A Best in Class Boss or a Toxic Boss

 

December 26, 2018

965 words  3 minute and 32-second read

First one and then the other

What makes a ‘Best in Class Boss’?

Talentsmart an organization that claims that 75% of Fortune 500 companies use its test on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has conducted research with more than a million people.

They found that the best bosses have characteristics in common.

Dr. Travis Bradbury is the President of Talent Smart and writes articles that appear frequently in LinkedIn.

Before retirement, I always tried to be a ‘good’ boss. Those things that make a good boss are difficult to keep at the top of the mind awareness,

In the heat of a moment, or confronted with a seemly intractable problem or even in a serious discussion managers/bosses tend to make an inevitable mistake.

I think the goal should be: keep your good intentions at the forefront of your mind, practice the correct reactions so that they become a habit, and don’t let the ‘bad’ actions get a foothold in your psyche.

Brush off the ‘bad behavior’ and reset your mind to the tenants of Emotional Intelligence. The newsletter of Emotional Intelligence, Talentsmart is located here.

I have been reading an article about the traits that the ‘best’ bosses seem to possess.

The number one ‘skill’ that “90% of them have in common is the skill at managing their emotions in order to stay focused, calm and productive.”

I have known several men that possess this trait and I have always admired it immensely.

However, I have not been able to shadow that skill. I wonder what the rest of these characteristics are and what they tale they will tell about me.

“Composed”

The premise here is that the ‘best’ bosses constantly monitor their emotions so that they can use this knowledge to react to challenging situations with self-control.

Another ‘not me’ vote. Two strikes.

Once in a while, I was prepared for when the situation went downhill and I managed, at least in my mind, that I handled it with aplomb.

But I have never been able to take the ‘long’ view of events and reacted mainly with short-term actions.

Sometimes when I reflected on the damage that I had already done, I could see a better way.

“Graceful”

A much-admired trait. A combination of strong and gentle. Hmm… I tried to not resort to intimidation, or manipulation because I didn’t enjoy those mind games be played on me.

But to say I was gentle, no I don’t think that was ever said about me.

The people with this trait are “approachable, likable, and easy to get along with.” I guess I have to circle ‘no’ here also.

“Knowledgeable”

The “best” bosses are always trying to increase their ‘self-awareness’. I’m not sure what that means in this context.

How does that apply to spend the time to learn, to have a passion for opportunities to improve and learn new things?

This I did try to do. Maybe not as often as I should have.

“Honest”

Another one that I really tried to follow.

If you lose your honesty and people stopped trusting you, what do you have left to offer?

If you don’t possess and show people your integrity they have nothing else to look for in you.

In addition, Notre Dame did a study that showed that people who lie often experience more mental health problems. But perhaps a better way to explain the phenomenon is to look at the positive side.

People normally lie 1.6 times in 24 hours.

When people learn to lie less (in a 10-week study) they reported feeling better mentally and physically.

“Speak with Certainty”

Another one lost on me a good share of the time.

I tried not to “um”, “I’m not sure” and, “I think”. But I was not as assertive in speaking as the “best bosses” I knew.

“Positive Body Language”

You could often catch me unfolding my arms as I consciously became aware that they were folded across my chest.

I knew this was a defensive action and I would watch out for it.

The same principle applies to eye contact. I watched for that in other people while they spoke to me. Even leaning in a little towards the listener I was aware of but not sure I remembered to use that one either.

“Super successful people ‘ draw others in’. “How you say something can be more important than what you say.”

“Confident”

‘Successful leaders compete for your attention.” How you say something can be more important than what you say.

I was not aware of this one, especially when it is recommended for those times when the efforts would only yield a small victory.

The victory, however small still builds new androgen receptors in the brain. “They are responsible for reward and motivation.

The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges.

“Fearless”

“Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination.” Danger, however, is real.

But fear is not danger. This is interesting “Fear is a choice.” I have never heard that before.

“Grateful”

This I recognize as a trait that I always tried to emulate.

I have always done the tasks that I later end up supervising. I recognize the hard work and ingenuity that is required.

I would much rather celebrate subordinates glory than my own.

I have felt that they need a standing ovation so they can be recognized by higher echelon bosses.

These traits should be self-explanatory to anyone that has toiled in a subordinate position.

I originally wrote this to put out for people to read, discuss and even chuckle over. I am sure former employees will have a great time.

However, I ran into another great article

730 words 2 min 24 sec read

The first article I have had written for years and I haven’t been able to find the exact place where I found it.

The next part I found just before Christmas 2018 and it is a great counterpoint to the above article.

This article was in INC.com written by Marcel Schwantes titled “7 Signs of a Toxic manager that should be stopped immediately.” 

Mr. Schwantes, the Principal, and Founder of “Leadership from the Core” begins his article “I’ve been part of many conversations with executive clients who are quick to blame their employees for bickering and lackluster performance. They get their information, of course, from management teams bickering and complaining about their employees.”

He continues,  “While there’s no quick-fix solution, I tell them, usually the reasons managers aren’t getting the best from smart, creative, and talented employees have to do with job dissatisfaction – common human reactions to unfulfilled work expectations and/or stressful environments – and managers, not employees, are primarily to blame.”

“A Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults found that 50 percent of employees left their jobs “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”

I don’t know if that is a reflection on the training that these managers received or if they were just too absorbed in thinking that they were the best gift to the manager corps.

A sign that a person is a good manager is that he or she regularly asks for feedback from their employees in a formal setting such as a performance review or informally while gathering around the water cooler.

If you inspect managers closely and if they prove to be a poor manager, you will find certain negative practices and untrustworthy behaviors that are consistent with the above research findings.

“Seven of the most toxic management behaviors that stifle the human spirit and such the soul out of an organization” are:

1. People are Treated as Objects, not as Human Beings

2. Employees Compete Against Each Other

3. Passive Aggressiveness

4. A Focus on the Negative

5. Stealing the Spotlight

6. Missing in Action

7. Gossiping

While these findings are pretty much self-explanatory I think Mr. Schwantes summarizes each topic succinctly.

  1. “Because compassion and empathy are virtually non-existent, they are treated as an object or expense rather than assets and there is little concern for their happiness or well-being. You will encounter high levels of stress, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout.
  2. Management probably enforces a performance assessment system that focuses on individual performance than team performance. This leads to ‘every employee for himself or herself.
  3. The book “Toxic Workplace” showed that most toxic personalities are passive aggressive. This means that they distrust others and are very territorial and seek to remain in control. This can be seen in employees that never take a vacation for fear others will learn their job and displace them. “They don’t see themselves as the problem.”
  4. Management only looks at the negative actions. They may never give positive feedback and reinforcement for “things that are going right.”
  5. The manager takes all the credit for the work. He or she does not praise the team and offers no celebration of everyone’s success.
  6. When a big problem comes up in a project the manager is nowhere to be found. They take shelter in all day meetings. They are insecure or fear conflict.
  7. The most toxic trait is gossip. It hurts teams because the atmosphere becomes filled with suspicion and distrust. When a boss spreads rumors it is the opposite of what a true human leader would do.

How to solve the problem?

Warren Buffet always looks to character and integrity. He has called ‘integrity the most important trait in hiring, above intelligence.”

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology states that to stop the toxic boss crisis simply promote people with the virtues of moral integrity and goodness into leadership roles.

Bob Sutton, Professor of Organizational Studies at Stanford says that to find out if you are in a toxic workplace:

  1. Are you losing sleep, productivity, and fulfillment of physical and mental health issues?
  2. Are people around you jerks, and that everyone’s performance is suffering?
  3. Are you becoming a jerk and taking out your issues on other people?

I highly recommend signing up for the free newsletters at Inc.com

emotional intelligence Google Images

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

Google Images dual blue roses

 

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A Gallery of Duluth MN and Lake Superior by Rick Rice

Astonishing Images of Rick Rice Empower Humanity

The Authentic Art of Rick Rice

September 14, 2019

A king surveying his domain

Ancient Rock Builders
Sunset on the Big Lake
Born to Run and Splash
Downtown Duluth at Dusk
He went that away
Laker just passed thru the Duluth Ship Canal
Laker just passing thru the Duluth Ship Canal
Packing for the Road Trip this weekend
Sunset after the Storm
Sunset on the Lake
MN Noreaster.com
Laker in the Sea Fog
What did you do on New Year’s Eve?
Peace and Quiet Can you hear the fish swimming?
Bridal Gazebo at Duluth Rose Garden
Seven Bridges Road
sunrise on the lakewalk the park bench looks inviting duluth mn
Sunrise on the Lakewalk
sunrise and sea smoke hides the city's steam power plant
The City Steam Plant Dukes in and out of the Sea Smoke
Bentleyville in its Finest
Bentleyville at Christmas
ore boat - ship - in dock for the winter
Wrapped up Snug and Warm for the Winter
Split Rock Lighthouse in Spring Thaw
Split Rock Lighthouse in Spring Thaw
Presque Isle December 31st, 2017 Image by Rick Rice
Presque Isle December 31st, 2017
St Clair in Sea Smoke Image by Rick Rice
St Clair maneuvering in Sea Smoke
St Clair maneuring in Port of Duluth Image by Rick Rice
St Clair Maneuvering in Port
Full Moon in Canal Park Image by Rick Rice
Full Moon in Canal Park
Moonlit Aerial Lift Bridge Image by Rick Rice
Moonlit Aerial Lift Bridge
Canal Park in Full Moon Image by Rick Rice
Canal Park
A Summer Evening on the Lake Image by Rick Rice
A Summer Eve on the Lake
At the Cabin Image by Rick Rice
At the Cabin
Amity Creek Image by Rick Rice
Amity Creek
Seven Bridges Road Image by Rick Rice
Seven Bridges Road
A Night of Nostalgia Image by Rick Rice
A Night of Nostalgia
Music on the Bayfront Image by Rick Rice
Music on the Bayfront
Isn't Driftwood Fascinating? Image by Rick Rice
Isn’t Driftwood Fascinating?
Early Mornng Best Morning Image by Rick Rice
Early Morning Best Morning
Breaking at the Boardwalk Image by Rick Rice
Breaking at the Boardwalk
Palisade Head with Rick out for a Stroll
Palisade Head with Rick out for a Stroll
Canoes? Must be Northeast Minnesota Image by Rick Rice
Canoes? Must be Northeast Minnesota
Under On the Boardwalk Image by Rick Rice
Under On the Boardwalk
Who Wants Duck? Image by Rick Rice
Who wants Duck?
Wedding Gazebo up with the Crocus Image by Rick Rice
Wedding Gazebo up with the Crocus
Must be Minnesota Image by Rick Rice
Must be Minnesota
Wedding Gazebo in the Rose Garden Image by Rick Rice
Wedding Gazebo in the Rose Garden

