THE CHALLENGE OF WINTERTIME!

You got this!

THE CHALLENGE OF WINTERTIME

Money invested in your health is money well-spent.

Peloton is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of exercise equipment. If you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single exercise bike or treadmill for your home gym, you want the best quality possible. Peloton’s gimmick is that once you buy their machine, you also must pay a monthly membership fee of $39.99 to access their EXCLUSIVE, on-demand live streaming exercise classes.   

In a widely mocked 2019 Peloton Christmas commercial, a husband surprises his thin attractive wife (played by actor Monica Ruiz) with a Peloton Bike for Christmas. The wife then spends an entire year documenting her use of the bike for her social media accounts, ultimately watching a compilation highlight video with her husband where she thanks him for the gift that ‘changed her’. The ad has been labeled as sexist, alarming and cringe-worthy.     

Actor Ryan Reynolds who is also the owner of Aviation American Gin immediately hired  Monica Ruiz to ‘reprise’ the Peloton wife role for his gin commercial.  In the follow-up Aviation Gin ad  (which spoofs the original ad),  she is now divorced, staring blank-faced and sitting in a bar with concerned girlfriends. They give her multiple martinis to guzzle as they tell her she’s ‘safe now’ and she ‘really looks great’.  I don’t know which of the two ads is worse, but I am leaning towards the second.

Over the course of a person’s life, they will earn millions of dollars IF they work hard, and invest their money wisely. In that same period, they will only have ONE body, so staying fit and healthy is of the utmost importance. No one wants to spend their life feeling weak and sickly.

Physical fitness is a personal decision. The ONLY one who understands the trans-formative journey towards better health is the person on that path. I began running at the beginning of 2019, and this past year has been a year of personal transformation. I am in my best physical condition in years as a result of my personal commitment to my physical improvement.

Are you in, or are you out?

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Winter’s chill adds a new challenge to a person who has taken stock in their own health and well-being.  Frigid temperatures tend to keep the fail indoors huddled around a heat source. IF and only IF you are truly committed towards improving your physical health, you only have two exercise options. Indoors or outdoors.

I do NOT own personal home gym machines. It is my opinion that unless a person has a very good reason for buying home gym equipment, their money could be better invested elsewhere. Gym equipment depreciates in value faster than automobiles.  In addition to the expense, these exercise machines take up space.  There are many gyms chains nationwide (such as Planet Fitness) that have the latest machines,  local branches open 24 hrs, and some offer memberships as low as $10.00 per month. Plus if the equipment breaks, it’s not your problem!

I train indoors, but I run outdoors for competitive races which are offered almost every weekend including WINTER. As each of these  races have entry fees, I limit myself to not more than three a month. Usually it’s once a month, sometimes twice. Running is a lifestyle choice understood only by fellow runners. The running community is a great source of encouragement and motivation. When you run with the pack, you run with the pack. When you join a local running club, you will make new friends and see familiar faces  at local events.  The key takeaway to remember is that athletes must always be in training for their next event.   

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Baby it’s cold outside.

Winter weather is highly unpredictable. When running outside you MUST dress appropriately for the conditions.  There are days in December in the area of South-Central Pennsylvania with temperatures of 50° F (10° C) or higher, and days with temperatures below freezing  (32° F, or 0° C). Wind gusts can cause temperatures to suddenly plummet.  Exposed skin can become damaged from repeated and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, so it may be necessary to wear protective gear such as a balaclava and gloves if you are spending long periods of time outdoors. After returning indoors, be sure to treat your hands and face with a nourishing skin cream to help skin heal.

Investing in proper exercise garments is always highly recommended. Clothing designed for outdoor exercising should be thin enough to exercise in, while being thick enough to retain enough body heat to keep you warm. You should dress in layers to be able to remove some clothing if you  become too warm. I have personally worked up a sweat running 10K in subfreezing temperatures.  The ‘track suits’ of today are much more advanced than your father’s gray jogging-suit.   Wonders have been wrought due  to the creations of both Thinsulate  and Polar Fleece in 1979. If trapped body heat is still not enough to keep you warm outdoors, it’s even possible to purchase electric heated garments.  I have seen people run outdoors in winter wearing shorts, while others looked like they were dressing for an expedition to the North Pole. During themed winter races like The Santa Run, The Jingle Bell Run, or the Kris Kringle Run, people have dressed like Santa Clause while running.   Only you know what clothing is comfortable for you to wear, so dress accordingly.

