories that sound silly or make no sense. Your senses will ‘get’ the story – through the music.

7. )

8. Watch operas in your sweats at home.

Videos and movies, of course, but also these treasures I discovered on the internet. You don’ t have to dress that much for opera any more, unless you want to, but still you have to put on underwear and get out. Besides they’re expensive. Take it easy, and start with these selections. You get to see the great names, in their primes. After you’ve watched these, you’ll have sampled:

German Opera - Richard Wagner – The Mastersinger, The Flying Dutchman
Italian Opera - Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata; Puccini’s La Boheme and Turandot; Giordano’s Andrea Chenier; and Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Seviglia.

Male singers: Caruso, Mario Lanza, Pavarotti, Robert Merrill, Franco Corelli, Tito Gobbi, Richard Tucker, Jussi Bjorling, Jose Carrera and Placido Domingo.

Women: Maria Callas, Roberta Peters, Renata Tibaldi, Lori Decter, Birgit Nillson, and Jessye Norman.

Now I’ve made it easy for you. Here’s the list:

1. Maria Callas, ” Una Voce” from Il Barbieri di Seviglia

2. Che Gelida Manina from Puccini’s La Boheme. Mario Lanza hits one of the all-time high Cs:

3. Young Pavorotti sings Bella Figlia dell’Amore from Verdi’s Rigoletto:

4. Jose Carrera singing Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s “Turandot”:

5. A real historical find: 1935, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Prelude including Goebbels saying “heil Hitler” before concert begins.

6. Duet from Verdi’s”La Traviata.” Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters:

7. Bella Figlia dell ‘Amore again, with Roberta Peters, Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill and Rise Stevens (1953):

8. Fantastic! Jussi Bjorling sings Puccini’s O Soave Fanciulla from” La Boheme,” with Renata Tebaldi:

9. Classic - The only time Renata Tibaldi and Richard Tucker sang on TV. Final Duet from Giordano’s “Chenier”:

A viewer commented: “I have heard about this clip for ages but never thought I would ever see it.”

10. Tibaldi and Franco Corelli singing Chenier’s “Vicino a Te”:

11. Richard Tucker (1970) sings his favorite role from Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut”, ending with a ringing high B:

12. Verdi, Alfredo’s aria from “La Traviata” with Jose Carreras:

13. Franco Corellli sings “Come Un Bel Di Di Maggio” from “Chenier”:

15. The Finale from Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” with Tito Gobbi (who died in ____):

16. Wagner, Lori Decter, The Flying Dutchman

17. Richard Tucker sings "E lucevan le stelle" from Verdi’s “Tosca”. 1958.

18. Final scene from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”:

19. Birgit Nilsson singing “Vissi d’Art” from Verdi’s “Tosca”:

20. Purcell’s Dido’s Lament, by Jessye Norman:

21. Incredible find – original recordings of Caruso:

The inspiration for this beautiful music? Emotions, yes, and the words of poets – that was the precise moment when the stars began to shine (“e lucevan le stele”). We include all the arts in our emotional intelligence program, so stay tuned.

AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG EVER WRITTEN: . (Little boy's voice is dubbed, Mario Lanza is ... as always ... for real.)

©Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach, . Coaching for success in life, relationships and career. Stress, transition, career advancement, midlife dating, step-parenting, retirement and more. Internet courses and ebooks. Susan is the author of “RE(de)FINE YOURSELF” about bringing the refinement finesse, meaning and culture into your life you see in those you most admire … and never realized was something they learned (and you can too). It’s more than PERSONAL power, it’s LIFE power. for book and for fr** ezine and visit Club Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music here:

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mold in Pancake Mix CAN Be Fatal


Do you live alone? If so, you’re probably like me always finding things in the back of the pantry that have been there for years.

I started making it a practice to routinely check dates and throw stuff out after a guest found a box of cheese spread in my refrigerator that was a year past expiration date. Luckily we checked the date first.

An embarrassing wake up call.

I’m really allergic to mold, in the air and in foods, so I’m careful not to get around them. I also learned the hard way not to test by sniffing; it’s just about as bad as tasting it.

But when someone read me the supposed “Dear Abby” column about pancake mix and mold, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I think of “damp” things as having mold, and that mold is something you can see, so you would know -- like that white stuff around the edges of cheddar cheese after a while. I’ve had weevils in mixes and spices (never forget the time I sprinkled paprika into the cream sauce and it started moving. Yes, those you can see.


The “Dear Abby” thing, in case you haven’t seen it, is about a mother making pancakes for her 14-year old son using an outdated pancake mix, and he has a severe allergic reaction.

Turns out this was reported in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology (2001). A teen aged boy with a history of allergies to molds died from eating pancakes from a box of pancake mix that had been open for two years. His friends stopped eating the pancakes because they said they tasted “like rubbing alcohol.” Unfortunately he continued eating, and died. Like reactions to bee stings, for some people it’s a minor event. For someone else, it can be fatal.

However, it’s never a good idea to eat mold. Checking this out with bacteriologists and nutritional scientists, we find:

• Molds can grow on many foods, including grain products. You may have heard of Ergot of rye, when rye is infected with a fungus. It contains mycotoxins, used for medicines, and is the original source where LSD was isolated. Consuming it can cause convulsions, gangrene and death, in people and in cattle.
• Molds come in different colors and textures from dust to fuzz, to fur, from white, to gray to green. They all can make you sick.
• Visible mold produces spores which easily become airborne. Below the visible mold are “threads” or “roots” extending down into the product. Near the threads can be mycotoxins, some of which are carcinogenic. So don't just cut it off the cheese. Get rid of the cheese.
• Cooking does not kill mycotoxins.
In January of this year, the head of Europe’s biggest pasta mill was arrested in Italy for alledgedly “adulteriating” food products, attempting to sell 58,000 tonnes of durum wheat found to be contaminated with ochratoxin, a powerful cancer-producing toxin.

SO …

• Check expiration dates before you buy. Be aware that grocery stores will put things on sale close to the expiration date. It is also possible you will be sold something already past expiration date.
• Once home, write the purchase date on food containers.
• When you put things in your pantry and refrigerator, put the newer things in the back.
• Store opened grain products in airtight containers once you have opened them. Freezing them is no guarantee. Check the dates.
• Check produce in the store for mold. Once you get it home, wash it and eat it quickly. Once washed, it is prone to get mold rapidly.
• Clean your refrigerator every few months with a solution of 1T baking soda in 1 qt. of water.
• Scrub black mold off the rubber casting with a solution of 2 t. bleach in 1 qt. water.
• Wash your dishcloths, sponges and dishtowels frequently. I would just throw the sponge out. I knit dishcloths from cotton yarn and give them for gifts. People love them because they clean well, and also you can put them in the washing machine. Heck, you can even boil them.
• If you find or suspect mold, don’t sniff it. To dispose of it, move the item very carefully so as not to disturb spores, which can become airborne, seal it in a bag and put it in the trash outside immediately.
• Throw out the contaminated container. If you must keep it, clean it with very hot water and soap or antibacterial cleaner.
• Check out the USDA site for fact sheets on molds.
• WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. It just isn’t worth it.