A Gallery

Trump and the Heist

Trump and the Heist

dated 12.22.2017
reprinted from a blog post on my Facebook account and Hubpages

The Greatest Robbery in History is taking place at this very Moment

I don’t know what to think. The greatest robbery in the world history is taking place and nobody is going to stop it!
Last week the crooks a.k.a. ‘The Republican Congress’ unveiled their ‘TAX REFORM and Job Package’ for 2018 and beyond. Not surprisingly, it is not a new proposal. Ronald Reagan did much the same back in his term from 1981 to 1989. George W Bush did it on a smaller scale in his term 2001-2009.

The Middle Class marching down the Road to Economic Oblivion

Not surprisingly, the Middle Class of America has not recovered since those days of Ronald Reagan. The Middle-Class income in 1945 was around $45,000 per year. Last week the Republicans defined the Middle-Class income as being $450,000 to $750,000 per year. Obviously, they have no conception of what is going on in real life. They used this definition for the purpose defining the merely rich from the filthy rich I’m sure. But the point is still made: The Middle Class of America has almost disappeared due primarily to these exorbitant gifts to the already rich. Ronald Reagan may not have invented: take from the poor and give to the rich’ but his party has sharpened its pencils at his pencil sharpener and are excelling at being exceedingly greedy and mean-spirited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct $250 for the expenses they incur for supplies they purchase for their classrooms. It is really a shame though that 80% deduction for purchasing college athletic tickets is now laying in the trash heap.
An example of mean-spirited. Lower-middle-income couples ($24,000 income bracket) used to be able to claim personal exemptions for non-child dependents. Now the same couple in the same situation will have to get by with the replacement, a $500 flat rate deduction. Or in the case of a baby in the womb. The parents can start taking deductions for a college education. But who, at the $24,000 income level will be able to take advantage of that deduction? Those in the ‘middle-class bracket’ of $450,000 I assume.

Flim-Flam is still Swindle

In addition to all the flim-flam, the Republicans are not allowing this proposal to be vetted. Usually, the Tax Foundation or some office lays out the whole tax code with accompanying tables for all to see. This year the House plan is to be done by Thanksgiving. That is in three weeks. Did anyone say “Duck”?!
There seems to be no depth to which these cowards will not sink. They rape the country and rake it over the coals because a Black Man was president of the United States for eight years.
They are so twitching to grab every morsel possible out of our coffers because the White House, The Senate, and the House of Representatives all being Republican that they cannot call it quits. Their plan is to cut hundreds of billions out of the Medicaid and Medicare budgets to fund a tax relief package for the coal industry. Coal Industry? Yes indeed. Maybe the resurgence in the use of coal is imminent or was that China? No, China is developing green energy. I wonder then, who is going to be the beneficiary of the $10 billion earmarked for the coal industry?

The Mushroom Effect

I assumed some of these people have families. No, I guess not. The House voted to replace the Affordable Care Act without blinking an eye. Some representatives were even hard pressed to understand why they received such unruly welcomes from their constituents when they went home for recess.
I have not studied the ins and outs of this abomination because I suspect there may be some changes. Hopefully, their constituents will scream loud enough that most of the changes won’t be approved.
It is not just the tax code that is taking a beating these days. Our school systems are being hammered at breakneck speed by the behavior of the students.
The actions, displayed by Trump and the other never-do-wells regarding throwing temper tantrums, abusive speech and abusive actions are being played out in our children, in our schools, in our neighborhoods.

Reform by any other name is still Theft

My point is that all through the swiss cheese of this ‘reform’ package the Republicans led by House Speaker Paul Ryan take away and then give back sort of. The end result is not to simplify that tax code, although that is what they keep saying over and over again. It’s purpose is to make sure the wealthy donors of the Republican causes get another windfall income boost. They then can continue their lavish donations to the Republican candidates which in reality is the gift from the American taxpayer. Think about that for a minute. The American taxpayer is, in effect, giving the Republican donors the money to keep electing Republicans! Huh? An example of the way the larder is stocked, Donald J Trump and all his nepotism appointees stand to increase their income by several billion dollars.
The NFL will lose some bucks and on top of the current downturn in viewership maybe able to apply for a hardship tax break in the next year or so. (Just kidding, I have to take a smile swipe at this stuff once in awhile. The nature of it is so sickening. If only these atrocities were just on paper.)

How can so Few do this to so Many

How do these people justify their existence? Do they boast about their ‘hard work’ to their friends? Who would be a friend? Oh, that’s right! I have read that we are not to presuppose anything. But can’t I just ask? Who would have these people for friends? Or even drinking buddies? I would hate to go deer hunting with them for fear that I would get a round in the back that was meant for one of them!

The New Normal

Maybe this acrimony is the new normal. Maybe when I cross a person on my Facebook Friends list, I am modeling the new normal. Instead of facing the person and asking what in the heck is wrong, I just surreptitiously hit the ‘delete’ key. This must be the future. The brick and mortar businesses I grew up with, the JC Penneys, the Sears, the Kmarts are about gone. Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame cashed in $1.1 billion of Amazon shares the other day. It was in the paper, er, the smartphone news.
I think my Dad was right. At 91 (and even earlier) he didn’t see a need to learn how to use a computer, or a smartphone or even a cell phone. He probably was right. I probably won’t have a need for one either shortly. If you are not home to hear the phone ring, does it ring? It does if you are carrying it in your pocket!

Consequences

I believe that we are on the cusp of something. My hair on the back of my neck stands up like a Rhodesian Ridgeback on alert when I get bad vibes. But the vibes are not bad, they are horrific! What is happening to our country? I do not see a way to the future without taking a cleaver to the present and hosing away the other half with the fish guts. I am teetering toward the precipice with my nerves jangling. Not for me. I will be gone soon. But my children and grandchildren. We were taught to leave the world in a better way than we found it. I don’t think that is possible anymore. The learning curve to return to its former place is too steep. The changes just too intractable. I feel sad, no, empty. I feel like I ran in place for over forty years and accomplished nothing. Nothing of value to leave my children. Certainly, the world is not a better place.
Gold Coin and hancuffs. Hopefully the end result for the Republicans Google Images CCL
Hopefully the resting place of the coin stolen from the American taxpayer
“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat.”
 
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Today is the Beginning of the End aka The Waste of $1.5 Trillion

trump with a dumbface grin like he doesn't know which end is up
So many excellent examples to choose? to choose?
Caricature of Trump giving a speech Google Images
Which is Your Favorite?

Today is the Beginning of the End

We took a loss today.
The people of the United States of America.
A big loss.
The Republicans are swooning in delight, chortling in vengeance accomplished.
Don’t get me wrong. Somehow they pulled out a big win and then topped it off by
Trump claiming the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
I caution that they are not done.
I would expect that on Monday, December  4th they will begin planning on repealing
Medicare and Medicaid. Shortly thereafter planning how to dismantle Social
Security.
Why?
Because it is what Republicans do.
Just as Steve Bannon and Donald Trump proclaimed that they would destroy the
administration of this country, the Republicans, are following in those footsteps.
For years the Republicans have been targeting the ‘Entitlement Programs’ for repeal.
When they passed the Tax Reform and Jobs Act they proclaimed that they would be able to balance the budget just in the growth of the GDP and thereby increased tax
revenue.
The dirty lie as they pronounced was that the plan, all along, had been to balance the
budget by going after the entitlement programs.
In their giddy, backslapping mode I believe that they have gone a inch too far.
They did not listen when even their own constituents clamored to not repeal the
ACA.
That is a signal to me that those same constituents will not want to lose their
Medicare and Social Security.
I believe that the majority of the Republican base will also have the heart to continue
with the Medicaid and CHIPs program and DACA. Although those are a little riskier
to bet on.
Why is that?
I have been uncomfortable for months trying to decipher Trumps supporters and run of the mill Republicans.
I hope that they are two different classes of people but more and more I am beginning to doubt it.
My reasoning in a minute.
The ‘base’ supporters will love Trump no matter what he does. I think I have figured out why.
It has always been a huge puzzle to me as to how they can look at the same numbers (budgets, costs, projections, etc) and I do and come up with completely, and sometimes off-the-wall answers.
I have determined that on the evidence only and no scientific lobotomies having been performed that they have a screw loose.
That’s right!
In the deep recesses of their brain, they are missing a very important piece of machinery that they need to reach a logical answer to logical questions.
Their abject answers to questions do not make sense, even if I allow for ‘the fake news’ that they so dearly love.
Responsible businessmen will respond to a ‘huh’? what?’ with a mealy mouth answer like, ‘that’s right’ that is what he is going to do’.
All available evidence to the contrary such as ‘I won’t take away your healthcare’, ‘I won’t take away your Social Security’, ‘I will get your jobs back’.
Even one of these lies would be enough to give a normal person pause before they swallowed another lie.
But they keep swallowing them.
A few are realizing that they made a mistake to believe him and vote for him.
But by and large, unless they are actually starving like the coal miners in the Appalachians, they don’t see the real situation.
How else would you explain it?
It can’t be that the numbers lie.
Well, the ones that Trump uses do but he only uses numbers that he dreams up.
The number crunchers that have the real jobs do fudge much I don’t believe.
Well, that is enough of belittling the supporters of Trump. I have a little present for the Republicans in a later post.
I was always, and I mean always under the impression that Republicans were cost conscious and frugal when it came to spending government money.
Well, I propose that they are just as spendthrift as the Democrats except that Democrats, by and large, don’t pocket the money themselves.
What the $1.5 trillion gift to the Republican donors is, in reality, the down payment for continuing to fund the Republican candidates for the next decade.
The American Taxpayer, is the one that will be funding the campaigns of the Republicans, whether they are Democrat or not, for the next DECADE!