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It’s cold and DARK out there.

As the daylight hours tend to be much shorter in winter, outdoor runners need to be visible to passing cars. I am always amazed by the number of people who ware black clothing at night and cross the street in the middle of the block.  Add icy streets and tragedy is all but assured. If running, jogging, or speed-walking outdoors is not possible for you during daylight hours, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Cross at crosswalks, with the light.
  • Always look for cars which might not stop.
  • Carry a runner’s flashlight which can be worn on sneakers, belt, wrist or headband.
  • Wear a reflective safety vest, or harness.
  • Run on well maintained trails or streets.
  • Run with a buddy, or in a group if possible to insure safety.
  • Always pay close attention to your surroundings.
  • DO NOT run in bad sections of town, or in public parks after sunset.
  • Always carry your mobile cell phone so that you can call for help if something  happens.

Just because it’s wintertime doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your active healthy lifestyle. Obsessed is a word lazy people use to describe dedicated individuals. Your health is in your hands! You got this! As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

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CONQUER THE WORLD!

Ask me how…

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Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie

The world is made up of two types of people. Those who talk about doing things, and those who go out and get those things done.  According to a recent article printed in Business Insider  about a third of Millennials think that they are worse off today than they were ten years ago.  The question that really begs to be asked is what were these ‘eager young space cadets’ doing over the past decade to improve their lives? The overwhelming response was nothing. They stayed in the same dead-end jobs for fear of finding a better job. They didn’t invest in the stock market for fear of losing money. They didn’t save because they had just enough to make ends meet, and they feared they wouldn’t be able to.  The end result of doing nothing is nothing. Nothing happens unless someone makes it happen. You will never be able to conquer the world until you learn to conquer your irrational fears.

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear. –Dale Carnegie

If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self. – Napoleon Hill

Many times, we are held back by bad habits. Laziness is chief among all bad habits. We put off for tomorrow what could be done today because we ‘don’t feel like it’ or we ‘don’t have time’ or we have ‘something better to do.’ Motivation can be difficult when we don’t see immediate results, but all things take time, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This goes for all bad habits from poor eating habits to addictions to failure to exercise regularly. If you start something, keep at it until the task has been accomplished. Never give up. Focus on doing what you can, and then going one better.    

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner

If you believe that something is impossible, and you don’t attempt it, you will never know if it could have been accomplished. Trying once and failing is not an indication of impossibility, it’s just an indication of inexperience and lack of knowledge. No one was ever an expert the first time they did something, and if they happened to do it perfectly that first time, it was dumb luck. You’re an expert when you can consistently deliver the same results, and that takes time and practice.   

Energy and persistence conquer all things. – Benjamin Franklin

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11

Make plans! If you fail to plan you plan to fail! You need to know where you are, where you want to be, and have the steps to get there. You need to know what direction to go, what tools you’ll need to accomplish your goal. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all unless you take to proper measures beforehand. Spontaneity is great when you’re stuck and need to think of something to get you back on course, but it’s a terrible way to live your life. All successful people take notes, make plans, and work from paper. Again, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. You got this! You just have to believe in the possible.

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I believe that in the end the truth will conquer. –John Wycliffe

As you continue moving on towards accomplishing you goals, You’ll encounter a lot of fake news and negativity. You need to cut the dead-weight that’s holding you back. Unhappy, unsuccessful people will be jealous of your attempts to better yourself. Success is the best revenge. There are many people you will meet throughout your life who will never accomplish half the things you do, and they will try to make you feel bad about yourself by calling you greedy or selfish. What they think of you says more about them then it does about you. Your success does not doom them to failure. They doomed themselves to failure by doing nothing and just want you to feel sorry for their poor life choices. You can’t help them, they are the only ones who can help themselves, and they don’t want to for whatever reason. If you have access to the internet, you have access to the sum total of human knowledge. Ignorance is a choice, knowledge is power, and the truth will vanquish any lie in time. Stay focused on your goals and they will become your accomplishments. You got this, and no one can take that away from you!  If you can conceive it, and you can believe it, you can achieve it! As always I wish you success and happiness!

A HOUSE DIVIDED?

Only you can prevent Socialism!

