CONQUER THE WORLD!

Ask me how…

conquer the world

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!

a house divided

“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 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!

A Federal Case?

What’s in a name?

(part one of a two-part series on The Federal Reserve Bank.)

a federal case

‘I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.’– Thomas Jefferson, (from a  letter  sent to John Taylor on Nov. 26, 1798.)

When most Americans see the word ‘federal’ they automatically associate it with the US FEDERAL Government. By viewing the word as synonym instead of as an adjective, it has led to a confusion of meaning. Adjectives describe persons, places, or things, BUT describing something is not always the same as being something, and there are also subjective as well  as objective descriptions which can be led by emotions verses facts. In a very broad example of what I mean, let’s consider the following example: Susie calls Bobby a lazy boy at a birthday party. Her season for the statement was because she didn’t care for the way he wrapped the birthday gift. Does this mean that Bobby IS lazy? Bystanders at the partying overhearing Susie’s statement quickly take sides, some agreeing with Susie, others standing up for Bobby. None of these emotional reactions are proof of the original subjective and possibly slanderous statement made by Susie against Bobby. Yet this seems to be the modern mindset in contemporary society.  It’s like calling Trump supporters racists. If you FEEL someone is something, does that automatically make them that thing? If you hear someone else describe something, does that make it the same for you? While some things may be immutable,  others can vary widely over time or circumstance, and change from person to person.

If you asked the average person in the USA if the Federal Reserve Bank is part of the Federal Government, they would more than likely say yes, and they would be absolutely wrong.

According to Collins Dictionary of English, the number one definition of Federal is:

  1. Federal–of or formed by a compact; specif., designating or of a union of states, groups, etc. in which each member agrees to subordinate its governmental power to that of the central authority in certain specified common affairs.

The shipping company FedEx was originally called Federal Express before the company name was shortened in 2000 to its current moniker. The company was founded in 1971 by Frederick W. Smith and is currently the eight-largest private employer in the US.  Mr. Smith chose the name because  he believed the patriotic meaning associated with the word “federal” suggested an interest in nationwide economic activity. He also hoped the name would resonate with the Federal Reserve Bank, a potential customer.

The Federal Reserve Bank is NOT part of the US government.

The Federal Reserve Bank was the third attempt by representatives of the US Government to create a central banking system to oversee the nation’s financial needs. Unlike its predecessors, this current bank was NOT restricted by a twenty-year charter, and its many economic policies over the past century are directly responsible for the skyrocketing government debt which now exceeds  $25.2 trillion. That amounts to over $81,000 per citizen, or $139,000+ per tax payer (Since not all citizens pay taxes.)     

A bit of history

The First Bank Of The US

The first secretary of state, Alexander Hamilton was a great admirer of the Bank of England and was pressing President Washington to sign a bill creating the First Bank of the US. Washington had grave misgivings against signing the ‘bank bill’. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison  were strongly opposed to the measure.  Ultimately, after considering many opinions on the matter, and having decided that the bank bill was constitutional, Washington signed the bill into law on Feb 25th, 1790. The building for the newly created bank was built in Philadelphia in 1791. Twenty years later, In 1811, the U.S. Senate tied on a vote to renew the bank’s charter. Vice President George Clinton broke the tie and voted against renewal, killing the institution.

The Second Bank of the US

Modeled on Alexander Hamilton’s First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank was chartered by President James Madison in 1816 and began operations at its main branch in Philadelphia on January 7, 1817 managing twenty-five branch offices nationwide by 1832.  President Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the US, elected in 1829, was absolutely hated the bank, arguing that the  bank was a corrupt institution which failed to produce a stable national currency, was unconstitutional, and was dangerous to American liberties. He managed to convince congress NOT to renew the charter for the bank in 1836. It folded in 1841.

A political cartoon from 1833 shows Jackson destroying the bank with his “Order for the Removal,” to the approval of the Uncle Sam like figure to the right, and the annoyance of the bank’s president, shown as the Devil himself.

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“That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.

Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost.

But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good. “– Thomas A. Edison

The Federal Reserve Bank

The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law by President Wilson on December 23, 1913. It created and established the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. It also gave the newly established system legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes (U.S. Dollar). The act had far reaching implications including the internationalization of the U.S. Dollar as a global currency.