Let that sink in.

Chew that around. I really haven’t heard any Democrats spouting that as a campaign slogan yet.
But I do believe that the Democrats are so messed up that this gift given to them by the Republicans will be wasted.
That is correct.
I believe that the Republicans, who have just let Trump, and McConnell, and Ryan destroy the Grand Old Party.
Lincoln is spinning in his grave.
More on that coming up also.
Actually, the last two Democratic presidents have brought the economy that Reagan and George W Bush shredded with their giveaways to the rich, back from the precipice.

Ah, shut up!

Look at the real numbers.
Unless you are willing to engage in a REAL conversation, with REAL numbers I am not going to waste my time with you.
I have made that my new policy.
If a Republican, I know that no supporter is going to promise to use REAL numbers so I won’t even think of wasting my time with them, wants to pull out the empirical numbers and compare apples to apples I will engage in a discussion because I agree that I have been wrong on occasion.
That brings up another point that is really sticking in my craw.
This is the gift-giving season, isn’t it? I am giving you as gifts, all the things I don’t want to put up with anymore!
I have had people ask me “What is it to you?”
What do you mean ‘What is it to me? ‘
“Yeah what has Trump done anything to you” or a Republican done anything to you personally?’
Do you know the question that they really want an answer to?
‘If he hasn’t done anything to you personally what are you so upset about’.
Well, I am going to tell you a secret!
They are not going to be on my Christmas card list anymore.
That question implies, no it doesn’t imply, it comes out and slaps you in the face! Do not worry about something that does not affect you.
Well, I was brought up and I hope I brought my sons up with a conscience that says what you do to one of these you do to all my children.
Understand? We are our brother’s keepers.
Why?
Well if you don’t believe in THE GOLDEN RULE (not the golden rule that says whoever has the gold rules) but THE GOLDEN RULE – I am responsible for what happens to my brother.
At the very least, at the very least, if the government can get away with abusing a person, the next one they abuse may very well be you.
Understand now?
We are at the juncture of the second week in January 2018.
If Congresspeople didn’t get beat up by their constituents, and I don’t think they did, at least not hard enough, their first order of business will be …
No, hold on. It won’t be to pass DACA.
Trump originally said that Congress had until March 1 to pass the legislation on the subject.
Yesterday, I think it was, I heard him say no, I have to have my wall before I will approve DACA.
Hell, Congress just gave him about $20 billion more for defense than he asked!
So as much as Senator Susan Collins believed that if she voted for the Tax Reform and Jobs Act they would make sure to pass DACA before year end.
Well?
Well?
Don’t believe those two, three liars, liars.
Bob Corker may have been bought also since he protested loudly against the huge deficit but then tucked his tail between his legs and shut up.
The only one that I saw that stuck to his integrity was Jeff Flake.
There is a man Arizona should vote to be the next governor.
I will never know how Senator McCain would have voted because he had to have chemo treatment for his brain cancer and then went home.
It really is too bad that Senators and Representatives don’t have to declare all the black money they throw around.
My BELIEF is those people fall further and further each year.
Expect as soon after the first of January as they possibly can to vote to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security by as much as the $1.5 trillion as they spent on the gift.
If I were to have to make a prediction I think that they will try to decrease the entitlements even more so that have some ‘walking around money’.
Remember, most Republicans have a ‘lock’ on reelection in 2018 due to extreme gerrymandering that they accomplished prior to 2016.
Another devil on the horizon for re-election is that Steve Bannon has been raising the specter of ultra-conservatives running against the ‘weak’ conservatives that have been giving Trump a hard time.
I was going to leave the rest of my thoughts for another day, but in doing some research for a different piece I ran into some really scary stuff.
Stuff like what caused the economic crashes in 1929, 2000 and 2007?
That’s right it has only been 10 years since GREED robbed the markets, the economy and the souls of the people.
My first question, in response to the vote on the Tax Reform, is anyone going to watch the stock market for the next weeks to see if anything fishy does turn up?
So on with my own down and dirty research for this evening.

The Waste of $1.5 TRILLION

Did you know that there are 400 people and then there are the rest of us?
400 people own as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population PLUS more than 1/3 of the Latino population – COMBINED!
Just two of these people are African-Americans Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith.
The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population.
Just five members of the Forbes 400 are Latino.
The combined worth of the Forbes 400 is $2.34 trillion and is more than the bottom 61% of the country combined! – 194 million people.
400 have greater wealth than 194 MILLION – did you know that?
The median American family has a net worth of $81,000.
The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 36 million of these ‘typical’ American families.
TWENTY PEOPLE now own as much WEALTH as HALF OF ALL AMERICANS. 20! TWENTY!
And this is before the $1.5 TRILLION windfall!
BY THE WAY, did you know that Trump has just made hundreds of millions of dollars due to the tax gift?
The 100 richest households own more assets than the ENTIRE African-American population.
The author of the study, Chuck Collins, director of the IPS (Institutes for Policy Studies) Program on Inequality and the Common Good states that the study likely UNDERESTIMATES the scope of the problem.
“So much wealth of the uber-rich is hidden, in tax havens offshore or loophole trusts (where money is shuffled around among family members and then just disappears from taxation”.
So there is a huge amount of escaped wealth that isn’t even factored into these statistics.”
THERE ARE THREE – 3 – PEOPLE IN THE US that own as much wealth as the bottom half of the nation’s population. 
Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and the runt of the bunch Bill Gates.
They own as much wealth as 160 MILLION OF the rest of us.
Pardon me for getting a little cranky reading this.
Oh?
You want more?
Sure thing!
“We can either have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have it both ways.”
A very distinguished lawyer once said that. Justice Brandeis, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. 
A side note on Justice Brandeis.
He was a fighter for the common man. The ‘Right to Privacy’ and ‘Freedom of Speech’ have been left to us for our safekeeping by this man.
When President Woodrow Wilson nominated him to the Supreme Court, a member of the court bitterly contested the nomination.
“Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent may be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because “he was incorruptible… [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.”
Justice William O Douglas wrote those words of evaluation.
When the global meltdown of 2008 bailed out the rich Wall Street financial people the ‘unwashed’ were left to fend for themselves.
Do you remember those days?
Occupy Wall Street shown light on the still unresolved predicament of the normal person in 2011.
In 2016 a tempestuous person made a huge tempest about the still remaining inequality.
Any guesses?
TRUMP!
I will leave that judgment to your personal evaluation.
My opinion, this may be the biggest lie that he has told that may finally tip his supporters against him.
Maybe they never will connect the dots but one would think that if 8 years without any increase in their personal position they will realize how badly he led them astray.
Thanks for your time
Craig
12/30/17
Graphic of Trump, McConnell and Ryan Google Images

 

 

The First End of the Year for this Blog

INTRODUCTION to My End of the Year Blog 2017

Dated 12/9/2017

Notes

I must discuss all the changes that have occurred in the space. Did space change? Not more than usual I don’t think. This blog why such a moronic title? It’s the end of the year and all writers thrown everything that didn’t get printed during the year into one big garbage dump at year end. Or maybe not? Hmm

 

The First Year End of the Deep Education Web.com Blog

HELIX NEBULA
Helix Nebula

One thing that struck me as a bit unusual that occurred this year is the new or potentially new findings of life on other worlds. More on that in a minute.

Introducing the Dark “Hole” in the Sun

DARK HOLE ON THE SUN

 

This image of the sun is rendered in Ultra Violet by NASA’s  Solar Dynamics Observatory. This particular dark hole appeared because the star has an always-on magnetic field so it can get kinks and bends which can then cause sunspots and solar flares. They can also open the corona of the sun, the plasma that surrounds all-stars. These holes allow solar winds to rush into space. This may be an ordinary occurrence but it sure is spectacular. On the other hand, they can cause disturbances to satellite and power grids. They also supercharge the planets auroras, the northern and southern lights. Last month the Northern Aurora Borealis was seen as far south as Nebraska.

As it moves to its minimum of the 11-year cycle in 2019 the holes will become longer lasting and longer lasting. These holes can last several sunny days which is about 27 earth days.