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“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” -Albert Einstein

You don’t have to be a genius to realize that the United States Of America is unique among nations. As the oldest constitutional republic and longest lasting capitalist country, it has been attacked from day one by those who would see it destroyed. Unfortunately not all enemies are foreign. Since he US Civil War (Apr 12, 1861 – Apr 9, 1865) it has been evident that various leaders of the Democratic National Committee have been attacking the fundamental principals which made this great nation. None would dare call their actions treason, but they are a cancer which must not spread to the next generation. Patriots aren’t born, but patriots need to educate their children to inculcate them from the disease of Socialism. Freedom is only ONE generation away from extinction.

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It’s a Grand Old Flag!               

One of the most striking changes that I witnessed following the events of September 11th, 2001 was that in the days that followed that despicable  terrorist attack against the USA, suddenly everyone was a patriot  and nearly every house was displaying an American Flag. Unfortunately, instant patriots do not last. While slightly more than half the nation remained vigilant, the new instant patriots slowly went back to their old ways.  Since the TERRORIST ATTACK that destroyed the Twin Towers and damaged the Pentagon, an entire generation has been born and these 18 year olds and younger have been taught such lies as the US deserved the attack, it wasn’t TERRORISM, and most recently to quote the words of DEMOCRAT  Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district since 2019 Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, “Some people did something.”    

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“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”– Thomas Sowell

God, guns, and guts made America great!

Changes in public education have slowly removed the teaching of The Bible in schools, trivialized or eliminated entirely the faith of the Founding Fathers, and streamlined American history in favor of teaching world history and world religions. Children are being taught what to think, not how to think. Civil discourse has all but disappeared and topics of religion, politics, and economics have become the big three no-nos of ‘polite’ conversation.   These are the same tactics that Mao Tse Tung and Adolph Hitler utilized when they created The Red Guard and The Hitler Youth. By co-opting and corrupting the minds of impressionable children, they were able to create brainwashed young adults whom they used to change and  destroy any opposition to ‘the party line’.  These useful idiots are exactly whom Saul Alinsky’s  protégés will use to attempt to win the 2020 election.  In the USA, the head of the DNC Nancy Pelosi wants to lower the voting age to 16 because it’s “important to capture kids when they’re in high school”. DNC Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was pushing her ‘Green New Deal’ and attempting to convince the youth of the nation that is something isn’t done,  the world will end in 12 years. Such attempts by the Democrats to sway children to ‘The Dark Side’ should strike terror into the heart of every parent in this country.   We need to ignite the spark of patriotism in our children so they can become a light against the darkness that threatens to destroy our land.

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2020 Vision

In 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected 45th President of the USA to the stunned disbelief of every Democrat. A grassroots campaign lead by conservative Christians and right-wing Republicans helped launch this great patriot into the oval office.  A constant barrage of Fake News  has been slandering this man since day one. Trump has been on record for over thirty years as saying that he would only run for president if he felt this nation was in danger of being destroyed, and that was exactly what the previous administration was in the process of. All of the freedoms that make America great were being slowly attacked, and Trump was the only man who could stand up to the career politicians and ‘Drain the Swamp’.  No American president in our lifetime has loved and defended our nation and our way of life more than Donald. J. Trump. He has been fulfilling his campaign promises since day one, and this terrifies the Liberals.  They know that when he wins re-election in 2020, the DNC will never regain power in their lifetime.  Currently there are 21 contenders from the DNC considering a run for the White House in 2020. This is the largest attempt by any party to seize power, and such attempts usually end in failure with few exceptions. In 2020, just as in 2016, there will be many new first-time voters 18 and up. We need to convince them of the importance of voting for another four years of the Trump presidency because the fate of our nation and its continued prosperity are on the line. Nearly all of the DNC hopefuls including Kamilla Harris and Joe Biden claim the 1st thing they will do is repeal the Trump Tax Cut, and instill higher taxes.  Taxation is theft, and when Walter Mondale tried this tactic with the Reagan Tax  Cuts, he lost 49 states in 1984. Donald J. Trump could become the first US president to win all 50 states in the Electoral College, another creation by the Founding Fathers which the Liberals want to abolish. Liberals want to re-write or re-interpret the Constitution and preferably ban all private gun ownership, meaning only criminals will own guns.   Also, having lost the liberal majority in the Supreme Court, they want to change than as well.   The 2020 President Election may be the most important election since Abraham Lincoln won, and if Donald J. Trump loses, America loses. Were  we go one, we go all. Our entire way of life is under attack.  As always, I wish you success and happiness!