Unfortunately the massive downside is that since its creation the Federal Reserve, (or sometimes  just called the Fed)  is directly responsible for the national debt, and the devaluation of the US dollar of 92%. The money the USA ‘borrows’ from the Fed is money that is ‘created’. They just order the mint to print more money. Then they charge interest on the created money. Currently the US can’t even afford to pay the interest on the money it’s loaned.

The fact of the matter is that the government NEEDS money to run, but it was no way to produce money. You can’t create prosperity by spending yourself into debt. Consider that over the next week, and come back next Sunday for part two of this long blog post on the Federal Reserve Bank. As Always, I wish you success and happiness!  

Food Festivals!

Chile today, hot tamale!

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There are several things I really like.  I like my coffee, I like my ‘sweets’ (a little too much), and I like hot spicy foods.

When I was a boy, there were only four spices in the entire world. Salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard. Or, at least those were the only spices my late mother ever heard of, and we know what a ‘wonderful’ cook she was.  It takes a lot of talent to burn water.

I never even tried salsa or hot peppers until I was at a party in college and a friend explained the concept of nachos to me, but after that initial introduction, I began to explore the world of hot sauces.  One year a seasonal kiosk opened at my local mall. I think it was called ‘Mo Hotter Mo Better’ . They offered samples of different ‘XXX+’ hot sauces, and I could buy what I liked. The first super hot sauce that piqued my young palate was Endorphin Rush. For years, this was my hot sauce of choice.

After my Aunt Arleen died, I had to move my mother into my apartment for the last five years of her life. She had cancer, and her social security didn’t even begin to cover her bills.  It was either that or my mother would have been homeless, so I had to do the ‘right’ thing. It was quite the culture clash, and a very stressful period.

My mother could not understand that bottle of Endorphin Rush in the kitchen. To her, it was death in a bottle.  She could not comprehend that I enjoyed the hot spicy kick it gave to what I was eating.  Of course, one day while I was at work my mother somehow managed to ‘accidentally’ break the bottle, and suffered the consequences of getting hot sauce into her eyes while cleaning the broken mess from the kitchen floor.  Karma, it’ll get you in the end.

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For every conceivable type of food, somewhere there is a food festival.  In big cities, these annual gastronomical extravaganzas  tend to take place in convention centers, large city parks, or the occasion ‘street fair’ which shuts down traffic in that area for the event. The beauty of food festivals is two-fold. 

Primarily, it’s for the businesses.  At least half of these companies are small start-ups, hoping to break into their niche market of choice.  They are desperate to attract the attention of food critics, supermarket chains, and specialty product retailers. Every one of them has some new twist, secret recipe,  catchy name, or flashy logo. They have to pay for exhibition space, and are offering samples in the hope of going national. They love the support of the little guy, but they are really there praying for the big retailers and restaurants to take notice of them. Many of these entrepreneurs have risked their life savings to launch their dream, and they could lose it all if they can’t compete against the sea of rivals surrounding them.   For them, the food festival really is life or death.  

Secondly, for the consumer  it exposes you to many different vendors and products which may not be available in your area. Some of these companies have fantastic  goods for sale.  Many of them have traveled from great distances,  and spent a lot to get to these food festivals.  As a consumer, you suddenly went from having a limited selection of your food of choice, to a plethora! The best part is, free samples! As you walk from one stand to another, you can sample the products as you go. The next best thing is special pricing! As many of these vendors have traveled from afar, they have packed cases of their products, hoping to sell every last good they loaded on their trucks. Most of them have multiple item deals which can save you 10-20% in volume deals. Plus, since many of these vendors are from out of town, if you were to buy from them online, you’d have to pay shipping, so not only are you getting a discount at the show, you save on shipping fees! It’s nearly impossible to get this item any cheaper than you will at the festival, so if you like it buy it, and buy a lot of it!

Save money!