Thanks to LiveScience for the image and information.

Hubble is Going Away

Did you know it is being replaced? In the spring of 2019, the James Webb Space Telescope will lift off. It will do so much more than Hubble did. I don’t know how that is going to be possible. From day 1 when the images were less than stellar (pun intended), I have blown away. I wish I could spend every day, all day long going thru images or roses and space. They are both magically enthralling.

The James Webb Space Telescope, JWST for short, will support thousands of scientists around the world with its new technologies. It is a collaboration of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), and CSA (the Canadian Space Agency. It will be managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland just as Hubble is. The industrial partner is Northrup Grumman.  I was caught in a moment of introspection when this article said that the name JWST was arrived at in 2003. Imagine that this has been in the works for more than fourteen years.

Introducing the First Alien Moon

During the week of July 28, 2017, astronomers were teased by a discovery of great magnitude. They or actually the Kepler Space Telescope, found what may be the first exomoon. An exomoon is a name given to objects that revolve around exoplanets. Now isn’t that helpful? ‘Exo’ means that the objects from outside of our solar system.

This is a huge moon, named Kepler 1625b since it revolves around planet Kepler 1625. This pair is 4,000 light years from earth.  A lightyear if I remember correctly from grade school (yes since was around back then!) is the time that light traveling in a vacuum to travel can travel in one Julian year, about 365.25 days. The actual computation is about 5.9 trillion miles!

kepler space telescope renditon by an artist
An artists rendition of how the Kepler Space telescope may look today.

The Wonder of Kepler

Kepler hunts for planets by looking for a telltale dip in a star’s brightness as another object passes in front of it. To find a moon is the same process but much more difficult. I looked for more current information but it is not yet available. The Hubble Space Telescope had been booked for examining and confirming the existence of this moon during the month of October that just passed.

This moon is BIG. Much bigger than Ganymede that revolves our Jupiter. The really big deal of this discovery (fingers crossed) is that it will be the first moon detected in orbit around an alien planet. This marks a new chapter in the astronomer’s study of the cosmos. I would have loved to hear Carl Sagan narrate this story. He had such a great way of transferring his excitement of these incomparable discovery’s that are so far away seem, not really intimate, but close to home, I guess. He maintained his awe in spite of the drab scientific jargon.

These quests are not just to find objects, these massively smart space telescopes look back into time when the universe was just beginning. Kepler has been a massively successful telescope. In June astronomers used data gathered by Kepler, to identify 219 alien candidates that may be habitable by scientific standards like earth. How do we earthlings get off thinking that we are superior beings? I am utterly humbled by these discoveries. I understand we are heading back to the moon.

I assume that the age-old arguments regarding what path to take still continues. Werhner von Braun, the German scientist turned American Citizen had his path squarely in mind. First a shuttle, then a space station and then the moon and then Mars. Obviously, we didn’t take that path. I guess I can understand how reaching the moon would have more PR power than building a shuttle. What amazes me, is that von Braun was so clear-minded about the future. He died at 65 years of age four years before the first shuttle flew. What a remarkable man.

The Cassini Space Telescope just complete its 13 years of examining Saturn and the neighborhood. It took Cassini 7 years to reach Saturn.

Galileo Space Telescope was the first of Earth's close-up looks of Jupiter
Galileo Space Telescope that was the first Earth closeup look at Jupiter. It crashed in 2003

Juno, the newest telescope to study Jupiter in 2016
Juno, the newest space telescope to study Jupiter 2016 Image by NASA/JPL/Cal-tech.

Jupiter's Blues caught by Juno Space Telescope in 2016
Jupiter’s Blues caught by the Juno Space Telescope captured at 11,747 miles. Its mission will end in 2018.

The other hand of wonder must be an assessment. Maybe it is just that time. Cassini flew from the earth in 1997 and ended this year. Maybe I am just gauging success by how many things are left flying by the time I fall to earth. Doesn’t make much sense does it.? But there has to be an answer in there somewhere…

The CEO of Boeing and Elan Musk are getting competitive. Denis Muilenberg is probably betting on the fact that Mr.Musk and his Space X rockets is always a bit overoptimistic.

What thoughts bend your brain waves? Are you an explorer or a scientific man. One item that seems to augur well for the scientific man is the photo that an astronaut took on his last day in Space, as he departed the Space Station.

last day on International Space Station NASA astronaut caputured this view of the sun over the earth. June 11, 2015
NASA astronaut Terry Verts captured this view of the sun over the earth on his last day at the International Space Station. June 11, 2015

Introducing The Last Space Piece for the Year 2017

It seems scientists, specifically astronomer’s can’t get enough of Kepler. The artist’s illustration of how Kepler might look today is courtesy of Reuters.

In June 2017 astronomers confirmed that Kepler has found 10 new Earth-size planets.That brings the total to 50 is what impressive? Wait there’s more: Kepler has already discovered 4,034 potential exoplanets of which 2,335 have been confirmed by other telescopes as actual planets. Now, which students are not going into astronomy or astrophysics, or evening someday composing a hit song like “Stardust”.

“And now the purple dusk of twilight time

Steals across the meadows of my heart

High up in the sky little stars climb

Always reminding me that we’re apart

You wander down the lane and far away

Leaving me a song that will not die

Love is now the stardust of yesterday

The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder, how I spend

The lonely nights

Dreaming of a song

The melody

Haunts my reverie

And I am once again with you.

When our love was new

And each kiss an inspiration

But that was long ago

And now my consolation is in the stardust of a song

Beside the garden wall, when stars are bright

You are in my arms

The nightingales

Tells his fairy tale

Of paradise, where roses grow

Though I dream in vain

In my heart it will remain

My stardust melody

The memory of love’s refrain.

1927 Hoagy Carmichael, Stardust Lyrics 1929 by Mitchell Parish

Hit song by Nat King Cole and by Natalie Cole, Willie Nelson and many more

Thank you for the past year

Craig

 

Continue reading “The First End of the Year for this Blog”

I Feel Another One Coming On – what makes a ‘First In Class’ Boss?

A cozy little cabin retreat

I Feel Another One Coming On

 
Dated: December 22nd, 2017
 
I am sure that you don’t want to ask – so I won’t tell you. Oh OK! If you are going to pout.

A Horrible Day followed by a Horrible Evening by a Horrible Night

The Day

Horrible day today.
Headed to VA Hospital in MPLS to see if they can/would/will do anything for my knees.
At the very least get a shot of steroids to ease the pain.
The last one wore off a few months ago.
Couldn’t make it.
The van they use: the seat in front pushed back against my knees.
Couldn’t stand it since my knees were so sore.
Also RLS just about coming on and couldn’t stand that either.
The biggie was that I had to sit with my feet in the aisle (did I mention seat was made for a small man – not a large one? ).
That helped my knees but not my butt. By sitting sideways in the seat, my butt sat on the upright edge of the seat (the outside supporting piece). So within a very short time, my butt hurt.
So I shifted my weight. My butt hurt. This went on until I had no more places that didn’t already hurt. Did I mention that when my butt is compromised on my right side and my lower back quickly follows suit?
So my butt, my back and since I wasn’t feeling well anyway (diabetes and edema) I just said stop!
When the van stopped in Pine City.
I called Becky to take me home (unless of course the Social Security check had come and we could afford to drive to the Cities).
I checked the bank and no money so I called and canceled my appointment.
I was so looking forward to having my knees not hurt so much.
Next, I thought it was taking Becky a long time to get there but I wasn’t paying a lot of attention.
Finally, I get a call from her. “Where are you?”  At McDonald’s.
McDonald’s where”. In Pine City”. You told me, Stacy. No. YES! No point in an argument.
Well, I can wait (really lame). OK.
Later a get a call from her. A shaky voice this time.
Back tires were really really low on air.
“A guy behind me saw them and said I had better get air in them”.
Apparently, she was wondering if something was going on.
All the way down to Stacy the car had been lurching from side to side. Rocking her to sleep. I suggested she sit down and wait for a while.
No. Maybe a little. Another call.
At North Branch.
“Can I go to Bath and Body?” Sure no problem.
Now I knew the serious waiting would begin.
I move from the chair in McDonald’s that I had been renting and moved to a bench in the same set of seatings.
Easier on my butt but pretty narrow in the waist area. I only had to get out from behind the little tables one time so I wasn’t worried.
Oh, now I had to have an ice cream cone.
Oh, I had to have another. Ok, now settle in.
Another call. Where are you in Pine City. McDonalds.
There is no McDonalds around here.
Let me check.
Miss is there more than one way into Pine City.
Yes. We are at the Northern exit. Number two exit if you are coming from the Cities. Ok great. 
 
She walks in.
Face Flushed (from the heater I thought).
Exhausted. Frustrated. Tired. All of the above and more.
Get something? Fries? Maybe fries for Berkley. (Which means she took all of the toys out of the back of the car – to sell to get some cash for us). Good-OK. Some more waiting. Not going anywhere without her so no sweat.
We are off on the way back to Proctor. I must have dozed as usual. Pretty soon I35 was looking familiar again.