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WHO’S MINDING YOU!

Escaping the ‘nanny-state’!

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This is the forth article in the ‘Who’s Minding’ series. For the first three parts read Who’s Minding the Bank?, Who’s Minding the Market?,  and  Who’s Minding the Food?

I’ve got no strings

To hold me down

To make me fret

Or make me frown

I had strings

But now I’m free

There are no strings on me–  song I’ve Got No Strings by Dickie Jones, 1940

Everyone has an agenda. Some are obvious, are some subtle, and some are hidden and secretive.  Except in the most rare of cases, the person pulling the strings wants what’s best for themselves above all else. Sometimes what’s good for them is also good for everyone else,  and sometimes it’s unashamedly mercenary.  Without question, the two thousand plus billionaires of the world wield great power over the average person.  They are the modern kings of today’s world, and they are playing a Game of Kings to stake out their own little section of the world to rule.  They are the tops of the pyramid, the kings of the hill.  Next in line are the millionaires and multi-millionaires. They too have great power over the lives of the average person.  Independent, hard working people come next. At the very bottom of the pyramid are the wretched dregs of society. People who have either giving up on trying to better themselves, and are dependent upon social welfare programs and the kindness of strangers to survive.

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If you are fortunate enough to live in the United States of America,  then you are blessed indeed. The USA is a land of limitless opportunities, and built upon the tenants of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Since the nation was founded 243 years ago, it has been the target of powerful people who want to subvert and destroy our great nation. For parts of the nineteenth and all of the twentieth centuries,  the Democratic National Committee has been trying to remake the USA and destroy the Christian country created by the Founding Fathers.  Democrat is indeed the new communist as the liberal left slinks further  and further towards radical socialist agendas and establishing a permanent power over the average citizen. In their new vision of America, we the people will be dependent on the government from cradle to grave.  They will slander and attempt to destroy anyone who dares to oppose them.

Our nation and its government is BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE.  There is nothing wrong with wealth. There is nothing wrong with success. We live in a capitalist society and our economy grows through consumerism.   If people are buying, selling, and trading, there are jobs being created.  What is wrong is when a government tries to enslave all its citizens and destroy the means of creating wealth while raising taxes and killing jobs. This is what Barack Hussein Obama II was in the process of doing, and what Hillary Rodham Clinton would have continued had she been elected.  Fortunately,  there was a very powerful patriot, billionaire Donald J. Trump who was willing to fight to save our nation from those who were willing to save it.  Trump’s love for our nation exceeds that of any president in our lifetime, even greater than Ronald Reagan. Fortunately, WE THE PEOPLE banded together in such force to elect this great man to the highest office. Donald J. Trump has been insulted, slandered, belittled, and bashed by all those who oppose him. The liberals are losing, and they know it!

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  • Billionaires control our world.
  • They control our banks.
  • They control our economy and industry.
  • They control our food.
  • They control our media.
  • They control our communications and social networks.

They control so many aspects of our lives, but they can only control us if we allow them.  All of the media, communications, and social networks THEY created can also benefit US if we take the time to navigate the sea of lies and misinformation that powerful LEFTIST billionaires are imposing upon us.  Every wealth group from the ultra-poor to the mega-rich can be divided into two main camps, the left (liberal) and the right (conservative). There are also two other smaller subgroups that are far dangerous to our nation. The centralist, who can flip-flop on issues at the drop of a hat, and the anarchist who wants no government of any kind and doesn’t care about politics at all.  Both of these groups are products of the post-modern school of thought which claims there is no right or wrong.

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In God We Trust!