Every year for at least six years now, I have been going to the annual Bower’s Chili Pepper Festival.   It’s held every year on the weekend after Labor day in Bower’s PA.

http://pepperfestival.com      @chilefestival

Fortunately for me, this event is local, only about a 45 minute drive from my apartment, or 20 minutes from my job. Each year, two of my best friends join me on this fun-filled trip. Because Berks county is largely a rural area, we have the bonus that the annual Bower’s Chili Pepper Festival is located lest than 1/2 a mile from Meadow View Farm, which has a pick your own peppers field open to the public that coincides with the festival. My friends and I scour the fields picking some of the hottest peppers known to man, and we pay a fraction of what we would at the grocery store, not to mention obtaining exotic hot peppers like Carolina Reapers, and Trinidad Scorpions which are not stocked at the local supermarket. This year I picked nearly 10lbs of peppers for which I only paid $11.50! In turn, I pickled those peppers yesterday, yielding nine quarts of super-hot pickled peppers which will last me until next year!

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I personally endorse all of the following vendors and their products, and urge you to try them.

Some of the business are local Pennsylvania business. Two have the PA PREFERRED endorsement on their brand.

Chef Tim 

 http://cheftimfoods.com       @ChefTimFoods

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Chef Tim is a great guy and his SWEET BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE is the best salad dressing / marinade you can get. No added preservatives, gluten Free & cholesterol Free, made with 7 All Natural Ingredients: Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Sugar, Kosher Salt, Granulated Garlic, Black Pepper, Oregano. I see time whenever I stop at The Green Dragon Framer’s Market in Ephrata, and his vinaigrette can be found in over a hundred retail stores in PA, including SKH (Stauffers of Kissel Hill). If you haven’t tried Chef Tim’s SWEET BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE I urge you to do so.  

Red Hawk Peppers

http://redhawkpeppers.com/   @RedHawkPeppers

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They make a Fiery Pineapple Spread that I can’t get enough of! I buy a half dozen jars every year.

All of their products are 100% ALL NATURAL with no chemical additives or preservatives.

Pilsudski Brand Mustard

http://pilsudskimustard.com 

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This is a great mustard, and I’m nuts about their wasabi and sriracha flavors.

WOODY’S ORIGINAL  CLAMLUBE BRAND HOT SAUCE

https://www.clamlube.com/       @clamlube

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I got to admit, it was that catchy logo that first caught my eye, but the favor of these hot sauces can’t be beat!

Double Comfort

doublecomfortfoods.com      @Double_Comfort

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Memphis-inspired, award winning spices & hot sauces. Social enterprise, all profits to food pantries. Small batch, vegan, all natural

 A wonderful seasoning, I can’t wait to experiment with it in my tex-mex dishes.

Save someone’s business!

I can’t stress this enough, if you love some awesome food product you’ve tasted, support the business! Buy their products, give them as gifts, tell friends about them and share contact info on social media. Many of these new business depend upon you to endorse and support them. It takes money to run a business, and slumping sales can kill a start-up. For every great product that’s on the verge of going national, there’s a struggling entrepreneur desperate for widespread exposure.  I was saddened to discover that this year my favorite pepper jam maker was not at the festival, and she appears to have gone out of business. The website says they are sold out online, and a call to the listed number went unanswered to voicemail. I love https://jackysjamsandjellies.com/ and I was planning on buying an entire case of pepper jam. Wherever you are Jacky, I wish you well. 

Again, super hot foods are a niche market, and many of these items can’t be found in local supermarkets. The average millennial turns to Amazon.com for the majority of their online orders, so getting nationwide distribution is imperative for the small brand. As many of these products lack chemicals and preservatives, they are better for your body, but they cost more and have a shorter shelf life. Isn’t your health worth spending those extra pennies for a superior product? If you want to keep these companies alive, buy, share, and promote them. As always, I wish you success and happiness!      

LIVE BOLDLY!

Don’t DREAM it, BE it!

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Almost a year ago, on Sep 10, 2017 at 9:58 AM I launched my blog.

My first article was The 52 Week Challenge, and the purpose of that first post was to serve as both an introduction, and as a source of encouragement. Every Labor Day Weekend I enjoy a fun-filled vacation at the shore in Ocean City MD. It’s my ‘happy place’. If you followed the advice of that first post, by saving away just $25 every week, then you too should have been able to afford a fantastic getaway vacation to a destination of your choice. This year I spent even more days at the shore going down every weekend in August. I jet skied and even parasailed for the first time. I had a blast being 800 feet in the air, strapped to a parachute, while being towed by a speedboat.  