The Evening

When we got home, I was exhausted, so I laid down for my nightly sleep.
One hour and twenty minutes.
I awoke to something burning on my legs.
Geez, I had skin that was peeling off in 3 to 4-inch sheets.
The edema another tangle. So I put my gel on it. It takes the pain away once that pain goes away.
I got to thinking I should get some advice on this.
After 5PM. Too late for the VA clinic. So I called the VA and heard info about a hotline with a nurse on staff 24/7.
I called. Yup, I should get right to the emergency room.
Diabetes can’t take any chances with anything. Do not use that Gel.
So here I am 12 hours later.
Didn’t go to emergency room, I don’t have the money.
I am still battling the hospital on a visit last May.
I have a doctor’s appointment at 11AM.
However, the wounds have been dripping fluid onto the floor under my desk.
And it is starting to hurt more and more.
It will be fun for the next 6 hours and even more once I start getting the tongue lashing.
I am glad I only get about 1 1/2 hours of sleep at a time.
If I would have been in bed longer I probably would have worn more skin off.
Well, oops that isn’t the last.
About 11PM or so Becky came into my office.
A bit unusual. She looked tired but more.
He brother died today.
We later figured he was 78 years old. But the real agony is that she only has one brother, also in his seventies, left.
I am not going to know how that feels since I still have my parcel of brothers and sisters.
I hope I can be helpful.

The Night

I called the people who needed to be notified except one.
But.. do what I could do.
Two haven’t called back yet but they have probably heard from their family.
I hope I don’t live to be 78 years old. Can’t imagine suffering for that long.
Well, other things to attend to in this post.

Transition

I did get research done for other blogs, more than I wanted to actually.
I have known that I like to do research.
Dips and doodles and intriguing sideroads.
Maybe more than writing.
Not sure I think that yet, finalized. But something to chew on.
I hope not just because I am having a good time writing.
I always thought that was my first love.
I am also thinking I bit off more than I can chew. Four blogs??? plus a few more personal ones.!!!
Well, I need to find out which ones interest me the most and which, if any, get more traffic. That will be crucial.
I think that I picked four topics that will be more interesting to readers than others but everything has to be tested.
For example, when I first started to get readers to my first blog, deepeducationweb.com, I was relieved.
But as readership grew a little and I started to compare my results with those of other bloggers, I grew a bit less relieved.
So I have to find out if it is the subject matter, the writer, the blogs being properly set up per Google’s guidelines.
Those guidelines keep changing by the way.
I haven’t even learned the basics and they are changing.
Well, the way my legs are, the fact that my next VA Hospital appointment isn’t until mid-January I don’t have anything else to do.
I can’t sleep so might as well type.
I have to get my mind off Trump.
I have turned off all the newsletters except two I think.
I can waste time doing that I know.
Very easy, since I have already wasted about 4 or 5 months with that anti-Trump blog.
QUICK!
 
A very interesting tidbit: If the US had the same share of women in the workforce as Norway, we would be $1.6 trillion wealthier. This from a report by Standard and Poors.  from qz.com/index/1151865

What makes a ‘Best in Class’ Boss?

Talentsmart has conducted research with more than a million people (how do you keep a database that big clean?
I can’t be error-free with just a hundred or so entries in a worksheet. Amazing!
What they have found is that the best bosses have things in common.
Dr. Travis Bradberry writes a series based on his theme of Emotional Intelligence.
I keep track of his writing and may do a series on them someday.
I always tried to be a ‘good’ boss, although I don’t think that is something you can very often strive to be.
In the heat of a moment, or a seemingly intractable problem or even in a very serious discussion.
I have been reading an article about the traits that the ‘best’ bosses seem to possess.
The number one ‘skill’ that ‘90% of them have in common is the skill at managing their emotions in order to stay focused, calm and productive.”
Now I have known several men that possess this trait and I have always admired it, immensely.
However, I have not been able to even shadow that skill. I wonder what story to tell as we get to the rest of these characteristics and what tale they will tell about me.
” Composed”: The premise here is that the ‘best’ bosses constantly monitor their emotions so that they can use this knowledge to react to challenging situations with self-control.
Another ‘not me’ vote.
Once in a while, I was prepared for when things went downhill.
But I have never been able to take the ‘long’ view of events and realize in a short-term situation that time changes a lot of things.
Sometimes when I reflected on the damage that I had already done, I could see a better way.
“Graceful”: A combination of strong and gentle. Hmm.. I tried not to resort to intimidation, or manipulation because I didn’t enjoy having that game played with me.
But to say I was gentle, no I don’t think that was ever said about me.
These people are “approachable, likable and easy to get along with”. I can circle no here also.
“Knowledgeable”: The ‘best’ bosses are always trying to increase their ‘self-awareness’. I’m not sure what that means.
How does that apply to spending the time to learn, to have a passion for opportunities to improve and learn new things?
This I did try to do. Maybe not as often as I should have or I didn’t know to ask the ‘stupid’ questions.
However, I did try to impress on people that I was trying to teach that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
My sense of humor required me to add: well there was one such dumb question. “Do I put root beer in a root beer float?” I always got a chuckle but I don’t think I would classify it is a life learning technique.
“Honest”: Another one that I really really tried to follow.
If you lose your honesty and people don’t trust what you say anymore, what do you have left to offer?
If you don’t possess and show integrity people have nothing else to look for in you.
In addition, Notre Dame did a study that showed that people who often lie experience more mental health problems.
“Speak with Certainty”: Another one lost on me.
I tried to not ‘um’ ‘I’m not sure’ and “I think”. But I was not as assertive in speaking as a ‘best’ boss would be.
“Positive Body Language”: You could often catch me unfolding my arms as I consciously became aware that they were folded across my chest.
I knew this was a defensive measure and watch out for it.
The same applies to eye contact. I watched for that in people while they spoke to me. Even leaning in a little towards the speaker I was aware of but not sure that I remembered that one either.
“Super successful people ” draw others in. “How you say something can be more important than what you say”. A very good rule to remember.
“Confident”: “Successful leaders compete”.
I was not aware of this one, especially when it is recommended for those times when the efforts would only yield a small victory.
The victory, however small still builds new androgen receptors in the brain. “They are responsible for reward and motivation.
The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges.”
“Fearless”: “Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination.” Danger is real.
But fear is not danger. This is interesting Fear is a choice“. I have never ever heard that before I don’t think.
“Grateful”: This I recognize as a trait I have always tried to emulate.
I have always done the tasks I end up supervising and I recognize the hard work and ingenuity that they require.
I would much rather celebrate a subordinates glory than my own.
I have felt that they need the standing ovation so they can be recognized by higher echelon bosses.
These traits should be self-explanatory to anyone that has toiled in a subordinate position.
However, I know now what I didn’t know then (does that make sense).
I know what I should have known about forty years ago. I can’t assume anything.
I have put these out for people to read, discuss and maybe even chuckle over. I am sure former employees will have a great time.
Thanks for stopping.
Craig

The Silk Road

An outpost on the The Silk Road caught with spy satellite imagery.
read below
The Silk Road was so named because merchants crisscrossed this terrain and its branches for millennia. Images captured by commercial and spy satellites and drones have been interpreted and released. These are fascinating, I can think of no better word (irresistibly drawn to them).
The problem with so many of these ancient routes is that then traverse countries like Pakistan, Eygpt and as above, Afghanistan.
Most of these have been buried for centuries under the desert sand. Even some subterranean canals have had entry points buried by sand.
The United States State Department has funded new mapping efforts which have enabled researchers to study the Afgan sites safely. Experts shared some finds at a meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Washington DC in November.
I will try to share another find especially if it is less well-known in additional posts.

Another addition that might interest you

I like to hear quotes made by all sorts of people. Educated, non ‘educated’ everyone can lay claim to an erudite saying they ‘invented’.
I am going to find some I think have stood the test of time or overuse and share them with you.
“When I discover who I am, I will be free”.
Another
 
“The world is a possibility if only you’ll discover it”.
 
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man

 

Holiday Lights Viewed from Space!





 

 

 

 

 

‘BLOOD MONEY’ “keep the tiny humans alive”

Addendum: October 11,2018
I added a very short retort I read the other day. It is at the bottom of the post.

Why the image of festive holiday lights when we are talking about BLOOD MONEY and BLOOD DIAMONDS?

First, to brag about Duluth MN and Lake Superior.

Second, a special sneak preview of “THE VIETNAM WAR” The epics PBS Documentary Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick premiered on Sunday, September 10th at the Duluth Depot prior to its Nationwide Debut on September 17, 2017.

Dated: December 15, 2017

Subtitle: Keep the Tiny Humans Alive

theme for today we allowing the one percent to keep their Blood Money via Google Images
The theme for Today! Why are we paying BLOOD MONEY instead of Saving Them!

First, I apologize slightly for featuring a view of this year’s Bentleyville, Duluth MN.

How often have we seen a full moon as a backdrop? Fabulous!

I don’t know who took this shot but it was posted on Facebook by Duke Skorich.

Second, the graphic for this post is shown above.

The poignant statement is “KEEP THE TINY HUMANS ALIVE”.

I first saw a graphic today on my desktop. I use a slideshow of Unsplash! images as wallpaper to have something of interest around my desk instead of just all of the clutter (No I won’t show a pix of my desk!).

This is not the exact image that I saw, but I will keep looking for it since it so much more poignant than this graphic.

So we begin.

Frustration

Yesterday on Facebook a buddy asked a very vexing question:

“Rather than enact rational gun control legislation we are willing to accept the necessity for ‘Active Shooter” drills in our elementary, middle and high schools. If you don’t think we are in a free-fall as a democracy, this might (should) convince your mind.”

I continued to read some of the responses to his post.

Then WHAM it hit me!

I know why sensible gun legislation never gets enacted or even proposed in congress in any real way.

I believe that my hypothesis is applicable to this and many other actions that the general public wants to happen but are rebuffed at the foot of the steps leading to congress.