There was a reason that Madalyn Murray O’Hair fought hard to ban studying the Bible in public schools in 1963. She was a militant feminist, communist, and atheist who founded the group American Atheists.  She  claimed that religion was “a crutch” and an “irrational reliance on superstitions and supernatural nonsense”.  In reality this was all part of a greater plan. The USA was founded as a Christian nation, and by removing the study of the Bible from public schools, O’Hair was sowing the seeds for the destruction of the US.  Without God, there is no USA. 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. – Psalm 33:12

There is a difference between religion and spirituality, just as there is a difference between morals and ethics. Unfortunately few take the time to learn the distinction.  Spirituality is a belief in God, and the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Religion is a system of rules and doctrines.  This is why Jesus said in James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ”   

There is no such thing as a moral atheist because morals are based on Biblical absolutes whereas situational ethics are fluid and can change with the individual or situation. Good can be bad and bad can be good  in the mind of post modernists. God is good ALWAYS and when you eliminate the study of the Bible, you erode the moral backbone of the nation.  If something is legal, it is not unethical. If it were unethical, it would be illegal. Immoral is always immoral, whether it is legal or not. So the word of God is not a ‘controlling’ force, but a guiding factor which is for our benefit.  Warning us about destructive behaviors is not HATE, it is truly being done  for our benefit so that we may life a healthy, happy, and productive life.  The only time I’ve ever seen happy atheists are when they were insulting Christians.

The bottom line is that there are many forces in this world that are trying to control us, even up to and including the point of a gun.  The power we give these earthly forces over us is an illusion we allow them, one that we can shatter at any time. WE THE PEOPLE have the real power, and if God is with us, who can stand against us? As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

Who’s Minding the Food?

Junkfood junkies!

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“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ― Orson Welles

The Standard American Diet is about 2,200 calories per day, with 50% of calories from carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 35% fat. It is very different from those of our forefathers.  

Since the start of the industrial revolution, the everyday lifestyle of mankind has changed in many ways.  When the United States was founded in 1776, the vast majority of its citizens lived in an agrarian society. We farmed and grew our own food, or worked for those that did. Once industry took hold, and large cities began to spring up, we shifted to a largely metropolitan society. In 1870, almost 50 percent of the U.S. population was employed in agriculture, today it is less than 2%. Farming is neither glamorous, nor easy. 

This shift has resulted in a two-fold negative lifestyle impact on the people in our nation:

One – We must buy processed and preserved food from supermarkets.

Two– We no longer endure the physical labor needed to burn off the calories in the food we eat.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”– words of Jesus Christ from  Matthew 7:9-11 NIV

We in the USA may take it for granted because our nation has never known long-term widespread famine, or food shortages, but food is perhaps the greatest way to control a country. Laws ,economics, and education  may restrict your life in a myriad of ways, but cut off your food and water long enough and you’ll die. Poison the food supply, and you slowly sicken, weaken and given enough time, kill the people who eat it.  All food is made of up to three components: Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates (carbs for short).  Carbohydrates are just the scientific word for sugar, and comes in two forms, complex and simple. Simple carbohydrates are made up of just one or two sugar molecules. As such, it doesn’t take much for your body to break them down and absorb them (as glucose) into the bloodstream. For this reason, simple carbohydrates raise blood sugar much faster and usually higher than complex carbohydrates.

According to a study printed in The BMJ (formally called The British Medical Journal) in an average American diet,  about 57.9% of the daily caloric intake of about 2200 kcals is coming from ultra-processed foods, 9.4% from processed foods, 2.9% from processed culinary ingredients. Only a mere  29.6% (less than a third) of our food intake is from unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

There are more than 38,000 processed food products on grocery shelves in the US. This includes the so-called ultra -processed foods which accounts for 90% of the added sugar in the Standard American Diet .  Additionally the majority of these items contain chemical additives, dyes, and preservatives that are unhealthy to say the least. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) often takes the place of refined sugar, but is far worse. The human body can’t process this artificial sugar made by converting starch into fructose. HFCS has been added to many products to ‘make them taste better’. Whenever you see ‘new improved’ on a box, automatically think added sugars and fat. Any calories you consume that you don’t burn off daily are stored in your body as fat.

 The Standard American Diet is SAD indeed.

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Feed The World?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life, it should come as no surprise to you that billionaires (and to a lesser extent multi-millionaires) control the world. They are the modern day equivalents of kings, and world domination is a game of kings. As such, these contemporary would-be rulers reign over almost every aspect of our lives. They may not officially own the country, but they do control either the food supply, or the distribution chains for it. (I’m not even going to get into restaurant chains. Americans may be eating-out more than ever, but restaurants are still just a luxury, not a necessity.)