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I was not always as wealthy as I am today, but I did not get to where I am by accident. I helped myself by reading self-help books and studying the habits of highly successful people. The knowledge I gained helped me grow as an individual and I’ve changed for the better as a result.

For years, I tried imparting the wealth building tips and tricks to friends and family, but sadly many of them ignored my well-meaning advice. I want everyone to be happy and successful. Now, through the magic of the world wide web, my blog posts have been read by people in 48 countries around the world. Hopefully each and every person who visited this past year found some useful and encouraging tidbit they could utilize in their own personal journey.

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Climb every mountain 
Ford every stream 
Follow every rainbow 
‘Till you find your dream…

“Climb Ev’ry Mountain” Song from the  1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.

We all have dreams of a better life and a prosperous future. These things don’t happen by accident and rarely are they handed to us. We need to work hard and plan if we want to be successful in our endeavors. Sometimes, this means long shifts at the day job. But if you’re working to have just enough to cover your bills, your dreams will disappear in a cloud of smoke. I’ve known people who toiled away at dead-end jobs, or who took meaningless ‘promotions’ that were paid little more than their underlings, but were filled with nightmare time demands and far more responsibilities.  I’ve had co-workers who died young from fatal heart attacks due to stress. My own father died at 57, never living to see retirement. Life is too short to be miserable.  If you’ve worked at the mall, or waited tables for years because ‘you like it’, or ‘it’s easy work’, then the only thing you’ve accomplished is to help someone else fulfill their dream.

It amazes me when I hear people advocating for a higher minimum wage because they can’t live on minimum wage. Minimum wage was never intended to be a ‘living wage’. I do understand that sometimes it’s hard to find a better paying job. When I was in college, I worked three different minimum wage jobs each week. I applied for my current job five times, and went to eleven interviews before I was hired, as a temp! The entire time I spent working multiple minimum wage jobs, I was doing little more than working or sleeping, but the point is that all the while I was also seeking the better paying job and actively pursuing it.  I never considered staying at any of my low paying jobs longer than necessary than to establish my credentials and prove that I was deserving of better jobs with higher salaries.  I also never gave up striving to improve myself.

You need to examine your life, as well as your financial situation. It’s the quality of the time you spend living your life vs. the quantity of time needed at work to reach your goals. A minimum wage job will not cut it.  The purpose of a minimum wage job is to provide training to a new employee, establish a work history, show responsibility, and prove dependability.  No employer will retain or promote a new employee who constantly displays irresponsible behavior, or a lack of dependability. If you have a history of quitting jobs, finding employment will also be challenging. No one is going to hire someone who is going to quit shortly after being hired. Your reputation is important.

Your attitude and charisma will open almost as many doors as who and what you know.

For several years now, I’ve been trying to establish a coffee shop. I’ve done a lot of research and leg work on the subject  as I’ve been building my resources. There have been several false starts. I’ve scouted more than a half dozen potential locations, and met with several potential allies. Three years ago, I received a phone call from the owner of a property I was actively and aggressively attempting to lease. I believed that this location in downtown Reading PA was a prime location as it was located near a movie theater, a community college, and a art gallery, as well as a block away from the bus terminal.
After several phone messages to the number on the leasing sign went unanswered, I crafted a courteous and well-worded business letter, which I mailed to the property owner, along with my business card and a very nice stainless steel coffee mug bearing my cafe logo.

Two days later, I received a personal phone call from billionaire department store tycoon Al Boscov. That ten-minute phone call was the most uplifting and empowering message I have ever received.

Mr. Boscov told me that he was impressed by all I had accomplished thus far, and that he was very proud of me. I can’t tell you what it meant to me to hear those words from such a successful businessman. Even thinking about it today brings tears to my eyes. It was like hearing the words of validation and praise I longed to hear from my father, had he lived long enough to see the man I grew up to become.   Words have power, and you can change the course of a person’s entire life when you give them encouragement and guidance at a crucial juncture.  Although I THOUGHT that the location was ideal, Mr. Boscov gave me several reasons why it was not as great a location as I believed it was. If a billionaire philanthropist tells you a location is not good, you listen. He saved me from a potential bad investment which I was too inexperienced to see. Before he ended the call, he told me that if he found a prime location in the city that he thought was suitable for a cafe, I would be the first person he called. I was on cloud nine for months after that phone call.  Sadly, last year Mr. Boscov passed away from cancer on Feb. 10th, 2017 at the age of 87.  Although I never met the man in person, I will never forget his kind grandfatherly voice, or the wonderful words he said.