Hypothesis

I postulate:

When we react as we normally do on Facebook:

First, after the original post, several more people speak out on the egregiousness of Congress for not even attempting to solving this seemingly intractable but yet, on the other hand, seemingly easy problem to solve.

Second: we repeat the above.

WE ARE MISSING THE POINT-JUST AS I HAVE ALWAYS DONE!

This was my AHA! moment. Crystal Clear problem, Crystal Clear solution.

When we respond this way we are doing exactly what and in the exact manner the 1% wants us to – we are cowering sheep! By cowering before them we agree that we, as a people, have no power to change what they have deemed as right and proper and just.

Assignment of Guilt

I have assigned the guilt for these bloody actions to the 1%.

They are the ones that control the wealth of the United States (and a very large portion of the world’s wealth also).

They are the ones that invest in the businesses of gun manufacturers, bullet manufacturers and other businesses that benefit from these bloody actions, such a hospitals, insurance companies and so on.

Framework of the Argument

BLOOD MONEY AND BLOOD DIAMONDS

1.) We agree that we give up our rights in exchange for what is right – FOR THEM. We accept that we are fearful and accept their “BLOOD MONEY” to keep still.

2.) We accept that they have a right to their BLOOD MONEY.

FOLKS LET’S CALL THIS WHAT IT IS (Is this money any different than the “BLOOD DIAMONDS IN AFRICA”?). After all, is this not what our children are to us “BLOOD DIAMONDS”?

3. By acquiescing to them and their surrogates (our congresspeople) they run the United States and we give up our right to call them out.

4. Therefore, as long as THEY AND THEIR SURROGATES KEEP STILL, as long as they continue to MAKE EXCUSES and then, AS ALWAYS PUT THIS TOPIC ON THE BACK BURNER,  they are safe from us. With our conscience now clear we blithely go about our normal business.

5.) Yes, we go on grumbling and mumbling and incoherently cry for our ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’ as they die before our eyes. We have done our duty. We have called desperately to our congresspeople. We can now move on.

6.) Do we want this constant drumbeat of crying parents and crying spouses to continue? Crying incessantly, crying over spilled blood only to repeat this same drama again in two or three months?

7.) If we really wanted we could change this situation. I didn’t hear you!! If we really wanted we could change this situation right?

8.) If we set our national psyche we could solve this problem. HOW?

9.) We know that by doing the same thing again and again, protesting to our congresspeople, that we will receive the same response again and again.

10.) HAS THAT WORKED? NO!

Why not? Because we are not causing discomfort to the top dogs! THEY CONTROL THE CONGRESS – REMEMBER THAT! Our congresspeople, as officious as they are, are not as powerful as they want us to believe!  These people are not the top dogs!   The 1% ARE THE TOP DOGS! BUT THEY DO NOT DO A DAMN THING!  NOW!! Now, do you understand?

11.) In order to make a change, real change we have to do what we have done before-BRING DISCOMFORT TO THE 1% THAT RULE THIS COUNTRY! HOW DO WE DO THAT? WE HAVE TO GO TO WHERE THE MONEY IS!!! I get posts from a gentleman, I have never met him or talked to him in any way except on Facebook. But HE KNOWS! He has never been wrong. His MANTRA? FOLLOW THE MONEY. FOLLOW THE MONEY!!

Think back. Think back to the 1970s. What do you remember?? Say it out loud! VIETNAM!! I didn’t hear YOU!  Say it louder V I E T N A M!! That war was another huge hemorrhaging of innocent blood.

Remember the movie ‘Gone with the Wind’? Rhett Butler made everything absolutely crystal clear with this line:

“I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the building up of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the upbuilding, fast money in the crackup. Remember my words. Perhaps they may be of use to you someday. “(Rhett Butler)“-Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

He even told us to remember his words. That “they may be of use to us someday”!

12.) THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE IN WAR! BIG MONEY!!

13.) We face the same situation now as we did back then. Blood was being spilled and for a time no one except a few protesters really seemed to care. No one seemed to pay attention. How long? When?

Who did we protest against? Our congresspeople – who didn’t make changes, Why – because they had no power. Against our institutions – remember KENT STATE?

KENT STATE SHOOTINGS MAY 4, 1970 WIKIPEDIA 2
KENT STATE SHOOTINGS, May 4, 1970

14.) A protest by a small group of students protesting Nixon’s advance into Cambodia was met by 29 Guardsmen. 67 bullets were fired, 4 people were killed, 9 injured (one permanently paralyzed). Some of these people were not even involved in the protest they had merely been walking nearby or watching the protest from a distance.

15.) WE CAN CALL THEM OUT! WE HAVE DONE IT BEFORE! WE CAUSED THEM TO CONSIDER THE BLOODSHED! WE CALLED THEM TO STOP AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

march on the pentagon by Bernie Boston for Washington Star
March on the Pentagon October 21st, 1967 by Bernie Boston for Washington Star

The young man putting flowers in the barrels of loaded guns! Crazy move! Lots of Courage! The scene below was also taken at The Kent State Massacre.

Pictures tell 1,000 words and so also can music. The image played over and over for the next years. Marc Riboud took this picture with Jan Rose Kasmir. FLOWER POWER HAS EMERGED!

girl with the flower flower power has emerged Google Images Marc Riboud
FLOWER POWER has emerged!

The March on the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, engaged 2,500 soldiers against 100,000 protesters!

16.) So what the hell, why a Song? A picture? We were protesting against our congresspeople? How did that work out? They didn’t have the power to do anything! ONLY THE 1% CAN!

17.) What happened that day was the turning point in the war some say. The 1% saw that they would not have a Nation if they didn’t retreat. Slowly, oh so slowly. But this day made them fill the discomfort of what they were doing. Doing? Making money on both sides of the war!

18.) Songs didn’t stop the war. The protests didn’t stop the war, even as they got more violent. Songs were a rallying battle cry. They created a bond among the protesters. The protesters were from so many different backgrounds and needed something to bind them. It ‘energizes the base’ as an outlandish political figure calls it in these days.

19.) Even today the songs stir something in my being: Bob Dylan “Blowin the the Wind” 1962 (now it is listed as number fourteen song in the list of the top 500 songs of all time); Phil Ochs “What are you fightin for”; Barry McGuire  “Eve of Destruction” recorded in one take (many radio stations refused to play it “you’re old enough to kill, but not for votin”; Tom Paxton “Lyndon told the Nation”; Pete Seeger,  Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Country Joe & the Fish “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die’ was a signature moment at Woodstock.

Bob Seeger, Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogarty wrote this song in response to the wedding of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon) ‘Fortunate Son’. The depiction of those born with a silver spoon in their mouth and those without.

John Lennon. He recorded a song while he and Yoko Ono were holding a “bed-in” in Montreal. Five months later half a million people were singing ‘Give Peace A Chance” at a protest rally.

Jimmy Cliff “Vietnam” heralded by Bob Dylan as the greatest protest song ever.

Marvin Gaye, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Ohio”, Edwin Starr ‘War’, George Harrison, Steppenwolf, The Doors.

Songs gave the protesters (and the rest of us) the words to hurl at the organizers of the war, the 1%. It helped us all be melded in mind and spirit so that at last we were One Voice.

The 1% were still invincible. Since they were both the architects of the war and the beneficiaries of the wealth of the war they were able to ignore the will of the people for a very long time. That is a testament to their power.

20.) So how to reach these builders of riches at the expense of people? Reach out and touch them! Show them something to discomfit them and they will start to respond.

Reach out to them where they will feel it! A facebook buddy has had the correct answer from the outset: FOLLOW THE MONEY!  FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

21.) PROTESTERS – Where do you DISCOMFIT the 1%? Where do you hit them where the source of the BLOOD MONEY will feel discomfort?

PROTEST THE BLOOD MONEY’S DEEP POCKETS AND ENABLERS: Banks where they invest; Insurance Companie where the invest; Newspaper Syndicates; Television Networks; Stocks where they make their money. There is major activity RIGHT NOW in Syndicates and Networks. ACT NOW!

REMEMBER OUR CHILDREN ARE THE ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’ of this battle. To make the 1% ‘interested’ shall we say, in stopping the killing requires that you make them discomfited.

Stop the “BLOOD MONEY”!  Those that are being slaughtered: children or as at KENT STATE,  anyone walking around outdoors. They are all potential victims.

They could all become “BLOOD DIAMONDS”.

FOOTNOTE

January 20, 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office and became President of the  United States of America. He declares, “We can never again stand aside, prideful in isolation. Terrific dangers and troubles that we once called ‘foreign’ now constantly live among us…”

Anti-war marches and other protests, such as the ones organized by Students for Democratic Society (SDS), attracted a widening base of support over the next three years. The SDS peaked in early 1968 after the successful Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese troops. The offensive proved that war’s end was nowhere in sight. The people of the United States now understood that our leaders were lying. There was no end in sight for that misbegotten war.

Opposition to the United States involvement in the Vietnam War began with demonstrations in 1964 as the escalating role of the US military in Vietnam and grew into a broad social movement in the ensuing years.

In 1964 there were 23,300 American advisors in Vietnam. By 1968 there were 563,100 troops. By 1973 there were 50.

Troops on college campuses? Fear struck at the hearts of many.
Soldiers on College Campus! Free Speech? Freedom of Expression? Those were hard to earn in the Vietnam Era. Some people had the courage to change the status quo.