Of the 38,000 processed foods on the shelves in food stores, more often than not we go for a trusted name-brand. All of the major supermarket chains have an in-house brand that’s comparable or sometimes superior to the national brand. They may even have similar packaging and be placed side-by-side on the shelf.  Many of these knock-offs or, no-frills alternatives are manufactured by the same exact factories as the recognized brand.  All of the official brands in the world are owned by just ten corporations as shown in this infographic from Oxfam.   

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Additionally most supermarkets stock all major brands. There are few exceptions such as the Trader Joe chain which stocks nearly 95% of their store brand instead. Trader Joe is an American company which specializes in organic health foods.  Their groceries are top-notch, and cost a few pennies more. You get what you pay for. The top-selling supermarket company in the world is Kroger.

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Top 10 Supermarket Companies in 2018

(Sales in billions)

  • The Kroger Co., $105.10
  • Albertsons, $57.39
  • Royal Ahold Delhaize USA, $43.20
  • Publix Super Markets, $34.56
  • Aldi, $25.86
  • H-E-B Grocery, $21.94
  • Neighborhood Market/Marketside (Walmart), $17.04
  • Wakefen/ShopRite, $16.30
  • Whole Foods Market (Amazon), $15.40
  • Southeastern Grocers, $10.63

We are what we eat!

There are countless diet cooks, cook books, and health books in print and on line, yet two out of three Americans are overweight.  This is senseless!  Food is necessary for life, but not everything we are able to eat is good for us. Sometimes it’s a matter of the ingredients, other times it is portion size. The times of day and the frequency of which we eat can also play a part. Some people eat to live while others live to eat. Of all the addictions in the world, food addiction is the worst because you need to eat to live. Junkfood may taste wonderful, but all things in moderation. The quality of life of a morbidly obese person is far diminished from that of a person leading a healthy, active lifestyle. The bottom line is that health is far more important than wealth if you want to live a successful and happy life.   No one can force you the eat healthier, that decision rest sole with you. As always I wish you success and happiness!

Who’s Minding The Market?

Is the game rigged?

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‘The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.’ —Brian Tracy

You’ve probably heard the old cliché ‘the rich get richer while the poor stay poor (or get poorer)’. Although this truism  is often used by the media as a way of stirring up class warfare, it would be more accurate to say, ‘you get what you pay for.’  Success expert and motivational speaker Brain Tracy often remarks that the real reason people are poor is because they haven’t decided to be rich. The truth hurts, but facts are facts. Facts may offend, but facts are incontrovertible, transcendent of whomever says them. Rich people didn’t get rich by making poor people poor, for the most part, they did it by fearlessly investing their money somewhere. 

Knowledge is power

There is a lot of fake news out there, and our society has never been more plugged in and connected. Unfortunately there is a big difference between reading something and understanding it. Not every bit of information being relayed to you is for your benefit. Some information like advertising contains subliminal messages to entice you to purchase their product. Is that flashy new model automobile really that much better than the car you own, or than the dozen other advertisements from other car companies all of which claim to be the best and most reliable on the road? At the end of the day, you can only drive as fast as the posted speed limit, and few people are impressed by your car for very long, if ever. A 17-year old Hyundai Accent that still runs will get you to work just as fast as a brand new one.

Subliminal messages appear in just about every piece of information presented to you. It is a hidden suggestion in the content intended to sway your opinion to their side of the issue.  Someone is pulling your strings, and you won’t even know it unless you learn to read between the lines.  The poor are exploited by the rich because the rich have power, and the poor lack it.

Money is power

Financial freedom is one example of power that the rich have. When you have enough money, you can do anything and go anywhere.  With the possible exception of the nouveau riche, all rich and successful people invest in the stock market. Poor people do not invest in the stock market for a variety of reasons.

  • The most overused excuse is that they lack money. The reality is that they waste money on junk.
  • The next excuse is that they don’t want to lose their money. The reality is your money is gone the moment you spend it on any consumable item. Try getting your money back for the pack of cigarettes you smoked.
  • Stocks are very expensive.  Amazon may sell in excess of $1860 a share, but there are literally thousands of ‘penny stocks’ that cost less than a pack of smokes or even a can of soda.
  • They don’t understand it. That is a valid excuse. A fool and their money are soon parted. However, it is a limitation which can be easily overcome by study and time. Leaders are readers!