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To dream the impossible dream,

To fight the unbeatable foe,

To bear with unbearable sorrow,

To run where the brave dare not go.

“The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” Song Andy Williams from the musical Man of La Mancha.

Don’t quit!

Life is not a destination, it’s a journey. As you travel down the road of life, you will meet many people who will try to discourage you, or dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. Just as it is important to examine your life, it is equally important to examine their lives. Always consider the source. Never take advice from people who are less successful than yourself. You’ll encounter many a wise guy or know-it-all who is filled with anecdotes, but has little results to show to back up their stories. That’s why I studied the habits of highly successful people and learned from their examples.  Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the easier it is to see through charlatans and phony pundits.

Always keep in mind that the hopes and dreams of these detractors and naysayers died long ago.

Because they were not successful, they don’t want you to be successful. Because they are poor, they don’t want you to be rich.  You’re smarter and better than them, and they are just jealous. Don’t let these emotional vampires suck the hope and dreams out of your life.

You will also encounter many false starts and set-backs as you pursue your dreams, but the important thing is to persevere! Don’t quit! Quitters never win, and winners never quit. Sometimes the end of one opportunity is the beginning of another. As I mentioned previously, I’ve scouted a half dozen possible cafe locations which all fell though, including one that was 99% a sure thing until someone threw a monkey wrench into the deal.  I’ve lost some money in the process, but it’s only money. You’ve got to spend money to make money and the knowledge I gained in the process provided me valuable insight.  My coffee shop dream is on hold at the moment while I regroup and rethink how next to proceed. I have not given up and continue to build up my cash reserves in preparation.   

As for the immediate future, I plan to edit, collate, and adapt the past 52 weeks of blog posts into an e-book. Not many people read blogs, but there are people who will download an e-book into their tablet to read,  especially if it’s inexpensive, so I might be able to reach a broader audience with my message.  If you’ve been reading http://www.InstantCoffeeWisdom.com from the start, then you’ll have read 100% of what the potential e-book will contain. Sales of the e-book will hopefully add a second revenue stream towards eventually opening That  Coffee Place.  I’m not sure what other financial topics to cover in the coming weeks, I’ve covered everything I’m familiar with, and I’m running out of ideas.  I’d love to hear any suggestions on money topics you’d like my opinion on.

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

― John Wesley

We will not be young forever, nor will we live forever. Enjoy your youth and take advantage of as many exciting and fun opportunities as life presents. Collect memories, not things. Go places, try new things, meet new people and leave your mark on life. Be the best person you can be, and treat everyone with fairness and kindness, even the ones who don’t deserve it. You could be the bright light that leads that person from their dark place.     Make the world a better place when you leave it than it was when  you entered it. Experience in person all the great things that life has to offer, don’t live vicariously through others, or waste your life addicted to your electronics. Take pictures and record your adventures!  There’s so much more to see of life when you don’t waste your time staring down at your smart phone   constantly texting, tweeting, or playing game apps.

As always I wish you success and happiness!

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Say Cheese!

Don’t Lose Those ‘Kodak’ Moments!

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Louis Daguerre produced the first daguerreotype (an early photo process) when he shot an image of the Boulevard du Temple, Paris in 1838. Film cameras didn’t develop until 1888 when Kodak invented his film process. In 1900, the $1.00  Kodak Brownie camera was introduced, and modern photography was born.  For most of the twentieth century, photography was pretty much the same. Cameras may have varied from company to company, some boasting better optics, wider shutter length settings, or built in eclectic flashes, but they all used film. Eastman Kodak pretty much dominated the market, but some swore Fuji Film was more vivid. The drawback of film is that you had to send it out to be developed at a film lab, and  then wait for the prints to arrive in the mail, or at the FotoMat booth, or the drugstore.  If you were willing to invent in a home dark room, and the chemicals needed, you could do it yourself, but most folks were content to leave it to the professionals. The only other alternative was the Polaroid instant camera. Like the early daguerreotype, the Polaroid process produced an instant print that was one of a kind, it had no negative, the print WAS the print, the only existing copy. If you wanted to copy a Polaroid photo, you needed to have the original photographed with a film camera, and of course there was slight loss of quality as this was a copy of a copy.