PBS hosted the preview of the PBS Documentary “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It debuted on WDSE-WIRT TV on September 10th, 2017. It debuted nationwide on PBS stations on September 17th. This has grown into a statewide Minnesota Television Association and community organizations organized to tell the story of veterans and other impacted by the Vietnam War.

bentleyville 2017 Duluth MN Lake Superior
Bentleyville 2017, Duluth MN Lake Superior

Addendum: October 11, 2018

A short and sharp retort that was published in the Washington Post 10/9/18

Title:

Are AR-15s Worth it?

“In his Oct. 5 letter “The pushback against gun control,” David Adams, vice president of the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, argued that murders by rifle are acceptably rare, and that semiautomatic rifles are great fun in competition and useful in hunting. He further asserted that a lot of people get killed by knives, blunt instruments and fists and no one wants to ban them.”

“So the rest of us should accept Newtown, Conn; Orlando; Las Vegas; and Parkland FL, because it’s more fun to shoot a semiautomatic rifle that can kill a lot of people in a short time than settle for the boring bolt-action rifle or revolver”.

Kudos to Craig Hoogstra, Washington

 

 

A Tribute to Senator John McCain – Prologue

A Tribute to Senator John McCain – Prologue

Dated  November 16, 2017

I was looking at Vietnam in my rear-view mirror.

I had done my duty as painful as it was at the time. I had served my country. My bride and I had served at Fort McClellan Alabama from 1971 to 1973. In military speak, it was 1 year, 8 months and 24 days (which included basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri).

I must recount one short story from that experience.

The “Misery”

I had enjoyed camping, on occasion, as a young man. When the order of the day was called it was time to embark on bivouac.

I was not unduly stressed. I had matured in the last few weeks and at 21 years old, I was mature.

I was not an eighteen or nineteen year- old like most of the other guys. Hmmm

We loaded everything onto our backs except the food that we would need for who knows how long.

We were never told anything in boot camp.

I imagine it was so that these green behind the ears inductees would not dream up some preconceived incorrect expectations.

Of course, my thought was that the Army just thought we were too dumb.

The march was out to the bivouac area somewhere on the enormous Fort Leonard Wood MS base.

It was the home of the Combat Engineers (the guys with the big trucks and things that went KABOOM!).

It was hot! It was muggy!

This was Missouri. Not the Minnesota I had left such a short time ago.

In March or April, whatever month it was, Northern Minnesota had a history of being still blanketed with snow. If it was April there wouldn’t be too much left from the blizzards that paid a regular visit in March.

Of course, there would still be snowbanks left by the snowplows and they would still be too high to step over.

The significant part of this little tale is not that we sweated all day, ate Army rations (K rations, not the fancy MRE’s of today. Those cookies and tiny sausage weiners stuck to the ribs pretty well.)

The misery began as we put up the tent for the night.

The Army in its wisdom gave every man one-half of a tent. They were called shelter halves. A pretty good name for a really heavy cotton tarp. I don’t think any camping gear is made that heavy anymore.

But this was forty some years ago!

Well, it got dark (not completely dark) but not too much good light was left as we started to pitch our tents.

I was teamed up (we didn’t call it ‘teams’ back then) with another young man from the same town. I didn’t know him before getting on the plane to my new future. It as an adventurous trip to basic (another tale for another day).

He was shorter than I, wore glasses and he got one heck of a urinary tract infection in basic!  Understand that sidling up to the urinal trough (not private, white porcelain ones) and urinating red (from the medication) was not a badge of honor in basic!

Company picture day. Fort Leonard Wood, MS
Photo Day at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri.

The Night

We were getting our packs off (damn they were heavy but not as heavy as they were going to get).

Just then began a Missouri deluge.

In Northern Minnesota terms, we didn’t know about deluges but it rained buckets there.

We were miserable. Why?

Because in the dark and in the wet and in a hurry we mixed up the front and back of the shelter halves. We had hooked my front end to his back end of the shelter halves. Start over, bozos.

Well into one of the buckets that had come down we managed to toss our sleeping bags. US Army issue mummy bags (down, with an enclosure that would cover your head so that only your nose popped out. A soldier looked like a mummy.)

We struggled to rearrange the pup tent and gushed water when we took our boots off.

Wet boots, wet pants, wet field jackets and a wet down sleeping bag. (Did I mention that the sleeping bags were made of goose down?)

When we pulled them out of that proverbial bucket that had come down, they weighed not 20 pounds, not 40 pounds but who knows? They were heavy.

And wet down? Clammy, wet, cold sleeping bags. We didn’t even try to get into them. Somehow, we just quit wrestling and swearing and fell asleep.

All I remember was MISERY!

The Morning

The morning came.

We had hot meals – delivered. The mess hall cooked up something and shipped it out to us. (I’m glad they knew where we were!)

That meal felt so good! We dunked our trays into each of the three barrels of hot water, soap then rinse, then fluff rinse.

We grabbed our last slurp of coffee and had a smoke.

In those days smoking was a necessity. It was a good thing.

At least if you had one minute to call your own. After the Drill Instructor called ‘Light ’em up if you got ’em and then hollered ‘put ’em out’, was about a minute. ( I know they loved doing that!)

The worst part came next. ‘Police your butts.’

That was not an anatomical connection.

No, a company of stupid inductees had not yet learned the value of non-filtered smokes.

We had to strip the tobacco from the butts and put them in our pants pocket until we remembered them while the pants were spinning in the washing machine.

(If we had paid attention and watched the DI’s we would have seen that Palls Malls were a very smart idea. Rip the paper open and let the unburned tobacco and the paper just float away in the breeze.)

Washing machine?

Oh yeah, I was enjoying that smoke so much I forgot were I had left off.

Yes indeed.

This was the modern Army.

Half of the building was showers, the other half latrines.

The middle half was washers and dryers. Only a few though, can’t spoil the troops you know.

(Another point in passing. Do you see that neat picture above with the scrubbed troops all lined up on the stands?)

Not in my day! Photo day was wearing your muddy boots and fatigue pants, putting on your Class A uniform jacket and cap and proceed into the latrine to get your mug shot.

Classy!? I’ll say.

The fun begins!

Now the fun begins.

The formation was called.

Everybody groaned under the weight of the now soaking wet packs and shuffled into line. Hmm.

The ground was different this morning. Not firm but squishy. We proceeded forth. MUD! Not MUD! But WORSE!

Every step was excruciating! The mud stuck to my boots until it was 6″ thick.

I  became intimately acquainted with something I seldom ran into.

Not MUD! CLAY!

The clay I was familiar with lined the banks of the Mississippi River that ran thru town. We only went near the stuff when we had the green mud boots on.

RED MISSOURI CLAY! (Are you getting the flavor of why we called it ‘Little Misery?’)

The clay weighed the each boot down by ten pounds.

The march, or slog it was rightly called, all the way back to the barracks.

Our company was most fortunate, we lived in Quonset huts.

The rest of the battalion had the fancy brick buildings. (That too is another tale.)

After hours and hours of slogging under the hot Missouri sun, in the horrible Missouri humidity, we finally arrived.

Now nap time.

Nap time? Are you nuts? Clean up time!

The DI’s (Drill Instructors, this wasn’t the Marines!

Not all were sergeants. Some, by force of their nature got busted down a rank a time or two or more) made sure no one got to eat or sleep until our boots were scrapped off, the mud hosed off the rest and then crawl into the bunk.

I was so exhausted I don’t remember that night.

Was that the night I fell asleep on fire watch? Don’t ever, I mean EVER do that.

I remember waking to the thought of spending the day getting those boots ready for inspection.

 

Mississippi Mud, reminescent of the Missouri Mud we marched thru.
Mississippi Mud song by Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys

 Sitting in a field on the few hours we got off a week, scrapping and digging, and wiping and digging. Then came the polish. Hours of rubbing and rubbing and rubbing to get at least a semblance of shine back on them.

 

Well, I am out of time. I will have to get to the most important part of the tale, The Tribute, next post.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

Good Old Missouri Mud. None of that stuff from MIssissippi!
Now, this is good ole’ Missouri Mud!

 

“Merry Christmas in Duluth” from MN Nor’easter.com 2017

Merry Christmas

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

 

Another Christmas.
Hmm, I wonder, Is it another Christmas?
Doesn’t quite feel like ones we’ve celebrated before.

So How is This Story Told?

So what am I doing with another blog?

Well, I have to admit, I am pretty gutsy.

Oh, not in that sense.

Gutsy in this sense that Oh ! I’ve got a great idea.

Let’s connect this blog to that domain and we’ ll have … pickled goo.

I started to write a blog last year.

My first topic wasn’t very sale-able though.

Turns out the guy was a real schmuck in addition to being a dead ringer for a crook.

But that is past.

With this blog, I hope to spend time sharing Duluth with the world.

Duluth is The Christmas Town.

I envy those parents that have young children in tow.

I was looking online at all of the local calendars of events.

They never end.

When we moved to Duluth, my bride and I, we had a one-year-old son.

I think we probably took him to the Christmas City of the North Parade that first year.

I remember spending each Christmas bundling the kids up, and trekking downtown, searching for a parking spot.

We looked for one where we could leave early if necessary or more important, get the heck out of town as fast as possible.

We had one of the pack style frames to load a son into and carry on with the adventure.

Boy, that frame got a lot of use.

If a young family doesn’t have one, I heartily recommend it.

Dad or Mom can carry a child and have some use of your hands.

You can stuff the the carrier with towels or small blankets.

We were always concerned about the legs and feet getting cold.

But we must have left the parade before the cold set in.