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“It’s my own desire

It’s my own remorse

Help me to decide

Help me make the most Of freedom and of pleasure

Nothing ever lasts forever

Everybody wants to rule the world.”   – song Everybody wants to rule the world by Tears for Fears (1985)

Power is power

The rich have knowledge, money, and power. This allows them to control various aspects of our lives.  Some rich people like President Donald J. Trump root for the common man and want every citizen to achieve whatever goals and dreams they aspire to. Others like Bernie Sanders want to control every aspect of our lives from cradle to grave. To warped frustrated old men like Sanders, we are not people, we are cattle. Unfortunately many young mush-heads believe the socialist garbage being spooned down their throats. America is a great nation because of Christianity and capitalism.  No nation on Earth is perfect, but the USA is the greatest bastion of freedom, liberty, and opportunity in the world, and there are powerful men that are working hard to change that. The current generation, known as millennials, are the first generation born in the USA not to be richer than their parents.  They were duped and manipulated by misinformation, fake news, liberal teachers, and mass media.

Is the stock market being gamed?

All media outlets are ultimately owned  by the rich, and they can use these media outlets to influence the thoughts and behaviors of the masses.  If a financial expert on a top news program  suddenly proclaims that the bull market is nearly over, some people panic and sell their shares because the price drops. A short while later, the stock rebounds to new heights. Not only has the skittish investor  lost on their initial investment, but they also missed out on potential gains had they held on to their shares.  An important book to read on this topic is Unshakeable by Tony Robbins. It is impossible to ‘time the market’ and a wise investor knows that bull markets are around long, and bear markets only last a short while. The key is to stay the course. The market is not rigged, but there is some level of manipulation being used against unseasoned investors to exploit their fears. As Warren Buffet would say, ‘when everyone’s selling, he’s buying’.

Facebook Stock is currently trading at $178.28 as of  April 18th 2019. The 52 week high was $218.62 and the low was $123.02. If you panicked and sold it at $123, you would have missed a nearly 50% gain. If you sold at $218, you could have locked in any gains you made, and reinvested it at a later time buying something else, or buying shares at the current $178 price in the hopes of future gains. If you had bought Facebook in 2012 at its IPO of $38, you would have made out like a bandit in either case. Imagine how the people feel who sold their shares a week after the IPO when the stock plunged to about $26 per share and so-called experts were calling it a bad investment! Better yet, imagine if you had brought AMAZON in 1997 for its IPO at a mere $18 a share. A $10,000 investment in that company alone would have made you a millionaire today.  What you hear about a company on the news may cause you to panic and sell at the wrong time, or encourage you to buy at the wrong time, or worse yet never even buy at all. Past performance is no indication of future performance.

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Inside, OUT!

You may have heard of Insider trading, where sensitive information about a company is clandestinely shared with an individual so that they can gain an advantage over the average investor. This is against the law, MOSTLY. There are exceptions to this rule for certain people, and possibly even ways to theoretically circumvent the laws if you are rich and powerful.

What exactly is insider trading? In order for a person to be considered an ‘insider’ they need to have either a 10% stake in that company, or access to valuable, non-public information about that company.  CEOs, presidents, vice-presidents, and board members  are all considered insiders.  In order to LEGALLY trade on shares  IF YOU ARE AN INSIDER,  these transactions must be properly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and are done with advance filings. It is also illegal to share insider information to protect friends and family members who might own stock in that company.  That’s what happened to Martha Stewart in 2001 when she found out  her friend’s company ImClone’s new cancer drug was being rejected by the FDA, and she suddenly sold all her shares days before the official announcement.   Attempting to save $250,000 landed her in jail. Illegal is still illegal even if you don’t like the law. Had she just waited until news of the rejection of the new drug was publicly aired, she might have taken a little or no loss, avoided jail, and would have been able to write off any losses as a tax credit. Greed can get you in trouble fast.

The bottom line

You will never be able to spend your way into prosperity. The only way to get rich quick is to do it slowly. Rich people run the world, and they got rich because they made the proper choices, took risks, and invested their money. They earned their money the old fashioned way, they worked for it. The good news is that opportunity exists everywhere if you are willing to look for it, and do the work. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

DATA FACT?

What a tangled web we have weaved!