Today, more pictures are shot in a single year than in all of the last century. Each year over a trillion pictures are taken thanks to smart phones with built-in cameras.

Back in My day…

I have maybe five photographs of my father. My mother didn’t take pictures, she was never a photo bug. There were a few years when she arranged for a professional photographer to come to the house for baby pictures to be taken, or family portraits, but she couldn’t be bothered to buy a simple camera. The few pictures she horded were given her by family and friends, but most of those were lost as we moved like gypsies after she lost her second husband, my stepfather.

After my stepfather Alfred died, my mother had a boyfriend named Bill. In reality, this was a teenage crush that she bumped into many years down the road. He was a shutter bug, and owned a Polaroid Instamatic Camera.  That was the first camera I ever used.

Years later, when I was about 12, my aunt Arleen gave me a Kodak Instamatic. Essentially Kodak had copied the Polaroid Instant Camera and were sued into dropping the new clone from their production line. You were able to buy the film for it for a little while, but eventually it was totally obsolete after the film stock expired and new film wasn’t manufactured.

My second job was working for Olden Camera in NYC, in their computer department. It was then that I purchased my first real 35mm camera, a Nikkon automatic. This point and shot camera was pretty simple to use and lasted many years. Eventually I did get a ‘real’ camera, a Minolta SLR with various lenses and accessories.  It was a lot of weight lugging about that loaded camera bag of accessories, and it was annoying trying to explain all the settings and how to use the camera when I passed it to someone to shoot if the self-timer function was impractical and I wanted to be in the picture. Then disposable cameras came about, and I started using those as everyone knew how to work them.  The point is, from the time I brought my Nikkon in the 80’s, for  nearly twenty years I shot 35mm film.  I have boxes of negative files, and envelopes of prints, as well as photo albums.

For almost the first thirty years of my life, you were limited to film cameras, and the most you could shoot on a roll was 36 exposures. So when you went somewhere and saw something that you wanted to remember forever, you selectively shot one or two photos of it at most, because you had limited shots, and buying film, and getting it processed and printed was expensive.

Nowadays,  most of what we shoot is digital, and we send the pictures we want to share in e-mail or texts.

The sizes of the digital storage media has even changed, with most of the early media obsolete.  Yet, because the photos are digital we are taking more pictures than ever because smart phones  have built in cameras that are getting better with each new model. You still take better pictures with a dedicated digital camera than you do with a smart phone, but  even I will use my phone to take pictures if it’s all I have on me.

Pictures have value. We prize them and treasure them.

A couple of years ago, I lost a SD card with pictures that were not yet copied to my hard drive.  I was packing to return from a trip to the shore, and I think I left it on a table at the hotel. It was never recovered.  If you use a digital camera like I do, back it up frequently if not after every photo shoot. Even if you use your phone to take pictures, copy the data.  Theoretically, smart phones back-up their data to the cloud, but I still don’t trust that. This is why it is vitally important to frequently back-up and copy all your image files. If your electronics suffer a catastrophe, you don’t want to compound the blow by losing your precious ‘Kodak’ moments.  

Pictures, or it ‘never happened’!

Organize your old prints and negatives. A few weeks ago, I was searching for some old vacation photos from 16 years ago, I needed an image, and I could not find either the prints or the negatives. It was very frustrating. It’s probably packed away in a box somewhere in the bottom of the walk-in, but damned if I know where.

  • Frequently copy your media cards.
  • If you have obsolete media, copy the data off the cards while you still have an appropriate reader. Media is useless if you can’t access it.
  • if you have old Polaroid’s or prints, scan them into a digital file.
  • If you have old negatives, invest in a good quality negative scanner and digitize them.

The time, money, and effort you put into preserving your treasured photos will be returned when you can locate and share your Kodak moments. As Always I wish you success and happiness!