The most endearing memory of those early parades, besides no parking at all, were the snowplow mounds to climb over.

So How Well Do You Know Duluth?

I think that this blog is going to turn into booster-ism.

Flat out, gee this is the best place to live.

Especially around Christmas time.

Duluth is The Christmas City of the North after all.

Looks like Duluth? 5th Ave W? But I think its in France.

A Major Change of Plan

I started on my own Christmas project tonight, and I thought “this might be a Christmas post all on its own.”

At one time I tried selling Christmas images I had made into cards.

Sell? Not so much.

The reason being,  pre-made cards of anything have fallen by the wayside and run over by the internet engine.

I do not know you, but just think – how different the world of your children will be from the world that was when you were growing up.

There is a very strong line drawn in the sands of history.

This is a time mass upheavals.

My Soapbox and Deep Mind

I am not talking about the major generational things that the pundits put out (Generation X et al).

They have some value, but some of the changes are not readily apparent during the generation’s change and have to be seen in hindsight.

Some things, like this Christmas, are wide open for everyone to see. I can definitely say there will not be a Christmas like this one ever again. Ever!

Why do I say that?

As you may know I have been spending time researching the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we are in.

Did you even know that it had started?

Nobody told me.

Perhaps I am a little slow in the brain. I heard things that were being discussed and now they are here.

They came so much faster than I imagined.

For instance, did you know that Elon Musk, the creator of the Tesla automobiles, has been sending rockets ships off into space?

He then lands them back on earth, standing up, in one piece?

Not once, not twice but he reuses them several times.

In fact, he has been placing satellites into orbit for some purposes, I imagine military.

Back in August, he supplied the International Space Station using his refurbished and relaunched rockets.

I have no idea how they can land those rockets back on a barge in the ocean.

I have seen some of the early flops. They were oh so spectacular.

But he has already designed and built on paper, his Big Lift Rocket.

He will use this one to colonize Mars and bring tourists up there for $200,000 a ticket!

Are you aware that he just had a showing of his self-driving semi-trailer truck?

Two weeks ago in Denver, I think.

Just last night, you will read about it in CNN Money, he has built the world’s largest battery. It is now operational in Australia!

Other companies like Google and Apple (software companies making cars?) and even classic car makers like Ford and GM are getting their own testing done with their self-driving vehicles.

It was a bit of a snicker, but the first self-driving bus that entered the streets of Denver a few weeks ago had an accident.

Another truck ran into it. Revenge??

It has been demonstrated that hydrogen fuel can be made out of seawater.

Electric cars?

Already outdated. Even before they really take off.

Haven’t heard that?

There is so much that is changing.

I am in the process of figuring out how to do little blurbs like the big guys do.

But I’m not as smart as the big guys so we’ll just have to be surprised.

Folks, the world of Artificial Intelligence is here.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

It will be as painful, if not more so,  like the Coal Industry and the massive loss of jobs around the turn of the century.

Climate change?

That sure has to be figured in also.

But this is Christmas and there is so much good to look forward to.

Let’s Make Something

Let’s make some Christmas cards.

These will be digital cards that you can take to OfficeMax and get printed for about $1.00 each or you can email for a much smaller cost.

They can be printed as one-sided (actually two-sided – the front and then the back to write on).

They can be printed as four-sided.

Take a piece of copy paper and fold it in half – top to bottom.

It is not any more difficult that one-sided you just have to be able to think upside down.

The last page of the four-part sheet has to be upside down to the other three sides or it will be upside down to the rest of the card. Make sense?

Email me at craig.martineau@gmail.com and I will walk you thru it.

I recommend a few things:

First: make sure the cards get printed on a heavy stock, not the heaviest available but 100# weight or so.

Then you will have to choose a finish.

There are so many these days.

I used to just order ‘mount matte’ finish but again that is a personal choice. The ink lays on top of the paper and will show up more vibrant.

Second: do not worry about the images I am going to show you to use.

They are all under the Common Commercial License.

Simply means that use are free to use the images – free even for commercial use.

If they are CCL licenses you don’t even have to attribute them to anyone.

However I try to because these photographers are just phenomenal.

Now that drones are in the picture, the images are just breathtaking.

Three: I use Microsoft Publisher to assemble all of the pieces.

The background, the typed message, the smaller ‘elements’ as I call them.

I am used to Publisher but also because it comes free with Office 365.

I’m sure people that are good with Microsoft Word can achieve the same results.

PowerPoint is another good tool.

I also use Adobe Acrobat Pro. But again I am sure any PDF app will work.

You have to submit your work to the print shop in PDF format.

Image files like jpg, png, tiff are too large.

Four: You submit your finished work to the print shop, whoever you decide to use, in a digital format.

You can email it to them or bring it to them on a flash drive and while there you can decide on the paperweight, purchase envelopes etc.

If you are making a four sided card which is an 8″ x 10 inch sheet of paper folded in half from top to bottom.

OfficeMax doesn’t or didn’t not that size at one time.

You can go next door and purchase them at the craft store if necessary.

If you are using your favorite print shop you can make similar arrangements that may be closer to your home.

I keep thinking of Duluth but that’s kind of ingrained in me after forty some years.

Come to think of some of you may have excellent laser printers that will save you time and money.

Five: Where to get the images.

It’s a secret and I’m not going to tell you.

It’s like getting a fisherman where he/she caught all those fish.

Just kidding.

First, go to the internet and type into your browser: ‘Bing.com’, when that pops open enter “Christmas images 2016” and images will pop up.

And not only thousands of Christmas but all other major events during the year.

If can’t find the ones that suit your ideas try bin: Christmas 2014.

I grabbed most of my supply from that site.

If you still want something a bit more grand and something that no one else has, go to Unsplash.com.

Set up an account for free and type in the search bar: Christmas images.

There are only 17,400 or so there.

You can also try Pixabay and Pexels or a few other ones. But my preference is Unsplash.

On any of the other sites, you have to be mindful that some images are from Shutter-stock etc and are not free.

Not expensive but I like free.

If you sign up for Unsplash’s monthly email, I hope you get as hooked as I am.

When you have an account  you can set up your own ‘collections’.

I must have about twenty from seashores, to lighthouses, to landscapes, to mountains.

However many you need.

As you view an image you can decide to ‘keep’ it in one of your collections.

If you want to download an image you go to the image, either from the site or your personal collection and click on the image. In the upper right-hand corner, you just click on “download”.

A great thing about these images is that they are usually a large size 1200 pixels by 1200 or so.

In which case you may want to think about saving them as .png files rather than .jpg. I have read that png files give better results if used for important work, which your cards are.

Six: I just thought of this.

If you are just starting to work with pictures (I separate between photos and images but that’s just the way I try to keep things straight) and you don’t have a favorite app for working with images I recommend three: the all-around best is paint.net.

I was introduced to it a few years ago and it really works well. It is so sophisticated that I can’t figure out most of it.

My needs are simple though so I have my old standbys.

Pixlr which is a product of Auto-desk.

These are all free by the way just sign up for an account.

Another is a marvelous program.

It is called Irfanview. It is free just Google it and download.

It is designed by a guy in India I think and it is awesome.

With this app, you really don’t need anything else. I use Pixlr primarily for cropping images because it pops up in the standard 3/4 format and you move two lines, save it and move one. Pixlr also has an online version.

While I am giving out all of my ‘secrets’ of free goodies, another photo app that is phenomenal if you like to sent photos digitally or write a blog etc. is ‘image optimizer’.

It is also free.

What it does, for me, is to optimize images. When you try to email images or use them on a website, you want to decrease their size so that Google doesn’t frown and tell you that you have gone over the 25 mg limit and you will have to use G-Drive to get those all-important Christmas pictures to Grandma.

With Image Optimizer you can optimize an image or a folder full at one time. You decide the quality of output.

The other day I confirmed the functionality of Image Optimizer. An image that was about 300 Mb was 30 or so kb after it was optimized. Don’t hold me to the exact sizes, I wasn’t planning on using that as an example in a blog.

If you play a lot with images check out IrfanView aka IrfanViewer. It can translate so many many different kinds of images. It also has plugins for almost any task. The new images are often in html. It used to be that I would have to use Chrome to open those files. Now I use IrfanView. When you try to open a file it says ‘can’t be done, sir’. Just close the error message and the image will be there.

So lets put a card together. I will upload a pix of mine to Blogger (the site I am using) as just the background.

Pretty red yes?
Now a few trimmings

 

Now I will take these images into Publisher and I’ll be right back
There.
Not too bad for about 5 to 10 minutes work.
Hopefully enough to give you an idea of what is possible. Really everything is possible.
With the applications available now, shoot for the moon.
An example, the white background. You can obviously pick a white background for the card, or use paint.net and erase the background. I use an app, the only one I have bought. It is from Soft Orbits called, wait for it….. background remover.
Another app is InPixio. Both seem to be about the same level of difficulty.
It is a lot harder than the demo video makes it look but my hands are 68-year-old hands and not very steady. I have been working on a piece for a granddaughter for a year.
I get it so close and zip my hand moves and it is a do-over.  But that is the great thing about digital, if you find an image you want, save it, and then save it under a new name ‘test’ and then don’t lose the original file.
You can’t hurt it because you are working with the test file. I usually end up with numerous files, test 1,2 100, test resized, test with white typeface. and so on. Then I have to remember which is what.
Someday, I promise myself I will get organized. Yeah right. Some know of my desk at work or at home. There is no hope for me.
Just give a holler if you need me.
Thanks for stopping.
Craig