(part one of a two part series)

DATA FACT

Conservative Republican Ronald W. Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. Shortly after taking office on January 20th, 1981, he began his goal of making America great again by implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. Dubbed “Reaganomics”, his supply-side economic policies advocated reducing government spending, economic deregulation, and most importantly tax rate reduction. These measures to spur economic growth were directly responsible for the prosperity seen in the 1980’s.    

One of the most radical changes to society which sprang from ‘the decade of wealth’ was the sudden birth of the home computer. Once a staple of science fiction, the idea of actually owning your own computer became a reality. The earliest practical uses were business applications and word processing, as well as early text based games. Computer technology advanced rapidly. An observation by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years, while production costs halved, became known as Moore’s Law.

Many tech savvy individuals experimented with software development to justify the cost of purchasing these very expensive machines. There was no easy way of transferring data although there were some primitive networks for those who knew how to contact and connect to them with a modem. This changed on March 12th 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee dreamed up a system of Information management allowing data to be exchanged by multiple computers over a vast network, which we now refer to as the Internet and the World Wide Web. In 1992, IBM developed the first ‘smartphone’ called the Simon Personal Communicator. Today, thirty years after the birth of the internet, people have the sum total of human knowledge at their fingertips and the world has never been more connected.

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A fist full of dollars

The are many ways to make money or save money using the internet and the world wide web, whole books have been written on it, thousands of them.

There are crowd-fund platforms to help you market your invention, e-banks which promise better interest rates and less fees, sites with personal finance tips and tricks, streaming media to watch or download, market places to buy and sell new or used items, the list goes on. The net is big business!

The magnificent seven

  1. Staying in touch – E-mail and text messages now exceed personal  letters and phone calls.
  2. Making friends – Social media allows us to connect with people we would never have met. InstantCoffeeWisdom has over a hundred followers from sixty countries around the world. My twitter account has over seven hundred followers, dozens of whom I’ve met and interact with. I’m grateful for all my friends and supporters.  
  3. Being creative – There are endless DIY tutorials online to demonstrate and inspire.
  4. Finding help – Got a problem? There’s a website that has an answer or solution.
  5. Learning – Online courses teach you anything if you study and apply yourself.
  6. Media – Nearly everything that’s ever been written, recorded, or filmed, exists somewhere online, usually available for free if you take the time to search for it.
  7. Shopping – E-commerce has changed the way we shop, and in many cases has brought about the death of some prominent chains. Radio Shack, Toys R Us, and Borders Books are all long gone, casualties of online shopping. Someone, somewhere in the world has the exact same, or very similar item for much less, and in some cases with free shipping.  You just need to search for it.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Everything I’ve listed so far has been good. The bad part is that with so much information and equal mis-information it’s easy to get the wrong source and end up believing in lies. Not everything online is beneficial, and sometimes digging through the ‘fake news’ to unearth the facts isn’t like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s like trying to find a needle in Kansas! The signal to noise ratio is just that great. Worse yet, certain social media platforms use algorithms to selectively edit what you see. Cookies stored in your computer’s memory record and track your browsing history, and bots customize what you see.

The ugly part of the web can range from annoying to horrific. There are some things online that you do NOT want to see, the stuff of nightmares placed online either as a warning, or because some sick individual wanted to share it because they liked it. What has been seen cannot be unseen, beware! There is an entire ‘dark web’ that’s lying under the surface and is just one misplaced or misguided keystroke away. There are internet ‘trolls’ who live to post hateful and hurtful comments in any post that has a reply field. Whole web pages have been created by cyber-bullies to intimidate and humiliate their victims. People have committed suicide over such personal attacks.There are more scams to trick you into handing over personal info than you can shake a stick at. Black-hat hackers have created so many forms of malware that anti-virus protection is a must on any computer. And then there’s the 800 lb gorilla in the room, PORN. When I was a young boy, porn was sold wrapped in plastic, and not kept on display. XXX theaters were in the seedy part of the city where you were afraid to walk in broad daylight. You had to go way out of your way to obtain smut, and now it’s in nearly every home in America, just a click away.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45 ESV

The internet is a tool, and like any tool it can be used for good or evil.  Whoever controls the flow of information can control you. Are you being lied to? Do you even realize it? Who is Q? Ponder these questions until next week, and check back for part two, HOW DEEP IS THE DEEP STATE? As always, I wish you success and happiness!